June 9, 2015

Thomas Draxe (d.1618) on General and Special Grace

Qu. If one man by nature be not better than another, how then do they differ?
A. In men mere natural and unconverted, God, for the upholding and preserving of Common-wealths and human societies, bestoweth general and restraining grace more upon one than another.

Secondly, they do or may differ in outward dignity and privileges, as the Jews much excelled the Gentiles; but otherwise the special grace and mercy of our God, maketh the main difference between the Elect and the Reprobate. For the one hath in time renewing and saving grace communicated unto him; but the other is utterly denied it.
Thomas Draxe, The World’s Resurrection, Or the General Calling of the Jews (London: Printed by G. Eld, and are to be sold by Robert Boulton and John Wright, 1608), 109–110.
Quest. Touching the graces of God if they be never taken away, why doth God so often deprive men of them, that formerly had them?

Ans. First, they are common and temporal gifts, either of nature, policy, or else of illumination and outward profession only, that are common to God’s children with reprobates, these God doth strip and deprive men of many times for their unthankfulness, and to discover their unsoundness and hypocrisy.

Secondly, because men (who are commonly Reprobates) always neglect, contemn, and abuse them, & thus they quench and put out the holy spirit, and what light soever was offered unto them, and whatsoever knowledge and grace of God was bestowed upon them, it dieth in them by little and little: for God in his justice taketh his talent from them, as he did from Saul and Judas. But for those peculiar endowments of God’s elect which are linked and chained inseparably together, such as predestination, vocation, justification, and glorification, these are given to the Godly in fee [sic] simple, and are never taken away from them.
Ibid., 103.


Notes: There are also a couple of instances in The lambes spouse or the heavenly bride (London: By G. Eld, dwelling in Fleete-lane, at the signe of the Printers Presse, 1608) where he speaks of “common graces,” as well as in The earnest of our inheritance (London: Imprinted by Felix Kingston for George Norton, 1613). Thomas Fuller states that Draxe translated the works of William Perkins into Latin, for the Geneva edition, 2 vols. fol., 1611-18. Compare William Perkins on restraining grace and renewing grace here (click).

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