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Sovereignty

I. The Attributes of God.

The attributes of God are distinguished by Theologians under a variety of classifications.

1. Negative and Positive Attributes.

Distinctions are sometimes made between the “negative” and “positive” attributes. The Negative Attributes are such as remove from God whatever is imperfect in creatures—since God is not finite, mutable and mortal, so He is infinite, immutable and immortal. The Positive, or Affirmative Attributes, are such as assert a perfection in God, which is in and of Himself—if these attributes are in any measure true of the creatures, such as wisdom, goodness, justice, holiness, &c., they are derived from God. Some discard this classification of attributes, for though it is easier to say what God is not, than what He is, yet in all negative attributes, some positive excellency is found.

2. Essential and Analogical Attributes.

Another arrangement is to distribute the attributes into a “twofold order”—the first and second. The essential properties of the “first order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, such as His simplicity, perfection, infinity and immutability. These perfections are not found in the creatures. The essential properties of the “second order”, declare the essence of God as in Himself, but are also found in the creatures, such as life, immortality…

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Thus far, we have considered the various attributes which belong to God as a spirit—because He is uncreated, so He is spiritual, simple, immutable, infinite, immense, omnipresent and eternal; because He is active, so He is living and omnipotent. We now proceed to look at those perfections which are ascribed to God as an intelligent spirit. If God is said to have a “mind” and “understanding” (Rom 11:34; Is 40:28), then the attributes of “knowledge” and “wisdom” go together. Let us consider the knowledge, or omniscience, of God.

I. The Fact of God’s Omniscience.

That knowledge belongs to the TriUne Jehovah may be proved by the several attributes of God.

1. The Infinity of God.

Since God is unlimited and unbounded as to space, so He is omnipresent; since He is unbounded as to time, so He is eternal; since He is unbounded as to power, so He is omnipotent; since He is unbounded as to…

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We continue to look at those perfections which are ascribed to God as an intelligent spirit. Since God is said to have a “mind” and “understanding” (Rom 11:34; Is 40:28), then the attributes of “knowledge” and “wisdom” go together. We turn to the subject of God’s wisdom. This is a more focused attribute than that of knowledge, since it is the judicious application of knowledge, not only in the choice of the best means, but also in the selection of the best ends and purposes.

Now, no one that believes in the being of a God, can admit the least doubt that He is possessed of consummate and infinite wisdom. An unwise Being cannot be God. Pythagoras says, “No man is wise but God only.” That “with Him is wisdom”, is frequently asserted in the sacred scriptures (Job 12:12,13; Dan 2:20,21). Indeed, if ancient men, having had a large experience of things by their longevity of life, are expected to be wise, then how much more must it be with Him, who is “the ancient of days”? Yea, such wisdom in God must be infinite, for He is from everlasting to everlasting.

(1) He is the only wise God.

No less than three times is God said to be “the only wise God” (Rom 16:27; 1 Tim 1:17; Jude 25). This is a statement of comparison with the creatures, which when measured by the infinite capacity of the Creator, have no wisdom. Take, for instance, the…

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We have been considering the attributes which belong to God as a spirit—because He is uncreated, so He is spiritual, simple, immutable, infinite, immense, omnipresent and eternal; because He is active, so He is living and omnipotent; because He is rational, so He is omniscient and wise. We now proceed to look at that perfection which affirms that God is a volitional spirit—His will, and the sovereignty of it.

I. The Proof of God’s Will.

In an intelligent being, such as angels and men, there is a will, as well as an understanding, and therefore proof that God has a will serves to affirm He is a spirit. As the understanding of God is infinite and unsearchable, so He has a will, to do what He knows is most fitting to be done. His understanding influences and guides His will, and His will determines all His actions. And, because His will is wisely directed, it is called, “the counsel of His will” (Eph 1:11). A will is frequently ascribed to God in Scripture—”The will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14); “Who has resisted his will” (Rom 9:19); “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will” (Eph 1:9); and in many other passages. Will is ascribed to each of the divine Persons…

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Sin, the existent occasion for an atonement, we say, can find no solution of the difficulty it presents to the human mind apart from divine sovereignty. Philosophers have speculated very foolishly on this subject, fanatics have very madly raved about it, and the friends of God have very impertinently apologized for the conduct of the Lord of all about it; but after all, the fact remains just where the philosopher, the fanatic, and the friend found it, and just what that fact was, a judgment of divine sovereignty that is unsearchable, and a way that is past finding out.

Reasoning on the ways of God as the great moral Governor, it has been thought…

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Position 10.—From what has been laid down, it follows that Augustine, Luther, Bucer, the scholastic divines, and other learned writers are not to be blamed for asserting that “God may in some sense be said to will the being and commission of sin.” For, was this contrary to His determining will of permission, either He would not be omnipotent, or sin could have no place in the world; but He is omnipotent, and . . .

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Concerning The “Fate” Of The Ancients From The Latin Justus Lipsius.[1]

Fate (says Apuleius), according to Plato, is that, whereby the purposes and designs of God are accomplished. Hence the Platonics considered providence under a threefold distinction: (1) The providentia prima, or that which gave birth to all effects, and is defined, by them, to be the intention or will of the supreme God. (2) The providentia secunda, or actual agency of the secondary or inferior beings, who were supposed to pervade the heavens, and from thence, by their influence, to regulate and dispose of all sublunary things, and especially to prevent the extinction of any one species below. (3) The providentia tertia, supposed to be exerted by the genii, whose office it was to exercise a particular care over mankind: to guard our persons and direct our actions.

But the stoical view of providence, or fate, was abundantly more simple, and required no such nicety of distinction. These philosophers did, at once, derive all the chain of causes and effects from…

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Grace! What a great word is this! The eternal favor of the Eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without fluctuation, variation or change; in which divine favor, God’s people everlastingly stand; nor can sin, death or hell, get them out. And when this great and glorious gift is bestowed on its elect objects, instead of tending to what is called Antinomianism, it leads to soul-as­tonishment; clothes its unworthy recipient with humility; bringing him, or her, to wonder why, or wherefore, God should have been thus gracious to them while so many are passed by.

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If in the heaven-ward way we’re bound,
We of’t shall find it true,

That stumbling-blocks our path confound,
And quick-sands, not a few;

The great deceiver lays his plans,
With skill to trap our feet;
By pictures…

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Kevin Price sits on the committee of the Strict Baptist Historical Society. He has also served as a pastor for more than thirty years and has enjoyed an itinerate ministry in both the United Kingdom and the United States. His commitment to the historic values of the Strict Baptists has secured for many congregations a stedfast voice of support and encouragement.

Is Jesus Christ merely a potential Saviour, or is He a certain Saviour? Did He die to make redemption possible to all sinners, or did He die to secure redemption particularly for those whom the Father has given Him? The answers to these questions strike at the heart . . .

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