Juan de Valdés (1509-1541) on Matthew 23:37

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And Christ, by adding, “Verily I say unto you” &c., showed clearly that He meant the destruction of Jerusalem, which it is said happened seventy-five years after the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: and this is the more confirmed by the exclamation against Jerusalem, which He adds, saying, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” &c. Where two things are to be understood; the one, that under the name of Jerusalem, Christ meant the whole Hebrew nation; and the other, that He spoke of what had happened, and of what was about to happen.

By that: “How often would I have gathered,” &c., it appears that men can resist the will of God, so that God cannot do with men what He would, where combining this with what Christ says in John vi. 44, “No man can come to Me, unless the Father, who hath sent Me, draw him,” I think that it might be said, that we men are so far from willing what God wills, viz., that we submit ourselves to His will; that He cannot bring us to it whilst He exerts ordinary power, which He appears to have exercised towards Jerusalem, since He could not succeed in His design; whilst He reduces us by the exercise of absolute power, which, as Holy Scripture frequently states, no one can resist; and this is what God exerts upon all those whom He brings to Christ; bringing them to Christ by force, not rigorous, but loving, sweet, and grateful.

I, however, can well affirm this concerning myself, that I was so compelled to come to Christ, that I am certain that I could not have resisted it had I wished; and thinking this to be the same with every one of those, who are incorporated into Christ, I think that God exerts absolute power with them, forcing them and compelling them to leave the kingdom of the world and to enter into the kingdom of God; to leave the image of Adam and to assume the image of Christ, by acceptance of the grace of the gospel. As to the manner in which I understand that God forces us and compels us, I remit myself to what I have stated in a consideration (xxiii.)

It may likewise be said here that some persons assign two wills to God, and that they call one, voluntas signi the will of intimation, and the other voluntas beneplaciti the will of complacency. So that Christ’s meaning may be, that God had made many demonstrations to Jerusalem, of His desire to bring her back and to unite her to Himself, but that she would not; for men can resist this will of God, manifested by signs and external admonitions, such as were those made to Jerusalem; to which prophets, wise men and scribes were sent; whilst it is impossible to resist the will of God, that is deliberate and determined, because such is His will and pleasure. According to this distinction, it is to be understood that whenever Holy Scripture states that men resist the will of God, it means the one that is called “the will of intimation;” and that whenever it states that men cannot resist the will of God, because it carries out all He wills, it means, that which is called “the will of complacency”

This apprehension is good, but the former pleases me more and edifies me more; and I hold it to be more certain, as well from my personal experience of it, as also because the depravity of our depraved nature is more discovered by it; whilst the glory of God in His goodness and in His liberality is more illustrated by it; since it is so, that God seeing that men resist His ordinary power, exerts His absolute power when He wills, and upon whom He wills; giving them to recognize His goodness and mercy, putting Christ before their eyes, and showing to them the happiness of the life eternal, and thus with a loving and gracious violence. He makes them do His will.

Juan de Valdés Commentary Upon the Gospel of Matthew, (London: Trüber & Co, 1882) 413-415. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

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