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Joseph Truman (1631–1671) on God’s Will for the Salvation of all Men

October 29, 2009

Truman:

If you shall reply, and say, “But God does love and Will the Conversation of everyone?I hold this as much at least as you do: for you do not maintain that he is resolved actually to convert every man, else every man (you say yourselves) would be converted. But you hold that God gives such means through love to all, that if they did what they ought to do, and therefore could do,  they would be Converted and so saved; and that this is enough to denominate it a willing and desiring the Conversion of all. If any deny there is such a thing as understanding and willing in God properly and univocally so called, but only something we men cannot conceive of better than under the notion of understanding and willing, and therefore ought so to conceive of it. I should be far from opposing him. And I grant that this spoken of, is, to be conceived by us, as a Willing the Conversation of all: and they that say, this is not to be conceived by us as a Will properly, do contradict express Scripture, which is to be a rule of our Conceptions; and I dare say they do not consider that what ever objections they do, or can possibly, bring against men’s apprehending this as a Volition or Will, the same lie as much against what they do hold (as any man may find by trying a little), that God approves of the Conversion of them that will never turn, and their Conversion is amiable, an their refusal offensive and displeasing to him. And I cannot see that you do thus far differ from your moderate opposers, except sometimes in words: for you distinguish thus when you are to give the meaning of such Scriptures, viz., “who has resisted his Will?” He does whatsoever he will. God will have all salvos fieri with an approving Will, but will not with an efficacious Will omnes salvos facere.

But here only is the difference, you say God does not with a precise Will, intend the Conversion of any man [Certum est nullius Conversionem praeise intiendi]. And you mean by it, he intends not the Conversion of one man more than another, no further then by giving to all men, through love, power and means enough, and so leave it to themselves, which is that you call the Approving Will. Now I and your moderate opposers differ from you in this: we hold that he not only wills so far as you hold it, the conversion of all; but that he precisely intends the Conversion of some; which we use to call a decretive Will, or the Will of Purpose, as we call that you agree with us in, the will of Precept; the object of one being Event, and the other of Duty. So that here is the difference, I do not hold that God does less will the conversion of, or does less for, or is less gracious to all, than you do, I abhor such a thought; but only that God does more will the Conversion; and does more, and is more gracious to some in order to their Salvation than you do. Yea, I could (if it were worthwhile) show, that I hold he does more for, and is more gracious to all that live to years of discretion, in order to their Conversion and Salvation, than is consistent with your Principles.

Joseph Truman, A Discourse of Natural and Moral Impotency (London: Printed for Robert Clavel; and are to be sold at the Sign of the Peacock in St. Pauls Church yard, 1675),  113-115.   [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; marginal side reference cited inline; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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