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which does as much ascertain the futurity of the event, as any other necessity. But, as has been demonstrated, such a necessity is not at all repugnant to moral agency, and a reasonable use of commands, calls, rewards, punishments, &c. Yea, not only are objections of this kind against the doctrine of an universal determining Providence, removed by what has been said, but the truth of such a doctrine is demonstrated. As it has been demonstrated, that the futurity of all future events is established by previous necessity, either natural or moral; so it is manifest, that the sovereign Creator and Disposer of the world has ordered this necessity, by ordering his own conduct, either in designedly acting, or forbearing to act. For, as the being of the world is from God, so the circumstances in which it had its being at first, both negative and positive, must be ordered by him, in one of these ways; and all the necessary consequences of these circumstances, must be ordered by him. And God's active and positive interpositions, after the world was created, and the consequences of these interpositions ; also every instance of his forbearing to interpose, and the sure consequences of this forbearance, must all be determined according to his pleasure. And therefore every event, which is the consequence of any thing whatsoever, or that is connect. ed with any foregoing thing or circumstances, either positive or negative, as the ground or reason of its existence, must be ordered of God; either by a designing efficiency and interposition, or a designed forbearing to operate or interpose. But, as has been proved, all events whatsoever are necessarily connected with something foregoing, either positive or negative, which is the ground of its existence. It follows, therefore, that the whole series of events is thus connected with something in the state of things either positive or negative, which is original in the series; i. e, something which is connected with nothing preceding that, but God's own immediate conduct, either his acting or forbearing to act. From whence it follows, that as God designedly orders his own conduct, and its connected consequences, it must necessarily be, that he designedly orders all things.
The things which have been said, obviate some of the chief objections of Arminians against the Calvinistic doctrine of the total depravity and corruption of man's nature, whereby his heart is wholly under the power of sin, and he is utterly unable, without the interposition of sovereign grace, savingly to love God, believe in Christ, or do any thing that is truly good and acceptable in God's sight. For the main objection against this doctrine, that it is inconsistent with the freedom of man's will, consisting in indifference and self-determining power ;
be cause it supposes man to be under a necessity of sinning, and that God requires things of him, in order to his avoiding eter
nal damnation, which he is unable to do; and that this doctrine is wholly inconsistent with the sincerity of counsels, invitations, &c. Now, this doctrine supposes no other necessity of sinning, than a moral necessity ; which, as has been shewn, does not at all excuse sin; and supposes no other inability to obey any command, or perform any duty even the most spiritual and exalted, but a moral inability, which, as has been proved, does not excuse persons in the non-performance of any good thing, or make them not to be the proper objects of commands, counsels and invitations. And, moreover, it has been shewn, that there is not, and never can be, either in existence, or so much as in idea, any such freedom of will, consisting in indifference and self-determination, for the sake of which, this doctrine of original sin is cast out; and that no such freedom is necessary, in order to the nature of sin, and a just desert of punishment.
The things, which have been observed, do also take off the main objections of Arminians against the doctrine of efficacious grace; and, at the same time, prove the grace of God in a sinner's conversion (if there be any grace or divine influence in the affair) to be efficacious, yea, and irresistible too, if by irresistible is meant, that which is attended with a moral necessity, which it is impossible should ever be violated by any resistance. The main objection of Arminians against this doctrine is, that it is inconsistent with their selfdetermining freedom of will; and that it is repugnant to the nature of virtue, that it should be wrought in the heart by the determining efficacy and power of another, instead of its being owing to a self-moving power; that, in that case, the good which is wrought, would not be our virtue, but rather God's virtue ; because not the person in whom it is wrought is the determining author of it, but God that wrought it in him. But the things which are the foundation of these objections, have been considered ; and it has been demonstrated, that the liberty of moral agents does not consist in self-determining power; and that there is no need of any such liberty, in order to the nature of virtue ; nor does it at all hinder but that the state or act of the will may be the virtue of the subject, though it be not from self-determination, but the determination of an intrinsic cause ; even so as to cause the event to be morally necessary to the subject of it.—And as it has been proved, that nothing in the state or acts of the will of man is contingent; but that, on the contrary, every event of this kind is necessary, by a moral necessity; and has also been now demonstrated, that the doctrine of an universal determining providence, follows from that doctrine of necessity, which was proved before : and so that God does decisively in his providence, order all the volitions of moral agents, either by positive influence or permission : and it
being allowed, on all hands, that what God does in the affair of man's virtuous volitions, whether it be more or less, is by some positive influence, and not by mere permission, as in the affair of a sinful volition : if we put these things together, it will follow, that God's assistance or influence must be determining and decisive, or must be attended with a moral necessity of the event; and so that God gives virtue, holiness and conversion to sinners, by an influence which determines the effect, in such a manner, that the effect will infallibly follow by a moral necessity : which is what Calvinists mean by efficacious and irresis
The things which have been said, do likewise answer the chief objections against the doctrine of God's universal and absolute decree, and afford infallible proof of this doctrine ; and of the doctrine of absolute, eternal, personal election in particular. The main objections against these doctrines are, that they infer a necessity of the volitions of moral agents, and of the future moral state and acts of men; and so are not consistent with those eternal rewards and punishments, which are connected with conversion and impenitence: nor can be made to agree with the reasonableness and sincerity of the precepis, calls, counsels, warnings and expostulations of the word of God; or with the various methods and means of grace, which God uses with sinners to bring them to repentance; and the whole of that moral government, which God exercises towards mankind : and that they infer an inconsistence between the secret and revealed will of God; and make God the author of sin. But all these things have been obviated in the preceding discourse. And the certain truth of these doctrines, concerning God's eternal purposes, will follow from what was just now observed concerning God's universal providence ; how it infallibly follows from what has been proved, that God orders all events, and the volitions of moral agents amongst others, by such a decisive disposal, that the events are infallibly connected with his disposal. For if God disposes all events, so that the infallible existence of the events is decided by his providence, then, doubtless, he thus orders and decides things knowingly, and on design. God does not do what he does, nor order what he orders, accidentally and unawares; either without or beside his intention. And if there be a foregoing design of doing and ordering as he does, this is the same with a purpose or decree. And as it has been shewn, that nothing is new to God, in any respect, but all things are perfectly and equally in his view from eternity; hence it will follow, that his designs or purposes are not things formed anew, founded on any new views or appearances, but are all eternal purposes. And as it has been now shewn, how the doctrine of determining efficacious grace certainly follows from things proved in
the foregoing discourse; hence will necessarily follow the doctrine of particular, eternal, absolute election. For if men are made true saints no otherwise than as God makes them so and distinguishes them from others, by his efficacious power and influence, that decides and fixes the event; and God thus makes some saints, and not others, on design or purpose, and (as has been now observed) no designs of God are new ; it follows, that God thus distinguished from others, all that ever become true saints, by his eternal design or decree. I might also shew, how God's certain foreknowledge must suppose an absolute decree, and how such a decree can be proved to a demonstration from it: but that this discourse may not be lengthened out too much, that must be omitted for the pre
God pursues a
From these things it will inevitably follow, that however Christ in some sense may be said to die for all, and to redeem all visible Christians, yea, the whole world by his death; yet there must be something particular in the design of his death, with respect to such as he intended should actually be saved thereby. As appears by what has been now shown, God has the actual salvation or redemption of a certain number in his proper absolute design, and of a certain number only; and therefore such a design only can be prosecuted in any thing God does, in order to the salvation of men. proper design of the salvation of the elect in giving Christ to die, and prosecutes such a design with respect to no other, most strictly speaking ; for it is impossible that God should prosecute any other design than only such as he has : he certainly does not, in the highest propriety and strictness of speech, pursue a design that he has not. And indeed, such a particularity and limitation of redemption will as infallibly follow from the doctrine of God's foreknowledge, as from that of the decree. For it is impossible, in strictness of speech, that God should prosecute a design, or aim at a thing, which he at the same time most perfectly knows will not be accomplished, as that he should use endeavours for that which is beside his decree.f
Certain foreknowledge does imply some necessity. But our author is not sufficiently guarded, or else not sufficiently explicit, when he says, that foreknowledge must suppose an absolute decree. For certainty or hypothetical necessity, may arise from the nature of things, and from negative cases, as well as from a decree. If, indeed, the remark be limited to the subject immediately preceding it is an important truth.-W.
The terms design and endeavours are not sufficiently discriminating. It is here supposed that it is unworthy of God to use endeavours which are beside his decree, or to prosecute a design which he knows will not be accomplished. Is it not a matter of plain fact that he uses endeavours which are beside his decree, and prosecutes a design which he knows will not be accomplished, through the whole system of legislation and government? Is it not the very design of legislation and government to prevent crimes as well as to punish them, and to promote obedience
By the things which have been proved, are obviated some of the main objections against the doctrine of the infallible and necessary perseverance of saints, and some of the main foundations of this doctrine are established.
The main prejudices of Arminians against this doctrine seem to be these ; they suppose such a necessary infallible perseverance to be repugnant to the freedom of the will; that it must be owing to man's own self-determining power he first becomes virtuous and holy : and so, in like manner, it must be left a thing contingent, to be determined by the same freedom of will, whether he will persevere in virtue and holiness; and that otherwise his continuing stedfast in faith and obedience would not be his virtue, or at all praiseworthy and rewardable ; nor could his perseverance be properly the matter of divine commands, counsels and promises, nor his apostacy be properly threatened, and men warned against it. Whereas, we find all these things in scripture: there we find stedfastness and perseverance in true Christianity, represented as the virtue of the saints, spoken of as praiseworthy in them, and glorious rewards promised to it; and also find, that God makes it the subject of his commands, counsels and promises ; and the contrary, of threatenings and warnings. But the foundation of these objections has been removed, by shewing that moral necessity and infallible certainty of events is not inconsistent with these things; and that, as to freedom of will lying in the power of the will to determine itself, there neither is any such thing, nor is there any need of it, in order to virtue, reward, commands, counsels, &c.
And as the doctrines of efficacious grace and absolute election do certainly follow from the things proved in the preceding discourse ; so some of the main foundations of the doctrine of perseverance are thereby established. If the beginning of true faith and holiness, and a man becoming a true saint at first, does not depend on the self-determining power of the will, but on the determining efficacious grace of God; it may well be argued, that it is also with respect to men being continued saints, or persevering in faith and holiness. The conversion of a sinner being not owing to a man's self-determination, but to God's determination, and eternal election, which is absolute, and depending on the sovereign will of God, and not on the free will of man; as is evident from what has been said : and it being very evident from the and conformity to law? Legislative design, therefore, is not accomplished in the commission of crimes, otherwise the legislator, as such, could not find fault for breach of law. Our Lord used endeavors with the inhabitants of Jerusalem, &c. beside his decree, yet with perfect propriety. If we keep in mind that the divine will subsists under two relations, according to the two-fold state of man, who is at once a subject of decree and a subject of government, we shall see the propri: ety of calling it decrelive and rectoral.-W.