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nifest and known to all by nature :: if his avenging justice be such, that he will by no means clear the guilty :h If, as he hates sin, so he will destroy all the workers of 'iniquity; then it is natural to God to punish sin, and he cannot let it pass unpunished; for he can do nothing contrary to his natural attributes, exercised about their proper objects : but the former part of the argument is true," so also must the latter.
But Lubbertus likewise reasons by an argument taken from the common definition of justice; to which Twiss also refers : Vindicatory justice,' says he, “is the eternal will of God, to give to every one his own; therefore it belongs truly or naturally to God.' Twiss cites these words from Lubbertus; for his writings against Vossius I have not by me at present. Now although this justly celebrated man some. times agrees to this conclusion, yet as he twitches the argument various ways, we shall, as briefly as possible, bring it in regular order to a point. 'First of all,' says he, allow me to put you in mind, that that definition of justice holds good only with regard to justice in general; but not with regard to vindicatory justice in particular; for the whole of justice is employed in giving to every one his own.' I have said before, that that definition of the civilians was not quite agreeable to me; nor in every respect satisfactory: but the objection of Twiss’s is of no weight; for vindicatory justice is not distinguished from universal justice, or justice generally so called, as to its habit; but only in respect of its egress to its proper object : and therefore, nothing ought to be included in the definition, which is not found also in the thing itself. Although, then, the learned opponent throws obstacles in the way, he cannot deny that vindicatory justice is, 'a will to give to every one his own, or what is due to him.'
•But let Lubbertus bethink himself,' says Twiss,' whether the divine bounty is not likewise the eternal will of the Deity to give to some, beyond what is their own? Would it not then justly follow that it is necessary, and even from absolute necessity, that he should exercise his bounty towards some?'
But neither is this comparison, between things dissi
& See Rom. i. 32.
i Psal. v. 4-6. k Being founded on the words of Scripture.
milar of the smallest advantage to our adversáry's cause; for, 1. The objects themselves, about which these attributes are employed, are very different: for who does not see that there cannot be any comparison formed between the giving to every one according to his right, and giving to some beyond their right. That, to give to any one beyond his right, is a most free act of the will, the thing itself declares : but to give to every one his own, or what is due to him, the very thing itself requires. All acknowledge that it depends on the mere good pleasure of the Deity, whether he may will to be bounteous towards any : but who, but an impious wretch, would be bold enough to dispute whether he may will to be just towards any? But besides, supposing a constant will in the Deity, of giving to some beyond their right, or of bestowing on them more than they deserve, in whát respect it would not be necessary (the question does not respect absolute necessity) to him to exercise that bounty towards these some, I absolutely do not comprehend. But, with regard to the divine bounty, and in what sensé that is ascribed to God, and what kind of habitude of the divine will it denotes, this is not the place to inquire:
He again says, 'If hence it follow, that it is necessary that God should give to each his due, it will certainly be necessary that he should give to each of us eternal damnation.'
Thus, that punishment belongs not to us, but to God himself, the learned gentleman will afterward acknowledge: but God may give to ëvery one his own, or what is due to every one, in the infliction of punishment, although he do not inflict it on the sinners themselves, but on their surety, substituted in their room and stead. Thus he gives glory to his justice, and does no injury to us; for no one can demand it as his right to be punished ; for no one hath a right to require punishment, which is an involuntary evil; but rather becomes subject to the right of another.
To these he replies, 'If justice be only the will of giving to every one his own, it is not the necessity of giving it.?
But here the learned gentleman trifles; for will and necessity are not oppased, as a thing itself may be prior, and the mode or affection of it posterior to some other things,
either in the first or second act. Neither hath any one defined the justice of God by necessity, although from his justice it is necessary that he should act justly: though it be the will of God, viz.' to give every one what is his due,' yet it is a constant and immutable will; : which, as it differs not in any respect from the divine essence itself, must exist necessarily; and a proper object for its exercise being 'supposed, it must necessarily operate, though it act freely.
In the last place, then, this celebrated writer denies, That punishment can properly be called ours, in such a sense, that from his will of giving to every one his own, it should be necessary that God should inflict it upon us sinners; but he asserts, that it belongs to God, as having the full power either of inflicting or relaxing it.' That punishment is ours, or belongs to us, cannot be said with propriety; it must be traced to the source whence it hath its rise; that is, whence it is just that it should be inflicted upon sinners; but this is the just right or righteous judgment of God; Rom. i. 32. Thus far, then, it may be reckoned among the things that belong to God, as it is his justice that requires it should be inflicted: but it does not follow, that God has a full power of inflicting it, or relaxing it, because in this sense it may be accounted among the things which belong to him: God owes it to himself to have a proper regard to the honour of all his own perfections.
We choose not to enter any farther on the arguments which this learned writer advances either in his disputations against Lubbertus, or in his answers to his arguments; partly, as they coincide with those mentioned before, and have been considered in the vindication of the argument taken from the consideration of God's hatred against sin; and partly as they militate only against a natural and absolute necessity; which, in the present case, we do not assert.
1 God's will of giving to every man his own, was from everlasting, justice being an essential attribute of his unchangeable nature; but it is only after the supposition of a rational being that had sinned, that he must necessarily, i. e. from the very principles of his nature, exercise that will towards sinners, and give them the wages of sin, viz. death.
Piscator's opinion of this controversy. How far we assent to it. Twiss's
arguments militate against it. How God punishes from a natural necessity. How God is a consuming fire. : God's right, of what kind. Its exercise necessary, from some thing supposed. Whence the obligation of
God to exercise it arises. Other objections of Twiss discussed. The consideration of what our justly celebrated antagonist hath advanced against Piscator, whom he declares to hold the first place among the theologians of the present day; and to shine as far superior to the rest, as the moon doth to the lesser stars, shall put an end to this dispute. He has chosen Piscator's notes upon his collation of Vorstius, as the subject of his consideration and discussion. In general we are inclined to give our voice in favour of the sentiments of Piscator; but as the disciples of Christ ought to call none on earth master, in matters of religion, we by no means hold ourselves bound to support all the phrases, arguments, or reasons, that he may have used in defence of his opinion. Setting aside, then, all anxious search after words, expressions, &c. the minutiæ of similies, which I could wish this distinguished writer had paid less attention to; we will endeavour to repel every charge brought against our common and principal cause ; and to place this truth, which we have thus far defended, as we are now speedily hastening to a conclusion, beyond the reach of attacks, and trouble from its adversaries.
The first argument then of Piscator, to which he replies, is taken from that comparison made in Heb. xii. 2. between God, in respect of his vindicatory justice, and a consuming fire. From this passage Piscator concludes, “That as fire, from the property of its nature, cannot but burn combustible matter when applied to it, and that by a natural necessity; so God, from the perfection of his justice, cannot but punish sin when committed; that is, when presented before that justice.' What he asserts, with regard to a natural and absolute necessity, we do not admit; for God neither exerciseth, nor can exercise any act towards objects without himself in a natural manner, or as an agent merely natural. He indeed, is a fire, but rational and intelligent fire; although, then, it be no less necessary to him to punish sins, than it is to fire to burn the combustible matter applied to it: the same manner of operation, however, accords not to him as to fire, for he worketh as an intelligent agent; that is, with a concomitant liberty in the acts of his will, and a consistent liberty in the acts of his understanding. We agree, then, with Piscator in his conclusion, though not in his manner of leading his proof: the objections made to it by the learned Twiss, we shall try by the standard of truth.
First, then, he maintains, and with many laboured arguments, that God doth not punish sin from a necessity of nature, which excludes every kind of liberty. But whom do these kind of arguments affect? they apply not at all to us : for Piscator himself seems to have understood nothing else by a natural necessity, than that necessity which we have so often discussed, particularly modified. For he says, “That God doth some things by a natural necessity, because by nature he cannot do otherwise. That is, sin being supposed to exist, from the strict demands of that justice, which is natural to him, he cannot but punish it, or act otherwise than punish it; although he may do this, without any encroachment on his liberty, as his intellectual will is inclined to happiness, by a natural inclination, yet wills happiness with a concomitant liberty; for it would not be a will, should it act otherwise, as freedom of action is the very essence of the will. But the arguments of Twiss do not oppose this kind of necessity, but that only which belongs to animate, merely natural agents; which entirely excludes all sorts of liberty, properly so called.
Let us particularly examine some of this learned gentle. man's arguments. “If,' says he, 'God must punish sin from a necessity of nature, he must punish it as soon as committed.' Granted; were he to act by such a necessity of nature, as denotes a necessary principle and mode of acting; but not if by a necessity that is improperly so called, because it is supposed that his nature necessarily requires that he should so act: as for instance, suppose that he wills to speak, he must by necessity of his nature speak truly, for God cannot lie; yet he speaks freely, when he speaks truly.
Again, ' If,' says he, ‘God punished from a necessity of nature, then, as often as he inflicted punishment, he would