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“ elect or reprobate matters not as to this
point) is as such dependent on the Creator " for all things, and if dependent, ought to
have recourse to him, both in a way of sup
plication and thanksgiving ?." But of what significance is the performance of this duty to man, if his performance does not affect the recompence profeffedly suspended on it? And how does this reply preserve inviolate the honour of God, who hath declared that he « will
give all good things to them who ask in his “ Son's name," if he has previously, with refpect to his best, I mean his spiritual, gifts, closed the door upon all entreaty ?
8. Again; God is perpetually represented under the fimilitudes of a king, a master, and a father: a king, entitled to our reverence; a master, to our honour; and a father, to our love. But, if we reason from the analogy of earthly relations, what reverence is to be claimed by a sovereign, what honour is due to a master, to what affection is a father entitled, who rules his subjećts, his servants, or his children by arbitrary laws; flowers blessings on a favoured few with partial hand; requires of the rest an obedience, which he either difables them from paying, or disregards if it be paid ; and inflicts on them the utmost se
& Toplady op Predestióation, p. 126.
verity of punishment, in compliance with his own will, and to manifest the severity of his power ? Let us not be told, that God
do what he will with his own. 66 When under “ the Roman and the Grecian government the “ father had an absolute power over his chil6 dren, and in the eastern nations the prince “ had absolute power over his subjects ; would 6 this prerogative and fovereignty excuse them " from a severity and rigour 'unworthy of a “ father or a sovereign, in leaving most of " their subjects and their children under the “ extremest misery, when by the very fame
means that a few of them have been rescued “ from it, they might all have been fo? And “ Tall we then impute that rigour, want of “ natural affection and compassion to the Lover " of fouls, and the benign government of our
heavenly Father, which we could not but “ condemn and abhor in earthly governors, " and in the fathers of our Aeth a?” Nor is this all : it is not only that he refuses to extricate his people and children from misery, but is himself the aggravator of their misery : he impofes upon them laws; he disables them from obeying; and he punishes, because they obey them not. Is this the conduct of that gracious Sovereign, wha “ feedeth bis own
: Whitby on the Five Points, p. 175.
* people and tlie heep of his pafture;” whofe “ fceptre is a sceptre of righteoufness;" and who “ accepteth according to that a man hath, " and not according to that he hath not b?" Or is it rather the conduct of the usurper, « whole own the sheep are not;” and who withholds from them the straw, while he exacts the full tale of bricks? “ You would not," faith. Athenagoras to the Roman Emperors, “ honour the good or punif bad men, if vice * and virtue were not in their power:” and, « If men,” faith Chryfoftom, “ pardon their 4 fellow-men, when they are necefficated to “ do a thing, much more thould this be done
to men compelled by fate to do what they 66. do: for if it be absurd to punish them, who * by the force of barbarians are compelled to
any action, it must be more fo to punish him, who is compelled by a ftronger power":"" more and much more, let it be added, when the same power imposes the law, precludes obedience, and inflies the punishment.
52 Cor. viii. 12.
• Ως δη και επι των ανθρωπων αυθαιρετον και την αρετης και της χακιαν εχοντων επει εκ αν οτ’ ετιματε τους σγαθους, ουκ εκβλάζετε τους πονηρους, ει μη επ' αυτοις ην και η κακια και η αρετη. Αthenagora Legatio pro Chriftianis, p. 27. Ed. Paris. 1615.
« Ειτα ανθρωπο μεν ισασι συγγινωσκειν, υπ' ανθρωπου του ομοφυλου και ομογενους καταναγκαζομενω, το δ' υπο ειμαρμένης ουχι πολλώ μάλλον συγγινωσκειν εχρην ; και γαρ διαδραναι εδει: εκεινης δε, ως φασιν ούτως αμηχανος ήλαρχη, ώς καν εις ερημον, καν εις θαλασσαν, καν όπου τις αφικηται, τα νοηματα αυτής ου διαφευξεται. Πως ουν ουκ ατοπoν, του μεν υπο βαρβαρων βιας αγχομενον πλεισης συγγνώμης απολαυειν, ώς μηδε εγκαλεισθαι την αρχην, τον δε υπο δυνατώτερας, ως φασι, δυναμεως καταναγκαι ζομενον, δικην διδοναι, και μηδε λογου μεταδιδοναι προς απολογιας AUTW TOVAUTNY; Chrylot. de. Fato et Provid. Orat. iii. Ed. Bened. ii. p. 761. e Mark xvi. 15.
9. Again ; God is represented as command ing “ the Gospel to be preached to every crea
ture°;" as making it the duty of his ministers to exhort all men to receive it, and not to “ neglect so great falvation f;" as commanding all men to believe and obey it & ; as declaring that he will judge the world in righteousness by the word of the Gospel ; and that the cause of men's condemnation shall be their rejection of the Gospel faith". But, on the Calvinisiic hypothesis, these commands and declarations are futile and unjust. For what have they to do with the obligations of the Gospel ; or how are they to believe, and obey the Gospel; or how are they to be judged by the Gospel ; or upon what principle are they to be condemned for disbelieving or disobeying it : who were the subjects of an absolute de cree of reprobation, shut out from the pollibility of having faith or repentance by a doom antecedent to the Gospel dispensation; and to whom the Gospel is preached, as Calvin affirms, only “ as a favour of death, and as matter of “ more severe condemnation i?" But how then is this to be reconciled with the wisdom and justice of God? For “who," faith Austin against the Manichæans, whom he accused of blindness for denying, that man had free-will, or that it was in his power to do well or ill; “ Who,” saith be,“ will not exclaim, that it is
Hebu ii. 2, 3. 8 1 John iii. 23.
h Joho ii, 18.
folly to command him, who hath not liberty 6 to do what is commanded ; and that it is
unjust to condemn him, who hath it not in “ his power to do what is required ? and yet " these miserable men understand not, that “ they ascribe this wickedness and injustice to “ Godk.” And, to the fame effect, “it is the " height of madness and injustice, to hold any “ person guilty, because he did not that which " he could not do."
1 Eft enim univerfalis vocatio, qua per externam verbi prædicationem omnes pariter ad fe invitat Deus ; etiam quibus eam in mortis odorem, et gravioris condemnationis materiam proponit. Calv. Inft. lib. iii. cap. xxiv. sect. 8.
* Quis enim non clamet, ftultum efle præcepta dare ei, cui liberum non eft quod præcipitur facere; et iniquum esse eum damnare, cui non fuit poteftas julla complere? et has injuftitias et iniquitates miseri non intelligunt Deo se afcribere. Auguft. lib. de Fide contra Manichæos, cap. x. tom. viii. App. p. 26.
Peccati reum tenere quenquam, quia non fecic id quod facere non potuit, fummæ iniquitatis est et infaniæ. Lib. de Duubus Anim. cap. xii. fe&t. 17. Op. tom. viii. p. 87.