Part 2 Chapter 1

Introduction—OF Reprobation

The following sections contain an answer to Dr. Whitby's first chapter concerning the decree of Reprobation, with which he has thought fit to begin his discourse upon the Five Points—a method the Remonstrants[1] formerly were very desirous of taking, though far from being just and accurate, since what is called reprobation is no other than non-election, or what is opposed to election; wherefore, that ought to be considered in the first place, which, if it cannot be supported, the other must drop in course.

But it is easy to observe the design of these men, which is, that by exposing to contempt the doctrine of reprobation, which is sparingly spoken of in Scripture, and left to be concluded from that of election, and being most odious, to carnal minds, they hope to weaken all regards to the doctrine of election, which stands in glaring light, and with full evidence in the word of God. The Doctor pretends to give us the state of the question concerning God's absolute decrees of election and reprobation out of Bishop Davenant's Animadversions on Herd, a book deservedly valuable, and which he would have done well to have employed his learning and abilities in the refutation of, before he had written this discourse. But, instead of giving us the true state of the question, relating to these decrees, out of that book, which he might easily have done, he has picked out, some passages here and there, the most exceptionable, and made some rhetorical flourishes upon them. I confess I dislike the Bishop's notions of a twofold decree, respecting reprobates, the one, eternal and absolute, the other revealed, evangelical, and conditional, and of God's giving sufficient grace or sufficient means of grace to them, and therefore think myself not obliged to defend them. What is said concerning Adam's sin, and the imputation of it, will be considered hereafter. The true state of the question before us, and what ought to be attended to, is this, that as God, of his sovereign good will said pleasure, has, from all eternity, chosen some men unto salvation by Jesus Christ, through sanctification of the Spirit, said belief of the truth, so he has, of his sovereign will and pleasure, from all eternity, passed by others, and determined to leave them to themselves, and deny them that grace which he gives to others, and damn them only for their sin.

This author[2] observes, "That the word, ajdo>kimov, which we render reprobate,hath no relation, in Scripture, to any decree concerning the damnation of men, or withholding from them the means by which they may escape it, but only denotes such actions which will certainly be displayed by God and man." But then it should also be observed, that in all those places, 2 Timothy 8, Romans 1:28, Titus 1:16, Hebrews 6:8, and 1 Corinthians 9:27, excepting the last, referred to by this author, the word relates not to the evil actions, but to the persons and internal dispositions of the most profligate and wicked among mankind; so that though there is no express mention of any decree of reprobation concerning them, yet there is a great deal of reason to conclude, from the account given of them, that they were such whom God had never chosen in Christ, but had passed them by, and had determined to leave them to their own heart's lusts, to deny them his grace, and justly damn them for their iniquities. But I proceed to the vindication of those passages of Scripture, in which this writer says, there is nothing relating to this decree, or from which it can reasonably be inferred.


[1] Vide Act. Synod. Dord. Sess. 42, p. 160, etc.

[2] Whitby, p. 8, 9.

Gill Index