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A89737 The orthodox evangelist. Or A treatise wherein many great evangelical truths (not a few whereof are much opposed and eclipsed in this perillous hour of the passion of the Gospel) are briefly discussed, cleared, and confirmed: as a further help, for the begeting, and establishing of the faith which is in Jesus. As also the state of the blessed, where; of the condition of their souls from the instant of their dissolution: and of their persons after their resurrection. By John Norton, teacher of the church at Ipswich in New England. Norton, John, 1606-1663. 1654 (1654) Wing N1320; Thomason E734_9; ESTC R206951 276,720 371

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Vide Epist ad Ctesiphontem advers Pelagium Item Dialog adv pelag librum primum Hiero Epist To. 2. as the wind is unto a vessel under sail and ready upon the motion of the stream to lanch forth as light is to an open eye yet in the dark The Necessity of the concurrence of the first cause with the second in the operations thereof appears thus All creatures depend upon God in respect of their Being Conservation and Operation For in him we live and move and have our being Acts 17.28 We have our being there is our dependance in respect of our Creation we live there is our dependance in respect of our Conservation we move there is our dependance in respect of our Operation Creatures depend no less upon God in respect of operations then in respect of their beings because the operations of things in both instants viz. both of being and of operation are equally beings of participation 2. From the perfection of the first Cause such is the nature of the first Cause being God and the nature of the second cause being a creature as that thence necessarily followeth the amplitude of Perfection in the first Cause and a universal and subordinate dependance in the second cause in respect of its efficiency In this regard Plato called the second causes the instruments of the first Cause which though in some respect it holdeth not Rhetorf Ex. 3. c. 2. de effi grat because instruments properly so called have no proper efficiency yet so far it is a truth as that every creature universally dependeth more upon God then any creature upon its fellow-creature 3. It implyeth a contradiction Omnia pendent a Deo essentialiter immediatè intrinsicè absolutè aeque ac aequalitèr that the creature should be able to act without dependancy upon the Creator 1. Because the agent being a creature is depending therefore its power to act is depending the power of acting holds proportion with the agent 2. Because the action proceeding from this agent is a being by participation it is impossible for the creature to have other then a depending being 4. As the conserving influence of God is unto the conservation of the creature so is the assisting influence of God unto the operation of the creature If God doth but meerly cease his conserving influence the creature ceaseth to be if God ceaseth his assisting influence the creature ceaseth to act The insensible cessation of the influence of the first Cause without any further violence or hurt done puts a period to the being or stoppeth the operation of the second cause respectively In the Concurse of the first Cause Of the manner of the concurrence of the first Cause with the second 1. Foregoing the influence or concurence thereof 1. Foregoeth the operation of the second cause in order though it be together with it in time The concurring influence of the Creator is the action of the first Cause the operation of the creature following thereupon is the action of the second cause and an effect of that concurring influence Now such an operation of the second cause must needs follow the concurrence of the first because of the order of Causes the first is before the second Of the dignity of the first Cause the first is more worthy then the second Of the dependance of the second cause the second cause depends on the first Of the essential subordination of the second Cause that which is essentially i. e. by absolute necessity of Nature subordained is consequent to that whereto it is subordained And lastly it is manifest in the operation of the creature as an effect thereof the concurring influence of the Creator is the first Cause the effect is after the cause 2. 2. Co-working It is by way of Co-operation or co-working with the second cause in this co-operation Concurse as was now intimated is the action of the first Cause the operation is the action of the second cause from both conjoyned proceedeth the effect Though the effect wrought by means of the operation of the second cause and the operation by means whereof the effect is wrought are both the effects of the first Cause yet in the producing of such effects as are wrought by means of the creature as the second cause cannot produce such an effect without the first Cause so the first Cause will not produce such effects-without the second cause the conjunction of the operation of the first Cause with the second in bringing forth such effects is the co-operation here spoken of In this Co-operation of the first Cause with the second necessary it is that the co-operation of the second cause with the first which necessarily followeth thereupon is absolutely subordinate not co-ordinate with the first Cause A co-ordinate Cause worketh of it self not depending upon its co-working cause or causes A subordinate cause is that which dependeth upon its superior Cause in respect of its working as the Officer upon the Magistrate An absolute subordinate Cause is that which dependeth absolutely upon its superior Cause in respect of its working so all second causes depend upon the first Cause The concurrence of the first Cause with the second 3. Immediate is immediate both in respect of the immediation of its virtue and the immediation of his presence When we say the first Cause concurreth immediately with the second the meaning is that in the co-operation thereof it so works with and upon the second cause as it intimately reacheth it and so as nothing is interposed as it is with two things that touch one another between which there is nothing Immediateness of presence is when things so act one upon another as that the beings or substances of the things are present with one another and touch one the other So fire burning the stubble doth immediately touch it not only with the immediation of its virtue but also with the immediation of its present substance Immediateness of virtue is when notwithstanding the things that act one upon another touch not one another in respect of their beings yet the virtue of the one reacheth and as it were toucheth the other otherwise there could be no working of one thing upon another all acting being by contact i. e. mutual touching either really and virtually or virtually though not really So the fire that warmeth though it reacheth not him that sitteth by it with its substance for then it would burn him Deus agit indistanter Deus corporeus non est sed incorporeus Et ubique diffusus omnia penetrans ad omnē effectum non mod immediatione virtutis sed immediati ne suppositi pertingens Twi Cr. 3. l. 2. yet it reacheth him with its virtue otherwise it could not warm him Now though it be many times a truth concerning the working of second causes one upon another that they work immediately in respect of their virtue but not in respect of the presence of their
God governeth according to his Law nor how his Word and Works of Providence do agree the error is in our Judgment not in his Government We know that God is just in all his ways though the reason of the Justice of some of his ways we know not That Gods Word and his Works agree is manifest unto us though how they agree is sometimes hidden from us The seeming defects of Beauty or Justice in the Works of God proceed from the error of our understanding not from any want in Providence The offence that man takes at the Providence of God is taken not given A preservative against temptations arising from difficulties concerning the Justice of the Government of God is to captive Reason unto Faith and to hold these three Conclusions firm though we see not the reason of the premisses 1. That God is righteous Righteous art thou O Lord when I plead with thee yet let me talk with thee of thy Judgments Jer. 12.1 2. That godliness doth us good and no hurt Truly God is good to Israel even to such as are of a clean heart Psal 73.1 3. That sin doth us hurt and no good Though a sinner doth evil an hundred times and his days be prolonged yet surely I know that it shall be with well them that fear God which fear before him But it shall not be well with the wicked neither shall he prolong his days which are as a shadow because he feareth not before God Eccles 8.12 13. Obj. Some things in Scripture are ascribed unto Chance Eccles 9.11 Luke 10.31 therefore all things are not ordered by God Ans Chance is taken for an Event Túxn non legitur in N. T. Fortuna gentilium est blasphemia quam Diabolus expuit in divinā providentiā unde bea ū Augustinū paenituit se toties impiâ hac voce usum fuisse supposed to fall out by a meer contingent efficiency or casual working of the second cause besides the intent and therefore without the Efficiency of the first Cause Such Events the Heathens ascribed unto Fortune in this sence there is no Chance It is not unworthy our observation that the word properly signifying Fortune is not used in the New Testament Or else Chance is taken for such an Event good or bad as falleth or meeteth a man in his way unlooked for viz. unexpectedly in respect of men but not unintendedly in respect of God The word used Ecclesiast 9. verse 11. is translated an occurrent 1 Kings 5.4 a Metaphor taken from something meeting of a man or one meeting another upon the way unexpectedly So that Solomons scope in the place objected is to shew that the event of humane affairs is not in the power of man however furnished thereunto with second helps but depends upon the Decree and efficient Providence of God This the Wise-man holdeth forth by an enumeration of some particulars whence as by several instances God would teach this truth by denying success to such persons who according to second causes might expect it and giving it to them who according to second causes could not expect it I returned and saw under the Sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battel to the strong neither yet bread to the wise nor yet riches to men of understanding nor yet favor to men of skill but time and chance happeneth to them all Eccles 9.11 The word used Luke 10.31 and translated it chanced is of the same signification with the Hebrew word used Eccl. 9.11 turned Chance and with that vers 2. turned Event 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 aeb Heb. 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 unde 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Pisc in loc from the root whereof the Greek word is by some thought to come it is taken for a good event Ruth 2.3 for a bad event 1 Sam. 6.9 Those things that fall out casually or necessarily in regard of the second cause fall out alike infallibly and therefore alike intendedly in regard of Gods Decree Those effects which proceed from second necessary causes as heat from fire are said to fall out necessarily Those effects which proceed from second contingent causes that is such whose effects in respect of their second cause was likely not to be as to be as namely the elicit acts i. e. the free choyce of the will or the tyle falling from the house to alight upon the head of the passengers are said to fall out casually These modifications or qualifications of things namely Necessity and Contingency as they stand opposed one unto another are only found in things in respect of the second causes not in respect of the first Cause Those things which fall out most necessarily in regard of the second cause in respect of the first cause they may be said to fall out freely rather then necessarily In like manner those things which fall out contingently in regard of second causes upon supposition of the Decree so predetermining them may be said to fall out necessarily No necessary act of the creature is necessary simply an experiment whereof is the Babylonish furnace Every contingent act of the creature is necessary upon the supposition of the Decree The same effect is contingent and casual in respect of the second cause and necessary in respect of the Decree Contingent or casual because in respect of the natural agency or causality of the second cause it might not have been but necessary in respect of the Decree all whose volitions infer a necessity of infallibility The Doctrine of the Efficiency of God affords an Antidote or Preservative against many pestilent Errors concerning the Providence of GOD The Vse of this Doctrine The chief whereof are 1. Atheism concluding from the seeming disorder of second causes that there is no God 2. Epicurism concluding from the appearing confusion of humane affairs that God neither governs nor regards them and thereupon looks at it as the only good to take its fill of pleasure during life 3. Stoicism Non Deus est numen parcarum carceclausum Q●ale putabat●r st●icus esse Deus which maketh the first Cause to be depending upon and determined by the second causes in respect of their operations 4. Such who ascribe the administration of things unto Fortune that is neither unto the irresistable order of the second cause with the Stoicks nor unto God with the Truth but unto that blind Idol devised by the Heathen and justly censured to be the spittle of the Devil upon the face of divine Providence 5. Libertinism denying the Efficiency of the second cause and thereby introducing that Chaos of confusion and transgression Bellar. de amiss grat stat pec lib. 2. cap. 18. Vasquez in 3. disp 14. cap. 8. ex Twiss c●im 3 Suarez M●taph disp 22. Sect. 2. of which before 6. The Doctrine of the Jesuites who albeit they teach the concurrence of the first cause to be necessary unto each operation of the second cause yet so as
〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Sicredideris particula si non est 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Buc. loc 21. q. 3. In which respect we are said to be chosen in him Ephes 1.4 Ascribing due glory unto the Father takes not from but adds to the glory of the Mediatour That Name above all names given unto the Mediatour is Jesus Christ the Lord Philip. 2.9 10 11. Gods Name is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ 2 Cor. 1.3 Ephes 1.3 1 Pet. 1.3 Christ is all and in all Col. 3.11 God is all in all 1 Cor. 15.28 Christ is all and in all efficiently and meritoriously God is all in all essciently and originally Obj. 3. The active and passive Obedience of Christ is the condition of the salvation of the Elect Jes 53.10 As Adams personal and perfect obedience was a condition in the first Covenant therefore though grace be free in respect of election yet it is not free in respect of the Application of the good of Election Ans The Application both of grace and glory and all the good of the Covenant of grace are free to us though conditioned unto Christ Free-grace exciudes not Christs Merit but mans merit Obj 4. Faith is a condition though not of it self yet of salvation that in the Elect themselves therefore the Application of salvation seems not to be free in respect of the Elect. Ans A Condition is either a Condition properly so called i. e. an antecedent Condition Or a Condition improperly so called i. e. a consequent Condition A Condition properly so called is a Law or Observation annexed to a business the performance whereof lyeth upon the Covenant and accordingly the business becometh valid or null Such a condition was Works in the first Covenant If Faith were such a condition there would soon be an end of the Covenant of grace yea the Covenant of grace were indeed no Covenant of grace A Condition improperly so called or a Consequent Condition is such a condition whose performance by the Covenantee is absolutely undertaken for and irresistably wrought by the Covenantor and not left in suspence upon the Covenantee to be performed by his own strength Faith is a consequent condition not an antecedent condition So as this Proposition I will give Eternal life unto the Elect if they do believe is aequivolent unto this I will out of my absolute will give unto the Elect Eternal life because I will out of my absolute will give unto the Elect to believe The Condition of Faith depends not upon the Will of the Elect either to be or not to be but upon the absolute and gracious Will of God Obj. 5. Repentance and New-obedience are necessary to salvation Luke 13.3 Heb. 3.14 Therefore the Application of the good of Election seemeth not to be free in respect of us Ans Good Works which is also true of Repentance are necessary as the way appointed of God unto salvation but not as the cause this were to change the Covenant of grace into a Covenant of works Our good works are the effects of grace the reward of our good works is a reward of grace Good Works are necessary to salvation as the way not as an instrument or cause Faith is necessary as the way and as an instrument The term Special why diligently to be observed the active and passive Obedience of Christ is necessary as a Meritorious cause The Reason why the term Special is diligently to be observed in this Proposition is That we may the more distinctly conceive of the nature of grace and both discern and eschew the errour of the enemies of grace who so affirm it as in effect they deny it and whilest they seem to stand for grace they indeed withstand and overthrow it either by an equivocation in or by a sophistical interpretation of the term Grace * Pelagiani naturae vim gratiae nomine nuncupare solebant quo sententiāsuā occultarēt offensam hominū de gratia Dei sanctè sententiā e● commodiùs vitarent Twiss vind grat errat 9. Sect. 9. The Pelagians Semi-pelagians Jesuits and Arminians all affirm this Proposition viz. That Faith is the Effect of Grace but understanding the word Grace therein in such a various and graceless sence as followeth The Pelagians understand by grace only the grace of nature that is the remainder of the Image of God in man after the fall whereby the Will without any further help from supernatural grace is able to believe Thus the Pelagians confound grace and nature The Semipelagians or Massilienses men of much account for learning their time whom Prosper in his Epistle to Augustine calleth the Reliques of the Pelagians understand by grace the conjunction of supernatural grace with free-will So as they both concure together as Joynt-workers and partial-causes i. e. fellow-causes in working of faith Which help of supernatural grace man according to them merits by the good use of his free-will The Jesuits understand by grace Facientiquod in se est presertim si vivat sub notitia Evangelii Deus non denegat auxilium primae gratiae Smising disp Theol. Tom. 1 Tr. 3. disp 6. Fidelis faciens quod ex se est ex congruo meritur gratiā justific antē idem 623. Justificatus potest de congruo mereri gratiam perseverandi idem 700. N. 518. Justificatus potest de condigno mereri salutem ibid. the conjunction of free-will and supernatural grace So as they both concur as joynt partial or fellow-causes in the working of faith Where also note That they understand not faith as we do but define their faith to be a general knowledge and certainty whereby they conclude the Word of God to be divine and true The Sum of their Doctrine comes to this To the natural man that doth what in him lyes especially if he liveth under the knowledge of the Gospel God will not deny the help of the first grace The believer that doth what in him lyeth merits with the merit of congruity justifying grace i. e. habitual grace according to them The justified person may merit with the merit of conguity the grace of perseverance The justified Person persevering may merit salvation with the merit of condignity The Arminians understand by grace the conjunction of supernatural grace yet that is but supernatural common grace with free-will So as both concur together as co-working joynt partial or fellow-causes of faith as it is with a man and a boy drawing the sameship together So as the work is not wrought by grace alone without free-will nor by free-will alone without grace but by both together Whence it followeth according to them which they also affirm that as much grace on Gods part may be put forth upon one that finally resisteth the motion of grace as there is upon one that yeildeth obedience thereunto And that the last and conclusive reason in such a case why one believeth and the other believeth not is from the free co-operation of
clearly seen in respect of its divers created objects which as they have their being from Gods good pleasure so had he so pleased they had never been but continued for ever in their nothing himself notwithstanding eternal all blessed and all glorious Omnipotency is God able to do whatsoever his wisdom doth conceive Gen. 18.14 Matth. 19.26 Isai 46.10 All Contradictions Impossibilities and Repugnancies unto the revealed Will of God are excluded in this Proposition God is Omnipotent or God can do all things That things which imply a contradiction as namely for the same thing to be and not to be and impossibilities as namely for a man not to be a reasonable creature and the like fall not under the compass of Omnipotency is not from any defect it is indeed from the perfection of power in God but from the impossibility of the things so that concerning matters of this nature it is more convenient to say Vnde convenientius dr Ea non possunt fieri quam quod Deus ea non possit facere Tho. Part. qu. 25. art 3. that they cannot be which sheweth their non-possibility to be then that God cannot do them which seemeth to touch upon Omnipotency So likewise that God cannot sin lye or deny himself is not from defect but from the Eminency of his Power and Absolute Perfection whence he is uncapable of being touched with any imperfection Obj. God cannot destroy Sodom until Lot be gone out of it Gen. 19.22 Like speeches whereunto are used elsewhere it seems therefore God is not Omnipotent Ans The Power of God is either absolute and unlimited by it he is able to do all things that are possible though he never do them or ordinate and limited by his Decree and revealed Will according to which God having freely bounded himself changeth not being immutable These words and the like spoken elsewhere are to be understood of his limited not of his unlimited power Though God be Omnipotent yet he is not Omnivolent that is though God can do whatsoever he pleaseth yet God is not pleased to do whatsoever he can Perfection is God all-sufficient and all-excellent not having need of any thing giving sufficience unto and having in him the perfection of all things Gen. 17.1 2. Exod. 6.3 This Attribute renders God as that infinite Sea of all happiness Perfection is increated Glory that is all the Attributes in one word as Happiness is the Sum of Mans good so Glory is the Sum of all Gods Attributes The Perfection of God is Essential Independent Unlimited without increase or decrease As the Power of subordinate causes is contained in the first cause virtually and as the Authority of Under-Officers is in the Prince after a more excellent manner so the virtue of all second causes is contained in the first cause eminently The word Eminently taken in its strict and proper sence seemeth to intend the effect to be in the cause not only in a more excellent manner then in it self but also in a super-created manner Things are in God agreeable to the Nature of God in themselves according to their proper natures Eminential Continency and Virtual Continency that is for one thing to be contained in another eminently as the Excellency of the creature is in the Creator Or Virtually as all things saleable are in money Eccles 10.9 are not the same the first is proper to the Creator the second is found in the creature The Essential Perfection of God is Increated Glory Eternal alwayes the same from which nothing can be taken to which nothing can be added The acknowledgement of the manifested Perfections of God is Glorification viz. The Act of the creature done in time admitting more or less according as God is known or acknowledged CHAP. II. Of the Trinity FOr our better proceeding in searching into this Mystery of Mysteries Consider 1. The Clearness of the Truth from Scriptures 2. What a Person is 3. What it is that constitutes a Person 4. What a Personal Act is the attending whereunto helps much to clear both the Nature of a Person and the Trinity of Persons 5. The Names or Appellations ascribed to the several Persons in the Scripture 6. The Distinction between a Person the Essence 7. The Distinction between a Person and a Person 8. What terms we are to avoid in speaking of the Trinity 9. Satisfaction to some few Objections 10. The Usefulness of this Doctrine Amongst the Multitude of Scriptures The Clearness of this Truth from the Scriptures holding forth the Doctrine of the Trinity of Persons in the Divine Essence Let it at present suffice to transcribe these And God said Let us make man in our image after our likeness Gen. 1.26 And the Lord God said Behold the man is become as one of us to know good and evil Gen. 3.22 Go to Let us go down and there confound their language that they may not understand one anothers speech Gen. 11.7 But none saith Where is God my Makers so is the Hebrew who giveth Songs in the night Job 35.10 And one cried unto another and said Holy holy holy is the Lord of Hosts the whole Earth is full of his Glory Isai 6.3 And the Heavens were opened unto him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a Dove and lighting upon him and lo a voyce from Heaven saying This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased Matth. 3.16 17. Go therefore and teach all Nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost Matth. 28.19 But when the Comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father He shall testifie of me John 15.26 The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all Amen 2 Cor. 13.13 For there are three that bare record in Heaven the Father the Word and the Holy Spirit and these three are one 1 John 5.7 A Person viz. an Increated Person is the Divine Essence subsisting in a Relative Property What a Person is The Essence with its Subsistence not the Essence alone not the Subsistence alone 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 〈◊〉 Subsistentia but both the Essence and the Subsistence constitute a Person this the Greek word holds forth Heb. 1.3 which is translated a Person Subsistence adds unto substances the independing manner of their existing In reasonable Nature it giveth Created in the Divine Nature it is Increated Personality Subsistence considered in its abstract notion as distinct from Essence the manner of the Essence the manner of the Existence for Essence or Being and Existing in God are all one A Relative Property an incommunicable property are Synonima's i. e. they are divers terms and expressions signifying the same thing they give personality and distinguish one person from another The Subsistences in the Divine Nature are relative and individuating that is they are relative properties They are Relative Hae
of a Mediator by the divine institution of the Father John 10.36 Sealed i. e. authorized as it were by a Commission under hand and seal Joh. 6.27 sent into the world for the execution of this office so far as it was to be performed upon earth John 3 17. 10.36 This Call of the Lord Jesus unto office includes election on the Fathers part and acceptation on the Mediator's part and is set down after the manner of a mutual transaction between God and Christ whereby he was designed thereunto as it were by way of Covenant If his soul shall set it self an offering for sin for so according to the Original do good Authors read the text he shall see his seed he shall prolong his dayes and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand Isai 53.10 As Christ since the incarnation is a Mediatour incarnate so before the incarnation he was Mediatour to be incarnate He was designed and accepted to be Mediatour from Eternity Jesus Christ yesterday and to day and for ever Heb. 13.8 He was declared and declaratively accepted to be Mediatour presently after the fall Gen. 3.15 Hence it was as free and entire unto God to save those that dyed before the incarnation for the sake of a Mediatour to be incarnate as it is to save those that dyed since the incarnation for the sake of a Mediatour actually incarnate Though Christ was not actually slain until his passion yet he was virtually incarnate slain that is in God's Decree and acceptation from the Foundation of the world Rev. 13.8 Therefore he must needs be a Mediatour from the foundation of the world The Parts of this Office are three viz. Prophetical Priestly Kingly Christ revealed and revealeth effectually to his Elect the whole Counsel of God as a Prophet He procured and procureth for them all the good therein revealed as a Priest What is revealed by him as a Prophet and procured as a Priest but as yet un-applyed he applyed and applyeth as a King The Parts of his Office are by some mentioned in this order rather then otherwise for a three-fold reason 1. In respect of man whose ignorance is healed by him as a Prophet his alienation as a Priest his impotency to subjection as a King 2. In respect of the Manner of the actual Dispensation of Salvation made known by him as a Prophet procured by him as a Priest applyed by him as a King 3. In respect of the Manner of the Execution of his Office he taught as a Prophet he suffered as a Priest he entered into Heaven as a King The common Work of Christ viz. Promulgation of the truth unto illumination gifting governing c. Of such as live under the Gospel if not elected proceedeth from Christ as a Mediatour If elected it proceedeth from him who is their Mediatour Saving work is proper to the Elect and proceedeth from Christ not only as a Mediatour but as their Mediatour Christ in regard of his Office and humane nature is called the Servant of God Jer. Matth. 12.8 receiveth a command John 10.18 receiveth the written mind of God Psal 40.8 Matth. 26.24 Heb. 10.17 Luke 2.24.47 John 6.38 God by his absolute power could have saved man without a Mediatour Tho. Part. 3. qu. 46. art 2. Estius lib. 3. dist 24. ss 1. Twiss de Elect lib. 1. part 2. dig 8. he is omnipotent and could have done what he pleased Besides his Will is the Rule of righteousness God doth not will things because they are just but they are just because God willeth them Besides the Exectuion of Justice sheweth that it is not dispensed of absolute necessity for he doth not punish sin alwayes Adam's sin was not punished until Christ Nor doth he punish sin to the uttermost of his power the torment of hell might have been greater then it is both which properties are inseperable from necessary Agents As the Sun because it shineth necessarily it shineth always and shineth with all its might fire because it burneth necessarily having a fit matter it burneth continually and with all its force The punishment of sin then being the effect of his pleasure it followeth had he so pleased there might have been no punishment of sin at all But God for the Manifestation of the Glory of his mercy in a way tempered with justice having constituted this way of satisfaction to his relative Justice and the salvation of the Elect his power in it self absolute being now determined unto such an Order of proceeding by the Act of his own free good pleasure As it is impossible that any should be saved but the Elect so it is impossible that any of them should be saved but by the Man Christ Jesus Acts 4.12 Matth. From the Premises it is clear That Christ together with his Office Acceptation Merit and Efficacy thereof Mediatorens agere convenit Divinae Naturae non ut naturae sed ut tali modo existenti qui modus non convenit Patri aut Filio Bell. Enerv. To. 1. lib. 2. cap. 3. is the fruit and effect of the love of God and therefore is far from being the cause of the love of God Christ is a Mediatour of our Salvation but not of our Election Obj. To be a Mediatour implyeth inferiority But Christ is God being then God that is the Divine Nature subsisting in the relation of the Son and man in one person God is not inferiour unto any the Persons are equal Ans Christ in respect of the Divine Nature considered in it self is equal with God Philip. 2.6 But in respect of his office and the humane nature both which the word Christ precisely taken holdeth us unto he is inferiour to the Father My Father is greater then I John 14.28 Obj. 2. Christ being both God and Mediatour which is an office implying inferiority it followeth hence That Christ is inferiour unto himself Ans Christ as Mediator is inferiour to himself as God Inequalitas Officiorum non tollit aequalitatem Naturae aut Personarum Inequality in respect of office consisteth with equality in respect of Nature and Persons Obj. 3. Christ being both God and Mediatour it followeth That Christ is a Mediatour unto himself Ans A Mediatour is so Properly or Analogically Properly who reconcileth others unto others Analogically who reconcileth others unto himself Polan Synosp l. 6. c. 27 As he that doth justice unto another exerciseth justice properly but he that doth justice unto himself exerciseth justice proportionably Christ performeth the part of God accepting and of a Mediatour reconciling in a divers respect Obj. 4. 1 Tim. 2.5 For there is one God and one Mediatour between God and man the Man Christ Jesus it may seem from hence That Christ is Mediatour as man not as God-man Ans The word Man is not taken in this place in an abstracted sence for the humane nature alone but in a concrete sence signifying the Person and Nature yea
God by one eternal-free-constant act What the Decree is absolutely determining the Futurition i. e. the infallible future being of whatsoever is besides himself unto the praise of his own Glory the cause and disposer of all things the Antecedent and disposer of all events It is God decreeing because whatsoever is in God is God Ratio actus pueri licèt per negationē a nobis explicitur formaliter consistit in positiva perfectione includente omnē perfectionē formaliter et eminenter quā sequitur talis negatio Smising tract 1. dis 2. n 32. Deus omnia simul et semel comprehendit ab illo aternitatis NVNC ex quo fuit Deus Less de perfect ● 4. c. 1. It is God Decreeing by one Act whatsoever God willeth he willeth by one single act hence God calleth himself I Am Exod. 3.14 to shew that he is without begining without end and without succession In him there is nothing past nothing to come but all is present Whatsoever he thinks he always hath thought and always doth and will think Whatsoever he willeth he always hath Willed and always doth and will Will. There can be no more a new thought a new intent or a new purpose in God then there can be a new God This is further evidenced from the Simplicity of God which is God considered as one meer and perfect Act without all composition Whence he might either not have been or may not be Of him it never could or can be said that any thing was to be in him which is not or cannot be that is A pure Act includes all perfection and removeth all imperfection It is an Eternal Act without beginning without end without all alteration or succession God comprehendeth all things and all events together and at once in the moment of Eternity Eternity is an everlasting NOW without beginning without end without succession all at once always It is a free act proceeding from God not as the Son from the Father nor as the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son by a necessity of nature but so as there is no necessary connexion between his absolut being and the being of the things that are Decreed God hath no need of the things decreed he might have been without them he had been blessed for ever though they had never been It is a constant act What God willeth he willeth always a meer and a pure act without any interruption or shadow of change By it God determineth absolutely because his Decree is the first and and universal cause it is one Act certain and independent all things and all events depending thereupon By it He determineth infallibly God being immutable infinitly wise and able to see all his will fulfilled By it He so fore-disposeth of all as serveth to the manifestation of his all-glorious perfections He made all things for himself Even the Wicked for the day of Evil Prov. 16.4 He is both Alpha and Omega the First and the Last Rev. 1.17 It is the cause and disposer of all things being the first and universal cause before all second causes which are the effects of it It is the Antecedent and disposer of all events consequently of sin The Decree is the antecedent not the cause of sin sin is the consequent not the effect of the Decree As the Decree is the antecedent so it is also the disposer of sin God is the Orderer of sin Acts 4.28 the disorder of the second cause falleth under the order of the first but he neither is nor can be the Author of sin Iam. 1.13 A Consequent Non paucos dissolvitnodos distinctio illa necessaria inter effectū et consequens Prideaux lect 1. de Absol decreto is an event infallibly following something foregoing not as an effect followeth its cause but rather as the night followeth the day of which the day foregoing is no cause according to order of divine institution Death is the Antecedent of the Resurrection but not the cause The Resurrection is the consequent but not the effect of Death The fall of the Jews was the Antecedent not the cause of the calling of the Gentiles The removing of the Romane Empire from the West was an Antecedent not a cause of the Revelation of Antichrist The calling of the Gentiles the Revelation of Antichrist were consequents not effects of these there Antecedents As the Sun had it the faculty of seeing could the whole Globe be presented at the same time halfe whereof only in regard of its figure is now in sight of it at once would with one look behold it all so God by one act comprehends all things and all events always The Decree is that everlasting womb wherein is conceived whatsoever hath been is or shall be Time and Eviternity that is the duration of the Creature upon Earth and in Heaven or Hell do but bring forth what is therein conceived according as it is conceived The Decree is all things in Gods purpose Creation and Providence are but the execution of the Decree the Decree containeth all things eminently The Decree is that one from which is all If the Prophet contemplating the Comprehensiveness of Gods Providence concerning the Waters and Heaven the dust of the Earth the Mountains and the Hills all which is but a little part of the execution of his Decree breaketh out thus Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and meted the Heaven with a span comprehended the dust of the Earth in a measure and weighed the Mountains in Scales and the Hills in a Ballance Isai 40.12 how much more cause have we to be wrapped up with holy admiration in contemplating the Decree it self which eminently containeth all and say who is this that doth not only measure the waters mete out the Heavens comprehend the dust weigh the mountains and hills but doth also exactly and infallibly comprehend and dispose of all things all events which have been are or shall be in this world or in the world to come yea and in Hell it self in one eternal act Whatsoever can be conceived besides God himself What the object of the Decree is falleth under one of these our conditions viz. of 1. Impossibility 2. Possibility 3. Futurition i. e. the infallible after-being of things 4. Existence Impossibility is when the nature of things is such as their very being implyeth a contradiction as for a thing to be and not to be at the same time of these as was said before it is more conveniently said that they cannot be then that God cannot do them Possibility is that condition of things wherein as their is no repugnancy in the nature of such things but that they may be so neither is their any determination by God that they shall be this is founded in the sufficiency of God as for the like things to be done in Tyre and Sidon that were done unto Corazin and Bethsaida was possible but not decreed Futurition
Liberty of God in the Decree is Of the Liberty of the Decree i. e. Of God decreeing Deus ita liberè nos elegit ut potuerit etiam non eligere Zanch. de Nat. Dei lib. 3. cap. 4. qu. 6. God willing whatsoever is besides himself not of any necessity of nature but out of his meer good Pleasure Rom. 9.16 Ephes 1.4.11 1 Cor. 12.11 Matth. 20.15 and Matth. 11.25 26. The Liberty of God appeareth in his freedom from Necessity Moral Obligation Any Motive thereunto besides himself 1. He was free with freedom from necessity Scot. lib. 1. dist 39. n. 15. Objecta à Deo nequaquam necessariò voli●a esse demonstrare possimus quomodo tamen nutus divinus liberè transeat ad Objecta perscrutari non est nostrum Twiss praefat in libros de Sc. Med. Liberty is increated or created Created Liberty is in respect of the Acts themselves so men are said to be free Agents because they are free to act or not to act But Increated Liberty is in respect of the Objects not of the acts that is There is no necessary connexion between the being of the creature and the Being of God He might have been without the creature he had been God blessed for ever although that had been nothing for ever Each possibility which yet shall never be is equally founded in the Sufficiency of God with those things that have an actual being And the things that have an