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2. Etsi Deus justè uti potuisset jure suo absoluto in creaturas suas, secundum ordinatum tamen jus, ac revelatum, procedere et solet et vult.

3. Cùm Deus sit ipsa essentialis bonitas, sapientia, justitia, adeòque omnis bonitatis, sapientiæ, justitiæ fons et scaturigo; nihil potest ab illo fluere, quod non perfectè bonum, sapiens, justúmque sit: in illius, ergo, eúdoklą humillimè acquiescere debemus creaturæ.

4. Sed et hinc necessariò sequitur, nihil boni inesse posse creaturæ, nisi quod ab ipso boni omnis principio inditum fuerit, et ab ipso derivatum.

5. Sed et hoc insuper; Deum non esse authorem peccati. Illud solebat offendiculi sæpe prætendere D. Tilenus, hospes olim meus, jam tum mutatæ infeliciter sententiæ reus, quorundam nostrorum rigore, aliquid hîc in Deum conjici, Sanctissimo ipsius Numine indignum; protestatûs, interea, omnia se paratum concedere, modò Dei bonitas et justitia hâc in re integra et illibata conservaretur. Absit, verò, ut quis Christianus aliter aut sentiat aut loquatur! Omnes in hanc sententiam pedibus imus unanimiter : reus peragatur blasphemiæ, qui, cum Florino, contrà hiscere ausit.

6. Deum neminem damnare, nisi propter peccatum: damnatio, enim, actus est punitivæ justitiæ; punitio, autem, culpam supponit; quis, enim, justus plectat innocentem?

7. Deum seriò invitare omnes ubicunque terrarum ad fidem et penitentiam ; et, sub illâ conditione, ad salutem: non eo solùm animo, ut inde fiant inexcusabiles; hoc enim nihil sonat philanthropicum; sed, ut, verè si jussa præstiterint, assequantur quod gratiosè proposuit.

8. In re Prædestinationis, nihil nobis negotii esse debet cum arcanis Dei consiliis; sed, secundum revelatam ejus voluntatem, de nobis aliísve judicandum. Ita ergo nos gerere debemus in totâ vitæ nostræ institutione, et in operando salutem nostram, acsi nulli occulto Dei decreto subessemus. Quid ad te, O homo, quod in cælo statutum est? Fac tu quod Sanctissimus et Justissimus Creator Redemptórque tibi injunxit faciendum, non potes non tutus et salvus esse : aliàs, frustrà es, qui tibi salutem polliceris. Sic itaque fidei, pænitentiæ, bonís. que operibus danda est opera, quasi ab illis unicè penderet salus, et immunitas ab omni reprobationis periculo. Sic ca2. Although God might justly have used his absolute authority over his creatures, yet is he both wont and willing to proceed according to ordained and revealed authority.

3. Since God is essential goodness, wisdom, justice, and therefore the well-spring and fountain-head of all goodness, wisdom, justice; nothing can Aow from him, that is not perfectly good, wise, and just: and therefore we, his creatures, ought to acquiesce most humbly in his good will and pleasure.

4. But hence, moreover, it necessarily follows, that there can be nothing good in the creature, but what has been bestowed by, and derived from, the source of all good.

5. And, as a further consequence; that God is not the author of sin. Tilenus, who was once my host, but who now, through the sharpness of some among my countrymen, stands accused of an unhappy change in his opinions, used oftentimes to adduce this as a point obnoxious to misconstruction, that something was here cast upon God, unworthy of his most Sacred Godhead; that he was prepared, meanwhile, to grant all the prerogatives of his power, provided only his goodness and justice were preserved whole and uncontaminated. But God forbid that any Christian should either think or speak otherwise! To this decision we all, with one accord, advance straight-forward: let that man be impleaded on a charge of blasphemy, who dares, with Florinus, to open his mouth in contradiction.

6. That God damns no one, but for sin: for damnation is an act of punitive justice; but punishment supposes fault; for how is he just, who punishes the innocent?

7. That God seriously invites all men throughout the whole world to faith and repentance; and, on that condition, to salvation: not with the intent, merely, that they may thence become inexcusable; for this sounds not like love to man; but that, if they do what he has truly commanded, they may obtain what he has graciously proposed.

8. In the matter of Predestination, we should have no concern with the secret counsels of God: we are to form our judgment, whether of ourselves or others, according to his revealed will. We ought, therefore, so to conduct ourselves in the whole discipline of our lives, and in working out our salvation, as if we were subject to no decree of God that was not promulgated. What is it to thee, O man, what has been ordained in heaven? Do thou, what a Most Holy and Just Creator and Redeemer has enjoined thee to do, and thou canst not fail to be both safe and sound: otherwise, thou dost but err, in promising thyself salvation. So, then, must attention be paid to faith, to repentance, and to good works, as if on those alone depended our salvation, and our deliverance from all danger of

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venda infidelitas, omnísque legis Divinæ certa lubénsque violatio, ac si, sepositâ quâvis absconditi decreti ratione, damnatio istinc sequeretur. Qui secùs fecerit, et à priori de æternâ sui conditione judicium feret, miserè abutetur secretis Dei consiliis, quæ silenter debuisset revereri.

9. In actibus ad conversionem præviis, bonísque motibus quos Spiritus Dei ingerit etiam nondum renatis, Deus neminem deserit, priusquam deseratur ipse: solâ, ergo, culpâ suâ ad regenerationem seriò invitati gratiâ ulteriore destituuntur; et, spontaneâ infidelitate et contumaciâ, pereunt.

Sed video me longiùs, quàm mihi proposueram, excurrisse. Vide quò me provexerit pacis amor, ut ego ista tibi, Theologo exercitatissimo, suggererem. Huic tu præsumptioni ignosces; et, si quid erraverit festinatio mea, comiter monstrabis. Perges, denique, benè velle huic, quam tantopere boni omnes expetimus, paci: et Duræum nostrum, fidissimum ejus proxenetam, omni amore ac studio, quod facis, prosequi : et, mutuis insuper precibus, piisque officiis, beare,

Tuum in Christo fratrem

ac oúvepyov fidelissimum,

JOS. EXON.

EPISTOLA III.

CLARISSIMO VIRO, THEOLOGO GRAVISSIMO,

D. HERMANNO HILDEBRANDO,

S. T. D.

STI. STEPH. ECCLESIÆ BREMENSIS PASTORI VIGILANTISSIMO,

SALUTEM AC PACEM.

INCUMBAT mihi licèt plus modò quàm cui ferendo par sim oneris, Reverende admodum in Christo Frater, non potui tamen

reprobation. So, must unbelief be guarded against, and every clear and wilful violation of the law of God, as if, apart from any consideration of an unrevealed decree, damnation was the consequence of such things. He who acts otherwise, and makes up his mind beforehand concerning his eternal state, will but miserably abuse the secret counsels of God, which he ought to have revered in silence.

9. In acts performed with a view to conversion, and in the holy motions which the Spirit of God introduces even into those who are not yet born again, God deserts no man, until he is first deserted himself: it is only through their own fault, therefore, that men, being seriously invited to regeneration, are deprived of subsequent grace, and perish by voluntary unbelief and obstinacy:

But I see that I have run off to greater lengths than I had intended. See whither my love of peace has carried me, that I should suggest these things to you, a most experienced Theologian. You will pardon this presumption; and if my haste has committed any mistake, you will kindly point it out. Finally, you will proceed to entertain good wishes to the cause, which we, with all good men, so earnestly pursue; to extend (as you already do) all affection and encouragement to our friend Dury, a most faithful messenger in the same behalf; and with mutual prayers, and pious exercises, to bless

Your most faithful brother,
And fellow-labourer in Christ,

JOS. EXON.

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LETTER III.

TO THE MOST EMINENT AND GRAVE DIVINE,

HERMAN HILDEBRANDT,

DOCTOR OF DIVINITY, THE ZEALOUS PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF ST. STEPHEN,

BREMEN,

HEALTH AND PEACE.

ALTHOUGH a heavier burden lies upon me than I am well able to bear, yet could I not consent, most Reverend Brother in

committere, ut votis tuis tam piis, tam pacificis, deesse viderer. Ipse curabo, ne nihil respondeam: ignosce tu, si breviùs.

Declarationem tuam Trium Articulorum in Conventu Cleri Bremensis prælectorum, gravem illam quídem, moderatam, solidam, verèque orthodoxam, quantâ potui cum curâ perlegi, clausulásque singulas pensitavi seduló.

Quoque accuratiori trutinæ singula subjecerim, eò magis subiit animum, mirari quid illud tandem sit, quod parùm æquis apud vos censoribus displicere possit; aut ubi demum lateat illud, de quo quosdam ais immanè quantùm conqueri, Pelagianismi, sive (quod horribilius dictu) Socinismi, virus. Fallor,

istic occurrat phrasis, aut verò syllaba, quæ vel ex ipso sacro Scripturarum fonte, vel ex sanctorum Patrum rivulis, vel denique ex aliorum probatissimorum authorum (præsertim verò Theologorum Dordracenorum) situlis, parùm petita sit.

si qua

Absit, verò, ut quis istorum cuiquam tam prodigiosæ opinionis crimen impingere ausit! Cautiùs tu, quidem, et paulò molliùs exprimere maluisti hæc divinæ veritatis arcana, quàm rigidiores quidam, sani licèt, Theologi solent : quam tibi, sive prudentiam sive moderationem, ex animo gratulor.

Ilicet hæc recta est ad Christianam concordiam via. Hoe est, quod vox clamantis in deserto præconiata est olim; parare semitam Deo Pacis, aspera in vias planas redigere. Ambulent alii, si volunt, per dumos salebrásque: complanemus nos, quantum possimus, sacros hosce calles; ut, libero ac inoffenso pede, cælum versus progredi liceat. Quantumcumque sanè operæ huic negotio posuerimus, arduum satis comperiemus hoc iter : non est quòd nos viam insuper silice sternamus aut vepribus.

Nesciunt profectò qui ista criminantur, nesciunt, quantum de templo Dei mereantur illi, qui seu saxa seu trabes fabricæ huic exædificandæ dolare ac lævigare nôrunt; modò id, præsertim, absque nimio malleationis strepitu fieri possit : quod gravitatem tuam admodum prudenter istic allaboråsse sentio.

Quod ad rem ipsam attinet; quisquamne sanæ Theologiæ candidatus est, qui merito mortis Christi limites quosdam suos

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