Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Appointed’

Chapter 6-Whether to be Reprobated be the same with being Appointed beforehand unto Eternal Condemnation? If not, how do they Differ? Also whether Reprobation be the Cause of Condemnation?

January 23, 2014 1 comment

IT hath been the custom of ignorant men much to quarrel at eternal reprobation, concluding (for want of knowledge in the mystery of God’s will) that if he reprobate any from eternity he had as good as said, “I wilt make this man to damn him; I will decree this man, without, any consideration, to the everlasting pains of hell,” when, in very deed, for God to reprobate, and to appoint beforehand to eternal condemnation, axe two distinct things, properly relating to two distinct attributes, arising, from two distinct causes.

First. They are two distinct things. Reprobation is a simple leaving of the creature out of the bounds of God’s election, but to appoint to condemnation is to bind them over to, everlasting punishment. Now, there is a great difference between my refusing to make of such a tree a pillar in my house and of condemning it unto the fire to be burned.

Secondly. As to the attributes. Reprobation respects God’s sovereignty, but to appoint to condemnation, his justice.

Thirdly. As to the causes. Sovereignty being according to the will of God, but justice according to the sin of man. For God, though he be the only sovereign Lord, and that to the height of perfection, yet he appointeth no man to the pains of everlasting fire merely from sovereignty, but by the rule of justice. God damneth not the man because he is a man, but a sinner, and foreappoints him to that place and state by foreseeing of hint wicked.

Again, as reprobation is not the same with foreappointing to eternal condemnation, so neither is it the cause thereof.

If it be the cause, then it must either —

1. Leave him infirm; or,

2. Infuse sin into him; or,

3. Take from him something that otherwise would keep him upright; or,

4. Or both license Satan to tempt and the reprobate to close in with the temptation. But it doth none of these; there,)re it is not the cause of the condemnation of the creature.

That it is not the cause of sin it is evident —

1. Because the elect are as much involved therein as those that are passed by.

2. It leaveth him not infirm; for he is by an after act — to wit, of creationformed perfectly upright.

3. That reprobation infuseth no sin appeareth, because it is the act of God.

4. That it taketh nothing (that good is) from him is also manifest, it being only a leaving of him.

5. And that it is not by this act that Satan is permitted to tempt or the reprobate to sin is manifest; because as Christ was tempted, so the elect fall as much into the temptation, at least many of them, as many of those that are reprobate; whereas if these things came by reprobation, then the reprobate would be only concerned therein. All which will be further handled in these questions yet behind.

Objection. From what hath been said, there is concluded this at least, that God hath infallibly determined, and that before the world, the infallible damnation of some of his creatures; for if God hath before the world bound some over to eternal punishment, and that, as you say, for sin, then this determination must either be fallible or infallible; not fallible, for then your other position of the certainty of the number of God’s elect is shaken, unless you hold that there may be a number that shall neither go to heaven or hell. Well, then, if God hath indeed determined, foredetermined, that some must infallibly perish, doth not this his determination lay a necessity on the reprobate to sin, that he may be damned? for no sin, no damnation.

That is your own argument.

Answer. That God hath ordained (Jude 4) the damnation of some of his creatures is evident; but whether this his determination be positive and absolute, there is the question; for the better understanding whereof I shall open unto you the variety of God’s determinations and their nature, as also rise.

The determinations of God touching the destruction of the creature, they are either ordinary or extraordinary; those I count ordinary that were commonly pronounced by the prophets and apostles, etc., in their ordinary way of preaching, to the end men might be affected with the love of their own salvation; now these are either bound or loosed but as the condition or qualification was answered by the creature under sentence, and no otherwise.

Again. These extraordinary, though they respect the same conditions, yet they are not grounded immediately upon them, but upon the infallible foreknowledge and foresight of God, and are thus distinguished: first, the ordinary determination; it stands but at best upon a supposition that the creature may continue in sin, and admits of a possibility that it may not, but the extraordinary stands upon an infallible foresight that the creature will continue in sin; wherefore this must needs be positive and as infallible as God himself.

Again. These two determinations are also distinguished thus: the ordinary is applicable to the elect as well as to the reprobate, but the other to the reprobate only; it is proper to say, even to the elect themselves, “He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned;” but not to say to them, These are appointed to utter destruction, or that they shall utterly perish in their own corruptions, or that for them is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

So, then, though God by these determinations doth not lay some under irrecoverable condemnation, yet by one of them he doth, as is further made out thus:

1. God most perfectly foreseeth the final impenitency of those that do sin from the beginning to the end of the world.

2. Now from this infallible foresight it is most easy and rational to conclude, and that positively, the infallible overthrow of every such creature. Did I infallibly foresee that this or that man would cut out his heart in the morning, I might infallibly determine his death before night.

Objection. But still the question is, Whether God by this his determination doth not lay a necessity on the creature to sin? for no sin, no condemnation. This is true by your own assertion.

Answer. No, by no means, for

1. Though it be true that sin must of absolute necessity go before the infallible condemnation and overthrow of the sinner, and that it must also be preconsidered by God, yet it needs not lay a necessity upon him to sin; for let him but alone to do what he will, and the determination cannot be more infallible than the sin which is the cause of its execution.

2. As it needs not, so it doth not; for this determination is not grounded upon what God will effect, but on what the creature will; and that not through the instigation of God, but the instigation of the devil. What! Might not I, if I most undoubtedly foresaw that such a tree in my garden would only cumber the ground, (notwithstanding reasonable means,) — might not I, I say, from hence determine (seven years before) to cut it down and burn it in the fire, but I must, by so determining, necessitate this tree to be fruitless? The case in hand is the very same. God therefore may most positively determine the infallible damnation of his creature, and yet not at all necessitate the creature to sin that he might be damned.

Objection. But how is this similitude pertinent? For God did not only foresee sin would be the destruction of the creature, but let it come into the world and so destroy the creature. If you, as you foresee the fruitlessness of your tree, should withal see that which makes it so, and that too before it makes it so, and yet let the impediment come and make it so, are not you now the cause of the unfruitfulness of that tree which you hive before condemned to the fire to be burned? for God might have chosen whether he ‘would have let Adam sin, and so sin to have got into the world by him.

Answer. Similitudes never answer every way: if they be pertinent to that for which they are intended, it is enough; and to that it; answereth well, being brought to prove no more but the natural consequence of a true and infallible foresight. And now as to what is objected further, as that God might have chosen whether sin should have come into the world by Adam to the destruction of so many, to that I shall answer —

1. That sin could not have come into the world without God’s permission, it is evident both from the perfection of his foresight and power.

2. Therefore all the means, motives, and inducements thereunto must also by him be not only foreseen, but permitted.

3. Yet so that God will have the tinting, proceeding, bounding, and ordering thereof at his disposal: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee, and the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.”

4. Therefore it must needs come into the world, not without, but by the knowledge of God; not in despite of him, but by his suffering of it.

Objection. But how then is he clear from having’ a hand in the death of him that perisheth?

Answer. Nothing is more sure than that God could have kept sin out of the world if it had been his will; and this is also as true, that it never came into the world with his liking and compliance; and for this you must consider that sin came into the world by two steps —

1. By being offered.

2. By prevailing.

Touching the first of these, God, without the least injury to any creature in heaven or earth, might not only suffer it, but so far countenance the same that is so far forth as for trial only, as it is said of Abraham “God tempted Abraham to slay his only son, and led Christ by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” This is done without any harm at all; nay, it rather produceth good, for it tends to discover sincerity, to exercise faith in and love to his Creator, also to put him in mind of the continual need he hath of depending on his God for the continuation of help and strength, and to provoke to prayers to God whenever so engaged.

Objection. But God did not Only admit that sin should be offered for trial, and there to stay, but did suffer it to prevail and overcome the world.

Answer. Well, this is granted; but, yet consider —

1. God did neither suffer it nor yet consent it should, but under this consideration: if Adam, upright Adam, gate way thereto by forsaking his command, “in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die” — which Adam did, not because God did compel him or persuade him to it, but voluntarily of his own mind, contrary to his God’s command — so, then, God, by suffering sin to break into the world, did it rather in judgment, as disliking Adam’s act, and as a punishment to man for listening to the tempter, and as a discovery of his anger at man’s disobedience, than to prove that he is guilty of the misery of his creature.

2. Consider also that when God permitted sin for trial, it was, when offered first, to them only who were upright and had sufficient strength to resist it.

3. They were by God’s command to the contrary driven to no strait to tempt them to incline to Satan: “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, saith God; only let this alone.”

4. As touching the beauty and goodness that was in the object unto which they were allured, what was it? Was it better than God? yea, was it better than the tree of life, for from that they were not exempted till after they had sinned? Did not God know best what was to do them good?

2. Touching him that persuaded them to do this wicked act: was his word more to be valued for truth, more to be ventured on for safety, or more to be honored for the worthiness of him that spoke, than was His that had forbade it; the one being the devil, with a lie, and to kill them; the other being God, with his truth, and to preserve them safe?

Question. But was not Adam unexpectedly surprised? Had he notice beforehand and warning of the danger, for God foresaw the business?

Answer. Doubtless God was; fair and faithful to his creature in this thing also, as clearly doth appear from these considerations:

1. The very commandment that God gave him forebespake him well to look about him, and did indeed insinuate that he was likely to be tempted.

2. It is yet more evident, because God doth even tell him of the danger: “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

3. Nay, God by speaking to him of the very tree that was to be forborne, telling him also where it stood, that he might the better know it, did in effect expressly say to him, “Adam, if thou be tempted, it will be about that tree and the fruit thereof: wherefore, if thou findest the tempter there, then beware thy life.”

To conclude, then. Though sins did not come into the world without God’s sufferance, yet it did without his liking; God suffered also Cain to kill his ‘brother, and Ishmael to mock at Isaac, but he did not like the same.

Secondly. Therefore though God was first in concluding sin should be offered to the world, yet man was the first that consented to a being overcome thereby.

Thirdly, then. Though God did foredetermine that sin should enter, yet it was not but with respect to certain terms and conditions, which yet were not to be enforced by virtue of the determination, bat permitted to be completed by the voluntary inclination of a perfect and upright man. And in that the determination was most perfectly infallible it was through the foresight of the undoubted inclination of this good and upright person.

Question. But might not God have kept Adam from inclining if he would?

Answer. What more certain? But yet consider

1. Adam being now an upright man, he was able to have kept himself had he but looked to it as he should and might.

2. This being so, if God had here stepped in, he had either added that which had been needless, and so had not obtained thankfulness, or else had made the strength of Adam useless, yea his own workmanship in so creating him superfluous, or else, by consequence, imperfect.

3. If he bad done so, he had taken Adam from his duty, which was to trust and believe his Maker; he had also made void the end of the commandment, which was to persuade to watchfulness, diligence, sobriety, and contentedness; yea, and by so doing would not only himself have, tempted Adam to transgression, even to lay aside the exercise of that strength that God had already given him, but should have become the pattern or the first father to all looseness, idleness and neglect of duty; which would also not only have-been an ill example to Adam to continue to neglect so reasonable and wholesome duties, but would have been to himself an argument of defense to retort upon his God when he had come another time to reckon with him for his misdemeanors.

Many other weighty reasons might here be further added for God’s vindication in this particular, but at this time let these suffice.

 

John Bunyan-Reprobation Asserted; Or, The Doctrine Of Eternal Election And Reprobation Promiscuously Handled: In Eleven Chapters Wherein The Most Material Objections Made By The Opposers Of This Doctrine Are Fully Answered, Several Doubts Removed, And Sundry Cases Removed Conscience Resolved.

Chapter 5-Of the Unchangeableness of Eternal Reprobation

January 16, 2014 5 comments

MANY opinions have passed through the hearts of the sons of men concerning reprobation, most of them endeavoring so to hold it forth as therewith they might, if not heal their conscience slightly, yet maintain their own opinion in their judgment of other things; still wringing now the word this way, and anon again that, for their purpose; also framing within their soul such an imagination of God and his acts in eternity as would suit with, such opinions, and so present all to the world. And the rather they have with greatest labor strained unweariedly at this above many other truths because of the grim and dreadful face it carrieth in most men’s apprehensions. But none of these things:, however they may please the creature, can by any means in any measure either cause God to undo, unsay, or undetermine what he hath concerning this decreed and established.

First. Because they suit not with his nature, especially in these foundation acts. The foundation of God standeth sure, even touching reprobation, that the purpose of God according to election might, stand. “I know (saith Solomon) that whatsoever the Lord doth, it abideth for ever; nothing can be put unto it nor anything taken from it, etc. Hath he said it, and shall he not do it? Hath he spoken, and shall he; not bring it to pass?” His decrees are composed according to his eternal wisdom, established upon his unchangeable will, governed by his knowledge, prudence, power, justice, and mercy, and are brought to conclusion (on his part) in perfect holiness, through the abiding of his most blessed truth and faithfulness: “He is a rock, his way is perfect, for all his works are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

Secondly. This decree is made sure by the number, measure, and bounds of election, for election and reprobation do enclose all reasonable creatures; that is, either the one or the other — election, those that are set apart for glory; and reprobation, those left out of this choice.

Now as touching the elect, they are by this decree confined to that, limited number of persons that must amount; to the complete making up the fullness of the mystical body of Christ; yea, so confined by his eternal purpose that nothing can be diminished from or added thereunto; and hence it is that they are called his body and members in particular, the fullness of Him that fills all in all, and the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; which body, considering him as the Head thereof, in conclusion maketh up one perfect mart and holy temple for the Lord. These are Christ’s substance, inheritance, and lot; and are said to be booked, marked, and sealed with God’s most excellent knowledge, approbation, and liking. As Christ said to his Father, “Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect, and in thy book are all my members written, which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was none of them.” This being thus, I say it is in the first place impossible that any of those members should miscarry, “for who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” And because they are as to number every way sufficient, being his body and so by their completing to be made a perfect man, therefore all others are rejected, that the “purpose of God according to election might stand.” Besides, it would not only argue weakness in the decree, but monstrousness in the body, if after this any appointed should miscarry or any besides them be added to them.

Thirdly. Nay, further, that all may see how punctual, exact and to a tittle this degree of election is, God hath not only as to number and quantity confined the persons, but also determined and measured, and that before the world, the number of the gifts and graces that are to be bestowed on these members in general, and also what graces and gifts to be bestowed on this or that member in particular: “He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world;” and bestoweth them in time upon us, “according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” he hath given to the eye the grace that belongeth to the eye, and to the hand that which he also hath appointed for it; and so to every other member of the body elect he doth deal out to them their determined measures of grace and gifts most fit for their place and office. Thus is the decree established both of the saved and also of the non-elect.

Fourthly. But again, another thing that doth establish this decree of eternal reprobation is the weakness that sin in the fall and since hath brought all reprobates into; for though it he most true that sin is no cause of eternal reprobation, yet seeing sin hath seized on the reprobate, it cannot be but thereby the decree must needs be the faster fixed. If the king, for this or the other weighty reason, doth decree not to give this or that man who yet did never offend him) a place in his privy chamber, if this man after this shall be infected with the plague, this rather fastens than loosens the king’s decree; as the angels that were left out of God’s election, by reason of the sin they committed after, are so far off from being by that received into God’s decree that they are therefore bound for it in chains of everlasting darkness to the judgment of the great day.

John Bunyan-Reprobation Asserted; Or, The Doctrine Of Eternal Election And Reprobation Promiscuously Handled: In Eleven Chapters Wherein The Most Material Objections Made By The Opposers Of This Doctrine Are Fully Answered, Several Doubts Removed, And Sundry Cases Removed Conscience Resolved.

Chapter 4-Of the Causes of Reprobation

HAVING thus in a word or two showed the antiquity of reprobation, I now come in this place to show you the causes thereof; for doubtless this must stand a truth, that whatever God doth, there is sufficient ground therefor, whether by us apprehended or else without our reach.

First, then. It is caused from the very nature of God. There are two things in God from which or by the virtue of which all things have their rise — to wit, the eternity of God in general, and the eternal perfection of every one of his attributes in particular; for as by the first he must needs be before all things, so by virtue of the second must all things consist. And as he is before all things, they having consistence by him, so also is he before all states or their causes, be they either good or bad, of continuance or otherwise, he being the first without beginning, etc., whereas all other things, with their causes, have rise, dependence, or toleration of being from him.

Hence it follows that nothing, either person or cause, etc., can by any means have a being but first he knows thereof, allows thereof, and decrees it shall be so: “Who is he that saith and it cometh to pass when the Lord commandeth it not?” Now, then, because that reprobation, as well as election, are subordinate to God, his will also, which is eternally perfect, being most immediately herein concerned, it was impossible that any should be reprobate before God hath both willed and decreed it should be so. It is not the being of a thing that administers matter of knowledge or foresight thereof to God, but the perfection of his knowledge, wisdom, and power, etc., that giveth the thing its being. God did not fore-decree there should be a world because he foresaw there would be one, but there must be one because he had before decreed there should be one. The same is true as touching the case in hand: “For this very purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show in thee my power.”

Secondly. A second cause of eternal reprobation is the exercise of God’s sovereignty; for if this is true, that there is nothing either visible or invisible, whether in heaven or earth, but hath its being from him, then it must most reasonably follow that he is therefore sovereign Lord, etc., and may also according to his, own will, as he pleaseth himself, both exercise and manifest the same, being every whit absolute, and can do and may do whatsoever his soul desireth; and indeed good reason, for he hath not only made them all, but for his pleasure they both were and are created.

Now the very exercise of this sovereignty produceth reprobation; therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth; hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump? And doth he not make his pots according to his pleasure? Here therefore the mercy, justice, wisdom, and power of God take liberty to do what they will, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”

Thirdly. Another cause of eternal reprobation is the act and working of distinguishing love and everlasting grace. God hath universal love and particular love, general love and distinguishing love; and so accordingly doth decree, purpose, and determine, from general love, the extension of general grace and mercy, but from that love that is distinguishing, peculiar grace and mercy: “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? Yet I loved Jacob,” saith the Lord; (yet I loved Jacob,) that. is, with a better love, or a love that is more distinguishing; as he farther makes appear in his answer to our father Abraham, when he prayed to God for Ishmael: “As for Ishmael, (saith he,) I have heard thee; behold I have blessed him and will also make him fruitful; but my covenant will I establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee.” Touching which words there are these things observable:

1. That God had better love for Isaac than he had for his brother Ishmael. Yet,

2. Not because Isaac had done more worthy and goodly deeds, for Isaac was yet unborn.

3. This choice blessing could not be denied to Ishmael because he had disinherited himself by sin, for this blessing was entailed to Isaac before Ishmael had a being also.

4. These things therefore must needs fall out through the working of distinguishing love and mercy, which has so cast the business “that the purpose of God according to election might stand.”

Further. Should not God decree to show distinguishing love and mercy, as well as that which is general and common, he must not discover his best love at all to the sons of men. Again, if he, should reveal and extend his best love to all the world in general, then there would not be such a thing as love that doth distinguish; for distinguishing love appeareth in separating between Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, the many called and the few’ chosen. Thus by virtue of distinguishing love some must be reprobate, for distinguishing love must leave some, both of the angels in heaven and the inhabitants of the earth; wherefore the decree also that doth establish it must needs leave some.

Fourthly. Another cause of reprobation is God’s willingness to show his wrath and to make his power known. This is one of those arguments that the holy apostle setteth against the most knotty and strong objection that ever was framed against the doctrine of eternal reprobation: “Thou wilt say then, (saith he,) Why doth he yet find fault? for if it be his will that some should be rejected, hardened, and perish, why then is he offended that any sin against him, for who hath resisted his will?” Hold, saith the apostle; stay a little here; first remember this: is it meet to say unto God, What doest thou? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump?” etc. Besides, when you have thought your worst — to wit, that the effects of reprobation must needs be consummate in the eternal perdition of the creature — yet again consider what if God be willing to show his wrath as well as grace and mercy? And what if he, that he may so do, exclude some from having share in that grace that would infallibly, against all resistance, bring us safe unto eternal life? What then? Is he therefore the author of your perishing or his eternal reprobation either? Do you not know that he may refuse to elect who he will without abusing of them? Also that he may deny to give them that grace that would preserve them from sin without being guilty of their damnation? May he not, to show his wrath, suffer with much long-suffering all that are the vessels of wrath by their own voluntary will, to fit themselves for wrath and for destruction? Yea, might he not even in the act of reprobation conclude also to suffer them thus left to fall from the state he had left them in — that is as they were considered, upright — and when fallen to bind them fast in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day, but he must needs be charged foolishly? You shall see in that day what a harmony and what a glory there will be found in all God’s judgments in the overthrow of the sinner; also how clear the Lord will show himself of having any working hand in that which causeth eternal ruin, notwithstanding he hath reprobated such, doth suffer them to sin, and that too that he might show his wrath on the vessels of his wrath; the which I also after this next chapter shall further, clear up to you. As the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation without approving of their miscarriages, so he also knoweth how to reserve the ungodly unto the day of judgment to be punished, yet. never to deserve the least of blame for his so reserving of them, though none herein can see his way, for he alone knows how to do it.

John Bunyan-Reprobation Asserted; Or, The Doctrine Of Eternal Election And Reprobation Promiscuously Handled: In Eleven Chapters Wherein The Most Material Objections Made By The Opposers Of This Doctrine Are Fully Answered, Several Doubts Removed, And Sundry Cases Removed Conscience Resolved.

Chapter 2-What Reprobation is

December 26, 2013 1 comment

HAVING thus showed you that there is such a thing as a reprobation, I come now to show what it is, which, that I may do to your edification, I shall first show you what this word reprobation signifieth in the general, as it concerneth persons temporary and visibly reprobate. Secondly, more particular, as it concerneth persons that are eternally and invisibly reprobate.

First generally, as it concerneth persons temporary and visibly reprobate: thus, to be reprobate is to be disapproved, void of judgment, and rejected, etc. To be disapproved, that is, when the word condemns them, either as touching the faith or the holiness of the Gospel; the which they must needs be that are void of spiritual and heavenly judgment in the mysteries of the kingdom, a manifest token they are rejected. And hence it is that they are said to be reprobate or void of judgment concerning the faith; reprobate or void of judgment touching every good work; having a reprobate mind to do those things that are not convenient either as to faith or manners. And hence it is again that they are also said to be rejected of God, cast away and the like.

I call this temporary, visible reprobation, because these appear and are detected by the word as such that are found under the above-named errors, and so adjudged without the grace of God. Yet it is possible for some of these, (however for the present disapproved,) through the blessed acts and dispensations of grace not only to become visible saints, but also saved for ever. Who doubts but that he who now by examining himself concerning faith doth find himself, though under profession, graceless, may, after that, he seeing his woeful state, not only cry to God for mercy, but find grace, and obtain mercy to help in time of need? Though it is true that for the most part the contrary is fulfilled on them.

But to pass this, and more particularly to touch the eternal, invisible reprobation, which I shall thus hold forth. It is to be passed by in or left out of God’s election, yet so as considered upright; in which position you have these four things considerable:

First. The act of God’s election.

Secondly. The negative of that act.

Thirdly. The persons reached by that negative. And,

Fourthly. Their qualification when thus reached by it. For the first. This act of God in electing, it is a choosing or foreappointing of some. infallibly unto eternal life, which he also hath determined shall he brought to pass by the means that should be made manifest and efficacious to that very end.

Secondly. Now the negative of this act is a passing by or a leaving of those not concerned in this act-a leaving of them, I say, without the bounds and so the saving privileges of this act; as it followeth by natural consequence that because a man chooseth but some, therefore he chooseth not all, but leaveth, as the negative of that act, all others whatsoever. Wherefore, as I said before, those not contained within this blessed act are called the rest besides the election: “The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.”

Thirdly. The persons then that are contained under the negative of this act, they are those (and those only)that pass through this wicked world without the saving grace of God’s elect; those, I say, that miss the most holy faith which they in time are blest withal who are foreappointed unto glory.

And now for the qualification they were considered under when this act of reprobation laid hold upon them — to wit, they were considered upright.

This is evident —

First, from this consideration: that reprobation is God’s act, even the negative of his choosing or electing, and none of the acts of God make any man a sinner.

Secondly. It is further evident by the similitude that is taken from the carriage of the potter in the making of his pots; for by this comparison the God of heaven is pleased to show unto us the nature of his determining in the act of reprobation. “Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump?” etc. Consider a little, and you shall see that these three things do necessarily fall in to complete the potter’s action in every pot he makes:

1. A determination in his own mind what pot to make of this or that piece of clay — a determination, I say, precedent to the fashion of the pot; the which is true in the highest degree in Him that is excellent in working; he determines the end before the beginning is perfected: “For this very purpose have I raised thee up.”

2. The next thing considerable in the potter, it is the (so) making of the pot, even as he determined, a vessel to honor or a vessel to dishonor. There is no confusion or disappointment under the hand of this eternal God; his work is perfect and every way doth answer to what he hath determined.

3. Observe again, that whether the vessel be to honor or to dishonor, yet the potter makes it good, sound, and fit for service; his foredetermining to make this a vessel to dishonor hath no persuasion at all with him to break or mar the pot; which very thing doth well resemble the state of man as under the act of eternal reprobation, for “God made man upright.”

From these conclusions then consider —

1. That the simple act of reprobation, it is a leaving or passing by, not a cursing of the creature.

2. Neither doth this act alienate the heart of God from the reprobate, nor tie him up from loving, favoring, or blessing of him; no, not from blessing of him with the gift of Christ, of faith, of hope, and many other benefits. It only denieth them that benefit that will infallibly bring them to eternal life, and that in despite of all opposition; it only denieth so to bless them as the elect themselves are blessed. Abraham loved all the children he had by all his wives, and gave them portions also; but his choice blessing, as the fruit of his chiefest love, he reserved for chosen Isaac.

Lastly. The act of reprobation doth harm to no man, neither means him any; nay, it rather decrees him upright, lets him be made upright, and so be turned into the world.

John Bunyan-Reprobation Asserted; Or, The Doctrine Of Eternal Election And Reprobation Promiscuously Handled: In Eleven Chapters Wherein The Most Material Objections Made By The Opposers Of This Doctrine Are Fully Answered, Several Doubts Removed, And Sundry Cases Removed Conscience Resolved.

Reprobation Defined

November 1, 2013 1 comment

Chapter I

WHEREIN THE TERMS COMMONLY MADE USE OF IN TREATING OF THIS SUBJECT ARE DEFINED AND EXPLAINED.

HAVING considered the attributes of God as laid down in Scripture, and so far cleared our way to the doctrine of predestination, I shall, before I enter further on the subject, explain the principal terms generally made use of when treating of it, and settle their true meaning. In discoursing on the Divine decrees, mention is frequently made of God’s love and hatred, of election and reprobation, and of the Divine purpose, foreknowledge and predestination, each of which we shall distinctly and briefly consider.

IV.-On the contrary, reprobation denotes either (1) God’s eternal preterition of some men, when He chose others to glory, and His predestination of them to fill up the measure of their iniquities and then to receive the just punishment of their crimes, even “destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” This is the primary, most obvious and most frequent sense in which the word is used. It may like wise signify (2) God’s forbearing to call by His grace those whom He hath thus ordained to condemnation, but this is only a temporary preterition, and a consequence of that which was from eternity. (3) And, lastly, the word may be taken in another sense as denoting God’s refusal to grant to some nations the light of the Gospel revelation. This may be considered as a kind of national reprobation, which yet does not imply that every individual person who lives in such a country must therefore unavoidably perish for ever, any more than that every individual who lives in a land called Christian is therefore in a state of salvation. There are, no doubt, elect persons among the former as well as reprobate ones among the latter. By a very little attention to the context any reader may easily discover in which of these several senses the words elect and reprobate are used whenever they occur in Scripture.

Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady

Confession statement 31

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXI ALL believers in the time of this life, are in a continual warfare and combat against sin, self, the world, and the devil; and are liable to all manner of afflictions, tribulations and persecutions, being predestinated and appointed thereunto, and whatsoever the saints possess or enjoy of God spiritually, is by faith; and outward and temporal things are lawfully enjoyed by a civil right by them who have no faith.

Rom.7:23,24; Eph.6:10,11,etc.; Heb.2:9,10; 2 Tim.3:12; Rom.8:29; 1 Thess.3:3; Gal.2:19,20; 2 Cor.5:7; Deut.2:5.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Reason to fear that God has given you up

January 7, 2013 2 comments

fullerIf, after having heard these truths, and lived in a country where they are fully declared, you do not feel interested by them, you have reason to fear that God has given you up to hardness of heart and that the language of the prophet is fulfilled in you: “Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear and not understand; and seeing, ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Remember that, in Old-Testament times, when God blessed his people Israel with singular temporal blessings, he punished their transgressions mostly with temporal judgments; but now that we are favored with singular spiritual privileges, the neglect of them is commonly punished with spiritual judgments.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

Confession statement 5

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

V. GOD in His infinite power and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the end for which they were created; that neither good nor evil befalls any by chance, or without His providence; and that whatsoever befalls the elect, is by His appointment, for His glory, and their good.

Job 38:11: Isa.46:10,11; Eccles.3:14; Mark 10:29.30; Exod.21:13; Prov.16:33; Rom.8:28.

The First London Baptist Confession of 1644/1646