Archive for the ‘Conditional Decree/Conditional Will’ Category


1. There is an absolute willingness in Christ to save some sinners, and these sinners are those whom God hath, from all eternity, chosen to life; and who thereupon do come to Christ, that they might have life, being awakened and stirred up thereunto by the inward and effectual working of God’s Spirit and Grace upon their hearts. Now there is in Christ an absolute willingness to save all such; he is fully resolved to be wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption to them, John 6:37.

2. There is a conditional willingness in Christ to save other sinners, yea all sinners, yea even those that shall never be saved; by which Christ stands ready to receive, and pardon, and embrace them, in case they come to him, and repent and believe the Gospel: which they never do, through the hardness and impenitency of their hearts, to which they are justly left, they are eternally lost, though Christ could have saved them, and would have saved them, if the Condition had been performed, Luke 13:34.

Nathanael Ball, Spiritual Bondage and Freedom: A a Treatise Containing the Substance of Several Sermons Preached on the Subject From John VIII. 36. (London: Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1683), 178-179.

Credit to Tony for the find.


Moses Amyraut (1596-1664) on God’s Conditional Decree

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


The counsels of God called ‘conditional’, that is, by which he has ordained to do something on the condition that his creatures execute such and such a commandment, are so determined that the outcome of them depends upon the execution or non-execution of the given condition. Such is the one by which he ordained to render the happiness of the first man perpetual, this is, if he continued to persevere in his integrity. So also was that decree by which he concluded to give the people of Israel a perfectly happy life in the land of Canaan, that is, if they observed completely the law that he had given. Moreover, in a similar fashion he has ordained to save all men by our Lord Jesus, that is, if they do not demonstrate themselves to be unworthy through unbelief. Therefore in these kind of counsels, the certainty of the execution of the condition determines necessarily the certainty of the fulfillment of the counsels themselves. And in the same way the knowledge which one might have of the certainty of the one depends upon his knowledge of the other. Because God, as we have said above, knew certainly the faculties of man and knew exactly to what extent they would resist temptation to evil, he also knew certainly that man would fall from his integrity and that consequently the condition of his perpetual blessing would not be fulfilled. The corruption of sin having then expanded over the whole human race and the law requiring a perfect sanctity, he saw also that it was impossible that. Israel could fulfill the law and impossible therefore that his counsel touching the happiness of Canaan succeed. And this corruption having already so spread in man that it has infected of all his faculties to the very bottom and has rendered him totally unable to believe in the Redeemer unless God himself forms faith in his heart, God foreknows certainly and undoubtedly who will be saved because he has resolved to provide for them to believe, and who will not believe because he has ordained not to undertake in the same way for them. Thus, with respect to God, the knowledge of the outcome is clear and infallible.

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The conference itself stands thus: "At Paris, Agust 2, 1623, in the of Dr. Arbald, physician, in presence of the Rev. Mons. Mestrezat and Drillincourt, ministers of Paris, De Courcelles, and Dr. Arbald, a friendly conference was held betwixt the Rev. and learned Mon. Cameron and Mon. De Courcelles, minister of Ambien, upon severall weighty subjects relating to the saving grace of God in Christ, and its reception. The last defended the opinions of the Remonstrants; and the first, those of the Anti- Remonstrants. They first setled their order and method of proceeding, with the state of the questions to be handled. Curcellaeus, in the first room, asked Mons. Cameron, What he held to be the object of predestination? whether man to be created (creabilem), or created but in puris naturalibus (as they speak), in his pure natural state? or if he held it to be man as a sinner, as having broken the covenant of nature? or, lastly, whether it was man, guilty, indeed, of breaking the covenant of nature, but embracing the covenant of grace, that is, repenting and believing? Mr. Cameron answered, by distinguishing the decrees of God as to man’s salvation, into two decrees, or two members (according to our way of conceving) of the same decrees: the one about the giving of salvation and eternall life; the other about giving of faith, quhich is the condition of the new Covenant. The last decree he termed, our election to Christ, (ad Christum); the first, our election in Christ. The object of the first decree, he said, was man believing and as believing, which Curcellaeus willingly went into; the object of the last, he said, was only man as a sinner. This Curcellaeus granted also, upon the supposition of such a decree. This distinction Cameron proved from Eph. i. 4, 5. The first decree he founded on, chosen in Christ–the second on, our being predestinat to receive the adoption of children; and quhen Curcellaeus objected, that the last expression of the apostle, v. 5, might be exegeticall of the first, Mr. Cameron showed the absurdity of this sense, that it would really be to make Paul to say, as he elected us, quhen he elected us. Mr. Cameron further explained this distinction of the decrees, by asserting that God has a double schesis and relation to man in this matter; one as a just and supreme judge sitting upon a throne of justice, pronouncing sentence from the law and gospel. In this respect he pronounces these and these only just, who, being in themselves sinners, by faith are made members of Christ, the fidejussor or surety. The other is that of the Supreme Rector of the world preparing an object to himself, which he does by effectuall calling us to Christ. In the first schesis, God considers none but as they are members of Christ, that is, believing, and determines they shall be saved. By the second schesis, he decrees to bring severall to the fellowship of Christ by faith; and of this decree its impossible that man believing can be the object. For, said he, the decree of election to Christ, is not in Christ, nor the decree to faith, is not in faith. But of the other decree, man repenting and believing is the object. But lest this condition of faith might seem, both in the decree and its execution, to exclude children, Mr. Cameron restricted it to the adult who only could believe; but then, he added, infants wer saved as appendages (appendices) of their parents, pertaining to the Covenant. And to illustrat this, he cited Aristotle, in his Ethicks, putting the question, whether the children of citizens wer to be reckoned citizens, and enjoy their priviledges, when commonly those are only esteemed citizens who can take an oath of fidelity to the prince, and fill up their duty to ye prince and their fellow-citizens; yet children, by reason of their nonage, are uncnpable of either. . . Curcelleus acquiesced in Mr. Cameron’s opinion, concerning the decree of giving salvation and life; but delayed the approbation of the decree of election to Christ, and to faith, as what would fall in afterwards; and, next, asked Mr. Cameron’s opinion of the object of the decree of reprobation. He ansvered, that followed pretty clearly from what he had said as to the decree of election, to wit, all that are not members of Christ, that is, such as do not believe and repent–quhich generall expressions, he said, comprehended both such as rejected the grace of Christ, offered most clearly in the gospell dispensation; and those who, although they never heard the gospell preached, yet, being invited by a more sparing and darker grace of the Redeemer, to repentance and seeking after God, because of their contempt of the long-suffering, patience, and goodnes of God, richly testifyed to them, will be numbered with the rejecters of the gospell, as unbelieving and impenitent, by Him who, searching their hearts and reins, certainly knows them to be of the very same temper, and that, although the gospell offer had been made to them, they would still have remained impenitent and unbelieving, unless he himself had wrought that in them which he had decreed not to work, and only works in the elect. Robert Wodrow, Collections Upon the Lives of the Reformers and Most Eminent Ministers of the Church of Scotland (Glasow: Edward Khull, Printer to the University, 1845), 2: 183-184, 185. [Spelling original, italics original; and underlining mine.]

[Note: What Cameron says here is identical in sentiment to that of Twisse here. Cameron and Twisse are mirroring the ealier Reformed distinction of predestination to salvation and predestination to faith. The former is a conditional decree, the latter is an absolute decree. At no point in this distinction is Cameron being novel or heretical.]


Hermann Venema (1697-1787) on Conditional Decree

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


1) It is usually asked what kind of knowledge that is by which God knows things that are conditionally future. The Jesuits here introduce their scientia media, to which they assign a middle place between scientia simplicis intelligentice and scientia visionis; inasmuch as God by the former knows things merely possible–things not absolutely but only conditionally future.

Here, therefore, scientia media is required. But we say in reply, that this scientia media is introduced without reason and foundation, because nothing else is necessary to the knowledge of future contingent events than the knowledge of the connexion between the antecedent and the consequent. Now the connexion between the conditions, namely, and the occurrence of events, is either necessary or arbitrary and free, and depending on the decree of God. If it be necessary it belongs to scientia simplicis intelligentice, by which God knows things with their consequences and relations. Thus he knew that the inhabitants of Keilah would deliver up David; not, however, by scientia media, but by scientia simplicis intelligentice, by which he knows the relations of things, whether these relations be absolutely or restrictedly necessary. But if the connexion be arbitrary, or depend upon the free determination of the will of God, then it belongs to scientia visionis, or to that knowledge by which he knows by his decree the relations and issues of things. Now there is a general decree by which he has ordained the connexions of things. This knowledge, therefore, belonged to that part of the decree by which he instituted the mutual relation of events, such as that which we have already adverted to in the case of Joash who, if he had smitten the arrows upon the ground five or six times, would have smitten and consumed Syria. The event in this case depended on the good pleasure of God, because he had instituted the connexion between it and what went before.

Such also is the connection between the condition of salvation and salvation itself;–”H e that believeth shall be saved”–a connexion which depends upon the free decree of God. The same remarks may be applied to all conditionally future events. Hermann Venema, Institutes of Theology, trans., by Alex W. Brown, (Andover: W.F. Draper Brothers, 1853), 155. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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God’s will.

As God knows, so he wills, and appoints all things concerning his creatures, Jer. 25:5,6, and 7.

God’s will and appointment extends also to beasts, and the vile creatures, Mat. 10:29.

God manifests not all his will concerning his creatures and his dealing with them, Mat. 24:36, so then God’s revealed will, and his secret will are not opposite, but only members and degrees of willGod’s will is 1. Absolute. 2. Conditional.

Absolute, are things absolutely promised, or spoken without condition, on our part. Conditional, when God wills any thing of us, but with condition; as he wills that all men should be saved [1 Tim. 2:4.]; namely if they will believe in Christ, Mat. 28:20.

As God has a determining will, concerning his creatures, so he has an appointing will, concerning his creatures, so he has an appointing will unto them, Heb. 10:5,6, and 7.

Whatsoever God wills absolutely, and of itself, is good, Jam. 1:13; Psal. 119:12.

God wills sins, not simply, but by accident, as he knows and means to bring good out of them [Gen. 45:5, and 50:20.].

God’s appointing will pertains to all men, God will have all to believe, as belief is a point of obedience, and honor to him; but as belief is a grace, and a gift of God, he wills not all men to believe, but his elect.

Henry Ainsworth, The Old Orthodox Foundation of Religion: Left for a Patterne To a New Reformation (London: Printed by E. Cotes, and are to be sold by Michael Spark at the Blue Bible in Green Arbour, 1653), 24. [Some spelling modernized; some reformatting; italics original; and underlining mine.]