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Theophilus Gale (1628-1678) on Davenant and Amyraut

September 2, 2009


But while we are thus characterizing the Authors of this new Method, we must also do such Calvinists, who incline to them in some points, that justice, as to free them from all imputation or suspicion of Arminianism: It’s well known, that some of great worth and truly orthodox in point of Grace, have yet somewhat inclined towards the new Method in point of universal objective Grace, as pious and learned Usher, Davenant, and others both in our and the French Churches, who hold, Christ’s death to be an universal remedy applicable to all, but yet are far from asserting an universal subjective Grace, or any velleity in God of saving all men, which Amyraldus and others assert. As for those who hold absolute and particular Election and Reprobation, Original sin in its full extent, men’s natural impotence and being dead in sin, efficacious Grace in the conversion of sinners, with God’s absolute, efficacious, immediate, total and predeterminative concourse to all natural as well as supernatural actions, as Davenant, and some others, who incline to an objective universal Grace, do, I have no controversy with them, but can own them as friends of Grace, albeit in some modes of explicating it, they differ from us.

Theophilus Gale, The Court of the Gentiles (London: Printed for William Freeman, over against the Devil-Tavern near Temple-Bar, in Fleet-street, 1682), Part IV, Book III, 150. [Spelling modernized.]

[Notes:  1), To the question of God having velleities, Gale is probably following the definition of Amyraut’s doctrine as delineated by Amyraut’s opponents. At times, Amyraut’s detractors (Rivet, Du Moulin, Turretin, et al) seemed to have spoken of this divine wishing, in Amyraut’s theology, as a sort of unfulfilled purposive intentionality, as a sort of decretal willing which was ineffectual. This is inaccurate, as Armstrong correctly notes; 2), On the other side, Davenant did hold that by the revealed will, God desires the salvation of all men. This desire is not effectual per se. Davenant also held that Christ was appointed as the mediator, redeemer and sacrifice of expiation for all men in much the same way as Amyraut held; 3)  Where Davenant does seek to clarify his position, with respect Cameron’s, is on the questions regarding the ordering and intentionality of the divine decrees. And here, with all necessary qualifications considered, there probably was more continuity rather than discontinuity between the two positions; and 4)  On the positive side, Gale clearly considered the form of hypothetical universalism as held by Ussher, Davenant and others, as Orthodox and Reformed.]

Credit to Tony for this find

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