Hermann Rennecher (1550 b.) on the General Mercy of God

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in God is Merciful


As often therefore, as any man thinks of God, let him remember his unspeakable goodness, and readiness to help, which can in no means separated, nor disjoined from God.

But many times those things that are proper unto man, are attributed unto him, because his properties cannot be comprehended of man: by the properties of man, as it were through a lattice, and so far made known unto him. So God does after a sort represent unto us, as in a glass, his spiritual and heavenly mysteries and hidden decrees, by a speech or affections of man. And thus God for his unspeakable loves sake toward mankind, does not think much to descend from his greatness, and from the throne of his majesty, and debase himself so low, as to apply himself to the capacity of a rude and frail man. And from hence is seen better then in any glass, how great care God takes for the salvation of mankind.

This mercy, is that most special goodness of God which is not bounded and restrained within the limits of this life, but stretches and reaches unto all eternity: so that it brings with it everlasting life, and eternal salvation; and contains and includes those only which are elected from everlasting, and those that shall be blessed for evermore. This differs very much from the general mercy of God, by which he cherishes and maintains all living creatures, to provide things necessary for them, and mercifully to guide and govern them. So that although God in his fatherly care for each of them: yet more especially God declares his goodness in mankind. For he does good, not only to the righteous and godly, but also the unjust and unthankful. For he makes the sun to rise upon the good and the bad, says Christ in Matthew, and in Luke [Mat. 5:45, Luke 6:23.] Such be benefits of God are temporal and common to the godly and to the wicked: so that out of them, God’s saving good-will cannot be known. For many abound here with the riches and honor, which yet come not to eternal life, as we may see the rich glutton [Luk. 13:19.], and in so may other.  And it is an other thing to elect in Christ those that were lost, to forgive their sins, and to draw them unto Christ by an effectual calling, to sanctify them by the power of his Spirit, and in the end, to crown them with eternal glory.

Herman Renecher, The Golden Chayne of Salvation, (At London: Printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Man, dwelling in Paternost row at the Signe of the Tablot, 1604), 55-56. [Some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; and underlining mine.]

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