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solation to bis saints in the expression insisted on is not, cannot be, denied. Now, what consolation could redound to them in particular from hence, that the whole nation should not utterly be rooted out, because God purposed to send his Son to their posterity? Notwithstanding this, any individual person that shall flee to the horns of this altar for refuge, that shall lay hold on this promise for succour, may perish everlastingly. There is scarce any place of Scripture where there is a more evident distinction asserted between the Jews who were so outwardly only and in the flesh, and those who were so inwardly also and in the circumcision of the heart, than in this and the following chapter. Their several portions are also clearly proportioned out to them in sundry particulars. Even this promise of sending the Messiah respected not the whole nation, and doubtless was only subservient to the consolation of them whose blessedness consisted in being distinguished from others. But let the context be viewed, and the determination left to the Spirit of truth in the heart of him that reads.
Neither doth it appear to me how the decree of God concerning the sending of his Son into the world can be asserted as absolutely immutable
upon that principle formerly laid down and insisted on by our author. He sends him into the world to die, neither is any concernment of his mediation so often affirmed to fall ur the will and purpose of God as his death. But concerning this Mr Goodwin disputes, out of Socinus,' for a possibility of a contrary event, and that the whole counsel of God might have been fulfilled by the goodwill and intention of Christ, though actually he had not died. If, then, the purpose of God concerning Christ, as to that great and eminent part of his intendment therein, might have been frustrated and was liable to alteration, what reason can be rendered wherefore that might not upon some considerations (which Mr Goodwin is able, if need were, to invent) have been the issue of the whole decree? And what, then, becomes of the collateral consolation, which from the immutability of that decree is here asserted? Now, this being the only witness and testimony, in the first part of our scriptural demonstration of the truth in hand, whereunto any exception is put in, and the exceptions against it being in such a frame and composure as manifest the whole to be a combination of beggars and jugglers, whose pleas are inconsistent with themselves, as it doth now appear, upon the examination of them apart, it is evident that as Mr Goodwin hath little ground or encouragement for that conclusion he makes of this section, so the light breaking forth from a constellation of this and other texts mentioned is sufficient to lead us into an acknowledgment and embracement of the truth contended for.
· Socin. Præl. Theol. cap. I. sect. 8.
TIIE IMMUTABILITY OF THE PURPOSES OF GOD.
The immutability of the purposes of God proposed for a second demonstration of
the truth in hand—Somewhat of the nature and properties of the purposes of God: the object of them-Purposes, how acts of God's understanding and will— The only foundation of the futurition of all things—The purposes of God absolute-Continuance of divine love towards believers purposed-Purposes of God farther considered and their nature explainedTheir independence and absoluteness evinced—Proved from Isa. xlvi. 9–11; Ps. xxxiii. 9-11; Heb. vi. 17, 18, etc. — These places explained — The same truth by sundry reasons and arguments farther confirmed-Purpose in God of the continuance of his love and favour to believers manifested by an induction of instances out of Scripture; the first from Rom. viii. 28 proposed, and farther cleared and improved—Mr G.'s dealing with our argument from hence and our exposition of this place considered—His exposition of that place proposed and discussed— The design of the apostle commented on — The fountain of the accomplishment of the good things mentioned omitted by Mr G.-In what sense God intends to make all things work together for good to them that love him—Of God's foreknowledge _Of the sense and use of the word apoyováoxw, also of scisco, and yováoxw in classical authors- Ipózuweis in Scripture everywhere taken for foreknowledge or predetermination, nowhere for pre-approbation–Of pre-approving or pre-approbation here insisted on by Mr G.-Its inconsistency with the sense of the apostle's discourse manifested— The progress of Mr G.'s exposition of this place considered—Whether men love God antecedently to his predestination and their effectual calling—To pre-ordain and pre-ordinate different—No assurance granted of the consolation professed to be intended— The great uncertainty of the dependence of the acts of God's grace mentioned on one another -The efficacy of every one of them resolved finally into the wills of menWhether calling according to God's purpose supposeth a saving answer given to that call—The affirmative proved, and exceptions given thereto removed What obstructions persons called may lay in their own way to justificationThe iniquity of imposing conditions and supposals on the purposes of God not in the least intimated by himself—The whole acknowledged design of the apostle everted by the interposition of cases and conditions by Mr G.—Mr G.'s first attempt to prove the decrees of God to be conditional considered1 Sam. ii. 30 to that end produced—1 Sam. ii. 30 farther considered, and its unsuitableness to illustrate Rom. viii. 28–31 proved—Interpretation of Scripture by comparing of places agreeing neither in design, word, nor matter, rejected—The places insisted on proved not to be parallel by sundry particular instances-Some observations from the words rejected—What act of God intended in these words to Eli, “I said indeed”-No purpose or decree of God in them declared—Any such purpose as to the house of Eli by sundry arguments disproved—No purpose of God in the words insisted on farther manifested - They are expressive of the promise or law concerning the priesthood, Num. xxv. 11-13, more especially relating unto Exod. xxviii, 43, xxix. 9— The import of that promise, law, or statute, cleared—The example of Jonah's preaching, and God's commands to Abraham and Pharaoh—The universal disproportion between the texts compared by Mr G., both as to matter and expression, farther manifested—Instances or cases of Saul and Paul to prove conditional purposes in God considered --Conditional purposes argued from conditional threatenings—The weakness of that argument—The nature of divine threatenings—What will of God, or what of the will of God, is declared by them-No proportion between eternal purposes and temporal threatenings—The issue of the vindication of our argument from the foregoing exceptions—Mr G.'s endeavour to maintain his exposition of the place under consideration—The text perverted—Several evasions of Mr G. from the force of this argument considered—His arguments to prove no certain or infallible connection between calling, justification, and glorification, weighed and answered—His first, from the scope of the chapter and the use of exhortations—The question begged–His second, from examples of persons called and not justified — The question argued begged—No proof insisted on but the interposition of his own hypothesis-How we are called irresistibly, and in what sense- -Whether bars of wickedness and unbelief may be laid in the way of God's effectual call-Mr G.'s demur to another consideration of the text removed—The argument in hand freed from other objections and concluded—Jer. xxxi. 3 explained and improved, for th confirmation of the truth under demonstration--2 Tim. ii. 19 opened, and the truth from thence confirmed–The foregoing exposition and argument vindicated and confirmed -The same matter at large pursued—John vi. 37-40 explained, and the argument in hand from thence confirmed-Mr G.'s exceptions to our arguing from this place removed— The same matter farther pursued— The exposition and argument insisted on fully vindicated and established—Matt. xxiv. 24 opened and improved— The severals of that text more particularly bandled-Farther observations, for the clearing the mind of the Holy Ghost in this place – The same farther insisted on and vindicated—Mr G.'s exceptions at large discussed and removed-Eph. i. 3-5, 2 Thess. ii. 13, 14, opened
- The close of the second argument, from the immutability of the purposes of God.
HAVING cleared the truth in hand, from the immutability of the nature of God, which himself holds out as engaged for us to rest upon, as to the unchangeable continuance of his love unto us, proceed we now to consider the steadfastness and immutability of his purposes, which he frequently asserts as another ground of assurance to the saints of his safeguarding their glory of free acceptation to the end.
I shall not enter upon the consideration of the nature and absoluteness of the purposes of God as to an express handling of them, but only a little unfold that property and concernment of them whereon the strength of the inference we aim at doth in the same measure depend. Many needless and curious questions have been, by the serpentine wits of men, moved and agitated concerning them; wherein, perhaps, our author hath not been outgone by many; as will be judged by those who have weighed his discourses concerning them, with his distinctions of “ desires, intentions, purposes, and decrees," in God. But this is not the business we have in hand; for what concerneth that, that which ensueth may suffice. God himself being an infinite pure act, those acts of his will and wisdom which are eternal and immanent are not distinguished from his nature and being but only in respect of the reference and habitude which they bear unto some things to be produced outwardly from him. The objects of them all are such things as might not be. God's purposes are not concerning any thing that is in itself absolutely necessary. He doth not purpose that he will be wise, holy, infinitely good, just: all these things, that are of absolute necessity, come not within the compass of his purposes. Of things that might not be are his decrees and intentions; they are of all the products of his power,-all that outwardly he hath done, doth, or will do, to eternity. All these things, to the falling of a hair or the withering of a [blade of] grass, hath he determined from of old. Now, this divine fore-appointment of all things the Scripture assigns sometimes to the knowledge and understanding, sometimes to the will of God: “Known unto him are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts xv. 18. It is that knowledge which hath an influence into that most infinitely wise disposal of them which is there intimated. And the determination of things to be done is referred to the “counsel" of God Acts iv. 28; which denotes an act of his wisdom and understanding, and yet withal it is the “counsel of his own will,” Eph. i. 11.'
I know that all things originally owe their futurition to a free act of the will of God; he doth whatever he will and pleaseth. Their relation thereunto translates them out of that state of possibility, and [from] being objects of God's absolute omnipotency and infinite simple intelligence or understanding, whereby he intuitively beholdeth all things that might be produced by the exerting of his infinite almighty power, into a state of futurition, making them objects of God's foreknowledge, or science of vision, as it is called.” But yet the Scripture expresseth (as before) that act of God whereby he determines the beings, issues, and orders of things, [so as] to manifest the concurrence of his infinite wisdom and understanding in all his purposes. Farther; as to the way of expressing these things to our manner of apprehension, there are held out intentions and purposes of God distinctly suited to all beings, operations, and' events; yet in God himself they are not multiplied. As all things are present to him in one most simple and single act of his understanding, so with one individual act of his will he determines concerning all. But yet, in reference to the things that are disposed of, we may call them the purposes of God. And these are the eternal springs of God's actual providence; which being (“ratio ordinis ad finem”) the disposing of all things to their ends in an appointed manner and order, in exact correspondence unto them, these purposes themselves must be the infinitely wise, eternal, immanent acts of his will, appointing and de termining all things, beings, and operations, kinds of beings, manners of operation, free, necessary, contingent, as to their existence and event, into an immediate tendency unto the exaltation of his glory; or, as the apostle calls them, the “counsel of his own will,” according whereunto he effectually worketh all things, Eph. i. 11.
* Matt. vi. 28_30; Luke xii, 6, 7; John iv. 4-8. ? Isa. xiv. 24, xix. 12, xxiii. 9; Jer. li. 29; Rom. viii. 28, ix. 11, 19; Ps. cxxxix. 11, 12; Isa. xl. 28; Heb. iv. 13.
Our consideration of these purposes of God being only in reference to the business which we have in hand, I shall do these two things:
- First, Manifest that they are all of them absolute and immutable; wherein I shall be brief, not going out to the compass of the controversy thereabout, as I intimated before; my intendment lies another way. Secondly, Show that God hath purposed the continuance of his love to his saints, to bring them infallibly to himself, and that this purpose of God, in particular, is unchangeable; which is the second part of the foundation of our abiding with God in the grace of acceptation.
I. By the purposes of God I mean, as I said before, the eternal acts of his will concerning all things that outwardly are of him; which are the rules, if I may so speak, of all his following operations, -all external, temporary products of his power universally answering those internal acts of his will. The judgment of those who make these decrees or purposes of God (for I shall constantly use these words promiscuously, as being purely of the same import, as relating unto God) to be in themselves essential to him and his very nature, or understanding and will, may be safely closed withal. They are in God, as was said, but one; there is not a real multiplication of any thing but subsistence in the Deity. To us these lie under a double consideration :—First, Simply as they are in God; and so it is impossible they should be differenced from his infinite wisdom and will
, whereby he determineth of any thing. Secondly, In respect of the habitude and relation which they bear to the things determined, which the wisdom and will of God might not have had. In the first sense, as was said, they can be nothing but the very nature of God, the sò velle of God, his internal willing of any thing that is either created or uncreated; for these terms distribute the whole nature of beings. Created they are not, for they are eternal (that no new immanent act can possibly be ascribed to God hath full well of late been demonstrated). Farther; if they are created, then God willed that they should be created, for he created only what he willed. If s0, was he willing they should be created, or no? If he were, then a progress will be given infinitely, for the question will arise up to eternity. If uncreated, then doubtless they are God himself, for he only is so; it is impossible that a creature should be uncreated. Again; God's very willing of things is the cause of all things, and therefore must needs be omnipotent and God himself
. That “voluntas Dei” is “
causa rerum” is taken for granted, and may be proved from Ps. cxv. 3, which the apostle ascribes omnipotency unto,