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A Treatise on God's Free Grace and Man's Free Will

"A Treatise on God's Free Grace and Man's Free Will" by William Perkins offers a profound exploration of theological concepts from a Reformed perspective, particularly focusing on the interplay between divine grace and human will. Perkins, one of the foremost leaders of the Puritan movement in the Church of England during the Elizabethan era, critiques the Roman Catholic Church's views on grace and free will, arguing that they undermine the sovereignty of God's grace.

Perkins identifies two primary ways in which the Roman Catholic doctrine is seen as opposing the grace of God. Firstly, he argues that it overemphasizes the role of human free will while diminishing the role of divine grace. He contends that human will, in its natural state, is incapable of performing godly actions without being transformed by God's grace. This transformation is necessary for salvation and godliness, as human nature alone is insufficient for spiritual understanding or repentance​​.

Secondly, Perkins takes issue with the Catholic doctrine of synergism, which suggests that human cooperation is necessary for the efficacy of God's prevenient grace. He argues that this undermines the biblical teaching that it is God alone who enables the willing and acting according to His purpose, as stated in Philippians 2:13​​.

Additionally, Perkins criticizes the Catholic view that assigns a contingent will to God, dependent on human decisions. This perspective, he asserts, detracts from God's sovereignty, making human will the initiator of its own actions rather than God​​.

Furthermore, Perkins refutes the Catholic teaching that grace is found in the inward gifts of the mind, particularly charity. He emphasizes that true grace is not an inherent quality in humans but the free favor and mercy of God, which pardons sins and grants eternal life through Christ. This grace is not earned by works but is a gift from God​​.

Perkins also challenges the notion that a renewed human will, under the general direction and cooperation of God, can perform godly duties without special divine assistance. He underscores the scriptural view that it is God who works in believers both to will and to act, highlighting the continual dependence on God's grace for spiritual growth and perseverance​​.

He also disputes the idea that works merit grace, arguing that this contradicts the scriptural teaching that salvation is by grace alone, not works. Perkins cites biblical examples, including Abraham's faith, to illustrate that justifying grace is opposed to the works of the law​​.

In conclusion, Perkins advocates for a total reliance on God's grace, suggesting that all good in humans is attributed to God's grace alone. He underscores the importance of recognizing that without God's grace, humans are incapable of any spiritual good. This perspective, Perkins argues, is crucial for true godliness, peace of conscience, and salvation​


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To the Right Worshipful, Sir Edward Dennie, Knight

A Treatise on God's Free Grace and Man's Free Will