May 27, 2016

Walter Haddon (1516–1572) and John Foxe (1517–1587) on the Grace and Will of God

And so after the first manner of speaking, I do confess, that there is a certain general grace of God, and a certain free choice of Election laid open to all, without exception: that he may receive it, that hath a will to receive it, so that under this word laid open God’s outward calling be understood, which consists in precepts, in exhortations, in Rules, written either in the ten Commandments, or in the conscience, or in preaching of the word. And in this sense may we rightly say: Pharaoh himself wanted not the grace of God, nor Saul: no nor any of the rest, whom he did oftentimes allure with gentle promises: terrify with miracles, reward with gifts, invite to repentance with prolonging punishment: suffer with much patience alluring and calling all men daily to amendment of life. All which be infallible tokens of his merciful will, called Voluntas Signi.

But after the second manner of speaking: if we behold the mercy of God, and that grace which maketh acceptable or if we respect that will of his, wherewith he not only willeth all to be saved, but wherewith he bringeth to pass, that these whom he will, shall be saved: the matter doth declare it self sufficiently: that that Mercy and Grace of accepting those things, whereunto they are called is not laid open for all and every one indifferently, but is distributed through a certain special dispensation and peculiar Election of God: whereby they that are called according to the purpose of his grace, are drawn to consent. By means whereof it cometh to pass, that the same calling according to God’s purpose failing, every man hath not in his own hand to choose, or refuse that earnest desire and general Grace indifferently offered, but such as have either received the gift of God, or are denied the gift of God. Neither doth the matter so wholly depend upon the choice of our will, either in choosing, or refusing totally: for then might it be verified, that there was no Predestination, before the foundations of the world were laid, if our Election were necessarily guided by our wills, and that our will were the foundation of our Salvation. Therefore whereas they say, that God doth accept them, which will embrace his grace, and reject them which will not receive it, is altogether untrue. Nay it rather had been more convenient to fetch our fountain from the wellspring of Grace, then from the puddle of our own will. So that we might speak more truly, on this wise: That God doth endue us with his grace, and favorable countenance, because we should be willing to embrace his ordinances and Commandments: on the contrary part, as concerning those that will not receive his grace offered, that such do worthily perish. And that the very cause, that they will not receive it, doth not arise, because their will is not helped: and that they do therefore not receive it, because they are not themselves received first.
Walter Haddon and John Foxe, Against Ierome Osorius, Bishop of Siluane in Portingall and against his slaunderous inuectiues. An Aunswere Apologeticall: For the necessary defence of the Euangelicall doctrine and veritie (London: Printed by John Daye, dwellyng ouer Aldergate, 1581), 209v–210v. [some spelling updated]
The will of God is taken [in a] manner of ways: sometimes for his secret counsel, wherewith all things are necessarily carried to the end, whereunto God hath directed them before. And so do we say, that nothing is done besides this will: It is also sometime[s] taken for that, which God approveth, and maketh acceptable unto himself: And in this sense, we do see many things done, now and then, contrary to his will discovered in the scriptures. And therefore according to his will, God is said, that he willeth all men, to be saved, whereas yet not all, nay rather but a very few are saved.
Ibid., 227v–r. [some spelling updated]



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