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persuaded to worship it. But that the building climb no higher, let all men observe how the word of God overthrows this Babylonian tower.
First, then, In innumerable places it is punctual that his providence doth not only bear rule in the counsels of men, and their most secret resolutions, whence the prophet inferreth that he knoweth that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man that walketh to direct his ways; Jer. x. 23. And Solomon, that a man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps;' Prov. xvi. 9. David also having laid this ground, that the Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought, and maketh the devices of the people to be of none effect, but his own counsel abideth for ever, and the thoughts of his heart to all generations ;' Psal. xxxiii. 10, 11. proceedeth accordingly in his own distress to pray, that the Lord would infatuate and make s foolish the counsel of Ahithophel ;' 2 Sam. xv. 31. which also the Lord did by working in the heart of Absalom, to hearken to the cross counsel of Hushai.
But also, secondly, That the working of his providence is effectualeven in the hearts and wills of men to turn them which way he will, and to determine them to this or that in particular, according as he pleaseth. The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue is from the Lord,' saith Solomon; Prov. xvi. 1. which Jacob trusted and relied on when he prayed that the Lord would grant his sons to find favour and mercy before that man;' Gen. xliii. 14. whom then he supposed to be some atheistical Egyptian; whence we must grant, if either the good old man believed that it was in the hand of God, to incline and unalterably turn and settle the heart of Joseph to favour his brethren, or else his prayer
must have had such a senseless sense as this : ‘Grant, O Lord, such a general influence of thy providence, that the heart of that man may be turned to good towards my sons, or else that it may not, being left to its own freedom.' A strange request, yet how may it be bettered, by one beliering the Arminian doctrine, I cannot conceive. Thus Solomon affirmeth, that 'the heart of the king is in the hand of the
· Dominus dissipavit consilium quod dederat Achitophel agendo in corde Absolon, ut tale consiliam repudiaret, et aliud quod ei non expediebat eligeret. August. de grat. et lib. Arbit. cap. 20.
Lord, like the rivers of water he turneth it which way he will;' Prov. xxi. 1. If the heart of a king, who hath an inward natural liberty equal with others, and an outward liberty belonging to his state and condition above them, be yet so in the hand of the Lord, as that he always turneth it to what he pleaseth in particular, then certainly other men are not excepted from the rule of the same providence; which is the plain sense of these words, and the direct thesis which we maintain in opposition to the Arminian idol of absolute independent free-will. So Daniel also, reproving the Babylonian tyrant, affirmeth,' that he glorified not God in whose hand was his breath, and whose were all his ways;' Dan. v. 23. not only his breath and life, but also all his ways, his actions, thoughts, and words were in the hand of God.
Yea, secondly, sometimes the saints of God, as I touched before, do pray that God would be pleased thus to determine their hearts, and bend their wills, and wholly incline them to some one certain thing, and that without any prejudice to their true and proper liberty: so David, Psal. cxix. 36. •Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not unto covetousness. This prayer being his may also be ours, and we may ask it in faith, relying on the power and promise of God in Christ, that he will perform our petitions ; John xiv. 14. Now I desire any Christian to resolve, whether by these and the like requests, he intendeth to desire at the hand of God, nothing but such an indifferent motion to any good as may leave him to his own choice, whether he will do it or no; which is all the Arminians will grant him: or rather that he would powerfully bend his heart and soul unto his testimonies, and work in him an actual embracing of all the ways of God, not desiring more liberty, but only enough to do it willingly; nay, surely the prayers of God's servants requesting with Solomon, that the Lord would be with them, and 'incline their heart unto him to keep his statutes, and walk in his commandments;' 1 Kings viii. 5. 7. And with David, to create in them a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within them ;' Psal. li. when according to God's promises they entreat him to put his fear into their hearts;' Jer. xxxi. 32. 'to unite their hearts to fear his name;' Psal. Ixxxvi. ll. to work in them both the will and the deed, an actual obedience unto his law, cannot possibly aim at nothing but a general influence, enabling them alike either to do, or not to do, what they so earnestly long after.
Thirdly, The certainty of divers promises and threatenings of Almighty God, dependeth upon his powerful determining and turning the wills and hearts of men which way he pleaseth; thus to them that fear him he promiseth that they shall find favour in the sight of man; Prov. iii. 4. Now if, notwithstanding all God's powerful operation in their hearts, it remaineth absolutely in the hands of men, whether they will favour them that fear him or no; it is wholly in their power whether God shall be true in his promises or no. Surely when Jacob wrestled with God on the strength of such promise, Gen. xxxii. 12. he little thought of any question, whether it were in the power of God to perform it; yea, and the event shewed that there ought to be no such question, Gen. xxxiii. for the Lord turned the heart of his brother Esau, as he doth of others, when he'makes them pity his servants when at any time they have carried away captives;' Psal. cvi. 46. See also the same powerful operation required to the execution of his judgments; Job xii. 17. xx. 21, &c. In brief, there is no prophecy nor prediction in the whole Scripture, no promise to the church or faithful, to whose accomplishment the free actions and concurrence of men is required, but evidently declareth that God disposeth of the hearts of men, ruleth their wills, inclineth their affections, and determines them freely to choose and do what he in his good pleasure hath decreed shall be performed; such as were the prophecies of deliverance from the Babylonish captivity by Cyrus ; Isa. xlii. of the conversion of the Gentiles; of the stability of the church; Matt. xvi. of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans; Matt. xxiv. with innumerable others. I will add only some few reasons for the close of this long discourse.
This opinion, that God hath nothing but a general influence into the actions of men, not effectually moving their wills, to this or that in particular,
First, Granteth a goodness of entity, or being, unto divers things, whereof God is not the author; as those special actions which men perform without his special concurrence; which is blasphemous: the apostle affirms that of him are all things.'
Secondly, It denieth God to be the author of all moral goodness; for an action is good, inasmuch as it is such an action in particular :" which that any is so, according to this opinion, is to be attributed merely to the will of man: the general influence of God moveth him no more to prayer, than to evil communications tending to the corruption of good manners.
Thirdly, It maketh all the decrees of God, whose execution dependeth on human actions, to be altogether uncertain, and his foreknowledge of such things to be fallible, and easily to be deceived; so that there is no reconciliation possible to be hoped for, betwixt these following and the like assertions.
Lib. Arbit. . In him we live and move "God's sustaining of all and have our being;' Acts things is not an affirmative act xyii. 28.
of his power, but a negative • He upholdeth all things act of his will;' Rem. apol. by the word of his power;' whereby he will not destroy Heb. i. 3.
them. • Thou hast wrought all God by his influence beour works in 'us; Isa. xxvi. stoweth nothing on the crea12.
ture whereby it may be incit* My Father worketh hi- ed or helped in its actions ;' therto;' John v. 17.
Corvinus. The preparations of the • Those things God would heart in man, and the answer have us freely do ourselves; of the tongue is from the he can no more effectually Lord;' Prov. xvi. 1.
work or will than by the
way - The heart of the king is of wishing ;' Vorstius. in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water he turneth it which way he will;' Prov. xxi. 1.
Incline my heart unto • The providence of God thy testimonies, and not unto doth not determine the freecovetousness;' Psal.cxix. 36. will of man to this or that
y Qui aliquid boni a Deo non effici affirmat, ille Deum esse negat: si namque vel tantillum boni a Deo non est: jam non omnis boni effector est eoque nec Deus. Bucer. in cap. 9. ad Rom.
• Unite my heart to fear particular, or to one part of thy name;' Psal. lxxxvi. 11. the contradiction:' Arminius.
• Thou hast not glorified God in whose hand is thy breath, and whose are all thy ways;' Dan. v. 23.
See Matt. xxvii. 1. com- • The will of man ought to pared with Acts ii. 23. and be free from all kind of interiv. 27, 28. Luke xxiv. 26. nal and external necessity in John xix. 34. 36. For the ne- its actions;' Rem, that is, God cessity of other events, see cannot lay such a necessity Exod. xxi. 17. Job xiv. 5.
upon any thing, as that it shall Matt. xix. 7, &c.
infallibly come to pass as he intendeth : see the contrary in the places cited.
frustrate of his intentions. By the former steps, is the altar of Ahaz set on the right hand of the altar of God; the Arminian idol, in a direct opposition, exalted to an equal pitch with the power and will of the Most High. I shall now present unto you, the Spirit of God once more contending with the towering imaginations of poor mortals, about a transcendent privilege of greatness, glory, and power: for having made his decrees mutable, his prescience fallible, and almost quite divested him of his
providence; as the sum and issue of all their endeavours, they affirm that his will may be resisted, he may fail of his intentions, be frustrate of his ends, he may, and doth propose such things, as he neither doth nor can at any
time accomplish; and that, because the execution of such acts of his will, might haply clash against the freedom of the wills of men : which, if it be not an expression of spiritual pride, above all that ever the devil attempted in heaven, divines do not well explicate that sin of his. Now, because there may seem some difficulty in this matter, by reason of the several acceptations of the will of God, especially in regard of that, whereby it is affirmed that his law and precepts are his will, which, alas, we all of us too often resist or transgress, I will