Touching sin, God has no positive will, but only in regard of former sins a privation of his grace. To be short: God does harden, as Saint Augustine says: Non malum obtrudendo, sed gratiam non conscendo, not by causing us to commit sin, but by not granting unto us his grace. I, but how comes it to pass, that we as well as others, are not partakers of God’s grace? why have we not also his good Spirit to direct and guide us? Saint Augustine makes it plain again, Non ideo non habet homo Deus non dat, sed quia homo non acipit: men become hardened, and want the spirit of grace, why? Not because God does not offer it unto them, but because they receive it not, when it is offered. For example: One of us being sick and like to die, the physician knowing our case, he takes with him some preservative to comfort us, and comes to the door and knocks; if we will not or be not able to let him in, we perish and dye, and the cause is not in the physician, but in ourselves that let him not in, amartema nosema. Sin is a disease, whereof we are all sick, for we have all sinned: Romans 6:12. verse. Christ is the Physician of our souls: Venit de cœlo magnus medicus, quia per totum ubique iacebit agrotus. Christ the great Physician came down from heaven, because all mankind was generally infected. He comes to the door of our hearts ad knocks, Reve. 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” He brings with him arton tes zoes, the bread of life [John 6:35.], his eternal word to comfort us, if we let him in, if we open the door of our hearts, he will come in and sup with us, as he did with Mary [Luke 10.], and forgive us all our sins; but if we will not, or through long contagion of our sin be not able to let Christ in, we die in our sins and the case is evident, not because Christ does not offer grace, and comfort unto us, but because we receive it not, when it is offered, Merito perit agrotus qui non medicum vocat, sed ultre venientem respuit, worthily does that sick patient perish, who will neither send for the physician himself, nor accept of his help when it is offered.
More plainly thus, in the 14. Of Saint Matthew. Our Saviour walking on the sea, he bid Saint Peter come unto him, who walking on the water, seeing storm and tempest arise, his heart fainted, and he began to sink: upon his cry unto our Saviour, he presently stretched forth his hand, took him into the ship, and saved him. This world (we know by daily experience) it is a sea of trouble and misery: our Saviour (as he said to Saint Peter) so most lovingly he wills everyone of us to come unto him: as we walk, storms and tempests do arise, through frailty of our flesh, and the weakness of our faith, we begin to sink, our Saviour he stretches forth his hand, he gives us organon organōm his Word and Sacraments, the good motions of his Spirit, to save us from sinking, and to keep us in the ship of his Church: if we refuse these means, we perish, we sink in our sins, why? not because Christ does not most kindly put forth his hand unto us, but because in want and distress we lay not hold upon him, “This is condemnation, that light is come into the world, men refuse it, and love darkness more than light,” [John 3:19.]. Our blessed Saviour with great loving kindness he does invite all men to his great supper, if we make excuses, or willfully refuse to come, he may justly pronounce, “none of those that were bidden shall ever taste of my supper.”
Anthony Maxey, The Goulden Chaine of Mans Salvation (London: Printed by T.E. for Clement Knight, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the holy Lambe, 1607), 72-75 [Pages numbered manually.] [Some spelling modernized; italics original; Greek transliterated; marginal references cited inline; and underlinning mine.]