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A Display of


Arminianism, Part 1
John Owen's first work against the heresy of Arminius.


QEOMACIA AUTEXOUSIASTIKH
OR,
A DISPLAY OF ARMINIANISM:
BEING

A DISCOVERY OF THE OLD PELAGIAN IDOL FREE-WILL, WITH THE
NEW GODDESS CONTINGENCY,
ADVANCING THEMSELVES INTO THE THRONE OF THE GOD OF HEAVEN, TO THE
PREJUDICE OF HIS GRACE, PROVIDENCE, AND SUPREME
DOMINION OVER THE CHILDREN OF MEN;

Wherein
THE MAIN ERRORS BY WHICH THEY ARE FALLEN OFF FROM THE RECEIVED
DOCTRINE OF ALL
THE REFORMED CHURCHES, WITH THEIR OPPOSITION IN DIVERS PARTICULARS
TO THE DOCTRINE ESTABLISHED IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND,
ARE DISCOVERED AND LAID OPEN OUT OF THEIR OWN
WRITINGS AND CONFESSIONS, AND CONFUTED
BY THE WORD OF GOD.


Produce your cause, saith the LORD: bring forth your strong reasons,
saith
the King of Jacob.
Isaiah 41:21.
Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive
with the
potsherds of the earth.
Isaiah 45:9.

PREFATORY NOTE.

THE relation of man to his Creator has engaged the attention of
earnest and thoughtful minds, from the days of the patriarch of Uz
to the most recent controversies of modern times. The entrance of
sin into the world has vastly complicated this relationship; so
that, considered in its various bearings, it involves some of the
most difficult problems with which the human intellect has ever
attempted to grapple. The extent to which the intellect itself has
been weakened and beclouded by the corruption of our nature, renders
us the less able to penetrate into the deep mysteries of human duty
and destiny. Whether man sins now as essentially affected with the
taint of the first sin, and involved in the responsibilities of the
first sinner, or sins wholly on his own account and by his own free
act, under the bias of no connection with Adam, except what
connection obtains between example on the one hand and imitation on
the other? whether, on the supposition of a scheme of saving grace,
grace is simply divine and external aid to the will of man, already
operating freely in the direction of what is good, and so
establishing a meritorious claim upon God for the bestowal of such
aid, or a supernatural influence creating in man the very liberty
itself to will and to do what is good? and whether, in the latter
view of divine grace, as bestowed in divine sovereignty, and
therefore according to a divine purpose, it can be reconciled with
human responsibility?are the questions which produced the sharp
encounter of keen and conflicting wits between Pelagius and
Augustine of old.

Towards the middle of the ninth century, these questions again
assumed distinctive prominence in the history of theological
speculation. Gottschalc, a monk of Orbais, distinguished himself by
his advocacy of the doctrines of Augustine. It was the doctrine of
predestination chiefly on which he insisted; and the controversy in
his hands assumed this peculiar modification, that not merely the
application of gracious influence, but the reference of the
atonement, was exhibited as under the limit and regulation of the
divine sovereignty and purpose. Not that in this respect he was at
variance with Augustine, but the point seems to have been specially
and formally mooted in the discussions of this age. His view of
predestination embraced an element which may be reckoned an advance
on the Augustinian doctrine; for according to him, predestination
was twofold, comprehending the punishment of the reprobate as well
as the salvation of the elect; but while he held the predestination
of men to the punishment of their sin, he was far from holding, as
his opponents alleged, that they were predestinated to the
commission of sin. Council warred with council in the case of
Gottschalc. Gottschalc himself expiated by a death in prison his
audacious anticipation of the rights of private judgment and free
inquiry in a dark age.

The next revival of the same controversy in substance, though under
certain modifications, took place after the Reformation. It is
remarkable that at this period discussion on these weighty questions
sprang up almost simultaneously in three different parts of Europe,
and in three schools of theology, among which a wide diversity
existed. The shackles of mediaeval ignorance were burst asunder by
the awakening intelligence of Europe; and if we except the
controversy between Protestantism and Popery, on which the
Reformation hinged, no point could more naturally engage the mind,
in the infancy of its freedom, than the compatibility of the divine
purpose with human responsibility; on the solution of which problem
the nature of redemption seemed to depend, and around which, by the
spell of the very mystery attaching to it, human speculation in all
ages had revolved. When an interdict still lay on theological
inquiry, Thomists and Scotists had discussed it in its metaphysical
form, and under a cloud of scholastic subtleties, lest the
jealousies of a dominant church should be awakened. But now, when a
measure of intellectual freedom had been acquired, and the dispute
between free-will on the one hand and efficacious grace on the other
involved a practical issue between Rome and Geneva, the question
received a treatment almost exclusively theological.

First, perhaps, in the order of time, this discussion was revived in
Poland, and in connection with the heresies of Socinus. The divinity
of Christ, the nature of the atonement, and the corruption of human
nature, are all doctrines essentially connected. It is because
Christ is divine that an adequate satisfaction has been rendered, in
his sufferings, to the claims of divine justice; and such an
atonement is indispensable for our salvation, if man, because dead
in sin, has no power to achieve salvation by any merit of his own. A
denial of the total corruption of our nature seems essential to the
Unitarian system; so far there is common ground between the systems
of Pelaglius and Socinus. It is not wonderful that this measure of
identity should develop consequences affecting the doctrine of the
divine purposes and of predestination, though it is beyond our
limits to trace either the necessary or the historical evolution of
these consequences. Spanheim, in his Elenchus Controversiarum, p.
237, ascribes the origin of the Arminian controversy in Holland to
certain emissaries, Ostorodius and Voidovius, dispatched by the
Polish Socinians into the Low Countries, for the purpose of
propagating the tenets of their sect. Their tenets respecting the
Trinity and the atonement took no root in these countries; but
Spanheim affirms that it was otherwise in regard to certain opinions
of Socinus, quae ille recoxit ex Pelagii disciplin, on
predestination, free-will, and the ground of justification before
God.

About the same time, the Church of Rome was shaken to its center by
the same controversy. The Jesuits had always Pelagian leanings, and
in the Council of Trent their influence was triumphant, and, so far
as its decrees stereotype the Romish creed, sealed the doom of the
waning authority of Augustine. Louis Molina, in 1588, made an
attempt, in his lectures on The Concord of Grace and Free-will, to
unite the conflicting theories. The Jesuits regarded his attempt
with no favor. A lengthened controversy arose, in which Molinism, as
partly a deviation from, and partly a compromise of, the fundamental
principles of the Augustinian system, was effectually assailed by
the piety of Jansen, the learning of Arnauld, and the genius of
Pascal, till the bull Unigenitus secured a lasting triumph for
Jesuitism, by the authoritative condemnation of the doctrines of
Augustine, as declared in the collection of extracts from his
writings which Jansen had published under the title Augustinus.
But it was in Holland that the controversy on this point arose which
had the chief influence on British theology, and reduced the
questions at issue to the shape under which they are discussed by
Owen in his Display of Arminianism. On the death of an eminent
theologian of the name of Junius, Arminius was called to the vacant
chair in the University of Leyden. Gomar, a professor in the same
university, and the Presbytery of Amsterdam, opposed his
appointment, on the ground of his erroneous principles. On giving a
pledge that he would teach nothing at variance with the Belgic
Confession and Catechism, he was allowed to enter on his office as
professor in 1603. Gomar and he again fell into a dispute on the
subject of predestination,the origin of prolonged troubles and
controversies in the Church of Holland. Gomar and his party were
supported by the majority of the clergy in the church. Arminius
depended upon the political support of the state. The former sought
a national synod to adjudicate on the prevailing controversy. The
latter, having the ear of the state, contrived to prevent it. Stormy
scenes ensued, amid which Arminius died, and Episcopius became the
leader of the Remonstrants, as his followers were called, from a
remonstrance which they submitted in 1610 to the States of Holland
and West Friesland. The Remonstrants levied soldiers to sustain
their cause, and the provinces resounded with military preparations.
At last, profiting by the confusion, Maurice, the head of the house
of Orange, by a series of daring and reckless movements, seized upon
the government of the States. In deference to Gomar and his party,
he convened a general synod on the 13th November 1618. The doctrines
of Arminius were condemned, and five articles were drawn up and
published as the judgment of the synod on the points in dispute. The
first asserts election by grace, in opposition to election on the
ground of foreseen excellence; in the second God is declared to have
willed that Christ should efficaciously redeem all those, and those
only, who from eternity were chosen to salvation; the third and
fourth relate to the moral impotence of man, and the work of the
Spirit in conversion; and the fifth affirms the doctrine of the
perseverance of the saints. The Church of France embodied these
articles among her own standards. The Church of Geneva as cordially
acquiesced in them.

Four English deputies, Drs. Carleton, Hall, Davenant, and Ward,
together with Dr. Balcanquhal from Scotland, by the command of James
VI., repaired to Holland, and took their place in the Synod of Dort,
in accordance with a request of the Dutch Church to be favored with
the aid and countenance of some delegates from the British Churches.
The proceedings of the Synod of Dort had the sanction of these
British divines. No doubt can be entertained that the Thirty-nine
Articles of the Church of England were not Arminian; but on the
elevation of Laud to the see of Canterbury, Arminianism grew strong
within its pale. A royal prohibition was issued against all
discussion of the controverted points in the pulpit. All
ecclesiastical preferments at the disposal of the Crown were
bestowed on those who leaned to Arminian views. The fates of our
church, says Owen, in the note to the reader prefixed to the
following treatise, having of late devolved the government thereof
into the hands of men tainted with this poison, Arminianism became
backed with the powerful arguments of praise and preferment, and
quickly prevailed to beat poor naked truth into a corner. It would,
however, be neither fair nor correct if the statement of these facts
left an impression that Arminianism made progress solely through the
help of royal and prelatic favor. It was embraced and supported by
some authors to whom no sinister motives can be imputed; and the
cause has never found an abler advocate than John Goodwin, whose
name, for his publications against the royal interest, was
associated with that of Milton, in the legal proceedings instituted
against them both at the Restoration.

At this juncture, Owen felt it his duty to oppose the innovations on
the received doctrine of the church, by the publication of a work in
which the views of the Arminians are exhibited on all the leading
topics of the controversy, with the exception of three points,
relating to universal grace, justification, and the perseverance of
the saints. He substantiates his statements regarding the Arminian
tenets by copious quotations from the works of the Dutch
Remonstrants; and contrasts them, at the close of each chapter, with
passages from Scripture. Exception may be taken to this course, as
the sentence of any author, detached from the context, may convey a
meaning which is essentially modified by it. Some of these
quotations are so far accommodated by Owen as to present a full
statement of a particular opinion, instead of appearing in the
parenthetic and incidental form which they present in the original
works, as merely parts of a sentence. We did not feel it needful to
interfere with them in this shape; for, so far as we can judge, our
author evinces perfect integrity in all the quotations to which he
has recourse, and the slight alterations occasionally made on them
never superinduce a dishonest or mistaken gloss on the views of the
authors from whom the passages are selected. It may be questioned if
Owen sufficiently discriminates the doctrine of Arminius from the
full development which his system, after his death, received in the
hands of his followers. Sometimes, moreover, opinions possessing the
distinctive features of Pelagianism are confounded with Arminianism,
strictly so called. Our author, perhaps, may be vindicated on the
ground that it was his object to exhibit Arminianism as current and
common in his day; and his quotations seem to prove that his Display
of it was not far from the truth, though, from the refinement of
modern discrimination on some of the points, many an Arminian would
hardly subscribe to some of the statements as a correct
representation of his creed, and a Calvinistic author is under
obvious temptation to run up Arminian views into what he may esteem
their legitimate consequences in the extravagance of the Pelagian
theory. The style is simple; some polish appears in the composition;
and occasionally a degree of ornament and pleasantry is employed (as
when he enters on the question of Free-will, chap. 12.), which is
rare with Owen, who perhaps prided himself on the studious rejection
of literary elegance. It could be wished that he had risen superior
to the vice of the age in such discussions, by manifesting less
acerbity of temper and diction in the refutation of the views which
he combats in this work. It was Owens first publication (1642), and
immediately brought him into notice. The living of Fordham in Essex
was conferred upon him by the Committee of Religion, to whom the
work is dedicated.ED.

2 Martii, anno Domini 1642.

IT is this day ordered, by the Committee of the House of Commons in
Parliament for the Regulating of Printing and Publishing of Books,
That this book, entitled A Display of Arminianism, be printed.
JOHN WHITE.


TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE
THE LORDS AND GENTLEMEN OF THE
COMMITTEE FOR RELIGION,[1][1]


THE many ample testimonies of zealous reverence to the providence of
God, as well as affectionate care for the privileges of men, which
have been given by this honorable assembly of parliament, encourage
the adorers of the one, no less than the lovers of the other, to
vindicate that also from the encroachments of men. And as it was
not, doubtless, without divine disposition that those should be the
chiefest agents in robbing men of their privileges who had
nefariously attempted to spoil God of his providence; so we hope the
same all-ruling hand hath disposed of them to be glorious
instruments of re-advancing his right and supreme dominion over the
hearts of men whose hearts he hath prepared with courage and
constancy to establish men in their inviolated rights, by reducing a
sweet harmony between awful sovereignty and a well-moderated
liberty. Now, the first of these being demandated to your particular
care, I come unto you with a bill of complaint against no small
number in this kingdom, who have wickedly violated our interest in
the providence of God, and have attempted to bring in the foreign
power of an old idol, to the great prejudice of all the true
subjects and servants of the Most High. My accusation I make good by
the evidence of the fact, joined with their own confessions. And
because, to waive the imputation of violent intrusion into the
dominion of another, they lay some claim and pretend some title unto
it, I shall briefly show how it is contrary to the express terms of
the great charter of Heaven to have any such power introduced
amongst men. Your known love to truth and the gospel of Christ makes
it altogether needless for me to stir you up by any motives to
hearken to this just complaint, and provide a timely remedy for this
growing evil; especially since experience hath so clearly taught us
here, in England, that not only eternal but temporal happiness also
dependeth on the flourishing of the truth of Christs gospel.
Justice and religion were always conceived as the main columns and
upholders of any state or commonwealth; like two pillars in a
building, whereof the one cannot stand without the other, nor the
whole fabric without them both. As the philosopher spake of logic
and rhetoric, they are artes anti>strofai, mutually aiding each
other, and both aiming at the same end, though in different manners;
so they, without repugnancy, concur and sweetly fall in one with
another, for the reiglement and direction of every person in a
commonwealth, to make the whole happy and blessed: and where they
are both thus united, there, and only there, is the blessing in
assurance whereof Hezekiah rejoiced,truth and peace. An agreement
without truth is no peace, but a covenant with death, a league with
hell, a conspiracy against the kingdom of Christ, a stout rebellion
against the God of heaven; and without justice, great commonwealths
are but great troops of robbers. Now, the result of the one of these
is civil peace; of the other, ecclesiastical: betwixt which two
there is a great sympathy, a strict connection, having on each other
a mutual dependence. Is there any disturbance of the state? it is
usually attended with schisms and factions in the church; and the
divisions of the church are too often even the subversions of the
commonwealth. Thus it hath been ever since that unhappy difference
between Cain and Abel; which was not concerning the bounds and
limits of their inheritance, nor which of them should be heir to the
whole world, but about the dictates of religion, the offering of
their sacrifices. This fire, also, of dissension hath been more
stirred up since the Prince of Peace hath, by his gospel, sent the
sword amongst us; for the preaching thereof, meeting with the
strongholds of Satan and the depraved corruption of human nature,
must needs occasion a great shaking of the earth. But most
especially, distracted Christendom hath found fearful issues of this
discord, since the proud Romish prelates have sought to establish
their hell-broached errors, by inventing and maintaining
uncharitable, destructive censures against all that oppose them:
which, first causing schisms and distractions in the church, and
then being helped forward by the blindness and cruelty of ambitious
potentates, have raised war of nation against nation,witness the
Spanish invasion of 88;[ii][2] [and war] of a people within
themselves, as in the late civil wars of France, where, after divers
horrible massacres, many chose rather to die soldiers than martyrs.
And, oh, that this truth might not, at this day, be written with the
blood of almost expiring Ireland! Yea, it hath lastly descended to
dissension betwixt private parties,witness the horrible murder of
Diazius, whose brains were chopped out with an axe by his own
brother Alphonsus,[iii][3] for forsaking the Romish religion; what
rents in[the] State, what grudgings, hatreds, and exasperations of
mind among private men, have happened by reason of some inferior
differences, we all at this day grieve to behold. Tantum religio
potuit suadere malorum! Most concerning, then, is it for us to
endeavor obedience to our Saviors precept, of seeking first the
kingdom of God, that we may be partakers of the good things
comprised in the promise annexed. Were there but this one argument
for to seek the peace of the church, because thereon depends the
peace of the commonwealth, it were sufficient to quicken our utmost
industry for the attaining of it. Now, what peace in the church
without truth? All conformity to anything else is but the agreement
of Herod and Pilate to destroy Christ and his kingdom. Neither is it
this or that particular truth, but the whole counsel of God revealed
unto us, without adding or detracting, whose embracement is required
to make our peace firm and stable. No halting betwixt Jehovah and
Baal, Christ and Antichrist; as good be all Philistine, and
worshippers of Dagon, as to speak part the language of Ashdod and
part the language of the Jews: hence, hence hath been the rise of
all our miseries, of all our dissensions, whilst factious men
labored everyday to commend themselves to them who sat aloft in the
temple of God, by introducing new popish-arminian errors, whose
patronage they had wickedly undertaken. Who would have thought that
our church would ever have given entertainment to these Belgic
semi-Pelagians, who have cast dirt upon the faces and raked up the
ashes of all those great and pious souls whom God magnified, in
using as his instruments to reform his church; to the least of which
the whole troop of Arminians shall never make themselves equal,
though they swell till they break? What benefit did ever come to
this church by attempting to prove that the chief part in the
several degrees of our salvation is to be ascribed unto ourselves,
rather than God?which is the head and sum of all the controversies
between them and us. And must not the introducing and fomenting of a
doctrine so opposite to that truth our church hath quietly enjoyed
ever since the first Reformation necessarily bring along with it
schisms and dissensions, so long as any remain who love the truth,
or esteem the gospel above preferment? Neither let any deceive your
wisdoms, by affirming that they are differences of an inferior
nature that are at this day agitated between the Arminians and the
orthodox divines of the reformed church. Be pleased but to cast an
eye on the following instances, and you will find them hewing at the
very root of Christianity. Consider seriously their denying of that
fundamental article of original sin. Is this but a small escape in
theology?why, what need of the gospel, what need of Christ himself,
if our nature be not guilty, depraved, corrupted? Neither are many
of the rest of less importance. Surely these are not things in
quibus possimus dissentire salv pace ac charitate, as Austin
speaks,about which we may differ without loss of peace or
charity. One church cannot wrap in her communion Austin and
Pelagius, Calvin and Arminius. I have here only given you a taste,
whereby you may judge of the rest of their fruit,mors in olla,
mors in olla; their doctrine of the final apostasy of the elect, of
true believers, of a wavering hesitancy concerning our present grace
and future glory, with divers others, I have wholly omitted: those I
have produced are enough to make their abettors incapable of our
church-communion. The sacred bond of peace compasseth only the unity
of that Spirit; which leadeth into all truth. We must not offer the
right hand of fellowship, but rather proclaim iJero po>lemon,[iv][4] a holy war, to such enemies of Gods providence,
Christs merit, and the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit.
Neither let any object, that all the Arminians do not openly profess
all these errors I have recounted. Let ours, then, show wherein they
differ from their masters.[v][5] We see their own confessions; we
know their arts, ba>qh kai< meqodei>av tou~ Santana~,the depths
and crafts of Satan; we know the several ways they have to
introduce and insinuate their heterodoxies into the minds of men.
With some they appear only to dislike our doctrine of reprobation;
with others, to claim an allowable liberty of the will: but yet, for
the most part,like the serpent, wherever she gets in her head, she
will wriggle in her whole body, sting and all,give but the least
admission, and the whole poison must be swallowed. What was the
intention of the maintainers of these strange assertions amongst us
I know not,whether the efficacy of error prevailed really with them
or no, or whether it were the better to comply with Popery, and
thereby to draw us back again unto Egypt;but this I have heard,
that it was affirmed on knowledge, in a former parliament, that the
introduction of Arminianism amongst us was the issue of a Spanish
consultation. It is a strange story that learned Zanchius[vi][6]
tells us, how, upon the death of the Cardinal of Lorraine there was
found in his study a note of the names of divers German doctors and
ministers, being Lutherans, to whom was paid an annual pension, by
the assignment of the cardinal, that they might take pains to oppose
the Calvinists; and so, by cherishing dissension, reduce the people
again to Popery. If there be any such amongst us, who, upon such
poor inconsiderable motives, would be won to betray the gospel of
Christ, God grant them repentance before it be too late! However,
upon what grounds, with what intentions, for what ends soever, these
tares have been sowed amongst us by envious men, the hope of all the
piously learned in the kingdom is, that, by your effectual care and
diligence, some means may be found to root them out. Now, God
Almighty increase and fill your whole honorable society with wisdom,
zeal, knowledge, and all other Christian graces, necessary for your
great calling and employments; which is the daily prayer, of your
most humble and devoted servant,

JOHN OWEN.


TO THE CHRISTIAN READER.


READER,Thou canst not be such a stranger in our Israel as that it
should be necessary for me to acquaint thee with the first sowing
and spreading of these tares in the field of the church, much less
to declare what divisions and thoughts of heart, what open bitter
contentions, to the loss of ecclesiastical peace, have been stirred
up amongst us about them. Only some few things, relating to this my
particular endeavor, I would willingly premonish thee of:
First, Never were so many prodigious errors introduced into a
church, with so high a hand and so little opposition, as these into
ours, since the nation of Christians was known in the world. The
chief cause I take to be that which AEneas Sylvius gave why more
maintained the pope to be above the council than the council above
the pope,because popes gave archbishoprics, bishoprics, etc., but
the councils sued in forma pauperis, and, therefore, could scarce
get an advocate to plead their cause. The fates of our church having
of late devolved the government thereof into the hands of men
tainted with this poison, Arminianism became backed with the
powerful arguments of praise and preferment, and quickly prevailed
to beat poor naked Truth into a corner. It is high time, then, for
all the lovers of the old way to oppose this innovation, prevailing
by such unworthy means, before our breach grow great like the sea,
and there be none to heal it.

My intention in this weak endeavor (which is but the undigested
issue of a few broken hours, too many causes, in these furious
malignant days, continually interrupting the course of my studies),
is but to stir up such who, having more leisure and greater
abilities, will not as yet move a finger to help[to] vindicate
oppressed truth.
In the meantime, I hope this discovery may not be unuseful,
especially to such who, wanting either will or abilities to peruse
larger discourses, may yet be allured by their words, which are
smoother than oil, to taste the poison of asps that is under their
lips. Satan hath ba>qh kai< meqodei>av, depths where to hide, and
methods how to broach his lies; and never did any of his emissaries
employ his received talents with more skill and diligence than our
Arminians, laboring earnestly, in the first place, to instill some
errors that are most plausible, intending chiefly an introduction of
them that are more palpable, knowing that if those be for a time
suppressed until these be well digested, they will follow of their
own accord. Wherefore, I have endeavored to lay open to the view of
all some of their foundation-errors, not usually discussed, on which
the whole inconsistent superstructure is erected, whereby it will
appear how, under a most vain pretense of farthering piety, they
have prevaricated against the very grounds of Christianity; wherein,
First, I have not observed the same method in handling each
particular controversy, but followed such several ways as seemed
most convenient to clear the truth and discover their heresies.
Secondly, Some of their errors I have not touched at all,as those
concerning universal grace, justification, the final apostasy of
true believers,because they came not within the compass of my
proposed method, as you may see chap. 1., where you have the sum of
the whole discourse.

Thirdly, I have given some instances of their opposing the received
doctrine of the church of England, contained in divers of the
Thirty-nine Articles; which would it did not yield us just cause of
farther complaint against the iniquity of those times whereinto we
were lately fallen! Had a poor Puritan offended against half so many
canons as they opposed articles, he had forfeited his livelihood, if
not endangered his life. I would I could hear any other probable
reason why divers prelates were so zealous for the discipline and so
negligent of the doctrine of the church, but because the one was
reformed by the word of God, the other remaining as we found it in
the times of Popery.

Fourthly, I have not purposely undertaken to answer any of their
arguments, referring that labor to a farther design, even a clearing
of our doctrine of reprobation, and of the administration of Gods
providence towards the reprobates, and over all their actions, from
those calumnious aspersions they cast upon it; but concerning this,
I fear the discouragements of these woeful days will leave me
nothing but a desire that so necessary a work may find a more able
pen.

JOHN OWEN.


ENDNOTES:

[vii][1] This committee was appointed by the House of Lords, March
12,1640. It sometimes bears the name of the Committee of
Accommodation, and consisted of ten earls, ten bishops, and ten
barons. To prepare the subjects of discussion, some bishops and
several divines of different persuasions were appointed a
sub-committee. The duty of the committee was to examine all
innovations in doctrine and discipline, illegally introduced into
the church since the Reformation. See Neals History, vol. 2:395.ED.
[viii][2] He alludes to the attempted invasion of England by the
Spanish Armada in 1588. In France the civil wars on account of
religion were terminated about 1628, when the Protestants secured
the confirmation of the Edict of Nantes, but lost possession of the
towns that had been given in guarantee for the faithful observance
of it.ED.

[ix][3] Sleid. Com.
[x][4] Greg. Naz.
[xi][5] Profitentur Remonst, hasce ad promotionem causae sure artes
adhibere, ut apud vulgus non ulterius progrediantur quam de
articulis vulgo notis, ut pro ingeniorum diversitate quosdam lacte
din alant, alios solidiore cibo, etc.Festus Hom. praestat ad
specimen Con. Bel.
[xii][6] Hieron. Zanch. ad Holderum. Res. Miscel.

CHAPTER 1.

OF THE TWO MAIN ENDS AIMED

AT BY THE ARMINIANS, BY THEIR INNOVATIONS

IN THE RECEIVED DOCTRINE OF THE REFORMED CHURCHES.


The soul of man, by reason of the corruption of nature, is not only
darkened (Ephesians 4:18; John 1:5; 1 Corinthians 2:14) with a mist
of ignorance, whereby he is disenabled for the comprehending of
divine truth, but is also armed with prejudice and opposition
against some parts thereof,[xiii][1][xiv] which are either most
above or most contrary to some false principles which he hath framed
unto himself. As a desire of self-sufficiency was the first cause of
this infirmity, so a conceit thereof is that wherewith he still
languisheth; nothing doth he more contend for than an independency
of any supreme power, which might either help, hinder, or control
him in his actions. This is that bitter root from whence have sprung
all those heresies[xv][2][xvi] and wretched contentions which have
troubled the church, concerning the power of man in working his own
happiness, and his exemption from the over-ruling providence of
Almighty God. All which wrangling disputes of carnal reason against
the word of God come at last to this head, Whether the first, and
chiefest part, in disposing of things in this world, ought to be
ascribed to God or man? Men for the most part have vindicated this
pre-eminence unto themselves,[xvii][3][xviii] by exclamations that
so it must be, or else that God is unjust, and his ways unequal.
Never did any men, postquam Christiana gens esse caepit, more
eagerly endeavor the erecting of this Babel than the Arminians, the
modern blinded patrons of human self-sufficiency; all whose
innovations in the received doctrine of the reformed churches aim at
and tend to one of these two ends:

FIRST, To exempt themselves from Gods jurisdiction,to free
themselves from the supreme dominion of his all-ruling providence;
not to live and move in him, but to have an absolute independent
power in all their actions, so that the event of all things wherein
they have any interest might have a considerable relation to nothing
but chance, contingency, and their own wills;a most nefarious,
sacrilegious attempt! To this end,

First, They deny the eternity and unchangeableness of Gods decrees;
for these being established, they fear they should be kept within
bounds from doing any thing but what his counsel hath determined
should be done. If the purposes of the Strength of Israel be eternal
and immutable, their idol free-will must be limited, their
independency prejudiced; wherefore they choose rather to affirm that
his decrees are temporary and changeable, yea, that he doth really
change them according to the several mutations he sees in us: which,
how wild a conceit it is, how contrary to the pure nature of God,
how destructive to his attributes, I shall show in the second
chapter.

Secondly, They question the prescience or foreknowledge of God; for
if known unto God are all his works from the beginning, if he
certainly foreknew all things that shall hereafter come to pass, it
seems to cast an infallibility of event upon all their actions,
which encroaches upon the large territory of their new goddess,
contingency; nay, it would quite dethrone the queen of heaven, and
induce a kind of necessity of our doing all, and nothing but what
God foreknows. Now, that to deny this prescience is destructive to
the very essence of the Deity, and plain atheism, shall be declared,
chapter the third.

Thirdly, They depose the all-governing providence of this King of
nations, denying its energetical, effectual power, in turning the
hearts, ruling the thoughts, determining the wills, and disposing
the actions of men, by granting nothing unto it but a general power
and influence, to be limited and used according to the inclination
and will of every particular agent; so making Almighty God a desirer
that many things were otherwise than they are, and an idle spectator
of most things that are done in the world: the falseness of which
assertions shall be proved, chapter the fourth.

Fourthly, They deny the irresistibility and uncontrollable power of
Gods will, affirming that oftentimes he seriously willeth and
in-tendeth what he cannot accomplish, and so is deceived of his aim;
nay, whereas he desireth, and really intendeth, to save every man,
it is wholly in their own power whether he shall save any one or no;
otherwise their idol free-will should have but a poor deity, if God
could, how and when he would, cross and resist him in his dominion.
Concerning this see chapter the fifth. His gradibus itur in
coelum. Corrupted nature is still ready, either nefariously, with
Adam, to attempt to be like God, or to think foolishly that he is
altogether like unto us, Psalm 50; one of which inconveniences all
men run into, who have not learned to submit their frail wills to
the almighty will of God, and captivate their understandings to the
obedience of faith.[See chapter fifth.]

SECONDLY, The second end at which the new doctrine of the Arminians
aimeth is, to clear human nature from the heavy imputation of being
sinful, corrupted, wise to do evil but unable to do good; and so to
vindicate unto themselves a power and ability of doing all that good
which God can justly require to be done by them in the state wherein
they are,of making themselves differ from others who will not make
so good use of the endowments of their natures; that so the first
and chiefest part in the work of their salvation may be ascribed
unto themselves;a proud Luciferian endeavor! To this end,

First, They deny that doctrine of predestination whereby God is
affirmed to have chosen certain men before the foundation of the
world, that they should be holy, and obtain everlasting life by the
merit of Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace,any such
predestination which may be the fountain and cause of grace or
glory, determining the persons, according to Gods good pleasure, on
whom they shall be bestowed: for this doctrine would make the
special grace of God to be the sole cause of all the good that is in
the elect more than[in] the reprobates; would make faith the work
and gift of God, with divers other things, which would show their
idol to be nothing, of no value. Wherefore, what a corrupt heresy
they have substituted into the place hereof see chapter the sixth.

Secondly, They deny original sin and its demerit; which being
rightly understood, would easily demonstrate that, notwithstanding
all the labor of the smith, the carpenter, and the painter, yet
their idol is of its own nature but an unprofitable block; it will
discover not only the impotency of doing good which is in our
nature, but show also whence we have it: see chapter the seventh.

Thirdly, If ye will charge our human nature with a repugnancy to the
law of God, they will maintain that it was also in Adam when he was
first created, and so comes from God himself: chapter the eighth.

Fourthly, They deny the efficacy of the merit of the death of
Christ;both that God intended by his death to redeem his church, or
to acquire unto himself a holy people; as also, that Christ by his
death hath merited and procured for us grace, faith, or
righteousness, and power to obey God, in fulfilling the condition of
the new covenant. Nay, this were plainly to set up an ark to break
their Dagons neck; for, what praise, say they, can be due to
ourselves for believing, if the blood of Christ hath procured God to
bestow faith upon us? Increpet to Deus, O Satan! See chapters
nine and ten.

Fifthly, If Christ will claim such a share in saving of his people,
of them that believe in him, they will grant some to have salvation
quite without him, that never heard so much as a report of a Savior;
and, indeed, in nothing do they advance their idol nearer the throne
of God than in this blasphemy: chapter eleven.

Sixthly, Having thus robbed God, Christ, and his grace, they adorn
their idol free-will with many glorious properties no way due unto
it: discussed, chapter twelve, where you shall find how, movet
cornicula risum, furtivis nudata coloribus.

Seventhly, They do not only claim to their new-made deity a saving
power, but also affirm that he is very active and operative in the
great work of saving our souls,

First, In fitly preparing us for the grace of God, and so disposing
of ourselves that it becomes due unto us: chapter thirteen.

Secondly, In the effectual working of our conversion together with
it: chapter fourteen.

And so at length, with much toil and labor, they have placed an
altar for their idol in the holy temple, on the right hand of the
altar of God, and on it offer sacrifice to their own net and drag;
at least, nec Deo, nec libero arbitrio, sed dividatur,not all to
God, nor all to free-will, but let the sacrifice of praise, for all
good things, be divided between them.


ENDNOTES:

[xix][1] John 6:42, 7:52. Natura sic apparet vitiata ut hoc majoris
vitii sit, non videre.Aug.
[xx][2] Pelag. Semipelag. Scholastic.
[xxi][3] In hac causa non judicant secundum aequitatem, sed
secundum affectum commodi sui.Luth, de Arbit. Serv.


CHAPTER 2.

OF THE ETERNITY AND

IMMUTABILITY OF THE DECREES OF

ALMIGHTY GOD, DENIED AND OVERTHROWN BY THE ARMINIANS.


It hath been always believed among Christians, and that upon
infallible grounds, as I shall show hereafter, that all the decrees
of God, as they are internal, so they are eternal, acts of his will;
and therefore unchangeable and irrevocable. Mutable decrees and
occasional resolutions are most contrary to the pure nature of
Almighty God. Such principles as these, evident and clear by their
own light, were never questioned by any before the Arminians began
ajki>nhta kinei~n, and to profess themselves to delight in opposing
common notions of reason concerning God and his essence, that they
might exalt themselves into his throne. To ascribe the least
mutability to the divine essence, with which all the attributes and
internal free acts of God are one and the same, was ever accounted
uJperbolhthtov, transcendent atheism, in the highest degree.[xxii]
[1] Now, be this crime of what nature it will, it is no unjust
imputation to charge it on the Arminians, because they confess
themselves guilty, and glory in the crime.

First, They undermine and overthrow the eternity of Gods purposes,
by affirming that, in the order of the divine decrees, there are
some which precede every act of the creature, and some again that
follow them: so Corvinus,[xxiii] [2] the most famous of that sect.
Now, all the acts of every creature being but of yesterday,
temporary, like themselves, surely, those decrees of God cannot be
eternal which follow them in order of time; and yet they press this,
especially in respect of human actions, as a certain, unquestionable
verity. It is certain that God willeth or determineth many things
which he would not, did not some act of mans will go before it,
saith their great master, Arminius.[xxiv] [3] The like affirmeth,
with a little addition (as such men do always proficere in pejus),
his genuine scholar, Nic. Grevin-chovius. [xxv] [4] I suppose,
saith he, that God willeth many things which he neither would nor
justly could will and purpose, did not some action of the creature
precede. And here observe, that in these places they speak not of
Gods external works, of those actions which outwardly are of
him,as inflicting of punishments, bestowing of rewards, and other
such outward acts of his providence, whose administration we confess
to be various, and diversely applied to several occasions,but of
the internal purposes of Gods will, his decrees and intentions,
which have no present influence upon, or respect unto, any action of
the creature; yea, they deny that concerning many things God hath
any determinate resolution at all, or any purpose farther than a
natural affection towards them. God doth or omitteth that towards
which, in his own nature and his proper inclination, he is affected,
as he findeth man to comply or not to comply with that order which
he hath appointed, saith Corvinus.[xxvi] [5] Surely these men care
not what indignities they cast upon the God of heaven, so they may
maintain the pretended endowments of their own wills; for such an
absolute power do they here ascribe unto them, that God himself
cannot determine of a thing whereunto, as they strangely phrase it,
he is well affected, before, by an actual concurrence, he is sure of
their compliance. Now, this imputation, that they are temporary,
which they cast upon the decrees of God in general, they press home
upon that particular which lies most in their way, the decree of
election. Concerning this they tell us roundly, that it is[xxvii]
[6] false that election is confirmed from eternity: so the

Remonstrants in their Apology, notwithstanding that St Paul tells us
that it is the purpose of God, Romans 9:11, and that we were
chosen before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4. Neither
is it any thing material what the Arminians there grant,namely,
that there is a decree preceding this, which may be said to be from
everlasting: for seeing that St Paul teacheth us that election is
nothing but Gods purpose of saving us, to affirm that God eternally
decreed that he would elect us is all one as to say that God
purposed that in time he would purpose to save us. Such resolutions
may be fit for their own wild heads, but must not be ascribed to God
only wise.

Secondly, As they affirm them to be temporary and to have had a
beginning, so also to expire and have an ending, to be subject to
change and variableness. Some acts of Gods will do cease at a
certain time, saith Episcopius.[xxviii] [7] What? doth say thing
come into his mind that changeth his will? Yes, saith Arminius,
[xxix] [8] He would have all men to be saved; but, compelled with
the stubborn and incorrigible malice of some, he will have them to
miss it. However, this is some recompense,denying God a power to
do what he will, they grant him to be contented to do what he may,
and not much repine at his hard condition. Certainly, if but for
this favor, he is a debtor to the Arminians. Thieves give what they
do not take. Having robbed God of his power, they will leave him so
much goodness as that he shall not be troubled at it, though he be
sometimes compelled to what he is very loath to do. How do they and
their fellows, the Jesuits,[xxx] [9] exclaim upon poor Calvin, for
sometimes using the hard word of compulsion, describing the
effectual, powerful working of the providence of God in the actions
of men; but they can fasten the same term on the will of God, and no
harm done! Surely he will one day plead his own cause against them.
But yet blame them not, si violandum est jus, regnandi causa
violandum est. It is to make themselves absolute that they thus
cast off the yoke of the Almighty, and that both in things
concerning this life and that which is to come. They are much
troubled that it should be said that [xxxi] [10] every one of us
bring along with us into the world an unchangeable pre-ordination of
life and death eternal; for such a supposal would quite overthrow
the main foundation of their heresy,namely, that men can make their
election void and frustrate, as they jointly lay it down in their
Apology.[xxxii] [11] Nay, it is a dream, saith Dr Jackson,[xxxiii]
[12] to think of Gods decrees concerning things to come as of acts
irrevocably finished; which would hinder that which Welsingius lays
down for a truth,to wit, [xxxiv] [13] that the elect may become
reprobates, and the reprobates elect. Now, to these particular
sayings is their whole doctrine concerning the decrees of God,
inasmuch as they have any reference to the actions of men, most
exactly conformable; as,

First, [xxxv] [14] Their distinction of them into peremptory and not
peremptory (terms rather used in the citations of litigious courts
than as expressions of Gods purpose in sacred Scripture), is not,
as by them applied, compatible with the unchangeableness of Gods
eternal purposes. Pro>skairoi, say they, or temporary believers, are
elected (though not peremptorily) with such an act of Gods will as
hath a co-existence every way commensurate, both in its original,
continuance, and end, with their fading faith; which sometimes, like
Jonahs gourd, is but filia unius noctis,in the morning it
flourisheth, in the evening it is cut down, dried up, and withereth.

A man in Christ by faith, or actually believing (which to do is, as
they say, in every ones own power), [xxxvi] [15] is, in their
opinion, the proper object of election;of election, I say, not
peremptory, which is an act pendent, expecting the final
perseverance and consummation of his faith; and therefore immutable,
because man having fulfilled his course, God hath no cause to change
his purpose of crowning him with reward. Thus also (as they teach),
a man according to his infidelity, whether present and removable, or
obdurate and final, is the only object of reprobation; which, in the
latter case, is peremptory and absolute, in the former conditional
and alterable. It is the qualities of faith and unbelief on which
their election and reprobation do attend.[xxxvii] [16] Now, let a
faithful man, elected of God according to his present righteousness,
apostate [apostatize] totally from grace (as to affirm that there is
any promise of God implying his perseverance is with them to
overthrow all religion), and let the unbelieving reprobate depose
his incredulity and turn himself unto the Lord; answerable to this
mutation of their conditions are the changings of the purpose of the
Almighty concerning their everlasting state. Again; suppose these
two, by alternate courses (as the doctrine of apostasy maintaineth
they may), should return each to their former estate, the decrees of
God concerning them must again be changed; for it is unjust with him
either not to elect him that believes, though it be but for an hour,
or not to reprobate unbelievers. Now, what unchangeableness can we
fix to these decrees, which it lies in the power of man to make as
inconstant as Euripus; making it, beside, to be possible that all
the members of Christs church, whose names are written in heaven,
should within one hour be enrolled in the black book of damnation?

Secondly, As these not-peremptory decrees are mutable, so they make
the peremptory decrees of God to be temporal. Final impenitency,
say they, is the only cause, and the finally unrepenting sinner is
the only object, of reprobation, peremptory and irrevocable. As the
poet thought none happy,[xxxviii] [17] so they think no man to be
elected, or a reprobate, before his death. Now, that denomination he
doth receive from the decrees of God concerning his eternal estate,
which must necessarily then be first enacted. The relation that is
between the act of reprobation and the person reprobated importeth a
co-existence of denomination. When God reprobates a man, he then
becomes a reprobate; which if it be not before he hath actually
fulfilled the measure of his iniquity, and sealed it up with the
talent of final impenitency in his death, the decree of God must
needs be temporal, the just Judge of all the world having till then
suspended his determination, expecting the last resolution of this
changeable Proteus. Nay, that Gods decrees concerning mens eternal
estates are in their judgment temporal, and not beginning until
their death, is plain from the whole course of their doctrine,
especially where they strive to prove that if there were any such
determination, God could not threaten punishments or promise
rewards. Who,[xxxix] [18] say they, can threaten punishment to
him whom, by a peremptory decree, he will have to be free from
punishment? It seems he cannot have determined to save any whom he
threatens to punish if they sin, which [it] is evident he doth all
so long as they live in this world; which makes God not only
mutable, but quite deprives him of his foreknowledge, and makes the
form of his decree run thus:If man will believe, I determine he
shall be saved; if he will not, I determine he shall be
damned,that is, I must leave him in the meantime to do what he
will, so I may meet with him in the end.

Thirdly, They affirm no decree of Almighty God concerning men is so
unalterable[xl] [19] but that all those who are now in rest or
misery might have had contrary lots;that those which are damned, as
Pharaoh, Judas, etc., might have been saved; and those which are
saved, as the blessed Virgin, Peter, John, might have been damned:
which must needs reflect with a strong charge of mutability on
Almighty God, who knoweth who are his. Divers other instances in
this nature I could produce, whereby it would be farther evident
that these innovators in Christian religion do overthrow the
eternity and unchangeableness of Gods decrees; but these are
sufficient to any discerning man. And I will add, in the close, an
antidote against this poison, briefly showing what the Scripture and
right reason teach us concerning these secrets of the Most High.

First, Known unto God, saith St James, are all his works from the
beginning, Acts 15:18; whence it hath hitherto been concluded that
whatever God doth in time bring to pass, that he decreed from all
eternity so to do. All his works were from the beginning known unto
him. Consider it particularly in the decree of election, that
fountain of all spiritual blessings, that a saving sense and
assurance thereof (2 Peter 1:10) being attained, might effect a
spiritual rejoicing in the Lord, 1 Corinthians 15:31. Such things
are everywhere taught as may raise us to the consideration of it as
of an eternal act, irrevocably and immutably established: He hath
chosen us before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4: his
purpose according to election, before we were born, must stand,
Romans 9:11; for to the irreversible stability of this act of his
will he hath set to the seal of his infallible knowledge, 2 Timothy
2:19. His purpose of our salvation by grace, not according to works,
was before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9: an eternal purpose,
proceeding from such a will as to which none can resist, joined with
such a knowledge as to which all things past, present, and to come
are open and evident, must needs also be, like the laws of the Medes
and Persians, permanent and unalterable.

Secondly, The [xli][20][xlii] decrees of God, being conformable to
his nature and essence, do require eternity and immutability as
their inseparable properties. God, and he only, never was, nor ever
can be, what now he is not. Passive possibility to any thing, which
is the fountain of all change, can have no place in him who is
actus simplex, and purely free from all composition; whence St
James affirmeth that with him is no variableness, neither shadow of
turning, James 1:17; with him, that is, in his will and purposes:
and himself by his prophet, I am the LORD, I change not; therefore
ye sons of Jacob are not consumed, Malachi 3:6; where he proveth
the not changing of his gracious purposes, because he is the LORD.
The eternal acts of his will not really differing from his
unchangeable essence, must needs be immutable.

Thirdly, Whatsoever God hath determined, according to the counsel of
his wisdom and good pleasure of his will, to be accomplished, to the
praise of his glory, standeth sure and immutable; for the Strength
of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he
should repent, 1 Samuel 15:29. He declareth the end from the
beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,
saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,
Isaiah 46:10; which certain and infallible execution of his pleasure
is extended to particular contingent events, Isaiah 48:14. Yea, it
is an ordinary thing with the Lord to confirm the certainty of those
things that are yet for to come from his own decree; as, The LORD
of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so it shall
come to pass; and as I have purposed, it shall stand, that I will
break the Assyrian, etc., Isaiah 14:24,25;It is certain the
Assyrian shall be broken, because the Lord hath purposed it; which
were a weak kind of reasoning, if his purpose might be altered. Nay
He is of one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul
desireth, that he doeth, Job 23:13. The Lord of hosts hath
purposed, and who shall disannul it? Isaiah 14:27. So that the
purpose of God and immutability of his counsel (Hebrews 6:17) have
their certainty and firmness from eternity, and do not depend on the
variable lubricity of mortal men; which we must needs grant, unless
we intend to set up impotency against omnipotency, and arm the clay
against the potter.

Fourthly, If Gods determination concerning any thing should have a
temporal original, it must needs be either because he then perceived
some goodness in it of which before he was ignorant, or else because
some accident did affix a real goodness to some state of things
which it had not from him; neither of which, without abominable
blasphemy, can be affirmed, seeing he knoweth the end from the
beginning, all things from everlasting, being always the same, the
fountain of all goodness, of which other things do participate in
that measure which it pleaseth him to communicate it unto them. Add
to this the omnipotency of God: there is power and might in his
hand,[so] that none is able to withstand him, 2 Chronicles 20:6;
which will not permit that any of his purposes be frustrate. In all
our intentions, if the defect be not in the error of our
understandings, which may be rectified by better information, when
we cannot do that which we would, we will do that which we can: the
alteration of our purpose is for want of power to fulfill it; which
impotency cannot be ascribed to Almighty God, who is in heaven, and
hath done whatsoever he pleased, Psalm 115:3. So that the
immutability of Gods nature, his almighty power, the infallibility
of his knowledge, his immunity from error in all his counsels, do
show that he never faileth in accomplishing any thing that he
proposeth for the manifestation of his glory. To close up this whole
discourse, wherein I have not discovered half the poison contained
in the Arminian doctrine concerning Gods decrees, I will in brief
present to your view the opposition that is in this matter betwixt
the word of God and the patrons of free-will:

S.S.Lib. Arbit.
He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
Ephesians 1:4.It is false to say that election is confirmed
from everlasting, Rem. Apol.

He hath called us according to his own purpose and grace,
before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9.It is certain that God
determineth divers things which he would not, did not some act
of mans will go before, Armin.

Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the
world, Acts 15:18.Some decrees of God precede all acts of
the will of the creature, and some follow, Corv.
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times
the things that are not yet done, swing, My counsel shall
stand, and I will do all my pleasure, Isaiah 46:10.Men may
make their election void and frustrate, Rem. Apol.

For the children being not yet born, neither having done any
good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, as Romans 9:11.It is no wonder if men do
sometimes of elect become reprobate, and of reprobate, elect,
Welsin.

The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The
Lord knoweth them that are his, 2 Timothy 2:19.Election is
uncertain and revocable, and whoever denies it overthrows the
gospel, Grevinch.

The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of
his heart to all generations, Psalm 33:11.Many decrees of
God cease at a certain time, Episcop.

My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,
Isaiah 46:10.God would have all men to be saved, but,
compelled with the stubborn malice of some, he changeth his
purpose, and will have them to perish, Armin.

I am the LORD, I change not, Malachi 3:6.As men may change
themselves from believers to unbelievers, so Gods
determination concerning them changeth, Rem.
With the Father of lights is no variableness, neither shadow
of turning, James 1:17; Exodus 3:13,14; Psalm 102:27; 2
Timothy 2:13; 1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 14:27; Job 23:13; Psalm
115:3.All Gods decrees are not peremptory, but some
conditionate and changeable, Sermon at Oxford.

ENDNOTES:

[xliii][1][xliv] Philippians lib. quod sit Deus immutabilis.
[xlv][2][xlvi] In ordine volitorum divinorum, quaedam sunt quae
omnem actum creaturae praece-dunt, quaedam quae sequuntur.Corv, ad
Molin., cap. 5. sect. 1, p. 67.
[xlvii][3][xlviii] Certum est Deum quaedam velle, quae non vellet
nisi aliqua volitio humana antece-deret.Armin., Antip., p. 211.
[xlix][4][l] Multa tamen arbitror Deum velle; quae non vellet,
adeoque nec juste velle posset, nisi aliqua actio creaturae
praecederet.Ad Ames., p. 24
[li][5][lii] Deus facit vel non facit id ad quod, ex se et natura
sua ac inclinatione propria est affectus, prout homo cum isto ordine
conspirat, vel non conspirat.Corv. ad Molin., cap. 5. ad sect. 3.
[liii][6][liv] Falsum est quod electio facta est ab seterno.Rem.
Apol., cap. 18. p. 190.
[lv][7][lvi] Volitiones aliquae Dei cessant certo quodam
tempore.Episcop. Disp. de Vol. Dei., thes. 7
[lvii][8][lviii] Deus vult omnes salvos fieri, sed compulsus
pertinaci et incorrigibili malitia quorundam, vult illos jacturam
facere salutis.Armin. Antip. fol. 195.
[lix][9][lx] Bell. Amiss. Grat.; Armin. Antip. Rem. Apol.
[lxi][10][lxii] (Docent) unumquemque invariabilem vitae, ac morris
protagh Armin. In Epist. Ded. ad Examen Lib. Perk.
[lxiii][11][lxiv] Possunt homines etectionem suam irritam et
frustraneam reddere.Rem. Apol., cap. 9. p. 105.
[lxv][12][lxvi] Jackson, of the Divine Essence.
[lxvii][13][lxviii] Non mirum videri debet quod aliquando ex
electis reprobi et ex reprobis electi fiant.Welsin, de Of. Ch. Hom.
[lxix][14][lxx] Omnia Dei decreta, non sunt peremptoria, sed
quaedam conditionata ac mutabilia.Concio. ad Cler. Oxon. ann.
1641, Rem. Decla. Sent. in Synod., alibi passim. Electio sicut et
justificatio, et incerta et revocabilis, utramque vero conditionatam
qui negaverit, ipsum quoque evangelium negabit.Grevinch, ad Ames.,
pp. 136,137.
[lxxi][15][lxxii] Ad gloriam participandam pro isto tempore quo
credunt electi sunt.Rem. Apol., p. 190.
[lxxiii][16][lxxiv] Decreta hypothetica possunt mutari, quia
conditio respectu hominis vel prsestatur vel non praestatur, atque
ita existit vel non existit. Et quum extitit aliquandiu, saepe
existere desinit, et rursus postquam aliquandiu desiit, existere
incipit.Corv. ad Molin., cap. 5. sec. 10.
[lxxv][17][lxxvi] Dicique beatusAnte obitum nemo, etc.Ovid.
[lxxvii][18][lxxviii] Quis enim comminetur poenam ei, quem
peremptorio decreto a poena immunem esse vult ?Rem. Apol., cap.
17. p. 187.
[lxxix][19][lxxx] Author of Gods Love to Mankind, p. 4, [a
treatise written by Hoard. Davenant, professor of divinity in
Cambridge, and afterwards bishop of Salisbury, wrote in reply his
Animadversions on it. Dr Hill, in his Lectures on Divinity,
pronounces this work of Davenant to be one of the ablest defences
of the Calvinistic system of predestination.ED.]
[lxxxi][20][lxxxii] Quicquid operatur, operatur ut est.


CHAPTER 3.


OF THE PRESCIENCE OR

FOREKNOWLEDGE OF GOD, AND HOW

IT IS QUESTIONED AND OVERTHROWN BY THE ARMINIANS.


The prescience or foreknowledge of God hath not hitherto, in express
terms, been denied by the Arminians, but only questioned and
overthrown by consequence, inasmuch as they deny the certainty and
unchangeableness of his decrees, on which it is founded. It is not a
foreknowledge of all or any thing which they oppose, but only of
things free and contingent, and that only to comply with their
formerly-exploded error, that the purposes of God concerning such
things are temporal and mutable; which obstacle being once removed,
the way is open how to ascribe the presidentship of all human
actions to omnipotent contingency, and her sire free-will. Now, we
call that contingent which, in regard of its next and immediate
cause, before it come to pass, may be done or may be not done; as,
that a man shall do such a thing tomorrow, or any time hereafter,
which he may choose whether ever he will do or no. Such things as
these are free and changeable, in respect of men, their immediate
and second causes; but if we, as we ought to do, (James 4:13-15.)
look up unto Him who foreseeth and hath ordained the event of them
or their omission, they may be said necessarily to come to pass or
to be omitted. It could not be but as it was. Christians hitherto,
yea, and heathens,[lxxxiii] [1] in all things of this nature, have
usually, upon their event, reflected on God as one whose
determination was passed on them from eternity, and who knew them
long before; as the killing of men by the fall of a house, who
might, in respect of the freedom of their own wills, have not been
there. Or if a man fall into the hands of thieves, we presently
conclude it was the will of God. It must be so; he knew it before.
Divines, for distinctions sake, [lxxxiv] [2] ascribe unto God a
twofold knowledge; one, intuitive or intellective, whereby he
foreknoweth and seeth all things that are possible,that is, all
things that can be done by his almighty power,without any respect
to their future existence, whether they shall come to pass or no.
Yea, infinite things, whose actual being eternity shall never
behold, are thus open and naked unto him; for was there not strength
and power in his hand to have created another world? was there not
counsel in the storehouse of his wisdom to have created this
otherwise, or not to have created it at all? Shall we say that his
providence extends itself every way to the utmost of its activity?
or can he not produce innumerable things in the world which now he
doth not. Now, all these, and every thing else that is feasible to
his infinite power, he foresees and knows, scientia, as they
speak, simplicis intelligentiae, by his essential knowledge.

Out [lxxxv] [3] of this large and boundless territory of things
possible, God by his decrees freely determineth what shall come to
pass, and makes them future which before were but possible. After
this decree, as they commonly speak, followeth, or together with it,
as [lxxxvi] [4] others more exactly, taketh place, that prescience
of God which they call visionis, of vision, [lxxxvii] [5]
whereby he infallibly seeth all things in their proper causes, and
how and when they shall come to pass. Now, these two sorts of
knowledge differ, [lxxxviii] [6] inasmuch as by the one God knoweth
what it is possible may come to pass; by the other, only what it is
impossible should not come to pass. Things are possible in regard of
Gods power, future in regard of his decree. So that (if I may so
say) the measure of the first kind of science is Gods omnipotency,
what he can do; of the other his purpose, what certainly he will do,
or permit to be done. With this prescience, then, God foreseeth all,
and nothing but what he hath decreed shall come to pass.

For every thing to be produced next and under him, [lxxxix] [7] God
hath prepared divers and several kinds of causes, diversely
operative in producing their effects, some whereof are said to work
necessarily, the institution of their nature being to do as they do,
and not otherwise; so the sun giveth light, and the fire heat. And
yet, in some regard, their effects and products may be said to be
contingent and free, inasmuch as the concurrence of God, the first
cause, is required to their operation, who doth all things most
freely, according to the counsel of his will. Thus the sun stood
still in the time of Joshua, and the fire burned not the three
children; but ordinarily such agents working necessitate naturae,
their effects are said to be necessary. Secondly, To some things God
hath fitted free and contingent causes, which either apply
themselves to operation in particular, according to election,
choosing to do this thing rather than that; as angels and men, in
their free and deliberate actions, which they so perform as that
they could have not done them;or else they produce effects
tov, merely by accident, and the operation of such things we
say to be casual; as if a hatchet, falling out of the hand of a man
cutting down a tree, should kill another whom he never saw. Now,
nothing in either of these ways comes to pass but God hath
determined it, both for the matter and manner, [xc] [8] even so as
is agreeable to their causes,some necessarily, some freely, some
casually or contingently, yet also, as having a certain futurition
from his decree, he infallibly foreseeth that they shall so come to
pass. But yet that he doth so in respect of things free and
contingent is much questioned by the Arminians in express terms, and
denied by consequence, notwithstanding St Jerome affirmeth [xci] [9]
that so to do is destructive to the very essence of the Deity.

First, Their doctrine of the mutability of Gods decrees, on whose
firmness is founded the infallibility of this prescience, doth quite
overthrow it. God thus foreknowing only what he hath so decreed
shall come to pass, if that be no firmer settled but that it may[be]
and is often altered, according to the divers inclinations of mens
wills, which I showed before they affirm, he can have at best but a
conjectural foreknowledge of what is yet for to come, not founded on
his own unchangeable purpose, but upon a guess at the free
inclination of mens wills. For instance, [xcii] [10] God willeth
that all men should be saved. This act of his will, according to the
Arminian doctrine, is his conditionate decree to save all men if
they will believe. Well, among these is Judas, as [xciii] [11] equal
a sharer in the benefit of this decree as Peter. God, then, will
have him to be saved, and to this end allows him all those means
which are necessary to beget faith in him, and are every way
sufficient to that purpose, and do produce that effect in others;
what can God foresee, then, but that Judas as well as Peter will
believe? He intendeth he should, he hath determined nothing to the
contrary. Let him come, then, and act his own part. Why, he proves
so obstinately malicious, [xciv] [12] that God, with all his
omnipotency, as they speak, by any way that becomes him, which must
not be by any irresistible efficacy, cannot change his obdurate
heart. Well, then, he determineth, according to the exigence of his
justice, that he shall be damned for his impenitency, and foreseeth
that accordingly. But now, suppose this wretch, even at his last
moment, should bethink himself and return to the Lord, which in
their conceit he may, notwithstanding his former reprobation (which,
[xcv] [13] as they state it, seems a great act of mercy), [xcvi]
[14] God must keep to the rules of his justice, and elect or
determine to save him; by which the varlet hath twice or thrice
deceived his expectation.

Secondly, [xcvii] [15] They affirm that God is said properly to
expect and desire divers things which yet never come to pass. We
grant, saith Corvinus, that there are desires in God that never
are fulfilled. Now, surely, to desire what one is sure will never
come to pass is not an act regulated by wisdom or counsel; and,
therefore, they must grant that before he did not know but perhaps
so it might be. God wisheth and desireth some good things, which
yet come not to pass,[xcviii] [16] say they, in their Confession;
whence one of these two things must needs follow,either, first,
that there is a great deal of imperfection in his nature, to desire
and expect what he knows shall never come to pass; or else he did
not know but it might, which overthrows his prescience. Yea, and say
they expressly, [xcix] [17] That the hope and expectation of God is
deceived by man; and confess, that the strength of their strongest
argument lies in this, that God hoped and expected obedience from
Israel. Secondly, That he complaineth that his hope is deluded,
which, being taken properly, and as they urge it, cannot consist
with his eternal prescience; for they disesteem the usual answer of
divines, that hope, expectation, and such like passions, which
include in them any imperfection, are ascribed unto God per
ajnqrwpopa>qeian,in regard of that analogy his actions hold with
such of ours as we perform having those passions.

Thirdly, [c] [18] They teach that God hath determined nothing
concerning such things as these in question. That God hath
determined future contingent things unto either part (I mean such as
issue from the free-will of the creature), I abominate, hate, and
curse, as false, absurd, and leading us on unto blasphemy, saith
Arminius. To determine of them to either part is to determine and
ordain whether they shall be, or whether they shall not be; as, that
David shall or shall not go up tomorrow against the Philistines, and
prevail. Now, the infallibility of Gods foreknowing of such things
depending on the certainty of his decree and determination, if there
be no such thing as this, that also must needs fall to the ground.
Fourthly, [ci] [19] See what positively they write concerning this
everlasting foreknowledge of God:First, They call it a troublesome
question; secondly, They make it a thing disputable whether there be
any such thing or no; and though haply it may be ascribed unto God,
yet, thirdly, They think it no motive to the worship of him;
fourthly, They say, better it were quite exploded, because the
difficulties that attend it can scarcely be reconciled with mans
liberty, Gods threatenings and promises; yea, fifthly, It seems
rather to be invented to crucify poor mortals than to be of any
moment in religion. So Episcopius. It may be excepted that this is
but one doctors opinion. It is true, they are one mans words; but
the thing itself is countenanced by the whole sect. As, first, in
the large prolix declaration of their opinions, they speak not one
word of it; and being taxed for this omission by the professors of
Leyden, they vindicate themselves so coldly in their Apology, that
some learned men do from hence conclude,[cii] [20] that certainly,
in their most secret judgments, all the Arminians do consent with
Socinus in ascribing unto God only a conjectural foreknowledge. And
one great prophet of their own affirms roundly, [ciii] [21] That
God, after his manner, oftentimes feareth, that is, suspecteth, and
that not without cause, and prudently conjectureth, that this or
that evil may arise, Vorstius. And their chiefest patriarchs, [civ]
[22] That God doth often intend what he doth not foresee will come
to pass, Armin., Corv. Now, whether this kind of atheism be
tolerable among Christians or no, let all men judge who have their
senses exercised in the word of God; which, I am sure, teaches us
another lesson. For,

First, It is laid down as a firm foundation, that known unto God
are all his works from the beginning of the world, Acts 15:18.
Every thing, then, that in any respect may be called his work, is
known unto him from all eternity. Now, what in the world, if we may
speak as he hath taught us, can be exempted from this denomination?
Even actions in themselves sinful are not; though not as sinful, yet
in some other regard, as punishments of others. Behold, saith
Nathan to David, in the name of God, I will take thy wives before
thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbor, and he shall lie with
thy wives in the sight of this sun; for thou didst it secretly, but
I will do this thing before all Israel, 2 Samuel 12:11,12. So,
also, when wicked robbers had nefariously spoiled Job of all his
substance, the holy man concludeth, The LORD gave, and the LORD
hath taken away, Job 1:21. Now, if the working of Gods providence
be so mighty and effectual, even in and over those actions wherein
the devil and men do most maliciously offend, as did Absalom and the
Sabean with the Chaldean thieves, that it may be said to be his
work, and he may be said to do it (I crave liberty to use the
Scripture phrase), then certainly nothing in the world, in some
respect or other, is independent of his all-disposing hand; yea,
Judas himself betraying our Savior did nothing but what his hand
and counsel determined before should be done,[cv] [23] Acts 4:28,
in respect of the event of the thing itself. And if these actions,
notwithstanding these two hindrances,first, that they were
contingent, wrought by free agents, working according to election
and choice; secondly, that they were sinful and wicked in the
agents,had yet their dependence on his purpose and determinate
counsel, surely he hath an interest of operation in the acts of
every creature. But his works, as it appears before, are all known
unto him from the beginning, for he worketh nothing by chance or
accidentally, but all things determinately, according to his own
decree, or the counsel of his own will, Ephesians 1:11.

Secondly, The manner of Gods knowing of things doth evidently show
that nothing that is, or may be, can be hid from him; [cvi] [24]
which is not by discourse and collection of one thing out of
another, conclusions out of principles, but altogether and at once,
evidently, clearly, and distinctly, both in respect tou~ o[ti, and
tou~ dio>ti. By one most pure act of his own essence he discerneth
all things: for there is no creature that is not manifest in his
sight, but all are naked and opened unto his eyes, Hebrews 4:13. So
that those things concerning which we treat [cvii] [25] he knoweth
three ways:First, In himself and his own decree, as the first
cause; in which respect they may be said to be necessary, in respect
of the certainty of their event. Secondly, In their immediate
causes, wherein their contingency doth properly consist. Thirdly, In
their own nature as future, but to his infinite knowledge ever
present.

Thirdly, The Scripture (Psalm 44:21; Job 11:11; Daniel 2:47; Psalm
7:9, 26:2, 147:4; Luke 2:27; Matthew 10:29, 30; Psalm 139:2) is full
of expressions to this purpose,to wit, That God knoweth all
secrets, and revealeth hidden things: he searcheth the reins and the
heart: he knoweth the number of the stars, and the birds of the air,
the lilies of the field, the falling of sparrows, the number of the
hairs of our heads. Some places are most remarkable, as that of the
Psalmist, He knoweth my thoughts long before; even before ever
they come into our minds, before their first rising. And yet many
actions that are most contingent depend upon those thoughts known
unto God from eternity; nay,which breaketh the very neck of the
goddess contingency,those things wherein her greatest power is
imagined to consist are directly ascribed unto God, as our words,
the answer of the tongue, Proverbs 16:1; and the directing of an
arrow, shot by chance, to a mark not aimed at, 1 Kings 22:34. Surely
God must needs foreknow the event of that contingent action; he must
needs know the man would so shoot who had determined his arrow
should be the death of a king. He maketh men poor and rich, Proverbs
22:2; He lifteth up one, and pulleth down another, Psalm 75:7. How
many contingencies did gorgotou, his piercing
eye run through to foresee the crowning of Esther for the
deliverance of his people! In a word, Known unto God are all his
works. Now, what can possibly be imagined to be more contingent
than the killing of a man by the fall of an axe from out of his hand
who intended no such thing? Yet this God assumeth as his own work,
Deuteronomy 19:5, Exodus 21:13; and so surely was by him foreknown.
Fourthly, Do but consider the prophecies in Scripture, especially
those concerning our Savior, how many free and contingent actions
did concur for the fulfilling of them; as Isaiah 7:14, 9:6,53;
Genesis 3:15, etc. The like may be said of other predictions; as of
the wasting of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which though, in regard
of Gods prescience, it was certainly to come to pass, yet they did
it most freely, not only following the counsel of their own wills,
but also using divination, or chanceable lots, for their direction,
Ezekiel 21:21. Yet he who made the eye seeth all these things, Psalm
94:9.

Divers other reasons and testimonies might be produced to confirm
our doctrine of Gods everlasting prescience; which, notwithstanding
Episcopius blasphemy, that it serves for nought but to cruciate
poor mortals, we believe to be a good part of the foundation of all
that consolation which God is pleased to afford us in this vale of
tears. Amidst all our afflictions and temptations, under whose
pressure we should else faint and despair, it is no small comfort to
be assured that we do nor can suffer nothing but what his hand and
counsel guides unto us, what is open and naked before his eyes, and
whose end and issue he knoweth long before; which is a strong motive
to patience, a sure anchor of hope, a firm ground of consolation.
Now, to present in one view how opposite the opinions of the
worshippers of the great goddess contingency are to this sacred
truth, take this short antithesis:

S.S.Lib. Arbit.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the
world, Acts 15:18.God sometimes feareth, and prudently
conjectureth, that this or that evil may arise, Vorsti.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his
sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of
him with whom we have to do, Hebrews 4:13.God doth not
always foresee the event of what he intendeth, Corvin. ad Mol.

He that formed the eye, shall he not see? Psalm 94:9. When
a man goeth into the wood with his neighbor to hew wood, and
his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree,
and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his
neighbor, that he die, Deuteronomy 19:5. God delivers him
into his hand, Exodus 21:13.Future contingencies are not
determined unto either part, Armin. That is, God hath not
determined, and so, consequently, doth not foreknow, whether
they shall come to pass or no.

Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we
drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things, Matthew
6:31,32.God hopeth and expecteth divers things that shall
never come to pass, Rem. Take away Gods prescience and you
overthrow his deity, Jerome. The doctrine of prescience
seems to be invented only to vex and cruciate poor mortal
men, Episcop.


ENDNOTES:
[cviii] [1] Dioeto boulh>, Hom;Gods will was done.
[cix] [2] Quaecunque possunt per creaturam fieri, vel cogitari,
vel dici, et etiam quaecunque ipse facere potest, omnia cognoscit
Deus, etiamsi neque sunt, neque erunt, neque fuerunt, scientia
simplicis intelligentiae.Aquin, p. q. 14, a. 9, c. Ex verbis
apostoli, Romans 3, Qui vocat ea quae non sunt tanquam ea quae
sunt. Sic scholastici omnes. Fer. Scholast. Orthod. Speci. cap.
in., alii passim. Vid. Hieron. Zanch. De Scientia Dei, lib. diatrib.
3., cap. 2, q. 5.
[cx] [3] Vid. Sam. Rhaetorfort. Exercit. de Grat., ex. 1. cap. 4.
[cxi] [4] Res ipsae nullo naturae momento possibiles esse dicendae
sunt priusquam a Deo in-telliguntur, scientia quae dicitur simplicis
intelligentiae, ita etiam scientia quae dicitur visionis, et fertur
in res futuras, nullo naturae momento, posterior statuenda videtur,
ista futuritione, rerum; cum scientia, etc.Dr Twiss. ad Errat.
Vind. Grat.
[cxii] [5] Scientia visionis dicitur, quia ea quae videntur, apud
nos habent esse distinctum extra videntem.Aq. p. q. 14, a. 9, c.
[cxiii] [6] In eo differt praescientia intuitionis, ab ea, quae
approbationis est, quod illa praesciat, quod evenire possibile est;
hoc vero quod impossibile est non evenire.Ferrius. Orthod.
Scholast. Spoci. cap. 23. Caeterum posterior ista scientia non
proprie dicitur a Ferrio scientia approbationis, illa enim est, qua
Deus dicitur nosse quae amat et ap-probat; ab utraque altera
distincta. Matthew 7:23; Romans 11:2; 2 Timothy 2:19. Quamvis
infinitorum numerorum, nullus sit numerus, non tamen est
incomprehensibilis ei, cujus scientiae non est numerus.Aug. de
Civit. Dei, lib. 12. cap. 18.
[cxiv] [7] Quibusdam effectibus praeparavit causas necessarias, ut
necessario eveniret, quibus-dam vero causas contingentes ut
evenirent contingenter, secundum conditionem proximarum
causarum.Aquin. p. q. 28, a. 4, in Cor. Zanch. de Natur. Dei, lib.
v., qu. 4, thes.
[cxv] [8] Res et modos rerumAquin.
[cxvi] [9] Cui praescientiam tollis, aufers divinitatem.Hieron.
ad Pelag., lib.
[cxvii] [10] Deus ita omnium salutem ex aequo vult, ut illam ex
aequo optet et desideret.Corv. ad Molin., cap. 31. sect. 1
[cxviii] [11] Talis gratia omnibus datur quae sufficiat ad fidem
generandam.Idem, ibid, sect. 15.
[cxix] [12] Pertinaci quorundam malitia compulsus.Armin., ubi
sup.
[cxx] [13] Reprobatio populi Judaici fuit actio temporaria et quae
bono ipsorum Judaeorum si modo sanabiles adhuc essent, animumque
advertere vellent, servire poterat, utque ei fini serviret a Deo
facta erat.Rem. Apol., cap. 20. p. 221.
[cxxi] [14] Injustum est apud Deum vel non credentem eligere, vel
credentem non eligere.Rem. Apol.
[cxxii] [15] Concedimus in Deo desideria, quae nunquam
implentur.Corv. Ad Molin., cap. v. sect. 2.
[cxxiii] [16] Bona quaedam Deus optat et desiderat.Rem. Confes.,
cap. 2. sect. 9.
[cxxiv] [17] Dei spes et expectatio est ab hominibus elusa.Rem.
Scrip. Syn. in cap. v., Isaiah 5:1. In eo vis argumenti est, quod
Deus ab Israele obedientiam et sperarit, et expectarit.Idem, ibid.
Quod Deus de elusa spe sua conqueratur.Idem, ubi supra.
[cxxv] [18] Deum futura contingentia, decreto suo determinasse ad
alterutram partem (intellige quae a libera creaturae voluntate
patrantur), falsum, absurdum, et multiplicis blasphemiae praevium
abominor et exsecror.Armin. Declarat. Senten.
[cxxvi] [19] Disquiri permittimus:1. Operosam illam quaestionem,
de scientia futurorum contingentium absoluta et conditionata; 2.
Etsi non negemus Deo illam scientiam attribui posse; 3. Tamen an
necessarium saluti sit ad hoc ut Deus recte colatur examinari
permittimus; 4. Tum merito facessere debent a scholis et ecclesiis,
intricatae et spinosae istae quaestiones quae de ea agitari
solent,quomodo illa cum libertate arbitrii, cum seriis Dei
comminationibus, aliisque actionibus, consistere possit: quae omnia
crucem potius miseris mortalibus fixerunt, quam ad religionem
cultumque divinum, momenti aliquid inquisitoribus suis
attulerunt.Episcopius, Disput. 4. sect. 10.; Rem. Apol., pp. 43,44.
[cxxvii] [20] Ames. Antisynod, p. 10.
[cxxviii] [21] Deus suo modo aliquando metuit, hoc est, merito
suspicatur et prudenter conjicit, hoc vel illud malum
oriturum.Vorsti. de Deo, p. 451.
[cxxix] [22] Deus non semper ex praescientia finem
intendit.Armin., Antip., p. 667; Corv. ad Molin., cap. 5. sect. 5.
[cxxx] [23] Cum et pater tradiderit filium suum, et ipse Christus
corpus suum: et Judas dominum suum: cur in hac traditione Deus est
pius, et homo reus, nisi quia in re una quam fecerunt, causa non
fuit una propter quam fecerunt.Aug., Epist. 48.
[cxxxi] [24] Deus non particulatim, vel singillatim omnia videt,
velut alternanter concepta, hinc illuc, inde huc, sed omnia videt
simul.Aug., lib. 15. de Trinit., cap. 14. In scientia divina
nullus est discursus, sed omnia perfecte intelligit.Tho., p. q.
14, a. 7. c.
[cxxxii] [25] Tilen. Syntag. de Attrib. Dei, thes. 22; Zanch. de
Nat. Dei. Unumquodque quod est, dum est, necesse est, ut sit


CHAPTER 4.


OF THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

IN GOVERNING THE WORLD DIVERSELY, THRUST

FROM THIS PRE-EMINENCE BY THE ARMINIAN IDOL OF FREE-WILL.


I come now to treat of that betwixt which and the Pelagian idol
there is bellum a]spondon, implacable war and immortal hatred,
absolutely destructive to the one side,to wit, the providence of
God. For this, in that notion Christianity hath hitherto embraced
it, and that, in such a sense as the Arminians maintain it, can no
more consist together than fire and water, light and darkness,
Christ and Belial, and he that shall go to conjoin them ploughs with
an ox and an ass; they must be tied together with the same ligament
quo ille mortua jungebat corpora vivis,wherewith the tyrant tied
dead bodies to living men. This strange advancement of the clay
against the potter, not by the way of repining, and to say, Why
hast thou made me thus? but by the way of emulation, I will not be
so, I will advance myself to the sky, to the sides of thy throne,
was heretofore unknown to the more refined Paganism.[cxxxiii] [1] As
these of contingency, so they, with a better error, made a goddess
of providence, because, as they feigned, she helped Latona to bring
forth in the isle of Delos; intimating that Latona, or nature,
though big and great with sundry sorts of effects, could yet produce
nothing without the interceding help of divine providence: which
mythology of theirs seems to contain a sweeter gust of divine truth
than any we can expect from their towering fancies [cxxxiv] [2] who
are inclinable to believe that God for no other reason is said to
sustain all things, but because he doth not destroy them. Now, that
their proud, God-opposing errors may the better appear, according to
my former method, I will plainly show what the Scripture teacheth us
concerning this providence, with what is agreeable to right and
Christian reason, not what is dictated by tumultuating affections.
Providence is a word which, in its proper signification, may seem to
comprehend all the actions of God that outwardly are of him, that
have any respect unto his creatures, all his works that are not ad
intra, essentially belonging unto the Deity. Now, because God
worketh all things according to his decree, or the counsel of his
will, Ephesians 1:11, for whatsoever he doth now it pleased him
from the beginning, Psalm 115:3; seeing, also, that known unto God
are all his works from eternity; therefore, three things concerning
his providence are considerable:1. His decree or purpose, [cxxxv]
[3] whereby he hath disposed of all things in order, and appointed
them for certain ends, which he hath fore-ordained. 2. His
prescience, whereby he certainly fore-knoweth all things that shall
come to pass. 3. His temporal operation, or working in time,My
Father worketh hitherto, John 5:17,whereby he actually executeth
all his good pleasure. The first and second of these have been the
subject of the former chapters; the latter only now requireth our
consideration. This, then, we may conceive as an ineffable act or
work of Almighty God, whereby he cherisheth, sustaineth, and
governeth the world, or all things by him created, moving them,
agreeably to those natures which he endowed them withal in the
beginning, unto those ends which he hath proposed. To confirm this,
I will first prove this position, That the whole world is cared for
by God, and by him governed, and therein all men, good or bad, all
things in particular, be they never so small and in our eyes
inconsiderable. Secondly, show the manner how God worketh all, in
all things, and according to the diversity of secondary causes which
he hath created; whereof some are necessary, some free, others
contingent, which produce their effects nec pa>ntwv, nec ejpi< to<
polu>, sed kata< sumqeqhko>v, merely by accident.
The providence of God in governing the world is plentifully made
known unto us, both by his works and by his word. I will give a few
instances of either sort:1. In general, that the almighty
Dhmiourgo>v, and Framer of this whole universe, should propose unto
himself no end in the creation of all things,that he should want
either power, goodness, will, or wisdom, to order and dispose the
works of his own hands,is altogether impossible. 2. Take a
particular instance in one concerning accident, the knowledge
whereof by some means or other, in some degree or other, hath spread
itself throughout the world,and that is that almost universal
destruction of all by the flood, whereby the whole world was
well-nigh reduced to its primitive confusion. Is there nothing but
chance to be seen in this? was there any circumstance about it that
did not show a God and his providence? Not to speak of those
revelations whereby God foretold that he would bring such a deluge,
what chance, what fortune, could collect such a small number of
individuals of all sorts, wherein the whole kind might be preserved?
What hand guided that poor vessel from the rocks and gave it a
resting-place on the mountains? Certainly, the very reading of that
story, Genesis 7,8, having for confirmation the catholic tradition
of all mankind, were enough to startle the stubborn heart of an
atheist.

The word of God doth not less fully relate it than his works do
declare it, Psalm 19, My Father worketh hitherto, saith our
Savior, John 5:17. But did not God end his work on the seventh day,
and did he not then rest from all his work? Genesis 2:2. True,
from his work of creation by his omnipotence; but his work of
gubernation by his providence as yet knows no end. Yea, and divers
particular things he doth besides the ordinary course, only to make
known that he thus worketh, John 9:3. As he hath framed all things
by his wisdom, so he continueth them by his providence in excellent
order, as is at large declared in that golden Psalm 104: and this is
not bounded to any particular places or things, but his eyes are in
every place, beholding the evil and the good, Proverbs 15:3; so
that none can hide himself in secret places that he shall not see
him, Jeremiah 23:24; Acts 17:24; Job 5:10,11; Exodus 4:11. And all
this he saith that men may know from the rising of the sun, and
from the west, that there is none beside him. He is the LORD, and
there is none else. He formeth the light, and createth darkness: he
maketh peace, and createth evil: he doeth all these things, Isaiah
45:6,7. In these and innumerable like places doth the Lord declare
that there is nothing which he hath made, that with the good hand of
his providence he doth not govern and sustain.

Now, this general extent of his common providence to all doth no way
hinder but that he may exercise certain special acts thereof towards
some in particular, even by how much nearer than other things they
approach unto him and are more assimilated unto his goodness. I mean
his church here on earth, and those whereof it doth consist; for
what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them?
Deuteronomy 4:7. In the government hereof he most eminently showeth
his glory, and exerciseth his power. Join here his works with his
word, what he hath done with what he hath promised to do for the
conservation of his church and people, and you will find admirable
issues of a more special providence. Against this he promiseth the
gates of hell shall not prevail, Matthew 16:18;amidst of these he
hath promised to remain, Matthew 28:20; supplying them with an
addition of all things necessary, Matthew 6:33; desiring that all
their care might be cast upon him, who careth for them, 1 Peter
5:7; forbidding any to touch his anointed ones, Psalm 105:15, and
that because they are unto him as the apple of his eye, Zechariah
2:8. Now, this special providence hath respect unto a supernatural
end, to which that, and that alone, is to be conveyed.

For wicked men, as they are excepted from this special care and
government, so they are not exempted from the dominion of his
almighty hand. He who hath created them for the day of evil,
Proverbs 16:4, and provided a place of their own for them to go
unto, Acts 1:25, doth not in this world suffer them to live without
the verge of his all-ruling providence; but by suffering and
enduring their iniquities with great patience and long-suffering,
Romans 9:22, defending them oftentimes from the injuries of one
another, Genesis 4:15, by granting unto them many temporal
blessings, Matthew 5:45, disposing of all their works to the glory
of his great name, Proverbs 21:1,2, he declareth that they also
live, and move, and have their being in him, and are under the
government of his providence. Nay, there is not the least thing in
this world to which his care and knowledge doth not descend. In
would it become his wisdom not to sustain, order, and dispose of all
things by him created, but leave them to the ruin of uncertain
chance. Jerome[cxxxvi] [4] then was injurious to his providence, and
cast a blemish on his absolute perfection, whilst he thought to have
cleared his majesty from being defiled with the knowledge and care
of the smallest reptiles and vermin every moment; and St Austin is
express to the contrary: [cxxxvii] [5] Who, saith he, hath
disposed the several members of the flea and gnat, that hath given
unto them order, life, and motion? etc.,even most agreeable to
holy Scriptures: so Psalm 104:20,21, 145:15; Matthew 6:26,30, He
feedeth the fowls, and clotheth the grass of the field; Job 39:1,2;
Jonah 4:6,7. Sure it is not troublesome to God to take notice of all
that he hath created. Did he use that great power in the production
of the least of his creatures, so far beyond the united activity of
men and angels, for no end at all? Doubtless, even they also must
have a well-disposed order, for the manifestation of his glory. Not
a sparrow falleth on the ground without our Father; even the hairs
of our head are all numbered, Matthew 10:29,30. He clotheth the
lilies and grass of the field, which is to be cast into the oven,

Luke 12:27,28. Behold his knowledge and care of them! Again, he used
frogs and lice for the punishment of the Egyptians, Exodus 8; with a
gourd and a worm he exercised his servant Jonah, chapter 4; yea, he
calls the locusts his terrible army;and shall not God know and
take care of the number of his soldiers, the ordering of his
dreadful host?

That God by his providence governeth and disposeth of all things by
him created is sufficiently proved; the manner how he worketh all in
all, how he ordereth the works of his own hands, in what this
governing and disposing of his creatures doth chiefly consist, comes
now to be considered. And here four things are principally to be
observed:First, The sustaining, preserving, and upholding of all
things by his power; for he upholdeth all things by the word of his
power, Hebrews 1:3. Secondly, His working together with all things,
by an influence of causality into the agents themselves; for he
also hath wrought all our works in us, Isaiah 26:12. Thirdly, His
powerful overruling of all events, both necessary, free, and
contingent, and disposing of them to certain ends for the
manifestation of his glory. So Joseph tells his brethren, As for
you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to
bring to pass, as it is at this day, to save much people live,
Genesis 1:20. Fourthly, His determining and restraining second
causes to such and such effects: The kings heart is in the hand of
the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he
will, Proverbs 21:1.

First, His sustentation or upholding of all things is his powerful
continuing of their being, natural strength, and faculties, bestowed
on them at their creation: In him we live, and move, and have our
being, Acts 17. So that he doth neither work all himself in them,
without any co-operation of theirs, which would not only turn all
things into stocks, yea, and take from stocks their own proper
nature, but also is contrary to that general blessing he spread over
the face of the whole world in the beginning, Be fruitful, and
multiply, Genesis 1:22;nor yet leave them to a self-subsistence,
he in the meantime only not destroying them;[cxxxviii] [6] which
would make him an idle spectator of most things in the world, not to
work hitherto, as our Savior speaks, and grant to divers things
here below an absolute being, not derivative from him: the first
whereof is blasphemous, the latter impossible.

Secondly, For Gods working in and together with all second causes
for producing of their effects, what part or portion in the work
punctually to assign unto him, what to the power of the inferior
causes, seems beyond the reach of mortals; neither is an exact
comprehension thereof any way necessary, so that we make every thing
beholding to his power for its being, and to his assistance for its
operation.

Thirdly, His supreme dominion exerciseth itself in disposing of all
things to certain and determinate ends for his own glory, and is
chiefly discerned advancing itself over those things which are most
contingent, and making them in some sort necessary, inasmuch as they
are certainly disposed of to some proposed ends. Between the birth
and death of a man, how many things merely contingent do occur! how
many chances! how many diseases! in their own nature all evitable,
and, in regard of the event, not one of them but to some proves
mortal; yet, certain it is that a mans days are determined, the
number of his months are with the Lord, he hath appointed his bounds
that he cannot pass, Job 14:5. And oftentimes by things purely
contingent and accidental he executeth his purposes,bestoweth
rewards, inflicteth punishments, and accomplisheth his judgments; as
when he delivereth a man to be slain by the head of an axe, flying
from the helve in the hand of a man cutting a tree by the way. But
in nothing is this more evident than in the ancient casting of lots,
a thing as casual and accidental as can be imagined, huddled in the
cap at a venture. Yet God overruleth them to the declaring of his
purpose, freeing truth from doubts, and manifestation of his power:
Proverbs 16:33, The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole
disposing thereof is of the LORD;as you may see in the examples of
Achan, Joshua 7:16-18; Saul, 1 Samuel 10:20,21; Jonathan, 1 Samuel
14:41,42; Jonah, Jonah 1:7; Matthias, Acts 1:26. And yet this
overruling act of Gods providence (as no other decree or act of
his) doth not rob things contingent of their proper nature; for
cannot he who effectually causeth that they shall come to pass,
cause also that they shall come to pass contingently?

Fourthly, Gods predetermination of second causes (which I name not
last as though it were the last act of Gods providence about his
creatures, for indeed it is the first that concerneth their
operation) is that effectual working of his, according to his
eternal purpose, whereby, though some agents, as the wills of men,
are causes most free and indefinite, or unlimited lords of their own
actions, in respect of their internal principle of operation (that
is, their own nature), [they] are yet all, in respect of his decree,
and by his powerful working, determined to this or that effect in
particular; not that they are compelled to do this, or hindered from
doing that, but are inclined and disposed to do this or that,
according to their proper manner of working, that is, most freely:
for truly such testimonies are everywhere obvious in Scripture, of
the stirring up of mens wills and minds, of bending and inclining
them to divers things, of the governing of the secret thoughts and
motions of the heart, as cannot by any means be referred to a naked
permission, with a government of external actions, or to a general
influence, whereby they should have power to do this or that, or any
thing else; wherein, as some suppose, his whole providence
consisteth.

Let us now jointly apply these several acts to free agents, working
according to choice, or relation, such as are the wills of men, and
that will open the way to take a view of Arminian heterodoxies,
concerning this article of Christian belief. And here two things
must be premised:First, That they be not deprived of their own
radical or original internal liberty; secondly, That they be not
exempt from the moving influence and gubernation of Gods
providence;the first whereof would leave no just room for rewards
and punishments; the other, as I said before, is injurious to the
majesty and power of God. St Augustine[cxxxix] [7] judged Cicero
worthy of special blame, even among the heathens, for so attempting
to make men free that he made them sacrilegious, by denying them to
be subject to an overruling providence: which gross error was
directly maintained by Damascen,[cxl] [8] a learned Christian,
teaching, Things whereof we have any power, not to depend on
providence, but on our own free will; an opinion fitter for a hog
of the Epicurus herd than for a scholar in the school of Christ. And
yet this proud, prodigious error is now, though in other terms,
stiffly maintained: for what do they else who ascribe such an
absolute independent liberty to the will of man, that it should have
in its own power every circumstance, every condition whatsoever,
that belongs to operation, so that all things required on the part
of God, or otherwise, to the performance of an action being
accomplished, it remaineth solely in the power of a mans own will
whether he will do it or no? which supreme and plainly divine
liberty, joined with such an absolute uncontrollable power and
dominion over all his actions, would exempt and free the will of
man, not only from all fore-determining to the production of such
and such effects, but also from any effectual working or influence
of the providence of God into the will itself, that should sustain,
help, or cooperate with it in doing or willing any thing; and,
therefore, the authors of this imaginary liberty have wisely framed
an imaginary concurrence of Gods providence, answerable unto
it,namely, a general and indifferent influence, always waiting and
expecting the will of man to determine itself to this or that
effect, good or bad; God being, as it were, always ready at hand to
do that small part which he hath in our actions, whensoever we
please to use him, or, if we please to let him alone, he no way
moveth us to the performance of any thing. Now, God forbid that we
should give our consent to the choice of such a captain, under whose
conduct we might go down again unto Paganism,to the erecting of
such an idol into the throne of the Almighty. No, doubtless, let us
be most indulgent to our wills, and assign them all the liberty that
is competent unto a created nature, to do all things freely
according to election and foregoing counsel, being free from all
natural necessity and outward compulsion; but for all this, let us
not presume to deny Gods effectual assistance, his particular
powerful influence into the wills and actions of his creatures,
directing of them to a voluntary performance of what he hath
determined: which the Arminians opposing in the behalf of their
darling free-will, do work in the hearts of men an overweening of
their own power, and an absolute independence of the providence of
God; for,

First, they deny that God (in whom we live, and move, and have our
being) doth any thing by his providence, [cxli] [9] whereby the
creature should be stirred up, or helped in any of his actions.
That is, God wholly leaves a man in the hand of his own counsel, to
the disposal of his own absolute independent power, without any
respect to his providence at all; whence, as they do, they may well
conclude, [cxlii] [10] that those things which God would have to be
done of us freely (such as are all human actions), he cannot
himself will or work more powerfully and effectually than by the way
of wishing or desiring, as Vorstius speaks; which is no more than
one man can do concerning another, perhaps far less than an angel. I
can wish or desire that another man would do what I have a mind he
should; but, truly, to describe the providence of God by such
expressions seems to me intolerable blasphemy. But thus it must be;
without such helps as these, Dagon cannot keep on his head, nor the
idol of uncontrollable free-will enjoy his dominion.

Hence Corvinus will grant[cxliii] [11] that the killing of a man by
the slipping of an axes head from the helve, although contingent,
may be said to happen according to Gods counsel and determinate
will; but on no terms will he yield that this may be applied to
actions wherein the counsel and freedom of mans will do take place,
as though that they also should have dependence on any such
overruling power;whereby he absolutely excludeth the providence of
God from having any sovereignty within the territory of human
actions, which is plainly to shake off the yoke of his dominion, and
to make men lords paramount within themselves: so that they may well
ascribe unto God (as they do[cxliv] [12] ) only a deceivable
expectation of those contingent things that are yet for to come,
there being no act of his own in the producing of such effects on
which he can ground any certainty; only, he may take a conjecture,
according to his guess at mens inclinations. And, indeed, this is
the Helen for whose enjoyment, these thrice ten years, they have
maintained warfare with the hosts of the living God; their whole
endeavor being to prove, that, notwithstanding the performance of
all things, on the part of God, required for the production of any
action, [cxlv] [13] yet the will of man remains absolutely free,
yea, in respect of the event, as well as its manner of operation, to
do it or not to do it. That is, notwithstanding Gods decree that
such an action shall be performed, and his foreknowledge that it
will so come to pass; notwithstanding his cooperating with the will
of man (as far as they will allow him) for the doing of it, and
though he hath determined by that act of man to execute some of his
own judgments;[cxlvi] [14] yet there is no kind of necessity but
that he may as well omit as do it: which is all one as if they
should say, Our tongues are our own; we ought to speak: who is lord
over us? We will vindicate ourselves into a liberty of doing what
and how we will, though for it we cast God out of his throne. And,
indeed, if we mark it, we shall find them undermining and pulling
down the actual providence of God, at the root and several branches
thereof; for,

First, For his conservation or sustaining of all things, they
affirm[cxlvii] [15] it to be very likely that this is nothing but a
negative act of his will, whereby he willeth or determineth not to
destroy the things by him created; and when we produce places of
Scripture which affirm that it is an act of his power, they say they
are foolishly cited. So that, truly, let the Scripture say what it
will, (in their conceit,) God doth no more sustain and uphold all
his creatures than I do a house when I do not set it on fire, or a
worm when I do not tread upon it.

Secondly, For Gods concurring with inferior causes in all their
acts and working, they affirm it to be only [cxlviii] [16] a general
influence, alike upon all and every one, which they may use or not
use at their pleasure, and in the use determine it to this or that
effect, be it good or bad (so Corvinus), as it seems best unto them.

In a word, to the will of man [cxlix] [17] it is nothing but what
suffers it to play its own part freely, according to its
inclination; as they jointly speak in their Confession. Observe,
also, that they account this influence of his providence not to be
into the agent, the will of man, whereby that should be helped or
enabled to do any thing (no, that would seem to grant a
self-sufficiency), [cl] [18] but only into the act itself for its
production: as if I should help a man to lift a log, it becomes
perhaps unto him so much the lighter, but he is not made one jot the
stronger; which takes off the proper work of providence, consisting
in an internal assistance.

Thirdly, For Gods determining or circumscribing the will of man to
do this or that in particular, they absolutely explode it, as a
thing destructive to their adored liberty. [cli] [19] It is no way
consistent with it, say they, in their Apology. So also Arminius:
[clii] [20] The providence of God doth not determine the will of
man to one part of the contradiction. That is, God hath not
determined that you shall, nor doth by any means overrule your
wills, to do this thing rather than that, to do this or to omit
that. So that the sum of their endeavor is, to prove that the will
of man is so absolutely free, independent, and uncontrollable, that
God doth not, nay, with all his power cannot, determine it certainly
and infallibly to the performance of this or that particular action,
thereby to accomplish his own purposes, to attain his own ends.

Truly, it seems to me the most unfortunate attempt that ever
Christians lighted on; which, if it should get success answerable to
the greatness of the undertaking, the providence of God, in mens
esteem, would be almost thrust quite out of the world. Tantae molis
erat. The new goddess contingency could not be erected until the
God of heaven was utterly despoiled of his dominion over the sons of
men, and in the room thereof a home-bred idol of self-sufficiency
set up, and the world persuaded to worship it. But that the building
climb no higher, let all men observe how the word of God overthrows
this Babylonian tower.

First, then, In innumerable places it is punctual that his
providence doth not only bear rule in the counsels of men and their
most secret resolutions, (whence the prophet declareth that he
knoweth that the way of man is not in himself,that it is not in
man that walketh to direct his steps, Jeremiah 10:23; and Solomon,
that a mans heart, deviseth his way, but the LORD directeth his
steps, Proverbs 16:9; David, also, having laid this ground, that
the Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught, and
maketh the devices of the people of none effect, but his own
counsel standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all
generations, Psalm 33:10,11, proceedeth accordingly, in his own
distress, to pray that the Lord would infatuate and make [cliii]
[21] foolish the counsel of Ahithophel, 2 Samuel 15:31,which also
the Lord did, by working in the heart of Absalom to hearken to the
cross counsel of Hushai); but also, secondly, That the working of
his providence is effectual even in the hearts and wills of men to
turn them which way he will, and to determine them to this or that
in particular, according as he pleaseth: The preparations of the
heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD, saith
Solomon, Proverbs 16:1;which Jacob trusted and relied on when he
prayed that the Lord would grant his sons to find favor and mercy
before that man whom then he supposed to be some atheistical
Egyptian, Genesis 43:14; whence we must grant, either that the good
old man believed that it was in the hand of God to incline and
unalterably turn and settle the heart of Joseph to favor his
brethren, or else his prayer must have had such a senseless sense as
this: Grant, O Lord, such a general influence of thy providence,
that the heart of that man may be turned to good towards my sons, or
else that it may not, being left to its own freedom. A strange
request! yet how it may be bettered by one believing the Arminian
doctrine I cannot conceive. Thus Solomon affirmeth that the kings
heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water: he
turneth it whithersoever he will, Proverbs 21:1. If the heart of a
king, who hath an inward natural liberty equal with others, and an
outward liberty belonging to his state and condition above them, be
yet so in the hand of the Lord as that he always turneth it to what
he pleaseth in particular, then certainly other men are not excepted
from the rule of the same providence; which is the plain sense of
these words, and the direct thesis which we maintain in opposition
to the Arminian idol of absolute independent free-will. So Daniel,
also, reproving the Babylonian tyrant, affirmeth that he glorified
not the God in whose hand was his breath, and whose were all his
ways, Daniel 5:23. Not only his breath and life, but also all his
ways, his actions, thoughts, and words, were in the hand of God.

Yea, thirdly, sometimes the saints of God, as I touched before, do
pray that God would be pleased thus to determine their hearts, and
bend their wills, and wholly incline them to some one certain thing,
and that without any prejudice to their true and proper liberty: so
David, Psalm 119:36, Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not
to covetousness. This prayer being his may also be ours, and we may
ask it in faith, relying on the power and promise of God in Christ
that he will perform our petitions, John 14:14. Now, I desire any
Christian to resolve, whether, by these and the like requests, he
intendeth to desire at the hand of God nothing but such an
indifferent motion to any good as may leave him to his own choice
whether he will do it or no, which is all the Arminians will grant
him; or rather, that he would powerfully bend his heart and soul
unto his testimonies, and work in him an actual embracing of all the
ways of God, not desiring more liberty, but only enough to do it
willingly. Nay, surely the prayers of Gods servants, requesting,
with Solomon, that the Lord would be with them, and incline their
heart unto him, to keep his statutes and walk in his commandments,
1 Kings 8:57,58; and with David, to create in them a clean heart,
and renew a right spirit within them, Psalm 51:10; when, according
to Gods promises, they entreat him to put his fear into their
hearts, Jeremiah 32:40, to unite their hearts to fear his name,
Psalm 86:11, to work in them both the will and the deed, an actual
obedience unto his law;cannot possibly aim at nothing but a general
influence, enabling them alike either to do or not to do what they
so earnestly long after.

Fourthly, The certainty of divers promises and threatenings of
Almighty God dependeth upon his powerful determining and turning the
wills and hearts of men which way he pleaseth; thus, to them that
fear him he promiseth that they shall find favor in the sight of
men, Proverbs 3:4. Now, if, notwithstanding all Gods powerful
operation in their hearts, it remaineth absolutely in the hands of
men whether they will favor them that fear him or no, it is wholly
in their power whether God shall be true in his promises or no.
Surely when Jacob wrestled with God on the strength of such promise,
Genesis 32:12, he little thought of any question whether it were in
the power of God to perform it. Yea, and the event showed that there
ought to be no such question, chapter 33; for the Lord turned the
heart of his brother Esau, as he doth of others when he makes them
pity his servants when at any time they have carried them away
captives, Psalm 106:46. See, also, the same powerful operation
required to the execution of his judgments, Job 12:17, 20:21, etc.
In brief, there is no prophecy nor prediction in the whole
Scripture, no promise to the church or faithful, to whose
accomplishment the free actions and concurrence of men are required,
but evidently declareth that God disposeth of the hearts of men,
ruleth their wills, inclineth their affections, and determines them
freely to choose and do what he in his good pleasure hath decreed
shall be performed;such as were the prophecies of deliverance from
the Babylonish captivity by Cyrus, Isaiah 45; of the conversion of
the Gentiles; of the stability of the church, Matthew 16; of the
destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, chapter 24; with innumerable
others. I will add only some few reasons for the close of this long
discourse.

This opinion, that God hath nothing but a general influence into the
actions of men, not effectually moving their wills to this or that
in particular,

First, Granteth a goodness of entity, or being, unto divers things,
whereof God is not the author, as those special actions which men
perform without his special concurrence; which is blasphemous. The
apostle affirms that of him are all things.

Secondly, It denieth God to be the author of all moral goodness, for
an action is good inasmuch as it is such an action in
particular;[cliv] [22] which that any is so, according to this
opinion, is to be attributed merely to the will of man. The general
influence of God moveth him no more to prayer than to evil
communications tending to the corruption of good manners.

Thirdly, It maketh all the decrees of God, whose execution dependeth
on human actions, to be altogether uncertain, and his foreknowledge
of such things to be fallible and easily to be deceived; so that
there is no reconciliation possible to be hoped for betwixt these
following and the like assertions:

S.S.Lib. Arbit.
In him we live, and move, and have our being, Acts
17:28.Gods sustaining of all things is not an affirmative
act of his power, but a negative act of his will.

He upholdeth all things by the word of his power, Hebrews
1:3Whereby he will not destroy them, Rem. Apol.
Thou hast wrought all our works in us, Isaiah 26:12. My
Father worketh hitherto, John 5:17.God by his influence
bestoweth nothing on the creature whereby it may be incited or
helped in its actions, Corvinus.

The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the
tongue, is from the LORD, Proverbs 16:1. The kings heart is
in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water: he turneth
it whithersoever he will, Proverbs 21:1.Those things God
would have us freely do ourselves; he can no more effectually
work or will than by the way of wishing, Vorstius.

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to
covetousness, Psalm 119:36. Unite my heart to fear thy
name, Psalm 86:11. The God in whose hand try breath is, and
whose are all try ways, thou hast not glorified, Daniel
5:23.The providence of God doth not determine the free-will
of man to this or that particular, or to one part of the
contradiction, Arminius.

See Matthew 27:1, compared with Acts 2:23, and 4:27,28; Luke
24:27; John 19:31-36. For the necessity of other events, see
Exodus 21:17; Job 14:5; Matthew 19:7, etc.The will of man
ought to be free from all kind of internal and external
necessity in its actions, Rem. That is, God cannot lay such a
necessity upon any thing as that it shall infallibly come to
pass as he intendeth. See the contrary in the places cited.


ENDNOTES:

[clv] [1] Qei>a pa>ntwn ajrch< di> h=v a[panta kai< e]sti
kainei.Theophrastus, apud Picum. Vid. Senecam de Provid. et Plotinum.
[clvi] [2] An actus divinae providentiae omnium rerum
conservatrix, sit affirmativus po-tentiae, an tantum negativus
voluntatis, quo nolit res ereatas perdere.Rem. Apol., cap. 6.
[clvii] [3] Providentia seu ratio ordinis ad finem duo praecipue
continet: principium decernens seu ipsam rationem ordinis in mente
divina, ipsi Deo coaeternum, et principium exequens, quo suo modo,
per debita media, ipsa in ordine et numero disponit.Thom.
[clviii] [4] Majestatem Dei dedecet scire per momenta singula,
quot nascantur culices, quae pulicum et muscarum in terra
multitudo.Hieron, in cap. 1, Hab.
[clix] [5] Quis disposuit membra pulicis ac culicis, ut habeant
ordinem suum, habeant vitam suam, habeant motum suum, etc. Qui
fecit in coelo angelum, ipse fecit in terra vermi culum, sed angelum
in coelo pro habitatione coelesti, vermiculum in terra pro
habitatione terrestri, nunquid angelum fecit repere in coeno, aut
vermiculum in coelo, etc.Aug., tom. 8, in Psalm 148.
[clx] [6] Rem. Apol., cap. 6.
[clxi] [7] Qui sic homines voluit esse liberos ut fecit
sacrilegos.Aug.
[clxii] [8] Ta< ejf j uJmi~n ouj th~v pronoi>av ajlla< tou~
hJmete>rou aujtezousi>ou.Damascen.
[clxiii] [9] Deus influxu suo nihil confert creaturae, quo ad
agendum incitetur ac adjuvetur.Corv. ad Molin., cap. 3. sect. 15, p. 35.
[clxiv] [10] Quae Deus libere prorsus et contingenter a nobis
fieri vult, ea potentius aut efficacius quam per modum voti aut
desiderii, velle non potest.Vorst. Parasc., p. 4.
[clxv] [11] Deinde etsi in isto casu destinatum aliquod consilium
ac voluntas Dei determi-nata consideranda esset, tamen in omnibus
actionibus et in its quidem quae ex deliberato hominum consilio et
libera voluntate et male quidem fiunt, ita se rem habere inde
concludi non possit, puta, quia hic nullum consilium et arbitrii
libertas locum habent.Corv. ad. Molin., cap. 3. sect. 14, p. 33.
[clxvi] [12] Respectu contingentiae quam res habent in se, tum in
divina scientia Deo expectatio tribuitur.Rem. Defen. Sent. in Act. Syn., p. 107.
[clxvii] [13] Potentia voluntatis, ab omni interna et externa
necessitate immunis debet mahere.Rem. Confes., cap. 6. sect. 3.
Vid. plura. Rem. Apol., cap. 6. p. 69, a.
[clxviii] [14] In arbitrio creaturae semper est vel influere in
actum vel influxum suum suspendere, et vel sic, vel aliter
influere.Corv, ad. Molin., cap. 3. sect. 15.
[clxix] [15] An conservatio ista sit vis sive actus petentiae an
actus merus voluntatis negativus, quo vult res creatas non destruere
aut annihilare,pesterius non sine magna veri specie affirmatur:
locus ad Hebrews 1:3 inepte adducitur.Rem. Apol., cap. 6. sect. 1, p. 68, a.
[clxx] [16] Curandum diligenter, ut Deo quidem universalis, homini
vero particularis influxus in actus tribuatur, quo universalem Dei
influxum, ad particularem actum determinet.Corv, ad Molin., cap. 3. sect. 5.
[clxxi] [17] Ita concurrit Deus in agendo, cum hominis voluntate,
ut istam pro genio suo agere et libere suas partes obire
sinat.Rem. Confes., cap. 6. sect. 3.
[clxxii] [18] Influxus divinus est in ipsum actum non in
voluntatem.Armin. Antip., alii passim.
[clxxiii] [19] Determinatio cum libertate vera nullo modo
consistere potest. Rem. Apol., cap. 7. fol. 82
[clxxiv] [20] Providentia divina non determinat voluntatem liberam
ad unam contradictionis vel contrarietatis partem.Armin. Artic. Perpen.
[clxxv] [21] Dominus dissipavit consilium quod dederat Achitophel
agendo in corde Absolon, nt tale consilium repudiaret, et aliud quod
ei non expediebat eligeret.Aug, do Grat., et Lib. Arbit., cap. 20.
[clxxvi] [22] Qui aliquid boni a Deo non effici affirmat, ille
Deum esse negat: si namque vel tantillum boni a Deo non est: jam non
omnis boni effector est eoque nec Deus.Bucer. 3 cap. 9. ad Rom.


CHAPTER 5.


WHETHER THE WILL AN

PURPOSE OF GOD MAY BE RESISTED,

AND HE BE FRUSTRATE OF HIS INTENTIONS.


By the former steps is the altar of Ahaz set on the right hand of
the altar of God,the Arminian idol, in a direct opposition, exalted
to an equal pitch with the power and will of the Most High. I shall
now present unto you the Spirit of God once more contending with the
towering imaginations of poor mortals, about a transcendent
privilege of greatness, glory, and power: for having made his
decrees mutable, his prescience fallible, and almost quite divested
him of his providence, as the sum and issue of all their endeavors,
they affirm that his will may be resisted, he may fail of his
intentions, be frustrate of his ends,he may and doth propose such
things as he neither doth nor can at any time accomplish, and that
because the execution of such acts of his will might haply clash
against the freedom of the will of men; which, if it be not an
expression of spiritual pride above all that ever the devil
attempted in heaven, divines do not well explicate that sin of his.
Now, because there may seem some difficulty in this matter, by
reason of the several acceptations of the will of God, especially in
regard of that whereby it is affirmed that his law and precepts are
his will, which, alas! we all of us too often resist or transgress,
I will unfold one distinction of the will of God, which will leave
it clear what it is that the Arminians oppose, for which we count
them worthy of so heavy a charge.

Divinum velle est ejus esse, say the schoolmen,[clxxvii] [1] The
will of God is nothing but God willing; not differing from his
essence secundem rem, in the thing itself, but only secundem
rationem, in that it importeth a relation to the thing willed. The
essence of God, then, being a most absolute, pure, simple act or
substance, his will consequently can be but simply one; whereof we
ought to make neither division nor distinction. If that whereby it
is signified were taken always properly and strictly for the eternal
will of God, the differences hereof that are usually given are
rather distinctions of the signification of the word than of the
thing.

In which regard they are not only tolerable, but simply necessary,
because without them it is utterly impossible to reconcile some
places of Scripture seemingly repugnant. In the 22d chapter of
Genesis, verse 2, God commandeth Abraham to take his only son Isaac,
and offer him for a burnt-offering in the land of Moriah. Here the
words of God are declarative of some will of God unto Abraham, who
knew it ought to be, and little thought but that it should be,
performed; but yet, when he actually addressed himself to his duty,
in obedience to the will of God, he receiveth a countermand, verse
12, that he should not lay his hand upon the child to sacrifice him.
The event plainly manifesteth that it was the will of God that Isaac
should not be sacrificed; and yet notwithstanding, by reason of his
command, Abraham seems before bound to believe that it was
well-pleasing unto God that he should accomplish what he was
enjoined. If the will of God in the Scripture be used but in one
acceptation, here is a plain contradiction. Thus God commands
Pharaoh to let his people go. Could Pharaoh think otherwise, nay,
was he not bound to believe that it was the will of God that he
should dismiss the Israelites at the first hearing of the message?

Yet God affirms that he would harden his heart, that he should not
suffer them to depart until he had showed his signs and wonders in
the land of Egypt. To reconcile these and the like places of
Scripture, both the ancient fathers and schoolmen, with modern
divines, do affirm that the one will of God may be said to be divers
or manifold, in regard of the sundry manners whereby he willeth
those things to be done which he willeth, as also in other respects,
and yet, taken in its proper signification, is simply one and the
same. The vulgar distinction of Gods secret and revealed will is
such as to which all the others may be reduced; and therefore I have
chosen it to insist upon.

The secret will of God is his eternal, unchangeable purpose
concerning all things which he hath made, to be brought by certain
means to their appointed ends: of this himself affirmeth, that his
counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure, Isaiah 46:10.

This some call the absolute, efficacious will of God, the will of
his good pleasure, always fulfilled; and indeed this is the only
proper, eternal, constant, immutable will of God, whose order can
neither be broken nor its law transgressed, so long as with him
there is neither change nor shadow of turning.

The revealed will of God containeth not his purpose and decree, but
our duty,not what he will do according to his good pleasure, but
what we should do if we will please him; and this, consisting in his
word, his precepts and promises, belongeth to us and our children,
that we may do the will of God. Now this, indeed, is rather to<
qelhto>n than to< qe>lhma, that which God willeth, rather than his
will, but termed so as we call that the will of a man which he hath
determined shall be done: This is the will of him that sent me,
that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have
everlasting life, saith our Savior, John 6:40; that is, this is
that which his will hath appointed. Hence it is called voluntas
signi, or the sign of his will, metaphorically only called his
will, saith Aquinas;[clxxviii] [2] for inasmuch as our commands are
the signs of our wills, the same is said of the precepts of God.

This is the rule of our obedience, and whose transgression makes an
action sinful; for hJ aJmarti>a ejstia, sin is the
transgression of a law, and that such a law as is given to the
transgressor to be observed. Now, God hath not imposed on us the
observation of his eternal decree and intention; which, as it is
utterly impossible for us to transgress or frustrate, so were we
unblamable if we should. A master requires of his servant to do what
he commands, not to accomplish what he intends, which perhaps he
never discovered unto him; nay, the commands of superiors are not
always signs that the commander will have the things commanded
actually performed (as in all precepts for trial), but only that
they who are subjects to this command shall be obliged to obedience,
as far as the sense of it doth extend. Et hoc clarum est in
praeceptis divinis, saith Durand,[clxxix] [3] etc.,And this is
clear in the commands of God, by which we are obliged to do what he
commandeth; and yet it is not always his pleasure that the thing
itself, in regard of the event, shall be accomplished, as we saw
before in the examples of Pharaoh and Abraham.
Now, the will of God in the first acceptation is said to be hid or
secret, not because it is so always, for it is in some particulars
revealed and made known unto us two ways:

First, By his word; as where God affirmeth that the dead shall rise.
We doubt not but that they shall rise, and that it is the absolute
will of God that they shall do so. Secondly, By the effects; for
when any thing cometh to pass, we may cast the event on the will of
God as its cause, and look upon it as a revelation of his purpose.
Jacobs sons little imagined that it was the will of God by them to
send their brother into Egypt; yet afterward Joseph tells them
plainly it was not they, but God that sent him thither, Genesis
45:5. But it is said to be secret for two causes:First, Because for
the most part it is so. There is nothing in divers issues
declarative of Gods determination but only the event, which, while
it is future, is hidden to them who have faculties to judge of
things past and present, but not to discern things for to come.

Hence St James bids us not be too peremptory in our determinations
that we will do this or that, not knowing how God will close with us
for its performance. Secondly, It is said to be secret in reference
to its cause, which for the most part is past our finding out: His
path is in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known.

It appeareth, then, that the secret and revealed will of God are
diverse in sundry respects, but chiefly in regard of their acts and
their objects. First, In regard of their acts, the secret will of
God is his eternal decree and determination concerning any thing to
be done in its appointed time; his revealed will is an act whereby
he declareth himself to love or approve any thing, whether ever it
be done or no. Secondly, They are diverse in regard of their
objects. The object of Gods purpose and decree is that which is
good in any kind, with reference to its actual existence, for it
must infallibly be performed; but the object of his revealed will is
that only which is morally good (I speak of it inasmuch as it
approveth or commandeth), agreeing to the law and the gospel, and
that considered only inasmuch as it is good; for whether it be ever
actually performed or no is accidental to the object of Gods
revealed will.

Now, of these two differences the first is perpetual, in regard of
their several acts; but not so the latter. They are sometimes
coincident in regard of their objects. For instance, God commandeth
us to believe; here his revealed will is that we should so do:
withal, he intendeth we shall do so; and therefore ingenerateth
faith in our hearts that we may believe. Here his secret and
revealed will are coincident; the former[clxxx] [4] being his
precept that we should believe, the latter his purpose that we shall
believe. In this case, I say, the object of the one and the other is
the same,even what we ought to do, and what he will do. And this
inasmuch as he hath wrought all our works in us, Isaiah 26:12.

They are our own works which he works in us; his act in us and by us
is ofttimes our duty towards him. He commands us by his revealed
will to walk in his statutes, and keep his laws; upon this he also
promiseth that he will so effect all things, that of some this shall
be performed: Ezekiel 36:26, 27, A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the
stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of
flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in
my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. So that
the self-same obedience of the people of God is here the object of
his will, taken in either acceptation. And yet the precept of God is
not here, as some learned men suppose, declarative of Gods
intention, for then it must be so to all to whom it is given; which
evidently it is not, for many are commanded to believe on whom God
never bestoweth faith. It is still to be looked upon as a mere
declaration of our duty, its closing with Gods intention being
accidental unto it. There is a wide difference betwixt Do such a
thing, and, You shall do it. If Gods command to Judas to believe
imported as much as, It is my purpose and intention that Judas
shall believe, it must needs contradict that will of God whereby he
determined that Judas, for his infidelity, should go to his own
place. His precepts are in all obedience of us to be performed, but
do not signify his will that we shall actually fulfill his commands.
Abraham was not bound to believe that it was Gods intention that
Isaac should be sacrificed, but that it was his duty. There was no
obligation on Pharaoh to think it was Gods purpose the people
should depart at the first summons; he had nothing to do with that:
but there was one to believe that if he would please God, he must
let them go. Hence divers things of good use in these controversies
may be collected:

First, That God may command many things by his word which he never
decreed that they should actually be performed; because, in such
things, his words are not a revelation of his eternal decree and
purpose, but only a declaration of some thing wherewith he is
well-pleased, be it by us performed or no. In the fore-cited case he
commanded Pharaoh to let his people go, and plagued him for refusing
to obey his command. Hence we may not collect that God intended the
obedience and conversion of Pharaoh by this his precept, but was
frustrated of his intention,for the Scripture is evident and clear
that God purposed by his disobedience to accomplish an end far
different, even a manifestation of his glory by his punishment,but
only that obedience unto his commands is pleasing unto him; as 1
Samuel 15:22.

Secondly, That the will of God to which our obedience is required is
the revealed will of God contained in his word; whose compliance
with his decree is such, that hence we learn three things tending to
the execution of it:First, That it is the condition of the word of
God, and the dispensation thereof, instantly to persuade to faith
and obedience. Secondly, That it is our duty by all means to aspire
to the performance of all things by it enjoined, and our fault if we
do not. Thirdly, That God by these means will accomplish his eternal
decree of saving his elect; and that he willeth the salvation of
others, inasmuch as he calleth them unto the performance of the
condition thereof. Now, our obedience is so to be regulated by this
revealed will of God, that we may sin either by omission against its
precepts or commission against its prohibitions; although by our so
omitting or committing of any thing the secret will or purpose of
God be fulfilled. Had Abraham disobeyed Gods precept, when he was
commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac, though Gods will had been
accomplished thereby, who never intended it, yet Abraham had
grievously sinned against the revealed will of God, the rule of his
duty. The holiness of our actions consisteth in a conformity unto
his precepts, and not unto his purposes. On this ground Gregory
affirmeth,[clxxxi] [5] That many fulfill the will of God (that is,
his intentions) when they think to change it (by transgressing his
precepts); and by resisting imprudently, obey Gods purpose. And
to show how merely we in our actions are tied to this rule of our
duty, St Austin[clxxxii] [6] shows how a man may do good in a thing
cross to Gods secret will, and evil in that which complieth with
it, which he illustrates by the example of a sick parent having two
children, the one wicked, who desires his fathers death, the other
godly, and he prays for his life. But the will of God is he shall
die, agreeably to the desire of the wicked child; and yet it is the
other who hath performed his duty, and done what is pleasing unto
God.

Thirdly, To return from this not unnecessary digression, that which
we have now in agitation is the secret will of God, which we have
before unfolded; and this it is that we charge the Arminians for
affirming that it may be resisted,that is, that God may fail in his
purposes, come short of what he earnestly intendeth, or be
frustrated of his aim and end: as if, [when] he should determinately
resolve the faith and salvation of any man, it is in the power of
that man to make void his determination, and not believe, and not be
saved. Now, it is only in cases of this nature, wherein our own free
wills have an interest, that they thus limit and circumscribe the
power of the Most High. In other things they grant his omnipotence
to be of no less extent than others do; but in this case they are
peremptory and resolute, without any coloring or tergiversation: for
whereas there is a question proposed by the apostle, Romans 9:19,
Who hath resisted his will? which that none hath or can he grants
in the following verses, Corvinus affirms, [clxxxiii] [7] It is
only an objection of the Jews, rejected by the apostle;which is
much like an answer young scholars usually give to some difficult
place in Aristotle, when they cannot think of a better, Loquitur ex
aliorum sententia; for there is no sign of any such rejection of it
by the apostle in the whole following discourse; yea, and it is not
the Jews that St Paul disputeth withal here, but weaker brethren
concerning the Jews, which is manifest from the first verse of the
next chapter, where he distinguisheth between brethren to whom and
Israel of whom he spake. Secondly, He speaks of the Jews in the
whole treatise in the third person, but of the disputer in the
second. Thirdly, It is taken for a confessed principle between St
Paul and the disputer, as he calls him, that the Jews were rejected,
which surely themselves would not readily acknowledge. So that
Corvinus rejects, as an objection of the Jews, a granted principle
of St Paul and the other Christians of his time. With the like
confidence the same author affirmeth, [clxxxiv] [8] That they
nothing doubt but that many things are not done which God would have
to be done. Vorstius goes farther, teaching [clxxxv] [9] that not
only many things are[not] done which he would have done, but also
that many things are done which he would not have done. He means
not our transgressing of his law, but Gods failing in his purpose,
as Corvinus clears it, acknowledging that the execution of Gods
will is suspended or hindered by man; to whom Episcopius
subscribes.[clxxxvi] [10] As, for example, God purposeth and
intendeth the conversion of a sinner,suppose it were Mary
Magdalene;can this intention of his be crossed and his will
resisted? Yea, say the Arminians, for God converts sinners by his
grace. But we can resist God when he would convert us by his
grace,[clxxxvii] [11] say six of them jointly in their meeting at
the Hague. But some one may here object, say they, that thus God
faileth of his intention, doth not attain the end at which he aims.

We answer, This we grant. Or be it the salvation of men, they say,
[clxxxviii] [12] they are certain that God intendeth that for many
which never obtain it; that end he cannot compass.

And here, methinks, they place God in a most unhappy condition, by
affirming that they are often damned whom he would have to be saved,
though he desires their salvation with a most vehement desire and
natural affection,[clxxxix] [13] such, I think, as crows have to
the good of their young ones: for that there are in him such desires
as are never fulfilled,[cxc] [14] because not regulated by wisdom
and justice, they plainly affirm; for although by his infinite
power, perhaps, he might accomplish them, yet it would not become
him so to do.

Now, let any good-natured man, who hath been a little troubled for
poor Jupiter in Homer, mourning for the death of his son Sarpedon,
which he could not prevent, or hath been grieved for the sorrow of a
distressed father, not able to remove the wickedness and inevitable
ruin of an only son, drop one tear for the restrained condition of
the God of heaven, who, when he would have all and every man in the
world to come to heaven, to escape the torments of hell, and that
with a serious purpose and intention that it shall be so, a vehement
affection and fervent natural desire that it should be so, yet,
being not in himself alone able to save one, must be forced to lose
his desire, lay down his affection, change his purpose, and see the
greatest part of them to perish everlastingly,[cxci] [15] yea,
notwithstanding that he had provided a sufficient means for them all
to escape, with a purpose and intention that they should so do.
In brief, their whole doctrine on this point is laid down by
Corvinus, chapter 3, against Moulin, and the third section; where,
first, he alloweth of the distinction of the will of God into that
whereby he will have us do something, and that whereby he will do
any thing himself. The first is nothing but his law and precepts;
which we with him affirm may be said to be resisted, inasmuch as it
is transgressed. The latter, he saith, if it respect any act of
mans, may be considered as preceding that act, or following it; if
preceding it, then it may be resisted, if man will not cooperate.
Now, this is the will of God, whereby himself intendeth to do any
thing; the sum of which distinction is this, The will of God
concerning the future being of any thing may be considered as it
goeth before the actual existence of the thing itself, and in this
regard it may be hindered or resisted; but as it is considered to
follow any act of man, it is always fulfilled: by which latter
member, striving to mollify the harshness of the former, he runs
himself into inexplicable nonsense, affirming that that act of the
will of God whereby he intendeth men shall do any thing cannot be
hindered after they have done it,that is, God hath irresistibly
purposed they shall do it, provided they do it! In his following
discourse, also, he plainly grants that there is no act of Gods
will about the salvation of men that may not be made void and of
none effect, but only that general decree whereby he hath
established an inseparable connection between faith and salvation,
or whereby he hath appointed faith in Christ to be the means of
attaining blessedness, which is only an immanent act of Gods will,
producing no outward effect; so that every act thereof that hath an
external issue by human co-operation is frustrable and may fall to
the ground: which in what direct opposition it stands to the word of
God, let these following instances declare:

First, Our God is in the heavens, saith the psalmist: he hath
done whatsoever he hath pleased, Psalm 115:3. Not only part, but
all, whatsoever he pleased should come to pass, by any means. He
ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will,
Daniel 4:17. The transposition of kingdoms is not without the
mixture of divers free and voluntary actions of men, and yet in that
great work God doth all that he pleaseth. Yea, before him all the
inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth
according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the
inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto
him, What doest thou? verse 35. My counsel, saith he, shall
stand, and I will do all my pleasure, Isaiah 46:10; I have
purposed, I will also do it, verse 11. Nay, so certain is he of
accomplishing all his purposes, that he confirms it with an oath:

The LORD of hosts hath sworn, Surely as I have thought, so it shall
come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, Isaiah
14:24. And indeed it were a very strange thing, that God should
intend what he foreseeth will never come to pass. But I confess this
argument will not be pressing against the Arminians, who question
that prescience; but yet, would they also would observe from the
Scripture, that the failing of wicked mens counsels and intentions
is a thing that God is said to deride in heaven, as Psalm 2:4. He
threatens them with it. Take counsel together, saith he, and it
shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand,
Isaiah 8:10. See also chapter 29:7,8. And shall they be enabled to
recriminate, and cast the like aspersion on the God of heaven? No,
surely. Saith St Austin,[cxcii] [16] Let us take heed we be not
compelled to believe that Almighty God would have any thing done
which doth not come to pass. To which truth, also, that the
schoolmen have universally consented is showed by Alvarez, Disput.
32, pro. 3. And these few instances will manifest the Arminian
opposition to the word of God in this particular:

S.S.Lib. Arbit.
Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath
pleased, Psalm 115:3.We nothing doubt but many things which
God willeth, or that it pleaseth him to have done, do yet
never come to pass, Corvinus. We grant that some of Gods
desires are never fulfilled, Idem.

I will do all my pleasure. Isaiah 46:10. None can stay his
hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? Daniel 4:35.It is in
the power of man to hinder the execution of Gods will, Idem.
I have purposed, I will also o it, Isaiah 46:11.It is
ridiculous to imagine that God doth not seriously will any
thing but what taketh effect, Episcopius.

As I have purposed, so shall it stand, Isaiah 14:24.It may
be objected that God faileth of his end: this we readily
grant, Rem. Synod.


ENDNOTES:


[cxciii] [1] Aquin., p. q. 19, ar. ad. 1.
[cxciv] [2] Aquin., q. g. 19, a. 11, c.
[cxcv] [3] Durand, Dist. c. 48, q. 3.
[cxcvi] [4] The words former and latter evidently refer to the
previous sentence,former corresponding with the revealed will,
latter with the secret will of God. The order is reversed in the
first clause of this sentence, and hence the authors meaning might
be mistaken.ED.
[cxcvii] [5] Multi voluntatem Del faciunt, cum illam nituntur
vitare, et resistendo impruden-ter obsequuntur divino
consilio.Greg. Moral., lib. 6. cap. 11.
[cxcviii] [6] Aug. Enchirid. ad Lauren., cap. 101.
[cxcix] [7] Ea sententia non continet apostoli verba, sed
Judseorum objectionem ab apostolo rejectam.Corv, ad Molin., cap.
3. per. 19.
[cc] [8] Multa non fieri quae Deus fieri vult, vel non
dubitamus.Ibid, cap. 5:p. 5.
[cci] [9] Multa fiunt quae Deus fieri non vult: nec semper fiunt
quae ipse fiere vult.Vorst. de Deo, p. 64.
[ccii] [10] Ab homine esse agnoscimus, quod voluntatis (divinae)
executio saepe suspendatur.Corv., ubi sup. parag. 12; Episcop.
Disput. Pri. De Volun. Dei, corol. 5.
[cciii] [11] Possumus Deo resistere, cum nos vult per gratiam suam
convertere.Rem. Coll. Hag., p. 193. Objiciet quis, ergo illum
suum finem Deus non est assecutus, respon-demus, nos hoc
concedere.Rem. Defens. Sent. in Synod., p. 256.
[cciv] [12] Nobis certum est, Deum multorum salutem intendere, in
quibus eam non assequitur.Grevinch, ad Ames., p. 271.
[ccv] [13] Vehemens est in Deo affectus ad homini
benefaciendum.Corv, ad Molin., cap. 5. sect. 8.
[ccvi] [14] Esse in Deo desideria quae non implentur
concedimus.Idem, sect. 9. Non decet ut Deus infinita sua potentia
utatur ad id efficiendum, quo desiderio suo naturali fertur.Armim
Antip., p. 584.
[ccvii] [15] Deus eo fine et intentione remedium praeparavit, ut
omnes ejus actu fierent participes, quamvis id non actu
evenit.Rem. Apol., cap. 7. fol. 86.
[ccviii] [16] Ne credere cogamur aliquid omnipotentem Deum
voluisse factumque non esse.Aug. En., cap. 103.


CHAPTER 6.


HOW THE WHOLE DOCTRINE

OF PREDESTINATION IS CORRUPTED BY THE ARMINIANS.


The cause of all these quarrels, wherewith the Arminians and their
abettors have troubled the church of Christ, comes next unto our
consideration. The eternal predestination of Almighty God, that
fountain of all spiritual blessings, of all the effects of Gods
love derived unto us through Christ, the demolishing of this rock of
our salvation hath been the chief endeavor of all the patrons of
human self-sufficiency; so to vindicate unto themselves a power and
independent ability of doing good, of making themselves to differ
from others, of attaining everlasting happiness, without going one
step from without themselves. And this is their first attempt, to
attain their second proposed end, of building a tower from the top
whereof they may mount into heaven, whose foundation is nothing but
the sand of their own free-will and endeavors. Quite on a sudden
(what they have done in effect) to have taken away this divine
predestination, name and thing, had been an attempt as noted as
notorious, and not likely to attain the least success amongst men
professing to believe the gospel of Christ; wherefore, suffering the
name to remain, they have abolished the thing itself, and
substituted another so unlike it in the room thereof, that any one
may see they have gotten a blear-eyed Leah instead of Rachel, and
hug a cloud instead of a Deity. The true doctrine itself hath been
so excellently delivered by divers learned divines, so freed from
all objections, that I shall only briefly and plainly lay it down,
and that with special reference to the seventeenth article of our
church, where it is clearly avowed; showing withal,which is my
chief intention,how it is thwarted, opposed, and overthrown by the
Arminians. Predestination, in the usual sense[in which] it is taken,
is a part of Gods providence concerning his creatures,
distinguished from it by a double restriction:

First, In respect of their objects; for whereas the decree of
providence comprehendeth his intentions towards all the works of his
hands, predestination respecteth only rational creatures.
Secondly, In regard of their ends; for whereas his providence
directeth all creatures in general to those several ends to which at
length they are brought, whether they are proportioned unto their
nature or exceeding the sphere of their natural activity,
predestination is exercised only in directing rational creatures to
supernatural ends: so that, in general, it is the counsel, decree,
or purpose of Almighty God concerning the last and supernatural end
of his rational creatures, to be accomplished for the praise of his
glory. But this also must receive a double restriction before we
come precisely to what we in this place aim at: and these again in
regard of the objects or the ends thereof.

The object of predestination is all rational creatures, Now, these
are either angels or men. Of angels I shall not treat. Secondly, The
end by it provided for them is either eternal happiness or eternal
misery. I speak only of the former,the act of Gods predestination
transmitting men to everlasting happiness: and in this restrained
sense it differs not at all from election, and we may use them as
synonyma, terms of the same importance; though, by some affirming
that God predestinateth them to faith whom he hath chosen, they seem
to be distinguished as the decrees of the end, and the means
conducing thereunto, whereof the first is election, intending the
end, and then takes place predestination, providing the means. But
this exact distinction appeareth not directly in the Scripture.

This election the word of God proposeth unto us as the gracious,
immutable decree of Almighty God, whereby, before the foundation of
the world, out of his own good pleasure, he chose certain men,
determining to free them from sin and misery, to bestow upon them
grace and faith, to give them unto Christ, to bring them to
everlasting blessedness, for the praise of his glorious grace; or,
as it is expressed in our church articles, Predestination to life
is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations
of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed by his counsel,
secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath
chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto
everlasting salvation, as vessels made unto honor; wherefore, they
who are endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called
according to Gods purpose, etc.

Now, to avoid prolixity, I will annex only such annotations as may
clear the sense and confirm the truth of the article by the
Scriptures, and show briefly how it is overthrown by the Arminians
in every particular thereof:

First, The article, consonantly to the Scripture, affirmeth that it
is an eternal decree, made before the foundations of the world were
laid; so that by it we must needs be chosen before we were born,
before we have done either good or evil. The words of the article
are clear, and so also is the Scripture: He hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4; The children
being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, it was
said, etc., Romans 9:11,12; We are called with an holy calling,
not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2
Timothy 1:9. Now, from hence it would undoubtedly follow that no
good thing in us can be the cause of our election, for every cause
must in order precede its effect; but all things whereof we by any
means are partakers, inasmuch as they are ours, are temporary, and
so cannot be the cause of that which is eternal. Things with that
qualification must have reference to the sole will and good pleasure
of God; which reference would break the neck of the Arminian
election. Wherefore, to prevent such a fatal ruin, they deny the
principle,to wit, that election is eternal.[ccix] [1] So the
Remonstrants, in their Apology: [ccx] [2] Complete election
regardeth none but him that is dying; for this peremptory election
decreeth the whole accomplishment and consummation of salvation, and
therefore requireth in the object the finished course of faith and
obedience, saith Grevinchovius; which is to make Gods election
nothing but an act of his justice, approving our obedience, and such
an act as is incident to any weak man, who knows not what will
happen in the next hour that is yet for to come. And is this
post-destination that which is proposed to us in the Scripture as
the unsearchable fountain of all Gods love towards us in Christ?

Yea,[ccxi] [3] say they, we acknowledge no other predestination
to be revealed in the gospel besides that whereby God decreeth to
save them who should persevere in faith; that is, Gods
determination concerning their salvation is pendulous, until he find
by experience that they will persevere in obedience. But I wonder
why, seeing election is confessedly one of the greatest expressions
of Gods infinite goodness, love, and mercy towards us, if it follow
our obedience, we have it not, like all other blessings and mercies,
promised unto us. Is it not because such propositions as these,
Believe, Peter, and continue in the faith unto the end, and I will
choose thee before the foundation of the world, are fitter for the
writings of the Arminians than the word of God? Neither will we be
their rivals in such an election, as from whence no fruit,[ccxii]
[4] no effect, no consolation can be derived to any mortal man,
whilst he lives in this world.

Secondly, The article affirmeth that it is constant,that is, one
immutable decree; agreeably also to the Scriptures, teaching but one
purpose, but one foreknowledge, one good pleasure, one decree of
God, concerning the infallible ordination of his elect unto glory;
although of this decree there may be said to be two acts,one
concerning the means, the other concerning the end, but both knit up
in the immutability of Gods counsel, Hebrews 6:17. The
foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth
them that are his, 2 Timothy 2:19; His gifts and calling are
without recalling, not to be repented of, Romans 11:29. Now, what
say our Arminians to this? Why, a whole multitude of notions and
terms have they invented to obscure the doctrine. Election, say
they,[ccxiii] [5] is either legal or evangelical, general or
particular, complete or incomplete, revocable or irrevocable,
peremptory or not peremptory, with I know not how many more
distinctions of one single eternal act of Almighty God, whereof
there is neither vola nec vestigium, sign or token, in the whole
Bible, or any approved author. And to these quavering divisions they
accommodate their doctrine, or rather they purposely invented them
to make their errors unintelligible. Yet something agreeably thus
they dictate: [ccxiv] [6] There is a complete election, belonging
to none but those that are dying; and there is another, incomplete,
common to all that believe: as the good things of salvation are
incomplete which are continued whilst faith is continued, and
revoked when that is denied, so election is incomplete in this life,
and revocable. Again: There are, they say in their Confession,
[ccxv] [7] three orders of believers and repenters in the
Scripture, whereof some are beginners, others having continued for a
time, and soma perseverants. The first two orders are chosen vere,
truly, but not absolute prorsus, absolutely, but only for a time,so
long as they will remain as they are; the third are chosen finally
and peremptorily: for this act of God is either continued or
interrupted, according as we fulfill the condition. But whence
learned the Arminians this doctrine? Not one word of it from the
word of truth; no mention there of any such desultory election, no
speech of faith, but such as is consequent to one eternal
irrevocable decree of predestination: They believed who were
ordained to eternal life, Acts 13:48. No distinction of men half
and wholly elected, where it is affirmed that it is impossible the
elect should be seduced, Matthew 24:24,that none should Christs
sheep out of his Fathers hand, John 10:28,29. What would they have
more? Gods purpose of election is sealed up, 2 Timothy 2:19, and
therefore cannot be revoked; it must stand firm, Romans 9:11, in
spite of all opposition. Neither will reason allow us to think any
immanent act of God to be incomplete or revocable, because of the
mere alliance it hath with his very nature. But reason, Scripture,
God himself, all must give place to any absurdities, if they stand
in the Arminian way, bringing in their idol with shouts, and
preparing his throne, by claiming the cause of their predestination
to be in themselves.

Thirdly, The article is clear that the object of this predestination
is some particular men chosen out of mankind; that is, it is such an
act of God as concerneth some men in particular, taking them, as it
were, aside from the midst of their brethren, and designing them for
some special end and purpose. The Scripture also aboundeth in
asserting this verity, calling them that are so chosen a few,
Matthew 20:16, which must needs denote some certain persons; and the
remnant according to election, Romans 11:5; those whom the Lord
knoweth to be his, 2 Timothy 2:19; men ordained to eternal life,
Acts 13:48; us, Romans 8:39; those that are written in the Lambs
book of life, Revelation 21:27;all which, and divers others,
clearly prove that the number of the elect is certain, not only
materially, as they say,[ccxvi] [8] that there are so many, but
formally also, that these particular persons, and no other, are
they, which cannot be altered. Nay, the very nature of the thing
itself doth so demonstratively evince it, that I wonder it can
possibly be conceived under any other notion. To apprehend an
election of men not circumscribed with the circumstance of
particular persons is such a conceited, Platonical abstraction, as
it seems strange that any one dares profess to understand that there
should be a predestination, and none predestinated; an election, and
none elected; a choice amongst many, yet none left or taken; a
decree to save men, and yet thereby salvation destinated to no one
man, either re aut spe, in deed or in expectation. In a word, that
there should be a purpose of God to bring men unto glory, standing
inviolable, though never any one attained the purposed end, is such
a riddle as no (Edipus can unfold. Now, such an election, such a
predestination, have the Arminians substituted in the place of Gods
everlasting decree. We deny,[ccxvii] [9] say they, that Gods
election extendeth itself to any singular persons as singular
persons; that is, that any particular persons, as Peter, Paul,
John, are by it elected. No; how, then? Why, [ccxviii] [10] God
hath appointed, without difference, to dispense the means of faith;
and as he seeth these persons to believe or not to believe by the
use of those means, so at length he determineth of them, as saith
Corvinus. Well, then, God chooseth no particular man to salvation,
but whom he seeth believing by his own power, with the help only of
such means as are afforded unto others who never believe; and as he
maketh himself thus differ from them by a good use of his own
abilities, so also he may be reduced again unto the same
predicament, and then his election, which respecteth not him in his
person, but only his qualification, quite vanisheth. But is this
Gods decree of election? Yes, say they; and make a doleful
complaint that any other doctrine should be taught in the church.
[ccxix] [11] It is obtruded, say the true-born sons of Arminius,
on the church as a most holy doctrine, that God, by an absolute,
immutable decree, from all eternity, out of his own good pleasure,
hath chosen certain persons, and those but few in comparison,
without any respect had to their faith and obedience, and
predestinated them to everlasting life. But what so great exception
is this doctrine liable unto, what wickedness doth it include, that
it should not be accounted most holy? Nay, is not only the matter
but the very terms of it contained in the Scripture? Doth it not say
the elect are few, and they chosen before the foundation of the
world, without any respect to their obedience or any thing that they
had done, out of Gods mere gracious good pleasure, that his free
purpose according to election might stand, even because so it
pleased him; and this that they might be holy, believe, and be
sanctified, that they might come unto Christ, and by him be
preserved unto everlasting life? Yea, this is that which galls them:
[ccxx] [12] No such will can be ascribed unto God, whereby he so
willeth any one to be saved as that thence their salvation should be
sure and infallible, saith the father of those children.

Well, then, let St Austins definition be quite rejected, [ccxxi]
[13] That predestination is a preparation of such benefits whereby
some are most certainly freed and delivered from sin and brought to
glory; and that also of St Paul, That (by reason of this) nothing
can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ. What is
this election in your judgment? [ccxxii] [14] Nothing but a decree
whereby God hath appointed to save them that believe in Christ,
saith Corvinus, be they who they will; or a general purpose of God,
whereby he hath ordained faith in Christ to be the means of
salvation. Yea, but this belongs to Judas as well as to Peter. This
decree carrieth as equal an aspect to those that are damned as to
those that are saved. Salvation, under the condition of faith in
Christ, was also proposed to them; but was Judas and all his company
elected? How came they, then, to be seduced and perish? That any of
Gods elect go to hell is as yet a strange assertion in
Christianity. Notwithstanding this decree, none may believe, or all
that do may fall away, and so none at all be saved; which is a
strange kind of predestination: or all may believe, continue in
faith, and be saved; which were a more strange kind of election.
We, poor souls, thought hitherto that we might have believed,
according unto Scripture, that some by this purpose were in a
peculiar manner made the Fathers (Thine they were), and by him
given unto Christ, that he might bring them unto glory; and that
these men were so certain and unchangeable a number, that not only
God knoweth them as being his, but also that Christ calleth
them by name, John 10:3, and looketh that none taketh them out of
his hand. We never imagined before that Christ hath been the
mediator of an uncertain covenant, because there are no certain
persons covenanted withal but such as may or may not fulfill the
condition. We always thought that some had been separated before by
Gods purpose from the rest of the perishing world, that Christ
might lay down his life for his friends, for his sheep, for them
that were given him of his Father. But now it should seem he was
ordained to be a king when it was altogether uncertain whether he
should ever have any subjects, to be a head without a body, or to
such a church whose collection and continuance depend wholly and
solely on the will of men.

These are doctrines that I believe searchers of the Scripture had
scarce ever been acquainted withal, had they not lighted on such
expositors as teach, [ccxxiii] [15] That the only cause why God
loveth (or chooseth) any person is, because the honesty, faith,
and piety wherewith, according to Gods command and his own duty, he
is endued, are acceptable to God; which, though we grant it true of
Gods consequent or approving love, yet surely there is a divine
love wherewith he looks upon us otherwise, when he gives us unto
Christ, else either our giving unto Christ is not out of love, or we
are pious, just, and faithful before we come unto him,that is, we
have no need of him at all. Against either way, though we may blot
these testimonies out of our hearts, yet they will stand still
recorded in holy Scripture,namely, that God so loved us when we
were his enemies, Romans 5:10, sinners, verse 8, of no
strength, verse 6; that he gave his only-begotten Son to die,
that we should not perish, but have everlasting life, John 3:16.
But of this enough.

Fourthly, Another thing that the article asserteth according to the
Scripture is, that there is no other cause of our election but Gods
own counsel. It recounteth no motives in us, nothing impelling the
will of God to choose some out of mankind, rejecting others, but his
own decree,that is, his absolute will and good pleasure; so that as
there is no cause, in any thing without himself, why he would create
the world or elect any at all,for he doth all these things for
himself, for the praise of his own glory,so there is no cause in
singular elected persons why God should choose them rather than
others. He looked upon all mankind in the same condition, vested
with the same qualifications, or rather without any at all; for it
is the children not yet born, before they do either good or evil,
that are chosen or rejected, his free grace embracing the one and
passing over the other. Yet here we must observe, that although God
freely, without any desert of theirs, chooseth some men to be
partakers both of the end and the means, yet he bestoweth faith, or
the means, on none but for the merit of Christ; neither do any
attain the end or salvation but by their own faith, through that
righteousness of his. The free grace of God notwithstanding,
choosing Jacob when Esau is rejected, the only antecedent cause of
any difference between the elect and reprobates, remaineth firm and
unshaken; and surely, unless men were resolved to trust wholly to
their own bottoms, to take nothing gratis at the hands of God, they
would not endeavor to rob him of his glory, of having mercy on whom
he will have mercy, of loving us without our desert before the world
began. If we must claim an interest in obtaining the temporal acts
of his favor by our own endeavors, yet, oh, let us grant him the
glory of being good unto us, only for his own sake, when we were in
his hand as the clay in the hand of the potter. What made this piece
of clay fit for comely service, and not a vessel wherein there is no
pleasure, but the power and will of the Framer? It is enough, yea,
too much, for them to repine and say, Why hast thou made us thus?
who are vessels fitted for wrath. Let not them who are prepared for
honor exalt themselves against him, and sacrifice to their own nets,
as the sole providers of their glory. But so it is: human vileness
will still be declaring itself, by claiming a worth no way due unto
it; of a furtherance of which claim if the Arminians be not guilty,
let the following declaration of their opinions in this particular
determine:

We confess, say they,[ccxxiv] [16] roundly, that faith, in the
consideration of God choosing us unto salvation, doth precede, and
not follow as a fruit of election. So that whereas Christians have
hitherto believed that God bestoweth faith on them that are chosen,
it seems now it is no such matter, but that those whom God findeth
to believe, upon the stock of their own abilities, he afterward
chooseth. Neither is faith, in their judgment, only required as a
necessary condition in him that is to be chosen, but as a cause
moving the will of God to elect him that hath it, [ccxxv] [17] as
the will of the judge is moved to bestow a reward on him who
according to the law hath deserved it, as Grevinchovius speaks:
which words of his, indeed, Corvinus strives to temper, but all in
vain, though he wrest them contrary to the intention of the author;
for with him agree all his fellows. [ccxxvi] [18] The one only
absolute cause of election is, not the will of God, but the respect
of our obedience, saith Episcopius. At first they required nothing
but faith, and that as a condition, not as a cause;[ccxxvii] [19]
then perseverance in faith, which at length they began to call
obedience, comprehending all our duty to the precepts of Christ: for
the cause, say they, of this love to any person, is the
righteousness, faith, and piety wherewith he is endued; which being
all the good works of a Christian, they, in effect, affirm a man to
be chosen for them,that our good works are the cause of election;
which whether it were ever so grossly taught, either by Pelagians or
Papists, I something doubt.

And here observe, that this doth not thwart my former assertion,
where I showed that they deny the election of any particular
persons, which here they seem to grant upon a foresight of their
faith and good works; for there is not any one person, as such a
person, notwithstanding all this, that in their judgment is in this
life elected, but only as he is considered with those qualifications
of which he may at any time divest himself, and so become again to
be no more elected than Judas.

The sum of their doctrine in this particular is laid down by one of
ours in a tract entitled Gods Love to Mankind, etc.; a book full
of palpable ignorance, gross sophistry, and abominable blasphemy,
whose author seems to have proposed nothing unto himself but to rake
all the dunghills of a few of the most invective Arminians, and to
collect the most filthy scum and pollution of their railings to cast
upon the truth of God; and, under I know not what self-coined
pretences, belch out odious blasphemies against his holy name.
The sum, saith he, of all these speeches (he cited to his purpose)
is, [ccxxviii] [20] That there is no decree of saving men but what
is built on Gods foreknowledge of the good actions of men. No
decree? No, not that whereby God determineth to give some unto
Christ, to ingraft them in him by faith, and bring them by him unto
glory; which giveth light to that place of Arminius, where he
affirmeth, [ccxxix] [21] That God loveth none precisely to eternal
life but considered as just, either with legal or evangelical
righteousness. Now, to love one to eternal life is to destinate one
to obtain eternal life by Christ, and so it is coincident with the
former assertion, that our election, or choosing unto grace and
glory, is upon the foresight of our good works; which contains a
doctrine so contradictory to the words and meaning of the apostle,
Romans 9:11, condemned in so many councils, suppressed by so many
edicts and decrees of emperors and governors, opposed as a pestilent
heresy, ever since it was first hatched, by so many orthodox fathers
and learned schoolmen, so directly contrary to the doctrine of this
church, so injurious to the grace and supreme power of Almighty God,
that I much wonder any one, in this light of the gospel and
flourishing time of learning, should be so boldly ignorant or
impudent as to broach it amongst Christians. To prove this to be a
heresy exploded by all orthodox and catholic antiquity were to light
a candle in the sun; for it cannot but be known to all and every one
who ever heard or read any thing of the state of Christs church
after the rising of the Pelagian tumults.[ccxxx] [22]
To accumulate testimonies of the ancients is quite beside my
purpose. I will only add the confession of Bellarmine,[ccxxxi] [23]
a man otherwise not over-well affected to truth. Predestination,
saith he, from the foresight of works, cannot be maintained unless
we should suppose something in the righteous man, which should make
him differ from the wicked, that he doth not receive from God; which
truly all the fathers with unanimous consent do reject. But we have
a more sure testimony, to which we will take heed, even the holy
Scripture, pleading strongly for Gods free and undeserved grace.
First, our Savior Christ, Matthew 11:26, declaring how God revealeth
the gospel unto some, which is hidden from others (a special fruit
of election), resteth in his will and good pleasure as the only
cause thereof: Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy
sight. So, comforting his little flock, Luke 12:32, he bids them
fear not, for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the
kingdom;His good pleasure is the only cause why his kingdom is
prepared for you rather than others. But is there no other reason
of this discrimination? No; he doth it all that his purpose
according to election might stand firm, Romans 9:11; for we Are
predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all
things after the counsel of his own will, Ephesians 1:11. But did
not this counsel of God direct him to choose us rather than others
because we had something to commend us more than they? No; The LORD
did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more
in number than any people; but because the LORD loved you,
Deuteronomy 7:7,8. He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy; yea,
the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or
evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not
of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, The elder
shall serve the younger: as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but
Esau have I hated, Romans 9:11-13. In brief, wherever there is any
mention of election or predestination, it is still accompanied with
the purpose, love, or will of God; his foreknowledge, whereby he
knoweth them that are his; his free power and supreme dominion over
all things. Of our faith, obedience, or any thing importing so much,
not one syllable, no mention, unless it be as the fruit and effect
thereof. It is the sole act of his free grace and good pleasure,
that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of
mercy, Romans 9:23. For this only end hath he saved us, and called
us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according
to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began, 2 Timothy 1:9. Even our calling is free and
undeserved, because flowing from that most free grace of election,
whereof we are partakers before we are [i.e., exist]. It were
needless to heap up more testimonies in a thing so clear and
evident. When God and man stand in competition who shall be
accounted the cause of an eternal good, we may be sure the Scripture
will pass the verdict on the part of the Most High. And the
sentence, in this case, may be derived from thence by these
following reasons:

First, If final perseverance in faith and obedience be the cause of,
or a condition required unto, election, then none can be said in
this life to be elected; for no man is a final perseverer until he
be dead, until he hath finished his course and consummated the
faith. But certain it is that it is spoken of some in the Scripture
that they are even in this life elected: Few are chosen, Matthew
20:16; For the elects sake those days shall be shortened, chapter
24:22; And shall, if it were possible, deceive the very elect,
verse 24,where it is evident that election is required to make one
persevere in the faith, but nowhere is perseverance in the faith
required to election; yea, and Peter gives us all a command that we
should give all diligence to get an assurance of our election,
even in this life, 2 Peter 1:10: and, therefore, surely it cannot be
a decree presupposing consummated faith and obedience.
Secondly, Consider two things of our estate, before the first
temporal act of Gods free grace (for grace is no grace if it be not
free), which is the first effect of our predestination,
comprehendeth us:First, Were we better than others. No, in no
wise: both Jews and Gentiles were all under sin, Romans 3:9. There
is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory
of God, verse 23;being all dead in trespasses and sins,
Ephesians 2:1; being by nature the children of wrath, even as
others, verse 3; far off, until we are made nigh by the blood of
Christ, verse 13. We were enemies against God, Romans 5:10; Titus
3:3. And look what desert there is in us with these qualifications,
when our vocation, the first effect of our predestination, as St
Paul showeth, Romans 8:30, and as I shall prove hereafter,
separateth us from the world of unbelievers. So much there is in
respect of predestination itself; so that if we have any way
deserved it, it is by being sinners, enemies, children of wrath, and
dead in trespasses. These are our deserts; this is the glory,
whereof we ought to be ashamed. But, secondly, When they are in the
same state of actual alienation from God, yet then, in respect of
his purpose to save them by Christ, some are said to be his: Thine
they were, and thou gavest them me, John 17:6;they were his before
they came unto Christ by faith; the sheep of Christ before they are
called, for he calleth his sheep by name, chapter 10:3; before
they come into the flock or congregation, for other sheep, saith
he, I have, which are not of this fold, them also must I bring,
chapter 10:16;to be beloved of God before they love him: Herein is
love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, 1 John 4:10.
Now, all this must be with reference to Gods purpose of bringing
them unto Christ, and by him unto glory; which we see goeth before
all their faith and obedience.

Thirdly, Election is an eternal act of Gods will: He hath chosen
us before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4; consummated
antecedently to all duty of ours, Romans 9:11. Now, every cause
must, in order of nature, precede its effect; nothing hath an
activity in causing before it hath a being. Operation in every kind
is a second act, flowing from the essence of a thing which is the
first. But all our graces and works, our faith, obedience, piety,
and charity, are all temporal, of yesterday, the same standing with
ourselves, and no longer; and therefore cannot be the cause of, no,
nor so much as a condition necessarily required for, the
accomplishment of an eternal act of God, irrevocably established
before we are.

Fourthly, If predestination be for faith foreseen, these three
things, with divers such absurdities, will necessarily
follow:First, That election is not of him that calleth, as the
apostle speaks, Romans 9:11,that is, of the good pleasure of God,
who calleth us with a holy calling,but of him that is called; for,
depending on faith, it must be his whose faith is, that doth
believe. Secondly, God cannot have mercy on whom he win have mercy,
for the very purpose of it is thus tied to the qualities of faith
and obedience, so that he must have mercy only on believers
antecedently to his decree. Which, thirdly, hinders him from being
an absolute free agent, and doing of what he will with his own,of
having such a power over us as the potter hath over his clay; for he
finds us of different matter, one clay, another gold, when he comes
to appoint us to different uses and ends.

Fifthly, God sees no faith, no obedience, perseverance, nothing but
sin and wickedness, in any man, but what himself intendeth
graciously and freely to bestow upon him; for faith is not of
ourselves, it is the gift of God; it is the work of God, that we
believe, John 6:29; he blesseth us with all spiritual blessings in
Christ, Ephesians 1:3. Now, all these gifts and graces God
bestoweth only upon those whom he hath antecedently ordained to
everlasting life: for the election obtained it, and the rest were
blinded, Romans 11:7; The Lord added to the church daily such as
should be saved Acts 2:47. Therefore, surely, God chooseth us not
because he foreseeth those things in us, seeing he bestoweth those
graces because he hath chosen us. Wherefore,[ccxxxii] [24] saith
Austin, doth Christ say, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen
you, but because they did not choose him that he should choose
them; but he chose them that they might choose him. We choose
Christ by faith; God chooseth us by his decree of election. The
question is, Whether we choose him because he hath chosen us, or he
chooseth us because we have chosen him, and so indeed choose
ourselves? We affirm the former, and that because our choice of him
is a gift he himself bestoweth only on them whom he hath chosen.
Sixthly, and principally, The effects of election, infallibly
following it, cannot be the causes of election, certainly preceding
it. This is evident, for nothing can be the cause and the effect of
the same thing, before and after itself. But all our faith, our
obedience, repentance, good works, are the effects of election,
flowing from it as their proper fountain, erected on it as the
foundation of this spiritual building; and for this the article of
our church is evident and clear. Those, saith it, that are endued
with this excellent benefit of God are called according to Gods
purpose, are justified freely, are made the sons of God by adoption;
they be made like the image of Christ; they walk religiously in good
works, etc. Where, first, they are said to be partakers of this
benefit of election, and then by virtue thereof to be entitled to
the fruition of all those graces. Secondly, it saith, Those who are
endued with this benefit enjoy those blessings; intimating that
election is the rule whereby God proceedeth in bestowing those
graces, restraining the objects of the temporal acts of Gods
special favor to them only whom his eternal decree doth embrace.

Both these, indeed, are denied by the Arminians; which maketh a
farther discovery of their heterodoxies in this particular.
[ccxxxiii] [25] You say, saith Arminius to Perkins, that election
is the rule of giving or not giving of faith; and, therefore,
election is not of the faithful, but faith of the elect: but by your
leave this I must deny. But yet, whatever it is the sophistical
heretic here denies, either antecedent or conclusion, he falls foul
on the word of God. They believed, saith the Holy Ghost, who
were ordained to eternal life, Acts 13:48; and, The Lord added
to the church daily such as should be saved, chapter 2:47. From
both which places it is evident that God bestoweth faith only on
them whom he hath pre-ordained to eternal life; but most clearly,
Romans 8:29,30, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate
to be conformed to the image of his Son. Moreover whom he did
predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also
justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. St Austin
interpreted this place by adding in every link of the chain, Only
those. However, the words directly import a precedency of
predestination before the bestowing of other graces, and also a
restraint of those graces to them only that are so predestinated.
Now, the inference from this is not only for the form logical, but
for the matter also; it containeth the very words of Scripture,
Faith is of Gods elect, Titus 1:1.

For the other part of the proposition, that faith and obedience are
the fruits of our election, they cannot be more peremptory in its
denial than the Scripture is plentiful in its confirmation: He hath
chosen us in Christ, that we should be holy, Ephesians 1:4; not
because we were holy, but that we should be so. Holiness, whereof
faith is the root and obedience the body, is that whereunto, and not
for which, we are elected. The end and the meritorious cause of any
one act cannot be the same; they have divers respects, and require
repugnant conditions. Again; we are predestinated unto the adoption
of children by Jesus Christ, verse 5. Adoption is that whereby we
are assumed into the family of God, when before we are foreigners,
aliens, strangers, afar off; which we see is a fruit of our
predestination, though it be the very entrance into that estate
wherein we begin first to please God in the least measure. Of the
same nature are all those places of holy writ which speak of Gods
giving some unto Christ, of Christs sheep hearing his voice, and
others not hearing, because they are not of his sheep; all which,
and divers other invincible reasons, I willingly omit, with sundry
other false assertions and heretical positions of the Arminians
about this fundamental article of our religion, concluding this
chapter with the following scheme:

S.S.Lib. Arbit.
Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be
conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the
first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did
predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he
also justified: and whom he justified, them he also
glorified. So that nothing shall be able to separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:29, 30,
39.No such will can be ascribed unto God, whereby he so would
have any to be saved, that from thence his salvation should be
sure and infallible, Armin. I acknowledge no sense, no
perception of any such election in this life, Grevinch. We
deny that Gods election unto salvation extendeth itself to
singular persons, Rem. Coll. Hag.

He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy, Ephesians 1:4.As we are justified by
faith, so we are not elected but by faith, Grevinch.

Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose
and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world
began, 2 Timothy 1:9.We profess roundly that faith is
considered by God as a condition preceding election, and not
following as a fruit thereof, Rem. Coll. Hag.

For the children being not yet born, neither having done any
good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, etc.,
Romans 9:11. All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,
John 6:37The sole and only cause of election is not the will
of God, but the respect of our obedience, Episcop. For the
cause of this love to any person is, [that] the goodness,
faith, and piety, wherewith, according to Gods command and
his own duty, he is endued, are pleasing to God, Rem. Apol.

Many are called, but few are chosen, Matthew 22:14. Fear
not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to
give you the kingdom, Luke 12:82.God hath determined to
grant the means of salvation unto all without difference; and
according as he foreseeth men will use those means, so he
determineth of them, Corr.

What hast thou that thou didst not receive? 1 Corinthians
4:7. Are we better than they? No, in no wise, Romans 3:9.
But we are predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus
Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians
1:5; John 6:37-39, 10:3, 13:18, 17:6; Acts 13:48; Titus 1:1; 2
Timothy 2:19; James 1:17, 18, etc.The sum of their doctrine
is: God hath appointed the obedience of faith to be the means
of salvation. If men fulfill this condition, he determineth to
save them, which is their election; but if, after they have
entered the way of godliness, they fall from it, they lose
also their predestination. If they will return again, they are
chosen anew; and if they can hold out to the end, then, and
for that continuance, they are peremptorily elected, or
post-destinated, after they are saved. Now, whether these
positions may be gathered from those places of Scripture which
deliver this doctrine, let any man judge.


ENDNOTES:

[ccxxxiv] [1] Electio non est ab aeterno.Rem. Apol.
[ccxxxv] [2] Electio alia completa est, quae neminem spectat nisi
immorientem. Electio peremptoria totum salutis complementum et
consummationem decernit, ideoque in objecto requirit totam
consummatam fidei obedientiam.Grevinch, ad Ames. p. 136, passim. dis.
[ccxxxvi] [3] Non agnoscimus aliam praedestinationem in evangelio
patefactam, quam qua Deus decrevit credentes et qui in eadem fide
perseverarent, salvos facere.Rem. Coll. Hag., p. 34.
[ccxxxvii] [4] Electionis fructum aut sensum in hac vita nullum
agnosco.Grevinch.
[ccxxxviii] [5] Episcop. Thes., p. 35; Epist. ad Walach., p. 38;
Grevinch. ad Ames., p. 133.
[ccxxxix] [6] Electio alia completa est, quae neminem spectat nisi
morientem, alia incompleta, quae omnibus fidelibus communis est; ut
salutis bona sunt incompleta quae continu-antur, fide contlnuata, et
abnegate, revocantur, sic electio est incompleta in hac vita, non
peremptoria, revocabilis.Grevinch, ad Ames.
[ccxl] [7] Tres sunt ordines credentium et resipiscentium in
Scripturis, novitli, credentes aliquandiu, perseverantes. Duo
priores ordines credentium eliguntur vere quidem, at non prorsus
absolute, nec nisi ad tempus, puta quamdiu et quatenus tales sunt,
etc.Rem. Confess., cap. 18, sect. 6,7.
[ccxli] [8] Aquinas.
[ccxlii] [9] Nos negamus Dei electionem ad salutem extendere sese
ad slngulares personas, qua singulares personas.Rem. Coll. Hag., fol. 76.
[ccxliii] [10] Deus statuit indiscrimlnatim media ad fidem
administrare, et prout has, vel illas personas, istis mediis
credituras vel non credituras videt, ita tandem de illis
statuit.Corv. ad Tilen., 76.
[ccxliv] [11] Ecclesiae tanquam sacrosancta doctrina obtruditur,
Deum absolutissimo et immutabili decreto ab omni retro aeternitate,
pro puro suo beneplacito, singulares quosdam homines, eosque, quoad
caeteros, paucissimos, citra ullius obedientiae aut fidei in
Chris-tum intuitum praedestinasse ad vitam.Praefat. Lib. Armin. ad Perk.
[ccxlv] [12] Nulla Deo tribui potest voluntas, qua ita velit
hominem ullum salvari, ut salus inde illis constet certo et
infallibiliter.--Armin. Antip., p. 583.
[ccxlvi] [13] Praedestinatio est praeparatio beneficiorum quibus
certissime liberantur quicunque liberantur.Aug, de Bono Per. Sen., cap. 14.
[ccxlvii] [14] Decretum electionis nihil aliud est quam decretum
quo Deus constituit credentes in Christo justificare et
salvare.Corv, ad Tilen., p. 13.
[ccxlviii] [15] Ratio dilectionis personae est, quod probitas,
tides, vel pietas, qua ex officio suo et prrescripto Dei ista
persona praedita est, Deo grata sit. Rem. Apol., p. 18.
[ccxlix] [16] Rotunde fatemur, fidem in consideratione Dei in
eligendo ad salutem antecedere, et non tauquam fracture electionis
sequi.Rem. Hag. Coll., p. 85.
[ccl] [17] Grevinch. ad Amea, p. 24; Corv. ad Molin., p. 260.
[ccli] [18] Electionis et reprobationis causa unica vera et
absoluta non est Dei voluntas, seal respectus obedientise et
inobedientise.Epis. Disput. 8.
[cclii] [19] Cum peccatum pono causam merltoriam reprobationls, ne
existlmato e contra me ponere justitiam causam meritoriam
electionis.Attain. Antip.; Rein. Apol., p. 73.
[ccliii] [20] Gods Love, p. 6.
[ccliv] [21] Deum nullam creaturam preecise ad vitam ,eternam
amare, nisi consideratam ut justam sire justitia legali sire
evangelicaArmin. Artic. Perpend., fol. 21.
[cclv] [22] Vid. Prosp. ad Excep. Gen. ad Dub., 8,9. Vid. Car. de
Ingratis., c. 2,3.
[cclvi] [23] Non potest defendi praedestinatlo ex operibus
praevisis, nisi aliquid boni ponatur in homine justo, quo
discernatur ab impio, quod non sit illi a Deo, quod sane patres
omnes summa consensione rejiciunt. Bellar, de Grat., et Lib.
Arbit., cap. 14.
[cclvii] [24] Non ob aliud dicit, Non vos me eligistis, seal ego
vos elegi, nisi quia non elegerunt eumut eligeret eos; sed ut
eligerent eum elegit eos.Aug, de Bono Perse, cap. 16.
[cclviii] [25] Dicis electionem divinarn esse regulam fidei dandae
vel non dandae; ergo, electio non est fidelium, sed tides electorum:
seal liceat mihi tua bona venia hoc negare.Armin. Antip., p. 221.

 

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