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uncertain, nay, I'll venture to say, entirely impossible. I proceed to consider the para ticular instances of the cruelty, and unmercifulness of the decree of Reprobation.

1. The Supralaplarian scheme is greatly found fault with ; and it is asked', “ What can be supposed more cruelly of God, than that he should, of his mere will and pleafure, appoint men, nondum consideratos, ut condendos, not yet considered as to be created, much less, as finners, to the everlasting torments of hell.” I observe, that this learned writer greatly mistakes the Supralapsarian scheme ; which considers the objects of Election, and Reprobation as men either already created, but not fallen, or to be created, and in the pure mass of crea qureship, but not as men not yet consider'd; whether they should be created or no. Bez fides, he confounds, as these men usually do, the decree of negative with positive Reprobacion, or the decree of preterition with that of damnation : whereas the SupralapJarians, though they think men were not consider'd as finners in the act of preterition, or passing by some, when others were chosen; yet they always suppose men to be con Gider'd as linners in the decree of damnation; and that God appointed none but finners, and no man, but for fin, to

'Limborch, p: 339.

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everlasting torments ; and where's the cruelty of this doctrine ?

2. The Sublapfarians are represented as thinking unworthily of God; “ Who knowing that all the lapsed sons of Adam

of his pity and compassion, equally capable of his mercy, and equally his offspring, and so no more unworthy of it than the rest, believe that his decrees of governing and disposing of them, are wholly founded on {uch an absolute will, as no rational or wise man acts by; so that he determines, of the everlasting fate of the souls he daily doth create, after the fall of Adam, without respect to any good or epil done by them, and so without refpect to any reason why he pues this difference, or any condition on their parts; and yet afterwards, in all his revelations, made in order to the regulating of their lives, fufpends their everlasting state upon conditions." I reply; That all the lapsed fons of Adam, are equally the offspring of God, as men, and equally capable of his mercy, as being miserable, and equally unworthy of it, as having finned against him ; and therefore the reason why he fhews mercy to one and not to another, can be no other than his sovereign will and pleasure ; who hath mercy on whom. be will

" Whitby, p. 29, 32. Ed. 2.. 28, 32.

bave mercy, and whom he will be hardneth. But then it is incimated, that this is to « believe, that God's decrees of governing and disposing of men (by which, I suppose is meant, his decrees of thewing mercy to fome, and withholding ic from others) are wholly founded on such an absolute will, as no racional: or wise man acts by." But it should be observ'd, that neither the mercy, nor the will of God, are to be compared with the mercy and will of man. The mercy of God is not to be consider'd, quoad affectum, as an affection moved by the misery of a creature as it is in man; bue quoad effe&tum, as an effect guided by the Tovereign will of God, to whatsoever object he thinks fit ; nor is the will of God to be judged of by the will of man, since he does according to his will in heaven and in earth, and is accountable co none of his creatures ; there's a 6x6Q, a depth in the riches of his wisdom and knowledge, that is unfathomable, bis judgments are unsearchable, and bis ways past finding out . Besides, wise and rational men, whose wills are the most absolute, as kings and princes, when their subjects have rebelled against them, and have fallen into their hands, have thought it most adviseable to shew both their clemency and justice, by pardoning some and

* Dan. iv. 35. Job xxxii. 13. Rom. xi. 33.

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not others, who were equally their subjects; equally objects of their picy and compassion, equally capable of mercy, and no more unworthy of it than the rest ; so that such a method is justified by the conduct of the wisest and most rational men. But the most cruel pare seems to be thought to lie in determining the everlasting fate of the fouls he daily doth create after the fall of Adam, without respect to any good or evil done by them.” By determining the everlasting fate of fouls, I apprehend, is meant, God's appoincing them either to falvation or damnation. Now God's appointment of men to falvation, that is, to eternal glory, is not without respect to any good thing done by them, but with respect to their faith, repencance and perseverance ; for God chooses to salvation through fan&tification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; though nor with respect to these, as causes of his decrée, but as means unto the end, or as graces which he prepares, deterınines to bestow, and does bestow upon them, in order to bring them to glory : so that their everlasting fate is not determined without respect to any good done by them, nor without any reason on the part of God, though without condicions on their parts. So the decermining the everlasting fate of souls, or the appointing of them to damnation, is not without respect co evil done

.by by them ; though this is to be consider'd not as the cause of God's decree, which is his own sovereign pleasure, but as the cause or reason of the thing decreed : fo that this is not without reason on the pare of God, nor without cause on their parts. And hence the entrance of each of these persons upon their everlasting state, so determined, tho'not the determination of it, is fufpended until these feveral things take place. And where's the injustice or unmercifulness of such a procedure? But, perhaps, the crueley lies here, that God determines of the everlasting fate of the fouls ke daily doth create after the fall of Adam ; the meaning of which is, either that God has determined the everlasting face of souls, and appointed them to damnation after the fall of Adam, which is what we deny ; since no decree or determination of God is temporal, but eternal; or that God has appointed men to damnation for the fin of Adam, in confide. ration of his fall, and their concern in it, a doctrine by no means to be rejected; since death bath passed upon all men; for that, or in bim, i. e. Adam, all bave pinned ; and, by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation : it can never be unworthy of God, or contrary either to his justice or mercy, to determine the everlast

• Rom. V. 12, 18.

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