Front Page Titles (by Subject) §77 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§77 - 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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Concerning the manner of Reconciling the Expressions which seem to contradict one another in this Matter.But there are very many Expressions occurring in the Holy Scriptures, which declares the universal Will of God, for the saving of all Men. As for Instance, 1 Tim. 2:4. 2 Luke 10. John 3:16. Ezek. 18:23, 32. 33:11. To which others are wont to be oppos’d, which seem to restrain the Good-Will of God to a few. Such as Rom. 9:15, 18, 21. Isa. 53:17. Ps. 141:4. Job. 12:20. Mark 4:11, 12. To each of these, the Place where they are being well consider’d, I believe there may be very fit Answers given, and this seems to us to have been every where done by our Divines. And here we shall add, by the way, that the Expression of the Potter in Rom. 9:4. may very well be explain’d from Eccles. 33:10, &c. So as that the Similitude of a like Power of a Potter is not to be extended beyond Temporal Things, about which we do not unwillingly acknowledge an absolute Disposition, Eccles. 9:11. But Jurieu with one blow cuts asunder all those Knots, in saying, That there is in the Mind of God a double Will, and in his Mouth a double Speech. And as those Wills seem to be contrary to each other, so those Speeches adapted to those Wills seem to sound altogether contrarily too. God as a Legislatour now Wills and Commands all Men to yield Obedience to his Commands, and by these to live. But as to what he has from all Eternity foreseen, known, and decreed, the contrary is fixed and establish’d with him. Nor is God therefore contrary to himself: But he gives Laws by the Will of a Legislatour, according to which Men are bound to act, and according to which they shall be judged; by the Wills of his Decrees he orders Events which are to be directed by himself for his Glory through all Ages.57 And so he will have the Expressions of the former Rank to belong to his Legislative Will, and those of the latter to his Decreeing Will. To these things we return; There is indeed a difference between a Law and a Decree, between a Law-giver, and him that Decrees. The former Commands that somewhat be done by another; the latter determines to produce somewhat himself, or to effect, and cause that it be. But it ought to be settled with us, that these two Wills are never contrary the one to the other. For a humane Legislatour presupposes Powers of performing in him upon whom he lays his Law. Therefore if he should command things purely impossible, he will be thought to act against Reason and Justice, and only to seek a Pretence that he may inflict Evil upon an innocent Person; and much rather must this be, if he himself should effect, or Cause that the Law could not be fulfill’d, which would certainly be the extreamest Degree of Tyranny. Further it is confess’d that the Conversion of Man, and his Salvation are things which cannot be attain’d, unless God himself affords Powers for them. But if God by his secret Decree has determin’d not to afford such Powers to the greatest part of Mankind, and yet commands all Men to Convert and Believe, with the threatning of Eternal Punishment if they do not, he would commit a Mockery, and that joyn’d with the greatest Cruelty; and would do just as if I should command a Man to mount a Tower, and take away the Stairs. Therefore the Expressions in which there is a seeming Repugnancy, are not to be oppos’d to each other, but to be rightly explain’d: Since it can in no wise agree with the Goodness and Perfection of God to say and command one thing, and in his secret Will to Decree another. Lastly, If at the most one or two general Expressions may be explain’d after the manner of Laws, for Instance, Acts 17:30. Yet there are some of them that will plainly not admit of such an Interpretation, but do simply declare the thing as it is: Such, for Instance we have, Luke 2:10. Ezek. 18:23. John 3:16. And what reason is there why the former Expressions must rather be explain’d by the latter, then the latter by them; Of-what is there more of Figure in the Expressions of the former sort, then in those of the latter. And how can that be the Rule according to which the most Righteous God is willing to judge, which God by a secret Counsel has decreed shall not be. And it is a very dangerous saying, (p. 63.) That, But one place in which God speaks as Decreeing, and in which he discovers his true Will is sufficient to declare and direct to the true sense of those places in which he speaks as a Legislatour. In truth if it be fit to Establish such a Rule for the Interpreting of Scripture, why may not some prophane Person determine concerning Eccl. 3:19. That the true Will of God is there express’d, and all other things deliver’d in Scripture proceed from the Legislatorial Will. And why does not God as often and clearly discover his secret and serious Will about the Salvation of Men, as that Legislative Will according to which Men are to be judg’d. Since the latter would be not only Vain, but most Unjust, if the former appoints what is contrary to it. I command after the manner of a Law, that something be done by a Man, and yet in my secret Will I decree and determine that it be not done, which secret Will too Causes that the thing cannot be done. Is it indeed true that the most perfect Being does act thus? But that all Scruple may be remov’d, Jurieu delivers some Observations to show that the Expressions of Holy Scripture which speak of the Legislative and Decretive Will, do not oppose one another. The first of them is; That the Divine Promises, and Declarations concerning the Salvation of Men, are made in general words, and conceiv’d in Terms of Universality; as if they did comprehend all Men, and all things within their Compass, but they are fulfil’d and made good, but only in the Elect. This Rule may in a certain Sense be admitted: As that God offers Salvation to all in general under the Condition, if they do not reject it, which Condition is perform’d in the Elect, but not that God Wills absolutely not to bestow Salvation upon the Non-elect. The Expression, John 12. Seems not to speak of all Men, but of Disciples, as appears by 25:26, &c. Nor is it to be gather’d from thence that Christ drew his Disciples to Faith in him from an absolute Decree, or that he had determin’d in the same manner, not to draw others to this. Also from the Expression in Luke 2:10. It cannot be gather’d that some Absolute Decree of God was the Cause why either all the Jews, or all Men did not partake of the Joy which God afforded Ground for to all People. And ’tis a very weak Reason which is brought for it, That Denomination is from the better part, and that the Godly are the better part of Mankind, but the Reprobate are before God as nothing, and of no account. But another thing is insinuated, Mat. 5:45, &c. The second Rule is this, (p. 64.) It is an easie Passage from Universal to Indefinite Propositions, and the latter are put instead of the former. But so violent a way of Interpreting, no Man will easily admit. The third Rule is, (p. 65.) Men cannot be otherwise call’d to Salvation, then in general Terms and Expressions, by reason of the Condition of those that are called, and those that call them. Those that are call’d are Men who are bound to believe that which is most true, which is, that the offer’d Salvation belongs to them all, if they believe and obey God that calls them. Which Condition, whether it be understood in the Sense of Amyraldus, or whether it supposes an absolute Decree not to give that Faith, is Illusory. But neither is it most true that Salvation belongs to all; which according to the Opinion of Jurieu, is by an absolute Decree withheld from the greatest part of Mankind; nor is any Man bound to believe such a Declaration. Those that call are Men also who not knowing the Secrets of God, are bound to believe by a Judgment of Truth that all those whom they call, may for ought they know be Elected, and by a Judgment of Charity that they are truly Elected.58 But those that call are ignorant indeed of the secret Will of God, concerning the several Individuals of the Elect, or Reprobate; but yet they know that secret Will in general, that God according to the Opinion of Jurieu, by his absolute and secret Decree, is not willing to save all Men. Whence they cannot believe with a Judgment of Truth that all those whom they call, may, for ought they know be Elected, unless it be antecedently to the absolute Decree; which yet is set by these Men in the first place among the Decrees of God about the Salvation of Men. And further, it is false, that he who calls is bound by a Judgment of Charity to believe that all whom he calls are Elect: For Charity obliges to nothing else but that we damn no Man, unless from Tokens that cannot deceive, and that we always presume on the milder side, and leave the Judgment to God. But from these things it in no wise follows that the Invitation must be conceiv’d in Universal Terms according to the Mind, that is, of Jurieu, and his Followers. For according to the Opinion of our Divines, without doubt it must be made in this manner. But if according to the Opinion of Jurieu, any one should thus invite a great Multitude of Men; God indeed will have all Men to be sav’d, if they believe: And according to this Rule he will Judge them all. But in his secret Counsel he has Decreed not to give Faith to all. But it does not appear to me to whom among you God has by his Absolute Pleasure Decreed to give Faith and Salvation, and to whom not to give these. Nevertheless I Preach Salvation to you all, and I invite you all to Faith. What Success do we believe such a Preacher would have among his Auditors. But according to the Opinion of our Men it may with some Truth, and rightly be said; God has rejected none of you by his Absolute Pleasure, but offers you all sufficient Means of Salvation, which if you do not reject, he will truly bestow upon you all Salvation. With him is your Help, but your Perdition is of your selves. Jurieu proceeds; If God should himself immediately call and invite Men to Salvation, it might be objected to him, why do you call to Salvation this or that Man, who you certainly know does not belong to you?59 But the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5:29. Says, we are Ambassadours for Christ, as tho’ God did entreat you by us. Whence the things commanded to the Ambassadour ought to conform to the Intention of him that sends him, otherwise that Ambassadour might be said to be sent to lie and deceive others. Nor may a secret Intention of him that sends, differ from the Commands given to the Ambassadour. Otherwise he that sends would deceive both the Ambassadour, and those to whom he sends him. Therefore if there be a secret Will which disagrees with the reveal’d one, such an Invitation is both false and fallacious: Come all of you, the Remedy is prepar’d for all that are sick, and whoever will take it shall be restor’d to perfect health. For how can they take it, if by an Absolute Will it be Decreed that it shall not be given to all to be able to take that Medicine. It is also very doubtful, whether or no the Observation deliver’d by Jurieu will serve his turn. The Holy Scripture is dictated, not as proceeding immediately from the Mouth of God, but as what is to proceed from the Mouth of Men through all Ages, and is to be as it were dispensed by Men. For it must be added that the Holy Scripture is nevertheless so formed, not only as that it may be understood by Men, but as that Men may from thence perceive what is the Will of God; and so as that the genuine Sense of Holy Scripture which is perceiv’d by Man, does not disagree with the Intention and Sense of God. But if the secret Sense of God should differ from the Revelation of Holy Scripture, the Scripture would be unuseful, and would prove invented only to deceive Men. Whence ’tis false that the Spirit of God does not speak in that manner in the Holy Scripture, as God himself would speak, if he should immediately speak to Men, but only as Men might speak to other Men. For how can an Expression so bold, and of such Importance be prov’d? Certainly God spake with Moses face to face, that is immediately. After what manner the Impression from God was made upon the Mind of Moses by God, I leave undetermin’d. But yet this cannot be doubted, but that from that Revelation, Moses perceiv’d what it was that God Will’d. But Men ought so to speak to other Men, and so to form their words, as that the same Sense may be express’d to the hearer, which is in him that speaks. Otherwise a Lie and Deceit is committed. It is also a very weak Reason why the Invitation must be made in universal words, altho’ the Intention of God was only particular, to say, (p. 66.) It must be so that the Unbelievers may be rendred unexcusable, lest they should say it was not possible to accept the Salvation which was offer’d. For he is at last unexcusable to whom all Means to any End have been offer’d, and he only is in fault why he has not accepted them, and by using them obtain’d that End. But if the secret Decree of God does disagree with the external Vocation, this Vocation in whatever words it is conceiv’d, does not render a Man unexcusable. And if it be so, that it is not known to the Unbeliever what is the secret Decree, and so he cannot appeal to that in Judgment, and he must confess he has done those things which deserve Damnation, yet when God according to the Opinion of Jurieu has deliver’d some by an Absolute Will of those who lay in the same Mire, and offered them efficacious Means for that End, and has suffer’d others no worse in themselves, then they to perish in the Mire, and hath not when he could design’d Efficacious Means for the saving them, the Reprobate at least having knowledge of the Absolute Will will be unexcusable. Lastly, Jurieu endeavours in a violent manner to impose a particular meaning upon that Expression, God would have all Men be sav’d: For that Declaration, or Expression, he says must be put among the Prophesies; and of these, as they reach to what is future the Events are the Interpreters, and before the Events Men can hardly gain the true Sense of them. But we deny that that Expression may be referr’d to the Prophecies. For it is not said that all, or some Men shall be sav’d, or shall in effect obtain Salvation; but it is said what the Will of God is at present concerning the Salvation of Men: Not indeed his absolute Will, but that which is confin’d to a certain Condition, and a certain Order. That we should moreover assert and vindicate what is the Nature of Prophecies is not to our present Purpose. It is also false that it is every where in Scripture said, I Will not that all should be sav’d. (p. 67.) For that most abus’d Expression, I have Mercy on whom I will, and whom I will I harden, has not that meaning nor is it therein express’d, that God out of his meer Will and Pleasure, and without regard to any thing does show Mercy to some, and harden others. The Repetition of one and the same word, does not signifie the Absense of all Respects, but Constancy and Immutability. What I have written I have written, does not signifie that Pilate had written without any respect, but that he would not Retract what he had once written. Add, Jer. 15:2. So Exod. 33:19. God hath mercy on whom he will have mercy: That is to whomsoever he once hath promised Mercy, to him he will truly perform, and will not Retract it. And indeed he has Mercy on whom he will; but he does not Will to have Mercy on any but those that believe in Christ, John 6. He hardens whom he will, but he does not Will to harden any one from an absolute Pleasure, but only those who by some peculiar foregoing Wickedness have deserv’d this. So the hardening of Pharaoh was preceded by an excessive Pride and Contempt of God, Exod. 5:2. Let there be one Example produced, if it can be, of a Person hardned by the meer Pleasure and Will of God, and who had not perversely despised the first Grace of God. Thus, therefore, the Expressions of the latter sort do not contradict the former, nor is the Universality of these restrain’d by those, but both may very well consist, and so both do declare the true and genuine Will of God, but neither of them an Absolute Will, but such as is limited by certain Conditions and Respects. Therefore Jurieu might have written more calmly then thus: The thing speaks of it self; it is manifest by Experience that all Men are not sav’d. But where hath God said or promised that all Men shall be sav’d. To this there is subjoin’d a Declaration, rather than a Disputation; and such as is more then sufficiently free and confident, and in which there appears nothing of that Modesty and Reverence, with which it is fitting sacred things should be handled. Certainly in the Ways and Counsels of God, by which he has determin’d in general to bring Men to Salvation, there is nothing of Obscurity, but all things are plain and perspicuous. He that believes on the Son hath everlasting Life, he that believes not is condemn’d already. Christ is the Light which Enlightens every Man, but the Darkness comprehended it not. To them who shut their Eyes, even the bright Noonday is but Darkness. But in the Providence of God about future Events, even there where Prophecies give something of Light, we willingly confess there is a great deal of Darkness mingled, but that is what concerns not the present Question. Lastly, He endeavours to evince by Questions indeed sufficiently rude, and violent, that God would not have all Men sav’d. If God would be known and lov’d by all Men, why hath he not so clearly manifested himself, as that no Man can refuse to do so.60 But an equal Light is propos’d to the Pious and the Wicked, but these despise it, and will not suffer that it may exert its Force in their Minds. But that God did not give an Irresistible Force to that Light, the Reason is, because he thought it Congruous to his Wisdom and Justice, so to act in the Business of saving Men, as that their Perdition might justly be imputed to themselves. If God would have all Men to be sav’d, if he would have all Men come to him, why has he left so many Ruggednesses, and Precipices, and such want of Tracks in the Ways of his Providence? There is an Answer to this, Mat. 7:13, 14. Acts 14:22. And in general that Declaration of God may be return’d, which we have in the Prophet Isa: 55:8, 9. My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor my ways your ways. And I am so fully perswaded of the Wisdom of God, as to judge that the Reason of all that he hath said, or done, is manifest to himself, against all the Petulant Questions of Jurieu.
[57.]Jurieu, De Pace, p. 62.
[58.]Ibid., p. 65.
[60.]Ibid., p. 68.