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William Sclater on Common Grace

February 6, 2009

1) Use 2.

And it may secondly teach us that long to seed this saving power of the Gospel in our hearts, to importune the Lord by prayer for this gifts, true faith, whereby we give admittance to it into our hearts.

Obser.

Now as the actual power of the Gospel is appropriated to believers and they only feel it, so also it is extended to all believers without respect of persons, according to the promise, Isa 55.1, Joh. 3:16, Joh. 1:12. So that they all feel it: howbeit, that we err not, let us know that believers are are not all of one sort; some are such in possession only [Joh. 6:64, 66.], some that rove in generalities; assenting to the truth of the Evangelical history, by a general grace; some that by a special work of the God’s Spirit appropriate the general promise to themselves in particular [Gal. 2:20.], and of these must this place be understood, and this universality to be accommodate them all, however distinct amongst themselves by different degrees and measures of faith.  Wiliam Sclater, A Key to the Key of Scripture, or An Exposition with Notes upon the Epistle to the Romanes. 2nd ed. (London: Printed by T.C. for Nicolas Fussell and Humphrey Mosley, and are to be sold at the Ball in Paus Church yard, near the Great North Doore, 1629), 70-71.   [Some spelling modernized, marginal references included, verses cited inline; underlining mine.]

2) Hated of God] God’s hatred is of two sorts, eternal before time including these two acts: first, a purpose not to show kindness: secondly, a designing to evil, Rom. 9:11. Temporal in time; and is nothing but the dislike, and detestation of men in respect of their sins. Evidenced by these signs: first, the denial of saving grace and means thereof.

Or secondly, not blessing means unto them: Isa. 6. Thirdly, deprival even of common graces, permitting to the power of Satan, and serving of a man’s own corrupt heart. Fourthly inflicting of temporal plagues, as curses, and beginnings of eternal woe after to be inflicted.  Wiliam Sclater, A Key to the Key of Scripture, or An Exposition with Notes upon the Epistle to the Romanes. 2nd ed. (London: Printed by T.C. for Nicolas Fussell and Humphrey Mosley, and are to be sold at the Ball in Paus Church yard, near the Great North Doore, 1629), 140.   [Some spelling modernized, marginal references included, verses cited inline; underlining mine.]

3) But see we first the object of this knowledge, what is it that the Gentiles are said to know? The law of God. It may be here questioned how this accords with Psal. 137:9. Where it is made the Jews prerogative to have the statutes of God; and of the heathen said, that they have not knowledge of God’s law. Ans. The law of God according to the a double manner of revealing, is two-fold, written, unwritten the law of God written the Gentiles had not; but yet they knew some generals of those things contained in the two Tables; God writing it in their hearts, Rom. 2, and revealing to them so much thereof as might be deprive them to excuse, Rom. 1:19.

This imperfect rule of life vouchsafed unto the Gentiles, is commonly called the law of nature. Not for that it is born with us, or is propagated from Adam; who not only weakened, but even utterly lost the image of God, one chief part whereof consisted in knowledge, Col. 2, but because this knowledge is vouchsafed unto all by a general influence of God’s grace, which is indeed as common as nature: and therefore called the law of nature. Wiliam Sclater, A Key to the Key of Scripture, or An Exposition with Notes upon the Epistle to the Romanes. 2nd ed. (London: Printed by T.C. for Nicolas Fussell and Humphrey Mosley, and are to be sold at the Ball in Paus Church yard, near the Great North Doore, 1629), 151 [Some spelling modernized, marginal references included, verses cited inline; underlining mine.]

[Note: Even in these brief statements, we see the two basic elements of doctrine of common grace: restraint of sin and civic good.]


[to be continued]

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 9, 2009 7:29 am

    Just letting you know that I’m linking to your blog on my blog.

    I think your contentions regarding the atonement, the universal offer of the gospel, common grace, etc., are spot on and I have appreciated your compilation of historical resources on classical Calvinism.

    Thank you.

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