June 10, 2015

Edward Reynolds (1599–1676) on Restraining and Renewing Grace

For clearing this Exception we must know that there are other causes besides the power and kingdom of the spirit of Christ, which may work a partial abstinence in some sins, and conformity in some duties.

First, the Power of a general restraining Grace, which I suppose is meant in Gods with-holding Abimelech from touching Sarah. As there are general Gifts of the Spirit in regard of illumination, so likewise in order to conversation and practice. It is said that Christ beholding the young man, Loved him, and that even when he was under the reign of Covetousness. He had nothing from himself worthy of love, therefore something, though more general, it was which the spirit had wrought in him. Suppose we his ingenuity, morality, care of Salvation, or the like. As Abraham gave portions to Ishmael, but the inheritance to Isaac: so doth the Lord on the children of the flesh and of the bond woman bestow common gifts, but the Inheritance and Adoption is for the Saints, his choicest Jewels are for the King’s Daughter. There is great difference betwixt Restraining and Renewing Grace; the one only charms and chains up sin, the other crucifies and weakens it, whereby the vigor of it is not withheld only, but abated: the one turns the motions and stream of the heart to another channel, the other keeps it in bounds only, though still it run its natural course; the one is contrary to the Reign, the other only to the Rage of sin. And now these graces being so differing, needs must the abstaining from sins, or amendment of life according as it riseth from one or other, be likewise exceeding different.
Edward Reynolds, Three Treatises: Of the Vanity of the Creature. The Sinfulness of Sin. The Life of Christ. (London: Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, and are to be sold by Henry Curteyne, 1631), 288. Also in “The Sinfulness of Sin,” in The Whole Works of the Right Rev. Edward Reynolds, D.D., 6 vols. (Ligonier, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1992), 1:267–268.


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