August 11, 2007

Thomas Manton (1620–1677): Damned by Desert, Not by A Mere Decree

It is good to observe the tenderness of the scripture when it speaketh of the execution of the decree of reprobation, that they may not cast the blame upon God: their damnation is not cast upon his decree, but their own deservings. You may see the like difference, Rom. ix. 22, 'Endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.' But then, ver. 23, 'The vessels of mercy which he hath aforehand prepared unto glory.' He endureth the one, but he fitteth and prepareth the other; he created them, and permitted them to fall in Adam, justly hardeneth them for refusing his will, but themselves prepare their own hell, by their natural corruption and voluntary depravation, following their lusts with greediness. Speaking of the elect, it is said he hath prepared; but of the reprobate, it is said he is fitted. The reprobates bring something of their own to further their destruction, pravity and naughtiness of their own; every man is the cause of the curse and eternal misery to himself, but God is the cause and author of the blessing: 'Thy destruction is of thyself, but in me is thy help found.' The elect have all from God; he prepareth them for heaven, and heaven for them, without any merit of theirs. The reprobate is not damned simply on God's pleasure, but their own desert; before he would execute his decrees, there is an interposition of their sin and folly.

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