CAUSE OF GOD AND TRUTH.
Part 2 Chapter 1
Section 4óJude 1:4.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who mere before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Savior Jesus Christ.
The apostle, in this text, speaks of some persons, perhaps the followers of Simon Magus, or other immoral heretics,who had privily crept into houses, and unawares into the churches, and, perhaps, into the ministry, and had insinuated themselves into the affections of the people; and yet were ungodly men, did not worship God sincerely, and according to his appointments, misinterpreted the gospel of the grace of God, translated it to a wrong use, and abused the design of it,, yea, denied both the Father and the Son. Now these persons were of old,that is, from all eternity, as Dr. Manton on the text observes, before ordained to just condemnation for their wickedness. These words may be considered then as a proof of reprobation, or of God's appointing some men to damnation before they had a being. In answer to this it is said,
1. "The verse in the Greek text runs thus: So the ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, have entered into (the church) of whom it was before written, that this should be their sentence or punishment." But, to tilts version of the text may be objected, that besides the transposing of the words, and dropping part of the character of these men, the word pa>lai, of old,is entirely neglected. Nor does the verse in the Greek text run thus: peri< o+in proge>grapti tou~to to< kri~~ma, of whom this sentence or punishment was before written;but, oij pa>gai progegramme>noi eijv tou~to to< kri~ma who were of old before written to this condemnation.
2. "That this cannot be meant of any divine ordination or appointment of them to eternal damnation before they had a being, is evident; because it cannot be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint any, much less the greater part of them, to inevitable destruction before they had a being." But, where does the horror of this doctrine lie? Does it lie in the appointment of men to damnation, before they had a being? If there is an divine ordination or appointment to it, it must be before men have a being, even from eternity, since no new appointment decree, purpose, or ordination is made by God in time. It election is from eternity, reprobation must be so too, since there cannot be one without the other. If some were chosen before the foundation of the world, others must be left, or passed by as early. If some were appointed unto salvation from the beginning, others were appointed unto wrath or were of old,ayrwÁ zm, from the beginning, as the Syriac version renders the word (compare this with 2 Thess. 2:13; Prov. 8:22), fore-ordained to condemnation.Or, does the horror of it lie in this, that this appointment is ascribed to the lover of souls?Why may it not be thought without horror, that he, who is the lover of souls, should appoint some men to eternal damnation for sin before they had a being, as well as hate Esau before he had done any evil, and yet loved Jacob before he had done any good? Or does it lie here, that God should appoint the greater part of men to damnation? But the question before us is not, whether God has appointed the greater or lesser part of mankind to destruction for sin, but whether he has appointed any; and, if he could appoint any, he could appoint many, yea, all mankind; as he did the whole body of apostate angels, without any impeachment of his wisdom, justice, or goodness. But perhaps the horribleness of this doctrine is thought to lie here, that God has appointed men as creatures, without any consideration of sin,unto eternal damnation. If this was our doctrine, I should not wonder that it should be thought of with so much horror and detestation; but this is a most vile misrepresentation of it. For, though the Supralapsarians do not promise the consideration of sin to the act of preterition, or God's leaving and passing by some, when he chose others; yet both they, and the Sublapsarians premise the consideration of sin to predamnation, or God's appointing men to destruction. We say, God damns no man but for sin, and that he appointed to damn none but sinners. And cannot this be thought of without horror? Our author himself owns it, as will quickly appear.
3. It is said, that "the word kri~ma, relates not to sin, but punishment, the fruit of sin; so Mark 12:40, Romans 2:3. Now, God ordaineth none to punishment but sinners; and ungodly men; and such, by the text, these persons are here styled." To which may be replied, that, though the word kri~ma, in the passages referred to, and in many others, signifies damnation, yet, elsewhere, it relates to things criminal; a sinful blindness and hardness of heart, which God sometimes leaves persons to: so when our Lord says, eijv kri~ma, for judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind (John 9:39), thus, these persons in the text, having gone great lengths in sin,were given up to a reprobate mind to do things not convenient; to neglect and despise the worship of God, abuse me gospel, and deny both the Father and the Son. Now, eijv tou~to to< kri~ma, to this judicial blindness and hardness, they were of old before ordained. This is a sense of the words which cannot easily be confuted, and is, indeed, acknowledged by the Remonstrants. But, however, we are willing to allow that kri~ma here relates to punishment, and not sin, as in the parallel place (2 Pet. 2:3). And we say with our author, that God ordains none to meat but sinners; only we say, that ordination was from eternity, and this is the doctrine of the text, and which we contend for.
4. It is observed, that "these were men of whom it was before written or prophesied,that they should be condemned for their ungodliness, as be Enoch, verse 14. And, that this also is the import of the word proegra>fe, (Rom. 15:4; Gal. 3:1). The writers and interpreters on the Arminian side are pretty generally agreed that these words refer to some prophecy concerning these men, somewhere or other in Scripture, but are not agreed about the particular passage. Some think the apostle has a regard to the parallel place in 2 Peter 2:1-3; but if he had this in his view, he would never have said that they were of old,a long while ago, before written or prophesied, of; since, according to the, common calculation, that epistle of Peter's was written in the very same year as this of Jude's. Besides, Peter says, at the time of his writing, that the judgment of these men was of a long one, that is, had been long ago pronounced and did not linger.Others think, that reference is had to the prediction of Christ, in Matthew 24. This is, indeed, carrying the prophecy further off. But then, as no such persons are described there as here, so neither there any mention of their punishment or condemnation. Others, as our author supposed, that the apostle respects the prophecy of Enoch; this, indeed, was of old.But, tough it is true that Enoch prophesied of persons, yet, as his prophecy was never that we know of, and, therefore, these, men could not be said to be fore-written of in; so it is easy to observe, that the apostle peaks of this prophecy as something distinct from these persons being fore-written to condemnation, when he says (v. 14), and Enoch also prophesied of these.Besides, as Vorstius, a writer on the other side the question, observes, "It is all one whether we understand it, that these men were of old appointed and designed by God to this condemnation; or, whether this condemnation was of old written concerning them in the Old Testament." Since such a prophecy concerning them must be founded upon an antecedent, divine ordination and appointment. Nor is prophecy he import of the word proegra>fe, especially in Galatians 3:1, and only regards things, and not persons, in Romans 15:4. And here intends, not their being fore-written in any of the books of Scripture, but in the book of God's eternal purposes and decrees.