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. of : GOD and TRUTH. and gener
torer . C H A P. 1.
HE Decree of Reprobation is
said a to be contrary both to the nature and will of God, to his perfections, attributes and
lory. It must be allow'd,
that the nature and will of God, and not the nature and fitness of things, as some say, are
* Whitby, p. 27. Remonftr. A&t. Synod. Circ. Art. i. p. 241, &c. Curcellaeus, p. 366. Limborch, p. 334. Part III.
sure of the divine conduct. God cannot do any thing contrary to his nature and the perfections of it : as for instance ; he can. nor do any thing contrary to his justice and holiness, for he is without iniquity; nor to his truth and faithfulness, for he cannot lye; nor, indeed, to any other perfection of his nacure, for he cannot deny himself. If therefore the decree of Reprobation is contrary to the nature and perfections of God, it ought to be rejected as against the will of God; for the nature and will of God never contradict each other ; and yet iç is certain, that reprobation is according to che will of God; whom he WILL be bardnetbb. And, what if God WILLING to sew his wrath, and make his power known, &c. Besides, his making or appointing the wicked for the day of evil', is for himself, for his own glory, as well as his making or appointing all other things : so that Reprobation, or appointing the wicked to destruction, as it is not contrary to the will of God, fo neither to the perfections of his nacure, and the glory of them. But let us attend to what is offered in proof of this assertion, that the decree of Reprobacion is plainly contrary to the nature and will of God. And,
b Rom. ix. 18, 22.
c Prov. xvi. 4.
I. It is observed “, thac “ God doch immurably and unchangeably, and from the necessary perfection of his own nature, require that we should love, fear and obey him. That he cannot but be defirous that all men should imicate his moral and imitable perfections of holiness, justice, truch, goodness and mercy, all which is agreeable to the lighc of nature and revela-, tion; and therefore he cannot have decreed, that the greatest part of men should be for ever left under an incapacity of loving, and, fearing and obeying him ; and seeing he must earnestly desire that all men should be holy, righteous, 'kind and merciful, he cannot have ordained they should be other-, wise, for want of any ching on his part, requisice to make them so ; much less can he command them, under the penalty of his severe displeasure, fo to be, and yec leave them under an incapacity of being so." To which I reply;
· 1. It will be granted, that God requires all men, and it is their indispensable duty, to love him with all their heart, foul and strength, to fear him always, and keep his commandments; and that he delires chat all men should imitate him in his moral perfections; all which the Heathen Sages
were, in some measure, acquainted with by the light of nature, and which God has more clearly discover'd as his will to his people, under the various revelations he has made : 'but then none of these things contradict the decree of Reprobation ; for they only express God's will of command, and Thew what is man's duty to do, and which, if done, would be grateful and well-pleasing to God, and approved of by him, but not his will, determining what shall be done. Now could it be proved, that God has willed, that is, determined that all men should love, fear and obey him, all men would do so; for, Wbo bath reffted his will? This, indeed, would contradict a decree of Reprobation; then a decrec to reject or punish any part of man. kind could never be supposed. But for God to require all men to love, fear and obey him, and to signify that these things are approved of by him, are no contradictions to any decree of his, to leave some men to themselves, to the freedom of their own wills, or to any determination of his, to punish them who do not love, fear and obey him.
2. It is certain, that all men in a state of nature, are in an incapacity to love, fear and obey God; the carnal mind is so far from loving, that it is enmity against God; there's neither any fear of God in t': heart,