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TO THE FIRST PART.
Tilenus thinks fit to give this further account of his design in the foregoing paper: He resolved at first only to give the true state of the questions, and nakedly to lay down the tenets, as well negative as affirmative, in as few, significant and clear expressions as was possible. Afterwards he met with some temptation to affix quotations out of Scripture, in the Margin, to prove the several branches of these tenets. Then considering, that most men pass over such proofs as are only referred unto, though they have their bibles lying by them, (which are not always at hand, neither !) rather than give themselves the trouble to turn to them; he thereupon concluded, it would be for the reader's greater ease and advantage, if he ciled the very words of Scripture, out of which such proofs are to be made : And he had not gone far in this method, but it came into his mind to be a little more distinct in setting down the grounds of his Proofs and Reasons for his affirmative and negative tenets respectively; which is done accordingly in the later Articles. And yet, in the former as well as these, are contained such topicks and heads of arguments, as a little skill (to reduce them to the rules of Art) will be sufficient to improve, to thy impregnable establishment in the present truth.
And now, reader, before Tilenus can dismiss thee, he thinks himself obliged to make thee satisfaction for having imposed upon thee in two or three particulars, when he personated the INFidel and the Carnal man. One was in effect, that God is not serious when he forbids the wicked (“ Reprobates” as they call them) to sin, and invites them to repentance and amendment of life. Pages 44,50.7" He doth this,” they say, “by his revealed will,” which indeed they account not his will; “but by his secret will (which is his will, properly so called) he wills the contrary.” Celari interdum á Deo, saith Brza, aliquid ei, quod in verbo pate fucit, repugnans. Resp. ail Acta Colloq. Mom. pel. Part 2. p. 173.-And Piscator in his Disp. contra Schufi. saith, Deum interdum verbo significare se zelle, quod reverá non
vult : aut nolle, quod reverá vult. * Now because God's intercourse with Abraham about his offering up of Isaac, (Gen. xxii,) is the great instance usually produced to prop up that opinion, (so dangerous to piety, and so dishonourable to the sacred veracity and sincerity of Almighty God, if not taken cum grano salis, and qualified by some commodious interpretation,) according to that saying of Luther, Deus dixit ad Abrahamum : Occids FILIUM &c. Quomodo? Ludendo, simulando, ridendo: And a little after, Atqui apud Deum est lusus, et, si liceret ita dicere, mendaciun est? Therefore Tilenus thought it an acceptable service
* Beza says, “ God occasionally conceals something which is contrary to that which he manifests in his word." --Piscator says, “ In his word God sometimes intimates, that he wills what He in reality does not will; or, that he does not will what He in realty does will."
t Luther was a bold Divine, though not always one of the most discreet, It was a remarkable instance of God's kind and watchful Providence over the rising iuterests of the Protestant Church, when He vouchsaled to Luther the assistance of such a mild, enlightened, ane judicious compcer as Melaucthon. Luther's taleut lay in rough handling,-in pulling down the strong-holds of Satai: Melancthon's gifts were most conspicuous when employed in building up the infant Church, in establishing believers, and in tendering moderate advice for the progress of Reformation in other countries.
The intention of Luther in his comment upon this passage of scripture, was very excellent; but his curious and excursive manner of executing that intention, must not be imitated. It becomes us indeed, to speak of God with the greatest reverence, and only as he is pleas
ased to reveal himself in scripture. The connection in which the quotation stands, is as follows: "Is God then contradictory to himself, and does he lie? At first he commanded his (Abrahan's] son to be sacritired, now he forbids it. But we who are christians, must both think and speak of these matters with reverence and godly fear: Aud our God must be owned to be such a Being as can produce contrary effects in things that are contrary. This most wonderful government over his saints affords to us several sweet topics of instruction, and is replete with consolation. Yet if the saints were allowed to speak of the Divine Majesty and Truth, with a salvo in favour of reverence [for those attributes], they might use these forms of speaking : 'God feigos, lies, pretends, and
mocks us.' And thus, when they have to encounter death, they might say to God, It is not death, but life. Thou dost tantalize or trifle with me, as a father with his chile': for while thou speakest one thing, thy Thoughts and intentions are about another !-Such a species of falsehood as this is salutary [saving] to us. Happy indeed shall we be if we can learn this art from God. He attempts and proposes the work of another, that he may be able to accomplish his own. By our affliction, he seeks his own gratification for sport] and our salvation. Thus, God said to Abraham, Slay thy son, &c. How? By tantalizing, pretending, and mocking. This sport is certainly of a happy and pleasant kind.
" He likewise occasionally feigns, as though he would depart to a great distance from us and kill us. Which of us believes, that this is all a pre. tence? Yet, with God, this is only sport, and (were we permitted ihus to speak,) it is a falsehood. It is a real death which all of us have to suffer. But God does not act seriously, according to his own showing or representation. It is dissimulation; and he is ouly trying whether we be willing to lose present things, and life itself, for his sake or on his account."
Omitting all allusion to the dangerous and unhailowing tendency of Luther's exposition, we inust account it a clumsy method of solving a difficulty, especially when viewed in contrast with that of Bishop Womach.-EDITOR.
to God and good men, if he could offer any thing to clear the reputation of that passage from the suspicion of being accessary to that doctrine in whose behalf it is so often pleaded.
To this end let us examine the plea, Gen. xxii, 2, “ God said unto Abraham, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, nhom thou lovest; and get thee into the land of Moriah: and offer him there for a burnt offering, upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Where, by the way, the reader may take notice, that Abraham was to expect further orders from Almighty God before the utmost execution of this affair. But to the plea, “ Here," say they, “ we have God's REVEALED will signified by a command, that Isaac should be slain : But by his secret will, that he would not have it so, appears as well by the event, as by the Angel's voice,
Lay not thine hand upon the lad,' &c. Therefore God commands what he nilleth,” &c.-But Tilenus sees no such matter, no contradiction, no opposition betwixt God's secret and revealed will in this passage, being confident to affirm that GOD WILLED, WITH HIS SECRET WILL, ALL THAT WAS COMMANDED BY HIS REVEALED; which was not the occision or slaughtering of Isaac, ( to which single act they usually restrain God's revelation and command,) but it was Abraham's voluntary and free obedience, in devoting, consecrating and rendering up his son for a sacrifice at God's command. Some particulars whereof are set down,
Take thy son, go into the land of Moriah; carry nood and fire, make an altar, and bind Isaac and expose him upon it. That God willed this, is clear by the event according to the adversaries' own rule, Ex eventu judicandum est de Dei l'oluntale.* And that God's command, or revealed will, intended the same and no more, appears by all those scriptures which, speaking of this matter, do positively affirm, that Abraham did fully perform what God had commanded. So Hebr. xi. 17; “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: And he that had received the promises offered up his only son."-So James ii. 21 ; “ Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?”. And so God himself interprets it, Gen. xxii. 16; “ Because thou hast done this thing," &c. To which purpose also it is observable, that God does not use the same phrase of speech in the prohibition, verse 12, that he used in the injunction, verse 2. Here God's will revealed, is offer eum in holocaustum [“ offer him for a burnt offering"]; but there the will of God forbidding is, not ne oferas “ do not offer him," (for that [the offering] was done already according to God's interpretation and requiry,) but ne injicias manum tuam super puerum, [" lay not thine hand upon the lad”).
OBJECTION.—“ The phrase and word of command in ordinary “ construction seemed to imply THE SLAYING OF Isaac; because
* “ We must judge of God's will hy the event."
“it was the custom to slay such sacrifices before they were burnt “ upon the altar."
RESPONSE.--- For answer to this, it needs not be replied, that “ words and phrases in Holy Scripture, as well as in other authors, are used in diverse senses.” But the answer is, that there was a necessity (upon the matter) that Almighty God should use a phrase that carried such an obvious sense with it, because this was a special command given unto Abraham for a signal trial of his faith and obedience, “ And it came to pass that God did tempt Abraham.” (Gen. xxii. 1.) Which there could have been no proof of, if God had expounded to biin the sense of his command after this manner, “ Go, take thy son, &c. But thou “ needest not startle at the imposition ; for my intent and pur“pose is, only that thou shouldest bring him into the land of Mo“ riah, and bind him and expose him there upon the altar, which “ thou shalt make for that purpose, and then I will accept thy “ obedience, and rescue thy son from the knife by a voice from “ Heaven.” If God had thus far revealed his will, Abraham's faith had found no difficulty to contest against, and [it] consequently had not been capable of an approbation. The upshot therefore of all is this that in this intercourse with Abraham, God revealed his will, and nothing but his will, but not his whoLE WILL, which he was not bound to do, neither could the doing of it consist with his design of trying the sincerity of Abrahan's graces. But this is not to be drawn into example when we speak of God's ordinary external intercourse with sinners, inviting and calling them to repent, belicve and obey the Gospel, upon promise ot' life and peril of damnation. For,
1. This would make the Divine Call, not only a continual temptation, (which is absurd enough!) but also ridiculous : for this would not be such a temptation as that which occurs in Abraham's example; wherein the duty commanded was not only possible to be performed, but was also actually performed, so far forth, that God declared his own satisfaction in it by a voice from Heaven. But (according to the doctrine of those men [whom 7 we oppose) God is supposed to be always tempting and trying, whether that will come to pass which is altogether impossible to come to pass, that is, [according to themhe tempts and tries again and again whether the reprobate will believe and convert, that is whether he [the reprobates will do that which God's own decree hath rendered impossible for him to do. Which is, as if one should be very solicitous to make an experiment, whether the blind would see, or the dead walk.
2. This would make God's calling of reprobates, which is done by his signant will alone, (as they say) not only an act of hypocrisy, in seeming to wish them well, by desiring their repentance and salvation, when his BENEPLACENT WILL hath
decreed otherwise: but also an act of cruelty ; because by this calling, God is not only the occasion, or cause of their infidelity and disobedience, (it being impossible for reprobates to answer that call,) but of their greater punishment likewise, into which they do necessarily fall for that their necessary and unavoidable intidelity.-From which it follows,
3. That that will whereby God wills not to give to reprobates sufficient grace to enable them to repent and believe, (much less irresistible grace, that actually they must do so,) should not be Voluntas beneplacili, but rather maleplaciti, “a will of displeasure rather than of good pleasure ;" because it is an affection of the greatest hatred and aversation; whereas, notwithstanding, God's calling unto faith and to salvation (which is done by the word) is declared to be an act of his good pleasure and grace, (Ephes. 1.9 ; 2 Thes, 1. 11 ; 2 Tim. i. 9.) and an evidence of bis compassion and love, as may easily be collected out of Holy Scripture. (2 Chron. xxxvi. 15 ; Rom. i. 7 ; Hos. ix. 15.) Lastly, according to the doctrine of that distinction, and those men that make use of it, the whole revelation and ministry of the Gospel, goes for no more, but voluntas signi, “ the will of God to give out such a thing for a sign only," when, indeed it is the will of God's beneplaciture and is expressly so called, as shall appear in the second particular, wherein Tilenus offers the reader satisfaction, which is, about the sense of another text perversely cited by him above upon another occasion.
Maccovius, (Colleg. de Predest. disp. 2.) to prove that God
would not have all men to be saved, no, not voluntate signi) Inte “according to his revealed will,” contrary to the most express
grammatical sense of scripture, (1 Tim. ii, 4; 2 Pet. iii, 9;) saith, Voluntas signi non est propriè dicta voluntas, sed est verbum Dei, “ that which is revealed and signified (in holy Scripture) to be the mind of God, is not his will properly so called, but it is the word of God," as if it were consistent with his sacred veracity to utter something disagreeable to his own will! And he affirms furcher, (disp. 5.) that “ God doth not will, that is, not delight in or approve of any thing, but what he doth effect;" and this he endeavours to prove out of Psalm cxv, 3;
a parallel place to which we have [in] Psalm cxxxv, 6; against 90which doctrine these two assertions are clear:
. That God's word or his command, revealed in holy Scripture,
28 his will properly so called.--" I came down from HeavenEOK to do the will of him that sent me: and this is the will of him City that sent me, &c." John vi, 38, 39, 40 ; « Thou art called a
Jew,--and makest thy boast of God, and knowest his will-be
ing instructed out of the law." Rom. ii, 18 ; “ This is the will p of God, even your sanctification.” i Thes. iv, 3; “But he that
I doth the will of my Father," &c. Mat. vii, 21; See Mat, xil, *** 50; John vii, 17; ix, 31; Heb. xiii, 21; 1 Julin ii, 17.