Quotes by Samuel Willard
Everything will happen as God’s will has determined, but the freedom of people to choose their actions is not infringed. Indeed, the freedom of moral agents is ratified, because in His will He has determined that free agents will act freely. For example, in God’s will it was impossible for the soldiers to break Christ’s bones. But no coercion was laid upon them: they were free agents, who freely chose not to break them.
The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
[God’s decrees are based on the] conception of God as a rational, intelligent being who is a wise builder, who has an idea of His works before He does them. It is clear that God works in time and therefore we suppose that He intended to do so before time.
God’s infinite wisdom may be seen in His plan. In our minds, a plan is necessary to any sort of decree, human or divine. The Bible plainly shows us that God works according to a plan. We can describe His plan in this way: it is His eternal deliberation with Himself, concerning the best way to accomplish His own purposes.
That there are no random events with respect to God. To us it is true that time and chance influence all things. Things come to pass in unseen ways, and by unknown means, but with respect to God it is not so. Nothing can happen either outside His knowledge or intention, for it is His decree that gives being to all events. The things that are, would never be if He had not intended them.
God has many ways that He might use to achieve His ends but His wisdom determined the best way to accomplish them.
From the creature’s point of view, some things might have been better… But from the point of view of the great Purpose which swallows up everything else, that is to say, the Glory of God, all is best. If we do not see it this way, it is our own ignorance at work.
This will of God is the first cause of all things. If we seek out the reason why things are, back to the original cause, we must find it in the decree, and determined by God’s will.
We are apt to complain, but remember: God’s infinite plan ordered [these trials]… The reason we do not see the wisdom of [the trial] is partly because being creatures we cannot fathom the wisdom of the Creator, and as sinful creatures we are blind and prejudiced. It is also partly because we forget the purpose they ultimately aim toward, and measure them by our own standards. It is also partly through our own pride, because we have such a high opinion of our own wisdom, which is foolishness indeed.