Charis kai eirēnē, or, A pacifick discourse of Gods grace and decrees in a letter of full accordance
Hammond, Henry, 1605-1660.
Page  98

The Extracts of three LETTERS Concerning Gods Praescience recon∣ciled with Liberty and Contingency, referred to, and promised in the first Letter to D. Sanderson, §. 8.


§. 1. AS to the distinction betwixt inevitably and infallibly, (of which you desire my sence) it is certain you must understand no more by the infallibility, then is vulgarly meant by Necessitas*ex hypothesi, which is no more then that whatsoe∣ver is, cannot not be, or, omne quod est, eo ipso quod est, necessariò est. For so whatsoever is seen, or (which is all one in an infinite Deity) foreseen by God, is thereby supposed to have, in that science of his, an objective being; If it were not, or did not come to pass, it should have no such objective being, if it * have, it is thereby evidenced to be seen by him, who was, is, and is to come, and so (being infinite) is equally present to all, and equally sees, and knows all from all eternity. What therefore you conclude (as it is most agreeable to this, so it) is most true, that God knows all things as they are, such as come to pass contingently, he knows to come contingent∣ly, and from thence I undeniably conclude, there∣fore they are contingent; As for Socinus's resolution * that he foresees onely what are foreseeable, and that contingents are not such, but onely those that come to pass by his decree, I conceive it as dange∣rous Page  99 as M. Calvins, that he predetermines all things, * and it is visibly as false. For it is evident by the pro∣phecies of Judas &c. that God long (before) fore∣sees sins, which are as certainly contingent, and not decreed or decreeable by God. If therefore any * that writes against the Remonstrants go about to retort their arguments, and conclude from their ac∣knowledgements of Gods praescience, what is char∣ged on their adversaries doctrine of praedetermina∣tion, I conceive it is but a boast, that hath no least force in it, praedetermination having a visible influ∣ence and causality on the object, but eternal vision,* or praevision being so far from imposing necessity on the thing to be, that it supposes it to be already, from the free choice of the Agent, and that being of it is, in order of nature, before its being seen. Gods seeing, or foreseeing hath no more operation or causality of any kind on the object, then my seeing your letter hath caused your letter. You wrote freely, and now I see it, and that being sup∣posed, it is infallibly certain that you have written, and that you cannot not have written. And just so it is in respect of God. Onely I am finite, and so is my sight, I see few things, and those onely which are present, but God being infinite sees all ab infinito, that are never so long hence future.—At Cambridge they have lately printed Origen contra Celsum, and Philocalia Gr. & Lat. (which were rarely had and dear) the latter of which hath good Chapters on this subject.

§. 2. This Letter met with some prepossessions, so far advanced, as to cause a Reply of some length, and that necessitated my larger endeavours to re∣move them, which I shall here add also; His Re∣ply, Page  100 to which this referres, is none of my goodes, and therefore I may not take that liberty in dis∣posing of that, but you will discerne the force of it, in my returnes, which were as fol∣lowes.

The Second LETTER.


§. 3. I received your Letter, and in it your sence of that difficult point, which I cannot ap∣prove of, but on the contrary assure my self, that as Omnipotence is not onely the power of doing all * things that any or all creatures can do, but more then so, the doing all things that imply not a con∣tradiction, (as the same thing at once to be and not to be, the doing of those being as impossible to God, as it is to lye,) so the Omniscience of God is the knowing all things which any creature can know, and not onely so, but the knowing all things which implye not a contradiction to be known, and then that will be extensible to all things that are past, present, or to come, of what sort soever they are; what is past, or present, or being future is decreed by him, or comes to passe by some ne∣cessary cause in nature, which he decrees not to hinder, Gods knowledge of these will not, I sup∣pose, be doubted of. All the question will be of future contingents, which before they are done, * are possible to be, or not to be, but whensoever Page  101 they come to passe, are as determinately in being; as is any thing else, (the most necessary,) that is allready done. Unlesse then, what by being fu∣ture is out of my reach, is also by being future, out of Gods reach, there can be no pretense that any such future contingent should not be objicible to Gods all seeing knowledge.

§. 4. And that nothing that ever shall be, or will come to passe, is thus out of Gods reach, must sure be yeilded to Gods immensity, which relating * to time, as well as place, it will be equally deroga∣tory to it to limit it to the present time, in op∣position to the future, and to the present, (be it whatsoever finite,) place. This therefore I take to be the one thing fit to be considered in this mat∣ter, whether Gods immensity comprehend not a commensuration to all time, and somewhat be∣yond that, as much as infinite is beyond fi∣nite.

§. 5. This I suppose cannot be denyed to the Notion which is due to a Deity, and if so, then God was immense from all eternity, and cannot be im∣agined to advance or arrive to this by any 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, proficiency, or improvement, by continuing or en∣during from the beginning to this time, or to the end of the world, but in every imaginable point of time, even before time was, he was thus immense, and if so, his knowledge being as immense as him∣self, all that he was from eternity present to, (i. e. all things that ever were or shall be,) must needs be objected to his knowledge.

§. 6. Against this, your prime argument is, that it is no more derogatory to his omniscience not to know that which is in nature unintelligible, then to his Omnipotence, not to do things impossible.] This Page  102 is expresly Socinus's grand argument, and to it I * answer. 1. That the phrase, (in nature unintelli∣gible,) may be set to signifie no more then what no naturall, i. e. created power can know, and then there is no truth in the proposition, unlesse pro∣portionably [impossible] signify what no finite naturall created power can do: and if both those phrases be meant so, there is nothing gain'd by it, because a Deity may both do and know more, then any creature can. But then secondly, the phrase [in nature unintelligible] may also signifie that which in the nature of things, whether finite or in∣finite, created or uncreated, is not possible to be understood; And thus I suppose you meane it, and then the interpretation of the phrase must be, that for such a thing to be objicible to any, though infinite, understanding, implyes a contradiction, (for nothing else is simply impossible:) And * this being your meaning, I absolutely deny, that for God to be by his immensity present to all time, (and all that he is present to, he may see,) implyes a contradiction, or hath any appearance, (to him that considers what infinite is,) of so implying. And if you will make tryall and attempt to prove it doth, it must be by proceeding on the known definition of contradictoryes, a repugnance in ter∣minis, as idem eodem respectu esse & non esse, and then you will soon discerne the unquestionable truth of my deniall. For Gods seeing all future con∣tingents, will neither imply God to be, and not to be, to see, and not to see, to see certainly, and not to see certainly, nor the future contingent to be, and not to be, or to be necessarily and not to be necessarily, or to be future, and not to be future. For the thing being future, and contingent now, Page  103 and so continuing till it comes to passe, and when it comes to passe, coming to passe contingently, and so as it might not come to passe also, but when it actually is done, it implying a contradiction, (and so being impossible,) not to be done, and so being necessary necessitate hypotheticâ, i. e. supposing that it is, all this God sees and knowes by the severall acts of his intellect, answerable to the severall noti∣ons of the thing.

§. 7. From all eternity, and so in every point of time, before it comes to passe, God sees it both as future, and as contingent, and so, as that, which till it is, may be or may not be; and when it comes to passe, in ipso fieri, he sees the man that does it, act freely, having power to the contrary, and the thing never necessary, but as being done, and that onely by that necessity, whereof that proposition in logick is to be understood, Omne quod est, eo quod est, necessariò est. All which is very obvious to be conceived, and there is not the least contra∣diction, or shew thereof in it.

§. 8. This one would thinke you readily gran∣ted, when you say, God infallibly knowes all that is past, present, or possible to be, (for no man demands any more,) yet you deny it again in these words, [meer contingents which with equall possibility may be, or may not be, have no being in act, and therefore can cast no reflection, or objective being into the mind of God.] To which I reply, First, that you ought to advert. 1. That what may be, or may not be, may be. 2. What may be, is possible, and 3. You your self confesse that God knowes all that is possible. Secondly that the having no being in act, (which seemes to be your stumbling block,) is a phrase proportioned to the thing, and to our Page  104 finite understandings, to which the thing is future onely, and so hath no being yet: but when God is considered as infinite, then whatsoever shall ever be in act, that actuall being of it, is the object of Gods sight, and hath been so from all eternity, and is no more removed from him, then that is removed from me, which is present with me; And if you say, God sees before, what in after time shall hang in the ballance of humane indetermination, i e. what he may do, deliberates, and is free to do, or not to do, but hath not yet done, I demand, why may he not also foresee which end of the ballance doth at length overpoise? (Is not one of these as truly future, as the other, when the man is not yet borne?) And so again, which end doth not overpoise, and never will, although he see it might, if the man should choose so, and that the man may so choose, but still that he doth not. This is it, wherein you say the contradiction is, and now it is visible there is none, nor the least approach towards any.

§. 9. Here you add, (which is your second main objection,) that it is a mistake to call that*possible, which God foresees shall never be, for if God foresees the contrary, (i. e. that it shall never be,) it is indeed impossible. But, 1. I pray, is nothing possible to come to passe, but what actually comes to passe? If so, nothing that is, is contingent. But if some things be possible to come to passe, which yet do not come to passe, why may not God see they will not come to passe? And if he can, then that is no mistake, which you say is. 2. Do but change the word foresight into (which is the same,) seeing from all eternity, and then it is plain, that God from all eternity may see that thing will ne∣ver Page  105 actually be, which yet is free for the agent to do, or not to do, (and God sees that too,) and so is possible every way, save onely ex hypothesi, on supposition that it will never be; And as the bare hypotheticall necessity is no absolute necessity, so the bare hypotheticall impossibility is no absolute impossi∣bility. 3. God sees every thing as it is, and it's being or not being such, is in order of nature an∣tecedent to Gods seeing it; Therefore it infalli∣bly followes, that if it be possible to be, though it shall never be, God sees it is possible to be, and if God sees it possible, it unavoidably followes that it is possible.

§. 10. And it is not fit here to interpose, that though it seem to us possible, in respect of second causes, yet if God foresee the contrary, it is indeed impossi∣ble;] For what I am by God left free to do, or not to do, that, not onely seemes, but is indeed possible, and so it is, though in event I never do it, and being so in it self, God's seeing it will never be, hath no least influence upon it, so as to make the least change in it, (for that is the work of his will, not of his knowledge,) and so it cannot from possible convert it into impossible.

§. 11. When therefore you say, no cause can effect that which God sees shall never be, this is onely true in sensu composito, that, in case it shall never be, and so God sees it shall never be, no cause shall effect it, but in sensu diviso it is most false, for I am truly able to write more lines to you then I shall ever write, or consequently then God foresees I shall write, and even this, that I am thus able, God equally foresees.

§, 12. By this you see how far I am from being convinced, or by any reason forced to grant, that Page  106future determinations of free agents are not foresee∣able, and what the inconvenience is of affirming they are not, even no less then derogating from Gods Immensity, and Infinity, and judging the perceptions of an infinite Creator by our finite, created measures, his more then unfathom'd Oce∣an by my span, and feigning contradictions, where there are none.

§. 13. Now to the Inconveniences which you e∣numerate, * I shall reply also, as oft as I perceive I have not prevented, or answered them already. The first is, that the sight can be no more certain then the things are which are seen, and therefore there cannot be a certain knowledge of those things, which in their causes are uncertain,] I answer that all the certainty of the knowledge of any thing de∣pends upon its being first, and then of its being known to be, and not onely upon the certainty of its causes; I do now as certainly know that I have written nine pages to you, as I know that the fire burns, therefore that may be known certainly, which is not certain in its causes. And as that which is present to me is certainly known by me, so are all things to come from all eternity, present to an im∣mense Creator, be they contingent, or not. And in this case there is not more in the effect then in the cause, for what is contingently come to pass, be∣ing done, is certain, and cannot be undone, and God sees it, as it is, therefore he sees it as done, and so certain, yet as done contingently, and so as that which might not have been, the being, certain, the manner of its coming to act, uncertain. The being then being the cause of the seeing, or in nature an∣tecedent to it, and the seeing the effect or conse∣quent of the being, the certainty of the effect is Page  107 but proportionable to, and exceedeth not the cause.

§. 14. The second Inconvenience is, that of say∣ing*that every thing that happens was certain to be, before it happens] But I say not so, unless by cer∣tain you mean ex hypothesi, certain to be, in case it be; for in case it should not be, God should see it would not be, and then it should be as certainly otherwise.

§. 15. The short is, All Exhortations, Industry, Preaching, &c. are founded in the liberty of our actions, and if they be free till they be actually de∣termined, and then are past freedome, and become necessary, so consequently must Exhortations, &c. be all usefull, till the thing be done, (and then in∣deed, as to the doing, or not doing that, they are not usefull, but their second season of usefulness comes in, in case it were a sin, Exhortation to Re∣pentance, &c.) and that is as much, as can be or need be pretended to, and this is fully competible with Gods seeing certainly from all eternity, what∣soever shall come to pass in time; His seeing it sup∣posing it done, though for the manner of its being done, that were contingent, and if so, then is it not certain to be, before it happens, but it is cer∣tain to be, when it is, and it first is, in order of nature, before it is seen, and its being already seen, before it be done, depends onely on the immensity of Gods presence, and sight, which reacheth out to all that ever shall be; so that that which is fu∣ture to us, he is present to it, and in that sence, though he sees it as future, tis yet present to him.

§. 16. Your third inconvenience is, that, by this, the damnation of such or such men is as fixed and un∣alterable,*as though they were reprobated from allPage  108eternity, and it is as ill in respect of me, if I must inevitably be damned by my own free will, as if I had been sentenced to Hell by Gods decree, and in respect of God worse, for he must be deprived of the free exercise of his omnipotence, (because he cannot make that not to be which he foresees will be) and brought under a Stoicall Fatality, and so be an helpless specta∣tour of what anothers will is pleased to effect.] I an∣swer if by [such and such men] you mean such or such individuall entities, without respect to their qualifications or demeanures, then all your conse∣quence, as it is inconvenient, so it is false, for from Gods seeing ab aeterno, that Judas will be reproba∣ted, it follows not, that he sees he will be reproba∣ted, but for his willfull Treason. But if you mean by such or such men] men so or so qualified, i. e. finally impenitent, then 'tis true, but not inconve∣nient, that finall impenitents, should from all e∣ternity be reprobated. And speaking of these in this sence, 'tis true, which you add, that it is as ill in respect of the person, i. e. finall impenitents, meaning by [as ill] as sad and penal, nay 'tis more sad, and penal to be reprobated for final im∣penitence, which I am guilty of by my own free∣will, then it would be to be onely by Gods decree involved in it, my willful culpable guilt being some addition to my misery, and (as long as God is just) it being expectable that those punishments will be sharper, which I bring on my self, by the exercise of my free will, then what comes on me by a decree grounded no way in my actions. And so still this is no Inconvenience. But if you mean by [as ill] that which hath as little mix∣ture of Gods goodness towards me, then your con∣sequence is false, for to Gods seeing Judas repro∣bated, Page  109 and his seeing it ab aeterno, it is no way con∣sequent, that he gives him no power to escape Damnation, viz. Grace to be able to stand and not fall, or Grace to recover if he will make use of it, but the contrary rather follows; For how can God see him damned for the betraying Christ, and not repenting and returning, unless this were done wil∣fully by him (sins of weakness and ignorance find∣ing mercy, as in the case of Saul, persecuting the Church) and unless he were first a Disciple of Christ, and so were illuminated, and assisted by Christ, and if he were so, then he had this power and Grace, or might have had it, if he were not wanting to himself, and if so, then this was not so ill to him (in this sense, of which now I speak) as to have been irrespectively reprobated, and never vouchsafed this Grace.

§. 17. So when you say It is worse in respect of God, and prove that because he must be deprived of the free exercise of his omnipotence] there is no truth in that consequence, or the reason of it. For Gods omnipotence consists not in being able to make both parts of a contradiction true, that were in the very attempt a departing from veracity, a falseness, a sin, and so the greatest impotence, and so most con∣trary to omnipotence. And such is that, which alone your consequence, and the reason of that supposes, making that not to be, which he foresees will be, for by the latter part of that expression you mean that wch from eternity he sees to be done, and then to be done and not to be done, is in terminis contradictory. And this impotence or not being able to cause the same thing at once to be and not to be, is far from all notions of Stoical fatality, that I ever heard of (els sure all rationall creatures must be Stoicks, for Page  110 they all resolve that what is, cannot not be) and as far from making God an idle helpless spectator of what anothers will is pleased to effect: for his provi∣dence, and assistence, and efficacy belong to other things, not to the making that not to be, when it is, but to the preventing it before it came, giving Grace sufficient, preventing, restraining, exciting, &c. ordering it and disposing of it to his own wise ends, when it is done, and punishing the doer just∣ly, if he repent not, to which he is also ready to give Grace, if he humbly ask, and seek and knock for it: All this is supposed to be done by God, and so God is no helpless spectator, and all this is re∣concileable with the effects being wrought by our free will, as long as Gods grace works not irresi∣stibly.

§. 18. Here I remember that of S. Augustin. de Civ. l. 5. c. 10. Nullo modo cogimur, aut retenta praescientia Dei, tollere voluntat is arbitrium, aut re∣tento voluntatis arbitrio, Deum, quod nefas est, ne∣gare praescium futurorum, (this is expresly contra∣ry both to the Calvinists pretension on one side, and the Socinians on the other.)

§. 19. Your fourth inconvenience is, that then God never purposed to save all mankind.] If by pur∣posing * you mean decreeing, and by saving, actually bestowing heaven upon them, then that conse∣quence is true, but not in the least wise inconvenient, for God never decreed to save final impenitents, and such are many of mankind, after the giving of Christ, but on the contrary, hath sworn such shall not enter into his rest. The saving of mankind which God decreed is the redeeming them, and giving them Christ, and Grace, and making them salvable, and being deficient in nothing toward Page  111 that end to those, that will make use of it. As for the other notion of Salvation, it is no where said that God purposed that in the notion of decreeing, but onely that he so will'd as to desire it, and to give sufficient means of effecting it, but those means proportioned to rational agents, and so not vio∣lent or irresistible, or such as should, by being con∣trary to freedome, exclude rewardableness. So when you say, Christ could not have an intention to dye for them, who he foresees would be nothing ad∣vantaged by it] if by dying for them] you mean so dying, that they should actually be saved, so 'tis true, he intended not to dye for those that are fi∣nally impenitent, and so are not advantaged by it, for sure it is no part of his Covenant or intention in dying, to save such: but if by dying for them you mean purchasing pardon, upon supposition of re∣pentance, then that he intended thus to dye for them, that make not this advantage of it, (and so he sees make it not) appears evidently by many texts, which tell us of his redeeming those that deny him, that perish, &c. and is intimated by the very style you use of their being nothing advantaged by it, for if he did not purchase those advantages for them, why is that phrase used?

§. 20. Your fifth Inconvenience is, that on this*supposition, God could not seriously call upon such, whom his prescience points out for Damnation, to re∣pent, more then I could bid him take heed that he fall not, whom by tumbling down I saw mortally bruised already.] I answer, 1. that if you mean any more by that phrase [his praescience points out to Damnation] then [he sees ab aeterno, that they will not repent, but dye in their sins,] I reject the phrase, as not belonging to the question, my hy∣pothesisPage  112 being far from yielding, that praesci∣ence doth any other way, but this, or in any o∣ther sense, point out any to damnation. And there∣fore changing that obscurer for this other more perspicuous phrase, I say that Gods praescience of mens not making use of his call, is very reconcile∣able with the seriousness of his call, which I inferr from Gods own words, and oath, as I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of him that dyes, turn you, turn you, for why will you dye? what can be more serious then this speech, directed to those that dye, and he sees, obstinately will dye. But this differs widely from my warning him to take heed of falling, whom I see actually fall'n, because whenso∣ever God thus calls not to fall, the man is not fall'n: when he calls him to arise again, being fall'n, he is not irreversibly fall'n, and therefore accordingly he calls him (not, not to fall, but) to rise again. And what God thus doth in time, God ab aeterno de∣creed to do, and his foreseeing it would not pro∣duce the desired effect, was in order of nature af∣ter the decree of doing it, and therefore is in no reason to have any influence on (so as to change) the decree, and if not so, then the decree standing still in force, it is most necessary that it should be performed, and so that God should in time call thus seriously to repentance.

§. 21. And indeed, for God to foresee (as he doth, or els would not punish for it,) that his most serious call will be rejected, and yet not to suppose his call is most serious, is an absolute contradicti∣on, and so cannot possibly be supposed or ima∣gined.

§. 22. To my argument of Judas's sin being foreseen, and foretold by God, from whence I con∣clude *Page  113 that that is foreseen which is not caused by God, or to which the man is not determined by any act of Gods will) which you say is very pres∣sing, you answer by referring to my judgement 1. whether the Prophecies could not have been full∣filled, had Judas never been born: 2. whether by listning to his Master he could not have repented, &c.] * To the first I answer, that the prophecy, as it was terminated in him, could not possibly have been fullfilled, had he never been born, and that the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or utmost completion of the prophecy Psal. 41. 9. was terminated in him, the holy Ghost by S. Peter tells us, Act. 1. To the second, that I doubt not but by listning to Christ, he might have repent∣ed, and then God foresaw that he might, yet fore∣saw he would not do what he might, and so fore∣told this; whereas if he would have done other∣wise, it is as undoubted, that God should have foreseen that, and might, if he had pleased, have foretold it also, as Christ did not onely his trea∣son, but also S. Peters denyall, and repentance al∣so. As for that which you suggest, that the pro∣phecy of him might be like that of Jonah, conditional] 1, there is little probability for it, when the event hath so much otherwise interpreted it, which if it had not done, I should not have resisted your sug∣gestion, as far as concerned his perishing. But then 2. you know my Argument was founded in Gods foreseeing his sin (and no his perishing) and to that his conditional foresight, exemplified in Jo∣nas to Nineveh, is not applyable,

§. 23. That which you cite from Chrysostome, who gives for a reason why Christ admitted Judas*to the Sacrament, that nothing might be omitted that might conduce to his amendment] belongs not to Page  114 your first, but second question, and so I allowed of it, as you see, and am not prejudiced by it. For to your concluding question I answer expresly, Christ look'd on Judas's not sinning, or repenting, as possible, till by his repudiating all the means of Grace, and his measure of iniquity fill'd up, he withdrew his Grace from him, which whether he did before, or not till his death, I have no means of desining. Onely this I resolve, that Christs fore∣seeing what he would do, had no least influence on the effect, any more then the effect hath on the cause, or the sense on the object, Gods foresight being in nature consequent to, and caused by his doing it, not the cause of it. And when you say, that if it were possible, then the contrary was not certain, I grant it was not certain, till it was done, and when you inferr, then it could not be foreseen, I deny the consequence, for those things which are not certain, till they are done, may by an im∣mense Deity be ab aeterno seen to come to passe in time, and so that sight or foresight be as certain, as a foresight of what is most necessary in its causes: and the reason is clear, because of that which is done, it is as certain that it is done, as of that which is in causis, it is certain, that it is in causis, and being so, it may cast a reflexion on the under∣standing of him that is present to it, and so is God to futures, as well as to the present.

§ 24, And when you say in your Postscript, that it is a contradiction to say that things past or future are present, and therefore all things are not, nay cannot be present to God;] I answer, 1. that you use not the right definition of a Contradiction, in saying thus, for future doth not contradict present, but present and not present is a contradiction, and so Page  115future and not future; 2. although it be granted of any finite thing, that it cannot be both present and future, yet God being immense, may and must be present to that which is future, or els he is boun∣ded and limited. Yet this doth not inferr God to see what is future as present (which you say is to be deceived) but to see what is future as future, which though indeed it be future, yet he by his im∣mensity may be present to it. And none of the in∣conveniences, which you add, follow on this; one∣ly let me tell you (on strength of that Proposition, Quicquid est necessario est id quod est) that as God cannot change what is past, so he cannot change that which is present, so as to make it, when it is present, not present, and then no more can he change that which is future, so as to make it not future. All that can be done is, either 1. to make that which is contingent (and so may be or may not be) to become necessary, by decreeing it; or 2. to come to pass really, though but contingently, or els 3. not to come to pass, or finally to leave it still free, yet to foresee what will freely be done, as much as what will necessarily be done.

§. 25. So that you see the maxime which you mislike, is not so much, that all things are present to God, i. e. represented to him sub ratione prae∣sentis, as this, that God by his immensity is present to all things, and his sight being as infinite as his being, this is as easie to be understood, as the other, or as any infinite is comprehensible by our finite understandings, which you call duller apprehensions, for so sure are all ours, when we imploy them up∣on infinites. You see into what a length I am run, indeed much above mine own intentions, but shall not repent of it, if it contribute to the disabusing Page  116 you, and shewing you the way out of this intri∣cacy.

§. 26. This second Letter having some enforce∣ments of the old, and addition of new scruples, re∣turned to it, by the same hand, which I accounted it my duty to answer at Large, by a third letter, (which I suppose will conclude this controversy,) I shall here also subjoin it. It was as follow∣eth.

The Third LETTER.


§. 27. THough yours of—made hast to me, yet I found no leasure to afford it any serious reflections, till this—and therefore being already guilty of two long delayes, I shall not now encrease them by prooeme, but fall immediate∣ly to the view of your reply. And in it, what you first lay down, partly by way of concession, partly by way of apology for your own Notion, partly by way of opposition to mine, I must confesse I see not what propriety of application it hath to that * which was the ground-work of my Paper, viz: that whatsoever hath a being, or ever shall have a being, (which though by being future 'tis out of my reach, yet by being future, is not removed out of Gods reach,) is objicible to Gods all-seeing eye of knowledge, and this upon the grounds of his infinite unlimited immensity, by you and by all Christians acknow∣ledged, Page  117 and the no contradiction, (which alone renders it impossible to God,) which it implyes, for God thus to reach out immensly, and see all ab aeterno, which (and in the manner as it) in time comes to passe.

§. 28. In stead of shewing this implicancy of a contradiction, (which alone was to have been done,) you have tendred a reason to prove, [that*God's knowledge is not properly said to be immense, in regard he knowes all things possible,] viz: be∣cause they conjunctim are not absolutely infinite. But sure this hath no force against my position, which doth not prove Gods immensity of know∣ledge, * by this argument of his knowing all things possible, or by any other, but takes that for gran∣ted, and needing no proofe, and from thence in∣ferres and concludes the other, viz: his knowing all things past, present or future, and against this concluding 'tis visible your reason is of no kind of force, [for that these conjunctim are not in∣finite,] for an immense knowledge may and must see all finites, though it self be infinite.

§. 29. So again, when you say his immensity cannot relate to time, and place, which are both fini∣te,*and you cannot see how any quantitative extension should be subjected in a purely spirituall essence, and press this with absurdityes, and strange consequen∣ces, (as if it were maintained by them, against whom your debates lye,) if you consider again, you will see, there was no cause for it, I am sure in my papers there was none, which when they proposed to your consideration, whether Gods im∣mensity comprehend not a commensitration to all time, immediately added, and somewhat beyond that, as much as infinite is beyond finite. By compre∣hendingPage  118a commensuration to all time, if when * it had that immediate addition to explaine it, it can be misunderstood, I must then farther ex∣presse my self, that I meant, no quantitative ex∣tension, or indeed any more then this, that God is, was, and shall be, from, and to all eternity, and as his essence, so is his Immensity, Omnipresence, Omniscience; he sees and knowes all things, not onely that are or have been, but that ever shall, or will be, i. e. shall ever have an actuall being, objicible to knowledge, and even for possibles, that yet never come to passe, he sees and knowes both parts. 1. That they are possible to be. 2. That they will never be.

§. 30. This I have added in relation to those words of yours, on which you seem to lay weight, [The time to come is now no time, as the things*which meerly be possible, are now no things, and there∣fore to apprehend that God is in such time, or that such things are present with him, is to conceive that that is not.]

§. 31. Here, First, let me tell you, your com∣parison, * or proportion holds not, being laid be∣twixt the time to come, which is really future, and the things meerly possible, which shall never be; But passing that, 'tis certain Secondly, that though the time to come, according to our finite measures, is now to us no time, i. e. is not the present time, (which holds equally of the time past, which be∣ing past is now to us not present,) yet in re∣spect of Gods immensity this cannot be said, for * that were to encumber him with our sinite rules, and measure infinity by our span of time, which with me you professe to avert, and abhor.

Page  119 §. 32. So though the things meerly possible are * now no things, (I shall add, nor ever shall be,) yet even these are objicible to him as they are, i. e. as things meerly possible; which yet never shall actually be, for he may and doth see that they are possible, and also that they shall not come to passe.

§. 33. And when against this you argue, that*this is to conceive that which is not,] If you mean by it, that which is not actually, I grant it, but find no inconvenience in affirming, that God sees or conceives that to be possible, which he sees is not, nay shall never be; But if you meane, that if so, then God conceives contrary to truth, there is then no shew of truth in that consequence, for his conceiving that to be meerly possible, which is meerly possible, is to see according, (and that is not contrary,) to truth. Nazianzen's speech that God 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, alwayes is, but neither properly 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉*was, nor 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, shall be, and that eternity is neither 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉time, nor 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, part of time, is so far from having any unkind aspect on my notions, that it is the very thing that I contend, that we * must not go about to fathom eternity by our fini∣te lines of time, but lay all that is done in time, or ever shall be, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, naked and bare before him, and still acknowledge that be∣yond this, there is an infinite abysse, which we can∣not fathom.

§. 34. On this what you build, and apply equal∣ly to that which is past, and future, [that which*is past vanishing, say you, into nothing, and before it was, being nothing,] might (me thinks) by be∣ing reflected on, extricate you out of your laby∣rinth. For can you doubt that God knowes what Page  120 is now past? I presume you do not, can not; * And then why may he not as well know what is future? When the onely objection to that, be∣ing [because it is not, and he must then know that, that is not,] you have equally resolved, that that which is past, is not, as that that is future; and so that your objection, either holds against both, or neither, I pray consider this.

§. 35. Next when you insist, that the acts of his infinite understanding, in relation to the creature,*must needs be finite, as the creatures are finite.] I cannot apprehend, how you can reap any the least advantage by it, meaning, as the words im∣port, that God sees things as they are, for this you know and acknowledge is my ground also, and to this it is consequent, (and so not strange,) that whatsoever he sees ab aeterno, he must see, as it is,*i. e. as it is done in time, whether necessarily, or contingently, but no way consequent, that he can see nothing ab aeterno, because it is in time that it comes to passe, for that which comes to passe in time, he that is eternall, and immense, and omnisci∣ent, may (seeing it implyes no contradiction,) see ab aeterno, though I who am finite, and whose sight is limited, and finite, cannot.

§. 36. When therefore you argue, that it is no more derogatory to his eternal wisdome, to say that*he sees or knowes this or that in time, and not ab aeterno, then it is to his infinite power, to say that it workes in a finite manner,] Me thinks the fallacy should be to gross to impose on you, upon a se∣cond view: The former member of your com∣parison expressly denying his seeing or knowing ab aeterno, which is the greatest derogation to im∣mensity, and omniscience and eternity, when the Page  121 latter hath no such negation of his power of wor∣king, but affirmes onely that he workes in a finite manner, (which he may do sometimes, when there is no need of interposing his infinite power,) but not that he workes not ab aeterno, which the proportion, if it were observed, would exact, and then that would be as derogatory to his power also.

§. 37. The observing of this will I hope cleare to you that which you say is so strange, it being but the same fallacy again in another dresse, (which there∣fore I shall no farther pursue,) or if the reason which * you add, from the temporariness of the creature, which ab aeterno had no being, save onely in mere possibility,] have still any force with you, I hope it will cease to have so, when 1. you consider that an objective being is sufficient to cause know∣ledge, and that it's being in time is no hindrance to an immense Deity to see it ab aeterno, for if he may see it a day before it comes to passe, why may he not equally ab aeterno? 2. That futures, though contingent, differ from meer possibilityes, that which is meerly possible never coming to an actuall being, and so being not future, and of such I should erre indeed strangely, if I thought God did foresee them * as future, or see them as having an actuall being. It suffices that he sees them as they are, i. e. as meerly possible, and why that which is possible, though it never be, God may not see ab aeterno to be possible, I neither see, nor am offered by you any shew of reason. How you come to conceive it said by your adversaryes that the acts of Gods understanding are all necessarily eternall, (you meane I suppose by your whole discourse ab aeter∣no,)* I guess not, when he that saith God sees abPage  122aeterno, what now I do, must also grant that he now, i. e. in time sees me do it, or else could not believe him Omniscient. 'Tis the part of immensi∣ty to do both, and of Omniscience to know all things both future, and present, and the affir∣ming one of these is very far from denying the other.

§. 38. You say this is no convincing argument, Gods understanding was infinite ab aeterno, there∣fore*whatever he knowes, he knew ab aeterno, more then this, Gods power, &c. was infinite ab aeterno, ergo: what he does now, he does ab aeterno.] But 1. Who urged that former argument in that forme? Not I surely. 2. If I now shall, your parallel bears no proportion with it, unless the antecedent and consequent be better suited then they are; For in your antecedent you speak of power, in the consequent of doing, which belongs to Gods will, not to his power, (for sure God does onely what he wills, not whatsoever he hath *power to do, or to will.) But set both to the same, viz. to his power, and then it will follow inevita∣bly thus, Gods power and ability of doing what∣soever he pleased was infinite ab aeterno, ergo. Whatsoever he now does he had power to do ab aeterno; And this is the argument which alone is suitable to the former, Gods understanding was infinite ab aeterno, ergo. Whatsoever he knowes, (or now sees,) he knew or saw ab aeterno, i. e. Whatsoever now is, or ever shall be done. Both these are apparently true, though one of those which you had suited amiss, were false, the other remaining true.

Page  123 §. 39. Having removed these rubs, which you say thus hinder your consent, I shall hope you will yeild to as much as I pretend, which is not, you see, that God coexists to things that neither are, nor*ever will be, i. e. to things onely possible, but not future, but that Gods immensity is such, as that he reacheth out and is present, ab aeterno, to all that is done in time, and so that all that ever shall be, is ab aeterno objected to his knowledge; Against this nothing that you have said in your five first pages hath any semblance of force, and therefore I hope this now will be granted by you, and then I have it under your hand at the bottom of your fift page, that most of your objections will be easily answered, which therefore I might leave your self to do; but having a little more leasure then ordinary, I will a while accompany you in the view of every of them; and begin with your de∣fence of your first objection.

§. 40. And there First, when to prove it to * imply a contradiction that a thing that is not, (as, say you, all mere possibles are,) should be intelligi∣ble, you thus argue, it's being intelligible implyes that it is, so it is, and it is not, (which is a contra∣diction,) the fallacy is two fold, 1. You con∣found futures that are, (by being such,) sup∣posed * to have an objective being, though not as yet an actuall, with meer possibles, which never shall be, and so are not future, but onely possible to be, and agreeably are seen and known onely to be possible, but not to be future, and 2. You con∣found an objective being which alone is implyed in being intelligible, with present, or actuall being; and now take it out of these ambiguities, and set it as it is, that God ab aeterno did, or now doth see thatPage  124which to day is not, but to morrow shall be, and then what is become of that, [is and is not,] i. e. of the contradiction? or consequently of your whole cause? Nothing being impossible to God, but what implyes a contradiction; which therefore again I presse; shew the contradiction, or yeild the cause.

§. 41. Secondly, when to your saying that all*things past, present, or possible, are known to the divine wisdom, I returned a parenthesis, [No man demands any more,] and you now reply, that I did not fully apprehend your meaning, which was that God knew all things possible, not as future, my rejoynder is, that I well discerned the difference betwixt possible and future, all things being not future, which are possible; Yet because all fu∣tures are possible, (though all possibles are not future,) I could not misapprehend your words, which spake of all things possible,] in concluding that all futures were comprehended under that style of all things possible, for sure futures are in that number, and then if all futures were intelli∣gible to God, and by you granted to be infallibly known by him, this as I said, was all I demanded. There is difference I conceive, betwixt possible and *meerly possible, all futures are possible, but what is meerly possible excludes futurity. Sometimes you speake of meer possibilityes, and then I never ap∣prehend you to meane futures, as, when you speake of all that is possible, I am obliged to do.

§. 42. Now then if you spake, or speake of meer possibilityes, and say that God knew all things meerly possible, as meerly possible, and not as fu∣ture, you say most truly, but then your example Page  125 of A. B's future marriage is nothing to your purpose, for if it be considered as future, then though it be yet possible to be, or not to be, yet it is not meerly possible, for by being supposed fu∣ture, it is consequent that it shall be, whereas what is meerly possible, shall never be. When therefore you say, both are known by God as possible, (viz: that he shall marry, and that he shall not,) neither as future, you deceive your self, for though he sees both as possible, yet he sees one as future, viz: as contingently future, future when it might be otherwise, and the other as meerly possible, i. e. not future, sees it, I say, as future, not by consequen∣ces, * or per scientiam mediam onely, in the ordinary notion of that, viz, if this be, that will follow, (for which science there is place sometimes in things meerly possible, and not future, as in the example of the Oracle concerning the men of Keilah, that if David trusted them, they would deliver him up, when yet he not trusting himself to them, they did not, could not deliver him,) but by reaching out so far as to see it done, in that other notion of Scientia media, whereby God sees what man will freely do, and not onely conditionally what he might or would do.

§. 43. Your following objections against this, that what is known as future, is certainly known will be, but A. B's marriage is altogether uncer∣taine,] is of no more force then the answer of the double necessity, simplex, and ex hypothesi evacu∣ates, for what is certainly known will be, may be also in respect of the agent uncertain, as being free for him to do, or not to do, which notwith∣standing when he hath done, it is then certainly Page  126 what it is, and as so, it is seen by God from all eter∣nity.

§. 44. Thirdly, when I said that the having no being in act, is a phrase proportioned to the thing, and to our finite understandings, 'tis visible. 1. That I spake of the phrase, and nothing else. 2. That my meaning is, that to our finite understandings that is not present, or in act, which is still future, but yet God by his immensity may reach out, and be present to it, or see it, as wee do that which is before our eyes.

§. 45. And when against my words you argue thus, [if it be proportionable to the thing, then it is*also to Gods understanding which depends thereon,] 'tis plain again, that you misapprehend mee, for I oppose Gods infinite, to our finite understand∣ings, and not Gods understanding the thing, to the reality of it; God understands it, as it is, and so sees that future, and contingent, which is truly so, (as Cicero saith, Ʋt praeterita ea vera dici∣mus quorum superiori tempore vera fuerunt in∣stantia,*sic futura, quorum consequenti tempore vera erunt instantia, ea vera dicemus,) but till it actu∣ally be, God sees it by his infinite science, which by our finite we cannot reach.

§. 46. Let it then be granted that Gods under∣standing depends on the thing, what followes thence? No more but this, that future contingents having yet no being in act, and therefore being not visible to our finite faculties, have yet a being objective, as being really, though contingently future, and Gods knowledge being proportioned to the things, and de∣pending on them as such, i. e. as future contin∣gents, and not as actually being, these he knowes by his infinite knowledge.

Page  127 §. 47. But say you, his understanding can be no more actuall then the thing is from whence he derives that understanding,] what truth is there in this? I know what is past, my knowledge is actuall, but the thing past is not so; I know if the course of nature be not altered, (or, which as to this mat∣ter, is equivalent, I believe,) the Sun will rise to morrow, here my knowledge or belief, is actuall, but the object is future, not yet actuall, save onely that it is now actually true, that the Sun will rise then. And then why may not Gods knowledge be actuall either of what is past, or future, (and so now actually is not,) and yet he see it as it is, i. e. what is past as past, what future, as fu∣ture?

§. 48. Fourthly, when to my question, [Why, if God sees before, that which in after time hangs in the balance of humane indetermination, he may not also foresee which end of the balance will at length overpoise?] You answer, that the foresight of the former is the foresight of possibles, but the foresight of the other is the foresight of a contingent future, and that the one is not as truly future, as the other,] you cannot but see, you do not render any answer to the question, i. e. any reason why he may not see what is really, though contingently future, as well as that which is meerly possible? It is true, one is not as truly future, as the other, but what shew is there of reason, that what is lesse future, or not future at all, shall be seen, and that which is future, and shall really be, shall yet not be seen by him that is Omniscient? can it's no kind of be∣ing, not so much as in futurition, set the advan∣tage on that side, and make that most intelligible, which hath no being, and that least, which hath? Page  128 If it do, yet sure it shall be no ground of resolving that the really future is not at all, even to God foreseeable, or that there is any contradiction in this, which if you remember was incumbent on you to prove, by that of hanging in the balance, &c. but is not now attempted by you.

§. 49. I proceed to your defense of your second*objection. And first when you grant that many things are possible, which will never be brought to act,] how could you say before, that it was a mistake to call that possible which God foresees shall never be? Is that a mistake which is perfectly true? Or is not Gods foresight agreeable to what is?

§. 50. But say you now, God that sees all things as they are, sees them as possible, not the one side of a contradictory proposition as determinately true, and the other as assuredly false, for so he should see them as they will be hereafter, but not as they are now,] I answer, 1. God that sees them as they are, sees them not onely as possible, but as future, for they are not onely possible, but future, 2. Of contra∣dictory propositions, as, that I shall kill my self to morrow, and I shall not kill my self tomorrow,] one is determinately true, I mean not by deter∣minately true, that God hath decreed it shall be, but it is true on the one side, and not on the other; for if I kill my self tomorrow, then it is true to day, that I will kill my self tomorrow, and if so, then it is false, that I shall not kill my self tomorrow. What then is determinately true, God sees as de∣terminately true, and so sees it as it is. 3. If he sees them as they will be hereafter, sure this is suffi∣cient, who would desire any more? Nay this is to see them as they now are, for now they are fu∣ture,Page  129 i. e. things that now are not, but shall here∣after be.

§. 51. In your reply to my second answer, it is no way pertinent which you say of a bare supposi∣tion proving nothing, yet being granted proving any*thing that is necessarily deducible from it. For 1. when I speak of a bare hypotheticall necessity, you speak of a bare hypothesis or supposition, which is quite another thing, your bare supposition is a supposing, (though no more then supposing) that to be, which is not, but our bare hypotheticall necessity is a conditional, as that is opposed to an absolute necessity. How wide are these one from the other? 2. Then if you review that my second answer, to which you make this reply, you shall see how little propriety it hath to it. It was this, Change the foresight into seeing from all eternity, and then it is plaine, that God from all eternity may see that will never actually be, which yet is free for the agent to do or not to do, (and God sees that to,) and so is possible every way, save onely ex hypothesi that it will never be, and as the bare hypotheticall necessity is no absolute necessity, so this bare hypothe∣tical impossibility is no absolute impossibility. To this your reply is, that though a bare supposition prove nothing, yet it being granted, it infallibly proves any thing necessarily conclusible from it.] You see now how little this is ad Iphicli boves, and yet, 3. If it were pertinent, it would not be for your advantage, for supposing, (as I also do,) that God sees the thing as contingently future, free for the agent to do or not to do, it must by your rule necessarily follow, that the thing is contingent, and so not absolutely necessary, or any other wayes, then that when it is, it cannot not be, which was all Page  130 I had to make good in that answer.

§. 52. In my third answer you grant all I aske, onely you interpose, that to our purpose it is all one whether Gods prescience render the object cer∣tain,*or presuppose and find it certain; and, as if this were, upon the meer saying it, presently gran∣ted, as a Maxime cleare by it's own light, you add no word of proof to it. Which how far from rea∣sonable it is, you will now discover. And 1. to ren∣der, and to find, are as far from all one, as to cause * and not to cause, for sure what I render certain, I cause to be so, what I find certain is caused by ano∣ther and not by me. And being thus distant in themselves, it is strange they should to our purpose be all one. Is it all one to our purpose, whether I commit sin freely, when I had grace to abstain from it, or God cause or work it in me? What two things can be lesse all one then these? and this the one purpose, for which the men, with whom you dispute, do insist on this subject, and distin∣guish betwixt Gods foresight and his decree. And therefore as you are very sollicitous that your opinion should be freed from the imputation of derogating from the Divine immensity, and Om∣niscience, so at this time it concernes you to be as carefull, lest you offend against Gods purity, and other attributes, when you make it all one for his prescience to find and to render the object certain; i. e. to see all the sins that wee commit, and to cause them. I pray consider this, and it will force you either to acknowledge that God foresees cer∣tainly what we do freely and contingently, or to * deny our sins, (i. e. voluntary actions,) to be free, or to deny that Christ foresaw that Peter would deny, or Judas betray him, both which he foretold to his Disciples.

Page  131 §. 53. I proceed to your defense of the objected inconveniences against my answers to them. And first, it breakes no square, whether [in them∣selves,]* be inserted, or omitted, 1. because what is in it's causes utterly uncertain, is so in it self. 2. because you yeild to all I said on this head as * rationall and convincing, and onely question the truth of my principle, which you know I was not again to prove in that place, when I was answer∣ing the objections, or inconveniences.

§. 54. Your second inconvenience I understood * before in the very sence that your instance now sets it, and accordingly I rendered answer to it, and shewed wherein it was that Exhortations, &c. were founded, viz. in the liberty of our actions, so long as till they be actually committed, and no longer. And to this you give no answer at all, nor to ought I say on that head, but onely say over in ano∣ther Scheme the same thing to which I answered.

§. 55. In this your new Scheme you say, that had it been known aforehand, that A. B. would ob∣stinately have continued in his wickedness, it had been vain to have used exhortations, and so for God (supposing his prescience,) it were vain to enjoyne them.] Here the word [vain] in the obvious notion imports unprofitable, or uselesse, and then, 1. I pray consider, whether it be fit to speak thus * of God. It is certain Christ saw Peter would fall, Judas would betray him, yet he told them both of it before, and that telling them was a timely admonition, and equivalent to an exhortation, adding of Judas a terrible threat, or denunciation, that it was better for him, that he had never been borne. Would you think it tolerable for any Chri∣stian to say hereupon, it was vain, for Christ to do Page  132 all this? I trow you would not, and therefore will your self think fit to avoid it.

§. 50. Should you have any scruple in this, the sto∣ry of Pharaoh, and the passages, Rom. IX. referring * to it, would, à multò majori & fortiori, supersede or answer it. God had there foretold Moses, that he would harden Pharaoh's heart, which I hope is much more toward inferring a necessity, then Christ's foretelling Peter, or Iudas of the fall of the one, and treason of the other. And yet God exhorts Pharaoh after that, and he that objects against his doing so, Rom. IX. that saith 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; Why doth he yet, (after that sixt judgement, when God himself hath sent his plagues on his heart, why doth he still, or yet) find fault, is answered, Nay but, O man, who art thou, that disputest against God?

§. 57. In the former part of that story, when it was not come to that height, yet it is most evi∣dent that from the beginning of Moses's mission to Pharaoh, God had foretold that Pharaoh, would harden his own heart, and that (alone) is perfectly parallel to our case, which is of prescience of future contingent acts of mans will, yet are all Gods messages and signes by Moses purposely sent to melt, and perswade him to let the people go. Doth any man now want a perspective to discerne that * these messages of heaven were not vaine? Or that such acts of Divine wisdom, (his wayes, that are not like ours,) are not to be submitted to our tri∣bunall, but adored and reverenced, and no other∣wise approached by us? But then,

§. 58. Secondly, if by vain you meane no more, then that which doth not finally obtain the effect principally designed, so there will be no difficul∣ty in affirming with S. Paul, that Gods grace and Page  133 so his exhortations, &c. may be received in vain, for so God knowes it is too frequent for us to do, mean while what thorow our default becomes fruitless to us, doth not returne so to God, but serves Gods subsequent, (though it resists his,) *antecedent will, which is also Gods will, viz: to punish the obdurate, as well as his antecedent is to save the humble and tractable, and the more fre∣quent the exhortations are, supposing grace an∣next to enable to make use of them, (as you know we suppose,) the more culpable is the obstinacy against such meanes, and the more culpable, the more justly punished, and so Gods justice vindica∣ted from all aspersion, and mans freedome asser∣ted: And the exhortations, that have contribu∣ted to all this, will not be deemed vain, though they attain not the fruit primarily intended, the sal∣vifick effect or designe of them.

§. 59. And whereas you compare this to a Phy∣sician*prescribing a medicine, which he foresees will do him no good.] I must ask by what meanes it comes to passe that that medicine will do him no good? By it's own insufficiency or impropriety to the disease, or by the obstinacy of the patient, that he will not take it? If by the former, I then acknowledge with you that Physician were vain; but that is no way applyable to God, whose medi∣caments are sufficient, being the power of God to salvation to all that believe. But if it be by the second onely, then the Physician is far from vain, as doing all that the wit of man can do, or wish toward the recovering of his patient. For he that will not use his recipe's, seemes bent on his own death, and as guilty of it, as he that cuts his own throat, and 'tis no disparagement to the Physician,Page  134 that when he is prescribing remedies for his feaver or consumption, he doth not cure his obsti∣nacy, or that he prescribes to him, as to a wise man he would prescribe, (though indeed the event be much other, then it would be in a wise man, but that is not the Physicians fault,) and as little can the vanity be imputed to Gods operations, when by our defaults onely they prove uneffectuall; God himself, Isa. V. appealing to us in the like case, what could he have done more to his vineyard which he had not done, when yet pro uvis labruscas, instead of grapes it brought forth nothing but wild grapes.

§. 60. In that place no doubt it was possible for God to have done somewhat which he did not, *viz. to have forced the ground to bring forth good grapes, but to a vineyard interpreted there to be the house of Israel, to a rational vineyard, and to that which was to be left in a state of re∣wardablenesse, of doing and not doing, of free∣dome, the dowry of the will of men and Angels, with which they were created, this was not com∣petible and therefore 'tis truly said, God could do no more, then he did, or doth, (whatsoever the event be and be foreseen by him,) and that is as contrary as is possible to the objection of vainnesse.

§. 61. For the enforcing the third inconvenience, you say it seemes hard that finall impenitents should*from all eternity be reprobated, unlesse conditionally,] never considering, what was most conspicuous in my answer, that final impenitence it self is that onely condition. When therefore you say, It were, as if a person should be sentenced to death for a fact before it be committed, you fall back into the two mistakes, which my answer, if adverted to, had prevented. 1. You speak of a person simply, and Page  135 abstracted from guilt, when I speak of a final im∣penitent, i. e. a person so very ill qualified, and fouly guilty. 2. I suppose his sentence to be founded in his guilt, and his guilt, in order, be∣fore his sentence, but both of them in the mind of God, (who seeing his guilt, awards that punish∣ment, adapts his revenge to that fact,) seen as past, before ever that sentence goes out against him.

§. 62. Here you say A. B's, Salvation was ab aeterno possible, (which I grant,) and thence infer, that God did not ab aeterno see his damnation as certain, but onely as possible. But I deny the conse∣quence, for he may see both his salvation and dam∣nation as possible, and yet see one of them as onely possible, the other being also future, which is some∣what more, then onely or barely possible. Meane while nothing hinders, but what is, (and God sees,) thus future, he might by his omnipotent power have prevented, (which yet, you say, by my rea∣son he could not,) onely then, he had not seen it as future, but as that which would have been, if he had not prevented it.

§. 63. Again you say, that if God had infallibly foreseen that A. B. living longer would unavoidably have fallen into sin, and therein have persevered till death, you verily believe, in regard of his goodness and love to mankind, not onely in generall, 1 Tim. II. 4. 2 Peter III. 9. But to A. B. himself, Ez. XVIII. 32. that God would take him away in his infan∣cy, assoon as baptized, when he was in the state of grace and salvation.] In this processe of yours, I wonder whence the word unavoidably came. For * I that according to your supposition, look on A. B. as one baptized, and in the state of grace, and salva∣tion,Page  136 can never grant that he unavoidably falls and finally perseveres in such sin, as brings damnation; I grant he may fall, and that finally, but sure not unavoidably, for by that grace he was enabled to stand, and if he fall, he falls willfully, but that is not unavoidably.

§. 64. And what if Godsees from all eternity that he will thus fall, doth that render his fall unavoida∣ble?* No, but Gods foreseeing that he would fall willfully, when he had grace to stand, (which circumstance he foresaw, as well as the fall it self,) must infer the quite contrary, that when he falls he might have stood, and so fell not unavoida∣bly.

§. 65. But then leaving out that unseasonable word, [unavoidably,] which in all reason you might have done, when in relation to the certitude of Gods prescience you had said, [infallibly fore∣sees,] there will then be no ground of truth in that proposition, no shew of proof of it from the goodness and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉of God to all, or to any particular, as those texts or any other express it, for from none of those it is rendred probable in * any degree, that they which are baptized, and have sufficient grace given them, and promise of abun∣dance, if they make use of it, shall have violent re∣straints, or be taken out of the world, rather then they shall fall into wilfull sin. Consult the places again and you will soon find there is no propriety in them for the proofe of this.

§. 66. And yet if even this also were true, it would no way incommodate our pretensions, for * in that case of Gods taking away such a man, in his infancy, it would follow by our doctrine, that God foresaw that from all eternity, and so that he Page  137 foresaw not A. B. a finall impenitent, which is the destroying and voiding your whole supposi∣tion.

§. 67. How then this seeming advantage could reasonably incline you, to profess it your thought, that the doctrine of prescience is very much incon∣sistent with the omnipotence and goodness of God, &c. and that 'tis swallowed without examination, I now leave you candidly to consider, by your reflexions on the strength of that reed you laid this weight on. Judge I pray, might not God, if he would, have created a world of men, taken them up into heaven, and crowned them, (if crowning it could be called,) with everlasting blisse, and so left none of them in the hazards of this world? Yet did not, (it is evident by the fact,) his love of man∣kind oblige him to this, but men are left to vast dangers, and multitudes fall under them. Must all this now be imputed to Gods ignorance how all things would frame in the world in this other * course, which yet it appeares he hath chosen? The consequences are too horrid to insist on. Let us instance once for all in Adam, 'tis certain he fell, and in him all his posterity, did not God foresee or know this, till the effect told it him? Then how was Christ given in decreto divino, before the creation of the world? I hope you will not say he was not so given, when the Scripture is in many places so expresse for it, especially, Ephes. I. 4. and when Gods decrees are ab aeterno, and so espe∣cially this, the foundation of all the rest, of those that concern our salvation, Yet can I as little imagine what else you can say, unlesse you will forsake your hypothesis.

Page  138 §. 68. For if he decreed Christ before the creati∣on, then he foresaw there would be need of him, * if so, then he foresaw Adams fall, and then why may he not have foreseen all other mens sins, all contingent future events, of which he is no more the author, and of which there is no more necessity * that the free agents should act them, then there was that Adam should sin before he was created. I pray consider this, and it will do your whole businesse.

§. 69. But let us examine your reasons, by which you will approve your affirmation, that *prescience ab aeterno derogates from omnipotence. You instance in King Charls's death, and you might have done the like in the death of Christ, whereof the sacred writ testifies, that it was by the determinate counsell and foreknowledge of God. Now prescience being admitted, say you, it was as certain that King Charles should die, Jan. 30. as now it is that he did die that day, and to that it is consequent, that it could not have been prevented by omnipotence it self.] Your consequence I deny, sub hâc formâ, because he that saw it would be that day, equally saw, both that he might, and that he would not prevent it. By his omnipotence it is certain, he might, by his will and wisdom, (now revealed,) that he would not prevent it, by his Omniscience, that from all eternity he knew he would not, by his very mercy to him, and for other most wise ends, that he would actually deliver him up to the wills of the malicious, able to destroy the body, but no more, which again is founded in his foresight of their malice, and must suppose it. All which makes it as infallible, that God might have prevented it, as that he would not, did not, therefore this is far Page  139 from derogating from his omnipotence, in this of his not being able to prevent it, the contrary to which is by this our Scheme expressly establish∣ed.

§. 70. This 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; for my positive an∣swer, you cannot but know already, all the necessi∣ty consequent to prescience is the necessity ex hypo∣thesi, it is necessary to be while it is, and because it will be, therefore God foresees it will be, and if men would have done otherwise, God would have foreseen otherwise.

§. 71. When you take it for mine acknowledg∣ment then, that God cannot change that which is fu∣ture, so as to make it not future, I answer, that sensu diviso it is most false, for whatsoever is future, God can change, and make it not future, and then fore∣see it not future. But if you meant Conjunctim, that remaining future, he could not make it not future, 1. That is a great impropriety of speech, and most unreasonable, that he that speakes of changing, should mean keeping it still as it is, un∣changed, and 2. You see the fallacy, that most palpable one, of a benè divisis ad male Conjuncta, which I hope will no longer impose upon you. The ill consequences you feare and exaggerate, should God be thought not to have been able to have preven∣ted it, I shall not need insist on, detesting the thought, as much as is possible, and having so far secured our Scheme from it, that if God foresees not that he could prevent any future whatsoever, I shall not think he foresees any thing.

§. 72. So likewise for his goodness, you cannot * doubt but I acknowledge that as fully as you, in relation to our salvation: Let us see then how I am obliged to deny this again by admitting his Page  140Prescience. Why, say you, if God willingly suffer so many to be damned, whom he might have saved where is his〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉? &c. I answer, just where you your self will, and must place it, unlesse you believe many shall not be damned finally. For 'tis most certain, God by his absolute power might have saved all them, that yet are now damned, and the shew of inconvenience is exactly the same, whether God be believed to foresee all things ab aeterno, or no. For suppose we, that God fore∣saw not, but saw in time as we do every thing that happens in our presence, and suppose we a wicked man filling up the measure of his iniquityes, or ready to die in his sins, I demand might not God, if he would, rescue him out of that state, convert him into a Saint, and assume him, as he did Elias in the sanctified state? Questionlesse he might, yet without all controversy he doth not thus to every wicked man, for if he did, none should be damned; Do you now reconcile this with Gods 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, his words and many vehement asseverations, (as I doubt not but you are well able to do,) and then review your own question, [If God willingly suffer so many to be damned whom he might have saved, where is his〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉?] 'Tis not possi∣ble you should need more words to disintangle this snarle, and in my former papers I shewd you in this place to what Gods 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 belongs, giving sufficient grace, &c.: to which you reply nothing, and therefore I suppose consent to the truth of it, though 'tis sure both that God by his absolute power might do more then he doth, (and therefore I like not your expression, that he does what omnipotence could performe, citing, Isa. v. 4. In place of it, I should have said, what his covenant,Page  141 promise, mercy, justice, equity, wisdom, obliged him to do, or what was reconcileable with all these, without interesting his absolute power, or omnipo∣tence in it,) and that obstinate sinners do actually resist, and frustrate all the methods that are used by him.

§. 73. Of the manner of S. Austin's asserting prescience I need not farther insist, then that by * the expresse words of that period I produced, he will have it reconciled with the free will of man, which if all would do, there were little more to be required of them. Yet because you have endea∣voured to take off the force of S. Austin's words, and from Ludov. Vives's words on Chapter, IX. (Quod si indignum, &c. Dicamus à providentia voluntate{que} Dei cognitionem ejus prosicisci, volun∣tatem statuere quod futurum sit, scientiam quod vo∣lunt as statuerit, nosse,) to draw him to Calvins sence, I shall read over that IX. Chapter, both Text, and Comment, and give you some passages out of it; In the Text, 1. That they are much more tolerable that bring in Syderea Fata, a fatality depending on the starrs, then they which take away praescientiam futurorum, foreknowledg of futures: and that it is a most open madness, confiteri Deum & negare praescium futurorum, to confess God, and to deny his prescience. 2. Nos ut confitemur sum∣mum & verum Deum, it a voluntatem summamque potestatem & praescientiam ejus consitemur, nec time∣mus ne ideò voluntate non faciamus quod voluntate facimus, quia id nos facturos esse praescivit cujus praescientia falli non potest, as we confess the su∣preme and true God, so we confess his will, and supreme power and prescience, neither do we scare least we should not do voluntarily, what we doPage  142voluntarily, because he foresaw it, whose prescience cannot be deceived, making it the heathen feare of Cicero, which now is yours, lest the infallibility of the prescience should impose necessity, and frustrate Lawes, exhortations, &c. 3. Nos adversus sacrile∣gos ausus & Deum dicimus omnia scire, antequam fiant (marke omnia) & voluntate nos facere, &c. Contrary to the darings of sacrilegious men, we both affirm that God knowes all things before they are done, and that we do them voluntarily. 4. Novit incommutabiliter omnia quae futura sunt, & quae ipse facturus est, he knowes unchangeably all things which are to come, and which he will do, not onely the latter, but the former, and all of one as well as the other. 5. He that foreknew all the causes of things, among them could not be ignorant of our wills, quas nostrorum operum causas esse praescivit. Which he foresaw to be the causes of our workes. 6. Qui non est praescius omnium futuro∣rum non est utique Deus, he that foresees not things to come, is not God. 7. Of our liberty, Volunta∣tes nostrae tantum valent, quantum Deus eas valere voluit, & praescivit, & ideò quicquid valent, certissi∣me valent, & quod facturae sunt ipsae, omnino facturae sunt, quia valituras atque facturas esse praescivit cujus praescientia falli non potest, our wills can do as much as God will'd and foreknew they were able, and therefore whatsoever they can do, they most certainly can do, and what they will do, they alto∣gether will do, because he foresaw they could and would do it, whose prescience cannot be deceived. Next in Vives's comments you have, Non res fu∣turae ex scientia Dei manant, sed scientia potius Dei ex illis, quae tamen futurae non sunt Deo, ut est error multorum, sed praesentes. Quocirca non recte diciturPage  143praescire, nisi relatione ad actiones nostras, dicendus est scire, videre, cernere. Quod si indignum vide∣tur, &c. Things future do not flow from Gods science, but rather Gods science from them, which yet are not future to God as the error of many is, but present, wherefore he is not rightly said to foresee unlesse it be in relation to our actions, he must be said to know, to see, to perceive, which if it appeare unworthy, &c. There come in the words by you recited, of Gods science coming from his will, which you say is Calvinism, but is not set by Vives to interpret S. Augustin's sence that way, no nor to assert it as his own, but to recite another opi∣nion, that hath lesse impiety in it, then the denying of prescience would have. Thus you see what that Chapter in the Father, or his Commentator gaines you. Mean while I take you at your word that you grant with S. Augustin the prescience of God, and if you grant it with him, you must grant it not onely in things which come to passe necessarily, (as all that God decrees do,) but simply in all things, and particularly in those, wherein volunta∣tis arbitrium retentum, freedom of will retained is concerned, for to those you see he thorow out the IX. and X. Chapters applyes it, and if you grant prescience in them, you grant as much as I desire, if not, you deny it, (which yet you again say you do not,) more then S. Augustin.

§. 74. What you here add as your conclusion from S. Augustine in his confessions, lib. II. c. 18. videri non possunt sed praedici possunt ex praesentibus quae jam sunt & videntur, they cannot be seen but they may be foretold from those things that are pre∣sent, and are now seen, and from Origen〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉*〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, viz: That Gods knowledge ofPage  144future contingents is meerly hypotheticall, this being supposed, that will follow, &c.] I shall now proceed to examine, 1. By a view of your two Testimo∣nies, then of your conclusion from them. And first for S. Augustin's words, they are not spoken of Gods prescience or predictions, but of ours, and that of things coming from natural causes, Intucor auroram, saith he, oriturum solem pronuncio, &c. I behold the morning, I pronounce the Sun will rise. Look and you will see it manifestly, so then it is nothing to Gods prescience of future contingents, and you can conclude nothing from it.

§. 75. And for the Chapter in Origen's Philo∣calia, it cannot be, but you must have noted in it, * the weight that he layes on the prediction of Judas's * treason, the general resolution, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, every thing that is future, God sees it will come to passe, (and yet 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the foreknower is not cause of all that are foreknown,) citing from Susanna, 42, 43. That God is〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the knower of secrets, that knowes all things before they are, then he proposes the question, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, how God from all eter∣nity foreknowing those things that are thought to be done by every man, our free will may be retained. Which he treats against the heathen that say Gods foreknowledge takes away all praise and dispraise, &c. and maintain it just as you do, as you will see, if you compare your, and their arguing. Now to * these his answer is, that God from the beginning of the creation of the world, nothing being without a cause,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Page  145by the progresse of his mind thorow all things that are future, sees them, that if this be, that will follow, &c. and so 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, proceeding to the end of things, he knowes what shall be. Which he doth expresse, to shew that he sees the depen∣dence of all things, not from his own will, who by knowing them, as it followes, causes them not, but in a concatenation of humane acts and choises, as*when by temerity one walkes inconsiderately, and meeting with a slippery place falls, which he that sees, is no way the cause of his fall, saith he, adding that *God foreseeing〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, how qualified every one will be, sees also the causes that he will be so, mean while his foreseeing is not the cause of their being what they are, but though strange, saith he, yet 'tis true,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the thing future is the cause that*such a foreknowledge is had of it, for it doth not be∣cause it was known come to passe, but because, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉,) it was to come to passe, it was known. Then he comes to a distinction in what * sence it is true, that what is foreseen〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉shall altogether be, and states it just as we do all along. From all which, (that I may now follow, you to your inferences,) you can with no reason conclude, that it was his and the rest of the Fathers doctrine, that Gods foreknowledge of future contingents is meerly hypotheticall. You see most evidently from their sayings, every where scattered, (competently by those which I have now set down,) that this was not their doctrine. And this one passage, if it were favourable to your conceit, (as it is not,) yet could in no reason evacuate all others.

§. 76. In your conclusion that which I mislike is not the word, [hypothetical] but [meerly] for Page  146 that signifies God to have no other foreknowledge but that. I doubt not but of all things that are, God foresees, as Origen's words were, that if this be, that will follow, and so I deny not hypothetical foreknow∣ledge. But I cannot confine Gods foreknowledge * to this one head, for why may he not also see, (and as easily,) that this, and that will both be? The principall use of hypothetical foreknowledge, is in things meerly possible, which come not to passe, (as before I applyed the example of Keilah, which you now mention.) But what can that have to do with those things, which do actually come to passe, and that meerly by the free will of man, and by no ne∣cessity of consequences? Though, (as I said,) even in those, God that sees them as they are, both in their causes, and most casuall, or voluntary mutati∣ons, and progression, and all circumstances conco∣mitant, sees one thing following, (though but freely, not necessarily,) out of another, first this, and then that, and because this, or upon this mo∣tive, therefore that; Which as it is far from asserting any necessary chain of causes, contrary to the free∣dome of mans will, which in that very place Origen largely establishes, so it is far from a knowledge meerly hypothetical, for that is not the knowledge of what is, but what will be, if somewhat else make way for it, which being uncertain, whether it will be or not, there can be no determinate knowledge, that the other will be, which is quite contrary to his instances of Judas's betraying Christ, &c. Which were as really and determinately foreseen and fore∣told, as they were really acted. And therefore I must desire you not to think this favourable to the Socinian's opinion of Gods foreknowledge of future contingents being onely or meerly hypothetical, (though Page  147 God foresee hypothetically, yet not onely so,) or that this key will fit all places of Scripture, which foretell things to come, because it fits the case of Keilah, and Jer. 38, 17. and some few others.

§. 77. I have the more largely insisted on this, because it seemed so likely to mislead you, there being some examples of foreknowledge meerly hy∣pothetical, from whence yet to infer that Gods fore∣knowledge indefinitely, is meerly such, i. e. that he hath no other, is the same errour as from particular premisses, or from one or two examples to make an universal conclusion.

§. 78. On view of your fourth objected incon∣venience, you grant all I said in answer to it, onely, * say you, the former difficulty seemes to recurre, how A. B. may be truly salvable, when if absolute prescience be granted, his damnation was as certain before he was borne, as it will be when he is in Hell.] I answer. 1. That in answer to objected inconveniences all that can be required of any man is, to shew that that inconvenience doth not follow, not to establish the principal doctrine again, (which before had been done by the no implicancy of contradiction, which left it possible for God to foresee future con∣tingents, and then by consideration of his omni∣science, which qualifies him to know every thing which is scibile, or the knowing of which implyes no contradiction, and then by the testimonies of the Prophets, who from Gods prescience foretold such futures,) having therefore done all that was incum∣bent on me, I had hoped the difficulty would not still have remained, when all I said was granted. But seeing it doth, I answer, 2. That supposing Gods eternal prescience, it cannot but as clearly appeare, that A. B. not onely may be, but is truly salvable, Page  148 whilst he is in Viâ, as that he is damned, or no lon∣ger salvable, when he is in Hell. For supposing A. B. in viâ, to be one, for whom in Gods decree Christ dyed, and supposing Gods eternall prescience of all that is, (unquestionably of all that he himself will do, as he sure will all that is under his decree.) It must thence necessarily follow, that God foresees him salvable, and supposing that at length he is dam∣ned, it doth but follow, that God foresees him dam∣ned; These two things then by force of praescience are equally cleer, that he is one while salvable, ano∣ther while damned, and so they are equally certain, and if his having been salvable do not hinder his be∣ing damned, then neither will his being damned hin∣der his having been salvable. He is truly salvable * who God foresees will not be saved. How so? be∣cause God truly bestows upon him all means ne∣cessary to salvation, and that being all that is requi∣red to make him salvable, this is as truly done, when the effect followes not, as when the meanes are most successfull. And Gods prescience of the successless∣ness, makes no change, hath no influence either on the meanes, or the man, any more then my seeing a thing done hath causality in the doing it. Now if he be salvable, (though in event he never be saved, but damned,) and Gods praescience that he is salva∣ble, be as efficacious to conclude him salvable, as his prescience that he is damned, to infer him damned, what a palpable partiality is it to infer from presci∣ence, that his damnation is certain before he is borne, and yet not to infer from the same principle, that his salvability was certain before he was borne? Nothing can more irrefragably prove the weakness of your inference, then that it is so obvious to re∣tort it.

Page  149 §. 79. The short is, that which is future onely contingently, it is certain that it is foreseen by God, yet till it is, it may be otherwise, and if it be other∣wise, God sees it to be otherwise, and what may be otherwise, is not certain to be so, and therefore his damnation is not certain before he is born, which is the direct contradictory to your inference, and that method which will equally infer contradicto∣ries, of what force it is to establish truth, I leave you to judge who propounded the difficulty.

§. 80. Here then is the errour, because God can∣not erre in his foresight, therefore you conclude from supposition of his prescience, that the thing, which you speake of, is certain, when yet it no way appeares to you or me, that God ever foresaw it, but by our supposing that it comes to pass. Hence then comes all the supposed certainty, from suppo∣sing it to come to pass, which is the certitudo ex hy∣pothesi, a certainty that it is, as long as it is supposed to be, and then Gods prescience hath nothing to do with it, but it would be as certain without supposing Gods prescience, as now it is by supposing it. And now would you have me shew you how A. B. is tru∣ly salvable whilst you retain your supposition that he is damned? This, if you marke, is your difficul∣ty, for you have no other ground to suppose that God foresees him damned, but because you suppose him damned, and seeing it is, you see what a taske you have set me, even to make two members of a contradiction true together. This I confesse I can∣not do, and I grant God cannot, yet thus much I will do for you, I will mind you, that even when A. B. is in Hell, the proposition is still true, that A. B. when he was on earth was salvable, and if it be true when he is in Hell, I appeale to you whether it be Page  150 not true, when God foresees he will be in Hell, doth Gods foreseeing him in hell impede more then his actuall being in it? If not, then notwithstanding Gods prescience, A. B. is salvable, and so now I hope you see both that, and how he is so.

§. 81. In your fifth inconvenience, you still ad∣here that you think it scarcely reconcileable with that*determinate prescience which I hold, for God seriously to call those whom he foresees ab aeterno that they will not repent. But you take no heed to the place of * Scripture, which I demonstrated it by, turne you, turne you, why will you dye? and, as I live, I delight not in the death of him that dyes, where it is evident, God seriously, (if an oath be a note of seriousnesse,) calls those who dye and will dye. Why do you not lay this to heart, when it is so cleare, and (you yet give me your leave to say,) unanswerable?

§. 82. I said, when God calls to a man not to fall, he is not fallen, and, you say true, but he is fallen in Gods prescience.] I now ask you, how you know he is? Your onely possible answer is, that if he be fallen, then by the doctrine of prescience, God must fore∣see him fallen, and you now by way of supposition, (which 'tis lawfull for disputations sake to make,) take it for granted, i. e. suppose he is fallen. And then, (as even now I said,) to your voluntary suppo∣sition all is due, and with that I cannot reconcile the contradictory, and so still what is this to prescience?

§. 83. Again you conclude, that God sees, A. B. will never rise again, how do you know, or imagine God sees it, but because you suppose it true, that he will never rise again? and if it be true, then it is also infallibly true, whether God see it or no. And so still what have you gained, your supposing it true is it to which adheres the supposition of Gods fore∣seeing, Page  151 and infallibility consequent to that, but that addes no weight to that which was before supposed infallible.

§. 84. Again you aske, can God seriously call him, who [he sees] will never repent, seriously do that he sees useless, and absolutely ineffectuall?] I have oft told you, and proved to you, that he may, 'tis cer∣tain he called Pharaoh, when he had predicted he would not hearken, and he most seriously doth things to salvifick ends, which do not eventually at∣tain those ends, and he foresees they do not.

§. 85. I said that what God doth thus in time, he ab aeterno decreed to do, this (as it is apparent by the antecedent, to which the relative [thus] belongs,) I spake of Gods calling men, some not to fall, others to rise again, and you reply, that it seemes to you utter∣ly improbable that God should do whatsoever he doth, by an antecedent decree.] I have no temptation to leave our present taske, which is sufficient for the day, to dispute that question with you in the latitude, as your, (whatsoever he doth,) importeth. It will suffice, if God doth any thing by an antecedent de∣cree, or decree any thing before he do it, for if any thing, then sure his calls and warnings, which are parts of his covenant of grace, and that is sub decre∣to, decreed by him. And then what I said before, is still of full force, Gods foreseeing mens disobediences to his calls, was in order of nature posteriour and subse∣quent to his decree of calling and giving them grace, and being so, cannot move him to change what went before, or presently to disannull it, and till it be disannulled, 'tis certain, and exacted by veracity, that he act according to it, i. e. that he call those seriously, who yet he foresees resist him. Why you should here farther inlarge, of the greater improba∣bility,Page  152that God should without consideration decree what afterward he perceives would be uselesse, I guess not, being sure no words of mine gave you tempta∣tion to think that I affixt inconsiderate decrees to our God of all wisdome, or counted those calls use∣lesse, which through our obstinacy, (onely) faile of their designed good effect.

§. 86. No more did I give you cause for that harsh-sounding phrase of Gods necessarily pursuing it, because it was decreed.] I should rather have suggested to you these words, instead of them, that God is faithfull, and just, and veracious, and so per∣formes his part of the covenant of grace with men, howsoever they are, (and he foresees them,) wan∣ting to their own part.

§. 87. What you say you understand not in my last papers, I thus explaine; those calls of God which * the obdurate reject, are most seriously meant by God to their reformation, else he would not punish them for rejecting them, as he doth by withdrawing them, &c. This God decrees to do ab aeterno, which he could not, unlesse he soresaw their rejection of them, and yet neither could he foresee their so cri∣minal rejecting them, unlesse he foresaw the seri∣ousnesse of them, and if he foresaw that, then it is as certain as any thing, that God foresees that they are serious, and although God do not actually in∣flict punishment upon bare foresight of sin, yet sure he may decree to punish those whom he foresees to deserve it, and that is all that is necessary to my ar∣guing. Else I might tell you that God that accepts not a temporary faith, will never accept such a man as is answerable to the stony, or thorny ground, (who in time of tryall would fall away,) though he should be taken away before temptations approach.

Page  153 §. 88. In that of Judas, you grant that the pro∣phecy,*as terminated in him, could not have been ful∣filled, had he never been born, but then your quere remaines, say you, whether it might not have been fullfilled in another?] I answer, 1. it could not have been fullfilled in another, without some other disciples doing what he did, and 'tis certain no other did so, and therefore what was foretold must have been fulfilled in him, or else, (which may not be be∣lieved of a divine Oracle,) had not been fulfilled. But then, 2. Christs words to John pointing out Judas for the Traitour, he that dippeth, &c. was a prediction of God perfectly terminated in Judas's person, and could not be fulfilled in any other, and so your new quere is answered also. And that gives you a farther reason, (if what was said before to your second quere were not sufficient,) that our Saviours prediction was not conditional, but catego∣rically * enunciative, verily I say unto you that one of you shall or will betray me, and he that dippeth, at that time when Christ spake it, deictically, i. e. Judas, is that person.

§. 89. In your view of what I said to your se∣cond question, you first insist on my answer, that the event proved the denunciation against Iudas was not like that against Niniveh conditional, but I foresaw the small force of that, which I used onely 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, and therefore added a second, that the predicti∣on of Iudas was of his sin, as well as punishment, and the prediction of his sin, could not be conditional, nor the prediction of the Ninivites punishment any way be applicable to it, leaving therefore the wea∣ker, I adhered onely to this, which when you labour also to evacuate, by interpreting, [one of you will betray me,] by [unlesse he repent, &c. he will be∣trayPage  154me.] You consider not, 1. that Christs death, as it was from all eternity decreed by God, so it was oft predicted by Christ, and his resurrection, and many other things depending on it, and among these still the treachery of one of his disciples is one, and that is not reconcileable with this interpretation. 2. That foreseeing that he would be so disposed, as unlesse he repented he would betray him, is the fore∣telling of a future contingent. 3. That one particu∣lar prediction, wherein Iudas was deictically signi∣fied, was private to S. Iohn, that lay in Iesus his bosome, as appeares, Ioh. XIII. 24, 25, 26. And though the words to Iudas himself, Mat. XXVI. 15. may better beare that sence you assigne, yet the words to Iohn, which Iudas heard not, could be no such admonition to Iudas, and therefore were with∣out question absolute, and so those other to Peter verily I say to thee, before the Cockcrow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice, when he had professed he would * rather die, then deny him, are not easily healed with this 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, [unlesse thou repent thou wilt deny me,] for assuredly Peter meant not now to deny Christ, but resolved the contrary, and therefore had no∣thing to repent of in this behalfe. And when you seeme to demonstrate it could not be absolute, because Judas might confessedly have repented, and if he had, then it must have been interpreted conditionally, I an∣swer according to my hypothesis, that if Iudas had repented, Christ had never foreseen, or declared of him, as he doth, i. e. that he should betray him.

§. 90. But, say you, you see not why a conditional prediction may not be applyable as wel to the prevention of sin, as of punishment,] I shall shew you why it may not, because the punishment is Gods work, and for the averting of that there is force in the Page  155Ninivites repentance, which is the condition requi∣red * on their part, on the performance of which God hath generally promised to suspend his punishments, and therefore the threats are conditional, which in equity will not be inflicted, if the condition be performed. But the sin is man's work and to the commission of that no other party contributes but himself, and so neither is the prediction of it a threat, but a down-right enunciation, neither is there any condition imaginable to be performed on the other party, answerable to the other case, un∣lesse God should forcibly interpose to avert it, (and that cannot be imagined to be the meaning, [except I restrain Judas he will betray me,] or if it were, it were still an act of Gods absolute foreknowledge, that he will do so, if not violently restrained) all pro∣bable meanes to his amendment, and particularly the admitting him to the Sacrament being, saith S. Chrysostom, already used to him, and yet, saith Christ, he will betray me.

91. Now for defence of your Postscript, and the contradiction which that charged on our hypothesis, I pray marke the Issue of it. If you can prove that it implyes a contradiction for God to foresee future * contingents, then you certainly prevaile, as on the other side if you succeed not in this attempt, you must resolve your opinion erroneous, because no∣thing being impossible to God but to lie, and so to make good both parts of a contradiction, if presci∣ence bring not this consequence, it must be possible to God, how inexplicable or unintelligible soever it be to me, who for want of facultatem analogam, cannot judge of the actions of an eternal God, and if it be yeilded possible, then the predictions of Scrip∣ture will be proofes beyond question of the truth of Page  156 it. To this one test then let us come. The contra∣diction you assigned was, our saying, that things fu∣ture are or may be present to God. I shewed you the definition of contradictoryes was not competible to these, of which est and non est is the known example, * and present and future are neither present and not present nor future and not future. And again in con∣tradictions both parts must be considered in the same respects, whereas future being enunciated in respect of us, and our finite sight, present is exprest to be in respect of God, whose science is immense, and infinite.

§. 92. Now to this you reply, 1. That present and future, though they are not formal contradictions, yet really and in sence they are, for future is that that is not present, but to come, and present and not present are formally contradictory. 2. That my concession that no finite thing can both be present and future is enough for you, for God cannot be present to that which is not present to him.] I now answer to your first, that there is nothing so false, that I cannot make good by this your arguing. In particular, by this the doctrine of the Trinity and Ʋnity were equally con∣futed, * for Trinitas in the wonted notion is not one, but three, and one, and not one, are formally con∣tradictory. This is the direct image and transcript of your arguing, mutatis mutandis, yet I know you deny not the Tri-unus Deus, how then can you on no better proofe deny prescience? The Socinian's conformably deny both, but you are partial, and deny but one of them. It is never safe to despise the ordinary rules of art, but seldome more dangerous then in this, whereas if Logick were duely revered in it's dictates, and nothing thought contradictory in sence, but what is an affirmation, and negation Page  157 of the same thing, this intricacy would be unfolded, and that which is future to me, be present to God, without the encumbrance or dread of a contra∣diction.

§. 93. To the second I answer, that it cannot suffice to your pretensions, that no finite thing is both present and future, meaning, (as it is plaine I did,) in the same respect, present and future to me: When yet what is future to me, may be present to one that lives a year hence, and so much more to God who liveth for ever. When therefore in your proof you seeme to suppose me to hold, that what is future to me, is not present to God, you did mistake me, for as I said, that God being immense may and must be present to that which is future, or else he is bounded and limited, and so not immense, infinite, so I deemed that, which God is thus present to, to be objectively present to him, and so it was from all eternity, though to us it be not yet present, but fu∣ture. So that the other part of the definition of con∣tradictoryes, if it had been adverted to, had super∣seded this part of your answer also, viz. that it is the affirmation and negation of the same thing in the same respects, as here you see it was not, and so was not usefull to you.

§. 94. But say you, if all future contingents are and ab aeterno were all present to God, then they are all eternall.] I deny that consequence, what is fi∣nite, and in it self yet future, by it's objective pre∣sence to God, is not changed into eternall, nay even * that which really is, and so is really, (and not onely objectively,) present to him, is yet as far from eter∣nall, as Christ's body, by being united to his in∣finite divinity is from becoming infinite. This then was but a Sophisme that you will soon see thorow.

Page  158 §. 95. And so your other part of the same passage of S. Augustin Confess. L. II. c. 18, that again you resort to, was in effect formerly answered, by shew∣ing that it belonged onely to what is future, and present to us, and so to our sight, not to Gods. I have now gone thorow your papers and wearied you, and almost my self, yet if what is written prove usefull to you, to the depositing that which I can∣not but deem an Errour, although I lay no Epi∣thets upon it, it will be far from burthenous to

Your very affectionate friend and servant H. HAMMOND.


§. 96. TO extricate you finally out of this diffi∣culty, I shall desire you by way of re∣capitulation, to consider apart these two propositi∣ons, the first that Gods science being as immense * and infinite, as himself, is not limited to things past or present, or futures, by him decreed, but extends * to all that ever shall be, or may be; to what may be, so as to see it may be, though it be not, to what shall be, so as to see it come to passe, as in time it doth come to passe, contingent things, contingent∣ly, &c. Of which proposition if there can be any doubt to any man, who stedfastly believes Gods immensity, let the predictions recorded in the Scrip∣ture * be considered, those especially which are of sinnes, which it is as impossible for God to decree or predetermine, as to cause, and yet he foresees and foretells them, witnesse Christs foretelling Pe∣ter, that he should deny him thrice, when Peter himself was so far from foreseeing, or purposing it, that he resolved the contrary. The second propo∣sition, * that there are future contingents, that all the sinnes (at least) of men are not decreed, and predetermined by God, or caused by any necessity. Of which no man can doubt, which believes the Scripture, and therein the procedure of the judge∣ment to come, the difference in respect of guilt and punishment betwixt voluntary and involuntary acti∣ons, * (the motions of men and of stones,) and again the exhortations and menaces of God in Scripture, and the great seriousnesse, exprest, and protesta∣tions prefixt to them.

Page  160 §. 97. If taking these propositions apart, any Christian can doubt of the truth of either of them, * he sees the shelves he splits upon, and the shipwrack of a great part of the Faith, whither on this, or that side. But if he cannot but assent to these truths se∣verally, and onely wants the skill of reconciling the seeming difficulties which they beget, when he at∣tempts to put them together, (of which sort are all the inconveniences, or objections, produced in this matter,) let him on that occasion consider, how (more then) credible it is, that he doth not under∣stand all things, that are, having but finite facultyes, and finite measures, which are not proportioned to infinite powers, or objects; Which makes it most seasonable to supersede all farther enquiries, and to acquiesce in an assurance, that God can reconcile his own contradictions, such I meane, as though by the known rules of Logick they appeare to be really no contradictions, yet by us are conceived to ap∣proach nere to such, through prejudice, or thin∣king (not too little, but rather) too much upon them. In which case to restrain our farther searches is the same necessary mortification, which it is to restrain inordinate appetites, and is a principall peice of duty owing to the Apostles precept of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, being wise to sobriety: God give the world of Christian professors more of it, then is yet discernible among them.