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Joseph Hussey: the Founding Father of Hypercalvinism

February 8, 2007

Joseph Hussey

Just to give a time frame for this distorter of Calvinism, Hussey did his thing in the second half of the 17thC.

If you read this carefully, you will see:

1, He is clearly the source for Gill.

2, He is the source of the PRC. If you read Engelsma's "Hypercalvinism and the Call of the Gospel," its almost as if he got his play-book straight from Hussey.

What is more, you will see in the following negations:

Denials of an offer (Gill and PRC)

That there are no conditional offers (Gill and PRC)

An offer implies creature-power (Gill and PRC)

An offer implies unlimited atonement (Gill and PRC)

An offer implies general love (PRC)

Conversely, you will see these affirmations:

The gospel is to be preached to all (Gill and PRC)

The gospel is to harden the reprobate (Gill and PRC)

All men are called (Gill and PRC??)

Sinners in the mass are called to a natural faith (Gill)

Sinners are called upon to accept a set of propositions or doctrines (Gill and PRC)

The offer is only to the sensible sinner (Gill)


1) I have a question mark on the call line because early PRC theologians denied that the non-elect are actually called. Engelsma just ignores this major revision in PRC theology. Btw, the aging Gerstner picked up the original Hoeksema view of the external call.

2) Ironically, Hussey was the one who understood the true meaning of offero and oblatio, that it was not to 'set-forth' or merely 'present' as the PRC falsely claim. It always carries with it the idea of possible acceptance or rejection.

Now to Hussey:

From, Joseph Hussey, God’s Operations of Grace But No Offers of Grace (Elon College, North Carolina: Primitive Publications, 1973):

1) The order of this writing will consist principally of three points. 1. Concerning offers of grace; 2. Concerning inviting sinners to come to Christ; and 3. Concerning exhorting sinners to come to Christ. And however I may mostly insist upon the first branch sf these three already laid down, yet to rectify the mistaken notion about offers of grace, and to advance the true doctrine of free grace operations, working on the elect of God, I shall likewise add something briefly, belonging to the other two branches. To begin by laying down the method of handling the first, viz. the offers of grace and salvation. I. To show how men state their offers of Christ, as to the name and the thing. 11. To disprove them, land overthrow their scheme, as anti-evangelical, and that by manifesting three principal points, 1. That to offer Christ to sinners is not to preach Christ to sinners; 2. That to propound such offer in the external means, is no means of the Spirit's working an internal ability in sinners to close savingly with the offer; 3. That to (suggest an offer of Christ and a gift of Christ to be both one thing is a barefaced error. p., 15

2) They have distributed the meaning of their terms into different classes. By which it seems, they do not all speak with one mind, though they speak with one mouth; professing to glorify God and to save men by offers of Gospel grace, or by the proposals of the Gospel, or by the tenders of salvation made to them, in this their supposed way of preaching the gospel. Some have looked upon these terms to be general redemption offers. And indeed men may easily- ! see that without general offers of grace they preach consistent enough with general redemption doctrines, though without general redemption doctrines they cannot preach consistent with general offers of grace. p., 17.

3) Moreover, what they call universal grace offers, or universa1 proposals, and tenders of ,grace to sinners, are the same things, while these general men strive to keep up a consistency in their notions of universal philanthropy toward every individual soul of mankind. pp 17-18.

4) Such free-willers and professors of grace, according to their own principles, are consistent enough with themselves. The great difficulty is, how to bring some men holding our principles to be consistent with themselves, Some have set off with conditional offers, with conditional proposals, and with conditional tenders. That is, you shall enjoy heaven and salvation, if you will repent and believe, and perform sincere obedience to tine conditions of a gospelized law. And thus the Neonomians interwove a coarse thread of Popery, out of which the terms of new law and conditions first arose, as I: have observed, (by tracing the Popish writings extant through a long series of ages) as it runs through all the fine cloth they make up for Heaven, spun out of other men's bowels, such as donations, reformation of manners, sincere obedience, etc. But how short is this of the fine liner,, white and clean, and the white raiment, which is the imputed righteousness of God, to be put upon the unrighteous, and thereby made the righteousness cf saints, as the Holy Spirit calls it, Rev. 19:8. p., 18.

5) Proposing is no apt means in itself, as it is no appointed means to attain the end. It is preaching doctrine and salvation united, which the Holy Spirit delights to work by; that is the means pre-ordained of God, and which God takes up, and puts a divine stamp upon, graciously working therewith to the elect. And as the doctrine is to be preached to the non-elect, for other ends than salvation, (of which hereafter in a separate chapter) so neither doctrine nor salvation are means to be offered or tendered to any sinners for acceptance: but the doctrine is to be preached, even to the non-elect, for acceptance or refusal, and so is to be preached to all promiscuously. p., 42.

6) 5. From the flattery of offers, undertaking to work persuasion; and thence I argue the faithfulness of preaching. An offer entices a natural man to a conceit of self-ability, even though the tenderer should assure him he hath none. p., 25..

7)  6. From the nature of an offer to the nature of preaching the Gospel. An offer in Latin is called oblatio, or bringing a thing, and laying it down before one, at the some distance; and so, according to the grammatical sense of the word, offering is not preaching… The nature of an offer at most is distant; it is not a man’s, unless he accept it. The tenderer indeed, may as we say alloquy, in appearance, speak home to us: but, alas! At the bottom it is no such thing, because the tender doth not come home, it not being accepted. p., 26.

8)A solution of the grand question: Mow must we preach the Gospel, if we do not offer the Gospel? Or, How must we preach Christ to sinners if we do not offer Christ to sinners?… The one general solution to the question is this, We must breach the doctrine of salvation to all sinners, in general, 'within the hearing; and must preach salvation included in the doctrine, which is the gift of God, to the elect alone, I who are hid among them. p., 81.

9) So then, as many were made, only to be ruled over by Christ as king, there is enough of the Gospel to be preached to them; namely, the Gospel of the kingdom of God. Ministers are not to offer the salvation, but to preach the Gospel of the kingdom to all sinners that come within the sound of it. p., 87.

10) How They Must Preach Without An Offer

Now will any ask me, How they must preach the Gospel to sinners, if they do not offer the salvation thereof unto them? I answer, there is subject enough respecting the Gospel and kingdom of Christ to preach to all: In it there is the good news of the scepter, a scepter of righteousness and power, to make as many as the Lord pleases outwardly bow to Christ, the whole scepter is providentially swayed for the good of the elect, who receive the salvation of the Gospel. Each have their portion; and that which natural men love they have. But if they will not live peaceably with God's people, but persecute them, He will make their hearts ache, under the very message which is good news and a joyful sound to His own. To the end that God's people may lead peaceable and quiet lives, in the exercise of all godliness and honesty, the Lord will have many saved out of the superfluity of naughtiness that drown men in destruction and perdition, and will bring them to the knowledge of the truth. Accordingly, both Jewish and Pagan worlds, in the general lump of sinners, were exhorted to a natural acceptance of or submission to, Christ's scepter, in receiving the doctrinal report of the Gospel taught in Christ.'s name.

Thus sinners are still, in general, to be exhorted to accept of the sound doctrine, or form of sound words they seem to come short of; that while by common blessing attending thee natural capacity of receiving it, they embrace the doctrine of salvation, the elect of God may fare the better, whose lot it is to be awakened, or fall under the power of godliness in their quarters.

This necessary and natural subjection to the King the Lord of Hosts, is in right of His being the universal King of the nations. p., 91

11) Offers are suited old Adam in the Arminian way, not to the new Adam: though men are loath this should be known, because it disturbs their craft.

1. Offers are fitted to a supposed creature-power, to self strength, as it were partly, if not purely, (or rather impurely), our own. Offers do not argue the necessity of a new birth, that except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God, but they argue a necessity of closing with Christ and accepting him, whether a man be born, or born from above. p., 156.

12) 3. Offers of Christ to unregenerate sinners are suited to creature-cooperation, and creature-concurrence, which is rank Arminianism. They tend to mold up the preacher’s counsel, exhortations and persuasions into a con-cause (as Arminians call it) with the Spirit of God. p., 159.

13) For, 1) A proclamation of grace can be no offer, because that is only a voice crying and declaring the will of the superior, by some person in authority under him. So John the Baptist cried or proclaimed the ministry of Christ, by giving notice that he was to come after him into the wilderness. 2) The invitation can be no offer: for an invitation is of persons that are absent from an entertainment, and is spoken to in order to a treating them with provisions made reading in another place, killed and prepared to entertain them; For it not only says, Come to the waters, but Come and eat. The invitation of them to the Gospel treat it not to entertain them on the sport were invited, but elsewhere. p., 198.

14) I shall only further note, that this text, Isa. 55:1, is a restricted invitation to the whosoever that thirst by grace, for grace. But offers are made to men, whether they thirst or thirst not. Otherwise why are they made to all within the sound?… What thought great and learned men on this text may speak so much in the language of the offers, unless they can give scriptural proof in the defense of their offer, they establish nothing. How then can they confound the offer with the invitation! Joseph Hussey, God’s Operations of Grace But No Offers of Grace, p., 200-01. [Emphasis Hussey’s.]

David: there were multiple editions of this work. I have two: one from the 19thC and one from 1973. Each edition has different deletions because Hussey was so unorthodox on some points that even his spiritual heirs had to purge his work. :-)

The reason I post these is because at some point I hope to pull together some of the clearest expressions from Gill on the denial of the free offer and his connected denials of duty-faith and natural repentance. My short-term goal will be to prove that John Gill was a hypercalvinist, and prove that Engelsma is misguided in his efforts to absolve himself and his denomination of the charge of hypercalvinism. The other more long-term goal will be to set-out testable and verifiable criteria by which someone may be able to define and identify what is and what is not hypercalvinism.

There is just so much clutter on the WWW which seeks to so empty the objective historical definitions of what is hypercalvinism so that many may be likewise absolved from the charge. Here is an example of this: "Refuting False Accusation" (scroll down until you find it). This poor woman is so misled and confused that her comments are just as equally misleading and confusing. If the comments have not changed since the original posting, she exhibits a panorama of incoherency of self-contradictory points. :-(

Comments and challenges welcome.

Take care,


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