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made partakers of the mystery of his death, though ignorant of the history, if they suffer his seed and light, enlightening their hearts, to take place, in which light communion with the Father and the Son is enjoyed, so as of wicked men to become holy, and lovers of that power, by whose inward and secret touches they feel themselves turned from the evil to the good, and learn to do to others as they would be done by, in which Christ himself affirms all to be included. As they have then falsely and erroneously taught, who have denied Christ to have died for all men; so neither have they sufficiently taught the truth, who, affirming him to have died for all, have added the absolute necessity of the outward knowledge thereof, in order to obtain its saving effect. Among whom the Remonstrants of Holland have been chiefly wanting, and many other asserters of universal redemption, in that they have not placed the extent of this salvation in that divine and evangelical principle of light and life, wherewith Christ hath enlightened
every man that cometh into the world, which is excellently and evidently held forth in these scriptures, Gen. vi. 3. Deut. xxx. 14. John i. 7, 8, 9, 16. Rom. x. 8. Titus ii. 11.
Hitherto we have considered man's fallen, lost, reprobation, that corrupted, and degenerated condition. Now it is
fit to inquire, how and by what means he may come to phemo's be freed out of this miserable and depraved condition, doctrine, described. which in these two propositions is declared and
demonstrated; which I thought meet to place together because of their affinity, the one being as it were an explanation of the other.
As for that doctrine which these propositions chiefly strike at, to wit, absolute reprobation, according to which some are not afraid to assert, “ That “God, by an eternal and immutable decree, hath “predestinated to eternal damnation the far greater
" part of mankind, not considered as made, much - less as fallen, without any respect to their diso“ bedience or sin, but only for the demonstrating “ of the glory of his justice; and that for the bring“ ing this about, he hath appointed these miserable “ souls necessarily to walk in their wicked ways, “ that so his justice may lay hold on them: and “ that God doth therefore not only suffer them to “ be liable to this misery in many parts of the “ world, by withholding from them the preaching “ of the gospel and the knowledge of Christ, but “ even in those places where the gospel is preach6á ed, and salvation by Christ is offered; whom
though he publicly invite them, yet he justly con" demns for disobedience, albeit he hath withheld “ from them all grace by which they could have “ laid hold of the gospel, viz. Because he hath, by 6 a secret will unknown to all men, ordained and “ decreed (without any respect had to their obe“dience or sin) that they shall not obey, and that “ the offer of the gospel shall never prove effectual * for their salvation, but only serve to aggravate " and occasion their greater condemnation."
I say, as to this horrible and blasphemous doctrine, our cause is common with many others, who have both wisely and learnedly, according to scripture, reason, and antiquity, refuted it. Seeing then that so much is said already and so well against this doctrine, that little can be superadded, except what hath been said already, I shall be short in this respect; yet, because it lies so in opposition to my way, I cannot let it altogether pass.
$. I. First, We may safely call this doctrine a This docnovelty, seeing the first four hundred years Christ there is no mention made of it: for as it is contrary to the scriptures' testimony, and to the tenor of the gospel, so all the ancient writers, teachers, and doctors of the church, pass it over with a profound silence. The first foundations of The rise of it were laid in the latter writings of Augustine, who, in his heat against Pelagius, let fall some expressions which some have unhappily gleaned up, to the establishing of this error; thereby contradicting the truth, and sufficiently gainsaying many others, and many more and frequent expressions of the same Augustine. Afterwards was this loctrine fomented by Dominicus a friar, and the monks of his order; and at last unhappily taken up by John Calvin, (otherwise a man in divers respects to be commended,) to the great staining of his reputation, and defamation both of the Protestant and Christian religion ; which, though it received the decrees of the synod of Dort for its confirmation, hath since lost ground, and begins to be exploded by most men of learning and piety in all Protestant churches. However, we should not oppugn it for the silence of the ancients, paucity of its asserters, or for the learnedness of its opposers, if we did observe it to have any real bottom in the writings or sayings of Christ and the apostles, and that it were not highly injurious to God himself, to Jesus Christ our Mediator and Redeemer, and to the power, virtue, nobility, and excellency of
trine a novelty.
his blessed gospel, and lastly unto all mankind. Highly in. §. II. First, It is highly injurious to God, bejurious to
cause it makes him the author of sin, which of all God, in making things is most contrary to his nature. I confess him the author of sin. the asserters of this principle deny this conse
quence; but that is but a mere illusion, seeing it so naturally follows from this doctrine, and is equally ridiculous, as if a man should pertinaciously deny that one and two make three. For if God has decreed that the reprobated ones shall perish, without all respect to their evil deeds, but only of his own pleasure, and if he hath also decreed long before they were in being, or in a capacity to do good or evil, that they should walk in those wicked ways, by which, as by a secondary means, they
Jd. Jib de
are led to that end: who, I pray, is the first author and cause thereof but God, who so willed and decreed? This is as natural a consequence as can be: and therefore, although many of the preachers of this doctrine have sought out various, strange, strained, and intricate distinctions to defend their opinion, and avoid this horrid consequence; yet some, and that of the most eminent of them, have been so plain in the matter, as they have put it beyond all doubt. Of which I shall instance a few among many passages. * I say, That by the ordina- *Calvin in tion and will of God Adam fell
. God would have man id. 1. Inst. to fall
. Man is blinded by the will and comman of God.
We refer the causes of hardening us to God. Præd. Id. The highest or remote cause of hardening is the will of vid.ld.inst
. God. It followeth that the hidden counsel of God is c.23. S. 1. the cause of hardening. These are Calvin's expressions. 'God (saith Beza) hath predestinated not only · Bera lib. unto damnation, but also unto the causes of it, whomso- de Præd. ever he saw mect. The decree of God cannot be ex- Id. de cluded from the causes of corruption. It is certain Art. 1 (saith Zanchius) that God is the first cause of obdu- Zanch.de ration. Reprobates are held so fast under God's 5. Id. lib. almi chły decree, that they cannot but sin and perish. bide * It is the opinion (saith Parceus) of our doctors, That de præd. God did inevitably decree the temptation and fall of man. 1:1 3. de The creature sinneth indeed necessarily, by ihe most just Amis. grajudgment of God. Our men do most rightly affirm, that Ibid. c. i. the full of Man was necessary and inevitable, by accidont
, because of God's decree. God (saith Nartyr) Martyr doh incline and force the wills of wicked men into great sins. "God (saith Zuinglius) moveth the robber to kill. Zuing: He killeth, God forcing him thereunto. But thou wilt c. 6. gry, he is forced to sin; I permit truly that he is forced. * Raprobate persons (saith Piscator) are absolutely ? Resp ad ordained to this two-fold end, to undergo everlasting Vopstina. punishment, and necessarily to sin; and therefore to sin, that they may be justly punished.
lib de Prov
If these sayings do not plainly and evidently import that God is the author of sin, we must not then seek these men's opinions from their words, but some way else. It seems as if they had assumed to themselves that monstrous and two-fold will they feign of God; one by which they declare their minds openly, and another more secret and hidden, which is quite contrary to the other. Nor doth it at all help them, to say that man sins willingly, since that willingness, proclivity, and propensity to evil is, according to their judgment, so necessarily imposed upon him, that he cannot but be willing, because God hath willed and decreed him to be so. Which shift is just as if I should take a child incapable to resist me, and throw it down from a great precipice; the weight of the child's body indeed makes it go readily down, and the violence of the fall upon some rock or stone beats out its brains and kills it. Now then, I pray, though the body of the child goes willingly down, (for I suppose it, as to its mind, incapable of any will,) and the weight of its body, and not any immediate stroke of my hand, who perhaps am at a great distance, makes it die, whether is the child or I the proper cause of its death? Let any man of reason judge, if God's part be, with them, as great, yea, more immediate, in the sins of men, (as by the testimonies above brought doth appear,) whether doth not this make him not only the author of sin, but more unjust
than the unjustest of men ? 2. It makes §. III. Secondly, This doctrine is injurious to God, light in the because it makes him delight in the death of sindeath of a ners, yea, and to will many to die in their sins, sinner.
contrary to these scriptures, Ezek.xxxiii. 11. 1 Tim. ii.4. 2. Pet.iii. 9. For if he hath created men only for this very end, that he might show forth his justice and power in them, as these men affirm, and for effecting thereof hath not only with-held from