K:JNWTS 31/2 (December 2016): 20

John Arrowsmith on Grace and Merit[1]

A second branch of God’s goodness is grace, which relates to unworthiness, as the former did to misery. God is merciful to the ill-deserving, gracious to the undeserving. So far are we from being able to merit so much as the crumbs that fall from his table, that even temporal favors are all from grace (126).

“Buy without money and without price,” because our labor can no way merit his blessings (38).

[1] John Arrowsmith (1602-1659) was a Puritan member of the Westminster Assembly who, in 1644, was appointed Master of St. John’s, Cambridge, and later Trinity College Professor of Divinity at the same. These quotes come from his book Armilla Catechetica; or A Chain of Principles (1659). Our citations are from the 1822 reprint.

Arrowsmith was esteemed for his rhetorical skills, cf. B. B. Warfield, “Flowers from a Puritan Garden: Selections from Dr. John Arrowsmith’s ‘Armilla Catechetica;’ or, ‘A Chain of Principles’ (Cambridge, 1659).” Homiletic Review 18 (October 1889): 299-306. Example: “There is not a round in the ladder to heaven which doth not give everyone that steppeth upon it just occasion of crying, Grace, grace” (304; p. 127 in the 1822 edition).