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Andreas Hyperius (1511-1564), on God’s Desire that all Men be Saved

September 23, 2008

Hyperius:

1) 6. Some again have confessed that all the actions of men whatsoever are especially governed of God, but yet only of the godly sort, and so far forth as they labor to a good end. These, inasmuch as their purpose is holy, they say, are diligently helped of God, so as they may accomplish that which they have conceived in their mind, and that God turns away whatsoever might be a let or hindrance unto them. In which respect God promised in the Old Testament that he would be a God especially unto some, that is to say, their governor, patron, and defender. But this opinion seems to detract the praise of goodness from God, as though he were not alike desirous of the salvation of all men, or as though he favored some, and envied other some, besides it diminishes the power of God, as if he were not able to induce evil men unto goodness, or to use them to the performance of some good thing: to conclude, it seems to slander God with the note of injustice, as though for forth he dealt not uprightly, in that he leaves sometimes the wicker to their own perverse will, and withdraws his helping hand from them.    Andreas Hyperius, A special Treatise of Gods prouidence and of comforts against all kind of crosses and calamities to be drawne from the same. With an exposition of the 107. Psalm. Written in Latine by Andreas Hyperius, and Englished by I.L. Vicar of Wethersfield. (Printed at London by Iohn Wolfe. 1602). [No original pagination; I will manually number the pages later. Spelling modernized.]

2) Chrysostom a very grave and holy author, as well in other places as also especially in that book to Stargirius the Monk, says plainly in this wise:

That God has a care not only generally of all things, but also specially of everyone, thou may hear him saying: It is not the will of my heavenly Father, that one of these little ones should perish: speaking of them that believe in him. He is indeed desirous that those also which believe not, should be saved, & be changed into a better state, & believe as Paul says: “who would have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” And he himself says to the jews: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance,” “and I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” But now it after the fruition of so great care and providence they will not become better, nor acknowledge the truth, yet he leaves them not so for all that: but for as much as they have willingly deprived themselves of the participation of eternal life, he yet at the least gives unto them all the benefits of this life, making his Sun to shine upon the good and upon the evil, and raining upon the just and the unjust, yea and ministering other things that belong to the course of this present life. But he provides for his enemies also with so great care and providence, how shall he neglect his faithful ones, & those that serve him with their whole heart? No, no, he will not do it, but he chiefly favors and embraces these in all things. For even the hairs of your head (says he) are all numbered.

Lo he manifestly affirms and proves that God cares as well for the wicked as for the good, & that every one do receive daily large benefits from the providence of God.

Andreas Hyperius, A special Treatise of Gods prouidence and of comforts against all kind of crosses and calamities to be drawne from the same . With an exposition of the 107. Psalm. Written in Latine by Andreas Hyperius, and Englished by I.L. Vicar of Wethersfield. (Printed at London by Iohn Wolfe. 1602). [No original pagination; I will manually number the pages later. Spelling modernized.]

Richard Muller says of Hyperius:

Andreas Gerardus Hyperius (1511-1564); studied at Tournai and Paris; visited England (1537-1541) and in 1542 was appointed professor of theology at Marburg, a post he held to the end of his life. His theology mediates between Lutheran and Reformed and is important to the develop ment of both traditions. Major works: De theologo, seu de ratione studii theologici, libri IIII (1556); Elementa christianae religionis (1563); Methodi theologiae, sive praecipuorum christianae religionis locorum conmunium, libri tres (1568). Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 1:40-41. [First edition.]

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