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Dr. Whitby, in his Discourse on the Freedom of the Will,* cites one of the ancients, as on his side, declaring that this opinion of the necessity of the Will 6 absolves sinners, as doing nothing of their own accord which was evil, and would cast all the blame of all the wickedness committed in the world, upon God, and upon his Providence, if that were admitted by the assertors of this fate ; whether he himself did necessitats them to do these things, or ordered matters so, that they should be constrained to do them by some other cause." And the doctor says, in another place,t « In the nature of the thing, and in the opinion of philosophers, causa deficiens, in rebus necessariis, ad causam per se efficientem reducenda est. In things necessary, the deficient cause must be reduced to the efficient. And in this case the reason is evident; because the not doing what is required, or not avoiding what is forbidden, being a defect, must follow from the position of the necessary cause of that deficiency."
Concerning this, I would observe the following things.
I. If there be any difficulty in this matter, it is nothing peculiar to this scheme; it is no difficulty or disadvantage, wherein it is distinguished from the scheme of Arminians ; and, therefore, not reasonably objected by them.
Dr. Whitby supposes, that if sin necessarily follows from God's withholding assistance, or if that assistance be not given, which is absolutely necessary to the avoiding of evil ; then, in the nature of the thing, God must be as properly the author of that evil, as if he were the efficient cause of it. From whence, according to what he himself says of the devils and damped spirits, God imust be the proper author of their perfect unrestrained wickedness : He must be the efficient cause of the great pride of the devils, and of their perfect malignity against God, Christ, his saints, and all that is good, and of the insatiable cruelty of their disposition. For he allows, that God, has so forsaken them, and does so withhold his assistance from them, that they are incapacitated for doing good, and determined only to evil. Our doctrine, in its conse
* On the Five Points, p. 361.
+ Ibid, p. 486.
Ibid, p. 302, 3050
quence, makes God the author of men's sin in this world, no more, and in no other sense, than his doctrine, in its consequence, makes God the author of the hellish pride and malioe of the devils. And doubtless the latter is as odious an effect as the former. · Again, if it will follow at all, that God is the author of sin, from what has been supposed of a sure and infallible connexion between antecedents and consequents, it will follow because of this, viz. that for God to be the author or orderer of those things which, he knows beforehand, will infallibly be attended with such a consequence, is the same thing, in effect, as for him to be the author of that consequence. But, if this be so, this is a difficulty which equally attends the doctrine of Arminians themselves ; at least, of those of them who allow God's certain foreknowledge of all events. For, on the supposition of such a foreknowledge, this is the case with respect to every sin that is committed : God knew, that if he ordered and brought to pass such and such events, such sins would infallibly follow. As for instance, God certainly foreknew, long before Judas was born, that if he ordered things $0, that there should be such a man born, at such a time, and at such a place, and that his life should be preserved, and that he should, in Divine Providence, be led into acquaintance with Jesus ; and that his heart should be so influenced by God's Spirit or Providence, as to be inclined to be a follower of Christ ; and that he should be one of those twelve, which should be chosen constantly to attend him as his family; and that his health should be preserved, so that he should go up to Jerusalem, at the last passover in Christ's life ; and if it should be so ordered, that Judas should see Christ's kind treatment of the woman which anointed him at Bethany, and have that reproof from Christ, which he had at that time, and see and hear other things, which excited his enmity against his master, and that if other circumstances should be ordered, as they were ordered; it would be what would most certainly and infallibly follow, that Judas would betray his Lord, and would soon after hang himself, and die impenitent, and be sent to hell, for his horrid wickedness.
Therefore, this supposed difficulty ought not to be brought as an objection against the scheme which has been maintained, as disagreeing with the Arminian scheme, seeing it is no difficulty owing to such disagreement ; but a difficulty wherein the Arminians share with us. That must be unreasonably made an objection against our differing from them, which we should not escape or avoid at all by agreeing with them.
monly used author of sin. Y to explain whom
And therefore I would observe, II. They who object, that this doctrine makes God the au. thor of sin, ought distinctly to explain what they mean by that phrase, The author of sin. I know the phrase, as it is commonly used, signifies something very ill. If by the author of sin, be meant the sinner, the agent, or actor of sin, or the doer of a wicked thing ; so it would be a reproach and blasphemy, to suppose God to be the author of sin. In this sense, I ut: terly deny God to be the author of sin ; rejecting such an imputation on the Most High, as what is infinitely to be abhorred ; and deny any such thing to be the consequence of what I have laid down. But if, by the author of sin, is meant the permitter, or not a hinderer of sin ; and, at the same time, a disposer of the state of events, in such a manner, for wise, holy, and most excellent ends and purposes, that sin, if it be permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow : I say, if this be all that is meant, by being the author of sin, I do not deny that God is the author of sin (though I dislike and reject the phrase, as that which by use and custon is apt to carry another sense) it is no reproach for the Most High to be thus the author of sin. *This is not to be the actor of sin, but, on the contrary, of holiness. What God doth here. in, is holy; and a glorionis exercise of the infinite excellency. of his nature. And, I do not deny, that God's being thus the author of sin, follows from what I have laid down; and, I ag. sert, that it equally follows from the doctrine which is maintained by inost of the Arminian divines.
That it is most certainly so, that God is in such a manner the disposer and orderer of sin, is evident, if any credit is to be given to the scripture ; as well as because it is impossible, in
the nature of things, to be otherwise. In such a manner God ordered the obstinacy of Pharaoh, in his refusing to obey God's conimands, to let the people go. Exod. iv. 21. I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go." Chap. vii. 2...,5. “ Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaph, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden, Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you ; that I may lay mine hand upon Egypt, by great judgments,". &c. Chap. ix. 12. “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them, as the Lord had spoken unto Moses." Chap. X. 1, 2. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him, and that thou mayest tell it in the ears of thy son, and thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done amongst them, that ye may know that I am the Lord." Chap: xiv. 4. “ And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them : And I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his Host.”. Verse 8. « And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of Egypt, and he pursued after the Children of Israel.” And it is certain, that in such a manner, God, for wise and good ends, ordered that event, Joseph's being sold into Egypt, by his brethren. Gen. xlv. 5. 6 Now, therefore, be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life.” Verse 7, 8. “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance : So now it was not you, that sent me hither, but God." Psal. cy. 17. “ He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant.” It is certain, that thus God ordered the sin and folly of Sihon King of the Amorites, in refusing to let the people of Israel pass by him peaceably. Deut. ii. 30. “ But Sihon King of Heshbon would not let us pass by him ; for the Lord thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart. obstinate, that he might deliver him into thine hand.” It is certain, that God thụs ordered the sin and folly of the Kings Vol. V.
of Canaan, that they attempted not to make peace with Israel, but with a stupid boldness and obstinacy, set themselves violently to oppose them and their God. Josh. xi. 20. “For it was of the Lord, to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel'in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor ; but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses.” It is evident, that thus God ordered the treacherous rebellion of Zedekiah against the King of Babylon. Jer. lii. 3. “ For through the anger of the Lord it came to pass in Jerusalem, and Judah,
until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah · rebelled against the King of Babylon.” So 2 Kings xxiv. 20. And it is exceeding manifest, that God thus ordered the rapine and unrighteous ravages of Nebuchadnezzar, in spoiling and running the nations round about. Jer. xxv. 9. « Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against all the nations round about; and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations." Chap. xliii. 10, 11. “ I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and I will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid, and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them. And when he cometh, he shall smite the land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death, and such as are for captivity to captivity, and such as are for the sword to the sword.” Thus God represents himself as sending for Nebuchadnezzar, and taking of him and his armies, and bringing him against the nations, which were to be destroyed by him, to that very end, that he might utterly destroy them, and make them desolate ; and as appointing the work that he should do, so particularly, that the very persons were designed that he should kill with the sword, and those that should be killed with famine and pestilence, and those that should be carried into captivity; and that in doing all these things, he should act as his servant; by which, less cannot be intended, than that he should serve his purposes and designs. And in Jer. xxvii. 4, 5,6. God declares, how he would cause him thus to serve