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there was a contradiction between the decree of Reprobation, which leaves men in a want of holinefs, and God's command to men,, that they should be holy as he is holy. It may be replied, That the words referred to, are not a command to all men to be holy, but an exhortation to the Ifrael of God, to fuch who were called, by the grace of God, to be holy and unblameable, to which they were chofen in Christ, before the foundation of the world; but admitting they are a command to all men to be holy, God's command only expreffes what is his will fhould be man's duty, not what he has determin'd shall be done. It may be every man's duty to be holy, and yet God refolve not to give his grace to fome perfons, to make them holy, without which they cannot be fo. Hence it fol lows, that between God's command of holiness to all men, and his decree to leave fome in the want of holiness, is no contradiction, nor is fuch a decree repugnant to the holiness of his nature, nor to his love of it.


VI. The decree of Reprobation is reprefented as incompatible with the justice of God, for these reasons,

1 Pet. i. 16.

Curcellaeus, p. 367. Limborch, p. 334.

D 3

1. Be

1. Because, by this decree, God reprobates men, confider'd as innocent, and appoints innocent perfons to eternal deftruction, according to the Supralapfarian scheme, or fuch whom, of his mere will and pleasure, he was about to make nocent, having deferved no fuch thing, according to the Sublapfarian scheme. Another writer obferves, "This obvious exception lies against the equity of his proceedings with the fons of men; that most of the fons of Adam lie under death eternal by his peremptory decree, for the fin of their forefather, committed, long before they had a being, and fo before they were in a capacity of any. perfonal offence." I answer; The Supralapfarians diftinguish Reprobation into negative and pofitive; negative Reprobation is non-election, or preterition, a paffing by of some, when others were chosen; the objects of this decree, are men confider'd as not yet created, and fo neither wicked' nor righteous. Pofitive Reprobation is the decree of damnation, or that which appoints men to everlasting ruin, to which it appoints no man but for fin. It is therefore a moft injurious reprefentation of the Supralapfarians, that they affert that God has reprobated, that is, appointed innocent perfons to eternal destruction; when they,

↑ Whitby, p. 32.

over and over, fay, as may eafily be obferved in the writings of that famous Supralapfarian, Dr. Twifs, That God has not decreed to damn any man, but for fin; and that the decree of Reprobation is in no moment, or reafon of nature, before, and without the confideration of fin. Now if it is not incompatible with the justice of God, to damn men for fin, it can be no ways incompatible with his juftice, to decree to damn men for fin. The Sublapfarians are equally abused, when they are represented as holding, that God reprobates fuch, whom, of his mere will and pleasure, redditurus erat nocentes, he was about to make nocent, having deferved no fuch thing whereas they neither fay, that God of innocent creatures, makes nocent, or finful ones, and then reprobates them; though, with the fcriptures, That God made man upright; but they have fought out many inventions", finful ones; whereby they have loft their uprightnefs and innocency, and so justly deserve the displeasure of God; nor that the objects of Reprobation are fuch, who are to be made nocent, or finful, either through themselves or any others; when 'tis well known, that these divines always confider the objects of Reprobation as men already created and cor

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rupted. But let the objects of the decree of Reprobation be confider'd either in the pure, or in the corrupt mafs; that decree puts nothing in them, it leaves them as it finds them; and therefore does them no injustice. Nor is it any obvious exception against the equity of God's proceedings with the fons of men, that most of the fons of Adam lie, yea, if even all of them had lain under death eternal, by his peremptory decree, for the fin of their forefather; if the wages of fin is death eternal, and all the fons of Adam were concerned in that fin, as the fcriptures declare; for in him all have finned; and by his offence judgment came upon all men to condemnation. Though none, as I know of, fay, that any of the fons of Adam, who live to riper years, are laid under eternal death only for the fin of Adam, but for their numerous, actual fins and tranfgreffions, and for their final impenitence and unbelief. And as for infants dying in infancy, their cafe is a secret to us; yet inasmuch as they come into the world children of wrath, fhould they go out as fuch, Is there any unrighteousness in God?

2. This decree is faid to be contrary to the juftice of God; becaufe by it God is made to require faith and obedience of per

* Rom. v. 12, 18.

7 Curcellacus, p. 368. Limborch, p. 336,


fons from whom he has either taken away ftrength to perform, or to whom he has abfolutely decreed not to give it; which makes it impoffible for them to believe and obey; and no man is bound to do that which is impoffible. I reply; That the rule, which is fo frequent in the mouths and writings of our opponents, Nemo obligatur ad impoffibile, no man is bound to that which is impoffible, in many cases will not hold good; a debtor may be in such a cafe as that it is impoffible to pay his creditor, and yet he is obliged to it. It is impoffible for man, in his prefent finful state, to keep the whole law of God, and yet he is obliged to it. It will be own'd, by thofe who are on the other fide of the question, That a man, by a long train of finning, or by a continued courfe of vicious practices, may be fo habituated to fin, as that it is as impoffible for him to do good, as it is for the Ethiopian to change his fkin, or the leopard his fpots; yet it will not follow, that he is not obliged any longer to do that which is good. It is man's duty to believe the word of the Lord, and obey his will, though he has not a power, yea, even though God has decreed to withhold that grace, without which he cannot believe and obey. So it was Pharaoh's duty to believe and obey the Lord, and let Ifrael go; tho'


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