Thirdly, God hath expressed himself in Scripture, as much, yea more, for his willingness, then for his power to help; therefore we need not make our uncertainty of his will the reason of our unbelief, when we say, we are assured of his power: God hath said, He is Almighty, &c. but there are not only words importing that God is willing to help his people, but promises and oaths that he will (Psa. 50:15) Call upon me, and I will deliver thee, Ezek. 33:11. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (that place is meant primarily of a civil death, a death in trouble) but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Yea, God hath manifested a willingness to help a people, which his power has not seconded; but he never manifested his power, when his will did not concur: that most passionate exclamation, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, How often would I have gathered thee! &c. Implies a general willingness in Christ to gather Jerusalem, yet Christ did not act his divine power effectually for their gathering.Joseph Caryl, The Arraignment of Unbelief (London, Printed by G. Miller for Giles Calvert, at the Black-spread-Eagle at the West end of Pauls, 1645), 40.
Or, as John Howe states the principle, God "doth not efficaciously will every thing that he truly wills . . . while God doth not efficaciously will all men's obedience introductive of their happiness, doth it follow he wills it not really at all? To say he wills it efficaciously, were to contradict experience, and his word; to say he wills it not really, were equally to contradict his word. He doth will it, but not primarily, and as the more principle object of his will, so as to effect it notwithstanding whatsoever unfitness he apprehends in it, viz. that he so overpower all, as to make them obedient and happy. He really wills it, but hath greater reasons than this or that man's salvation, why he effects it not." And again, as Howe states it (as he also alludes to Matt. 23:37), "...it is unavoidably imposed upon us, to believe that God is truly willing of some things, which he doth not think fit to interpose his omnipotency to hinder, and is truly willing of some things which he doth not put forth his omnipotency to effect..."