18 [a]Therefore he hath mercy on whom he [b]will, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 [c]Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet complain? for who hath resisted his will?

20 [d]But, O man, who art thou which pleadest against God? [e]shall the (A)thing [f]formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

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  1. Romans 9:18 A conclusion of the full answer to the first objection: therefore seeing that God doth not save them whom he freely chose according to his good will and pleasure, but by justifying and sanctifying them by his grace, his counsel in saving them cannot seem unjust. And again, there is not injustice in the everlasting counsel of God touching the destruction of them whom he listeth to destroy, for that he hardeneth before he destroyeth: Therefore the third answer for the maintenance of God’s justice is the everlasting counsel of reprobation, consisteth in this word Hardening: which notwithstanding he concealed in the former verse, because the History of Pharaoh was well known. But the force of the word is great: for Hardening, which is set against Mercy, presupposeth the same things that mercy did, to wit, a voluntary corruption, wherein the reprobate are hardened: and again corruption presupposeth a perfect state of creation. Moreover, this hardening also is voluntary, for God so hardeneth being offended with corruption, that he useth their own will whom he hardeneth, to the executing of that judgment. Then follow the fruits of Hardening, to wit, unbelief and sin, which are the true and proper causes of the condemnation of the reprobate. Why doth he then appoint to destruction? because he will: why doth he harden? because they are corrupt: why doth he condemn? because they are sinners. Where is then unrighteousness? Nay, if he should destroy all after this same sort, to whom should he do injury?
  2. Romans 9:18 Whom it pleased him to appoint, to show his favor upon.
  3. Romans 9:19 Another objection but only for the reprobate, rising upon the former answer. If God do appoint to everlasting destruction, such as he listeth, and if that cannot be hindered notwithstanded that he hath once decreed, how doth he justly condemn them, which perish by his will?
  4. Romans 9:20 The Apostle doth not answer that it is not God’s will, or that God doth not either reject or elect according to his pleasure, which thing the wicked call blasphemy, but he rather granteth, his adversary both the antecedents, to wit, that it is God’s will, and that it must of necessity so fall out, yet he denieth that God is therefore to be thought an unjust revenger of the wicked: for seeing it appeareth by manifest proof that this is the will of God and his doing, what impudency is it for man, which is but dust and ashes to dispute with God, and as it were to call him into judgment? Now if any man say that the doubt is not so dissolved and answered, I answer, that there is no surer demonstration in any matter, because it is grounded upon this principle, That the will of God is the rule of righteousness.
  5. Romans 9:20 An amplification of the former answer, taken from a comparison, whereby also it appeareth that God’s determined counsel is set of Paul the highest of all causes, so that it dependeth not upon any respect of second causes, but doth rather frame and direct them.
  6. Romans 9:20 This similitude agreeth very fitly in the first creation of mankind.

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