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deny the place of Forgiveness to such as truly
repent. : Concerning this Article in general, see Mr. Plaifere's Appello Evangelium, Part 3. Chap. 16. p. 291, &c.
our 32. Tho'bly Ghost is unihoft; becaun can't be
The First Proposition.' Touching the distinction of mortal and venial Sins, see Limborch's System, Book the Fourth, the Fourth Chapter, Sect. 19, 20, 21,22,23. That every deadly Sin willingly commitced after Baptism is not unpardonable, see the Fifth Book of Limborch's System, Chapter the Eighty fifth. And consequently every such deadly Sin can't be the Sin against the Holy Ghost ; because the Sin against the Holy Ghost is unpardonable, Matth. 12. 31, 32. Tho'by the way, it must be observed, that our Church does not determin, what the Sin against the Holy Ghost is, nor need any Person be able to determin it in order to his Satisfaction touching this Proposition ; since the Argument already offer'd plainly proves, that every deadly Sin willingly committed after Baptism is not the Sin against the Holy Ghost.
The Second Proposition is the necessary Consequence of the First. For who shall dare to deny Repentance, that is, to deny the Possibility of Repentance, in those Cases, wherein God, who alone has Power so to do, has not made it impossible ?
The Third Proposition. That we may depart from Grace given, and fall into Sin, after we have received the Holy Ghost, see the Fifth Book of Limborch's System, from the Eightieth Chapter to the Eighty fourth inclusively: and that by the Grace of God we may arise again, and amend our Lives, appears from the First Proposition.
The Fourth Proposition necessarily follows from the Third.
The SEVENTEENTH ARTICLE.
Of Predestination and Election.
DREDESTINATION to life, is the everlasting
P purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) be bath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom be hath cholen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting faluation, as vesels made to honor. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpofe by bis Spirit working in due season : they thro' grace obey the cal. ling : they be justified freely : they be made fons of God by adoption : they be made like the image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ : they walk religiously. in good works, and at length by God's mercy they attain to everlafting felicity.
As the godly consideration of Predestination and our EleEtion in Chrift, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things; as well because it dotb greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation, to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfal,whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlesness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture : and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have exprefly declared unto us in the word of God.
For the right understanding of this Article, I intreat the Reader seriously to consider the Twenty first Chapter of the Third Part of Mr. Plaifere's Appello Evangelium, p. 334, Oo, which when he has done, he may peruse what follows. · The Doctrin of Predestination has fill'd many Volumes of Controversy, and the English Patrons of the several Schemes or Hypotheses have endevor'd to shew, that the Church of England does in this Article, either plainly maintain, or at least not contradict their respective Opinions.
Now that the Doctrin of our Church is in some Places utterly irreconcilable with the absolute and irrespective Predestination of both the Supralapfarians and Sublapsarians, is to me indisputably clear. For, First, The Church prays to God, just before a Child is bapriz'd, that it may receive the fulness of his Grace, and ever remain in the Number of bis faithful and ele&t Children ; and after 'tis baptiz’d, she thanks God, that 'tis regenerated with his Holy Spirit. And yet surely all Children that are baptiz'd, are not sav'd. Wherefore, in our Church's Judgment, some Persons that had receiv'd the fulness of God's Grace, and were Elect, and regenerated with the Spirit, do afterwards fall away. Secondly, In the Burial Office, we pray God, that he would not suffer us in our last Hour for any Pains of Death to fall from him. This Peti. tion is to be said by the Elect, if there be any such amongst us. 'Tis possible therefore, in the Judgment of our Church, for those that are Elect, not
barely to fall from God, but even to fall from him in their last Hour, that is, totally and finally.
Now these Particulars, not to mention others, do in my Opinion destroy all absolute Predestination; insomuch, that could I think absolute Predestination true (whether in the Supralapsarian or Sublapfarian Way) I could not fubscribe to the Use of the Liturgy. Wherefore, tho’I do by no means censure such abfolute Predestinarians, as think the foregoing Particulars consistent with their Notions, and do conform accordingly : yet I must own, I do not see how I could get over those Difficulties, were I persuaded of the Truth of their Notions. And consequently I must, till I receive greater Light, believe that our Church condemns those Notions, by injoining and afferting such things as are irreconcilable to them.
But then, with respect to this Seventeenth Article, I do not determin, whether our Church does condemn absolute Predestination, or no. If those who maintain it, think themselves able to reconcile this Article to their Doctrin, I am satisfied : tho'I must add, that I will not be bound to do the same. As for conditionate Predestination (if she does not assert or favor it, yer) that the Church does not in this Article condemn it, Mr. Plaifere has demonstrated, in the Chapter before mentioned, beyond all possibility of Contradiction.
And indeed, 'cis to me a most astonishing thing, that the Patrons of absolute Predeftination are able to persuade themselves, as they very frequently and confidently maintain, that conditionate Predestinacion is condemned in this Article by our Church. For every body that understands their Notions, must be forc'd to fee, one would think, that there is not onę Syllable in this Article, but
what the Patrons of conditionate Predestination most heartily approve and teach. 'Twould be endless to enumerate all the Authorities, by which this might be made appear. Let it therefore suffice, that the only Part wherein any Difficulty can be pretended, is the First Paragraph ; and that
Arminius himself (not to mention others his profess's Followers)does manifestly affert every Branch of it, as appears from his own Words quoted in the (a) Margin, which the Reader may easily com
(a) Atque hactenus quidem, cum eas sententias declaraverim, quæ circa Articulum de Prædestinatione in Ecclesiis noftris, atque etiam in Academia Leidensi inculcantur, atque à me improbantur : fimul vero eciam rationes meas produxerim, cur eo modo de illis judicem ; deinceps meam ipfius sententiam in medium proferam : quæ talis eft, ut ego quidem arbitrer eam verbo Dei quam maxime conformem esse.
Primum & abfolutum Dei decretum, de homine peccatore servando, esse, quo decrevit Filium suum Jesum Christum ponere in Mediatorem, Redemptorem, Salvatorem, Sacerdotem & Regem ; qui peccatum morte sua aboleat, amislam falutem obedientia sua impetret, & virtute sua communicer.
Secundum præcilum & absolutum Dei decretum effe, quo decrevit resipiscentes & credentes in gratiam recipere, eofque perseverantes ad finem usque, falvos facere in Christo, propter Christum, & per Christum ; impenitentes vero & infideles in peccato & sub ira derelinquere, atque damnare tanquam alie. nos à Chrifto. · Tertium Dei decretum est, quo decrevit media ad resi. piscentiam & fidem neceffaria fufficienter & efficaciter admini. strare. Hanc administrarionem institui juxra sapientiam Dei, qua scit, quid misericordiam & severitatem suam deceat, item, que juxta juftitiam ejus, per quam paratus est, sapientiæ suæ præscriptum fequi atque executioni mandare.
Hinc fequi quartum Decretum, quo decrevit fingulares & certas quasdam personas salvare & damnare. Atque hoc decretum præscientie Dei innititur, qua ab æterno (civit, quinam juxta ejuscemodi administrationem mediorum ad conversionem & fidem idoneorum, ex præveniente ipsius gratia credituri