Front Page Titles (by Subject) §71 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§71 - 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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Of the Legislatory, and Decreetory Will of God.From thence Jurieu has taken upon him to show that there is in God a twofold Will, one as he is consider’d as a Legislator, the other as he is consider’d as Determining an Event. This Distinction seems to be what we admit in a certain Sense. As for Instance, that God Wills and Commands some things to be done by others, so as that those Actions may be imputed to them to whom they are enjoyn’d, or may be accounted for their Actions: But some things God Decrees that they shall come to pass, or be; so as that these Events are to be accounted for the Effect of the Divine Will, and of which God may be said to be the Author. But Jurieu has in his Eye another Sense of that Distinction, and he says that these two Wills do sometimes seem to oppose one the other. For (1.) According to the Will of a Legislator God cannot permit Sin: For that would be, as if he should declare Sin to be Lawful, which implies a Contradiction. But God as Decreeing Events does at least permit Sin; that is, he does not do all he can to hinder it from being. But we think there is no Repugnancy at all between these two Expressions: I do not give Liberty, or grant an Impunity of doing a thing, and I do not with all my Power hinder that such a thing should be done. (2.) (p. 10.)49We can never resist the Will of God as a Lawgiver, without a Crime, true, But the Decreeing Will of God may be resisted, not only without a Crime, but also sometimes out of Piety. This I deny: For Proof of it he adds; A Son sees his Father Sick, all Symptoms signifie that his Death will shortly be, that is the Will of God Decreeing the Event; yet he resists this Will: The Son humbly Prayes, he uses Remedies, he leaves nothing untried that he may delay the Event which God Wills. But we deny, that if the Death of the Father appears inevitable, the Endeavour and Prayers of the Son can be recommended as Pious, unless they are done upon Condition, if the Will of God be for the Recovery, Matth. 26:38. Acts 21:14. And it seems very evident from 2 Sam. 12:20, 21, 22. That David supposed this Condition in his Prayers for the Son begotten of Bathsheba. (3.) The Legislative Will does not settle the Event of things, or determine beforehand whether the thing shall come to pass or no: But the Decreeing Will of God makes that the thing shall certainly come to pass. I add, but yet not so as that all Conditions are excluded, and that the thing shall absolutely come to pass. (4.) For the fulfilling his Will, as Legislator, God does not dispose of Means, for these things are permitted to the free Will of Man. These things are spoken ambiguously, and cannot be admitted, but with this Meaning; God does not so dispose the Means, as that the Action cannot be imputed to the Man as his. Otherwise, in truth the Legislator supposes Means, that is a Possibility of Performance, which either is present, or will be. For all Laws are about possible things. But God that he may execute his Decreeing Will, prepares and sets in order the Means. (5.) The Will of a Legislator, signifies what is the Duty of Men which God must be perform’d by him: But it no way signifies what God himself will do. These words are insnaringly laid; ’tis true the Legislative Will abstracts from the Decree of Futurition: But this even the Legislative Will signifies, that God has not Decreed to effect that the thing must of necessity not be which he has commanded, or that the thing should be which he has forbidden. For in this manner the Legislative Will of God would be Contradictory, and most Unjust. (6.) (p. 11.) The Will of the Legislator is not settled, fixed, or immutable, but with respect to the Laws which have their Foundation in the Divine Nature: That Will is changed for the time, and several Dispensations. Here Jurieu seems desirous to insinuate, that there is a difference between the Laws of God which are Eternal, and Temporary, and so which are Immutable, and Mutable. But this Distinction is nothing to the present Purpose. (7.) The Legislative Will is something Extrinsick to God, as Creation, Revelation by the Word. Here Jurieu confounds the Declaration of the Legislative Will, with the Legislative Will it self. That is indeed a Transient Act, but why this may not as well be call’d an Immanent one, as the Decreeing Will, I cannot see; When even this also presupposes something out of God in the Exercise of the Divine Mind, as we shall hereafter more largely show. From all these things Jurieu infers; The Legislative Will of God is not, properly speaking, the Will of God, but a Law given to the Will of Men, and in God Figurative and Metaphorical only: But the Decreeing Will is truly and properly so call’d the Will of God. We on the contrary do assert, That altho’ we may conceive a difference between that which God as a Legislator will have another do, and that which he Decrees as his own Act; yet we must not devise such a difference, as by which these things which are commanded by God to be done, are almost wholly excluded by his serious Will; and so that a great part of what God has said in Holy Scripture should be eluded. Which is a vile Abuse of this little Distinction. For as much as on the contrary, God does in earnest, and seriously, and properly Will, not Figuratively and Metaphorically, that his Legislatorial Will should be fulfill’d: But he does not Will it in such a manner, as that the Aptitude to be imputed should be taken from the Action, or so as that a Man cannot any longer be Responsible for the Action, or the Omission of it. Whence it was that God Created the first Man with Powers which were sufficient to his fulfilling the Law which he laid upon him. Which Powers having been lost by the Fall, God afterwards with the renew’d Covenant offer’d so much of Power, as by which he might be able to fulfil also this Covenant. Therefore when God is said to Will, for Instance, that a Sinner should turn and live, it is not to be believ’d that he does deceive Men, and determine the contrary, by a Tacite Exception, or secret Decree: But with the Precept he offers fit Strength and Power for Conversion, but in such a manner, as that the Moral Nature of it may be consistent. Whence it can by no means be admitted. (p. 12.) That the Legislatorial Will of God does coincidate with the Will of the Sign, or the signified Will which differs from the Intrinsick Pleasure, which is in truth illusory, and by which all the Force of the Divine Promises might be taken away; just as all Force of Truth is banish’d from among Men by the Jesuitical Reservations. And which indeed is not necessary to the Genuine Sense of those things which are spoken Figuratively, and after the manner of Men, which things even the most stupid Person can discern from what is properly spoken. Whence ’tis very falsly said, God indeed does seriously Will that such his Legislative Will should be a Rule to Men of what they are to do, and the Rule according to which they shall sometime be judg’d: But it is not his serious, true, and real desire that all Men do obey his Legislative Will. But such things may be said of Tyrants, who make Laws on purpose to squeeze Money from their Subjects. But such ungenerous Deceit must be infinitely unworthy the Majesty of God. And what is the Reason given for that Assertion? Otherwise all would obey; for who can resist his will? Indeed no Man can resist the Absolute Will of God, but that is what has no place here; for otherwise there could no Action be perform’d by any Man, which could justly be follow’d with any Approbation, or Reward, or Punishment. Of the same sort are these things which follow; The Legislative Will does not declare the Propension of God to these, or the like Events, but it signifies in general that God loves Holiness, and Purity of Manners, as it is defin’d by his Laws. And when the Holy Scripture says, God would that all Men should be obedient to his Law, this does not signifie that God vehemently desires that all should obey, but only that he has laid this Law upon all Men, that they Subject themselves to the Divine Laws, or else render themselves deserving of Eternal Death. That is it suffices to God in giving Laws to have declar’d what he approves, and for the rest it is all one to him, whether Men obey them or not; for in the latter Case he has those who may suffer Punishment. But certainly a good Prince among Men would take it as the highest Injury to impute such things to him. Whence ’tis false, that the Legislative Will is only Extrinsick and Metaphorical; for that a true Will in God, and such as is really Existing, cannot but be Efficacious, nor can want Success. But the Legislative Will of God is a true and serious Will, and it is also Efficacious, and which always attains the End and Term which is intended, and towards which it is carried: Which is to lay an Obligation upon him to whom it is Publish’d, to do that which the Law prescribes, and if he will neglect it to render him obnoxious to Punishment. But that those things which are commanded by Laws, should be, or not be done, cannot be absolutely Decreed by the Legislatour, nor but with this Temperament, that at least a Physical or Natural Faculty be left him upon whom any thing is enjoyn’d, of neglecting the things commanded at his Peril, in as much as without this the Action cannot be understood to be Moral. And so the Decreeing Will is not to be so oppos’d to the Legislatorial one, as that the Faculty of Acting contrary to this is taken away, which is a thing presuppos’d by the Legislatorial Will. For otherwise it would be Illusory to propose to the Subjects one or the other, either Obedience, or Punishments, which is that we see every where done in Holy Scripture. See Gen. 2:17. Where the Threatning had been altogether in vain, if there had not been a Physical, or Natural Faculty of Neglecting the Command, Levit. 26. throughout, Deut. 11:26, 27, 28. Jos. 24:15. 2 Chron. 7:17, &c.
[49.]This and the following page numbers in the text refer to Jurieu’s work mentioned in the previous note.