July 19, 2017

Thomas Watson (c.1620–1686) on God’s Will of Precept and Permissive Decree

Use 3. To conclude, a word to the Wicked, who march furiously against God and his People, let them know God’s Decree is Unchangeable, God will not alter it, nor can they break it, and while they resist God’s Will they fulfill it. There’s a twofold Will of God, Voluntas praecepti & decreti; The Will of God’s Precept, and of his Decree. While the Wicked resist the Will of God’s Precept, they fulfill the Will of his Permissive Decree. Judas betrays Christ, Pilate condemns him, the Soldiers crucify him; while they resisted the Will of God’s Precept, they fulfilled the Will of his Permissive Decree, Acts 4.28. Such as are wicked, God commands one thing, they do the quite contrary; to keep Sabbath, they profane it; while they disobey his Command they fulfill his Permissive Decree. If a Man set up two Nets, one of Silk, the other of Iron, the Silken Net may be broken, not the Iron: God’s Commands are the Silken Net; while Men break the Silken Net of God’s Command, they are taken in the Iron Net of his Decree; while they sit backward to God’s Precepts, they row forward to his Decree; his Decree to permit their Sin, and to punish them for their Sin permitted.
Thomas Watson, A Body of Practical Divinity Consisting of Above One Hundred Seventy Six Sermons on the Lesser Catechism Composed by the Reverend Assembly of Divines at Westminster (London: Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, 1692), 39. See also Augustine on God’s will not defeated.


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