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works were from the beginning known unto him. Consider it particularly in the decree of election, that fountain of all spiritual blessings; that a saving sense, and assurance thereof, 2 Pet. i. 10. being attained, might effect a spiritual rejoicing in the Lord, 1 Cor. xv. 31. such things are every where taught, as may raise us to the consideration of it, as of an eternal act, irrevocably and immutably established; 'He hath chosen us before the foundation of the world;' Eph. i. 4. his purpose, according to election, before we were born, must stand; Rom. ix. 11. for to the irreversible stability of this act of his will, he hath set to the seal of his infallible knowledge; 2 Tim. ii. 19. His purpose of our salvation by grace, not according to works, was before the world be'gan, 2 Tim. i. 9. an eternal purpose, proceeding from such a will, as to which none can resist, joined with such a knowledge, as to which all things past, present, and to come, are open and evident, must needs also be, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, permanent and unalterable.
Secondly, The " decrees of God, being conformable to bis nature and essence, do require eternity and immutability, as their inseparable properties. God, and he only, never was, nor ever can be, what now he is not: passive possibility to any thing, which is the fountain of all change, can have no place in him who is actus simplex, and purely free from all composition, whence St. James affirmeth, that
with him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning;' James i, 17. with him, that is in his will and purposes; and himself by his prophet, 'I am the Lord, and I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed ;' Mal. iii. 6. where he proveth the not changing of his gracious purposes, because he is the Lord; the eternal acts of his will, not really differing from his unchangeable essence, must needs be immutable.
Thirdly, Whatsoever God hath determined according to the counsel of his wisdom, and good pleasure of his will, to be accomplished to the praise of his glory, standeth sure and immutable: For the strength of Israel will not lie, nor repent, for he is not a man that he should repent;' 1 Sam. xv. 29. 'He declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying,
u Quicquid operatur, operatur ut est.
My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;' Isa. xlvi. 10. which certain and infallible execution of his pleasure, is extended to particular contingent events ; chap. xlviii. 17. yea, it is an ordinary thing with the Lord to confirm the certainty of those things that are yet for to come, from his own decree: as,' The Lord of Hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed it shall stand, that I will break the Assyrian;' &c. Isa. xiv. 24, 25. It is certain the Assyrian shall be broken, because the Lord hath purposed it; which were a weak kind of reasoning, if his purpose might be altered : nay, 'He is of one mind and who can turn him, and what his soul desireth, that he doth ;' Job xxiii. 13. The Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it;' Isa. xiv. 7. So that the purpose of God, and immutability of his counsel, Heb. vi. 16. have their certainty and firmness from eternity, and do not depend on the variable lubricity of mortal men, which we must needs grant, unless we intend to set up impotency against omnipotency, and arm the clay against the potter.
Fourthly, If God's determination concerning any thing, should have a temporal original; it must needs be, either because he then perceived some goodness in it, of which before he was ignorant; or else, because some accident did affix a real goodness to some state of things, which it had not from him: neither of which, without abominable blasphemy, can be affirmed; seeing he knoweth the end from the beginning, all things from everlasting; being always the same; the fountain of all goodness, of which other things do participate in that measure which it pleaseth him to coinmunicate it unto them: add to this the omnipotency of God, there is power and might in his hand, that none is able to withstand him, 2 Chron. ji. 6. which will not permit that any of his purposes be frustrate. In all our intentions, if the defect be not in the error of our understandings, which may be rectified by better information; when we cannot do that which we would, we will do that which we can, the alteration of our purpose is for want of power to fulfil it; which impotency cannot be ascribed to Almighty God, who is in heaven, and hath done whatsoever he pleased; Psal. cxv. 3. so that the immutability of God's nature, his almighty
power, the infallibility of his knowledge, his immunity from error in all his counsels, do shew, that he never faileth in accomplishing any thing, that he proposeth for the manifestation of his glory.
To close up this whole discourse, wherein I have not discovered half the poison contained in the Arminian doctrine, concerning God's decrees, I will, in brief, present to your view, the opposition that is in this matter, betwixt the word of God, and the patrons of free-will.
Lib. Arbit. He hath chosen us in • It is false to say, that him before the foundation of election is confirmed from the world;' Eph. i. 4. everlasting;' Rem. Apol.
He hath called us accord- • It is certain that God deing to his own purpose and termineth divers things which grace, before the world be- he would not, did not some gan; 2 Tim. 1. 9.
act of man's will go before;'
Armin. • Known unto God are all • Some decrees of God his works, from the beginning precede all acts of the will of of the world;' Acts xv. 18. the creature, and some fol
low;' Corv. Declaring the end from •Men may make their electhe beginning, and from an- tion void and frustrate;' Rem. cient times, the things that Apol. are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure ;' Isa. xlvi. 10.
. For the children being • It is no wonder, if men, do not yet born, neither having sometimes of elect, become done either good or evil, that reprobate, and of reprobate, the purpose of God according elect;' Welsin. to election, might stand ;' as Rom. ix. 11.
The foundation of God Election is uncertain and standeth sure, having this revocable, and whoever denies seal, the Lord knoweth who it, overthrows the gospel ;' are his ;' 2 Tim. ii. 19. Grevin.
The counsel of the Lord • Many decrees of God, VOL. y.
Lib, Arbit. standeth for ever, and the at a certain time;' thoughts of his heart to all Episcop. generations;' Psal. xxxiii. 12.
My counsel shall stand, God would have all men and I will do all my pleasure;' to be saved, but compelled Isa. xlvi. 10.
with the stubborn malice of some, he changeth his purpose, and will have them to
perish ;' Armin. •I am the Lord, and I As men may change change not;' Mal. iii. 6. themselves from believers to
unbelievers, so God's determination concerning them,
changeth ;' Rem. With the Father of lights *All God's decrees are not there is no variableness, nor peremptory, but some condishadow of turning ;' James i. tionate and changeable;' Ser17. Exod. ii. 13, 14. Psal. cii. mon at Oxford. 27. 2 Tim. ji. 13. 1 Sam. xv. 29. Isa. xiv. 7. Job xxiii. 13. Psal. cxv. 3.
of the prescience or foreknowledge of God, and how it is questioned and
overthrown by the Arminians.
The prescience or foreknowledge of God, hath not hitherto, in express terms, been denied by the Arminians, but only questioned and overthrown, by consequence: inasmuch as they deny the certainty and unchangeableness of his decrees, on which it is founded : it is not a foreknowledge of all, or any thing, which they oppose, but only of things free and contingent: and that only to comply with their formerly exploded error, that the purposes of God concerning such things, are temporal and mutable; which obstacle being once removed, the way is open how to ascribe the presidentship of all human actions to omnipotent contingency, and her sire
free-will. Now, we call that contingent, which in regard of its next and immediate cause, before it come to pass, may be done, or may be not done: as that a man shall do such a thing to-morrow, or any time hereafter; which he may choose whether ever he will do, or no. Such things as these are free and changeable, in respect of men their immediate and second causes, but if we, as we ought to do,a look up unto him who foreseeth, and hath ordained the event of them, or their omission, they may be said necessarily to come to pass, or to be omitted : it could not be but as it was: Christians hitherto, yea and Heathens, in all things of this nature, have usually upon
their event, reflected on God, as one whose determination was passed on them from eternity, and who knew them long before : as the killing of men by the fall of a house, who might, in respect of the freedom of their own wills, have not been there: or if a man fall into the hands of thieves, we presently conclude it was the will of God: it must be so, he knew it before.
Divines, for distinction sake, ascribe unto God a twofold knowledge; one, intuitive, or intellective, whereby he foreknoweth and seeth all things that are possible: that is, all things that can be done by his almighty power; without any respect to their future existence, whether they shall come to pass or no: yea, infinite things whose actual being eternity shall never behold, are thus open and naked unto him; for was there not strength and power in his hand to have created another world? was there not counsel in the storehouse of his wisdom to have created this otherwise, or not to have created it at all ? shall we say that his providence extends itself every way to the utmost of its activity? or can he not produce innumerable things in the world, which now he doth not; now all these, and every thing else that is feasible to his infinite power he foresees and knows, scientia, as they speak, simplicis intelligentia, by his essential knowledge.
Out of this large and boundless territory of things possi
a James iv. 13-15.
b.doc d'EteEleto Bourn. Hom. God's will was done. .c Quæcunque possunt per creaturam fieri, vel cogitari, vel dici, et etiam quæcunque ipse facere potest, omnia cognoscit Deus, etiamsi neque sunt neque erunt, neque fuerunt, scientia simplicis intelligentiæ. Aquin. p. q. 14. a. 9. c. Ex verbis Apostoli, Rom. 4. qui vocat ea quæ non sunt tanquam ea quæ sunt: sic scholastici omnes. Fer. Scholast. orthod. speci. cap. 3. alii passim. Vid. Hieron. Zanch. de scientia Dei, lib. datrib. 3. cap. 2. q. 5. d Vid. Sam. Rhætorfort. exercit. de grat. ex. 1. сар.