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.]

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