Book 2, Chapter 4, Sections 1–8 — How God Works in the Hearts of Men

Sections

1. Connection of this chapter with the preceding. Augustine’s similitude of a good and bad rider. Question answered in respect to the devil.

2. Question answered in respect to God and man. Example from the history of Job. The works of God distinguished from the works of Satan and wicked men. 1. By the design or end of acting. How Satan acts in the reprobate. 2. How God acts in them.

3. Old Objection, that the agency of God in such cases is referable to prescience or permission, not actual operation. Answer, showing that God blinds and hardens the reprobate, and this in two ways; 1. By deserting them; 2. By delivering them over to Satan.

4. Striking passages of Scripture, proving that God acts in both ways, and disposing of the objection with regard to prescience. Confirmation from Augustine.

5. A modification of the former answer, proving that God employs Satan to instigate the reprobate, but, at the same time, is free from all taint.

6. How God works in the hearts of men in indifferent matters. Our will in such matters not so free as to be exempt from the overruling providence of God. This confirmed by various examples.

7. Objection, that these examples do not form the rule. An answer, fortified by the testimony of universal experience, by Scripture, and a passage of Augustine.

8. Some, in arguing against the error of free will, draw an argument from the event. How this is to be understood.

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