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Pred. Did I not tell you before? ** God's first con" stitution was, that some should be destined to eternal “ ruin; and to this end their sins were ordained, and denial “ of grace in order to their sins."
Friend. But is not God's predestinating men to life or death grounded on his fore-knowledge ?
Pred. +“ So the vulgar think; that God as he foresees every man will deserve, elects them to life, or devotes « them to death and damnation."
Friend. And do not you think that reprobation, at least, is grounded on God's fore-knowing men's sins ?
Pred. No indeed. “God of his own good pleasure “ ordains that many should be born, who are from the " womb devoted to inevitable damnation. If any man
pretend that God's fore-knowledge lays them under no “ necessity of being damned, but rather that he decreed " their damnation, because he foreknew their wickedness; “ I grant that God's fore-knowledge alone lays no neces“sity on the creature ; but eternal life and death depend
on the will rather than the fore-knowledge of God. If “ God only forė-knew all things that relate to all men, " and did not decree and ordain them also, then it might 66 be inquired whether or not his fore-knowledge neces“ sitates the thing fore-known. But seeing he therefore “ fore-knows all things that will come to pass, because he 6 has decreed they shall come to pass, it is vain to con66 tend about fore-knowledge, since it is plain all things come to pass by God's positive decree.”
Friend. But if God has positively decreed to damn the greater part of mankind, why does he call upon them to repent and be saved ? Pred. | “ As God bas his effectual call, whereby he
U “ gives the elect the salvation to which he ordained them;
so he has his judgments towards the reprobates, whereby
* Zanchius de Natura Dei. p. 553, 554.
+ Calvin Inst. b. 3. 6. 22. sect. 1.
| Ibid. c. 23, sect. 6. || Ibid. c. 24. sect. 12, VOL. XIV.
“ he executes his decree concerning them. “therefore, as he created to live miserably, and then “ perish everlastingly; these, that they may be brought to “ the end for which they were created, he sometimes de“prives of the possibility of hearing the word, and at “ other times, by the preaching thereof, blinds and stupifies 6 them the more." · Friend. How is this? I say, if God has created them for never-ending death, why does he call to them to turn and live?
Pred. *" He calls to them, that they may be more “ deaf; he kindles a light, that they may be the more “ blind; he brings his doctrine to them, that they may be
more ignorant; and applies the remedy to them, that “ they may not be healed.”
Friend. Enough, enough. Yet you do not make God the author of sin ?
Pred. No, certainly, t“ God cannot be termed the 6 author of sin, though he is the cause of those actions.
which are sins."
Pred. Two ways; first, bý his eternal, unchangeable decree: secondly, by his present, irresistible power.
Friend. Did God then fore-or dain the sins of any man? -Predl" Both the reprobates and the eleet were fore« ordained to Sin, as Sin, that the glory of God might be “ declared thereby. || The reprobates, more especially, « who were predestinated to damnation, and the causes of 4 damination, and created to that end that they might live “ wickedly, and be vessels full of the dregs of sin." แ " Friend. But surely the sins of the elect' were not foreordained
* Calvin Inst. b. 3. c. 24. sect. 13. † Petri Martyris Vermili Com. in Roman. p. 413. Zanchius de Nat. Dei. p. 555. # Piscator contra Tauffium. p. 47.
Pred. Yes, but they were. * 6 For we neither can do
more good than we do, nor less' evil than we do; because “God from eternity has precisely decreed that both the "good and the evil should be so done.”
Friend. I understand you, as 'to God's decreeing sin. But how is his irresistible power now concerned in the sins of men ?
Pred. +“God is the author of that action, which is “ sinful, by his irresistible will ?"
Friend. How do you mean? Pred. I “God procures adultery, cursings, lyings. || He “supplies wicked men with opportunities of sinning, and “ inclines their hearts thereto. He blinds, deceives, and “ seduces them. He by his working on their heart, bends “ and stirs them up to do evil. And thus, g Thieves, mur“ derers, and other malefactors are God's instruments, 66 which he uses to execute what he hath decreed in him16 self.”
Friend. Do you not then charge God himself with sin ?
Pred. No. 7 " God necessitates them only to the act « of sin, not to the deformity of sin. Besides, ** When « God makes angels or men sin, he does not sin himself, 66 because he does not break
law. For God is under no law, and therefore cannot sin.” Friend. But how does God make angels or men sin ?
Pred. H“ The devil and wicked men are so held in on "every side by the hand of God that they cannot conceive, bor contrive, or execute any mischief, any farther than “God himself doth not only permit, but command. Nor “ are they only held in fetters, but compelled also as with
a bridle, to perform obedience to those commands." Friend. This is true Turkish doctrine, and ought so to
* Piscatoris Responsio ad amicam duplicationem Conradi Vorstii, p. 176. + Dr. Twiss. pars III. p. 21. # Piscat. Responsio ad Apologiam Bertii. # Pet. Martyr. Ver. Comment. in Rom. p. 36, 413. Calv. Inst. b. i. c. 17. sect. 5. Twiss Vindiciæ, pars III. p. 22. ** Zuinglius i Serm. de Provid. c. 5, 6. tt Calv. Inst. b. 1. c. 17. sect. 11.
be exploded as that used to be in these words :-" I do anathematize the blasphemy of Mahomed, which saith, that God deceiveth whom he will, and whom he will be leadeth to that which is good. Himself doth what he willeth, and is himself the cause of all good and evil. Fate and destiny govern all things.” Nicetus Saracenita.
Pred. Nay, our doctrine is more ancient than Mahomed. It was maintained by St. Augustine. Friend. Augustine speaks sometimes for it, and sometimes against it. But all antiquity for the four first centuries is against you, as is the whole eastern church to this day; and the Church of England, both in her catechism, articles, and homilies. And so are divers of our most holy martyrs, Bishop Hooper and Bishop Latimer in particular.
Pred. But does not antiquity say, Judas was predestinated to damnation :
Friend. Quite the contrary. St. Chrysostom's express words are; “ Judas, my Beloved, was at first a child of the kingdom, and heard it said to him with the disciples, Ye shall sit on twelve thrones. But afterwards he became the child of hell.”
Pred. However, you will own Esau was predestinated to destruction.
Friend. - Indeed I will not. Some of your own writers believe he was finally saved; which was the general opinion of the ancient fathers. And that scripture, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated, plainly relates not to their persons, but their posterities. But-supposing Esau or Judas to be damned, what is he damned for?
Pred. Without question for unbelief. For as we are saved by faith alone, so unbelief is the only damning sin.
Friend. By what faith are you saved ? :
Friend. But did he give himself for Esau and Judas ? If not, you say, they are damned for not believing a lie. This consideration it was which forced Archbishop Usher to cry out, “ What would not a man flee unto, rather than yield, that Christ did not die for the reprobates; and that
none but the elect had any kind of title to him: and yet many thousands should be bound in conscience to believe that he died for them, and tied to accept him for their Redeemer and Saviour ? Whereby they should have be
. lieved that which in itself is most untrue, and laid hold of that in which they had no kind of interest."
Pred. But what then do you mean by the words, Election and Reprobation?
Friend. I mean this. lst. God did decree from the he. ginning to elect or choose (in Christ) all that should believe to salvation. And this decree proceeds from his own goodness, and is not built upon any goodness in the creature. 2dly. God did from the beginning decree, to reprobate all, who should obstinately and finally continue in unbelief.
Pred. What then do you think of absolute unconditional election and reprobation ?
Friend. I think it cannot be found in holy Writ, and that it is a plant which bears dismal fruit. An instance of which we have in Calvin himself; who confesses that he procured the burning to death of Michael Servetus, a wise and holy man, purely for differing from him in opinion, in matters of religion.