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

Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, OR A Pacifick Discourse of Gods GRACE and DECREES: In a Letter, of full Accordance writ∣ten to the Reverend, and most lear∣ned, Dr. Robert Sanderson.

By Henry Hammond. D. D.

To which are annexed the Extracts of three Letters concerning Gods Prescience recon∣ciled with Liberty and Contingency.

Together with two Sermons preached before these evil times, the one to the Clergy, the other to the Citizens of London.

LONDON.

Printed for R. Royston, at the Angel in IƲy-lane, 1660.

Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]

TO All our BRETHREN Of the Church of ENGLAND.

§. 1. IN relation to the Controversies concer∣ning Gods Grace and Decrees, nothing was ever Superior, in my thoughts, to the feare that the great Interests of Religion, Christian practise, and particular∣ly that of Charity, might be obstructed by them.

§. 2. It hath long been the Complaint of pious and learned men, (of the justice whereof, if formerly we had, we cannot now reasonably retain any doubt,) that the crude and unwary treating of these, and (from thence derived,) an hasty premature perswasion of their being in Christ, (assisted by a beliefe of irrespective Decrees, and Grace irresistible, and no possibility of interrupting their justified estate,) was apt to contribute to the presumtions, and se∣curities, and finall impenitences of some men, Page  [unnumbered] who having most loudly renounced the power, choose yet not to quit the forme of Godli∣ness.

§. 3. And for the heares, and uncharitable distempers, which the managing of these contro∣versies particularly have been guilty of, we need not look abroad among the Dominicans and Jesuites, Jansenists and Molinists, for proofes. Our own Region hath not of a long time failed of evidences. The old weapon of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, crying down for carnall men and here∣ricks, Pelagians and Semipelagians, Pa∣pists, Socinians, and what not? (even rifling the Poets Hell to fetch out Titles for their ad∣versaryes,) hath never been more nimbly taken up, and vigorously handled, then in these dayes.

§. 4. And as if fewell to dissentions were still wanting, it hath been the endeavour of some to suggest this jealousy, and clancularly to infuse it into the minds of men, that they which op∣pose unconditionate Decrees, &c. (and pre∣tend to think they effectually serve the ends of Christianity thereby,) have entertained such vehe∣ment dislikes, and aversations to all that Scheme of doctrines, that they retain no charity to the maintainers of them, though they be in other things as constant, obedient sonns of the Church of England, as any; and when opportunity shall assist their designe, will take care rigorously to fence their communion from them, and whatever Page  [unnumbered] the accord be in other doctrines, (wherein our Church is eminently concerned against the common Adversaries,) will proceed finally to exterminate and exclude them.

§. 5. The Consequences of this perswasion, once imbibed, be it never so causelesse and unpro∣voked, how noxious and inauspicious they may prove to all that are on either side concerned in them, what leven of bitter zele and animosityes it may cause to ferment in the minds of some, what blasts and improsperityes it may bring on the endeavours of others; and, betwixt both, what detriment to the true and solid ends, whe∣ther of Religion, or Reformation, (the squa∣ring of our lives according to that other, more sublime, patterne in the mount, Mat. v. the inhaunsed, transcendent, indispensable Lawes of Purity and Peaceableness,) I shall not here need to set forth, every man's sagacity serving him competently to make this discove∣ry.

§. 6. Yet was it not a rationall hope, that the bare disclaiming and renouncing so great a guilt, would be admitted to the purgation of those, against whom it had been suggested and believed. It therefore seemed to me more sea∣sonable to tender an ocular demonstration of the contrary, by bringing my Lamb, or Turtle, (my offering to the Temple of Peace,) and really exemplifying the charity and accordance, that may readily be attained between dissenters, Page  [unnumbered] when minds prepared with meekness, and love of the Truth, wheresoever they meet with it, can take courage to deny themselves, and so to deposit prejudices, and instead of names and shadowes, to give themselves up to the entire guidance of that light which shines in Scrip∣ture.

§. 7. In order to this end, it seemed not im∣proper, to offer at this time to publick view the present Sentiments of the Judicious Dr. Sander∣son, the Regius Professor of the University of Oxford, (and the rather, because some ma∣nuscript Tables of his former thoughts, and some passages from his Sermons, long since preach∣ed, and now republished, have been made use of, to gain authority to those Doctrines which he is now far from owning,) and briefely and per∣spicuously to annex unto, and compare with them, those Amicable and Pacifick Reflexions, which may hope to gain the unanimous consent of all true Sons of our Venerable Mother, the Church of England, whose chiefe aime it hath alwayes been to discountenance divisions and fractions, and occasions and fomenters of those, especially singular Doctrines and Novell Articles of Faith, and in a Catholick har∣monious charity, to plant Primitive belief, and zele of good workes, and so instead of the empty Forme, the full power of Godli∣nesse.

Page  [unnumbered]§. 8. What is so largely added on that one head of Prescience, had some appearance of ne∣cessity, to repell a shaft borrowed of late from the Socinian's quiver, who having resolved it im∣possible for God himself to for esee future Contin∣gents, have given disputers their choice, whe∣ther they like best, bluntly to deny God's Presci∣ence, and so, at his cost, maintain their own Liberty, or more piously to maintain Presci∣ence, and then give it the same force of evacua∣ting all Liberty and Contingency, which Pre∣determination of all events was justly accused to draw after it; The mistake very dangerous on either side, and the temtation equally fitted for both, if it were not timely obviated.

§. 9. That these ensuing Discourses may be effectu∣ally successfull to the designed end, of advancing the threefold interest of Truth, and Peace, and Uniforme Christian obedience, that it may supplant the Vineger by the Oyle, the Nitre by the Balsome, and procure, by consent of Liti∣gants, a solemne Supersedeas, if not Conclusion to debates, (an aversion to these heathen Agones, which afford nothing, but to the combatant blowes, and leaves to the conquerour,) above all, that it may provide us, by this truce, a greater vacancy for the continued exercises of reall Piety, and engage us to make diligent use of it, (to adde, as to our Faith vertue, (or courage,) so to our Godlinesse brotherly-kindnesse, and to * that the yet higher ascent and accomplishment of Page  [unnumbered]charity,) that it may compact us all into that uni∣on that most succesfully contributes to our growth, and so possess us of that qualification, to which immarcessible joyes are awarded by our Righ∣teous Judge, shall be continually the prayer, as in the following sheetes it hath been the sincere single endeavour, of

Festo Omnium Sanctorum.

Your-fellow Labourer H. HAMMOND.

Page  1

A Letter of full Accordance, Written to D. ROBERT SANDERSON, CONCERNING Gods Grace and Decrees.

Dear Sir,

§. 1. HAving had a sight of the Letter which you sent M.—about the Antiremon∣strant Controversies dated Mar. 26. and observing one of the reasons, which you render of your having avoided to appear on that theme, [A loathness to engage in a quarrell whereof you should never hope to see an end] I thought my self in some degree qualified to an∣swer this reason of yours, and thereby to do ac∣ceptable service to many, who do not think fit that any considerations, which have not real and weighty truth in them, should obstruct that which may be so much to the common good, I mean, your writing and declaring your mind on any profitable subject.

§. 2. That which qualifies me more then some others, to evacuate the force of this one reason of yours, and makes me willing to attempt it, though not to appear in opposition to any other passage, that ever you have written, is the true friendship that hath passed between us, and the sweet con∣versation that for sometime we enjoyed, with∣out Page  2 any allay or unequableness, sharp word, or unkind, or jealous thought. The remembrance whereof assures me unquestionably, that you and I may engage in this question, as far as either of us shall think profitable, without any the least beginning of a quarrel, and then that will com∣petently be removed from such, as of which you cannot hope to see an end.

§. 3. And before I go any farther, I appeal to your own judgement, whether herein I do not at least speak probably, and then whether it were not a misprision, which you are in all reason to deposite, to apprehend such insuperable difficul∣ties or impossibilities at a distance, which when they are prudently approached, and examined, so presently vanish before you. If this one re∣flection do not convince you, it remains, that the speculation be brought to practice, and exempli∣fied to your senses.

§ 4. You set out with a mention of some *positions, wherein, you say, Divines, though of contrary Judgements, do yet all agree. And then it is not credible that you and I should be so sin∣gular, as to differ in them endlesly; of this num∣ber you propose five, 1. That the will of man is free in all his actions. 2. That very many things in the world happen contingently. 3. That God from all eternity foreseeth all, even the most free and contingent events. 4. That whatsoever God fore∣seeth shall infallibly come to pass. 5, That sinners are converted by the effectual working of Gods grace. Of each of these you say we have from Scripture, Reason and Experience, as good and ful assurance, as can be desired for the〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, or truth of them, that they are so.] And I who fully sub∣scribe Page  3 to the undoubted truth of each of the Pro∣positions, and do it also upon the very same three grounds (of Scripture, Reason, and Experience) which you mention, need not the intercession of our friendship to render it impossible to give you any the least trouble of so much as explaining your sence in any of these.

§. 5. Next, when you resolve, that all the*difficulty is about the〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 (referring that to no more then three heads) 1. How to reconcile the certain futurition of what God foreseeth, with the liberty of the rational creature, and the contingency of casual effects, as they proceed from inferiour causes. 2. In what manner or measure the effe∣ctual Grace of God cooperateth and concurreth with the free will of man, in the conversion of a sinner. 3. How to cut so even a thread, as to take the whole of what we do amiss to our selves, and leave the whole glory of what we do well to his grace.] You are again as secure as any amulet can make you, that this resolution of abbreviating the Contro∣versies, and confining them to these few heads, shall never engage you in the least degree of De∣bate: And then I shall challenge you to feign, how it can remain possible, without contradicting ones self (which still is not quarrelling with you) to en∣gage you in any uneasie contention, unless it be on one of these three heads,, and when I have by promise obliged my self, which now I do, not to raise any Dispute, or attempt to ensnare or intan∣gle you in any of these three, you have then no∣thing to retract but your fears, to which if I tell you, you cannot adhere, discerning a sure and near period to that which you apprehended endless, this is all the victory I shall project, or be capable of in this matter.

Page  4 §. 6. Of the first of these three Difficulties, * the reconciling the certain futurition of what God foresees, with the liberty of the rational creature, and the contingency and casual effects, It falls out, that you have in your shorter Letter, dated Ap. 8. given that account, which evidenceth it to be, in your opinion, no invincible difficulty, your words are these, [That Gods praescience layeth no necessi∣ty at all upon any event, but that yet all events, as they are foreseen of God, so shall they certainly and infallibly come to pass, in such sort as they are fore∣seen, else the knowledge of God should be fallible, which certainty of the event may in some sort be called necessity, to wit, consequentis or ex hypothe∣si, according as all the most contingent things are necessary, when they actually exist, which is a ne∣cessity infinitely distant from that which praedeter∣mination importeth.] This I take to be so clear an explication of that difficulty, and so solid a de∣termining of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, the manner of recon∣ciling praescience with contingency, that as I fully consent to it in every part of your period, so I doubt not but the last part alone hath made it as intelligible to any ordinary understanding, as whole books of Philosophers have attempted to do.

§. 7. For Gods praescience from all eternity being but the seeing every thing that ever exists, as it is, contingents, as contingents, necessary, as necessary, can neither work any change in the object, by thus seeing it, (convert a contingent into a necessary) nor it self be deceived in what it sees, which it must be, if any thing in process of time should be otherwise, then from all eter∣nity God saw it to be.

§. 8. I was lately advised with by a Divine, to Page  5 me unknown, but one that seems to be a man of good learning, about the distinction frequently made in this matter, betwixt inevitably and in∣fallibly, and my answer and replyes to his seve∣rall objections, (because I would demonstrate the perfect accordance betwixt you and me in this, which, within this year or two is put into a very grave attire, and revered as a great difficulty) I will give you at large by way of Appendage at the end of this Letter, having by hap a copy retained by me, and though it cost you some minutes to survey them, yet I know your patience of all such exercises so well, that I doubt not of your willing∣ness to be thus detained by me, which yet here you shall not, loco non suo.

§. 9. Then for the second, In what manner and measure the effectuall Grace of God cooperateth, or*concurreth with the free will of man in his conver∣sion] you seem to me to have given a punctuall account of each part of that also, in the said se∣cond Letter, in these words, That God worketh not by his Grace irresistibly, but yet so effectually on those whom he hath ex beneplacito appointed to salvation, in ordering the means, occasions and op∣portunities with such congruity to that end, as that de facto it is not finally resisted] Here it is evi∣dent your resolution comes home to each terme in the difficulty; For if effectuall Grace worke not irresistibly, then we see in what manner it coope∣rates with the free will of man, viz. so as it still remains possible for him to resist it. And if the effectualness of his working consist in ordering the means, occasions, and opportunities with such con∣gruity, &c. then as that stateth the measure of the cooperation (the onely second part of the dif∣ficulty) Page  6 and doth it expresly in Bishop Overals way, so this supposeth Grace sufficient to con∣version and salvation to be given to those, who are not converted, and saved, quite contrary to the three grand praetensions of Doctor Twisse, the Supralapsarians, and Sublapsarians, and whether it be true or no, is presently freed from all the odi∣ous consequences charged on the several Schemes of the Antiremonstrants, and so may safely be granted, or not opposed by them, who yet want evidence of Scripture to establish it, and so this is not likely to bring any uneasie engagement upon you.

§. 10. And then as there remains no more dif∣ficulties, but the third, so, if you mark it, the * grounds are already laid, whereby that is unque∣stionably resolved, for having granted that God gives sufficient Grace, and yet, when he coope∣rates most effectually, he doth it not irresistibly, this is the very thred you seek to cut by, so as to devolve the whole blame of all our miscarriages on our selves, and the entire glory and praise of all our 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, good performances, or good successes on his Grace. Were any of us so left or past by, as to be denyed sufficient grace, and yet destined to perish, meerly through want of neces∣saries; the whole blame could not rationally fall on our selves, it could not be said of Christs yoke, that it were *easie, or his Commandment not far from us, the fault that was found with the Mosai∣cal oeconomy, Heb. viii. 8. and which made ano∣ther (the Evangelical) necessary, would still lye a∣gainst this, viz. that men were not enabled to perform what was required, and yet the non-per∣formance eternally revenged on many of them. Page  7 But sufficient Grace being tendred by God, and by no default, but their own, proving ineffectu∣all, the entire blame falls unavoidably on those, who do not thus open to him that knocks, so receive, as to make use of it, but resist, or grieve, or quench what was so mercifully designed, and might have been improved by the humble and diligent receivers unto their greatest advantages.

§. 11. On the other side, if our nature being universally corrupted by Adam's fall, all possibi∣lity of rising out of that grave of sin be the effect and benefit of the Grace, as that is of the death of Christ, if it be God that worketh in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure, the first by his preventing, the second by his assisting Grace, and both those bottom'd meerly in his 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉good pleasure, nothing in us any way meriting the first act, or purpose of Giving Grace, any far∣ther then our wants and miseries rendered us the proper objects of his compassions and reliefs; and the subsequent aids in like manner challengeable, onely from his promise, and the purport of the parable of the Talents, of Giving to him that hath, rewarding the use of the lower, with the gift of an higher degree of Grace, then still is this, the attributing nothing to our selves, but demerits, and provocations, and giving the whole glory to God.

§. 12. Having gone thus far without any con∣siderable disagreement, about the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, how to reconcile these three seeming repugnancies, wherein you apprehended the greatest difficulty to lye, and being hereby, as by so many postula∣ta accorded between us, competently provided and furnished of a standard, and umpire, (in Page  8 case any light difference should arise) what ob∣jection can S. Pauls〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Rom. xi. 33. (be∣longing * expresly to another matter, the cutting off the obdurate, and gathering all perswasible believing Jews and Gentiles, and no way appli∣cable to this) interpose, why we should not pro∣ceed together to the consideration of the Doctrine of Decrees, as it hath been variously debated by others, and by you perspicuously recapitulated in the process of your papers?

§. 13. To this therefore I presume of your good leave that we now proceed, and whereas you have prudently chosen to begin with an hi∣story of your own thoughts on this subject, which you have laid down with great particula∣rity, I shall set out with a bare transcript of that, which will need no comment of mine, to render * it usefull to the Reader, in discovering to him the true and sole originall of the thriving (for some time) of those Doctrines among us, and how so many of our Church came to be seasoned with them, and in giving him a but necessary caution for the laying the grounds of the study of Divi∣nity in the writings of the antient Church, ra∣ther then in our modern systemes and Instituti∣ons. Your words are these,

§. 14. When I began to set my self to the Stu∣dy of Divinity as my proper business, (which was after I had the degree of Master of Arts, being then newly xxi. years of age) the first thing I thought fit for me to do, was to consider well of the Articles of the Church of England, which I had formerly read over twice, or thrice, and whereunto I had subscribed. And because I had then met with some Puritanicall Pamphlets written against thePage  9Liturgie, and Ceremonies; although most of the Arguments therein were such as needed no great skill to give satisfactory answers unto, yet for my fuller satisfaction (the questions being de rebus a∣gendis, and so the more suitable to my proper in∣clination) I read over with great diligence and no less delight that excellent piece of Learned Hoo∣ker's Ecclesiasticall Politie. And I have great cause to bless God for it that so I did, not onely for that it much both cleared and setled my judge∣ment for ever after in very many weighty points (as of Scandall, Christian Liberty, Obligation of Laws, Obedience, &c.) but that it also proved (by his good providence) a good preparative to me (that I say not, Antidote) for the reading of Calvin's Institutions with more caution then perhaps (other∣wise) I should have done. For that Book was commended to me, as it was generally to all young Scholars in those times, as the best and perfectest systeme of Divinity, and fittest to be laid as a ground work in the study of that profession. And indeed being so prepared as is said, my expectation was not at all deceived, in the reading of those In∣stitutions. I found, so far as I was then able to judge, the method exact, the expressions clear, the style grave, equall and unaffected: his Doctrine for the most part conform to S. Augustines, in a word, the whole worke very elaborate, and usefull to the Churches of God in a good measure; and might have been (I verily believe) much more usefull, if the honour of his name had not given so much reputation to his very errours. I must acknowledge my self to have reaped great benefit by the reading thereof. But as for the questions of Election, Re∣probation, Effectuall Grace, Perseverance, &c. IPage  10took as little notice of the two first, as of any o∣ther thing contained in the book; both because I was alwayes affraid to pry much into those secrets, and because I could not certainly inform my self from his own writings, whether he were a Supralapsari∣an (as most speak him, and he seemeth often to in∣cline much that way) or a Sublapsarian, as sun∣dry passages in the book seem to import. But giving my self mostly still to the study of Moral Divinity, (and taking most other things upon trust, as they were in a manner generally taught both in the Schools and Pulpits in both Vniversities) I did for many years together acquiesce without troubling my self any farther about them, in the more com∣monly received opinions concerning both these two, and the other points depending thereupon. Yet in the Sublapsarian way ever, which seemed to me of the two, the more moderate, rationally and agreeable to the goodness, and justice of God: for the rigid Supralapsarian doctrine could never find any enter∣tainment in my thoughts from first to last. But MDCXXV. a Parliament being called, wherein I was chosen one of the Clerks of the Convocation for the Diocesse of Lincoln, during the continu∣ance of that Parliament (which was about four moneths, as I remember) there was some expectati∣on that those Arminian points (the onely questions almost in agitation at that time) should have been debated by the Clergy, in that CONVOCATION. Which occasioned me (as it did sundry others) be∣ing then at some leasure, to endeavour by study and conference to inform my self, as throughly and ex∣actly in the state of those Controversies, as I could have opportunity, and as my wit would serve me for it. In order whereunto, I made it my first bu∣sinessPage  11to take a survey of the severall different opi∣nions concerning the ordering of Gods Decrees, as to the salvation or damnation of men; not as they are supposed to be really in Mente Divina (for all his Decrees are eternall and therefore coeternall, and so no priority or posteriority among them:) but quoad nostrum intelligendi modum, because we can∣not conceive or speak of the things of God, but in a way suitable to our own finite condition, and understanding: Even as God himself hath been plea∣sed to reveal himself to us in the holy Scriptures by the like suitable condescensions and accommoda∣tions. Which opinions, the better to represent their differences to the eye, uno quasi intuitu, for their more easie conveying to the understanding by that means, and the avoiding of confusion and tedious discoursings, I reduced into five Schemes or Tables, much after the manner as I had used to draw Pedi∣grees (a thing which I think you know I have ve∣ry much fancied, as to me of all others the most de∣lightfull recreation) of which Schemes, some spe∣ciall friends, to whom I shewed them, desired copies: who, as it seemeth, valuing them more then I did (for divers men have copies of them, as I hear, but I do not know that I have any such my self) com∣municated them farther, and so they are come into many hands. Those are they which Doctor Rey∣nolds, in his Epistle prefixed to Master Barlees Correptory Correction, had taken notice of. Ha∣ving all these Schemes before my eyes at once, so as I might with ease compare them one with ano∣ther, and having considered of the conveniences and inconveniences of each, as well as I could, I soon discerned a necessity of quitting the Sublapsarian way of which I had a better liking before, as wellPage  12as the Supralapsarian, which I could never fancy.]

§. 15. Thus far your history, which, I verily believe to have perfect truth in every step of it, without any disguise or varnish, and so I pass from it without any farther Reflections.

§. 16. Next then follows your distincter view of the severall wayes, which have been embra∣ced by those of the Antiremonstrant perswasion, and the motives on which you were forced to dissent and depart from each of them, and to this I am obliged to attend you 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. And the wayes being especially three, the method of greatest advantage will be to begin with a tran∣sient view of those, each of which you with great reason reject, and to set Doctor Twisses first (though it came last into the world and adorn'd it self with the spoiles of the other two) because that sets the object of Election higher, then the other do, homo creabilis, man considered before he is created. His design and scheme you have perspicuously drawn, thus, [That God making*his own Glory the only end of all other his Decrees, all these decrees of creating man, of permitting sin, of sending Christ, of preaching the Gospel, of Ele∣cting some, of Reprobating others, and the rest, make up one entire coordinate Medium, conducing to that one End, and so the whole subordinate to it, but not any one part, or joynt thereof subordinate to any o∣ther of the same.] Against this, your objection I profess to be very convincing, taken from his * own beloved axiome, so oft repeated by him, (and borrowed from him, and built upon by o∣thers) that whatsoever is first in the intention, is last in the execution. For as it is most evident, Page  13 that of these his supposed coordinate decrees some are after others in execution (the fall after the cre∣ation, the coming of Christ after both, and so of the rest) so if he will stand to his principle, he must, as you say, grant, that those that were thus after any other in the execution, were in Gods inten∣tion before them, which will necessarily bring in a subordination among them, and so quite overthrow this (as you call it) new crochet of coordination.

§. 17. Your other causes of dislike to His way are equally rational, 1. the falsness of that his Lo∣gick Maxime, which he builds so much upon, which yet hath no certain truth, or other then ca∣suall, but when it is applyed to final causes, and the means used for the attaining any end. 2. The pro∣digiousness of his other doctrine, that there are more degrees of bonity in damnato quam annihila∣to, (because the bonitas entis) and so that it is better for the Creature to be in eternall misery, then simply not to be; when Christ expresly pro∣nounceth the contrary of wicked men, that it had been better for them never to have been born, to have a milstone about the neck, and to be cast into the sea, (a figure to represent annihilation) then to be involved in those dangers that attend their sins. 3. His resolving Gods Election of a man to life eternall to be*no act of his mercy, and likewise hisreprobating and ordaining to damnation to be no act of his Justice, but of his pleasure.] A few such Propositions as these are competent to blast and defame any cause, which requires such aids, stands in need of such supporters, and therefore you will be confident I concurr with you in reje∣ction of that, though I think neither of us likely to undertake the travel of refuting of his whole work.

Page  14 §. 18. Next then for the Supralapsarians, with whom the object of the decree is homo conditus,* man created, not yet fallen, and the Sublapsarians, with whom it is Man fall'n, or the corrupt Mass, your rejections and reasons thereof are twined to∣gether, and are especially two, which you justly call very weighty, and so I suppose they will be deem'd by any man, that shall consider the force of them, without prejudice, I shall therefore set them down from your letter in your own words.

§. 19. The first reason is, because though it might perhaps be defensible, as to the justice of*God, in regard of his absolute power over his own creature, yet it seems very hardly reconcileable with the goodness of God, and his exceeding great love to mankind, as they are plentifully and passionately set forth in his holy word, to decree the eternall dam∣nation of the greater part of mankind, for that sin, and for that sin onely which was utterly and natu∣rally impossible for him to avoid, for the Decree of Reprobation according to the Sublapsarian Doctrine, being nothing else but a meer preterition or non-ele∣ction of some persons whom God left, as he found them, involved in the guilt of the first Adams trans∣gression, without any actuall personall sin of their own, when he withdrew some others, as guilty as they, without any respect to Christ the second A∣dam, it must needs follow that the persons so left are destin'd to eternall misery, for no other cause, but this onely, that Adam some thousand years since did eat the forbidden fruit, and they being yet un∣born could not help it.

§. 20. The other reason was, because the Scri∣pture not onely saith expresly, that God hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world,Page  15 Eph. 1. 4, 5. and consequently the decree of sending Christ must be praecedaneous to that of Election, but also doth every where, and upon all occasions hold forth the death of Christ, as intended by God for the benefit of mankind, in the utmost extent, [the world, the whole world, mankind, every man, &c.] and not for the benefit of some few onely, the rest by an antecedent peremptory decree excluded. To which it would be consequent, that according to the tenure of (the more moderate of these) the Sublapsarians doctrine, Jesus Christ the Judge at the last day, when he should proceed to pronounce sentence upon the damned, should bespeak them to this effect, Ite maledicti, voluit enim Pater meus pro beneplacito, ut Adam peccato suo vos perderet, noluit ut ego sanguine meo vos redimerem, Go ye cursed, for my Father of his meer pleasure will'd that Adam by his sin should destroy you, will'd not that I by my blood should redeem you, the very thought whereof (you say) your soul so much abhorr'd, that you were forced to forsake that opinion of the Sublapsa∣rians, (having, as you profess, never phansied the Superlapsarians) and conclude it unsafe to place the decree of Election before that of sending Christ.

§. 21. These two reasons of changing your judgement, are, I confess, so worthy of a consi∣dering man, who makes Gods revealed will his Cynosure, and doth not first espouse doctrines of men, and then catch at some few obscure places of Scripture, to countenance them, nor makes his retreat to the abyss of Gods unfathomable Coun∣sels, as the reason of (that which is its contradi∣ctory) his attempting to fathome and define them, that I doubt not but the tendering of them to all dispassionate seekers of truth, that have not so me Page  16 interests to serve by adhering peremptorily and ob∣stinately to their prepossessions, will be of the same force to disabuse and extort from them the same confessions, which they have from you, causing them fairly to deposite these two Schemes, and either not to desine at all, or to seek out other solider Methods, and more Catholick Grounds of defining; and if the wise heathen were in the right

Virtus est vitium fugere, & sapientia prima Stultitia caruisse—

this will be some degree of proficiency, which they that shall with unspeakable joy have tran∣scribed from you, will also have temptation to accuse your fears, or waryness, that they received not this lesson sooner from you, especially when they are told, what here you express, that these have been your thoughts, ever since the year 1625. i. e. 34. years since, which is an age or generation in the Scripture-use of the word.

§. 22. That none may be any longer deprived of this means of their conviction, or permitted to think or teach securely and confidently, and as in accord with you, what you profess your soul thus long to have abhorred the very thought of, I desire you will at length communicate your thoughts your self, or else allow this letter of mine to be your 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and do it for you, un∣der some testimony of your full approbation of this your sence.

§. 23. But all this, thus far advanced, is but the rejection of the severall erroneous wayes, and onely the negative part of your thoughts, which Page  17 yet, by the way let me tell you, is fully sufficient both to the peace of Churches, and of particular * souls; If the erroneous wayes be rejected, from whence all the misapprehensions of God, and ill consequences thereof flow, the Church is com∣petently secured from tares, and then what need express articles, and positive definitions come in to her rescue?

§. 24. This I suppose the reason both of our Churches Moderation in framing the Article of*Predestination, and of our late Kings Declaration, in silencing the debate of the questions. For if by these methods the Church could but have prevailed to have the definitions of the several pretenders forgotten, all men contenting themselves, as our Article prescribes, with the promises of God, as they are declared in Scripture, (which sure are Ʋniversal and conditionate, not absolute and par∣ticular) the turmoil and heat, and impertinence of Disputes had been prevented, which now goes for an engagement in Gods cause, the bare fervour and zeal in which is taken in commutation for much o∣ther piety, by many the most eager contenders. The doctrines being deemed doctrines of God, are counted evidences of sanctified men, and affix the censure of carnality on opposers, and from hence come bitter envyings, railings, and at the least evil surmisings, and these are most contrary to the out∣ward peace of a Church or Nation.

§. 25. And for particular mens souls, if the ri∣gid * doctrines be found apt to cool all those mens love of God, who have not the confidence to be∣lieve themselves of the number of the few chosen vessels, and to beget security and presumption in others, who have conquered those difficulties, and Page  18 resolved that they are of that number, and to ob∣struct industry and vigorous endeavours, and fear of falling, and so to have malignant influences on practise, yet seeing it is the believing the Antire∣monstrant Schemes (one or other of them) to be the truth of God, which lyes under these ill conse∣quences, the bare laying them aside, leaves every man indispensably under the force of Christs com∣mands to disciples, terrours to the unreformed, and conditional (most expresly conditional) promises to all; and those being substantially backed with the firm belief of all the Articles of the Creed, parti∣cularly of the judgement to come, are by the grace of God abundantly sufficient to secure Evangelical obedience, the true foundation of peace to every Christian soul, and therefore I say, est aliquid pro∣dire tenus, your negative part, if there were no more behind, will be of soveraign use to all that have been seduced into any liking of those errours, which are by a man of your moderation and judge∣ment, in despight of contrary prepossessions, on reasons so convincing and perspicuous, rejected.

§. 26. But in the space of thirty four years, though you have permitted your genius to lead you to other studies (which if your rejections be gran∣ted, I shall willingly confess to be more universally profitable, then any minuter searches into the de∣crees) those of moral or practical Divinity, yet it seems you have not liv'd such an obstinate Recluse from the disputes and transactions of men, but that occasions you have met with to excite your faculties, to wade a little farther into the Positive part of these Doctrines: and indeed it is hard to conceive how a man can have spent so many hours, as the Survey of Doctor Twisses Vindiciae Gratiae,Page  19 were it never so slight and desultory, must have cost you, without some other reflections, besides those of bare aversation to his Hypotheses.

§. 27. To these you at length proceed, propo∣sing them with difference, owning some of them, as your present thoughts, and opinion, whilst in o∣thers you profess to be purely sceptick, and to pro∣pose them onely as conjectures, that seem to you in the mean time not improbable, untill you meet with some other more satisfactory. And in ma∣king this difference I fully accord with you, di∣scerning that undeniable evidence of grounds in the former, which is not so readily discoverable in the latter. I shall therefore follow your directi∣on herein, and rank these severally, setting down * those which you own as your opinion first, and af∣terward, with that note of difference, proceed to your Conjectures.

§. 28. Concerning the Decrees of Election and*Reprobation, your present opinion is contained in these three propositions (prefaced with two more, which are but the disavowing the three wayes of Massa nondum condita, condita ante lapsum, & corrupta.)

§. 29. I. That man being made upright, and so left*in manu consilii sui (God permitting him to act according to that freedome of will wherewith as a reasonable creature he had endowed him) did by his own voluntary disobedience, through the cunning of Satan, tempting him thereunto, fall away from God, cast himself into a state of sin and misery, un∣der the bondage of Satan, without any power, possi∣bility, or so much as desire to recover himself out of that wretched condition; All which God did decree not to hinder, as purposing to make use thereof, as aPage  20fit occasion for the greater manifestation of his po∣wer, wisdome, goodness, mercy, justice, &c. Of this my opinion is, that it is, in every branch of it, so undeniably founded in the express affirmations of holy Writ, that there can be no doubt of it to any Christian.

§. 30. II. That man being thus falln, God out of his infinite compassion to his creature, made after*his own image (and that Satan might not finally triumph in so rich a conquest, if the whole mass of mankind should perish) decreed to send his onely be∣gotten Son Jesus Christ into the world, to undertake the great work of our Redemption, and to satisfie his Justice for sin, that so notwithstanding the same, the whole mass of mankind lost by the fall of the first Adam, might be restored to a capability of salvation, through the mercy of God, and the merits of Jesus Christ, the second Adam.

In this, compared with what you before said, and afterwards add, I discern your full agreement to the words of our Church-Catechism, as those are exactly consonant to the manifold testimonies of sacred Writ, that Christ dyed for, and thereby re∣deemed all mankind; your words being not (to my apprehension) capable of any of those evasions, that others are willing to reserve themselves in this business, as of his dying sufficiently, but not intentionally for all, for that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 is super∣seded by your words of Gods sending Christ &c. that so mankind &c.] which must needs import his unfeigned intention, that mankind should be re∣stored to a reall capability of salvation, which is not with truth affirmable, if any one individuall of that whole kind be absolutely passed by, or left, or excluded from his part in this restauration, and Page  21 capability of salvation, which yet we must resolve many millions to be, if that which is perfectly necessary to the recovery of those which were so totally lost, as your former proposition truly sup∣posed, be not really and effectively made up to them by Christ. And as in this full latitude I am obliged to understand you, so I wish not any more pregnant words to expresse it, then those which you have chosen.

§. 31. III. That man having by his fall rendred*himself uncapable of receiving any benefit from the Covenant made with him in his first Creation, God was graciously pleased to enter into a new Covenant with mankind, founded in his Son Jesus Christ, con∣sisting of Evangelical but conditional promises, of granting remission of sins, and everlasting life, up∣on the condition of faith in Christ, repentance from dead works, and new obedience: and gave command∣ment that the said Covenant by the preaching of the Gospel should be published throughout the world. this, you say, you conceive to be that which the Ar∣minians call the generall decree of Predestination, but is rejected by the Calvinists,] And that all these Decrees are (according to our weak manner of under∣standing the way of Gods counsells, salva coexisten∣tiâ & praesentialitate rerum omnium in mente di∣vinâ ab aeterno) antecedent to the decrees of Electi∣on and Reprobation.]

To this also I fully assent, both as to the truth, and fulness of the expression in every part, especi∣ally in that of Gods entring with mankind (with∣out any restraint) the new Covenant, founded in Christ: of the conditionateness of the promises of that new Evangelical Covenant: of repentance and new obedience, together with faith in Christ, making Page  22 up that compleat condition: of the antecedency of this Covenant in Christ (and the command of pub∣lishing it throughout the world) to the decrees of Election and Reprobation: which seems to me to be expresly set down from Christs words Mar. xvi. 15, 16. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, he that be∣lieveth not, shal be damned.] which evidently founds those two decrees in the precedaneous preaching, and mens receiving or rejecting of the Gospel.

§. 32. And when the Gospels are all so express in setting down that command of Christ to his A∣postles * of preaching the Gospel to all the world, to the whole Creation, i. e, the whole Gentile, as well as Jewish world, (and the travels of the Apostles witness their obedience to it) and when the com∣mand of Christ is equivalent with a decree, and his giving of that in time an evidence of its being by him predestin'd from all eternity, it is very strange that this should be denyed or questioned by the Calvinists, or the Arminians rejected by them, when in effect they do but repeat Christs own words, who if he gave command to publish the Gospel to all, then must the publishing of the Go∣spel be matter of a general decree, there being no other so sure a way of discerning what was ab aeter∣no predestined by God in his secret counsel, as the Scriptures telling us what was by the Father, or Christ in time actually commanded.

§. 33. Thus far and no farther reach those which you own to be your present opinions, and pro∣nounce of them, that you are so far convinced from the phrases and expressions frequent in Scripture, that you cannot but own them as such, And then let Page  23 me tell you, it were very happy that all men would agree in these, and yet more happy, it instead of more curious enquiries, they would sit down, and betake themselves uniformly and vigorously to that * task, which thee data bind indispensably upon them, and which is of that weight, that it may well imploy the remainder of their lives to perform it to purpose, I mean the work of Evangelical obe∣dience, the condition of the new Covenant, with∣out which the capability of pardon and salvation, which was purchased for mankind in general and for every man, shall never be actuated to any.

§. 34. Beyond these therefore what you add, * you acknowledge to be but conjectures, which though to you they seem not improbable, yet you profess to maintain your 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or Scepticisme in them. And if in any of these I should, on the same terms of conjecture, or seeming probability, differ from you, this still were fully to accord with you in the general, viz. the suspension of belief, and proceeding no farther then conjectures in these things.

What the issue will be, shall now be speedily ex∣perimented, by proceeding to a view of them, re∣membring still that you propose them but as con∣jectures.

§. 35. The first is, That the object of the decrees of Election and Reprobation, as they are set forth in*the Scripture, seemeth to you to be man preached un∣to, Those being elected to eternal life, who receive Christ, as he is offer'd to them in the Gospel, viz. as their Lord and Saviour, and those reprobated, who do not so receive him.] Herein I not onely perfect∣ly agree with you, but more then so, I do think it an unquestionable truth, which carries it's evidence Page  24 along with it, and so will be acknowledged by any that observes the limitation by you affixt to the subject of the proposition, the object of the de∣crees [as they are set forth in the Scripture] For he that shall but consider, that the holy Scripture is a * donative afforded us by God, and designed for our eternal advantages, not to enable us to judge of o∣thers, but our selves, not to discover all the un∣searchable recesses of his closet, or secret counsels (abs condita Domino Deo nostro) but to reveal to men those truths, which themselves are concern'd in, would make no difficulty to conclude, that the Scripture speaks onely of those, to whom it speaks, and as the Apostle saith, 1 Cor. v. 12. What hath he to do to judge them that are without? leaving them wholly to Gods judgement, so doth the Scri∣pture declare Gods dealing onely with those, to whom the Scripture comes, to whom some way or other (whether by writing or preaching it matters not) the Gospel of Christ is revealed.

§. 36. This as it appears by innumerable evi∣dences in the Scripture, so it is put beyond all di∣spute by that even now recited text, at Christs fare∣well, Mar. xvi. his commission to his Apostles, and declaration of the fixed determin'd consequences of it, an express transcript of Gods eternal destinati∣ons or decrees in that matter, Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature, He that be∣lieveth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that be∣lieveth not shall be damned] In which words what can be the meaning of [shall be saved, and shall be damned] but this, that God hath decreed salvation and damnation to such? Those therefore are the object of those divine decrees, who are the subject of that proposition, and those are evidently men Page  25 preached to, of which some believe, and are ba∣ptized, and those have their parts in the first decree, that of election to salvation, some reject the Go∣spel, and believe not, and those fall under the se∣cond branch, that of rejection to Damnation.

§. 37. Against the evidence of this, no opposi∣tion * can be made, and to this it is undeniably con∣sequent, that all the Decrees whereof Scripture treateth, are conditionate, receiving Christ as the Gospel offers him, as Lord, and Saviour, the for∣mer as well as the latter being the condition of Scri∣pture-election, and the rejecting or not receiving him thus, the condition of the Scripture-repro∣bation.

§. 38. As for any other which can be phansied distant from this (and so all absolute Election or inconditionate Reprobation) it must needs be re∣solved to be the meer invention and fabrick of mens brains, without the duct of Gods Spirit in Scripture, which if at least it hold not a strict ana∣logy with that which the Scripture hath thus re∣vealed to us, will never be excused from great te∣merity, * and the sin of dogmatizing, the rifling Gods secrets, and setting up our own imaginations, if not prejudices, for the oracles of God. If this were well thought of, it would infallibly set a peri∣od to all further disputes, on this subject. And the proposition, which I have last set down from you, is so irrefragably convincing, that I hope it may be successful to so good an end, and all men that read it, resolve it their duty to preach no other Decrees of God from Scripture, but this, that all that receive the Gospel preached, and live according to the praescript rule thereof, (for that is to receive Christ as there he is offered to them, as a Lord andPage  26Saviour) shall be saved, and all they that reject it, when it is thus revealed, or live in contradicti∣on to the terms whereon it is established, shall be damned. This would probably change curiosity into industry, unprofitable disquisitions into the search and trying of our own wayes, and working out our own salvation.

§. 39. To this proposition, if it shall be gran∣ted, you annex two Corollaries, and I that have not onely yielded but challenged the undoubted truth of the Proposition, can make no question of the Corollaries, The first is this,

§. 40. That it will be impossible to maintain the Doctrine of Ʋniversal Grace in that manner as the Remonstrants are said to assert it, against the obje∣ction which is usually made by their adversaries, how evangelical Grace can be offer'd to such nations or persons, as never had the Gospel preached unto them.]

§. 41. The truth of this Corollary (as of all o∣ther) must be judged of by the dependence from * the Principle, the connexion it hath with the for∣mer proposition; That spake of the Decrees, as they are set forth in Scripture, and of the condition re∣quired of them that are elected to salvation, recei∣ving Christ preached, as he is offered in the Gospel, and accordingly it is most evident, that they that will found their Doctrine on Scripture, must find not onely difficulty, but impossibility to maintain the gift of evangelicall Grace (which I suppose to be a supernaturall power to believe and obey the Gospel) to those, to whom the Gospel hath never been revealed. What the Remonstrants are said to assert in this matter, I shall forbear to examine, be∣cause I design not to engage in any controversie at Page  27 this time with any; onely as on one side it is evi∣dent, that their adversaries can receive no benefit by the objection, the salvability of all to whom the Gospel is preached, being as contrary to their Do∣ctrine of onely the Elect, as it would be, if exten∣ded to the heathens also, all Christians being not with them in the number of the Elect; so on the other side, I should think it strange, that in our present notion of Evangelical grace, for a strength from God to receive and obey the Gospel preached, it should, by the Remonstrants, or any other, be af∣firmed from Scripture, that it is given, or offered to those to whom the Gospel hath not been revea∣led: S. Paul stiles the Gospel, the power of God un∣to salvation, and the preaching of it the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉administration of the spirit, and indeed the spirit is in Scripture promised onely to them who believe in Christ, and therefore speaking of what may be maintained by Scripture, and confi∣ning the speech to evangelical Grace, the Univer∣sality of it can no farther be by that maintained to extend, then to those to whom the Gospel is prea∣ched, for if Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word, i. e. preaching the Gospel, it must follow, they cannot believe, and so have not Evan∣gelical Grace, or strength to believe, without a Preacher.

§. 42. And therefore I remember the Learned Bishop of Sarisbury, Doctor Davenant in his Lent Sermon (I think the last he preached before the King) declared his opinion to be (as for Ʋni∣versal Redemption, so) for Ʋniversal Grace with∣in the Church; and as for this he was, I think, by none accounted an Arminian, so I never heard any that was of the Remonstrant perswasions, unsatis∣fied Page  28 with the scantness of that declaration, but thought it as much, as, speaking of Grace in the Scripture notion of it, evangelical Grace, could with any reason be required of him.

§. 43. As for the state and condition of hea∣thens, to whom the Gospel is not revealed, and yet it is no fault of theirs that it is not, as all those that lived before Christ and many since, as it is evident the Scripture was not delivered to them, nor consequently gave to us Christians rules for the judging of them, so it is most reasonable which you add in your second Corollary, which is this,

§. 44. That into the consideration of Gods Decrees*such nations or persons are not at all to be taken, as never heard of the Gospel, but they are to be left wholly to the judgement of God, since he hath not thought fit to reveal to us any certainty concerning their condition, but reserved it to himself, amongst his other secret counsels, the reasons of his wonderful and unsearchable dispensations in that kind.] To which I most willingly subscribe in every tittle, and challenge it as the just debt to the force of that rea∣son, that shines in it, that no man pass fatall de∣cretory sentences on so great a part of mankind, by force of those rules, which they never heard of, nor without hearing could possibly know that they were to be sentenced by them. And this the rather * upon four considerations which Scripture assures us of. First, that as all men were dead in Adam, so Christ died for all, that were thus dead, for every man, even for those that deny him, and finally perish: which as it must needs extend and be intended by him, that thus tasted death for them, to the bene∣fit of those that knew him not (for if he died forPage  29them that deny him, why not for them that are less guilty, as having never heard of him, especially when 'tis not the Revelation of Christ, to which the Redem∣ption is affixt, but his Death) so the certain truth of this is most expresly revealed and frequently in∣culcated in the Scripture (though nothing be there found of Gods decrees concerning them) upon this ground especially, that no person of what nation soever should have any prejudice to Christian Re∣ligion, when it should be first revealed to him, when he finds his interest so expresly provided for by so gracious a Redeemer, who if he had not dy∣ed for every man, 'twere impossible for any Prea∣cher to assure an Infidel, that he dyed for him, or propose any constringent reason to him, why he should believe on him for salvation. To this it is consequent, that whatsoever Gods unrevealed wayes are, to deal with any heathen, what degree of repentance from Dead works, obedience, or per∣formance soever he accept from them, this must needs be founded in the Covenant made with man∣kind in Christ, which you most truly have esta∣blished, there being no other name under heaven, no salvation possible to lapsed man by any other Covenant; Which, being set in opposition to the first Covenant of perfect unsinning obedience, and therefore called a second and Evangelical Cove∣nant, on condition onely of sincere obedience, of doing what by Gods gift, purchased by Christ, men are enabled to do, it follows still, that what∣soever acceptation or mercy they, who never heard of Christ, can be imagined to have afforded them by God, must be conformable to the tenure of the Evangelicall Covenant, and so to the praise of the Glory of that Grace, whereby whosoever is ac∣cepted Page  30 by God, is accepted in the beloved.

§. 45. The second Consideration is the analogy, * which, in one respect, is observable between those to whom the Gospel is not revealed, and all chil∣dren and Idiots within the pale of the Church, for although believing in Christ were supposed equally by the law of Scripture to be exacted of all, and so of both those sorts (nay by the intervention of the vow of Baptism to be more expresly the obli∣gation of those that are baptized, then those that are not) yet there is no reason producible to free the Christian children and idiots from the blame of not believing, which will not with equall force be producible for those heathens, to whom the Go∣spel was never revealed, it being as impossible to see without the presence of the object, as without the faculty of sight, without the Sun, as without eyes, without the revelation of Christ, as without the intellective faculty; which if it be not part of the importance of that decree of heaven, Go and preach, and then he that believeth not shall be damned, yet it is fully accordant to it, and shews that that Text was not designed to give suffrage to the dam∣nation of all but Christians, which is all that your Corollary, or my observations have aspired unto; to which it is yet farther necessarily consequent, that these Scripture Decrees which you speak of (and whosoever speaks of any other must be re∣solved to speak from some other dictate, then that of Scripture) comprize not all men, no nor all ba∣ptized Christians under them, being terminated onely in those to whom the Gospel is revealed, and those certainly are not all that are brought into the world, or even to Baptismal new birth.

§. 46. The third consideration is, that seeing *Page  31 the Scripture assures us, that they which have re∣ceived more, of them more shall be required, and that he that knoweth and doeth not, shall be beaten with many stripes, this must needs advertise us, that whatever priviledges Christians may have be∣yond heathens, this is not one, that a smaller de∣gree of obedience and performances shall be acce∣pted of them, then of heathens would be, but the contrary, that to whom less is given, less will be required, according to that of S. Augustine, Ex*eo quod non accepit, nullus reus est, No man is guil∣ty from that which he hath not received.

§. 47. The fourth Consideration is, that God rewards those that have made use of the single ta∣lent, * that lowest proportion of Grace, which he is pleased to give; and the method of his reward∣ing is by giving them more grace, which as it is in some degree applicable to heathens, who have certainly the talent of naturall knowledge, and are strictly responsible for it, so if they use not that, but retain the truth in unrighteousness, Rom. 1. 18. that makes their condition but the same with ours, (who are finally lost also, and at the present have our talent taken away from us) if we make not the due use of it.

§. 48. This, 'tis visible, hath befaln those Na∣tions who once had the Gospel preacht to them, and after the knowledge of the truth, return'd to their heathen sins, and so had their candlestick ta∣ken from them (to which and not to Gods prima∣ry denying them Evangelical Grace, their present Barbarity is to be imputed) And the onely conclu∣sion which we can hence duely make, is the acknow∣ledgement of Gods just judgements on them, and reasonable fear lest he deal in like manner with us, Page  32 if we transcribe their copy, imitate them in their demerits. Should God most justly thus punish this nation at this time, could it either now or in fu∣ture ages be reasonable hence to argue against the Doctrine of Ʋniversal Grace, in case there were a concurrence of all other evidences for the truth of the Doctrine? Certainly it could not. In like manner then it cannot be reasonable to argue thus from the like fate, and effects on other Na∣tions.

§. 49. To which I may add, that Christ being, we know, in Gods decree and promise, the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, if this argu∣ment be now of force against the heathens, it must equally hold against all that understood no more of the Predictions of Christ, then the Pagans do now of the History.

§. 50. And then it must, should it have force, follow, not onely that the Sacrifice of Christ was intended to be of avail to none but the Jews, to whom onely the Oracles of God were committed, (which yet you acknowledge was intended to all) but also that as far as we have wayes of judg∣ing, a very small part of those Jews received the salvifick Grace of Christ, if it were confined and annext to the revelation and belief of him; For if we may judge of other ages by that wherein Christ appeared, the Prophecies of the Crucified Messias were very little understood by that peo∣ple. All this makes it more prudent, and ratio∣nall, and pious to search our own wayes, then to pass sentence on other men, which is the one∣ly thing I have aimed at in these four Conside∣rations.

§. 51. Your second Proposition, which you Page  33 tender as a Conjecture, I cannot but own under an * higher style of an evident truth of Scripture, It is this, That there is to the outward tender of Grace in the ministry of the Gospel annexed an inward offer also of the same to the heart, by the spirit of God*going along with his word, which some of the School∣men call auxilium Gratiae generale, sufficient in it self to convert the soul of the hearer, if he do not resist the Holy Ghost, and reject the Grace offerr'd: which as it is grounded upon these words, Behold I stand at the door and knock, and upon very many o∣ther passages of Scripture beside, so it standeth with reason, that the offer, if it were accepted, should be sufficient ex parte sui to do the work, which if not accepted, is sufficient to leave the person, not ac∣cepting the same, unexcusable.] This I say I am obliged to assent to in the terms, and upon the double ground both of Scripture and reason, whereon you induce it. If there were but one text of Scripture so convincingly inferring it, that sure would advance it above a barely probable Con∣jecture. But I think the whole tenure of the new Testament inforceth the same, and though you name but one, you say there are many other pas∣sages of Scripture, on which 'tis founded. I shall mention but two, 1. that of the Apostle who cals preaching the word, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉the ad∣ministration of the Spirit, which the Father ex∣presses by verbum vehiculum Spiritus, the word is the chariot in which the Spirit descends to us, 2. that description of resisting the holy spirit, which S. Ste∣phen gives us, Act. vii. 51. by their being like the Jews, which persecuted the Prophets which spake unto them, which concludes the holy spirit to be given with the preaching of the Gospel, else how Page  34 could the rejecting and persecuting the one be the resisting of the other? So likewise though you men∣tion but one reason, yet that is as constringent as many, nothing but sufficiency of supernaturall Grace being competent to render him, that is ac∣knowledged naturally impotent, unexcusable. And therefore deeming that abundantly confirmed to advance it above a disputable probleme, I proceed to the next Proposition, the third, which you rank under the style of Conjectures, It is this,

§ 52. That because the sufficiency of this General*Grace notwithstanding, through the strength of na∣turall corruption it might happen to prove uneffectuall to all persons, God vouchsafed out of the superefflu∣ence of his goodness, yet ex mero beneplacito, with∣out any thing on their part to deserve it, to confer up∣on such persons as it pleased him to fix upon, (with∣out inquiring into under what qualifications, prepa∣rations or dispositions considered,) a more speciall mea∣sure of Grace which should effectually work in them faith and perseverance unto salvation] This (you say) you take to be the election especially spoken of in the Scriptures, and if so, then the Decree of Re∣probation must be nothing els but the dereliction or preterition of the rest, as to that special favour of conferring upon them this higher degree of effectuall Grace. Against this, you say, you know enough may be objected, and much more then you esteem your self able to answer, yet to your apprehension some∣what less then may be objected against either of the extreme opinions.]

§. 53. Of this Proposition, as being the first by you produced, to which your caution seems to be * due, some things may in passing be fitly noted.

First, that for the stating of that community *Page  35 which is here set down as the object of Election and reprobation, and exprest by a generall style [all persons] this Caution is necessarily to be taken in, that the proposition is not to be interpreted in the utmost latitude, that the style [all persons] is capa∣ble of, but as analogy with your former doctrine strictly requires, for the generality of men preach'd to: and so neither belongs to heathens, nor to the Infants or Idiots, or uninstructed among Christians, but to those that having the Gospel revealed to them, and sufficient grace to enable them to receive it, are yet left in the hand of their own counsell, whether they will actually receive it, or no.

§. 54. Now of these (which is the second thing to be * observed in your proposition) it is manifest, that if (as you suppose both in the former, and in this Proposition,) they have grace truly sufficient af∣forded them, then they want nothing necessary to a faln weak sinful creature, to conversion, perseve∣rance and salvation, and if so, then by the strength of this Grace, without addition of any more, they may effectually convert, persevere and be sa∣ved; and then though what may be, may also not be, and so it be also possible that of all that are thus preach'd to, and made partakers of this Grace, no one shall make use of it to these effects, yet this is but barely possible, and not rendred so much as probable, either upon any grounds of Scripture or Reason. In the Scripture there is no word revealed to that sense, or, that I ever heard of, produced or applyed to it, but on the contrary, in the Parable of the Talents (which seems to respect this matter particularly) they that received the Talents to ne∣gotiate with, did all of them, except one, make profit of them, and bring in that account to their Page  36 Master, which received a reward, which is utterly unreconcileable with the hypothesis of Gods fore∣seeing that the talent of sufficient Grace would be made use of by none that received no more then so. As for that one that made not use of it, all that is intimated concerning him, is, that if his share comparatively was mean, yet by the Lord he is charged as guilty for not putting it into the bank, that at his coming he might receive his own with u∣sury, which certainly evinces, that that lazy ser∣vant is there considered as one that might have managed his stock as well as the rest, and that that stock was improvable no less then the other, accor∣ding to their severall proportions, and so herein there is no difference taken notice of in favour to your Conjecture.

And in Reason it hath no sound of probability, that of so great a number of Christians, sufficient∣ly * furnished by God, no one should make use of it to their souls health; 'tis evident in the Apostles preaching at Jerusalem and elswhere, that at the first proposal of the truth of Christ to them, and the Doctrine of Repentance, whole multitudes re∣ceived the Faith, and came in, and no doubt ma∣ny of them proved true, and constant Christians, and it is not amiss to observe of the heads of Do∣ctrine, which the Apostles agreed to publish in all their peregrinations, that they are of such force (and were on that account pitcht on by them) as might reasonably and probably, with the supposed concurrence of Gods Grace, beget repentance, and new life in all, to whom they were preach'd over the whole world, (and then what the Apostles deemed a rationall and probable means to that end, there is no reason or probability to think should Page  37 never in any produce this effect) according to that of Athanasius, that the Faith confest by the Fa∣thers*of Nice, according to holy Writ, is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, sufficient for the averting of all impiety, and the establishment of all piety in Christ. To which may be applyed that of S. Augustine of the Creed, Quae pauca verba fidelibus nota sunt,*ut credendo subjugentur Deo, ut subjugati recte vi∣vant, recte vivendo, cor mundent, corde mundo, quod credant, intelligant. These few words are known to believers, that by believing, they may be subjugated to God, that by being subjugated, they way live well, that by living well they may cleanse their hearts, that by cleansing their hearts they may understand what they believe. And herein the all∣wise providence and infinite mercy of God seems to be engaged, who in the Parable of his dealing with his Vineyard, Isa. v. not onely expostulates, What could I have done more to my vineyard which I have not done] but also affirmeth that he looked it should bring forth grapes, and as a farther evidence of that, built a wine-press, in expectation of its bearing fruit by strength of what he had done to it, which could not well be affirmed by, or of God, if it were not probable and rational, that in some it should have the desired effect.

§. 55. And if what, on account both of Scri∣pture * and reason (the onely wayes left us to judge by in this matter) is thus far removed from impro∣bable, may be supposed to have any truth in it, i. e. if the sufficient Grace annexed to the authorized sufficient means, have without farther addition, ever converted any, it then follows necessarily in the third place, that the Election and Dereliction Page  38 now proposed by you must have for its object not indefinitely (as before you set it) man preach'd un∣to, or all that part of mankind to whom the Go∣spel is offered, and that Grace annexed thereto, but onely that portion of such, as are not wrought upon, or who God in his infinite prescience discerns would not be wrought upon effectually, and con∣verted by that measure of sufficient Grace, which he hath annext to the word preach'd. For with∣out enquiring what proportion of the number of men preach'd unto may probably be placed in that rank (or without assuming any more, then that it is neither impossible nor improbable that there should be such a rank) of men converted, and persevering by the strength of that foresaid suffici∣ent Grace, annexed to the word, the inference is undeniable, that all, whether few or many, that are of this rank (it being no way probable there should be none) shall certainly be saved by force of the second Covenant, which decreed eternall life to all that should believe on him and receive him, as the Gospel tenders him, as their Lord and Savi∣our, and so cannot be comprised in the number of them to whom this supereffluence of goodness is sup∣posed to be vouchsafed, in the granting of which ex mero beneplacito your conjecture makes the Scri∣pture-Election to consist, and in the Dereliction and Preterition of the rest (in respect of that speciall favour) the Decree of Reprobation.

§. 56. The plain issue whereof is but this, that if this conjecture, thus explicated, be adhered to, then many not onely of Children, Idiots, heathen (formerly reserved to Gods secret judgements) but of adult baptized Christians also, either are or may be saved, who are not of the number of the Page  39 Scripture-Elect. Which whether it be reconcile able with the purport of those places, which in Scripture seem to you to respect Election, or to favour this opinion, I must leave to farther consi∣deration, being as yet incompetent to interpose a∣ny judgement of it, because I know not what those places are which most seem to favour it.

§. 57. As for the Doctrine it self, of superefflu∣ence of Grace to some, (abstracted from making * it any account of Gods Decrees of Election and Reprobation) It is such as I can no way question, for certainly God being granted to give sufficient Grace to all, there is no objection imaginable a∣gainst this superabounding to some ex mero benepla∣cito; Nothing more agreeable to an infinite abyss and unexhaustible fountain of goodness, then such supereffluence, and he that hath not his part in it, yet having his portion, and that supposed sufficient, ought not to have an evil eye, to complain and mur∣mure at this partiality, and inequality of distribu∣tion of Gods goodness, or if he do, the words of the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard must here have place, Friend, I do thee no wrong, did not I agree with thee for a penny, take that is thine, and go thy way, is it not lawful for me to do what I will with my own? Mat. xx. 13, 14, 15. And it is there observable, that all the occasion of murmuring a∣rose from the order there observed in accounting with, and paying the Labourers, beginning with them that came last into the vineyard, for by that means they being allowed a dayes wages for an hours labour, the others expectation was raised to an higher pitch, then probably it would, if they had been paid, and discharged first, for then not seeing the liberality that others tasted of, they Page  40 would in all probability have expected no more, then the hire for which they agreed; And then why should so casual a circumstance, as the being paid last or first, have any influence on their minds, or tempt them to murmure at Gods goodness, who from the nature of the thing had no least temptati∣on to it?

§. 58. Onely by the way it must be yielded to * the force of that parable, that that supereffluence of which some are there supposed to tast, was no part of the Covenant of Grace, (his agreement with them being but in these words, Go into the vineyard, and what is right you shall receive, v. 7.) but, above what his bargain or covenant obligeth, of his good pleasure, though, on the other side, it be observable, 1. That an allowable account is there given by those men of their not coming sooner into the Vineyard, and consequently of their not bearing the heat of the day, in which all the disproportion between them and others, all the seeming supereffluence is founded, viz. they were no sooner called, or hired by any man, and 2. that by the application of the parable to the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 and 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to those that came first, and those that came later into the Apostleship, to Peter, and Paul, there might still be place for more abundant labour∣ing in those that came last, and so for reward, in proportion (though through mercy) to that more abundant labouring, according to the way of set∣ting down the same parable among the Jews, in *Gemara Hierosol where the Kings answer to the murmurers is, He in those two hours hath laboured as much as you have done all the day.

§. 59. But without examining the Acts of Gods munificence, according to any rules but those of Page  41munificence, and again without insisting on the method which God himself seems to direct us to in this matter, in the parable of the Talents, where the Rule is generall, that to him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance, i. e. that the supereffluence of Grace is ordinarily proportioned to the faithful discharge of former trusts, making use of the foregoing sufficient Grace, there will be lit∣tle reason to doubt, but that God out of his meer good pleasure, without any desert on our part, doth thus dispense his favours to one, more then to an∣other, to one servant five talents, to another ten, but to all some, onely the difficulties will be, 1. whe∣ther * it be not as possible, though not as probable, that the supereffluence of Grace may be resisted, as the lower, but sufficient degree, and then, whe∣ther the condemnation be not the greater, there will be no doubt; Paul that is the most pregnant example of the supereffluence, is still, under a woe, obliged to preach the Gospel, and whilest he preach∣eth*to others, supposes it possible, that himself, if he do not bring his body in subjection, may become a castaway, and till he hath fought his good fight, and finish'd his course, and constantly kept the faith, we never find him confident of receiving his crown, which then he challenges from Gods righteousness, or fidelity; 2. whether the extraordinary favour * of God, which some men receive, and by vertue of which, over and above the sufficient Grace, they may be thought to be wrought on effectually, may not rather be imputed to Gods special provi∣dence, then his special Grace? so in Bishop Overals way it seems affirmable, for in his Scheme the effe∣ctualness seems to be attributed to the giving what is given, tempore congruo, at a time when (whether Page  42 by sickness, or by any other circumstance of their state) they are foreseen by God to be so qualifi∣ed and disposed, that they shall infallibly accept Christ offered, on his own conditions, and so con∣vert, and receive the seed into good ground, and so persevere and be saved, when the same man, out of those circumstances, would not have been wrought on by the same means. And if this be it which you mean (as I doubt not but it is, and that here∣in you perfectly agree with Bishop Overall) then I say the question is, whether the seasonable appli∣cation or timeing be not rather to be imputed to speciall Providence, the mercy of Gods wise and gracious disposal to those men that are thus favour∣ed, then to special Grace, as that signifies an high∣er degree of Gods grace, then is that sufficient mea∣sure, which is afforded to others; it being pos∣sible that an equall, nay a lower degree of Grace, being congruously timed and tendred, may prove effectual, when the like, nay an higher, at ano∣ther time, proves uneffectual. And though all acts of Gods good providence may in some sense be sty∣led acts of his Grace, and so extraordinary pro∣vidences may be styled special Graces, in which sense, the striking Paul in his journey to Damascus, and calling to him out of heaven with grace pro∣portionable to that call, may fitly be called a work of Gods special Grace; and so is every sick∣ness or other judgement, that is sent to melt any, supposeable to have a proportionable, and that is an extraordinary and special Grace annext to it; and the providence, and so the grace is the grea∣ter, if it be applyed tempore congruo, when there is no potent obstacle or principle for resistance; yet still the question is seasonable, whether this Page  43 be all that is meant by this speciall measure of Grace, which shall work effectually, or if more be meant, what ground there is for it in the Scripture.

§. 60. To this second question your advertise∣ment by letter hath given the satisfaction I ex∣pected, that you were not curious to consider the di∣stinction between the Grace and the Providence of God, there being no necessity for so doing, as to your purpose, which was onely to express your sense, that it must be the work of God (whether of Grace or Providence it matters not) that must do the deed, and make the sufficient Grace effectuall. This an∣swer I accept, and make no farther return to it, onely from the uncertainty of the former, as to a∣ny establishment from Scripture-grounds, and so likewise of this latter, till it shall appear by any sure word of promise to have any reall influence on the mattèr in hand, there is way made for a third question,

§. 61. Whether granting the truth of all that is pretended for the supereffluence of Gods good∣ness * to some, this can fitly de defined the thing, whereto Election is determined, and whether all that have not their part in this, are in Scri∣pture-style said to be Reprobated. This I say, not to propose any new matter of dispute, or to require answer to all that may be objected against this notion of Decrees, which you (and other very Learned and sober men) have proposed by way of conjecture onely, but rather to demonstrate my concurrence with you, that this can amount no higher at most, then to a matter of conjecture.

§. 62. And having said this, I shall propose it * to your impartial consideration, I. Whether the Scripture ought not to be our guide in all even o∣pining Page  44 and conjecturing in such matters, which are so much above our reason? II. Whether the Scripture do not furnish us with these express grounds, 1. that there are some sort of auditors that come to Christ, become his Proselytes, em∣brace the Gospel, when 'tis preach'd unto them, that are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, fit, or pre∣pared, or disposed for the kingdome of God, obe∣dience * to the Gospel, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, disposed for eternall life, on file for it (in opposition to others * who are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 v. 46. not worthy of, meet, or qualified for the Evangelical state) 2. that pro∣bity of mind is specified to be this temper, a wil∣lingness*to do Gods will, that (in the parable) of the good ground, and the honest heart meant by it. 3. that the Evangelical dispensations are go∣verned * by the maxime of habenti dabitur, to*the humble he gives more grace, the poor are Evan∣gelized, the children, and poor in spirit, of such,* and of them is the kingdome of heaven; and lastly, * that God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, the weak, the degenerous, the vilified, those that are not, in opposition to the mighty, powerful, no∣ble and wise. III. Whether on these and many o∣ther the like fundamentall Truths of the Gospel, it be not more reasonable to fetch the ground of the effectualness of that sufficient Grace to one, which is not effectuall to another, from the tem∣per and disposition of the heart, to which the Go∣spel is preached, then from any other circumstance (especially when this doth not deny, or exclude the proper efficacy of those circumstances, what∣soever they or it shall any way appear to be) God having made the Baptist the forerunner to Christ, repentance to Faith, the *breaking up our fallowPage  45grounds, to his not sowing among thorns, and the very nature of the Gospel being such, that all that are truly sensible of their sins, the odiousness and danger of them, and heartily desirous to get out of that state, the weary and heavy laden, the humble, docile, tractable, honest heart, willing to take Christs yoke upon them, are constantly wrought on, and converted, when the promulgate mer∣cies, or promises of the Gospel, and the Grace annext to it, are addrest to them, whereas the very same, nay perhaps a greater degree of light and Grace, meeting with a proud, refractary, plea∣surable, or any way hypocritical, and deceitful heart, either is not at all heeded and received, or takes no firm root in it.

§. 63. And if now (the onely objection I can foresee) it be demanded, whether this of probity,*humility, &c. the subactum solum, soyl mellow'd, and prepared for this effectuall work of Grace, be not some natural quality, of the man, for if so, then the efficacy of grace will be imputed to these natural, or moral preparations, which is grosly prejudicial to the grace of God, and to the owing of all our good to his supernatural operations, the answer is obvious and unquestionable, that this (I shall call it Evangelical) temper is far from being natural to any corrupt child of Adam, where ever 'tis met with, 'tis a special plant of Gods plant∣ing, a work of his preparing, softning, preventing Grace, and as much imputable to the operation of his holy Spirit, as any effect of his subsequent or cooperating Grace is, which I challenge to be the meaning of those words of Christ, Joh. vi. 37. All that my Father giveth me, shall come to me; where such as these, are first fitted by God, and then by Page  46 him are said to be given to Christ, works of his finger, his spirit, and then by the authour of them presented to Christ, as the persons rightly disposed for his discipleship, and his kingdome in mens hearts, and this work of Gods in fitting them, is there called his drawing of them to Christ, v. 44. and as there it is said that none but such can come to Christ, so vers. 37. all such shall come to him, which is an evidence that the coming, wherein the effectualness of the grace consists, is imputable to this temper wrought in them by God. And if still it be demanded why this is not wrought in all Christians hearts, I answer finally, that the onely reason the Scripture teaches us is, because some re∣sist that spirit, that is graciously given by God, and purposely designed to work it in them.

§. 64. And if it still be suggested, that some are naturally more proud and refractary, and vo∣luptuously * disposed then others, (an effect of their temper, owing oft to their immediate parents, who may transfuse their depravations and corruptions immediately to their children, as well as Adam hath done to us all mediately) and so a greater degree of grace will be necessary to the humbling and mollifying them, and a lower, which might be sufficient for meeker tempers, will be unsuffici∣ent for them, and so still these are as infallibly ex∣cluded, and barred out, as if it were by a fatal de∣cree passing them by in Massa, this will be also satisfied, by resolving, that God in his wise dispo∣sals and abundant mercies, proportioned accord∣ing to mens wants, gives a greater degree of pre∣venting Grace to such as he sees to be naturally in greatest need of it, or els applies it so advantage∣ously by congruous timing, as he knows is sufficient Page  47 even to them, to remove these naturall obstacles, but all this (to them, as to others) resistibly still, and so, as though it succeed sometimes, yet is frequently resisted.

§. 65. By this means he that is proud and ob∣stinate, and continues, and holds out such against all the softning preparations of heaven, (sufficient to have wrought a kindlier temper in him) being so ill qualified for the holy spirit of discipline, is not converted, but hardened by the same or equall means of the word and grace, by which the hum∣ble is converted, and then replenished with higher degrees; And when the Scripture is so favourable to this notion, saying expresly that God chooses one and not the other, gives more grace to one, and from the other takes away that which he hath, re∣sists the proud (when they refuse discipline) *speaks to them onely in parables, because seeing they see not, i. e. resist and frustrate Gods prevent∣ing graces, and infinite the like, why may not this rather be the Scripture-election, then that other which seems not to have any, at least not so visible grounds in it?

§. 66. Should this be but a Conjecture too, it is not the less fit for this place, where our dis∣course hath been of such, and the onely season∣able inquiry is, either 1. which is of probables the most, or of improbables the least such, (and that I suppose is competently shew'd already) or 2. which may be most safe, and least noxious, in case it should fail of exact truth.

§. 67. On which occasion I shall add but this, that the onely consequence naturally arising from * this Scheme is, that we make our elections after the pattern of God, choose humility and probity, and Page  48 avert pride and hypocrisie, that before all things in the world, every man think himself highly con∣cerned 1. not to resist or frustrate Gods prevent∣ing Graces, but chearfully to receive, cooperate, and improve them, to pray, and labour, and at∣tend and watch all opportunities of Grace and Providence, to work humility and probity in his heart, impatience of sin, and hungring and thirst∣ing after righteousness, as the onely soyle, where∣in the Gospel will ever thrive, to begin his disci∣pleship with repentance from dead works, and not with assurance of his election and salvation, to set out early, and resolutely, without procrastinating, or *looking back, Luk. ix. 62. and 2. if he hath overslipt such opportunities, to bewail and re∣trive them betimes, lest he be hardened by the de∣ceitfulness of sin. and 3. whatsoever good he shal ever advance to, by the strength of Gods sanctify∣ing and assisting grace, to remember with the ut∣most gratitude, how nothing hath been imputable to himself in the whole work, but from the be∣ginning to the end, all due to supernatural Grace, the foundation particularly (that which if it be the most imperfect, is yet the most necessary part of the building, and the sure laying of which tends extremely to the stability of the whole) laid in Gods preventions, cultivating our nature, and fitting us with capacities of his higher donatives; And what can less prejudice, nay more tend to the glory of his grace, then this?

§. 68. Whereas the other Scheme, as it takes * special care to attribute all the work of conversion to Grace, and withall not so to limit that com∣municative spring, as to leave any destitute of a sufficient portion of it (in which respect I have Page  49 nothing really to object against it, if it could but approve it self by Gods word to be the Truth) so when it bears not any such impress of Divine Character upon it, it may not be amiss to consi∣der, Whether he that is perswaded that the suffi∣cient Grace is such as may, and (as some set it) God sees will never do any man good, without the addition of his superesfluence, which he affords to few, (and that if that come, it will infallibly do the work, if it come not, he is so past by, as to be reprobated by God) may not have some temptations to despair on one side, and not do his utmost to cooperate with that sufficient Grace, which is allowed him, and so with the fool in Ec∣clesiastes*fold his hands together till he comes to eat his own flesh, or els to presume on the other side, and expect securely till the coming of the congruous good time of Gods choice, which shall give the effectualness to his Grace, and so be sloth∣full and perish by that presumption?

§. 69. Whether the Scheme, as it is set by lear∣ned men, (abstracting now from the truth of it) be in any considerable degree lyable to this danger, I leave those, that are favourable to it, to consider, presuming that if it be, it will not be thought fit to be pitcht upon, as the most commodious, with∣out either the authority of Scripture, or some o∣ther preponderating advantages tendred by it, which to me are yet invisible. And thus much may serve for the doctrine of Gods Decrees, which if I mistake not, leaves them in relation to man, in this posture, (as far as the Scripture-light leads us) *

§. 70. 1. That God decreed to create man af∣ter his own image, a free and rationall agent, to Page  50 give him a Law of perfect unsinning obedience, and conferr on him grace and faculties to perform it, and to reward that obedience with eternal bliss, and proportionably to punish disobedience.

2. That foreseeing the willfull fall of the first * Man, with whom, and with all mankind, in him, this Covenant was made, and consequent to that, the depravation of that image, and that Grace, (the image of Satan, corruption of the will, and all the faculties, taking the place of it) he decreed to give his Son to seek and to save that which was lost, making in him, and sealing in his blood a new Covenant, consisting of a promise of pardon and sufficient Grace, and requiring of all the condition of uniform sincere obedience.

3. That he decreed to commissionate messen∣gers to preach this Covenant to all mankind, pro∣mised to accompany the preaching of it to all hearts with his inward sufficient grace, enabling men to perform it in such a degree, as he in this second covenant had promised to accept of.

4. That the method which he hath decreed to use in dispensing this sufficient Grace, is, 1. to prevent and prepare mens hearts by giving them the grace of humility, repentance and probity of heart, i. e. by awaking and convincing men of sin, and giving them (in answer to their diligent pray∣ers) grace sufficient to produce this in their hearts, and then upon their making use of this Grace to the designed end to add more powerfull assistan∣ces and excitations, enabling them both to will and to do, and upon their constant right use of these, still to advance them to an higher degree of sancti∣fication, and perseverance, till at length he ac∣complish and reward them with a crown of Glory.

Page  51 §. 71. On the other side, to forsake them in justice, that obstinately resist and frustrate all these * wise and gracious methods of his, and having most affectionately set life and death before them, and conjured them to choose one, and avoid the other, still to leave unto them, as to free and rationall A∣gents, a liberty to refuse all his calls, to let his ta∣lents lye by them unprofitably; which if out of their own perverse choices they continue to do, he de∣crees to punish the contumacy finally, by assign∣ing them their own options, to take their talents from them, and cast them into outer darkness, where shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

§. 72. How clearly every part of this Scheme is agreeable to the several parables, whereby Christ * was pleased to adumbrate the kingdome of heaven, and innumerable other passages in the Gospel, and the whole purport of the new Covenant, I leave to every man to consider, and then to judge for him∣self, whether it be not safer and more Christian to content our selves with this portion, which Christ hath thought fit to reveal to us, then to permit our curiosities to deeper and more pragmatick sear∣ches, especially if those shall either directly, or but consequentially undo, or but darken what is thus explicitly settled.

§. 73. I proceed now to your second head of Discourse, (which also I suppose, is, by what hath * been already considered, competently established) concerning the efficacy of Grace, &c. where your Proposition is thus set down.

§. 74. That in the conversion of a sinner, and the begetting of Faith in the heart of man, the Grace of God hath the main stroke, chiefest operation, yet so, that the free will of man doth in some sort cooperatePage  52therewith (for no man is converted or believeth without his own consent) all parties pretend to agree. The point of difference is, how to state the manner and degree of the cooperation, as well of the one, as of the other, so as neither the glory of Gods Grace be eclipsed, nor the freedome of mans will destroyed. In which difficult point, you say, you think it fitter to acquiesce in those aforesaid acknowledged truths, in which both sides agree, then to hold close to either opinion]

§. 75. In this proposition, it being by you in the Conclusion most undeniably and Christianly * resolved, that the one care ought to be, that nei∣ther the glory of Gods Grace be eclipsed, nor the free∣dome of man's will destroyed, It would not be a∣miss a little to reflect on the former part, and de∣mand whether your expression were not a little too cautious, in saying, the grace of God hath the main stroke and chiefest operation] did I not discern the ground of that caution, because you were to ex∣press that whereunto all parties must be supposed to consent. This being abundantly sufficient to ac∣count for your caution, I shall not doubt of your concurrence with me, that it may with truth be said, and I suppose also by the agreement, if not of all Christians, yet of both parties in this debate, par∣ticularly of the Remonstrants, that the Grace of God is in lapsed man the one sole principle of spi∣rituall life, Conversion, Regeneration, Repentance, Faith and all other Evangelical vertues, and that all that can justly be attributed to our will in any of these, is the obeying the motions, and making use of the powers, which are thus bestowed upon us, by that supernatural principle; To work and work out our own salvation, upon the strength of Page  53 Gods giving us to will and to do; by [giving us to will and to do] meaning his giving us power to each, as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Luke 1. is giving us po∣wer to serve him in holiness and righteousness all the dayes of our lives, every initiall and more per∣fect act of holiness, especially persevering in it all our dayes, being wholly imputable to that power, which is given by Gods Spirit. For indeed when it is considered, what the state of our corrupt will is, being naturally averted from God, and strongly inclined to evil, it seems to me scarce proper to call this, in relation to supernatural ver∣tues, a free will, till God by his preventing Grace hath in some degree manumitted it, till Christ hath made it free; Being then what it is, i. e. in some degree emancipated by Gods Grace, and by Grace onely, (this act of Christs love, and Grace being reached out to enemies, to men in their corrupt state of aversion and opposition to God) the will is then enabled (still by the same principle of Grace) to choose life, when it is proposed, and * the wayes and means to it, and though it be left free to act or not to act, to choose or not to choose, yet when it doth act and choose life, it doth it no otherwise (to my understanding) then the body doth perform all the actions of life, meerly by the strength of the soul, and that continuall animati∣on it hath, it receives from it; which makes the parallel compleat, and gave ground to the expres∣sion and comparison betwixt giving of natural life, and regeneration.

§. 76. What freedome the will naturally (un∣der this corrupt state) hath to other things, of all sorts, I do not now consider any farther, then that it is fully furnished with ability to sin, and *Page  54 so to refuse and contemn, and to receive in vain the Grace of God, and Grace it self doth not deprive it of that part of its corrupt patrimo∣ny: As for an uniform constant choice of those things that belong to our peace and spiritual end, for the beginning of that, and every step of mo∣tion through, and perseverance in it, Its freedome, and strength, and every degree of life, or action, is wholly and entirely from Grace, and then he that without him can do nothing, can do all things through Christ that strengthens him. And so the onely remaining question is (which to me, I con∣fess, is a posing one) What exception can possibly be started against this stating, and consequently what farther doubt there can be in this matter.

§. 77. I have of my self by my natural Gene∣ration, (but this is also from God) power for na∣tural, * nay sinful actings, for this I need no farther principle, and the supervenience of a supernatural takes it not from me; Our experience assures us, what the Scripture so oft mentions, that we often resist the Holy Ghost, which we could not do, if at least it were not tendred to us: But for all degrees of good, from the first good motion toward con∣version, to the enstating us in glory, it is wholly received from the Spirit of God, and the glory of it cannot in any degree, without the utmost sa∣criledge, be arrogated or assumed to our selves, as the work of our free will; and seeing it is one act of superabundant grace to enable us to do any thing, and another to reward us for doing it in so imperfect a manner, (and with such mixtures of manifold pollutions) and a third to exercise us in, and reward us for those things, which are so a∣greeable and gratefull to our reasonable nature, Page  55Commandments far from grievous, a gracious yoke, as well as a light burthen, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name, give we the praise. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, praise his holy Name.

§. 78. What you add on this theme, is by way of reflexion, on the inconvenient opinions of the opposite parties in this matter.

1. That on the Calvinists part these two things, viz. the physical predetermination, and (which must*necessarily follow thereupon) the Irresistibility of the work of Grace, seem to you to be so inconsistent with the natural liberty of the will, and so impossible to be reconciled therewith, that you can not yet by any means fully assent thereto] The style wherein this concludes [cannot yet fully] signifies to me, that you have, with great impartiality (if not with fa∣vour and prepossession of kindness to the Antire∣monstrant side) endeavoured your utmost to re∣concile these two Doctrines of Predetermination and Irresistibility, with the common notions of Morali∣ty * and Christianity, and you cannot find any means to do it; and I fully consent to you in it, and can∣not but add, that the very being of all future judge∣ment, and so of heaven and hell, considered as rewards of what is here done in our bodies, whether good or bad, nay the whole oeconomy of the Go∣spel, of giving, and giving more, and withholding and withdrawing Grace, and the difference be∣twixt the Grace of Conversion and Perseverance, and the force of exhortations, promises, threats, commands (and what not?) depends immediate∣ly and unavoidably on the truth of the Catholick Doctrine of all ages, as in these points of Prede∣termination and Irresistibility, it stands in opposi∣tion Page  56 to the Calvinists. The shewing this diffusedly, according to the merit of the matter, through the severall steps, were the work of a volume, of which I shall hope there can be no need, after so many have been written on the subject.

§. 79. Your next reflexion is on the Arminians, of whom you say,

On the other side, me thinks, the Arminians a∣scribe less to the grace of God, and more to the free*will of man, then they ought, in this, That ac∣cording to their Doctrine, why of two persons (as Peter and Judas) supposed to have all outward means of conversion equally applyed, yet one should be effe∣ctually converted, the other not, the discriminating power is by them placed in the will of man, which (you say) you should rather ascribe to the work of Grace] If this be the right stating of the case be∣tween the Arminians and their opposites, I am then without consulting the Authors, assured by you that I am no Arminian, for I deem it impossi∣ble (I say not for any man, not knowing what mi∣racles the magick of some mens passions may en∣able them to work, but) for you that have writ∣ten what I have now set down from you, to ima∣gine you ascribe more to the Grace of God, and less to the will of man, then I have thought my self obliged to do, making it my challenge and in∣terest, and requiring it to be granted me (and not my concession onely) that all that any man is ena∣bled to do, is by Christs strengthening him,

§. 80. But not to question what others do, or to accuse or apologize for any, let us consider the case you set, and allow the truth to be judged of, in this whole question, by what this particular case shall exact.

Page  57 §. 81. But 1. in the setting of it, I cannot but * mark two things, 1. That the persons made use of to set the case in, are Judas and Peter. 2. That to the word [converted] is prefixed [effectually.] This would make it probable that you think a man may be converted, and yet not effectually conver∣ted, or however that Judas was not effectually converted. That Judas was converted, and, as far as concerned the present state, abstracted from perseverance, effectually converted, I offer but this one testimony, the words of Christ to his Father, *[Of those whom thou gavest me I have lost none, save onely the son of perdition] That whosoever is by the Father given to Christ, is converted, and that effectually, is concluded from Christs univer∣sal proposition, All that my Father giveth me, shall come to me, Joh. vi. 37. and here it is expresly said that Judas (though by his apostacy now be∣come the son of perdition) was by God given to Christ, and therefore he came to Christ, i. e. was converted, which also his being lost, his very Apo∣stacy testifies, for how could he Apostatize from Christ, that was never come to him? From hence it seems to me necessary either to interpret your speech of final perseverance, as if none were effe∣ctually converted, but such who persevere, (which as it belongs to another question, that of perseve∣rance, to which you after proceed, and not to this of reconciling irresistibility and free will, so it would seem to state it otherwise, then I perceive you afterwards do) or, to avoid that, to under∣stand no more by Judas and Peter then any other two names, suppose Robert and Richard, John at Noke and John at Stile, (as you since tell me your meaning was) the one converted effectually, i. e. Page  58 really, the other not, when both are supposed to have the same outward means of conversion equal∣ly applied to them.

§. 82. Now to the question thus set of any two, and supposing what hath been granted between you and me, that the outward means are accom∣panyed to both with a sufficient measure of inward Grace, My answer you discern already, that the * Discrimination comes immediately from one mans resisting sufficient Grace, which the other doth not resist, but makes use of: In this should I add no more, there could be no difficulty, because as it is from corruption, and liberty to do evil, (that meeting with the resistibility of this sufficient grace) that one resists it, so it is wholly from the work of Grace upon an obedient heart, that the other is converted; And so this stating ascribes all the good to the work of Grace, i. e. to that power, which by supernatural Grace is given him, and all * the ill to man and his liberty, or ability to resist.

§. 83. But from what hath been said, there is yet more to be added, viz. that the obedience of the one to the call of Grace, when the other, sup∣posed to have sufficient, if not an equal measure, obeyes not, may reasonably be imputed to the humble, malleable, melting temper, (which the * other wanted) and that again owing to the pre∣venting Graces of God, and not to the naturall probity, or free will of Man, whereas the other, having resisted those preparing Graces, or not made use of them, lyeth under some degree of ob∣duration, pride, sloth, voluptuousness, &c. and that makes the discrimination on his side, i. e. ren∣ders him unqualified and uncapable to be wrought on by sufficient Grace, and so still, if it be atten∣tively Page  59 weighed, this attributes nothing to free will, considered by it self, but the power of resist∣ing * and frustrating Gods methods (which I should think, they that are such assertors of the corrupti∣on of our nature, should make no difficulty to yield him, but that they also assert the irresistibi∣lity of Grace, and that is not reconcileable with it) yielding the glory of all the work of conversi∣on, and all the first preparations to it, to his sole Grace, by which the will is first set free, then fit∣ted * and cultivated, and then the seed of eternal life successfully sowed in it.

§. 84. If the Remonstrants yield not this, you see my profession of dissent from them, if they do, as for ought I ever heard or read (which indeed hath been but little in their works, that I might re∣serve my self to judge of these things, without pre∣possession) they doubt not to do, you see you have had them misrepresented to you. But this either way is extrinsecall and unconcernant to the merit of the cause, which is not to be defended or patro∣nized by names (but arguments) much less to be prejudged or blasted by them.

§. 85. You now add, as a reason to inforce your last proposition, That although the Grace of God*work not by any physical determination of the will, but by way of moral suasion onely, and therefore in what degree soever supposed, must needs be granted ex natura rei possible to be resisted, yet God by his infinite wisdome can so sweetly order and attemper the outward means in such a congruous manner, and make such gracious inward applications and insinu∣ations, by the secret imperceptible operation of his ho∣ly Spirit, into the hearts of his chosen, as that de sa∣cto the will shall not finally resist. That (you say) Page  60of the son of Syrach, Fortiter & Suaviter, is an excellent Motto, and fit to be affixed, as to all the wayes of Gods providence in generall, so to this of the effectuall working of his Grace in particular.]

§. 86. This for the substance falls in with the * last of those which you so cautiously set down for meer conjectures, seeming to you not improbable. And so here you continue to propose it, 1, as that, which God can do, (and thus no Christian can doubt of it) 2. by the one testimony which you tender for the proof of it, the words of Ec∣clesiasticus [strongly but sweetly;] which though * it be there most probably interpreted of the works of Gods providence, not particularly of his Grace, so if it were, most fully expresses their thoughts, who building on the promise of sufficient Grace, and the way of the working of that by moral sua∣sion, will apply the fortiter to the sufficiency, and the suaviter to the suasion, and yet resolve (what frequent experience tells us) that those that are thus wrought on, strongly and sweetly too, and as strongly and sweetly (if not sometimes more so) as they that are converted by it, are yet very (ve∣ry) many times, not converted.

§. 87. Here therefore the point lyes, not whe∣ther God can thus effectually work upon all that he tenders sufficient grace unto, nor again, whether sometimes (and whensoever he pleaseth) he doth thus work, (for as this is the most that you de∣mand, so this is most evident, and readily granted) but 1. whether all are effectually converted and per∣severe, and so are finally saved, on whom God * doth work thus sweetly and powerfully, attemper∣ing the outward and inward means, applications and insinuations, by the secret imperceptible ope∣rations Page  61 of his spirit, and that in a congruous man∣ner (I add time also) 2. Whether his doing thus is such an act of his Election, as that all to whom this is not done, shall be said in Scripture to be left, past by, and reprobated.

§. 88. If thus it is, (not onely can be) and if it may be convincingly testified by any text of Scri∣pture, that this really is the Scripture Election, it shall be most willingly and gladly yielded to: But till this be done, 1. that other Scheme, which I so lately set down, may be allowed to maintain it's competition against this, and 2. it is to be re∣membred from the premises, that the glory of Gods Grace in every one's conversion is abundant∣ly taken care of, and secured, without the assi∣stance of this: 3. that the ground of the Anti∣remonstrants exception to the Arminian occurrs in this way of stating too, for since 'tis here affirm∣ed, that Grace even thus applyed is possible to be resisted, why may not the accepting this higher degree be as imputable to mans wil, as of the other barely sufficient Grace the objecter supposes it to be?

§. 89. Lastly, the saying of our Saviour Mat. xi. 21. is of no small moment in the case, and * yields a substantial prejudice to this way. For 1. it is expresly affirmed vers. 20. of those Cities wherein were wrought〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉his most abundant powers or miracles, that 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉they repented not; His miracles I suppose had his grace annexed to them, and it is hard to believe that where his most numerous miracles were afforded, they should all want the advan∣tage of the congruous timings to give them their due weight of efficacy: However there is no pretence Page  62 of believing it here, where it is said, Christ 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉began to reproach and upbraid them, that the miracles had been so successless among them, which he could with no propriety do, if any cir∣cumstance needfull to their efficacy had been want∣ing to them: and v. 22. the more intolerable mea∣sure of damnation, which is denounced against them, puts this beyond question, that these want∣ed not the more superabundant advantages of Grace. Secondly, it is also as explicitly pronoun∣ced by Christ, that those miracles and that Grace which were not effectuall to the conversion of those Jewish cities, Chorazin and Bethsaida, would have been successful to the conversion of others, and made them Proselytes and penitents of the severest kind, in sackcloth and ashes. Whereupon I demand, Had those means, those miracles (the instruments and vehicles of Grace, that were then used to Cho∣razin and Bethsaida) the timings and other advan∣tageous circumstances, which the opinion, now under consideration, pretends to be the infallible means of the salvation of the elect, or had they not? If they had, then it seems these may fail of converting, and so have not that speciall efficacy, which is pretended, it being expresly affirmed, that here they succeeded not to conversion. But if they had not the timings &c. then it remains as undeniable, as the affirmation of Christ can render it, that those means, that Grace, which hath not those advantageous circumstances, may be, nay, if granted to Tyre and Sidon, heathen cities, would actually have been successfull to them. And what can be more effectuall to the prejudice of a con∣jecture, then this double force of the words of Christ confronted expresly to both branches of it? Page  63 And then I hope I may with modesty conclude, that there remains no visible advantage of this way, to recommend it, in case the Scripture be not found to own, and more then favour it in some other passages.

§. 90. Your last Proposition on this Theme is, that Sith the Consistence of Grace and free will is a Mystery so transcending our weak understandings, that it hath for many years exercised and puzzled the wits of the acutest Schoolmen to find it out, in∣somuch as hundreds of volumes have been written and daily are de concursu Gratiae & liberi arbitrii, and yet no accord hath hitherto followed, you say, you have ever held, and still do hold it the more pious and safe way, to place the Grace of God in the throne, where we think it should stand, and so to leave the will of man to shift for the maintenance of its own freedome, as well as it can, then to establish the po∣wer and liberty of free will at the height, and then to be at a loss how to maintain the power and efficacy of Gods Grace,]

§. 91. But if what hath been clearly laid down, for the attributing all our spirituall good to the work of Grace, and assuming nothing of this kind to the innate power of free will, but a liberty to resist Grace, the rest being humbly acknowledg∣ed to be due to a supernaturally conferred free∣dome, or emancipation, whereby we are enabled to make use of Grace, and by the power thereof to cooperate with it; Then 1. the consistence of*grace and free will in this sense, is no such tran∣scending Mystery, and I think there is no text in Scripture that sounds any thing towards the making it so. 2. 'Tis evident, that the difficulties that have exercised the Schools in this matter arise from Page  64 their endeavouring to state it otherwise, some by maintaining Predetermination and irresistibility,* which all the powers of nature cannot reconcile with Man's free wil ad oppositum; And some few that go another milder way, are yet afraid of depart∣ing too far from the former, and instead of irre∣sistibility substitute efficacy, as that signifies infal∣libility of the event to the Elect, and so find diffi∣culty to extricate themselves; whereas Grace suf∣ficient, but resistible, given together with the word to all, to whom Christ is revealed, hath 1. it self * nothing of difficulty in the conception, and 2. be∣ing understood, utterly removes all farther diffi∣culty in this matter. For hereby we place the Grace of God in the throne, to rule and reign in the whole work of conversion, perseverance, and salvation, (and what can be more demanded, that we have not asserted? certainly nothing by you, who in setting down the consent of all parties, exprest it by no more then its having the main stroke and chiefest operation) and need not put the will of man to shift for the maintenance of its own freedome, as long as we can do it with much more safety and temper, then either by setting it at the height with the Pelagians, or endangering to con∣vert it into a meer trunk, or leaving men to the duct of their own humours, either to advance it a∣bove its due, and grow insolent, or depresse it be∣low what is meet, and so give up themselves to sloth, and indifferency.

§. 92. On the third or last head concerning Grace and perseverance, your propositions are three, the two former I shall set down together, because the first is but a preparative to, or one way of proof of the second, which onely concerns our purpose.

Page  65 I. That Faith and all holy Graces inherent in us, Love, Patience, and Humility, &c. are the gifts*of God wrought in us by his Grace and holy Spirit, none will deny; But that they are wrought in us by infusion and in instanti (as Philosophers teach forms to be introduced into the matter by naturall generati∣on in instanti,) at least that they are alwayes or or∣dinarily so infused, you see no necessity of believing, or why it may not be said of these〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(spiritu∣all Graces) notwithstanding they be acknowledged the gifts of God, as well as of those〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉(spirituall gifts, as we translate them) which are certainly the gifts of God as well as the other, and so acknowledged; that they are (after the manner of other habits) ordinarily acquirable by industry and frequented acts, and the blessing of God upon our prayers and endeavours. To what purpose els were it for Ministers in their Sermons usually to press motives to stir up men to labour to get Faith, Love, &c. and to propose means for their better direction, how to get them?

II. Whence (you say) it seemeth to you further pro∣bable, that Faith and all other inherent Graces, as they may be with Gods blessing attain'd, may be also lost again by sloth, negligence, and carnall security, and therefore you cannot but doubt of the truth of that assertion which the Contra-remonstrants do yet a∣verre with great confidence, That Faith once had, cannot be lost, and other the like. The distinction that they use, as a salvo in this Question, of a true and temporary Faith, signifieth (say you) little or no∣thing, for it at once both beggeth and yieldeth the whole Question: It 1. beggeth the question, when it denyeth that Faith that may be lost, to be true Faith, and withall 2. yieldeth the question, when it grantethPage  66a temporary Faith, which term is capable of no o∣ther construction, then of such a Faith, as being once had is afterwards lost. It is one of the Articles of our Church, that after we have received the holy*Ghost, we may depart from Grace given.]

§. 93. In these two there is nothing for me to question, and as little to add to them, unless I an∣nex, what I suppose you did not think needfull, the express consent of Scriptures and Fathers, whereon our Churches Article must be resolved to * have been founded. In the old Testament the ex∣amples of the Angels in Heaven, of Adam in Pa∣radise, and in a remarkable manner of two to whom God had given eminent testimony, 1. David, in the matter of Ʋriah, an odious murther added to adultery, and continued in impenitently, till after the birth of the child, the blemish whereof still sticks to him, and remains upon record, as an allay to all his excellencies, now that he is in heaven. 2, Solomon, whose heart was by his multitude of wives and concubines taken off from God, and de∣bauched to Idols, no way being left us to discern whether ever he returned or no, unless his Ecclesi∣astes be a declaration and fruit of his Repentance; And as these and many other examples, even of that whole Old-Testament-church, the Jews, make this evident, so the words of Ezekiel are express both for totall and finall falling away. If the righte∣ous turn from his righteousness, in his unrighteous∣ness*shall he die.

§. 94. The new also is parallel, in the example of Peter, thrice, with time of deliberation between, * and after express warning from Christ, and his re∣solute promise to the contrary, denying and ab∣juring of Christ, whose return from this fall with Page  67 bitter tears, is called by Christ Conversion, and the sin upbraided to him thrice after his resurrection, *Simon, son of Jonas lovest thou me more then these?* in reference to his confident undertaking, though all men should deny thee, or be offended, yet will not I.* And if the argument from Christs express words, formerly produced, be of force, then is Judas (one of those that was by God given to Christ, and came*unto, and believed on him) an example of the blackest sort, testifying to this sad truth, That a believer and Disciple of Christ may betray him to his Crucifixion, and die in desperation,

§. 95. To these two instances, the former great∣ly aggravated with circumstances, the latter finall, and of the highest degree imaginable, It is not need∣full to add more, els it is obvious to increase the catalogue with those that were polluted by the Gnosticks, by name, Hymenaeus and Alexander, who putting away a good conscience, concerning Faith*made shipwrack, and again Hymenaeus and Phile∣tus,* who fell off so far, as to the denyall of any fu∣ture Resurrection, of whom the Apostle there speak∣ing, saith, if God peradventure will give them re∣pentance, and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil] looking on their estate as that of lapsed believers, and though not utterly hope∣less, yet extremely dangerous, And this exemplified in whole Churches, Apoc. ii. and iii. which are therefore threatned present destruction, if they do not speedily return.

§. 96. To which purpose the Texts in the sixth and tenth to the Hebrews are unanswerable, In the sixth, that it is impossible, i. e. extremely difficult, for those that were once enlightned, &c. if they fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, adding Page  68 the similitude of the reprobate earth, whose end is to be burned. From which how distant is the Doctrine of those, that either imagine it impossible for such to fall away totally, or if they are fallen away, not to be renewed again to repentance? In the tenth also, twere vain to make so severe interminations against those who sin willfully after receiving the know∣ledge of the truth, (as we read v. 26.) if there were no possibility of so sinning, but especially the 38. verse is remarkable, The just shall live by faith,〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, And if he (the just) shall draw back, my soul hath no pleasure in him] expli∣cating v. 39. what drawing back he speaks of, even drawing back unto perdition, and that is finall, as well as totall, and both, it seems, very possible, as every where appears by the exhortations to him that thinketh he standeth, to take heed lest he fall, when if he do, It had been better never to have known*the way of righteousness, then after he hath known it, to turn from the holy Commandment, and this in such a degree, as is exprest by returning to the vo∣mit, and wallowing in the mire, the acts and habits of the foulest sins, in forsaking of which their con∣version consisted.

§. 97. The Testimonies of the Fathers are too long to be set down, and indeed unnecessary to the confirmation of that, to which the Scripture hath testified so plentifully, especially since it is not (it cannot be) denyed by the contrary-minded, that Saint Augustine, the onely fautor of their cause, in the point of decrees, and effectuall Grace, granteth * possibility of falling, both totally and finally, from a justified estate, and useth it as a means to prove his absolute Decrees.

I now proceed to your third and last proposition in these words,

Page  69 §. 98. Yet I believe wee may securely admit the*doctrine of perseverance of Gods elect, and the cer∣tainty thereof, so as it be understood. 1. Of their finall perseverance onely, leaving roome for great (perhaps totall) interruptions and intercisions in the meane time. 2. Of the certainty of the thing, (cer∣titudo objecti,) in regard of the knowledge, and pur∣pose of God, but, not of any undoubted assurance, that the elect themselves have thereof, (certitudo sub∣jecti, as wee use to distinguish them,) there being a great deale of difference between these two propositi∣ons, it is certain that the elect shall not fall away finally, and the elect are certain that they shall not fall away finally.]

§. 99. In this proposition I can fully yeild my concurrence, if by rendering my reasons for my consent, I may be allowed to expresse what I mean by it. This I shall do through the severall bran∣ches of it.

1. I believe not onely that securely we may, but that of necessity (and under the pain of contra∣diction in adjecto,) we must admit the doctrine of Perseverance of Gods Elect, and the certainty, (most unquestionable certainty) thereof, Gods Election of any person to the reward of the covenant, being undoubtedly founded in the perseverance of that person in the faith, this perseverance being the ex∣presse condition of the covenant, He that en∣dureth to the end, the same shall be saveá, he and * none but he, but if he draw back, Gods soule hath no pleasure in him.*

§. 100. Which that it is nothing available to∣ward concluding that they which can fall totally from their justified state, may not yet fall finally also, I infer to be your sence from your great Page  70 dislike to the Calvinists Salvo, taken from the distinction of a true and temporary faith, which * assures me, you take that faith for true, which yet is but temporary, then which nothing is more con∣trary to the establishing the perseverance of all the faithfull, unlesse there be some promise that all temporaries shall so recover again before their death, as finally to persevere, (which as I think, 'twill not be pretended, so if it be, they are no lon∣ger temporaries,) or unlesse it cease to be in their power to continue in their sins, into which they are fallen, which sure it cannot, unlesse the grace of perseverance be irresistible, which if it were, there is no reason, why that of conversion, to all that are converted, should not be irresistible also.

§. 101. 2. For their great, (perhaps totall) interruptions and intercisions in the meane time, * I can no way doubt, but those are subject to them, who yet upon Gods foresight of their returne, and persevering constancy at length, are elected to sal∣vation. It is certain, which the Article of our Church saith, that as they which have received the holy Ghost may depart from grace given and fall a∣way, so by the same grace of God they may returne again, and then returning they may no doubt per∣severe, and then 'tis certain they are elected to sal∣vation, the mercy and pardon in Christ extending not onely to the sins of an unregenerate state, and the infirmities and frailties of the regenerate; but also to all the willfull sins and falls of those that do timely returne again by repentance, as David and Peter did (but Judas certainly, Solomon possibly did not,) and then continue stedfast unto the end. And so 'tis onely the finall perseverance Page  71 that is required indispensably of the elect, which is reconcileable with their great, perhaps totall in∣tercisions.

§. 102. But 'tis not amiss here to advert, that this doth no more suppose or include the recon∣ciliation * or favour of God, to those that have been once regenerate, when they are fallen into grosse sins, then to the unregenerate remaining in the same or greater sinns, it being as possible in respect of us, (perhaps more probable in respect of God,) that the unregenerate may convert and persevere, (and then they are approved to be the elect,) as that they that were once regenerate, but now fallen, may return again. It is as certain from before Paul's birth, and from all eternity, that he was elected, as that David or Peter was, and then either his blasphemous persecuting the name of Christ must have been at the time when he was guilty of that, reconcileable with Gods favour, viz. before his conversion, (and then for the gaining of Gods savour what needed his conversion?) or else Pe∣ter's denying and abjuring of Christ, Davids adul∣tery and murther must not be reconcileable, not∣withstanding their supposed Election. For as to the sonship of their former life, that will no more excuse their contrary wasting sins, then the future * sonship of the other, nay it will set the advantage on the other side, the unconverted Saul obtaines*mercy, because he did it ignorantly, in unbelief, Whilst their sins have the aggravation of being sins against grace, and forsaking, and departing from God, which respect makes the state of Apo∣states as the most unexcusable, so the most desperate∣ly dangerous state.

Page  72 §. 103. 3. That there is a Certitudo Objecti to * all the Elect, cannot be doubted, for if they be elected to salvation, they will finally persevere, if they persevere not, they were not elected. Again this certainty of the object, is a certainty in regard of the knowledge and purpose of God, 1. Of his knowledge that either they will not fall, or if they do, that they will rise again, and then finally persevere. 2. Of his purpose or decree of electi∣on, that every such, finally persevering, though formerly lapsed Christian, shall be saved.

§. 104. 4. For the Certitudo subjecti; as I con∣sent * to you fully in disclaiming any necessity of that, so I suppose it is wholly extrinsecall to this subject, devolving to this other question, not whe∣ther every one that is elect, be sure he shall not fall away, but whether every believer be or ought to be sure of his election? Of which if he were sure, I could not resist his being obliged to believe him∣self certain of his finall Perseverance; Election and finall failing being incompetible.

§. 105. Having given you this interpretation of my sence, and so consent to each branch of your proposition, I have no more to add, but that if you mean it in a farther sence, proportionable to your former conjecture on the head of decrees, of Bishop Overall's opinion, I shall no otherwise debate or question it, then I did that, and so the fate of this and that, are folded up the one in the other, and if the Scripture shall be found favourable to the one, it shall be yeilded, and then there will be no con∣troversy of the other.

§. 106. Onely I desire to add, that it will deserve * our speciall care and warinesse, so to deliver our thoughts in this matter, that we leave no man any Page  73 ground of hope, that in case he depart from his duty, and so fall from Grace, or into any willful act or habit of sin, he shall yet be so preserved, whe∣ther by Gods Grace, or by his power, and provi∣dence, that he shall not finally dye without repen∣tance: for as there is no promise of God to found that hope, so in time of temptation to any pleasu∣rable, transporting sin, &c. it will be in danger to betray and ruine him, that hath a good opinion of himself, especially if he hath been taught, that faith is a full assurance of his Election.

§. 107. The same I say of Grace, as it signifies * the paternall favour of God to his Elect children, which is thought by some to be onely clouded, and, as to their sense and present experience and com∣fort, darkned by their most willfull sins, so as God may be highly displeased with them, as David with his son Absolom, and yet continue his pater∣nall Love and favour to them, as David did his to that ungracious son, in the height of his Rebellion.

§. 108. 'Tis possible this Example of David may have some Rhetoricall Energy in it, to perswade and deceive some. If it have, then 1. I may not unfitly ask this question, whether they think God had then that kindness to Absolom that David had? If he had not, how can it be drawn into example to God? If he had, how then can it agree with it, to cut him off in the midst of his Rebellion, which 'tis manifest David would not have done. But omit∣ting that, I answer 2. that 'tis visible, that this in David was passionate indulgence, such as men (as Joab tells him) disliked, and to this kind of hu∣mane passionate, I oppose that other kind of Di∣vine dispassionate love, producing in God bowels of pity, frequent admonitions and warnings, pow∣erfull Page  74 Messages, strong and earnest calls, and pro∣position of all rationall motives to repentance. But if those prevail not, the just still continuing to draw back, Gods soul hath no pleasure in him, and the greater obligations of Love and Grace they are, against which he hath sinn'd, the greater the provo∣cations are in the sight of God, and nothing con∣sequently but the greater degree of punishment to be expected. How God is affected toward rebel∣lious sons is set down Is. 1. 2, 10, 11, 12, &c.

§. 109. And then to put any man in hope, that what is not ordinarily revealed in the Gospel, may yet be laid up for him in the cabinet of Gods secret counsels with this seal upon it, The Lord knoweth those that are his, as if they might be his still in * Gods acceptation, which walk most contrarily to him, this may prove a most dangerous snare of souls, and it is strange it should seek shelter in that Text 2. Tim. 2. 19. which was most expresly de∣signed to the contrary, as is evident both by the no∣tation of the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 in the beginning of the verse, which in all probability signifies the Cove∣nant of God, the 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉stability whereof, there prest, must assure us that there is no salvati∣on to be expected, but according to the contents of that great indenture, once for all sealed in the blood of Christ, of which as that indeed is one part, which is inscribed on one side of the seal [The Lord knoweth those that are his] i. e. he will never fail to own those that continue faithfull to him; so the other, on the other side, is most emphatical, [Let every man that nameth the name of Christ, de∣part from iniquity] which if he do not, he hath forfeited all the Priviledges of his Christianity.

§. 110. The Gnostick heresie, one branch of it Page  75 especially, noted in Marcus's Scholars, in Irenae∣us, is a seasonable warning to all sober Christians * in this matter, He told them of an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a redemption, or kind of Baptism, which rendered them 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, naturally and immutably spirituall, no more to be polluted by sin, then gold by lying in the mire, or the Sun beams by lighting on a dunghill, and that whatever they did, they should (as with the helmet of the mother of the Gods) be rendred 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, invisible to the Judge, The effects whereof, as to all carnality, &c. were so detestable, that it becomes every man most sollicitously to guard and secure his Schemes of Election and Doctrine of Perseverance of the Elect, from all probability, if not possibility, of mini∣string to the like, and that cannot well be by any other method of resolution, but this, that those that persevere unto the end shall be saved, and none els; our tenure in all the Priviledges of Election, 1. Gods favour, 2. the continuall assistance of his Grace, and 3. the inheritance of sons, being inse∣parably relative and annext to the constant filiall o∣bedience, which he indispensably requires of us, under the Gospel of conditionall promises.

§. 111. Thus have I past through all your Letter and given my self the liberty of these strictures, * by way of reflexion on all and every passage there∣in, which belonged to this subject of God's Decrees and his Grace; And without the addition of any unnecessary recapitulation of the severalls, it is al∣ready evident, how perfect the agreement is be∣tween us in all that you in any degree positively as∣sert, or own as your opinion: And if in one parti∣cular which you are so carefull to propose, as a bare conjecture, and not allow it your favour in any other Page  76 quality, it should happen that we finally dissent (though in propriety of speech conjectures are not sentiments) yet it were strange the dispute betwixt us should be of any length. And so you discern the utmost of uneasiness, which is likely to be gi∣ven you by this address of

Dear Sir

Your most affectionate brother and servant H. HAMMOND.

Page  77

A Second LETTER, BEING A View of two Emergent Difficultyes.

Deare Sir,

THe very freindly reception which my larger trouble found from you, is my full encourage∣ment to proceed to the conclusion of my impor∣tunity and your exercise, which cannot now be far off, if I may judge by your Letter.

§. 2. Two difficultyes, you say, you have sprung * by farther entring into the consideration of this matter, the first occasioned by my distinction betwixt the worke of Grace and of Providence, the second arising from the Concessions of Scripture of Gods withdrawing his grace from those that reject it.

§. 3. To those I shall make these returnes, which I doubt not will prove satisfactory. The first seemeth to favour an 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or suspence, and to avert all defining in these points: For, say you, since the efficacy of Divine grace followeth the*acts of his Providence, so as it may seem in a manner to depend chiefly thereupon, and the wayes of his pro∣vidence are abyssus multa, deep and unfathomable, it seemeth to you to conclude strongly that the man∣ner how God effectually worketh by his grace to the conversion of a sinner is also to our understandings incomprehensible.] To this you cannot but foresee * my reply, that the proposall of that distinction was Page  78 by me designed as a prejudice to Bishop Overal's way, which you had then mentioned as your con∣jecture. And if it shall have indeed that influence upon you or any man, as you speake of, to encrease the difficulty, and to conclude strongly, that the manner of Gods working, &c. is incomprehensible; yet you know this cannot in justice be applyed far∣ther then to that particular Scheme, against which * peculiarly this disadvantage was proposed, and then the onely regular conclusion is, that this which you proposed but as a conjecture, should now grow lower in your esteem, and scarce be thought wor∣thy to be own'd as such.

§. 4. And the more force there is in this one consideration, thus to incline you, the lesse shall * I despair, that two more considerations, which then encompassed this, and the superadded tender of another way, that the Scripture-grounds, especially Christ's parables in the Gospel, suggested, will in some degree prevaile with you, to deposite this conjecture, which (beside other prejudices against it,) hath no grounds of Scripture to pretend to, in exchange for that other, that hath, and pretends no further, then it shall approve it selfe to be thus founded.

§. 5. This is all that I may say to an objection which I was to cherish and strengthen, (rather then answer.) But I shall not think that needfull, onely I leave it to have that force with you, which you shall see fit to give it, remembring onely that it ought not to have force with him, that ac∣cepts not that Scheme, that alone is concerned in it.

§. 6. Which Scheme having been proposed by you with perfect warinesse, and profession of Page  79 allowing it to be no more then a conjecture, one such difficulty as this, is, I acknowledge, sufficient to remove you from it, and in that case it will not be unseasonable again to tender that which you may finde better qualified for your acceptance, having without question an advantage, from the *parable of the sower, to recommend it. I shall en∣deavour to make this cleare to you. Your sup∣posed intricacy, or unfathomable question, is, what it is that makes sufficient grace to be effectuall to * any? I say the parable of the sower was intended by Christ on purpose to answer that question, which it hath competently performed, for here wee see, the seed being the same, (whether that * were the word, or grace, it matters not, as long as 'tis remembred that the word is the vehicle of grace, and the instrument of conveighing it to the heart,) all the difference taken notice of, is onely in the soyle, viz: some troden down, and crusted; * some stony; some thorny; some good, and mellow. Proportionably to this four-fold difference of the ground, the severall fates of the seed are described, and your one question divided into four, and an∣swer exactly accommodated to each.

§. 7. The first question is this, what is it that * makes sufficient grace, uneffectuall, to some men, so that though it be on Gods part freely afforded them, and as freely as to any other, yet it hath not the least effect upon them? And the answer is evident in the explanation of that parable, Mat. XIII. 19. because he is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, one that heares the word, to which that grace is an∣nexed, but either understands it not, or minds it not; and so the Divil comes and catcheth away that which was sown, (and in that case there is Page  80 no great need of that Divil towards the obstructing effectuallness, let the seed ly there never so long, if it be not minded, it can signifie nothing toward an harvest.)

§. 8. The second question is, what is it that makes * sufficient Grace, after it is received, and that with joy, (great forwardness and alacrity at the first) to become so uneffectuall to the supporting a man in time of temptation, that rather then endure any smart for piety, he falls into any the grossest sins? And the answer follows v. 21. because such a man is of a temper that yields not Grace any depth to root in, he hath some stonyness at the bottome, some pleasure, or passion, or other remains of resistance rooted in him, which he hath not divested him∣self of, and when duty begins any way to check that, he is impatient, and throws off Piety, of which he made very fair professions, and such as had, as far as his trialls formerly went, reality in them, till this last signall tryall was made of him, for which, it seems by the effect, he was not quali∣fied.

§. 9. The third question is, what is the reason * that sufficient Grace, once received and bringing forth fruits, though it come not to combat with any sharp tryalls, doth yet many times decay and perish after a while? And the answer is v. 22. that there remained in the heart of such some piece of ill temper unreformed, which in time prolified, and sent out great and wasting sins (though not so generally decryed in the world) viz. worldly sollici∣tudes, and such as the wealth of the world is apt to beget in men that have or seek it, and these being permitted to thrive in the soul, 'tis regular that Grace, which cannot consist with such (you cannotPage  81serve God and Mammon) should be overrun, and choaked, and at length destroyed by that means, which had it not been for this cause of abortion, as it was sufficient, and effectuall for a while, so it would have prosper'd to perseverance.

§. 10. And this introduceth the fourth and last * question, What then is it that renders sufficient Grace Effectuall both to Conversion and Perseve∣rance? And the Answer is v. 23. the goodness of the soile, probity of the heart, wherein that suffici∣ent Grace is received, and what that is, is best dis∣cerned by the opposition to all the former three, * 1. it is a sincerely pliable, ductile temper, that ne∣glects not to make use of any grain of Grace, 2. it hath an uniform Courage to combat with difficul∣ties, and is not enslaved to pleasures. 3. it utterly despises the world, the allurements and the terrors of it, and uses it, as if it used it not. The former part of this temper renders it effectuall to conversi∣on, the two latter to perseverance also. And con∣sidering that parable is set down by Christ to give account of the various successes of the word of the kingdome, i. e. of the Gospel among all those to whom it is made known, who with you are the ad∣aequate object of the Scripture-election, and repro∣bation, what can be farther required to the clear satisfaction of your whole difficulty?

§. 11. And then remembring that the onely re∣maining question, viz. whence is this probity? hath * been fully answered in the former papers, I appeal to no other then your self, whether this be not both a perspicuous, and authorized stating, having so weighty a passage of Gospel to found it, and therefore in all justice preferrable to your bare Conjecture, which, besides that it is pressed with Page  82 difficulties (as your self acknowledge) which to you seem unanswerable, is not provided of any pretense of a foundation, hath no authority from holy Scripture to recommend it.

§. 12. If it have any, it is most probably that * other short parable in the same Chapter, v. 44. where the kingdome of God is compared to a treasure hid in the field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, &c. There the man, which found the treasure, is not supposed to seek it (for that makes another parable v. 45.) but by the meer provi∣dence of God (which the heathen Philosophers were wont to stile chance, and commonly give this very instance of it the treasure found in the field,) happily to fall upon it, when he passeth by on some other errand; And this indeed is matter of frequent observation, Augustine is converted * by S. Ambrose's Sermon, when he came to it on no such design, Saul is called to from heaven, and con∣verted to Christianity, when he was going to Da∣mascus on the most distant design of persecuting it. And to omit the many more examples of those of whom it hath been litterally true, that they have found God, when they sought him not, asked not af∣ter him, one eminent story our books give us, of two young children brought to a city to be sold, at a time when a devout Nun had vowed to take some * young child, and bestow her whole life, and ut∣most industry to bring it up in strict piety, and ac∣cordingly came and bought one of them, and as∣soon as she had bought her, a bawd came in her presence and bought the other, by which means these two, which were so lately in the very same in∣different condition, by this act of Divine provi∣dence (to which this was to be attributed) were Page  83 strangely discriminated, the one brought up and early engaged, and so persevering to the lives end in all piety, and the other by the contrary discipline debauched, and educated to the trade of harlotry, wherein she lived and persevered. In which it is vi∣sible how signal an influence this one act of Divine Providence had on so distant eternall fates of these two, and how eminent an ingredient it was in the saving the one and damning the other.

§. 13. But from all these and innumerable the * like, (which are freely granted, and allowed to be competent to confirm your main conclusion, that the Providence of God is Abyssus multa) you will soon discern, that there comes in no least advan∣tage to that Learned Bishops Scheme, which is the matter of your Conjecture, and our onely present enquiry. The whole weight of that (as far as I, or any man questions it) being laid, not on the su∣perabundance afforded to one above the other, (which is willingly granted) but on the foreseen universall inefficaciousness of the barely sufficient*Grace, acknowledged to be given to all, till that superadded advantage administred by Gods provi∣dence in the choice of the congruous timing, come in, as the work of Gods Election, to make the discrimi∣nation.

§. 14. Now seeing in all these examples, and in * that parable, nothing like this is to be found, no evi∣dence, or intimation of Gods foreseeing, 1. that that man that found the treasure, would never have been wrought on by that measure of sufficient Grace, which that opinion allows God formerly to have afforded him, unless by that seasonable act of Providence he had thus faln on the treasure in the parable, or 2. that Augustine would never have Page  84 been converted, if he had not been surprized by S. Ambrose's Sermon, or 3. that Saul would not have been converted at another time, without, or even with that vision, and voice from heaven, or lastly that that fortunate child, that fell into the Nun's, instead of the bawd's hands, would never have been brought to heaven any other way, and could not have miscarried under this method: Through all these instances, I say, it is still appa∣rent, that nothing is gained toward the approving the Conjecture, these advantageous turns of pro∣vidence afforded one man and not another, and the signall efficacy of such, being most freely granted by those who deem the Conjecture impro∣bable.

§. 15. And indeed, if it be well considered, all that these, and a myriad of the like instances in∣fer, is no more then this, the great and admirable variety of Gods providentiall acts, not as those are all one with, but as in his hands they are instrumen∣tall and subservient to his Grace, whereby in di∣verse manners grace is advantageously assisted by providence, to one in this wise, and admirable man∣ner, to another in that; No man, who is allowed the sufficient Grace, being denyed some benefit or * other of Providence to assist Grace, and make it more then probable to become effectuall to him, if he doth not betray and frustrate the opportunities of the one, as well as the power and efficacy of the other.

§. 16. So that still acknowledging most willing∣ly, and admiring the abyss of Providence, this no * way obstructs the comprehending the manner (or perplexes the doctrine) of the cooperation of the Grace of God with the will of man, but leaves it Page  85 where the Parable of the Sower set it, that the effi∣cacy of Grace, and successfulness, whether to con∣version, or perseverance proceeds from the mellow∣ness, and preparedness of the soile, from the ad∣vantages which it meets with in the honest heart, as that again is wholly due to Gods preventing Gra∣ces, which have thus fitted the soile for the kindly seeds-time, planted pliableness, humility in the heart, where Grace may be deeply and durably rooted, but this still resistibly in both parts, as hath formerly been exprest.

§. 17. One phansie I know there is, which hath * pleased some men in this matter, that God gives sufficient Grace to those who do not make use of it, but resist it, and yet more then so, the power of using, or accepting, or not resisting it, but gives to the Elect and onely to the Elect, ipsam non resisten∣tiam, the very not resisting, and this they will have to be the signal discriminating Grace.

§. 18. Of these I shall demand 1. whether in those which have not this ipsam non-resistentiam gi∣ven them, this be an effect of God's Decree, which * hath determined the certain infallible giving it to some peculiar persons, and so the not giving it to all others? If it be not, then this is no foundation of discriminating Grace, or consequently fruit of Election and Reprobation, and so is still impertinent to the matter for which it is brought.

§. 19. But if it be the effect of Gods Decree, determining the giving it to some, and denying it to others, I then 2. demand, whether all they to whom it is not given, do therefore infallibly receive the grace of God in vain, because they have not this ipsa non-resistentia (which is more then the power of not resisting) given them?

Page  86 §. 20. If this be not affirmed, then, as before, this comes not home to discriminating Grace, nor consequently to the business of Election and Re∣probation, which it was meant to assist. But if it shall be said, that they therefore infallibly resist, or receive in vain, because this ipsa non-resistentia is not given them, then it seems this gift of ipsa non-resi∣stentia is such, as that they who have it not, want somewhat which is necessary to their effectuall re∣ceiving, or not-resisting Grace, and if this be the condition of the far greatest part of the world, then how can it with any sincerity be affirmed (as by those that make use of this expedient, it is pro∣fest) that God hath to all mankind given Christ, and in him all things, and particularly Grace suffi∣cient, and the power of not-resisting Grace, which according to this phansie, none can choose but re∣sist, who have not the ipsam non-resistentiam given them, which yet they affirm to be given but to a few, i. e. to none but the elect?

§. 21. This were (by interpretation, and in ef∣fect) for God to give to all men a power to an act, which yet the greatest part of those which have it given them, can never make use of to that act, for want of somewhat else which is not given them, which to all them which have not that somewhat else given (and those the far greatest number of men for whom Christ dyed) is not a power to that act, viz. of not-resisting; which what is it other then a direct contradiction, a power and not a po∣wer to the same act? and withall so far from being a favour to them, that it is in event infallibly and inevitably the greatest curse, that could have be∣faln them, viz. the heightening and extreamly ag∣gravating of their guilt and punishment, propor∣tionably Page  87 to their sin of resisting such sufficient grace, of standing out against Christ, which as it is the height of guilt, (and awarded the dregs of Gods wrath,) now under the Gospel, and makes their condition in the world to come, much worse, then it would have been, if Christ had never been borne, or preached to them, so it had never been thus direfully charged upon them, if they had not had the power of not resisting given them by Christ.

§. 22. This is a competent prejudice and dis∣couragement * to this phansy, of founding discrimi∣nating grace and the doctrine of unconditionate decrees in this difference betwixt the power of re∣sisting, and the ipsa non-resistentia, the latter given onely to the Elect.

§. 23. But it will farther be defeated, if we re∣flect on that place of Scripture, wherein Gods giving the ipsa non-resistentia chiefly seems to be mentioned, Phil. II. 13. under the style of 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, *working in us to do, or work, which that it tends not to the support or advantage of this phansy may be evident by these three con∣siderations.

§. 24. First, by the importance of the phrase, [working in us to do, as before to will,] which (as was formerly noted, in passing,) will best be understood by other parallel phrases, as 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Gods giving to serve, Luke. 1. 72. Which is evidently his giving grace, or power, or super∣natural abilities to serve, not onely furnishing him with a remote, and fundamentall power, or facul∣ty, but withall having a particular immediate in∣fluence on the effect, actuating that power, when it is actuated, and so properly causing, or making Page  88 him actually to serve, yet so as to leave him power also to neglect, and receive that power in vain, as the Scripture elsewhere saith; Thus Revel. xi. 3. 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉I will give, wee render, I will give power, viz. power to the subsequent act, prophecying there, as in Luke, serving in holynesse. By which analogy it is evident, that Gods working in us to do, or work, is not interpretable to any more, then his giving supernaturall power, or sufficient grace to do, or worke, and causing him actually, though not irresistibly to work, and then here is no pre∣tense whereon to found the foresaid difference, between God's giving the power of not resisting, and the ipsa non-resistentia, these two being equiva∣lent in this Text.

§. 25. Secondly, the same appeareth by the A∣postles exhortation foregoing in this Text, to worke and worke out our own salvation with feare and trembling, for the inforcing whereof this reason is given, for it is God that worketh, &c. Here our own working is under Apostolical exhortation and precept, wee are commanded to worke, as else∣where 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉to cooperate, and worke together with God, which could not have place, if God alone, (and not wee,) did work in us the very working, whereas interpreting it of Gods giving us the power of working, or doing, as well as of willing, and withall engaging us to make use of that power, and cooperating with us in the very act, and so causing us actually to work, yet so as to leave us a power of resisting, and frustrating, and receiving this power or grace in vain, this is a most proper and effectuall inforcement of the exhortation ad∣drest to us, to work and work out our own salvati∣on.

Page  89 §. 26. This farther and most irrefragably ap∣peares by the persons, to whom both the exhorta∣tion, and this enforcement thereof is tendred, viz: the brethren indefinitely, or beloved, verse. 12. the whole Church of Professors at Philippi to whom he writes, which being not made up wholly of the elect, sincere, and persevering Christians, but like the net, in Christ's parable, that caught both good and bad, and had no doubt some insincere persons, hypocrites, and temporaryes in it, the affirmation notwithstanding is indiscriminately of all, God worketh in them to work, which could not hold, if by this phrase were meant his giving the ipsa non-resistentia, and that as an evidence of discriminating grace, and an effect of his Election, for this is not supposable to have belonged to that whole Church, any more then it then did, or now is believed to do to all Christi∣ans.

§. 27. I have enlarged thus far, because I was not willing to omit, but rather to prevent what∣soever I could foresee might probably be objected in this businesse. And so this may suffice to have returned to your first difficulty.

§. 28. The second difficulty you thus propose, *Whereas it is said, and that, (as you conceive,) most truly and agreably to plain evidence of Scripture, that God withdraweth his grace from such as re∣jecting it when it is offered to them by the preaching of the Gospel, do thereby frustrate the Counsell of God against themselves, it seemeth hard to conceive how the grace of God should be so withdrawn from them, that so do, but that, so long as they are not deprived of the outward means, the same sufficient grace that was offered to them at the first hearingPage  90of the Gospel, is offered to them still; which if it was then sufficient on God's part, to do the work, is also still sufficient, and that in the same degree, and how then can it be said to be withdrawn? It is true that the conversion of such a person, after so long obstinacy and refusall is more difficult then before, which may arise from the greater indisposition of the person to be wrought upon, but how it can be imputed in the least, to the withdrawing of the divine grace, (to which yet undoubtedly it may and ought to be imputed,) upon the former supposall on the like sufficiency remaining, I must professe my self not able to understand.]

§. 29. To this I shall not doubt to apply a satis∣factory answer, and such as you will acknowledge to be such, by distinguishing of Gods withdrawing his grace. For, 1. it being Gods method to give*more grace to those that walk worthy of it, the humble obedient children of grace, when he on our provocations stops that current, this may be called withdrawing. God's smitings are his admoniti∣ons, (heare ye the Rod,) his admonitions, as any other dispensation of his word are vehicles of grace, and when these prevaile not, they are thus with∣drawn, i. e. not farther encreased, (why should yee be smitten any more, &c. Is. 1.) Yet is this withdrawing consistent with Gods affording suffici∣ent*grace, either by instruments of some other kinde, or even of the same kinde, the continuance of that proportion, which was formerly afforded; as he that gives a competency, and would if he saw it well used, daily make additions to it, though he see cause to with-hold those additions, yet he may continue that competency. But in propriety of speech, (the truth is,) this is rather with-holding,Page  19 then withdrawing, yet because the not giving what was promised to be given is tantamount to with∣drawing, I therefore place this in the first ranke, supposing it cleare, that this doth not onely leave sufficient grace; but is it self designed to awaken and quicken those that did not formerly make good use of it, Lest a worse thing yet befall them.

§. 30. Secondly, then withdrawing being taken * in the proper sense, for taking away from and diminishing the stock, before afforded, that may yet be but in part, not totall, and there being a * latitude in sufficient grace, some degrees of that may be taken away, and yet that which remaines be sufficient, an image of which is that degree of Church-censures, which cutting off from the participation of the Eucharist, or suspending from it, allowes the hearing of the word, and partaking in the prayers of the faithfull, And this act of Gods withdrawing, again is so far from denying sufficient grace, that it is purposely used and de∣signed, as the most probable means to make that sufficient grace effectuall, which formerly had not been so.

§. 31. There may yet be a third, and yet fur∣ther degree of withdrawing, which at the present, * and as to sufficient grace, may be said to be totall, i. e. such a withdrawing of grace at the present, that it shall truly be said such a man is not now allowed sufficient for his necessities, whether it be that his necessities are grown greater, and so the former competency will not suffice, or be it also, that some of that which he had is withdrawn, as when he that for some time had no violent temp∣tations, and was furnished with strength propor∣tionable Page  92 to what he had, upon his betraying this strength, and sinning willfully against it, is by God called out to sharper combats, having been foiled with the weaker, and perhaps some part of his former strength withdrawn from him also, when he hath most need of succours, and should certainly have had them, had he not thus provoked the with∣holding them. In this case the aime of this punish∣ment of Gods is yet most wise and mercifull, thus to convince such a man of his guilts, and impotence, (the effect of them,) and so as by turning Ne∣buchadnezzar into the field, thorowly to humble him, to excite ardency of prayers, both for pardon, and grace, which God in that case failes not to give, and so to restore such a man to a greater stability of his former state.

§. 32. And so still this is neither finall, nor simply totall, as that signifies withdrawing all grace, but onely totall for a time in the sence declared, as it signified the withdrawing what was necessary to their present state.

§. 33. And I need not shew you how far this is reconcileable with sufficient grace, any farther then thus, that such an one though severely mulcted hath yet time for repentance and grace to make some use of it, which if he failes not in, he hath assurance of more grace, and this demonstrated to be so, by his not being cut off in his sins, (Gods long-suffering leading him to repentance,) and by * the light of Gods word, and articulation of his calls dayly continued to him, which are not void of that grace, which is sufficient to work conviction, and hath the promise of more, (upon asking,) made to him that is thus qualified for it.

Page  93 §. 34. Fourthly, there is the removing the can∣dlestick,* the withdrawing all the outward ordina∣ry means of Grace, the preaching of the Word and Sacraments, which if it be done by the censures of the Church, is called the delivering up to Satan, or if it be done by Gods judgements, invasion of barbarians, &c. it is yet to those persons that are thus punished, perfectly proportionable to that of the Church-censures. And yet of those it is said expresly by the Apostle, that the end of inflicting them is for edification, that they may be disciplined,*taught not to blaspheme. This supposes continu∣ance * of Grace to them that are thus punished, and that sufficient to make use of this punishment to their amendment, nay the punishment, though it be the withdrawing of one instrument of Grace, is it self another, and therefore purposely chosen and allowed in exchange for the former, because it is looked on as the more probable to produce the Effect.

§. 35. They that see so great a benefit withdrawn from them for their unworthiness, will be thereby excited to reflect on their provocations, and be∣wail them, and contend by all regular means to regain what they have forfeited, and to repair their defects some other way, and this being the very end to which this punishment is by God de∣signed, it is not imaginable, he doth yet (till this method also be despised) withold that degree of Grace from such which is necessary for the pro∣ducing of the Effect.

§. 36. All the ordinances of God, we know (and such are the Censures) yea and all the wise dispen∣sations * of his providence, particularly his punish∣ments of this life (and therefore this, as the last, Page  94 beside excision) are instruments of Grace in the hands of his wisdome, as well as the preaching of the word is, and therefore in all reason to be re∣solved to be the vehicles of Grace also, and so nei∣ther is this any objection against Gods giving suf∣ficient Grace to those, whom he thus punishes, in case they begin to make use of it. If they do not, but continue still obstinate, 'tis just it should at length be withdrawn from them.

§, 37. But this must be understood onely of those persons to whom the light of the Gospel had formerly shined, not to their distant poste∣rity, which never have had any gleames of it, though their Ancestors had the fullest Sunshine. These are to be reckon'd with the heathen, with whom you know we undertook not to meddle, trea∣ting onely of the Scripture-Election, terminated in those to whom the Scripture is revealed.

§. 38. Fifthly there is a totall and finall with∣drawing of all grace, as well as the means of it, * which is visible in the cutting off such an one in his sins, and when this comes, our former supposall of sufficient grace, as of the preaching of the word, and God's calls, are utterly at an end, but this breeds no shew of difficulty, that man having enjoyed and mispent his time of sufficient grace, and now the store-houses are shut up.

§. 39. But there is yet possibly a sixth state of with-drawing, when before either cutting off, or * with-drawing Gods outward calls, whilst life, and the preaching of the word is continued, the ob∣durate sinner, that hath long hardened his own heart against God, thereby provokes him totally to with-draw all inward Grace from him, as much as if he were already in hell; This seems to be Pha∣raoh'sPage  95 case after the sixth judgement, and was de∣signed by God to very excellent ends, to make him an example to all those that should be inclined to harden their hearts against God; And though we know not that God thus deals with any others, yet it is sure he justly may with all whom he may justly cut off in their sins. And in this case I acknowledge the non-conversion of such a man is not onely impu∣table to the indisposition of the person to be wrought on, but also to the withdrawing of the divine grace, for then, as I said, the former supposal (of the like sufficiency remaining) ceaseth, and is out∣dated.

§. 40. What fresh difficulties can arise from this concession, I cannot divine, unless 1. it should be objected, that then, it seems, the word is not al∣wayes the vehicle of Grace, and then 2. who knows when it is so, when not? And how then is this re∣concileable with the doctrine of sufficient grace al∣wayes accompanying the word? And to these the answers are obvious, 1. that it is granted that the * Word is not the vehicle of Grace to the Divils who believe and tremble, to the damned who have re∣ceived their sentence, nay nor to those that are thus arrived to the highest degree of obduration in this life, and have, as Pharaoh, this exterminating sentence passed upon them. It is sufficient if it be so to them that are in a capacity to make use of it, and have not utterly hardened themselves against it, the Scripture-expression being, that the Gospel is the power of God to salvation to every one that be∣lieves*it, and this is enough to establish our pre∣tensions, the doctrine of sufficient grace. There is a competent time allowed every man, and 'tis cer∣tain, death is the conclusion of it, 'tis possible some space before death.

Page  96 §. 41. As for the second, if it were on the pre∣mised grounds granted, that sometimes it cannot be known whether or no the preaching of the Word do then bring this Grace with it, yet the one re∣gular consequence would be that we should all be the more carefull to make use of Grace, when it is afforded: But when to this is added, that this bar∣ren season is alwayes the reward of obstinate obdu∣ration (and of nothing less then that) As long as * we have any softness left, that is our assurance that this sad time is not yet come upon us. They that go on in their obdurate course, have reason to ex∣pect this fatal period every hour, but they that have remorse, and any degree of sincere relenting, may know by this, that this state of spiritual death hath not yet seized them, and that is sufficient to guard this doctrine from all noxious consequences, ha∣ving provided that none shall hereby think his state desperate, that is willing to reform it.

§. 42. But then it is farther to be remembred, that there appears not in the word of God, any o∣ther example of this totall spirituall dereliction fi∣nally * inflicted, before death, but onely that of Pharaoh, after the time that God is said to have hardened his heart; and the reason of this is set down, God keeps him alive, after the time due to his excision, that he might shew in him his power. And such singular examples ought no farther to be * taken into consideration by us at this distance from them, then to warn us, that we keep as far as it is possible from the like provocations, And then there remains not, that I discern, any farther appearance of difficulty in this matter.

§. 43. As for any others that shall be apt to oc∣cur, when men set themselves to consider of these Page  97 points, not divining what they are, I may not pre∣tend to speak to them, any farther then thus, that in all probability they may be measured by these, which you have chosen to mention, and by nearer approach to them be likewise found not to be so deep, as at the distance they are conceited to be. This then concludes your trouble; It re∣mains that according to my promise I now onely annex the Letters of Praescience, and hasten to sub∣scribe my self

Your most affectionate brother and servant H. HAMMOND.

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.

THE FIRST LETTER.

§. 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.

SIR.

§. 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.

SIR.

§. 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.

Page  159POSTSCRIPT.

§. 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.

FINIS.
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THE LAST VVORDS OF THE Reverend, Pious and Learned Dr. HAMMOND: Being Two PRAYERS for the Peaceful re-settlement of this Church and State.

Prayer I.

O Blessed Lord, who in thine infinite mercy didst vouchsafe to plant a glori∣ous Church among us, and now in thy just judgment hast permitted our sins and follies to root it up, be pleased at last to resume thoughts of peace towards us, that we may do the like to one another. Lord, look down from heaven, the habitation of thy holiness, and behold the ruines of a desolated Church, and compassionate to see her in the dust. Behold her, O Lord, not onely broken, but crumbled, divided into so many sects and fractions, that she no longer represents the Ark of the God of Israel, where the Covenant and the Manna were conserved, but the Ark of Noah, filled with all various sorts of unclean beasts; and to com∣plete Page  2 our misery and guilt, the spirit of division hath insinuated it self as well into our affections as our judgments; that badge of Discipleship which thou recommendedst to us, is cast off, and all the contrary wrath and bitterness, anger and clamor, called in to maintain and widen our breaches. O Lord, how long shall we thus violate and defame that Gospel of peace that we profess? how long shall we thus madly defeat our selves, lose that Christianity which we pretend to strive for? O thou which makest men to be of one mind in an house, be pleased so to unite us, that we may be perfectly joyned together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. And now that in Civil affairs there seems some aptness to a composure, O let not our Spiritual differences be more unreconcilable. Lord, let not the roughest winds blow out of the Sanctuary; let not those which should be thy Embassadors for peace still sound a Trumpet for war: but do thou reveal thy self to all our Eliah's in that still small voice, which may teach them to eccho thee in the like meek treating with others. Lord, let no unseasonable stiffness of those that are in the right, no perverse obstinacy of those that are in the wrong, hinder the closing of our wounds; but let the one instruct in meekness, and be thou pleased to give the other repentance to the ac∣knowledgment of the Truth. To this end do thou, O Lord, mollifie all exasperated minds, take off all animosities and prejudices, contempt and heart∣burnings, and by uniting their hearts prepare for the reconciling their opinions: and that nothing may intercept the clear sight of thy truth, Lord, let all private and secular designs be totally deposited, that gain may no longer be the measure of our Godliness, but that the one great and common concernment of Page  3 ruth and peace may be unanimously and vigorously pursued. Lord, the hearts of all men are in thy hands, O be thou pleased to let thy Spirit of peace overshadow the minds of all contending parties; and, if it be thy will, restore this Church to her pri∣stine state, renew her dayes as of old, let her escape out of Egypt, be so entire, that not an hoof may be left behind: But if thy wisdom see it not yet a season for so ful a deliverance, Lord, defer not, we beseech thee, such a degree of it; as may at least secure her a being; if she cannot recover her beauty, yet, O Lord, grant her health, such a soundness of constitu∣tion as may preserve her from dissolution. Let thy providence find out some good Samaritans to cure her present wounds: and to whomsoever thou shalt commit that important work, Lord, give them skilful hands and compassionate hearts; direct them to such applications as may most speedily, and yet most soundly, heal the hurt of the daughter of Sion; and make them so advert to the interests both of truth and peace, that no lawful condescension may be omitted, nor any unlawful made. And do thou, who art both the wonderful Counsellor and Prince of peace, so guide and prosper all pacifick endeavors, that all our distractions may be composed, and our Jerusalem may again become a City at unity in it self; that those happy primitive dayes may at length revert, wherein Vice was the onely heresie; that all our intestine contentions may be converted into a vigorous opposition of our common enemy, our un∣brotherly feuds into a Christian zeal against all that exalts it self against the obedience of Christ. Lord, hear us, and ordain peace for us, even for his sake whom thou hast ordained our Peace-maker, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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Prayer II.

O Most gracious Lord, who doest not afflict willingly, nor grieve the chil∣dren of men, who smitest not till the importunitie of our sins enforce thee, and then correctest in measure, we thy unworthy creatures humbly acknowledge that we have abundantly tasted of this patience and lenity of thine. To what an enormous height were our sins ar∣riv'd ere thou beganst to visit them! and when thou couldst no longer forbear, yet mastering thy power, thou hast not proportion'd thy vengeance to our crimes, but to thy own gracious design of reducing and reclaiming us. Lord, had the first stroke of thy hand been exterminating, our guilts had justified the method; but thou hast proceeded by such easy and gentle degrees, as witness how much thou desiredst to be interrupted, and shew us, that all that sad weight we have long groaned under, hath been accumulated onely by our own incorrigibleness. 'Tis now, O Lord, these many years that this Nation hath been in the furnace, and yet our drosse wasts not but increases; and it is owing onely to thy unspeakable mercy, that we, who would not be purified, are not consumed; that we remain a Nation, who cease not to be a most sinfull, and provoking nation. O Lord, let not this long-suffering of thine serve onely to upbraid our obstinacy, and enhanse our guilt; but let it at last have the proper effect on us, melt our hearts, and lead us to repentance. And oh, that this may be the day for us thus to discern the things that belong to our peace! that all who are (yea, and all who are not) cast down this day in an external humiliation, may by the opera∣tion Page  5 of thy mighty Spirit have their souls laid pro∣strate before thee in a sincere contrition! O thou who canst out of the very stones raise up children unto Abraham, work our stony flinty hearts into such a temper as may be malleable to the impressions of thy grace, that all the sinners in Sion may tremble; that we may not by a persevering obstinacy seal to our selves both temporal and eternal ruine, but instead of our mutinous complaining at the punishments of our sins, search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. O be thou pleas'd to grant us this one grand fundamental mercy, that we who so impatient∣ly thirst after a change without us, may render that possible and safe by this better and more necessary change within us; that our sins may not, as they have so often done, interpose and eclipse that light which now begins to break out upon us. Lord, thy dove seems to approach us with an olive-branch in her mouth, oh let not our silth and noysomness chace her away; but grant us that true repentance which may at one thee, and that Christian charity which may reconcile us with one another. Lord, let not our breach either with thee or among our selves be incurable, but by making up the first prepare us for the healing of the latter. And because, O Lord, the way to make us one fold is to have one shepheard, be pleas'd to put us all under the conduct of Him to whom that charge belongs; bow the hearts of this people as of one man, that the onely contention may be who shall be most forward in bringing back our David. O let none reflect on their past guilts as an argument to perse∣vere, but repent, and to make their return so sincere as may qualify them not onely for his but thy Mercy. And, Lord, be pleas'd so to guide the hearts of all who shall be intrusted with that great concernment of set∣ling Page  6 this nation, that they may weigh all their delibe∣rations in the ballance of the Sanctuary, that consci∣ence, not interest, may be the ruling principle, and that they may render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods; that they may become healers of our breaches, and happy repairers of the sad ruines both in Church and State: and grant, O Lord, that as those sins which made them are become Nationall, so the repentance may be Nationall also, & that evidenc'd by the proper fruits of it, by zeal of restoring the rights both of thee and thine Anointed. And doe thou, O Lord, so dispose all hearts, and remove all obstacles, that none may have the will, much lesse the power, to hinder his peacea∣ble restitution. And, Lord, let him bring with him an heart so intirely devoted to thee, that he may wish his own honour onely as a means to advance thine. O let the precepts and example of his Blessed Father never depart from his mind; and as thou wert pleas'd to perfect the one by suffering, so perfect the other by acting thy will; that He may be a blessed instrument of replanting the power instead of the form of Godli∣ness among us, of restoring Christian vertue in a pro∣phane and almost barbarous Nation. And if any wish him for any distant ends, if any desire his shadow as a shelter for their riots and licenciousnesse, O let him come a great but happy defeat to all such, not bring fewel, but cure, to their inordinate appetites; and by his example as a Christian, and his Authority as a King, so invite to good, and restrain from evil, that he may not onely release our temporall, but our spiritual bondage, suppress those foul and scandalous vices which have so long captivated us, and by secu∣ring our inward, provide for the perpetuating our outward peace. Lord, establish thou his throne in Page  7 righteousnesse, make him a signall instrument of thy glory and our happinesse, and let him reap the fruits of it in comfort here, and in blisse hereafter; that so his earthly Crown may serve to enhanse and enrich his heavenly. Grant this, O King of Kings, for the sake and intercession of our Blessed Mediator, Jesus Christ.

THE END.

LONDON, Printed for Richard Royston at the An∣gel in Ivie-lane, 1660.