CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.
Part 2 Chapter 1
Section 1—Proverbs 16:4.
The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
1. These words are not to be understood of God's creating all things out of nothing, or of his production of creatures into being for his own glory, nor of his wise ordering and disposing all things in providence for himself which are both truths, but not of this text. It is certain that all things that are made, are made by Jehovah, for himself, and not another; not because he had need of them but to declare his greatness, and communicate his goodness, for his will and pleasure, his praise and glory; yet this is not intended here, for the word here used is neither adb nor tç[, which are commonly used when creation, and the works of it, are spoken of. It is also most certain, that all things in this world, as they are upheld and preserved in their being by God, so they are governed, influenced, ordered, and disposed of by him, for the good of his creatures, and the glory of his name; yet not this, but the decrees, purposes, and appointments of God, respecting his creatures, are here designed; in which sense the word l[p, here used, is sometimes to be taken, as in Exodus 15:17: Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which tl[p, thou hast appointed for thee to dwelt in, in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy have established.For the tabernacle, or sanctuary, was not yet made. So in Psalm 31:19: O how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which,tl[p,thou hast prepared, provided, and appointed, in thine eternal counsel and covenant, for them that trust in thee before the sons of men.In the same sense the word poie>w is used in the New Testament, particularly in Mark 3:14, And he,ejpoi<hse, made,or ordained twelve.And in Hebrews 3:2, Who was radical,tw~ poi>hsanti, to him that made, or appointed him.Now the sense of these words is this: that all things are appointed by God for his own glory; all things, particularly respecting man, concerning his temporal estate, the time of his birth, the place of his abode, his station and condition of life, the various vintages of it, prosperous and adverse, death itself, and all the means leading on to it; as well as all things respecting his spiritual and eternal state, the provision and mission of a Say tour, both as to the time of his coming into the world, and of his sufferings and death, with all the circumstances thereof, the conversion of a sinner, time, place, said means, all times of darkness, desertion, and comfort; yea, the final state and portion of all men: all these are fixed and appointed by God, and, in one way or another, make for his glory; yea, even he has appointed the wicked for the day of evil,which is mentioned partly to illustrate the general proposition in the text, and partly to obviate an objection, which might be taken from them against all things being made or appointed for his glory. But,
2. It is commonly said, that it is our sentiment, and the sense we give of this text, and what may be inferred from the doctrine of predestination, that God made man to damn him; whereas this is neither our sentiment; nor is it the sense we give of this text, nor is it to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination; for there is a wide difference between God's making man to damn him, trod his appointing wicked men to damnation for their wickedness, which is the meaning of this text, and of the doctrine of reprobation we assert. We say, that God made man neither to damn him nor to save him; neither salvation nor damnation were God's ultimate in making man, but his own glory, which will be answered one way or another, either in his salvation or damnation. It is asked, "What is it that they would lifter from these words? Is it that God made men wicked?" To which I answer, no. We know as well as this interrogator that God made man upright,and that he has made himself wicked; and abhor, as much as he, the blasphemy of God being the author of sin, or of his making his creatures wicked. It is one thing for God to make men wicked, another to appoint a wicked man to eternal wrath on the account of his wickedness. The same author goes on to interrogate, "Is it with Dr. Twiss, that all, besides the elect, God hath ordained to bring forth into the world, in their corrupt mass, and to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin; and lastly, to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them?" This passage of the Doctor's is picked out as a very exceptionable one; though for my part, I think it fitly expresses both the sense of this text and of the doctrine of reprobation, and is to be justified in every part of it. He says, that God ordained to bring forth all, besides the elect, into the world in their corrupt mass.And where is the hurt of saying this? Is it not fact that they are brought into the world in this manner? Nor is it repugnant to the perfections of God to produce, bring into being, and multiply the individuals of human nature, though that nature is vitiated and corrupted with sin, which lie may do, and does, without being the author of their wickedness; nor is this injurious to, or any particular hardship on, the non-elect, since the same is true, and is what we, with the Scriptures, affirm of the elect of God themselves. The Doctor proceeds to observe, that God ordained to permit them to themselves to go on in their own ways, and so finally to persevere in sin.That God does give up men to their own hearts' lust (Ps. 81:11, 12), as he did the Israelites of old, and suffers whole nations to walk in their own ways (Acts 14:16), as he did the Gentiles formerly for many hundreds of years, is certain; and for God to ordain, or determine, to permit them, can be no more contrary to his perfections than the permission itself; nor does such an appointment infringe the liberty of their wills; nor can it be any injustice in God to suffer them finally to persevere in sin, since they say, we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart (Jer. 18:12). And, whereas the Doctor concludes that God has ordained to damn them for their sin, for the manifestation of his justice on them:this fitly expresses the sense of the text and of the doctrine of reprobation, especially that part of it which divines call pre-damnation. Reprobation may be distinguished into preterition and predamnation. Preterition is God's act of passing by and leaving some, who are called the rest,when he chose others to salvation; and is the effect of God's sovereign good will and pleasure, being an act over and above the fall, and without the consideration of it, or of any actual sin or transgression whatever; nor is this unbecoming the moral perfections of God, or doing any injustice to his creatures, since the objects of this act were considered in the pure mass of creatureship, were found in this pure mass, and left in it, God neither putting nor supposing any wickedness in them. Predamnation is God's appointing men to damnation, in consideration and on account of sin; not God's decree, but sin, which interferes between the decree and the execution of it, is the cause of damnation: God damns no man but for sin, nor does he appoint any to damnation but on account of it. Now, if it is not unjust to damn men for sin,it cannot be an unrighteous thing with God to appoint unto damnation for it. These things being considered, the doctrine of reprobation will not appear so horrible and shocking as it is represented to be by our opponents. Our author goes on and observes, "or lastly, they only mean that God, for the glory of his justice, had appointed, that wicked men perishing impenitently in sin, should he obnoxious to his wrath; and then they assert a great truth." But we mean more than this, we mean not only that such persons who are left to persevere in sin,and remain finally impenitent, are obnoxious to the wrath of God, but that they are appointed to wrath; and which we believe to be the sense of this text, and the truth contained in it. Though,
3. It is observed, that the words should be rendered, the Lord hath made all things to answer to themselves,or airily to refer to one another, even the wicked for the day of evil.But supposing that the word whn[ml is derived from hn[, to answer,it should not be rendered to answer to themselves but to him,since the affix to it is singular, and not plural, and the meaning will be, that the Lord has made,or appointed all things to answer to himself,that is, to his own will and pleasure, and to subserve the ends of his own glory. Agreeable to this sense of the phrase the Jewish writers interpret it. R. Sol Jarchi explains it by wswlyq lybçb for his praise.R. Isaac by wnwxrz zxpj ˆ[ml, for his will and pleasure.R. Jonah by hxwr wb ˆyg[l, for the thing in which he takes pleasure.R. David Kimchi thinks it may be rightly explained by wrwb[b, for himself,or for his own sake.All which confirm our sense of it. Nor is the meaning of the words, that God has made the wicked man to be the executioner of evil to others; though this is sometimes the case, and is such a sense of the words, as is no ways subversive of the doctrine of reprobation. But the plain meaning of them is,that God has appointed all things for his own glory, and which, the will secure even in the destruction of wicked men, to which for their sins they are justly reserved; and this sense of them is confirmed by the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.