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him to life everlasting.” But yet the apostle never looked on it as a diminution of the freedom and riches of divine grace in his election, which he so often and so greatly magnifies. This brings me to observe,

4. Our supposing such a moral necessity in the acts of God's will, as has been spoken of, is so far from necessarily derogating from the riches of God's grace to such as are the chosen objects of his favour, that, in many instances, this moral necessity may arise from goodness, and from the great degree of it. God may choose this object rather than another, as having a superior fitness to answer the ends, designs and inclinations of his goodness ; being more sinful, and so more miserable and necessitous than others; the inclinations of infinite mercy and benevolence may be more gratified, and the gracious design of God in sending his Son into the world may be more abundantly answered, in the exercises of mercy towards such an object, rather than another.

One thing more I would observe, before I finish what I have to say on the head of the Necessity of the acts of God's will; and that is, that something much more like a servile subjection of the Divine Being to fatal Necessity will follow from Arminian principles, than from the doctrines which they oppose. For they (at least most of them) suppose, with re

. spect to all events that happen in the moral world, depending on the Volitions of moral agents, which are the most important events of the universe, to which all others are subordi. nate : I say, they suppose, with respect to these, that God has a certain foreknowledge of them, antecedent to any purposes or decrees of his about them. And if so, they have a fixed certain futurity, prior to any designs or volitions of his, and independent on them, and to which his volitions must be subject, as he would wisely accommodate his affairs to this fixed futurity of the state of things in the moral world. So that here, instead of a moral necessity of God's Will, arising from, or consisting in, the infinite perfection and blessedness of the Divine Being, we have a fixed unalterable state of things, properly distinct from the perfect nature of the Divine Mind, and the state of the Divine Will and Design, and en. tirely independent on these things, and which they have no hand in, because they are prior to them; and to which God's Will is truly subject, being obliged to conform or accommo. date himself to it, in all his purposes and decrees, and in every thing he does in his disposals and government of the world': the moral world being the end of the natural ; so that all is in vain that is not accommodated to that state of the moral world, which consists in, or depends upon, the acts and state of the wills of moral agents, which had a fixed futurition from eternity. Such a subjection to necessity as this, would truly

argue an inferiority and servitude, that would be unworthy of the Supreme Being; and is much more agreeable to the notion which many of the heathen had of fate, as above the gods, than that moral necessity of fitness and wisdom which has been spoken of; and is truly repugnant to the absolute sovereignty of God, and inconsistent with the supremacy of his will; and really subjects the will of the Most High to the will of his creatures, and brings him into dependence upon them.

SECT. IX.

Concerning that Objection against the Doctrine which has beer

maintained, that it makes God the Author of Sin.

1

It is urged by Arminians, that the doctrine of the neces. sity of men's volitions, or their necessary connection with an. tecedent events and circumstances, makes the first cause, and supreme orderer of all things, the author of sin ; in that he has so constituted the state and course of things, that sinful volitions become necessary, in consequence of his disposal. Dr. WHITBY, in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will,* cites one of the ancients, as on his side, declaring that this opinion of the necessity of the will “ absolves sinners, as doing nothing of their own accord which was evil, and would east all the blame of all the wickedness committed in the world upon God, and upon his providence, if that were admitted by the asserters of this fate; whether he himself did necessitate them to do these things, or ordered matters so that they should be constrained to do them by some other cause." And the doctor says, in another place,t - In the nature of the thing, and in the opinion of philosophers, causa deficiens, in rebus necessariis, ad causam per se efficientem reducenda est. In things necessary, the deficient cause must be reduced to the efficient. And in this case the reason is evident ; because the not doing what is required, or not avoiding what is forbidden, being a defect, must follow from the position of the necessary cause of that deficiency.”—Concerning this, I would observe the following things.

I. Jf there be any difficulty in this matter, it is nothing peculiar to this scheme; it is no difficulty or disadvantage wherein it is distinguished from the scheme of Arminians; and, therefore, not reasonably objected by them.

* On the Five Points, p. 361.

# Ibid. p. 486.

Dr. WHITBY supposes, that if sin necessarily follows from God withholding assistance, or if that assistance be not given which is absolutely necessary to the avoiding of evil; then, in the nature of the thing, God must be as properly the author of that evil, as if he were the efficient cause of it. From whence, according to what he himself says of the devils and damned spirits, God must be the proper author of their perfect unrestrained wickedness: he must be the efficient cause of the great pride of the devils, and of their perfect malignity against God, Christ, his saints, and all that is good, and of the insatiable cruelty of their disposition. For he allows, that God has so forsaken them, and does so withhold his assistance from them, that they are incapacitated from doing good, and determined only to evil.* Our doctrine, in its consequence, makes God the author of men's sin in this world, no more, and in no other sense, than his doctrine, in its consequence, makes God the author of the hellish pride and malice of the devils. less the latter is as odious an effect as the former.

Again, if it will follow at all that God is the author of sin, from what has been supposed of a sure and infallible connection between antecedents and consequents, it will follow because of this, viz. that for God to be the author or orderer of those things which he knows beforehand, will infallibly be attended with such a consequence, is the same thing, in effect, as for him to be the author of that consequence. But if this be so, this is a difficulty which equally attends the doctrine of Ar. minians themselves, at least of those of them who allow God's certain foreknowledge of all events. For, on the supposition of such a foreknowledge, this is the case with respect to every sin that is committed : God knew that if he ordered and brought to pass such and such events, such sins would infallibly

As for instance, God certainly foreknew, long before Judas was born, that if he ordered things so, that there should be such a man born, at such a time, and at such a place, and that his life should be preserved, and that he should, in divine providence, be led into acquaintance with Jesus; and that his heart should be so influenced by God's Spirit or Providence to be inclined to be a follower of Christ ; and that he should be one of those twelve, which should be chosen constantly to attend him as his family, and that his health should be preserved, so that he should go up to Jerusalem at the last passover in Christ's life ; and it should be so ordered, that Judas should see Christ's kind treatment of the woman which anoint. ed him at Bethany, and have that reproof from Christ which he had at that time, and see and hear other things which excited his enmity against his Master, and other circumstances should

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* On the Five Points, p. 302, 305.

be ordered as they were ordered; it would most certainly and infallibly follow, that Judas would betray his Lord, and would soon after hang himself, and die impenitent, and be sent to hell for his horrid wickedness.

Therefore, this supposed difficulty ought not to be brought as an objection against the scheme which has been maintained, as disagreeing with the Arminian scheme, seeing it is no difficulty owing to such a disagreement ; but a difficulty wherein the Arminians share with us. That must be unreasonably made an objection against our differing from them, which we should not escape or avoid at all by agreeing with them.-And therefore I would observe,

II. They who object, that this doctrine makes God the Author of Sin, ought distinctly to explain what they mean by that phrase, The Author of Sin. I know the phrase, as it is commonly used, signifies something very ill. If by the Author of Sin, be meant the Sinner, the Agent, or Actor of Sin, or the Doer of a wicked thing ; so it would be a reproach and blasphemy, to suppose God to be the Author of Sin. In this sense, I utterly deny God to be the Author of Sin ; rejecting such an imputation on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhorred; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of what I have laid down. But if, by the Author of Sin, is meant the permitter, or not a hinderer of Sin ; and, at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy, and most excellent ends and purposes, that Sin, if it be permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow : I say, if this be all that is meant, by being the Author of Sin, I do not deny that God is the Author of Sin, (though I dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and custom is apt to carry another sense) it is no reproach for the Most High to be thus the Author of Sin. This is not to be the Actor of Sin, but on the contrary, of holiness. What God doth herein, is holy; and a glorious exercise of the infinite excellency of his nature. And I do not deny, that God being thus the Author of Sin, follows from what I have laid down; and, I assert, that it equally follows from the doctrine which is maintained by most of the Arminian divines.

That it is most certainly so, that God is in such a manner the Disposer and Orderer of Sin, is evident, if any credit is to be given to the Scripture; as well as because it is impossible, in the nature of things, to be otherwise. In such a manner God ordered the obstinacy of Pharaoh, in his refusing to obey God's Commands to let the people go. (Exod. iv. 21.) “I will harden his heart, and he shall not let the people go.' (Chap. vii. 245.) “Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.

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And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, by great judgments, &c." (Chap. ix. 12.) “ And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had spoken unto Moses." (Chap. x. 1, 2.) “ And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him, and that thou mayst tell it in the ears of thy son, and thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done amongst them, that ye may know that I am the Lord.” (Chap. xiv. 4.) " And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them: and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his Host." (Ver. 8.) 4 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel.” And it is certain, that in such a manner God, for wise and good ends, ordered that event, Joseph being sold into Egypt, by his brethren. (Gen. xlv. 5.)

(Gen. xlv. 5.) “Now, therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither ; for God did send me before you to preserve life.” (Ver. 7, 8.) "God did send me before you to preserve a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance : so that now it was not you that sent me hither, but God.” (Psal. cvii. 17.) “ He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant.” It is certain that thus God ordered the Sin and Folly of Sihon King of the Amorites, in refusing to let the people of Israel pass by him peaceably. (Deut. ii. 30.) “ But Sihon King of Heshbon would not let us pass by him; for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thine hand.” It is certain that God thus ordered the Sin and Folly of the Kings of Canaan, that they attempted not to make peace with Israel, but with a stupid boldness and obstinacy, set themselves violently to oppose them and their God. (Josh. xi. 20.) - For it was of the Lord, to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour ; but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses." It is evident that thus God ordered the treacherous rebellion of Zedekiah against the King of Babylon. (Jer. lii. 3.) “ For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem, and Sudah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the King of Babylon. (So 2 Kings xxiv. 20.) And it is exceeding manifest, that God thus ordered the rapine and unrighteous ravages of Nebuchadnezzar, in spoiling and ruining the nations round about. (Jer. xxv. 9.) - Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,

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