Therefore it must not be said, that this which is so clear in it self [that Christ died for all] ought to be explained from an extravagant and rigid Conception of Secret Predestination; but we are rather to interpret that Secret by a thing which is plain in itself; that so it may be truly consistent with what was rightly enough delivered in a common Saying of the Schools, That Christ died for All sufficiently; For the Elect and Believers effectually: Had they not corrupted their meaning by the following Hypothesis: The Death of Christ had been sufficient for All, if God and Christ had so intended.”

John Overall, “The Opinion of the Church of England Concerning Predestination,” in A Defence of the Thirty Nine Articles of the Church of England by John Ellis (London: Printed for H. Bonwicke, T. Goodwin, M. Wotton, S. Manship, and B. Tooke, 1700), 133-134. [Original italics removed; italics mine; and underlining mine.]

[Notes: 1) The subject here is theology behind the classic Lombardian sufficiency-efficiency formula. 2) Overall makes the proper point that for some, the secret will had become the ground and baseline from which our understanding of God’s predestination was mediated and understood. Rather, Overall wants  his readers to locate the grounds of our knowledge of God’s predestination (and plan of salvation by implication) in the revealed will. The revealed should mediate our knowledge of the secret will, and not the other way around. It cannot be denied that all lapsarian speculations thoroughly inverted the natural biblical order and original spirit of the first Reformers on this point.  3) Overall appears to be the earliest, whom we have documented, who rightly spots and condemns the emerging revision of the Lombardian formula. This revision he calls, and accurately so, a corruption. 4) More importantly, Overall correctly notes that the revised formula converts an actual sufficiency into a bare hypothetical sufficiency. Again, this insight from Overall is the earliest example of this critique that we have been able to document so far.]

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