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Balthasar Hübmaier

thought through with the thoroughness characteristic of the Institutes of Calvin. It is indeed only fair to bear in mind that until that wonderful theological treatise appeared, the Reformation theology had not become clear and consistent on this matter. Where even Melanchthon hesitated and stumbled, we need not be surprised that another's utterances should be equivocal. Hübmaier teaches that all things take place according to the will of God, but a distinction is drawn between the "benevolent" and the "permissive" will. The benevolent will of God is the will of his mercy—he wills all men to be saved; the permissive will is that those who will not hear Christ he leaves to the consequences of their refusal. If God has specially elected some to salvation, this is a secret decree, and it is vain for us to probe the divine secrets. It is blasphemous to maintain that men sin and are lost in fulfilment of a divine decree, and not of their own choice. This view he sustained by exposition of the Scriptures, and he did not shrink from those that seem opposed to his position:


God has mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens' (Rom. ix., 18). These