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§ 28. If there be no election, then it is not God that makes men to differ, expressly contrary to scripture. No man ought to praise God for that happiness that he has above other men, or for that distinction that is between him and other men, that he is holy and that he is saved; when they are not holy and not saved. The saints in heaven, when they look on the devils in hell, have no occasion to praise God on account of the difference between them. Some of the ill consequences of the Arminian doctrines are, that it robs God of the greater part of the glory of his grace, and takes away a principal motive to love and praise him, and exalts man to God’s room, and ascribes the glory to self, that belongs to God alone. Rom. xi. 7. “The election hath obtained, and the rest were blinded.” That by the election here is not meant the Gentiles, but the elect part of the Jews, is most apparent by the context. Such Arminians who allow, that some only are elected, and not all that are saved, but that none are reprobated, overthrow hereby their own main objection against reprobation, viz. that God offers salvation to all, and encourages them to seek it, which, say they, would be inconsistent with God’s truth, if he had absolutely determined not to save them ; for they will not deny that those that are elected whilst ungodly, are warned of God to beware of eternal damnation, and to avoid such and such things, lest they should be damned. But for God to warn men to beware of damnation, though he has absolutely determined that they shall not be damned, is exactly parallel with his exhorting men to seek salvation, though he has actually determined that they shall not be saved.
§ 29. That election is not from a foresight of works, or conditional, as depending on the condition of man's will, is evident by 2 Tim. i. 9. “Who hath 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.” Philip. ii. 13. “ For it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” Rom. ix. 15, 16. “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on
whom I will have compassion. So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Men's labors and endeavors themselves are from God. 1 Cor. xv. 10. “But by the grace of God, I am what I am ; and his grace which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain ; but I labored more abundantly than they all. Yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
§ 30. God decrees all things, and even all sins. Acts ii. 23. “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain ;” iv. 28. “ For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” If. the thing meant, be only that Christ's sufferings should come to pass by some means or other; I answer, they could not come to pass but by sin. For contempt and disgrace was one thing he was to suffer. Even the free actions of men are subject to God's disposal. Prov. xxi. 1. “The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord ; he turneth it as the rivers of water, whithersoever it pleaseth him.” See Jer, lii. 3. “For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, till he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.” The not complying with the terms of the covenant of grace is decreed, 1 Pet. ii. 8. “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to them that stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.” What man determines, never comes to pass, unless God determines it, Lam. iii. 37. “Who is he that saith, and it cometh to pass, and the Lord commandeth it not ?” By commanding is here meant willing; and God is elsewhere said to speak, and it was done ; to command, and it stood fast. God determines the limits of men's lives. This is exceeding evident. Job vii. 1. “Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth 2 Are not his days also like the days of an hireling * Days of an hireling signify an appointed, certain, limited time; as Isa. xvi. 14, and Isa. xxi. 16. If the limits of men's lives are determined, men's free actions must be determined, and even
their sins; for their lives often depend on such acts. See also Job xiv. 5.
§ 31. If God does not know all things, then his knowledge may increase, he may gain, and may grow wiser as he grows older. He may discover new things, and may draw consequences from them. And he may be mistaken : If he does not know, he may guess wrong : If he does not know, he has no infallible judgment; for an infallible judgment is knowledge. And if he may be mistaken, he may order matters wrong; he may be frustrated ; his measures may be broken. For, doubtless, in things that are uncertain, he orders things according to what appears most probable, or else he fails in prudence. But in so ordering things, his measures may be broken. And then the greater part of the great events, viz. events among rational creatures, would be uncertain to him. For the greater part of them depend on men's free actions. That he does foreknow, is evident by his predicting and foretelling events, and even the sins of men, as Judas's sin. If he did not foreknow, he might change his will as he altered his views. Now, it is especially with respect to God's will and purposes, that he is said in scripture not to be changeable. Having thus proved the foreknowledge of God, and the greater part of Armirjans not denying it, I shall hereafter take it for granted, and shall argue against those only that allow it. If he did not foreknow and might be disappointed, he might repent.
§ 32. They say, as God’s power extends only to all things possible, so God's knowledge only extends to all things knowable. ~
ANs. Things impossible, or contradictions, are not things; but events that come to pass, are things. God’s power does extend to all things, otherwise it would not be infinite. So neither is the knowledge of God infinite, unless God knows all things. To suppose that God cannot do things impossible, does not suppose that God's power can be increased. But to suppose that God does not know men's free actions, does sup
pose that God's knowledge may be increased. To suppose that God’s decrees are conditional, in the sense of the Arminians, or that they depend, as they suppose, on a foresight of something that shall come to pass in time, is to suppose that something that first begins to be in time, is the cause of something that has been from all eternity, which is absurd ; for nothing can be a cause of that existence, which is before the existence of that cause. What an absurdity is it, to suppose that that existence which is an effect, is effected by a cause, when that cause that effects it, is not, or has no being 2 If it be answered, that it is not the actual existence of the thing, that is the reason or cause of the decree, but the foresight of the existence ; and the foresight of the existence may be at the same time with the decree, and before it, in the order of nature, though the existence itself is not; and that it is not properly the actual existence of the thing foreseen, that is the cause of the decree, but the existence of it in the divine foreknowledge. I reply, that this does not help the difficulty at all, but only puts it a step farther off; for still, by their scheme, the foreknowledge depends on the future actual existence ; so that the actual existence is the cause of the divine foreknowledge, which is infinite ages before it. And it is a great absurdity to suppose this effect to flow from this cause, before the existence of the cause. And whatever is said, the absurdity will occur, unless we suppose that the divine decree is the ground of the futurition of the event, and also the ground of the foreknowledge of it. Then the cause is before the effect ; but otherwise the effect is before the cause. § 33. If God absolutely determined that Christ's death should have success in gathering a church to him, it will fol. low that there was a number absolutely elected, or that God had determined some should surely be saved. If God determined that some should surely be saved, that implies that he had determined that he would see to it, that some should perform the conditions of salvation and be saved; or, which is the same thing, that he would cause that they should be surely saved. But this cannot be, without fixing on the persons beforehand. For the cause is before the effect. There is no such thing as God's resolving absolutely beforehand that he would save some, and yet not determining who they should be, before they were actually saved : Or that he should see to it, that there should be in a number the requisites of salvation, and yet not determine who, till they actually have the requisites of salvation. But God had absolutely determined that some should be saved, yea a great number, after Christ’s death ; and had determined it beforehand. Because he had absolutely promised it; Isa. xlix. 6, and liii. 10. See in Psal. lxxii. and other places in the Psalms, and Tit. ii. 14. God, having absolutely purposed this before Christ's death, must either have then determined the persons, or resolved that he would hereafter determine the persons; at least, if he saw there was need of it, and saw that they did not come in of themselves. But this latter supposition, if we allow it, overthrows the Arminian scheme. It shows, that such a predetermination, or absolute election, is not inconsistent with God’s perfections, or the nature of the gospel constitution, or God’s government of the world, and his promise of reward to the believing and obedient, and the design of gospel offers and commands, as the Arminians suppose. If God has absolutely determined to save some certain persons, then, doubtless, he has in like manner determined concerning all that are to be saved. God’s promising, supposes not only that the thing is future, but that God will do it. If it be left to chance, or man’s contingent will, and the event happen right, God is never the truer. He performs not his promise; he takes no ef. fectual care about it; it is not he that promised, that performs. That thing, or, rather nothing, called fortune, orders all....Concerning the absurdity of supposing that it was not absolutely determined beforehand, what success there should be of Christ's death; see Polhill's Shec. Theolog. in Christo, p. 165....l71. It is pretended, that the antecedent certainty of any sin’s being committed, seeing that it is attended with necessity, takes away all liberty, and makes warnings and exhortations to avoid sin, a mere illusion. To this I would bring the in