Book 2 Part 1 Chapter 2 Section 13 (p. 51-52)
Nothing can be done without God's Providence, though contrary to his Will.
How much the Holy Will of God is contradicted, by the Instigation and Actions of Devils and Wicked Men, is so notorious through the Word of God, and the whole World, that it needs no demonstration, seeing it is impossible for him that is perfected good to will any wicked thing. Jer. 2.5. "What Iniquity have your Fathers found in me?" Jam. 1.13, 14. "God tempteth not any Man, but every Man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own Lust, and enticed." It is granted, by those that hold the Secret Will of God dissonant from us, (which because Secret we shall not dispute) 1. That the revealed Will is good, because it commands Good only, and makes us good, and leads us to the Everlasting Good, even Heavenly Blessedness. 2. It is acceptable, because nothing is pleasing to God, which is not agreeable to His Will; and that doth highly please him, which accordeth with his Law and Gospel. 3. Perfect, because it containeth all things belonging to Perfection, &c. To all this we willing subscribe. But to call God's Permission, his Will, we suppose to be dangerous; for though he permit or suffer men to do evil, yet he in no wise willeth it, but willeth the direct contrary; as appears in his severe threatning of Adam, and in him all Mankind, with Death, if he did contrary to his Will, Gen 2.17. The like to Noah and his Sons, Gen. 9. and in them all Generations of Men that were to succeed them. How frequently doth he rebuke his Ancient People the Jews for this, and would divert them from that which is contrary to his Will (which yet he permitted) with great intreaty, Jer. 44.4. "O do not this abominable thing, which I hate." To which agrees the consent of all Holy Writers resulting in this, "That this is the Will of God, even your Sanctification; and that you abstain from Fornication," 1 Thess. 4.3.
2. When we say, that nothing comes to pass without God's Providence. We do not mean (as some) That God hath eternally determined, and that unalterably, all things to be that have been, and that all things are determined by him which are; and that all things shall be, which shall be. For who dare once imagine that God should unchangeably decree, or decree at all? The mainfold Acts of Villany that have been, are, and will yet be done in the World: this must unavoidly make him the Author of Sin, and Men, and Devils, the Executors only of his Decrees, which God forbid.
And though it is true, that a Sparrow falls not to the Ground without his Providence, i.e. not without his Permission; yet hath he not decreed eternally that it shall be at such or such a time, or in any cruel way, as it often falleth out directly contrary to his Will, Deut. 22.6. It hath pleased God so to constitute the Creation, especially Mankind, as that he is capable of doing well or ill, and hath left him to a certain kind of Liberty and Power in his Actions: and how he will exercise the same, is not unknown to God; yet Man is not inevitably compelled (ordinarily) to do this, or forceably restrained from doing that.
We therefore say, That the Providence of God, without which nothing is done, is only his fore-knowledg and permission, in respect of all the wickedness which is done; and after that manner may he only be said to determine in cases of that Nature; that is, he determines not to hinder by his restraining such Iniquity, knowing how to advance his Glory another way, even by punishing the disobedient. Levit. 26.23, 24. "And if ye will not be reformed by me, by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and punish you yet seven times for your sins."
But in all good Actions the case is far otherwise: for he doth not only will and command them to be done, but also co-operates to the doing thereof. "It is he that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Isa. 26.12. "O Lord, thou will ordain Peace for us, for thou hast wrought all our works in us."
"I can do all things through Christ strengthening me." Heb. 12.1, 2. "He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith." John 15. "For without me ye can do nothing." And therefore to him alone is the Glory due of all that is done well. But on the contrary, the dishonour of all evil Actions is due to Satan, and Wicked Men, the Authors and Actors thereof. 1 Sam. 24.13. "Wickedness proceedeth and cometh forth from the Wicked, as saith the Proverb of the Ancients." John 8.44. "You are of your Father the Devil; and the Lusts of your Father ye will do. He was a Murtherer from the beginning, and abide not in the Truth, because there is no Truth in him. When he speaketh a Lye, he speaketh it of his own, for he is a Lyer, and the Father of it."
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