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hath decreed they should be so, is to say God moves and pre-determines the wills of men to those chings which are evil ;” tho', I think, the difference is very wide between God's decrees of future events, within himself from eternity, and his motions and predeterminations of the wills of men to any actions in time. But, supposing such motions and determinations of the wills of men to that which is evil; since he moved David to number the people, and put it into the hearts of the Kings of the earth to fulfil his will, and to agree to give their Kingdom to the beast ; * even these do not make God the author of fin : for the divine pre-determination, motion, and providential concourse respecting men, do not at all alter the liberty of the will; men, under them, feel no power or force upon them; they freely will, and voluntarily do what they do, of which not God, but they are the authors. If therefore neither the pre-determinacions of the wills of men in time, nor the decrees of God from eternity, make him the author of sin, much less his fore-knowledge. God fore-knew that Adam would fall, as Christ did chat Judas would betray him, for he told him of it before-hand; and yet God was no more the author of the fin and fall of Adam, chan Christ was of hiş
* 2 Sam. xxiv. 1. Rev. xvii. 17.
betraying by Judas; nor did either Adam or Judas feel any force or constraint from this fore-knowledge, obliging them to fin; nor do they ever complain of it, or impute their fin and fall unto it. Prescience, thus stated, introduces no fatal necessicy : it is, indeed, attended with a necessity of infallibility respecting the event ; but not with a coactive necessity upon the wills of men, which are left hereby entirely free, and so they find themselves in che commiffion of every action ; neither the decree of God, nor his fore-knowledge, necessitate men, or oblige and compel them to do the things decreed and fore-known ; nevertheless, whatever is decreed and fore-known by God, is certainly, infallibly and immutably brought to pass according to his will.
3. It is urged, “ That if there were any strength in this argument, it would prove that we should not deny the liberty supposed in all the arguments used against these decrees, but rather, prescience it self; for if those two things were really inconsistent, and one of them must be denied, the introducing an absolute necessity of all our actions, which evidently destroys all religion and morality, would tend more, of the iwo, to che dishonour of God, than the denying him a fore-knowledge.” It is easy to observe,
• Whitby, p. 493. Ed. 2. 471, 473.
that this author was rather disposed to deny the fore-knowledge of God, than to pare with his favourite notion concerning the liberty of man's will lying in an indifferency to good and evil, and as oppofed to any fort of neceffity. The Socinians, upon this principle, have come into a denial of it ; and the Arminians have thewn a good in. clination to it. Their champion, fobri Goodwin', has roundly declared, thac there is no fore-knowledge, properly so called, in God. This has been always the way of these men, that, if their nocions would not comport with the being and perfections of God, they will shape God and his perfections agreeable to their notions. Tho'ic may be a considerable difficulty to reconcile the prescience of God, and che liberty of man's will; yet there is no need to deny either of them : not the natural liberty of the will; this would be to destroy the will it self, which liberty is no ways infringed either by the fore-knowledge or decrees of God; tho' che moral libercy of the will, fince the fall, without che grace of God, must be denied : nor the prescience of God; which introduces no such necessity of our actions, which destroy religion and morality, or tends to the dishonour of God; since it puts no coactive necessity upon us, buc
· Redemption Redeemed, c. 3. 1. 2. p. 29.
leaves us free to the commission of our actions; for to deny this perfection of God, would be to deny God himself; and, one should think, if either of these must be denied, it would be more eligible to deny man what may be thought to belong to him, than to deny thac which so evidently belongs to God.
4. It is observed “, “ That if these Dem cretalifts may take sanctuary in the foreknowledge God hath of things future, the Hobbifts and the Fatalists may do the same that the Hobbifts do found their doctrine of necessity upon the ninth chapter to the Romans, and che Fatalists upon the certainty of divine prescience and predictions; and that it was the fear of this, that the liberty of man's will could not be preserved, which made the Greeks embrace this impious doctrine, that God did not fore-know things future and contingent: whereas it is said from Le Blanc, that the truest resolution of this difficulty is, that prescience is not the cause that things are future; buc cheir being future, is the cause they are foreseen." ) reply, That if the sentiments of the Hob. bists and Fatalists were the same with those who are called Decretalists
, they might juftly cake, what this author ftiles, fanctuary in the fore-knowledge of God; or, in other
• pkitby, p: 493, 194, 495. Ed. 2. 472, 473. 474.
words, words, rightly make use of it in favour of their principles. But ic has already been made to appear, that the opinions of these men do not agree with our doctrines concerning the decrees of God, and the liberty of man's will; nor have the same countenance from the prescience of God that ours have. Tho' Mr. Hobbs makes use of some passages in the ninth chapter to the Romans, it is to prove what cannot be proved by them, and which we deny, viz. That God, the will and decrees of God, necefficace men to fin. So far as the Stoical fate can be thought to agree with our doctrine concerning the decrees of God, they might rightly improve the doctrine of prescience in favour of it. Cicero denied the prescience of God, which the Stoicks, doubtless, had fome notion of; tho' it does not appear from the passage referred to in him, thac they founded their doctrine of face upon the cercaincy of it; but rather, as abundantly appears from their writings, uponi the fixed and unalterable nature of things. Cicero is arguing against the definition his brother Quinctus had given of divination, that it was rerum fortuitarum prefenso, a fore-light or pre-apprehension of fortuitous events, after this manner: “ Noching, says