July 12, 2014

Richard Maden (c.1591-c.1677) on the Will of God Touching Man's Salvation

Luke 19:42

Oh if thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace, &c!

Chap. 6.

The Will of God touching man's salvation, as it is generally revealed and propounded in the Gospel.

Hitherto of Christ's carriage and deportment towards Jerusalem; It follows now to speak of his words and speeches to her, and therein first of his passionate and pathetical wish or complaint: wherein first of all, the manner of speech offers itself to our consideration, because the original text, is not rendered alike by all. In the translation of it, some looking more at the scope and intention of Christ, who sets himself purposely to bewail the condition of Jerusalem, than at the bare and naked translation of the words; do render them in the nature of a wish or desire, oh that thou hadst known, &c. and so make the sense full and complete, without the supply or addition of anything else unto it; and the particle (If) is sometimes rendered in that sense, as the learned observe: and many interpreters go this way. Others looking more punctually at the grammatical construction of the words in the original, render the words in a conditional phrase, by way of supposition, If thou hadst known, &c. and so seem to make it defective speech, or a broken and imperfect sentence, which must be thus supplied and made up: If thou hadst known the worth and excellency of those good things which are offered unto thee by the coming of a Saviour, though wouldst not value them at so low a rate: Or, If thou hadst known the misery and calamity thou lyest open unto, thou wouldest not sing and rejoice as now thou doest, but weep and shed tears as thou seest me do. And this also is well backed with the authority of the learned, and they are induced to incline to this opinion, because of the tears of Christ mentioned in the verse before.

Now for a man that speaks out of depth of sorrow, and fulness of grief, it is nothing strange for him to break off his speech, and leave it imperfect; for as it is the nature of joy to enlarge the heart, and dilate the spirits, & so set open as it were a wide door for the thoughts of the heart to go out and vent themselves; so it is the nature of sorrow to contract and straighten, to narrow and draw together the spirits, and as it were to shut the door of the soul, so that like as it is with a vessel, though it be full of liquor, yet if the mouth of it be stopped, none will flow out; even so it was here with Christ: having begun to speak, he was so overwhelmed with grief, and so deeply affected with the estate and condition of Jerusalem, that he could not speak out, but was even constrained to weep out the rest of the sentence, leaving the full sense and meaning to be gathered and supplied out of his tears: as is used in such passionate and pathetical speeches. The matter is not much in regard of the sense and meaning, whether the words be read in a manner of a wish, O that thou hadst known, &c. or whether they be translated by way of supposition, in a conditional phrase, If thou hadst known, &c. And happily he shall not do amiss that joins them both together, and reads the words thus, O if thou hadst known, and so they afford this observation.

That Christ did seriously will and desire the welfare of Jerusalem, even that part of Jerusalem which was afterward miserably destroyed, for refusing the mercy that was tendered and offered unto her: neither did he will this as man only, but likewise as God; the will of the humanity, and the will of the Deity were not contrary, but subordinate; they did both meet in the object or thing willed; that is, in the good and salvation of Jerusalem. And that he did seriously will it, there be three things in the Text seem plainly to evince: 1. His tears, as has been shown before. 2. His patience and long-suffering, because not withstanding the killing of so many Prophets, as had been slain before, the contempt and undervaluing of so many mercies as had been offered before; yet even to that very day he carried thoughts of peace towards her, and accordingly sent her means of peace, even such means, as from that day forward she should never enjoy the like again. And what more evident sign of his serious intentions than this, that he is so long, before his thoughts can be taken off from it. 3. His coming to her in his own person: when the Physician does not only prescribe remedies for his sick Patient, and gives order what he shall take, but also comes himself in his own person to apply them, lest there should be any mistake or neglect; it is a sign he does seriously will and desire his recovery; so when Christ comes himself in person to Jerusalem, as to his sick patient; it shows how willing and desirous he was to work a cure upon this diseased party, and to heal that [which] was amiss; and this is that which [he] himself testifies, & speaks out plainly elsewhere [Matt. 23:37], O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee, even as the hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? You see what Christ professes, I would have gathered thee, &c. and that his purpose and intention was serious in the willing of it, appears, 1. From the ingemination of the word, Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem: a single compellation had been sufficient, to let Jerusalem know his mind; but that it might make a deeper impression, and that she might see and perceive his thoughts and purposes to be serious indeed; therefore he doubles the word, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem: to show that he desired her welfare, not by a single and slender intention, but by a more serious and re-doubled affection. 2. From the qualification of the persons, whom he would have gathered, they were such as had killed the Prophets, stoned them that were sent, &c. and now ready to exercise the like cruelty upon himself. Here were indignities more than sufficient to have abated somewhat of his affections towards her, &; to have taken off his thoughts and intentions of doing her good, had not the bent and inclination of his will been seriously propending that way. 3. From the frequency of his endeavors; he had made an offer and tender of salvation unto her, not once, but often; even by all the Prophets in the Old Testament that went before him: neither was there only an offer tendered, but that also seconded with earnest entreaties and exhortations to accept of it, and that after so many denials and refusals of it, he would yet still continue to make the same offer, and that in his own person; it plainly shows, that he did seriously will and desire her good. 4. From the manner of willing, which is set forth here by way of comparison, as the hen gathers her chickens, &c. Now of all females among the reasonable creatures, there is none more tenderly affectionate towards her young, than the hen is towards her chickens; other fowls are not known to have young, unless it be when they are in the nest, or together with them; but the hen is known to have young, even then when she is apart from them, when they do not follow her, because even then her wings flag and hang down, her feathers are rough, and stand up, she goes feebly, and clucks mournfully, as the father [Chrysos. & Augustine] well observes. And therefore Christ comparing his will and affection for the good of Jerusalem, with the native propension that is in the hen, to gather her chickens under her wings, does plainly show that he did seriously will and desire her good.

And to enlarge the point a little more, and raise it a little higher, from the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to all those to whom the Gospel is preached, and to whom Christ is offered in the ministry of the Word: for there is a like party of reason in both: for Christ came not to do his own will, but the will of his Father that sent him. And therefore so as Christ willed the good and salvation of Jerusalem, to which he was sent; so does God will the good and salvation of those to whom the Gospel is preached: that is, as Christ did seriously will the good and salvation of Jerusalem, even of that part of Jerusalem, which for the refusal of his mercy was afterward miserably destroyed by her enemies: So God does seriously will and desire the salvation of those to whom the Gospel is preached; even of those, who through their own fault perish in their sins: For God will have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth [1 Tim. 2:4]: which words I take in that sense and meaning that I find them interpreted in the Articles of our Church, to wit, according to that conditional promise of grace and favour to mankind, which is universal; universal, I say, in the offer, or antecedent part of it, though not so in the event or consequent part of it: and so it is taken by Zanchy [J. Zanchius], and some other modern Divines, who make the latter part of the sentence to be a condition required of everyone, for the obtaining of that salvation which is mentioned in the foregoing part of it, so that the will of God revealed in the Scriptures touching man's salvation, it respects both the end, and the means; the end which God would have men come unto, it is a happy end, even the salvation of their souls; which salvation he is willing to give unto them, upon such terms and conditions as are expressed in the new Covenant; the means he would have them use for the attaining of this end, is, to come to the knowledge of the truth, even that lively and effectual knowledge which is accompanied with the love of the truth, and obedience to it.

I am not ignorant that some understand the Apostles words of an absolute will in God, and therefore do not extend or enlarge it to all and every one to whom the Gospel is preached, but only to some few of all sorts of men. And this interpretation they father upon St. Augustine, the more to endear it to their followers, by so great a name: and it may not be denied, but that it contains a truth in it: for God by his absolute will, which does always most certainly and infallibly take effect, he wills the salvation of none but the elect only. But yet that learned Father, in that very place where he gives this interpretation, does also give leave and liberty to every one to follow any other sense and meaning that the words bear, so be it do not [so long as it does not] constrain us to believe the omnipotent power of God can be hindered in those things which He absolutely wills [Enchirodion, c. 103]. And the same Father does elsewhere acknowledge that the words may well admit of another interpretation [Epist. 107]: and himself does so qualify his former exposition [Ad art. sibi falso impos., art. 2: See Willet's reference], as that he plainly shows, that the cause why men perish, is in themselves, because they do not desire salvation, neither are they willing to have it, upon such terms and conditions as it is offered unto them; so that they come to perish, not simply for want of good will in God towards them, but because they are wanting to themselves, in the use of those means that lead to life; and thus do some of his own followers interpret his mind and meaning, and will have him to make the Apostle speak of the antecedent part of that conditional will, which is revealed and generally propounded in the Gospel. But however that be, it is certain, that many learned men do so interpret the Apostle, both ancient and modern: Some in their commentaries upon the place, and some in other parts of their works; and that seems most agreeable to the scope and intention of the place: he that takes a view of all other interpretations that are given of the words, he shall find none among them all (those only excepted which are in sense the same, and do but differ from it in words and expressions) but it is more strained & wrested from the true sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost, and liable to more just and material exceptions, than this is.

As for that first exposition of Saint Augustine, which interprets the Apostle of an absolute will in God, and restrains it only to some of all sorts, though it be received by many, yet it seems not so proper and suitable to the scope of the place; because the words are brought in as a reason or motive to press the exhortation laid down before; to wit, that prayers and supplications be made for all men; and therefore must be of equal extent and largeness with it. The word All must be so taken in the Motive annexed, as it is in the duty enjoined; God wills the salvation of all those for whom he will have his people make prayers and supplications: Their charity in praying must reach to all, because God will have all men saved. Now the word All, in the duty enjoined, as Calvin well observes, it signifies the whole race of mankind, and so reaches to all and every one: God will have prayers and supplications made, not only for some of all sorts, but for all of every sort; and therefore the Text gives express charge, that prayers be made for all in authority; not only for some of all sorts, as for some Kings, & some that bear office and authority under them, but for all in authority; even those that were no better than Wolves and Bears, and Lions to the Church; for such were Kings and all in authority in those times; they were so many sworn enemies to Christ and his Kingdom, and yet prayers and supplications are to be made for them. So the Prophet enjoins the Israelites, when they were in captivity under the King of Babel, to seek the prosperity of the City, and to pray for the King's welfare, and the good success of his government: So Christ enjoins his disciples to pray for their enemies and persecutors, &c. and that from the example of God himself, who causes his sun to shine, and the rain to fall upon the just and the unjust [Matt. 5:45]: So when the people had revolted, and provoked God with a high hand, what does Samuel? Does he cease to pray for them? No: God forbid that I should sin against God in ceasing to pray for you. There is not any particular man whom the faithful are to exclude from the benefit of their prayers. Every one is capable of salvation upon such terms as are expressed in the Covenant; and it is the duty of every one, as to seek the enlargement of God's Kingdom, so for that end to pray for him that is without, that he may be added to it: as he is bound to do good unto all; so likewise to pray for them, that being one principle means and way by which he is enabled to do them good; as he is bound to love his neighbor, that is, every one as himself, so likewise he is bound to pray for him; this being one of the best fruits and effects of love that he can show unto him; as there is none but stands in need of his prayers, and may receive benefit and advantage by them; so none must be excepted in the making of them. Now from all these premises, it is plain and evident, that in the duty enjoined by the Apostle, the word All, is to be taken in a general sense, for all and every one; and therefore in all congruity of reason, it must be of the same extent and largeness in the Motive that is used for the enforcing of it, because otherwise it would not bear up the weight that is laid upon it, it would not reach home, nor serve the Apostle's purpose and intention; it would not be sufficient or available to persuade unto it, or to further and put on the practice of that precept for which it is brought: and this is consonant and agreeable to other places of Scripture, where the same truth is asserted and laid down. Let one or two suffice in the stead of all the rest; As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn and live, &c [Ezek. 33:11]. Where you have first the declaration of God's will and affection to the sons of men, and then the proof and confirmation of it. God declares himself to stand tenderly affected towards the sons of men, as appears,

1. By the quality of the person to whom he bears this good will, and that is a sinner, not only a repenting sinner, as some gloss upon it, but even of that sinner, who for the refusing of mercy offered, dies and perishes in his sin; as is plain by comparing this with another parallel place [Ezek. 18:23]; I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, &c.

2. By the nature of the affection he expresses toward him, and that is set down partly by way of negation; I have no pleasure in his death, or I desire not his death: that is, antecedently, and of himself, in the primary intention of his Providence towards him: for God's primary intention in sending the Gospel to any, is to bring him to salvation, and not to seal up and further his condemnation; unless it be through his own fault, undervaluing the mercy offered, and neglecting the helps and means afforded unto him in the same; as Christ tells the Jews; These things I say unto you that ye might be saved, but ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life, &c. And partly it is set down by way of affirmation, but rather that he turn from his wickedness and live; he would have him to live, and is willing to give life and salvation to him, according to that course of providence that he has taken for him, in, and by the new Covenant; and that he may live, he would have him to turn away from his wickedness, that deprives him of life: for to that end and purpose he sends his Word and Messengers, to convince him of his sin, to terrify and a fright him with it, to shame him out of his sinful courses. Again, you have the proof and confirmation of all this, As I live saith the Lord; he confirms it with an oath: the bare promise of God deserves credit, because it is he that cannot lie which hath promised; but when he binds himself by oath to make good that promise, who can make the least doubt of it? And therefore God promises with an oath to make his promise the more firm and stable: God willing more abundantly (says the Apostle) to show to the heirs of promise the stableness [stability] of his counsel, hath bound himself with an oath, &c. that by two immutable things, wherein it is impossible that God should lie, they might have strong consolation.

Again, the same truth is confirmed in the New Testament, by those two great Apostles, the Apostle of the Gentiles, and the Apostle of the Jews, St. Paul, and St. Peter; God hath shut up all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all [Rom. 11:32]. Where you see, that misery and mercy are in some sort of equal extent; that is, though all that be in misery do not obtain mercy, yet they are some ways under mercy: those that are made miserable by the breach of the first Covenant, are made capable of mercy by virtue of the second Covenant: Whom the Law convinces of sin, to them the Gospel offers mercy in Christ. And the primary purpose and intention of God in the work of the Law, is to prepare them for Christ, and for the Gospel; that being made sensible of their sin and misery by the Law, they might be more willing to accept of mercy, upon such terms and conditions as it is offered in the Gospel. God never shuts up any under sin by the spirit of bondage, by it is with a purpose and intention to fit him for mercy, if he make a right use of this passage of his providence towards him; that is, when out of a kindly impression that is has wrought upon him, he is moved to seek out for mercy, in that way and order that God has appointed. So then, as the purpose and intention of God in the Ministry of the Law, is shut up all under sin, to show them what they are in themselves, that every mouth may be stopped, and all made culpable before God: so his purpose and intention in the Gospel, and the Covenant of Grace, is, to set open a door of mercy to all, that they may be encouraged through hope of finding mercy, to seek after it: & to this accords the Apostle St. Peter [2 Pet. 3:9]; God is patient towards us, and would have no man perish, but all men to come to repentance. The person of whom God speaks, are such as are the object of his patience, towards whom he exercises his long-suffering; and those are not only some of all estates and conditions, but all and every one, of what estate and condition soever he be; not only the elect, but more especially the rest of the world, even those that abuse his patience, and treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath [Rom. 2:4]; who are therefore terms vessels of wrath, he suffereth with much patience vessels of wrath fitted for destruction; now if you would know how God stands affected to these, the Apostle resolves it first negatively, not willing that any should perish; having no antecedent thoughts of their destruction, before they give occasion, and are looked upon as persons worth of destruction, for their sins: then affirmatively, He would have all men come to repentance [Calvin's Comm. referenced in margin], lest any should think that the act of God's will stands in an indifferent neutrality, touching man's salvation, not caring greatly whether they sink or swim, or what become of them; therefore the Apostle does not only clear the will of God from being a cause of their perishing; but also shows, that is has a positive act, for, and towards the procuring of their salvation, because he is willing that all should come to repentance, and by repentance to remission of sins, and eternal life. By all which places, and many others that might be alleged to the same purpose; it is plain and evident, that God does seriously will the good and salvation of many, who notwithstanding through their own fault, perish in their sins.
Richard Maden, Christs Love and Affection Towards Jerusalem (London: Printed by M.F. for John Clark, and are to be sold at his Shop under S. Peters Church in Cornhill, 1637), 45-59. [English updated and modernized]

Bio:

According to Keith L. Sprunger's work on Dutch Puritanism (Brill, 1982), Richard Maden (B.D.), once a preacher at St. Helens in London and Late Fellow of Magdalen College in Cambridge, served in both the English Reformed Church in Utrecht (1644-1646) and the Amsterdam English Reformed Church (1647-1668). Maden was an ejected Anglican turned Presbyterian. In 1662, Maden took charge of a project to translate into English the principal parts of the Dutch Reformed catechism for use in the church. He retired in 1668 at age 77.

July 10, 2014

Richard Holdsworth (1590–1649) on God's General Love and Common Graces

"Look upon the sun, how it casts light and heat upon the whole world in its general course, how it shineth upon the good and the bad with an equal influence; but let its beams be but concentrated in a burning-glass, then it sets fire on the object only, and passeth by all others: and thus God in the creation looketh upon all his works with a general love, erant omnia valde bona, they pleased him very well. Oh! but when he is pleased to cast the beams of his love, and cause them to shine upon his elect through Christ, then it is that their hearts burn within them, then it is that their affections are inflamed; whereas others are but as it were a little warmed, have a little shine of common graces case upon them." — Richard Holdsworth, 1651 
Quoted in C. H. Spurgeon's, The Treasury of David (Hendrickson Publishers, 1990), 1:118. Spurgeon attributes this to Holdsworth in 1651. The only work I can see by Holdsworth on that date is one edition of his The Valley of Vision (London: Printed by Matthew Simmons, and are to be sold at Alders-gate street next door to the Gilded-Lion, 1651), and yet I can't find the quote in this book which contains 21 sermons. Another book of quotations attributes it to an early Holdsworth sermon preached at St. Paul's in London in 1625.

Bio: