Preterition is the act of the divine will, by which God, from eternity, determined to leave some of His creatures in their natural state, and not to communicate to them that supernatural grace, by which their nature might be preserved uncorrupt, or, having become corrupt, might be restored, to the declaration of the freedom of His own goodness.
Preterition is defined to be a denial of grace only, not of glory, while, nevertheless, glory is denied to the same persons. It is rightly called an act of the divine pleasure, not good-pleasure; for pleasure is the general term, applied to any purpose or decree of God; good-pleasure, as has been remarked, includes a favourable and benevolent disposition in the Deity. To leave in their natural condition]. From this also it is evident that the object of predestination is, in your view, men considered in a merely natural state.
Supernatural grace, by which their nature might be preserved uncorrupt, or, having become corrupt, might be restored]. If the e words are to be understood to have reference to the particular predestination of men, then that distinction is not correctly used. For the grace by which nature is |preserved uncorrupt,| is not denied by the decree of preterition. For that grace was denied to all men without distinction. But the denial of grace, by which nature, having become corrupt, is restored, is peculiar to the decree of preterition, and, therefore the object of preterition is fallen man, and to one who needs renewing grace.
To the declaration of the freedom of His own goodness.] The freedom of the goodness of God is declared not only when God communicates to one, and denies to another, His own goodness, but also when He communicates it only on the condition, which He has been pleased to impose; I concede, however, that the freedom of the divine goodness is also declared in the former mode. But there is a declaration in preterition, as described to us in the Scriptures, not only of the freedom of the goodness of God, but of His justice. For God, according to justice also, uses preterition, by which He determines to deny His grace to some on account of their sins. Sin, indeed, is the only meritorious cause of the denial of grace, which is here discussed. Therefore, the statement of the end of that preterition was not sufficiently complete.