Page images

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 it is not the Person in whom it is wrought, that 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 extrinsic 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 as it has also been now demonstrated, that the Doctrine of an universal determining Providence, follows from that Doctrine of Neceility, which was proved before : And so, that God does decisively, in his Provi. dence, 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 Asistance 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 Infuence which D d 3

deter. determines the Effect, in such a Manner, that the Effect will infallibly follow by a moral Necessity; which is what Calvinifts mean by efficacious and irresistible Grace.

cternal Rewana lo are

which are

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 that Doctrine; and of the Doctrine of absolute, eternal, personal Elextion 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 Rea. sonableness and Sincerity of the Precepts, 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 'em 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 he doubtless thus orders and decides Things know. ingly, and on Design. God don't 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 fame 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 EleEtion. For if Men are made true Saints, no otherwise than as God makes 'em so, and distinguishes 'em from others, by an efficacious Power and Influence of his, 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 muft suppose an absolute Decree, and how such a Decree can be proved to a Demonstration from it : But that this Discourse mayn't be lenge then'd out too much, that must be omitted for the present.

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 actuD d 4

ally ally be saved thereby. As appears by what has been now shewn, God has the actual Salvation or Redemption of a certain Number in his proper ahfolüte 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. God pursues a 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 'cis impossible, that God should prosecute any other Design than only such as He has: He certainly don't, 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 'tis as 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.

By the Things which have been proved, are obviated some of the main Objections against the Doctrine of the infallible and necessary Perfeverance 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, that he first becomes virtuous and holy, and so in like Manner, it must be Jeft a Thing contingent, to be determind by the fame Freedom of Will, whether he will persevere in Virtue and Holiness; and that otherwise his continuing steadfast in Faith and Obedience would


not be his Virtue, or at all Praise-worthy and Rewardable ; nor could his Perseverance be properly the Matter of divine Commands, Counfels and Promises, nor his Apostasy be properly threaten'd, and Men warned against it. Whereas we find all these Things in Scripture : There we find Steadfastness and Perseverance in true Christianity, represented as the Virtue of the Saints, spoken of as Praise-worthy 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, in its being shewn that moral Neceflity 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 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 Things which have been proved in the preceding Dir. course; 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's becoming a true Saint at first, don't de. pend on the self-determining Power of the Will, but on the deterinining efficacious Grace of God; it may well be argued, that it is so also with Respect to Men’s being continued Saints, or perlevering 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 Scrip.


« PreviousContinue »