December 13, 2015

John Hooper (c.1495–1555) on God’s Justice and Will to Save

We shall find at length God to be just in his word, and will punish with eternal fire our contumacy and inobedience [sic]; which fire shall be no less hot than his word speaketh of. So did he with Saul: persuaded the miserable wretch that God was so good, that though he offended, he would not punish him as he said, but be pleased with a fat sacrifice again. 1 Reg. xv. This doctrine is therefore necessary to be known of all men, that God is just and true, and requireth of us fear and obedience; as Saint John saith, “He that sent me is true.” David, Psalm cxlv., speaketh thus of his justice, “The Lord is just in all his ways.” And understand, that his justice extendeth to two diverse ends: the one is, that he would all men to be saved, Gen. iii. xv. xvii. Matt. xi. Isai. liii. 1 Tim. ii. Rom. xi.; the other end, to give every man according to his acts.

To obtain the first end of his justice, as many as be not utterly wicked, and may be holpen: partly with threatenings, and partly with promises he allureth, and provoketh them unto amendment of life. The other part of his justice rewardeth the obedience of the good, and punisheth the inobedience [sic] and contempt of the ill. These two justices the elders to call correctiuam, and retributiuam. Jonas the prophet speaketh of the first, chap. ii. and Christ, Matt. xxv. of the second. God would all men to be saved, and therefore provoketh, now by fair means, now by foul, that the sinner should satisfy his just and righteous pleasure. Not that the promises of God pertain unto such as will not repent, or his threatenings to him that doth repent; but those means he useth to save his poor creatures. 1 Cor. xi. This wise useth he to nurture us, until such time as his holy Spirit work such a perfection in us, that we will obey him, though there were no pain nor joy mentioned of at all.
John Hooper, “A Declaration of the X holie commandments of Almightie God,” in Early Writings of John Hooper, D. D., ed. Samuel Carr (Cambridge: University Press, 1843), 266–267. Also in John Hooper, A Declaration of the x. holie commandments of Almightie God (London: Imprinted by Robert Walde-graue, for Thomas Woodcocke, 1588?), B2r–B3v.

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