Archive for the ‘Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11’ Category


B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) on Ezekiel 33:10-11

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism



Son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our
transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how
should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no
pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live:
turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, Oh house of Israel?
Ezek. 33:10, 11.

Our text alludes to the preceding fact, that the prophet by Divine commandment had denounced a judgment on Israel. That judgment had declared that their sins were on them, that they would pine away under their sins, and they would die in their sins. To which denunciation the people, in the first part of our text, reply: "If our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?" The reply is first an expression of despair and helplessness. But it is more. It charges God with the helplessness and despair of their situation, and justifies themselves. It is as if they had said: "You denounce judgment on us. You say that our sins are on us. You declare that we will pine away and die in them. Then how can you blame us for not living? Who hath resisted your will? We are powerless to help ourselves! Our death is by God’s imperious, irresistible decree. It is his pleasure that we should die and we cannot help ourselves." To this charge, making God responsible for their death, the second part of our text replies: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked," etc.

The text develops an old-time controversy between God and the sinner, the sinner claiming to be more just than God, the sinner pleading his helplessness and justifying his death by imputing the responsibility and blame to the Almighty. It is a trick of the devil to put God in fault, to lead the sinner to self-pity, to make him a martyr and God a persecutor.

Read the rest of this entry »


To the first out of Ezek. 33:11, and the 18:32, we answer: This author1 quite forgets the very question in hand. When we dispute of that special providence which is called predestination, and which concerns the bringing of some men unto eternal life, and the freeing of them from eternal death, we speak of such a will as (by the confession of all Divines), stands not upon uncertain conditions, but is most infallibly and immutable, and that not only certitudine præscientiæ Divinæ, but ordinis & causalitatis, as the Schoolmen speak. Now the will spoken of in the testimonies alleged is that of voluntas simplicis complacentiæ, or voluntas conditionata, which in regard of the good intended and promised unto men depends upon the good bahaviour of their own free-will. Notwithstanding this will which extends unto all, it is the Divine will and decree that some men creata libertas possit impedire effectus consecutionem: Et hoc vult permittere Deus propter majora bona[Ruiz, de volunt. 18. sect. 4.]. So that this will of exempting Judas or Cain from eternal death under condition of “Turning from their wicked ways,” and yet permitting them finally to run on their own wicked ways, is so far from proving that they were not under any such decree of reprobation, as we maintain that it is evidently demonstrated the truth thereof. It proves strongly that neither man’s sin nor man’s eternal death do fall sub voluntate simplicus complicentæ: for then they should be bona & ambilia per se: But it proves not but God may decree the permitting of some men to finally die in their sins, and eternally to be punished for their sins: wherein we place the decree of reprobation.

The inference or collection, “That God delights not in the destruction of wicked men,” we willingly grant. For he only said to delight in that whereunto he has a natural inbred propension, but this puts no necessary obligation upon God by special mercy to free all men from destruction, though he could most easily do it.

As for “sealing up millions under invincible damnation,” it does manifestly import an invincible act of God thrusting men first into sin, and then into hell, and both out of his mere pleasure. We utterly deny that reprobation infers any such dealing of God with men non-elected.

John Davenant, Animadversions Written By the Right Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Bishop of Sarisbury, upon a Treatise intitled “God’s love to Mankind” (London: Printed for Iohn Partridge, 1641), 166-177. [Some minor reformatting; some spelling modernized; marginal reference cited inline; italics original; and, footnote mine.]


1[That is, Davenant’s theological opponent.]


William Whately (1583-1639) Referencing Ezekiel 18:23

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


Thou sees how great a thing this globe of earth and water seems to be to them that walk upon it, yet in comparison of the heavenly sphere that does encompass it, what is it else, but a point, a prick, a center, a thing of nothing, that holds no proportion to those higher regions, and now assuredly, that there is no more proportion betwixt the sins of all men, and God’s mercies, than betwixt the point of the earth, and the circumference of the skies. He is willing to pardon more than all of them can commit, and, therefore, only they be not pardoned, because they will not humble themselves to seek pardon. Thus then must thou raise up thy falling heart, I have do with a most infinitely merciful and tender hearted Father, that does not desire the death of him that dies, but is ten thousand thousand times more willing to give me pardon than I am to crave or accept it. It pleases him more to bestow forgiveness, than me to receive it. O do not so great an injury to God, as to set any bounds and limits to his goodness, to diminish or detract from the boundlessness of his compassion, to think that thou can possibly exceed his goodness with thy badness, but go unto him and acknowledge, saying, “O Lord, the multitude of thy mercies do far surmount multitudes of thy mercies,” and so thou shall be safe. 

William Whately, The Oyle of Gladdnesse. Or, Comfort for Dejected Sinners (London: Printed by G M for George Edwards, and are to be sold at his house in Greene-Arbour, at the Signe of the Angell, 1637), 90-93. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

Read the rest of this entry »


Anthony Burgess (d. 1644) (Westminster Divine) on Ezekiel 33:11

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


I shall now in the next place, consider the work of Grace, under the notion of Conversion, or Turning unto God, which is one of the most frequent words in the Scripture to denote that duty. For the better opening of the words upon which I intend to build this discourse, we may observe God himself, inditing a Sermon for Ezekiel the Prophet to Preach, wherein there is, 1. The Doctrine, I have no pleasure in the death of a wicked man. 2. The confirmation of it by an Oath, which God himself makes, As I live, saith God. 3. The use of Exhortation, Turn ye, Turn ye. 4 The Motive, Why will ye die? For the occasion of these words, you may see God giving Commission to Ezekiel to be a Watchman, admonishing him by several Arguments to discharge his trust faithfully; and in that all Ministers are concerned: It was Chrysostom’s wonder, if any spiritual Officer, who had charge of souls committed unto him, could be saved; for if a man is not able to give an account for his own sin, how shall he do it for other? Therefore the forepart of his Chapter should be the faithful Ministers Looking glass, wherein he should often look: And if there be so much joy in heaven, for the reducing of one sheep that goes astray, how much rather for the conversion of a wandering Shepherd! Another part of his duty is, to vindicate and justify God; for the Jews quarreled and repined at Gods providence, as if his ways were unequal, or as if God did delight in the destruction of men, yea, though they turned from their wicked ways. Now my Text is an Apology unto that calumny, where the clear contrary is confirmed by an Oath of God himself; who though he cannot lie, and so his word is enough, yet for condescension to our capacity, and to confirm our faith, doth swear, That he delights not in the death of a wicked man, O beatos nos quorum causa Deus jurat, O miserrimos si nec juranti Domino credimus. Tertullian.

Now this Text is frequently urged and debated upon in the matter of Reprobation, corrupt Teachers concluding from hence, that there is no Election or Reprobation absolutely, because God doth seriously will every mans life, and no wicked mans death. Some answer, that this place is wholly impertinent to that question; for (say they) the Prophet speaks not here of eternal life, but temporal, and that which is by the violence of the sword: And (say they further) the antecedents and consequents do evidently show, that the sense is, God doth not will the death of a wicked man, if he will turn from his wickedness; for the Jews charged God foolishly, as if they were punished unjustly, for they persuaded themselves they turned to God, and yet their calamities were not taken away: This is probable, but grant the Text to be comprehensive of Eternal death, as many other places are; such that, God would not have any to perish, but come to the knowledge of the truth, &c. 1 Tim. 2. v. 4. Then the answer is known, which may easily be made good, though it be not my work now, God hath an approving will, and an effective or decreeing will. Gods approving will is carried out to the objects, as good in it self; but Gods Effective will is, when he intends to bring a thing about. God had an approving will, that Adam should stand, therefore he gave him a command, and threatened him if he did fall; yet he had not an effective will, to make him to stand, for then who could have hindered it? Thus Christ’s tears over Jerusalem (How often would I have gathered thee, and thou would not?) were not Crocodiles tears (as some say the Calvinists make them) for though Christ, as God, had not decreed the conversion of the Jews, yet the thing it self was approved of, and commanded, and he as the Minister of the New Testament, affectionately desired it: So here in the Text, God by this pathetic expression, doth declare, how acceptable and desirable a thing it is in its self, that the Jews should be converted; how distasteful and unpleasant their damnation was: therefore mark the expression, he doth not say, I do not will the death of the wicked, but I have no pleasure in it: And if that of the Arminians be true, that God doth effectually will the conversion of all, why then are not all converted? Who hath resisted his will? but I intend grapes, and not thorns; practical not controversial matter from this Text.

The first Observation is, That the damnation and destruction of a wicked man, is unpleasing to God, is not that which he delights in.

Before I open the point, you may object one known and evident place (there being many others also equivolent to it) Prov. 1. 26. I will laugh at your calamity, and mock when your fear comes: This argues their destruction was pleasing to him, Hence judgments upon the wicked are compared to Sacrifices, because they are so acceptable to him.

Read the rest of this entry »


Patrick Fairbairn (1805-1874) on Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism


1) Ezekiel 18:23,

(4.) And now, having repudiated the false imagination of the people, as to the innocent suffering for the guilty, and asserted anew the great principle of God s impartiality in dealing with each according to his desert, the prophet comes to his last hypothetical case–the case, namely, of a supposed change, not, as hitherto, in the character of one generation as compared with another, but in the character of one and the same individual, from bad to good and from good to bad. This was more especially the practical case for the persons here addressed by the prophet, and therefore he reserved it to the last; as it enabled him to shut them up to the alternative of either abandoning at once their sinful ways, or of charging upon their own hardened impenitence all that they might still experience of the troubles and afflictions that pressed upon them. For the message here is, that so far from laying to men s charge the burden of iniquities that had been committed by others, the Lord would not even visit them for their own, if they sincerely repented and turned to the way of righteousness; while on the other hand, if they should begin to fall away into transgression, they must not expect their earlier goodness to screen them from judgment,–because in that case, having taken up with a new condition, it was just and proper that a corresponding change should be introduced into the Divine procedure toward them: “If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord Jehovah, and not that he turn from his way and live? But when the righteous turns away from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked does, shall he live? Nothing of all his righteousness that he has done shall be remembered: in his trespass that he has trespassed, and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die.”

What a beautiful simplicity and directness in the statement! It is like the lawgiver anew setting before the people the way of life and the way of death, and calling upon them to determine which of the two they were inclined to choose. Then, what a moving tenderness in the appeal, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord God.” You think of me as if I were a heartless being, indifferent to the calamities that be fall my children, and even delighting to inflict chastisement on them for sins they have not committed. So far from this, I have no pleasure in the destruction of those who by their own transgressions have deserved it, but would rather that they turn from their ways and live. Thus he presents himself as a God of holy love,–love yearning over the lost condition of his wayward children, and earnestly desiring their return to peace and safety,–yet still exercising itself in strict accordance with the principles of righteousness, and only, in so far as these might admit, seeking the good of men. For however desirous to secure their salvation, he neither can nor will save them, except in the way of righteousness.

Read the rest of this entry »