Front Page Titles (by Subject) §72 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§72 - 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 Nature of the Divine Prescience.It will further afford no small Light towards the discussing this Controversie, to consider well the Nature of the Divine Prescience, and how that differs from the Predetermination, and the Decrees of God, which of them precedes the other in the Exercise of the Divine Mind, and whether or no this, or that do lay any Necessity, both upon other Events, or upon the Will of Man, and so whether both of them may consist, or not with the Liberty of the Humane Will. Concerning the Divine Prescience, then it must be observ’d, that altho’ this is very clear, and cannot be deceiv’d, yet it lays no Necessity upon things, nor causes them to be. But that this signifies no more then the Intuition of things that are to be, or that are possible, as Inspection is of things present, and the remembrance of things past. And it also happens to those who can contribute nothing to the Production of the things foreseen. For the Production of Things is the Work of Power and Will, Prescience is the Work of the Understanding alone. Production Determines and Constitutes according as the thing must exist: This abstracts from the Necessity of Existence, and beholds the thing simply. As for what concerns the Order of Prescience, and the Divine Decrees concerning the future Existence of things, which of them precedes the other: It is certainly manifest it cannot be said without Contradiction, and Absurdity that the Decrees of God are before his Prescience. For that were all one, as to say, I have determin’d to produce a certain thing, but I know not what, or of what Sort it is to be. Whence it must be said that the Act of the Intellect precedes in the Exercise of the Divine Mind, which represents the Possibility, or what may be done saving the Wisdom, Justice, and Holiness of God. From that Contemplation, as it were of the Possibility and Congruity God Decrees and Determines what is to be, and shall come to exist. But in the Forming of Decrees, it must be observ’d that the Power of God is join’d together with Liberty, Wisdom, and Righteousness; or that God does not always exert himself to the utmost of his Power, but that he of his own accord does as it were restrain, or moderate his Power, that he may leave something of liberty to other Powers created by him, and also that his Power in no wise tends to any thing contrary to his Wisdom and Justice. Whence it is that God could Create a Creature endow’d with a certain Degree of Liberty, all the Actions of which he could foreknow, and which nevertheless he might not predetermine by an Irrefragable Decree, and what would overthrow the Liberty of it. For it would be plainly Contradictory to give Liberty to any Being, and yet to impose upon it before hand such a Necessity, as it can in no wise decline. And because God is Holy and Just, he cannot Decree that any thing shall come to pass, he being the Authour of it, and making it necessary to be, which yet is repugnant to his Holiness and Justice. Whence God can foresee, and he can permit the Evils which are to be committed by free Creatures; that is, he is able not to hinder with all his Power but that they may be. He can also Decree that some good Effect shall follow from that which is Evil. But saving his Holiness and Justice, he cannot command Evil, or before-hand lay a Necessity upon it to be. For that of which ’tis said, Acts 4:28, that God had Decreed that it should be was the Death of the Saviour, not the Unjust Judgment of Pilate, whom he admonish’d by the Suggestion of his own Conscience, and by a Dream sent to his Wife: But because he thought fit rather to indulge the Fury of the common People which he might have restrain’d with his Souldiers, or by deferring the Sentence he might easily have eluded, God used that evil Action to a good End, which End however might have been obtain’d even without that. But that a good Action should be commanded by God, and he should afford Strength to perform it, and indeed so as that such Action may after a certain manner be attributed to Man, and he upon the account of it may acquire a Reward, has nothing in it disagreeing with the Goodness, Holiness, and Justice of God, Mat. 25:14, &c. When therefore the calling of God to embrace the Gospel, and the way of Salvation is propos’d in the manner of a Law, as Acts 17:30. God is said to command all Men every where to repent, it is absur’d to say that God decrees that some Men shall not obey his Call. But about this Matter, that he may not extinguish the Morality of it, God does not use an irresistible Force, but leaves at least a Liberty of rejecting the offer’d Grace. Whence, consistently with the Power and Wisdom of God, it may be rightly said. That God wills a thing seriously, and affords fit means to bring it to pass, and yet that which he wills does not come to pass, but the contrary to it is done: And this because it pleases God to moderate his Power whereby the Rational Creature can exert its native Liberty. As also God can will a thing under a certain Condition, which it is in the Power of a rational Creature, either to fulfil, or not to fulfil. From these things I think it may with sufficient clearness be gather’d, How the Prescience and Power of God can consist with the Liberty of Man, namely, because it does not lay any Necessity upon Things, but his Liberty does as it were moderate his Power about the moral Actions of Men, least their Liberty being extinguish’d, the Morality of their Actions should be destroy’d too. These things well observ’d would prepare the way for dissolving many Sophistries about this Matter.