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the most unworthy and unpromifing in themfelves: in this the foolishness of God is wifer than men: for ye fee your calling, brethren, bow that not many wife men after the flee; not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chofen the foolifb things of the world to confound the wife; and God bath chofen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and bafe things of the world, and things which are defpiled, bath God chofen; yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are, that no flesh fhould glory in bis prefence.

2. It is asked, "Doth it become the wifdom of God to ufe, or to appoint thofe means for the effecting what he would have done, which he knows to be no means, becaufe no ways fufficient to produce the affigned end, and to withhold, yea, to decree to withhold that which alone could make them fo?" I reply; That what God would have done, that is, whatever is his determining will fhall be done, is done, either with or without means; if with means, he not only appoints and ufes them, but makes them every way fufficient to produce the defigned end; nor does he withhold, nor decree to withhold, that which alone can make them fo; fhould

1 Cor. i. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29.

Whitby, p. 31.


he, it would highly reflect on his wisdom indeed. Now, could it be proved, that God, in this fenfe, would have all men converted, regenerated, be brought to repentance unto life, and everlastingly saved; and that he has appointed, and ufes means for the effecting of all this, and yet withholds, and has decreed to withhold that which alone can make thefe means fufficient; as there would be an apparent contradiction in his will, his purposes and decrees, and even in his actions, fo it would be a most grofs impeachment of his wif dom. But then we utterly deny that God has willed converting and regenerating. grace, evangelical repentance, and everlafting falvation, to every individual of mankind; or that he has appointed, or uses means, for the effecting of thefe in all men; and therefore, as it is no contradiction to his eternal purposes, nor to his methods of acting in time, to withhold, and to decree to withhold from, or to deny his grace to, fome men, fo it can be no reflection upon his wifdom to do fo. It is true, indeed, it is his will of command, that all men fhould repent, and turn from the evil of their ways; but this is, more properly, expreffive of what is man's duty, than of what is the will of God; or, in other words, this fhews what God has made man's duty to do, and not what he himself has willed thall be done,

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done. Now God has appointed means, and he ufes them, and makes them fufficient to acquaint men, that he has made fuch and fuch things their duty; whereby they are left inexcufable, though he does not give them grace to repent and turn, which he is not obliged to.


3. It is faid, That "this decree cannot be reconciled to the divine wifdom; becaufe it introduces God expecting what he never would have done, and which cannot be done, the converfion of the reprobates; and enjoining under a promife of eternal life, what he himself will do, and which, unless he does it, cannot be done, namely, faith and obedience in the elect." frange! that the decree of Reprobation fhould have any thing to do, with the elect, or introduce God enjoining them faith and obedience though for God to enjoin his elect these things, under a promife of eternal life, when they cannot be done without his grace, is no ways alien from his wif dom; fince hereby he fecures his own authority to command, fhews his people their weakness, and magnifies the riches of his grace. But it is ftranger ftill! that the decree of Reprobation fhould introduce God expecting the converfion of the reprobates, when one part of the decree is to deny them.

Limborch, p. 339.


that grace by which their infidelity and impenitence can only be removed, and they be favingly converted. Nor do the scriptures any where reprefent God looking for, or expecting any fuch thing in them.

IV. The decree of Reprobation is thought greatly to affect the truth and fincerity of God in his declarations, calls, commiferations, promifes and offers of grace to men. And,

1. It is afked, "Whether he reprefents God honourably, who believes that God, by his revealed will, hath declared, he would have all men to be faved; and yer, by an antecedent, fecret will, would have the greatest part of them to perish." I anfwer; That we do not believe, nor do the fcriptures teach us to believe, that God, by his revealed will, hath declared, That he would have all the individuals of mankind faved; for then all of them would be faved; whereas they are not, neither will they be all faved. The fcriptures, which are God's revealed will, declare Judas to be the fon of perdition, and antichrist, the man of fin, goes by the fame name, whom the Lord fhall confume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall deftroy by the brightness of his coming; yea, that there are fome that Should believe a lye, that they all might be

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damned; and, that God is willing to fhew bis wrath upon the veffels of wrath fitted to deftruction, Wherefore it is no contradiction to the revealed will of God, and fo no ways oppofes his truth; nor is it any dif honourable reprefentation of him, to believe, that by his fecret will he has determined that fome fhould perifh; and it fhould be obferved, that we do not believe that God has determined that any one fhould perifh, but for fin; or that he has fecretly willed that any should perish, whether they believe and repent or not therefore his fecret will does not, in the least, contradict his revealed one, that whofoever believeth shall not perish, but have everlasting life I obferve, that the emphafis is laid upon the greatest part of mankind being willed to perifh by the fecret will of God: how many, and who they are, God has wilted fhould perish, we know not; but fuppofing there was but one man, whom God, by an antecedent, fecret will, had determined should perifh; Would not this be thought to be a contradiction to his revealed will, and a difhonourable reprefentation of God? Could the truth and fincerity of God be fupported notwithstanding this inftance? if they could, Why may it not be thought, that he has, by his fecret will,

d John xvii 12. 2 Theff. ii, 4, 11, 12. Rom. ix. 22. e John iii, 16.


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