Notwithstanding all this which might be said to this effect, to ease their afflicted minds, what comfort our best divines can afford in this case, Zanchius, Beza, &c. This furious curiosity, needless speculation, fruitless meditation about election, reprobation, free will, grace, such places of Scripture preposterously conceived, torment still, and crucify the souls of too many, and set all the world together by the ears. To avoid which inconveniences, and to settle their distressed minds, to mitigate those divine aphorisms, (though in another extreme some) our late Arminians have revived that plausible doctrine of universal grace, which many fathers, our late Lutheran and modern papists do still maintain, that we have free will of ourselves, and that grace is common to all that will believe. Some again, though less orthodoxal, will have a far greater part saved than shall be damned, (as Caelius Secundus stiffly maintains in his book, De amplitudine regni coelestis, or some impostor under his name) beatorum numerus multo major quam damnatorum. He calls that other tenet of special "election and reprobation, a prejudicate, envious and malicious opinion, apt to draw all men to desperation. Many are called, few chosen," &c. He opposeth some opposite parts of Scripture to it, "Christ came into the world to save sinners," &c. And four especial arguments he produceth, one from God's power. If more be damned than saved, he erroneously concludes, the devil hath the greater sovereignty! for what is power but to protect? and majesty consists in multitude. "If the devil have the greater part, where is his mercy, where is his power? how is he Deus Optimus Maximus, misericors? &c., where is his greatness, where his goodness?" He proceeds, "We account him a murderer that is accessory only, or doth not help when he can; which may not be supposed of God without great offence, because he may do what he will, and is otherwise accessory, and the author of sin. The nature of good is to be communicated, God is good, and will not then be contracted in his goodness: for how is he the father of mercy and comfort, if his good concern but a few? O envious and unthankful men to think otherwise! Why should we pray to God that are Gentiles, and thank him for his mercies and benefits, that hath damned us all innocuous for Adam's offence, one man's offence, one small offence, eating of an apple? why should we acknowledge him for our governor that hath wholly neglected the salvation of our souls, contemned us, and sent no prophets or instructors to teach us, as he hath done to the Hebrews?" So Julian the apostate objects. Why should these Christians (Caelius urgeth) reject us and appropriate God unto themselves, Deum illum suum unicum, &c. But to return to our forged Caelius. At last he comes to that, he will have those saved that never heard of, or believed in Christ, ex puris naturalibus, with the Pelagians, and proves it out of Origen and others. "They" (saith Origen) "that never heard God's word, are to be excused for their ignorance; we may not think God will be so hard, angry, cruel or unjust as to condemn any man indicta causa." They alone (he holds) are in the state of damnation that refuse Christ's mercy and grace, when it is offered. Many worthy Greeks and Romans, good moral honest men, that kept the law of nature, did to others as they would be done to themselves, as certainly saved, he concludes, as they were that lived uprightly before the law of Moses. They were acceptable in. God's sight, as Job was, the Magi, the queen of Sheba, Darius of Persia, Socrates, Aristides, Cato, Curius, Tully, Seneca, and many other philosophers, upright livers, no matter of what religion, as Cornelius, out of any nation, so that he live honestly, call on God, trust in him, fear him, he shall be saved. This opinion was formerly maintained by the Valentinian and Basiledian heretics, revived of late in Turkey, of what sect Rustan Bassa was patron, defended by Galeatius Erasmus, by Zuinglius in exposit. fidei ad Regem Galliae, whose tenet Bullinger vindicates, and Gualter approves in a just apology with many arguments. There be many Jesuits that follow these Calvinists in this behalf, Franciscus Buchsius Moguntinus, Andradius Consil. Trident, many schoolmen that out of the 1 Rom. v. 18. 19. are verily persuaded that those good works of the Gentiles did so far please God, that they might vitam aeternam promereri, and be saved in the end. Sesellius, and Benedictus Justinianus in his comment on the first of the Romans, Mathias Ditmarsh the politician, with many others, hold a mediocrity, they may be salute non indigni but they will not absolutely decree it. Hofmannus, a Lutheran professor of Helmstad, and many of his followers, with most of our church, and papists, are stiff against it. Franciscus Collius hath fully censured all opinions in his Five Books, de Paganorum animabus post mortem, and amply dilated this question, which whoso will may peruse. But to return to my author, his conclusion is, that not only wicked livers, blasphemers, reprobates, and such as reject God's grace, "but that the devils themselves shall be saved at last," as Origen himself long since delivered in his works, and our late Socinians defend, Ostorodius, cap. 41. institut. Smaltius, &c. Those terms of all and for ever in Scripture, are not eternal, but only denote a longer time, which by many examples they prove. The world shall end like a comedy, and we shall meet at last in heaven, and live in bliss altogether, or else in conclusion, in nihil evanescere. For how can he be merciful that shall condemn any creature to eternal unspeakable punishment, for one small temporary fault, all posterity, so many myriads for one and another man's offence, quid meruistis oves? But these absurd paradoxes are exploded by our church, we teach otherwise. That this vocation, predestination, election, reprobation, non ex corrupta massa, praeviso, fide, as our Arminians, or ex praevisis operibus, as our papists, non ex praeteritione, but God's absolute decree ante mundum creatum, (as many of our church hold) was from the beginning, before the foundation of the world was laid, or homo conditus, (or from Adam's fall, as others will, homo lapsus objectum est reprobationis) with perseverantia sanctorum, we must be certain of our salvation, we may fall but not finally, which our Arminians will not admit. According to his immutable, eternal, just decree and counsel of saving men and angels, God calls all, and would have all to be saved according to the efficacy of vocation: all are invited, but only the elect apprehended: the rest that are unbelieving, impenitent, whom God in his just judgment leaves to be punished for their sins, are in a reprobate sense; yet we must not determine who are such, condemn ourselves or others, because we have a universal invitation; all are commanded to believe, and we know not how soon or how late our end may be received. I might have said more of this subject; but forasmuch as it is a forbidden question, and in the preface or declaration to the articles of the church, printed 1633, to avoid factions and altercations, we that are university divines especially, are prohibited "all curious search, to print or preach, or draw the article aside by our own sense and comments upon pain of ecclesiastical censure." I will surcease, and conclude with Erasmus of such controversies: Pugnet qui volet, ego censeo leges majorum reverenter suscipiendas, et religiose observandas, velut a Deo profectas; nec esse tutum, nec esse pium, de potestate publica sinistram concipere aut serere suspicionem. Et siquid est tyrannidis, quod tamen non cogat ad impietatem, satius est ferre, quam seditiose reluctari.