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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE WILL OF GOD
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ON THE WILL OF GOD
I. The will of God is spoken of in three ways: First, the faculty itself of willing. Secondly, the act of willing. Thirdly, the object willed. The first signification is the principal and proper one, the two others are secondary and figurative.
II. It may be thus described: It is the second faculty of the life of God, flowing through the understanding from the life that has an ulterior tendency; by which faculty God is borne towards a known good -- towards a good, because this is an adequate object of every will -- towards a known good, not only with regard to it as a being, but likewise as a good, whether in reality or only in the act of the divine understanding. Both, however, are shown by the understanding. But the evil which is called that of culpability, God does not simply and absolutely will.
III. The good is two-fold. The chief good, and that which is from the chief. The first of these is the primary, immediate, principal, direct, peculiar and adequate object of the divine will; the latter is secondary and indirect, towards which the divine will does not tend, except by means of the chief good.
IV. The will of God is borne towards its objects in the following order:
(1.) He wills himself.
(2.) He wills all those things which, out of infinite things possible to himself he has, by the last judgment of his wisdom, determined to be made. And first, he wills to make them to be; then he is affected towards them by his will, according as they possess some likeness with his nature, or some vestige of it.
(3.) The third object of the will of God is those things which he judges fit and equitable to be done by creatures who are endowed with understanding and with free will, in which is included a prohibition of that which he wills not to be done.
(4.) The fourth object of the divine will is his permission, that chiefly by which he permits a rational creature to do what he has prohibited, and to omit what he has commanded.
(5.) He wills those things which, according to his own wisdom, he judges to be done concerning the acts of his rational creatures.
V. There is out of God no inwardly moving cause of his will; nor out of him is there any end. But the creature, and its action or passion, may be the outwardly moving cause, without which God would supersede or omit that volition or act of willing.
VI. But the cause of all other things is God, by His understanding and will, by means of His power or capability; yet so, that when he acts either through his creatures, with them or in them, he does not take away the peculiar mode of acting, or of suffering, which he has divinely placed within them; and that he suffers them, according to their peculiar mode, to produce their own effects, and to receive in themselves the acts of God, either necessarily, contingently, or freely. As this contingency and liberty do not make the prescience of God to be uncertain, so they are destroyed by the volition of God, and by the certain futurition of events with regard to the understanding of God.