August 12, 2013

Andrew Willet (1562-1621) on God's Revealed Salvific Will

Willet sets forth this argument put forward by some men:
Argum. 1. God would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. God would have no man to perish, but would have all men to come to repentance. God will not the death of a sinner: Ergo, the death and damnation of men, standeth not properly with the will of God.
In reply, Willet gives six answers. Here is the 4th:
4. We must understand these and like places, not of the secret, but of the revealed will of God, who offereth unto all the outward means of salvation: there is voluntas medi[?] vel signi, and, voluntas finis[?]: the will of God concerning the end, and concerning the means leading to the end: So although God have [has] willed and determined every man's end, some one way, some another, yet the eternal means of salvation are denied to none. And that this is the Apostle's meaning, that which followeth doth declare: God would have all men come to the knowledge of the truth, vers. 4. and to come to repentance [2 Pet. 3:9 in margin]. Thus also Augustine expoundeth these words: Remota hac discretione, quam divina scientia intra secretum institiae suae sentinet, syncerissime credendum est, &c. Setting apart the consideration of the secret counsel of God, it is sincerely to be believed, that God would have all men to be saved: that is, offering to all the outward means of salvation, as his word and sacraments: cont. articul. fals. imposit. articul. 2. To this purpose Saint Ambrose lib. 2. de vocat. Gent. c. 1. Quamnis[?] omnes dominus saluos[?] fieri, &c. Although God would have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth: non tamen sibi dispensationum suarum abstulit potestatem, &c. yet hath he not taken away the power of his dispensation, that the order of his counsel should run otherwise, then he in his secret judgment had appointed.
Andrew Willet, Synopsis Papismi (London: Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, for Thomas Man, and are to be sold by Henry Fetherston, dwelling at the Signe of the Rose in Pauls Church-yard, 1614), 882.

This reply sounds very similar to the perspective of Theophilus Gale (click to read).


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