November 16, 2007

John Howe (1630–1705) on God's Preceptive Will

(1.) His will is really crossed; somewhat is done, that is against his will. I mean his will concerning our duty, not his will concerning the event; against his preceptive will, and consequently against that good, which he wills to us upon the supposition of our compliance with his just and righteous will. He really wills many things in reference to men, which he doth not will effectually to procure that they shall be done. He wills our obedience and duty; and, as this is connected with it, he wills also our felicity and happiness. The will of God in the former part, is expressed by his precepts; in the latter, by his promises, so far as they are of a general tenor. But there is a will of his in reference to the event, of which it may be truly said, Who hath resisted his will? When the commands of God are disobeyed, and persons by their disobedience rush upon vengeance, and put themselves under the effects of divine displeasure; then is that done, which is averse to the legislative will of God, as it is signified to us by his word. And this is implied in the expression in the text of his being vexed; namely, that there is a matter or object lying before him, at which he may take offence, or resent.
John Howe, Sermons on Several Occasions, publ. by E. Fletcher (London: H. Woodfall, 1744), 2:229–230.


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