In reference to the third question, it is not in controversy whether God, foreseeing the sins of some, prepared for their deserved punishment, but whether, foreseeing the sins of those thus passed by and left in their natural state, He prepared punishment for them from eternity. The latter does not seem to me to be true.
REPLY OF JUNIUS TO THE SEVENTEENTH PROPOSITION
They, for whose sins God prepared merited punishment, are not the elect: therefore they are passed by and reprobate. It has been before demonstrated that they were passed by, in a mode in harmony with the wisdom of God.
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE SEVENTEENTH
It is not true, universally, that |they, for whose sins God prepared merited punishment, are not the elect,| for He prepared merited punishment even for the sins of the elect, both by laying them upon Christ, that he might expiate them, and by sometimes inflicting the consequences of sin even on the elect, that they may learn how they have deserved to be treated forever, and how they would have been treated, if God had not determined to have mercy upon them. It is true, however, if it is understood with reference to the preparation of punishment by the decree now under discussion. For by that decree, the merited punishment of sin, is not only prepared, but it is, in fact and forever, inflicted on sinners. It is indeed true, rather, that, by the decree, punishment is prepared for sin, not as merited and due, but as not remitted by mercy, which forgives the debt to some. This distinction is required by the order of election, and of predamnation, its opposite. For election remits merited and due punishment. Its opposite, preordination, does not remit merited and due punishment. This then is inflicted, by damnation, which is the execution of predamnation, not as merited or due, but as not remitted.
Again, a distinction is to be made between the preparation of punishment, made by the just Providence of God, and that made by the decree of divine predamnation, which is the opposite of election. For the former is avoided by all who repent and believe in the Son. The latter is avoided by none, since the decree of predamnation is irrevocable and peremptory. The question is not whether God prepared punishment for those passed by in a mode in harmony with the wisdom of God|; for who denies that, if any are passed by, they are passed by in a manner in harmony with the wisdom of God? But the question is, whether God, foreseeing the sin of those, so passed by and left in their natural state, as has been explained, prepared punishment for them by the decree of predamnation, which does not seem very probable to me. I have presented arguments for this opinion, which we will now consider.