On Preparation unto Salvation

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John Davenant

Question 9, ‘Free-Will is Not Granted unto the Unregenerate for their Spiritual Good’  in The Determinations, or Resolutions of Certain Theological Questions, Publicly Discussed in the University of Cambridge  trans. Josiah Allport  (1634; 1846), pp. 265-66  bound at the end of John Davenant, A Treatise on Justification, or the Disputatio de Justitia...  trans. Josiah Allport  (1631; London, 1846), vol. 2

“As to the term ‘regenerated’ or ‘born again’, I do not call one who is enlightened or breathed upon by any motion of the Holy Spirit, regenerated…  I call him unregenerate who has not yet attained to this spiritual quickening, however he may have been affected by some preceding operations of the Holy Spirit.

We concede, then, to the Papists, that before the infusion of regenerating grace, many actions which lead the way to faith and contrition, are both required from men, and by them both can, and are wont [accustomed] to be done, through the sole assistance of awakening grace.  Of this kind, are not only joining the Church and hearing the Word, but of thinking of God and divine things, considering their peculiar sins, being alarmed by the sense of them, desiring deliverance from this fear, and many other such like things, which are prerequisite to acts truly spiritual and saving.

But we affirm, moreover, that the mind and disposition of the unregenerate is engaged in a natural way only with the aforesaid things; that the will is not elevated to produce an act truly spiritual, until regenerating or quickening efficacy shall have been added, besides, to the awakening and evidencing grace. (See Suarez, Opuscula, De Auxil.Div. Grat., bk. 3, chs. 1-2)

Moreover, we grant that this regenerating grace is not infused into men remaining inactive and idling looking for some vague fervors or other; but to minds aroused, and brought under and disposed, in some measure, by the aforesaid actions, through the Word and Spirit of God; nevertheless, we deny that the free-will of an unregenerate man is assisted by these auxiliaries, in such was so to dispose itself that God should be bound to infuse quickening grace into any one from merit of congruity.

Lastly, we confess that in the Church of God, where men are excited constantly by the Word and Spirit, this regenerating grace, which alone renders them capable of repenting and believing savingly, is denied to no adult of whom it cannot be truly said, that he willingly resists the Holy Spirit in those actions before-mentioned, and also perversely repulses the quickening operation of the same. (See Spalato, bk. 7, p. 239, & Suarez, Opuscula, p. 222)

Yet we deny that any mortal man can be found, who, in repelling the preparatory actions of the Spirit, does not incur, abundantly, this demerit; and, inasmuch as some, repelling God by this intervening, common demerit, are repelled of God and left to themselves; others, notwithstanding equal or greater demerit, are often, and more powerfully assailed by grace, and are at length quickened by the omnipotent operation of the Spirit.  The mystery is to be referred to the gracious will of God, pitying or not pitying, and [is] not to be rashly enquired into by any human curiosity.”

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