Page images




4. God's happiness consists 4. "Consider the source of in his holy exercises, "so that the divine blessedness. God

it is not strictly true, that creatures add nothing to the enjoyment or happiness of God, even his essential happiness; and that he would have been as completely blessed for ever, as he really is, had there been no creatures." He can be said to be independently happy, in this sense alone, that he has power to do all his pleasure.

is love, and all his happiness flows from the perfect gratification of all his benevolent feelings. But these could never have been completely gratified, without displaying all his perfections in the work of creation. God being from eternity allsufficient and infinitely benevolent, must have had an infinitely strong propensity to exert

Syst. Vol. 1. p. 89, 90. his omnipotent power in the

5. The one God exists in three distinct subsistences or persons; and it is highly probable," that this distinction of three in one, is that in which the most happy and perfect society consists, in which love and friendship is exercised to the highest perfection, and with infinite enjoyment and felicity."

System, Vol. 1. p. 97, 104. and Vol 2. p. 244.

production of holiness and happiness. Hence it was morally impossible, that he should have been perfectly blessed, without devising and performing the work of creation."

Emmons, p. 120.

5. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three distinct agents, or persons: and the divine blessedness arises from the perfect state of society which subsists between the three, and the perfect satisfac tion which each feels in the conduct of each, while it is the office of one to create, of the second to redeem, and of the third to sanctify.

Emmons, p. 90, 104 and 107,

[blocks in formation]

6. "The Father is of none, the son is of the Father, and the Spirit is of both.”


6. "The Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost, eternally proceeding B. 1. ch. 13. sec. 18. from the Father and the Son.” "We teach that there is but Con, P. C. U. S. p. 16 and 163. one essential God, and there- Church of England, Art. 2 and fore that the essence as well of 6. the Son as of the Holy Ghost is unbegotten. But for so much as the Father is in order first and hath of himself begotten his wisdom, therefore rightfully it is above said that he is counted the original and fountain of all the Godhead."

B. 1. ch. 13. sec. 25. 7. "When we give foreknowledge to God, we mean that all things always have been and perpetually do remain under his eyes."

Say. Plat. ch. 2. sec. 3. Con. C. Scot. ch. 2. sec. 3. and Con. R. D. C. Art. 8. See also the Nicene creed, and that of St. Athanasius, A. D. 333.*

7. With God, foreknowledge and predestination are simultaneous.

Con. P. C.U. S. p. 17, 25, and 166. Con. C. Scot. and Say. Plat. B. 3. ch. 21. sec. 5. ch. 3. sec. 1 and 2.

The 3d chap. of "the latter confession of Helvetia," contains the sum of Calvinistic doctrine upon this subject. "We neverthelesse beleeve and teach, that the same infinite, one, and indivisible God is, in persons, inseparably and without confusion distinguished into the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, so as the Father hath begotten the Son from everlasting, (the Son is begotten in an unspeakable manner) and the Holy Ghost proceedeth from them both, and that from everlasting, and is to be worshipped with them both. So that there be not three Gods, but three persons consubstantiall, coeternall, and coequall, distinct as touching their persons, and in order, one going before another, yet without any inequalitie." The Con. of Basil, Bohemia, France, England, Auspurge and Wirtemberge teach the same.

[blocks in formation]

* "To suppose, that the Son, with respect to the divine nature, was begotten of the Father, and that the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the concurrence of the Father and the Son, is to suppose, that a Trinity of persons is not founded in the divine nature, but merely in the divine will. For, on this supposition, if the Father had not pleased to beget the Son, and the Father and Son had not pleased to produce the Holy Ghost, there could have been no Trinity of persons in the Godhead. Besides, this opinion sets the Son as far below the Father, as a creature is below the Creator; and sets the Holy Ghost as far below the Son, as he is below the Father; or, rather, it makes the Holy Ghost the creature of the creature." Em mons, p. 103, 104.





1. There is an eternal divine determination, which respects all beings, actions and events.* B. 1. ch. 16, and B. 3. ch. 22.

2. "The will of God is so the highest rule of righteousness, that whatsoever he willeth, even for this that he willeth it, it ought to be taken for righteous. When, therefore, it is asked, why the Lord did it, it is to be answered, because he willed it. But if thou go further in asking why he willed it, thou askest some greater and higher thing than the will of God, which cannot be found."

Inst. B. 3. ch. 23. sec. 2.


[merged small][ocr errors]

Con. P. C. U. S. p. 16. Say. Plat. p. 21. Con. C. Scot. ch. 3. sec. 1.

2. According to his decree, God "made heaven, earth, and all other creatures of nothing, when he saw it fit and convenient, and gave to every one his being, forme, and divers offices, that they might serve their Creator: and he doth now cherish, uphold, and governe them all, according to his everlasting providence and infinite power; and that to this end, that they might serve man, and man might serve his God."

Con. of Belgia, Art. 12. A. D. 1566.

3. Predestination we call 3. "It is not consistent with the eternal decree of God, the perfection of God to ascribe

CALVIN'S PREMONITION. "First, therefore, let this be before our eyes, that to covet any other knowledge of predestination than that which is set forth by the word of God, is a point of no less madness than if a man should have a will to go by an impassable way, or to see in darkness." "Let us willingly abstain from the searching of that knowledge, whereof the excessive coveting is both foolish and perilous, yea, and deadly." B. 3. ch. 21. Sec. 2.




1. Dr. H. adopts the definition of the Assembly of Divines. "The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his own will, whereby for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass."

[blocks in formation]

1. "If the author of nature be a Being of perfect wisdom, he must have formed all his purposes from eternity. He could not have begun to operate, in a single instance, before he had determined the nature, number, duration, and end of

Syst. Vol. 1. p. 106. all his works. And by determining all his own conduct, he must have necessarily determined the conduct and character, and final state of all his intelligent and accountable creatures. The doctrine of decrees, in its largest extent, necessarily results from the being and perfections of God. Hence all, who acknowledge themselves to be the creatures of God, are constrained to believe, that he hath decreed every thing respecting them, through every period of their existence.”

2. The decrees of God are sovereign and unchangeable, but not arbitrary; or not "determined and fixed without any reason why he should purpose and decree as he has done, rather than the contrary, or otherwise." They have originated in moral goodness, or disinterested benevolence; and are de signed to promote the greatest good of being in general.

[ocr errors]

Emmons, p. 28 and 29. 2. The decrees of God are

Syst. Vol 1. p. 107 and 114. 3. The decrees particularly all sovereign; but still he derespected, 1. The Works of crees from a benevolent pur creation. These are all such as God saw most suitable to

promote the greatest good. 2. The character of moral agents. 3. The election of a definite


Emmons, p. 391, 400.

3. God decrees what moral agents he will make, for what end he will make them, what

« PreviousContinue »