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yncertain, nay, I'll venture to say, entirely impoflible. I proceed to consider the parricular instances of the cruelty, and unmercifulness of the decree of Reprobation.

1. The Supralapsarian scheme is greatly found fault with; and it is asked, “ What can be supposed more cruelly of God, than that he should, of his mere will and pleafure, appoint men, nondum conßderatos, ut condendos, not yet considered as to be created, much less, as finners, to the everlasting torments of hell.” I observe, that this learned writer greatly mistakes the Supralapsarian scheme ; which considers the objects of Election, and Reprobation as, men either already created, but not fallen, or to be created, and in the pure mass of creaqureship, but not as men not yet consider'd; whether they thould be created or no. Bey fides, he confounds, as these men usually do, the decree of negative with positive Reprobacion, or the decree of preterition with that of damnation : whereas the SupralapJarians, though they think men were not confider'd as sinners in the act of preterition, or passing by some, when others were chosen ; yet chey always suppose men to be confider'd as sinners in the decree of damnation; and that God appointed none buc finners, and no man, but for fin, in

Limborch, p. 339.

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everlasting torments ; and where's the cruelty of this doctrine ?

2. The Sublapfarians are represented as thinking unworthily of God; “ Who knowing that all the lapsed fons of Adam were equally the objects of his pity and compassion, equally capable of his mercy, and equally his offspring, and so no more unworthy of it than the rest, believe that his decrees of governing and disposing of them, are wholly founded on ļuch an absolute will, as no rational or wise man acts by; so that he decermines, of the everlasting fate of the souls he daily doth create, after the fall of Adam, without respect to any good or evil done by them, and so without respect to any reason why he pues this difference, or any condition on their parts; and yet afterwards, in all his revelations, made in order to the regulating of their lives, fuspends their everlasting state upon conditions." I reply ; That all the lapsed fons of Adam, are equally the offspring of God, as men, and equally capable of his mercy, as being miserable, and equally unworthy of it, as having finned against him ; and therefore the reason why he thews mercy to one and not to another, can be no other than his sovereign will and pleasure ; who hath mercy on whom he will bave mercy, and whom he will be hardneth. But then it is incimated, that this is to " believe, that God's decrees of governing and disposing of men (by which, I fuppose is meant, his decrees of Thewing mercy to fome, and withholding it from others) are wholly founded on such an absolute will, as no racional or wise man acts by." But it should be observ'd, that neither the mercy, nor the will of God, are to be compared with the mercy and will of man. The mercy of God is not to be consider'd, quoad affectum, as an affection moved by the misery of a creature as it is in man; bue quoad effe&tum, as an effect guided by the lovereign will of God, to whatsoever object he chinks fit; nor is the will of God co be judged of by the will of man, fince he does according to bis will in heaven and in earth, and is accountable co none of his creatures ; there's a 6x8m, a depth in the riches of bis wisdom and knowledge, that is unfachomable, bis judgments are unsearcbable, and his ways past finding out". Besides, wise and racional men, whose wills are che most absolute, as kings and princes, when their subjects have rebelled against them, and have fallen into their hands, have thought it most adviseable to shew both their clemency and justice, by pardoning fome and

on Whitby, p. 29, 32. Ed. 2.. 28, 22.

* Dan. iv. 35. Job xxxiii. 13. Rom. xi. 33.


not others, who were equally their subjects, equally objects of their picy and compassion, equally capable of mercy, and no more unworthy of ic than the rest ; fo that such a method is justified by the conduct of the wifest and most rational men. But the most cruel pare seems to be thought to lie in "determining the everlasting fate of the fouls he daily doch create after the fall of Adam, without respect to any good or evil done by them.” By determining the everlafting fate of fouls, I apprehend, is meant, God's appointing them either to salvation or damnation. Now God's appointment of men to falvation, that is, to eternal glory, is not without respect to any good thing done by them, but with respect to their faith, repentance and perseverance ; for Ġod chooses to falvation througb.fanctification of the Spia rit, and belief of the truth; though noc with respect to these, as causes of his decree, but as means unto the end, or as graces which he prepares, deterınines to bestow, and does bestow upon them, in order to bring them to glory : fo that their everlasting fate is not determined without respect to any good done by them, nor without any reason on the part of God, though without condicions on their

parts. So the determining the everlasting fate of souls, or the appointing of them to damnation, is not without respect to evil done

by by them ; though this is to be consider'd not as the cause of God's decree, which is his own sovereign pleasure, but as the cause or reason of the thing decreed : fo that this is not without reason on the parc of God, nor without cause on their parts. And hence the entrance of each of these persons upon their everlasting state, so determined, tho'not the determination of it, is sufpended until chese feveral things take place. And where's the injustice or unmercifulness of such a procedure? But, perhaps, the cruelty lies here, that God determines of the everlasting face of the fouls he daily doth crea ate after the fall of Adam ; the meaning of which is, either that God has determined the everlasting face of souls, and appointed them to damnation after the fall of Adam, which is what we deny ; since no decree or determination of God is temporal, but eterpal; or that God has appointed men to damnation for the fin of Adam, in confideration of his fall, and their concern in it, a doctrine by no means to be rejected; since death bath passed upon all men ; for that, or in bim, i. e. Adam, all bave finned ; and, by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation : it can never be unworthy of God, or contrary either to his justice or mercy, to determine the everlast

Rom. v. 12, 18.


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