June 10, 2010

John Corbet (1620–1680) on God's Will and Grace

5. Though God doth not simply will the Event of the Conversion and Salvation of all to whom the Gospel is made known; yet he wills it so far, and in such a manner, as doth abundantly declare his good will towards men; and doth assure the diligent of good success in their indeavours; and doth convict the negligent of being inexcusable despisers of his Grace towards them.
John Corbet, A Humble Endeavour of Some Plain and Brief Explication of the Decrees and Operations of God about the Free Actions of Men: More Especially of the Operations of Divine Grace (London: Printed for Tho. Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, near Mercers-Chappel, 1683), A2r. This is referenced in David P. Field's Rigide Calvinisme in a Softer Dresse: The Moderate Presbyterianism of John Howe, 1630–1705 (Edinburgh: Rutherford House, 2004), 144. Field argues that John Howe and Corbet (both puritans) agree on this subject.
6. God hath given us all some help of grace, more or less, in order to our Spiritual Recovery. The said help may be improved by us to the obtaining of more, And it is not God's ordinary way to deny more help, or to withdraw what is given, but upon the abuse of what is given, and the resisting of what is offered, and for our not doing not only what we ought, but what we might do.
Ibid., A3r.
13. A Stock of Grace is ordinarily given in unequal Proportions and arbitrarily.

Though every one hath some stock of Divine Grace to be improved, yet I conceive that it is God's ordinary way to give the same in unequal proportions and arbitrarily, according to that distribution of the Talents in the Parable, Mat. 25. without respect to antecedent different worthiness. But as the Lord did arbitrarily distribute the Talents, so he did it according to discretion. In like manner doth the Wisdom of God guide him in the free distribution of the different Measures of his Grace. Herein the depth of the Riches of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God is wonderful, his judments are unsearchable, and his ways past finding out. There are unconditional Favours, and in the arbitrary bestowing of them in unequal Measures, God proceeds most agreeably to his own Absolute Dominion, as also to the state of Sinful Man, who can merit no such favour from him.
Ibid., 36–37.


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