Confessio Catholica:

Concerning the Will of God

We consider the will of God in two ways: in God and in creatures. In God, when God moves into action the whole of His will and by His own power, of Himself and without the aid of men, performs and accomplishes that which He wishes and desires (Ps. 142; Ezek. 11; Rom. 8, 9; John 5); the divine will is bound in every part to God’s power, grace, and action, as in election, creation, calling according to purpose, justifying, vivifying, glorifying, renewing, converting, saving the elect by His grace per se, His own power, in Himself; and by punishing the vessels of wrath, consigning them to death, and by the resurrection of all men. All of God’s will must necessarily come to pass (Isa. 46), fulfilled immutably on account of these omnipotent causes, i.e., that divine power and efficacy powerfully accomplishes all those things which He wishes of Himself to perform and accomplish. As it is said: “that which He wished, He performed” (Ps. 113:11). “To whom He wishes He is merciful. Whom He wishes, He hardens” (Rom. 9:18).”The Son gives life to whom He wishes” ( John 5:21). I wish the world to be.”All my will shall be” (Isa. 46:10).

Further, we consider the will of God in things created. As when He binds His will conditionally to the fulfillment of the creatures through their strength, both through the Law and through the will of the man Christ. For example, “I willed, you would not” (cf. Matt. 23:37). In these things, the will of God is not fulfilled, since the power of man, to which it was bound, is ineffective and weak. Thus the power of the Law and the gospel is weakened; death and shame come about through the flesh, through the insufficiency of men, since they do not fully, perfectly and absolutely obey God; they do not do nor are they able to do God’s will, nor can they perform those things which are in conformity with the righteousness or mercy of God. There can be no equality of proportion in men doing. He is God perfect and just; they are weak and sinful men. Being unwilling, however, is as great as inability to men in heavenly affairs and impossible to the flesh. Therefore, efficaciously and omnipotently, He wills to come, to save His elect truly with powerful effect, for it has been effected by His will out of the power of God. God wills, commands, and desires from the heavens. Among men here below, Christ effects the causes with the fullness of His deity and the Spirit of grace, the truth of the will of God. As it is said, “I have done it. I will make them walk in my precepts” (Augustine, Books 3, 7, 8, 9; to Simplicianus; Jerome, Chrysostom; Origen, on Paul to the Romans and Ephesians; 1 Tim. 2 and several other places). God causes you both to will and to do (cf. Phil. 2:13). God who calls will do it (so say the fathers Augustine, Prosper, Jerome, Ambrose).

As it says in Ezekiel 18 and Matthew 11, He wills with His general outward saving will that all shall live, good and bad alike. Because, however, of imperfect men, that general will is not fulfilled; as I willed, you would not, i.e., you would not be converted, saved, believe, fulfill my laws.

“The Hungarian Confessio Catholica (1562),” in Reformed Confessions of the 16th and 17th Centuries in English Translation, ed., James T. Dennison, (Grand Rapids Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), 2:485-486. [Underlining mine.]

[Brief Biographical information from Dennison:

This confession with three names–Debrecen, Catholica, Agrovalliensis –is a lengthy Reformed confession written at the request of the church in Debrecen in 1561 by Peter Mélius Juhász (1536-1572) and Gregory Szegedi (1511-1569). György Ceglédi/Czeglédi, Protestant pastor at Varad/Nagyvarad, is also regarded as a joint author. The Confessio catholica de praecipuis fidei articulis exhibita was then printed with the title Confessio Agrovalliensis (“Confession of the Eger Valley”) in 1562 because the Reformed church in the Eger Valley (Egervölgyi) had asked the Debrecen church to send them a copy of the Mélius-Szegedi document. Agrivalliensis or the Eger Valley is a region in northeastern Hungary where a small fort manned by about 2,000 citizens had courageously turned back a long siege by the Ottoman Turks a decade earlier (1552). The Protestant faith took hold of these folk with so much power that the Habsburg emperor, Ferdinand I (1503-1564), accused the city of treason, i.e., rejection of the Roman Catholic faith as promulgated by the Counter-Reformation Jesuit Council of Nagyszombat (Trnava, Tyrnau) on April 23, 1560. Having learned of Mélius and Szegedi’s confession, the believers in Eger asked that they be permitted to send a copy of the Debrecen Confession to the king. However, they asked that the cover or title page be altered from its original wording, Confessio catholica or Confessio Debreceniensis, to that listed above. The valiant soldiers, nobles, and common citizens gathered to swear their allegiance via this statement of “true and Catholic faith and doctrine:’ King Ferdinand had threatened to remove their pastor, but based on this confession, the citizens of Eger refused and declared that they would abandon the fort as a defense against the Turks if they were not permitted to retain their pastor and their confession. This action is the first substantive example of a congregation in Hungary swearing the Reformed faith in concert.

A consequence of the adoption of the confession was a formal separation between the Saxon Hungarians who favored the Lutheran Augustan Confession, and the Reformed Hungarians who favored the Reformed theology of Geneva, Zurich, and Strasbourg. Matthias Hebler (11571) was the leader of the Lutheran faction which officially separated in 1564 following the Council of Enyed (modern Aiud in Romania).]

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