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a way proper to himself, because Satan, being the instrument of his wrath, turns himself hither and thither at his appointment and command, to execute his righteous judgments. Here I allude not to the universal influence of God, by which all creatures are sustained, and from which they derive an ability to perform whatever'they do. I speak only of that special influence which appears in every particular act. We see then that the same action is without absurdity ascribed to God, to Satan, and to man: but the variety in the end and in the manner, causes the righteousness of God to shine without the least blemish, and the iniquity of Satan and of man to betray itself to its own disgrace.
III. The fathers are sometimes too scrupulous on this subject, and afraid of a simple confession of the truth, lest they should afford an occasion to impiety to speak irreverently and reproachfully of the works of God. Though I highly approve this sobriety, yet I think we are in no. danger, if we simply maintain what the Scripture delivers. Even Augustine at one time was not free from this scrupulosity; as when he says that hardening and blinding belong not to the operation but to the prescience of God. But these subtleties are inconsistent with numerous expressions of the Scripture, which evidently import some intervention of God beyond mere foreknowledge. And Augustine himself, in his fifth book against Julian, contends very largely, that sins proceed not only from the permission or the prescience, but from the power of God, in order that former sins may thereby be punished. So also what they advance concerning permission is too weak to be supported. God is very frequently said to blind and harden the reprobate, and to turn, incline, and influence their hearts, as I have elsewhere more fully stated. But it affords no explification of the nature of this influence to resort to prescience or permission. We answer therefore that it operates in two ways. For, since when his light is removed nothing remains but darkness and blindness; since when his Spirit is withdrawn our hearts harden into stones; since when his direction ceases they are warped into obliquity; he is properly said to blind, harden, and incline those, whom he deprives of the power of seeing, obeying, and acting aright. The second way, which is much more consistent with strict propriety of language, is, when for the execution of his judgments, he by means of Satan, the minister of his wrath, directs their counsels to what he pleases, and excites their wills and strengthens their efforts. Thus when Moses relates that Sihon the king would not grant a free passage to the people, because God had "hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate," he immediately subjoins the end of God's design: "That he might deliver him into thy hand." (e) Since God willed his destruction, the obduration of his heart therefore was the divine preparation for his ruin.
IV. The following expressions seem to relate to the former method: "He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He taketh away the heart of the chief people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way." (p) Again: "O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear?" (e) For these passages rather indicate what God makes men by deserting them, than shew how he performs his operations within them. But there are other testimonies, which go farther; as those which relate to the hardening of Pharaoh: "I will harden his (Pharaoh's) heart, that he shall not let the people go." (r) Afterwards the Lord says, "I have hardened his heart." (s) Did he harden it by not mollifying it? That is true; but he did somewhat more, for he delivered his heart to Satan to be confirmed in obstinacy; whence he had before said, "I will harden his heart." The people march out of Egypt; the inhabitants of the country meet them in a hostile manner; by whom were they excited? Moses expressly declared to the people, that it was the Lord who had hardened their hearts. (?) The Psalmist reciting the same history, says, "He turned their heart to hate his people." (c) Now it cannot be said that they fell in consequence of being neglected by the counsel of God. For if they are "hardened" and "turned," they are positively
(a) Dent. ii. 30. (/■) Job zii. 20, 24. (?) Isaiah lxiii. 17.
(r) Exod. iv. 21. (*) Exod. viL 3. (t) Deut. ii. 30.
(t>) Paalm cv. 25.
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inclined to that point. Besides, whenever it hath pleased him to punish the transgressions of his people, how hath he executed his work by means of the reprobate? In such a manner that any one may see, that the efficacy of the action proceeded from him, and that they were only the ministers of his will. Wherefore he threatened sometimes that he would call them forth by hissing, (w) sometimes that he would use them as a net (x) to entangle, sometimes as a hammer (y) to strike the people of Israel. But he particularly declared himself to be operative in them, when he called Sennacherib an axe (z) which was both directed and driven by his hand. Augustine somewhere makes the following correct distinction: "that they sin, proceeds from themselves; that in sinning they perform this or that particular action, is from the power of God, who divideth the darkness according to his pleasure."
V. Now that the ministry of Satan is concerned in instigating the reprobate, whenever the Lord directs them hither or thither by his providence,' may be sufficiently proved even from one passage. For it is frequently asserted in Samuel that an evil spirit from the Lord either agitated or quitted Saul, (a) To refer this to the Holy Spirit were impious. An impure spirit therefore is said to be from God, because it acts according to his command and by his power, being rather an instrument in the performance of the action, than itself the author of it. We must add also what is advanced by Paul, that " God shall send strong delusion, that they who believed not the truth should believe a lie." (b) Yet there is always a wide difference, even in the same work, between the operation of God and the attempts of Satan and wicked men. He makes the evil instruments, which he has in his hand, and can turn as he pleases, to be subservient to his justice. They, as they are evil, produce the iniquity which the depravity of their nature hath conceived. The other arguments, which tend to vindicate the majesty of God from every calumny, and to obviate the cavils of the impious, have already been ad-
(to) Isaiah v. 26. vii. 18. (x) Ezek. xii. 13. xvii. 29.
(j>)Jer.l. 23. (a) Isaiah x. 15.
(a) 1 Sam. xvi. 14. xviii. 19. xix. 10. (A) 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12.
vanced in the chapter concerning Providence. For at present I only intended briefly to shew how Satan reigns in the reprobate man, and how the Lord operates in them both.
VI. But what liberty man possesses in those actions which in themselves are neither righteous nor wicked, and pertain rather to the corporeal than to the spiritual life, although we have before hinted, has not yet been explicitly stated. Some have admitted him in such things to possess a free choice; rather, as I suppose, from a reluctance to dispute on a subject of no importance, than from an intention of positively asserting that which they concede. Now though I grant that they who believe themselves to be possessed of no power to justify themselves, believe what is principally necessary to be known in order to salvation; yet I think that this point also should not be neglected, that we may know it to be owing to the special favour of God, whenever our mind is disposed to choose that which is advantageous for us, whenever our will inclines to it; and, on the other hand, whenever our mind and understanding avoid what would otherwise hurt us. And the power of the providence of God extends so far, as not only to cause those events to succeed which he foresees will be best, but also to incline the wills of men to the same objects. Indeed if we view the administration of external things with our own reason, we shall not doubt their subjection to the human will; but if we listen to the numerous testimonies, which proclaim that in these things also the hearts of men are governed by the Lord, they will constrain us to submit the will itself to the special influence of God. Who conciliated the minds of the Egyptians towards the Israelites, (c) so as to induce them to lend them the most valuable of their furniture? They would never have been induced to do this of their own accord. It follows, therefore, that their hearts were guided by the Lord rather than by an inclination of their own. And Jacob, if he had not been persuaded that God infuses various dispositions into men according to his pleasure, would not have said concerning his son Joseph, whom he thought to be some profane Egyptian, " God Almighty give you mercy
(c) Exod. xL 3.
before the man." (d) As the whole Church confesses in the Psalms, when God chose to compassionate them, he softened the hearts of the cruel nations into clemency, (e) Again, when Saul was so inflamed with rage, as to prepare himself for war, it is expressly mentioned as the cause, that he was impelled by the Spirit of God. (J") Who diverted the mind of Absalom from adopting the counsel of Ahitophel, which used to be esteemed as an oracle? (r) Who inclined Rehoboam to be persuaded by the counsel of the young men? (A) Who caused the nations, that before were very valiant, to feel terror at the approach of the Israelites? Rahab the harlot confessed that this was the work of God. Who, on the other hand, dejected the minds of the Israelites with fear and terror, but he who had threatened in the law that he would "send a faint ness into their hearts?" (i)
VII. Some one will object, that these are peculiar examples, to the rule of which things ought by no means universally to be reduced. But I maintain, that they are sufficient to prove that for which I contend; that God, whenever he designs to prepare the way for his providence, inclines and moves the wills of men even in external things, and that their choice is not so free, but that its liberty is subject to the will of God. That your mind depends more on the influence of God, than on the liberty of your own choice, you must be constrained to conclude, whether you are willing or not, from this daily experience, that in affairs of no perplexity your judgment and understanding frequently fail; that in undertakings not arduous your spirits languish; on the other hand, in things the most obscure, suitable advice is immediately offered; in things great and perilous, your mind proves superior to every difficulty. And thus I explain the observation of Solomon, "The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them." (i) For he appears to me to speak not of their creation, but of the peculiar favour of God displayed in their performing their functions. When he says, that " the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord; as the rivers of water, he turneth it
(d) Gen. xliii. 14. («) Psalm cvi. 46. (/) 1 Sam. xi. 6.
(g) 2 Sam. xvii. 14. (A) 1 Kings xii. IS. (t) Lev. xxvi. 36.
(A) Prov. xx. 12.