Front Page Titles (by Subject) §67 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§67 - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented 
The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented, trans. Theophilus Dorrington, ed. with an Introduction by Simone Zurbruchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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The Absolute Decree cannot be admitted.This therefore is what I cannot see, How it can be hoped there should be an Agreement and Union between the Lutherans and the Reform’d, so long as these latter do so obstinately adhere to their Principle of an absolute Decree, and the Consequences of it; and do set this among the things which must be expresly believ’d, and give it the first place among the Articles which represent the Method of our Salvation. Indeed the chief Cause why the Salvation of Men is not to be determin’d to proceed from an absolute Decree, and a Will abstracted from all manner of Respects, and by which the second Causes, and their Operations and Effects are determin’d by an unalterable Necessity, is this; That God is pleas’d to bring Men to Salvation in the way of a Covenant, with which Way or Method such a Necessity cannot consist. For that which I produce, and effect by my own indispensible Will and Disposal, it is Contradictory, and Superfluous, and Illusory; that I should pretend to make a Covenant about it. In truth, it is not my Purpose to allow nothing at all to our own Powers, in the Business of Salvation, nor to withhold from the Grace of God the Glory of our Salvation. But this at least must be left to our Will, that it can resist and refuse the offer’d Grace of God; since without this all Morality would be utterly extinguish’d, and Men must be drawn to their End after the manner of working of Engines. To which may be applied, that in Ps. 32:9. No longer then would Theology be a Moral Discipline, but a Physical one, and the Operations according to it, must be accounted for by the Laws of Motion. It is true, that in Creation God only said Let it be, and it was so, and the same thing is daily done in the Government of Nature: See Ps. 148:5, 6, 8. But in the Conversion of Men God does not act in such a manner but Morally, and by Inducements or Perswasions. Whence it is that we every where read in Holy Scripture of Men’s Resistance to the Divine Will, Gen. 6:3. So the Pharisees are said to have despised the counsel of God against themselves, Luke 7:30. Nor do we ask any thing more, then that it may be taken for Truth which is expressed by God. O Israel, thy destruction is of thy self, but in me alone is thy help. Hos. 13:9. Add Jer. 10:23. Also, The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Also, I would, but ye would not. Mat. 23:27. Add Acts 7:51. Rom. 10:21. Phil. 1:6. And those things which Georgius Calixtus has Commented44 on this Place, Eccl. 7:10. Wisd. 2:23, 24, 25. Isa. 5:2, 3, 4. Jer. 2:21. 7:13, 24, 25, 26, 27. Ezech. 3:7, 27. But neither is it to be thought that the Will and Power of God are confin’d by this Power of Resistance, or that in asserting this, we assert any thing to be stronger then He. That indeed might perhaps take place, if God were concern’d about acquiring any Advantage to himself, and this could be intercepted, or hindred by any one. But we are now Treating about Benefits only, which God, who is in himself most blessed, and sufficient to himself, is willing to bestow freely on others: But which he will not force upon those who are unwilling, and refuse to receive them. And in this God does not act with all his Power, or to the utmost of what he is able to do, as Machines, and Brutal Powers are wont to do. But he acts as a free Power, and such as can exert its Strength within a certain Measure, and either intend, or remit it at Pleasure. And so since it hath pleased him to deal with Man in a Moral manner (for Christ heal’d the Sick, commanded Storms into a Calm, call’d the Dead to Life with a word, but is never read to have Converted Men in like manner.) It was necessary that he should so attemper and adjust his Operation about our Salvation, as that there might at least remain to Men the Faculty of casting away, or of refusing it. For which Reason it is not necessary that God must Will all things absolutely, but he may Will some things under a Condition, and so suspend the Effect of his Will upon that Condition. Also tho’ the Prescience of God is never deceiv’d, and that which God does foresee will certainly come to pass; yet it is not to be imagin’d therefore that any Necessity is laid upon things by his Prescience, for as much as that includes with the Events the Causes of them, and he also foreknows those things which are to come to pass under a certain Condition. Some times also God determines a certain end, but yet so that he does not determine the Means immediately which lead to that end, but only foreknows and permits them. As God determin’d the Death of the Saviour, but he only foreknew and permitted the Wickedness of the Jews, and of him that betraid him; because that Death might also have come to pass by other, and those innocent Means, Acts 2:23. But neither may we imagine that there is any such Predetermination of things in God, or such a Disposition beforehand of Causes and Effects as laies an absolute Necessity upon all Events. For in a Disposition of this sort we are speaking of, we must understand him to have disposed the Causes that act Morally, so as that there may be a Morality consistent with their Operations and Effects. And the Words, Providence, Prescience, and Predetermination, and the like must be purg’d from that Imperfection which is imply’d in them when they are apply’d to Men; in which Case there is a space of Time interpos’d between the previous disposition, and ordering, and the producing of the Effect. Which space is not to be conceiv’d as interpos’d in the Providence of God, for as much as in him there is no succession of time after the manner of former and latter, but a pure Eternity or Everlasting now: And so all things past, present and future are to God as this day, Psal. 90:4. And therefore we must understand the Direction and Disposition of God, who is as it were settled in a Center, always accompanying the Operations of things, as moving about in a Circumference, and going with an equal pace along with them. Which Opinion may be very well illustrated by what is said in several places of the Psalms, Lead me that I may walk? Show me thy way O Lord, that I may walk in thy truth. Thy word O Lord is a light unto my feet. Which cannot be said by him, or of him who is mov’d irresistibly, and like an Engine. Further, The Reform’d, that the Morality of Humane Actions may not be said to be taken away by the Physical Predetermination which many of them assert, have fled to this: To fain that the Liberty of the Will of Man consists only in a Spontaneity, or Absence of Violent Constraint, not in an Indifferency, tho’ not always set in an Equilibrium. But if the Physical, or Natural Act of every Humane Action is so predetermin’d, as that it must needs exist, and if the Physical Act existing Man cannot chuse but he must morally influence to it, I must confess I cannot conceive that there is more Liberty in Men then there is in Water, flowing down within its Channel, or in a round Stone placed just at the descent of a Hill, in the motion of which things there is nothing of Force or Constraint appears.
[44.]See note 4.