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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GO


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    VIII. ON THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD

    1. The providence of God is subordinate to creation; and it is, therefore, necessary that it should not impinge against creation, which it would do, were it to inhibit or hinder the use of free will in man, or should deny to man its necessary concurrence, or should direct man to another end, or to destruction, than to that which is agreeable to the condition and state in which he was created; that is, if the providence of God should so rule and govern man that he should necessarily become corrupt, in order that God might manifest his own glory, both of justice and mercy, through the sin of man, according to his eternal counsel.

    2. It appertains to the providence of God to act and permit; which two things are confounded when permission is changed into action under this pretext -- that it cannot be idle or unemployed.

    3. Divine providence does not determine a free will to one part of a contradiction or contrariety, that is, by a determination preceding the actual volition itself; under other circumstances the concurrence of the very volition with the will is the concomitant cause, and thus determines the will with the volition itself, by an act which is not previous but simultaneous, as the schoolmen express themselves.

    4. The permission of God by which he permits any one to fall into sin is not correctly defined as "the subtraction or withdrawing of divine grace, by which, while God executes the decrees of his will through his rational creatures, he either does not unfold to the creature his own will by which he wills that wicked work to be done, or he does not bend the will of the man to obey the divine will in that action." (Ursinus On Providence, tom. I, fol. 178.)

    IX. ON PREDESTINATION, CONSIDERED IN THE PRIMEVAL STATE OF MAN

    1. It is not a true assertion, that "out of men considered in puris naturalibus, (either without supernatural things or with them,) God has determined, by the decree of election, to elevate to supernatural felicity some particular men, but to leave others in nature."

    2. And it is rashly asserted that "it belongs to the relation or analogy of the universe, that some men be placed on the right and others on the left, even as the method of the master Builder requires, that some stones be placed on the left side, and others on the right, of a house which is to be built."

    3. The permission by which God permits that some men wander from and miss the supernatural end, is unwisely made subordinate to this predestination; for it appertains to providence to lead and conduct a rational creature to supernatural felicity in a manner which is agreeable to the nature of that creature.

    4. The permission, also, by which God permitted our first parents to fall into sin, is rashly said to be subordinate to this predestination.

    X. ON THE CAUSE OF SIN UNIVERSALLY

    1. Though sin can be committed by none except by a rational creature, and, therefore, ceases to be sin by this very circumstance if the cause of it be ascribed to God; yet it seems possible, by four arguments, to fasten this charge on our divines. "It follows from their doctrine that God is the author of sin."

    2. First reason. -- Because they teach that, "without foresight of sin, God absolutely determined to declare his own glory through punitive justice and mercy, in the salvation of some men and in the damnation of others." Or, as others of them assert, "God resolved to illustrate his own glory by the demonstration of saving grace, wisdom, wrath, ability, and most free power, in the salvation of some particular men, and in the eternal damnation of others; which neither can be done, nor has been done, without the entrance of sin into the world."

    3. Second reason. -- Because they teach "that, in order to attain to that chief and supreme end, God ordained that man should sin and become corrupt, by which thing God might open a way to himself for the execution of this decree."

    4. Third reason. -- Because they teach "that God has either denied to man, or has withdrawn from man, before he sinned, grace necessary and sufficient to avoid sin;" which is equivalent to this -- as if God had imposed a law on man which was simply impossible to be performed or observed by his very nature.

    5. Fourth reason. -- Because they attribute to God some acts, partly external, partly mediate, and partly immediate, which, being once laid down, man was not able to do otherwise than commit sin by necessity of a consequent and antecedent to the thing itself, which entirely takes away all liberty; yet without this liberty a man cannot be considered, or reckoned, as being guilty of the commission of sin.

    6. A Fifth reason. -- Testimonies of the same description may be added in which our divines assert, in express words, that "the reprobate cannot escape the necessity of sinning, especially since this kind of necessity is injected through the appointment of God." (Calvin's Institutes, Lib. 2, 23.)

    XI. OF THE FALL OF ADAM

    1. Adam was able to continue in goodness and to refrain from sinning, and this in reality and in reference to the issue, and not only by capability not to be brought into action on account of some preceding decree of God, or rather not possible to lead to an act by that preceding decree.

    2. Adam sinned freely and voluntarily, without any necessity, either internal or external.

    3. Adam did not fall through the decree of God, neither through being ordained to fall nor through desertion, but through the mere permission of God, which is placed in subordination to no predestination either to salvation or to death, but which belongs to providence so far as it is distinguished in opposition to predestination.

    4. Adam did not fall necessarily, either with respect to a decree, appointment, desertion, or permission, from which it is evident what kind of judgment ought to be formed concerning expressions of the following description:

    5. "I confess, indeed, that by the will of God all the sons of Adam have fallen into this miserable condition in which they are bound and fastened." (Calvin's Institute, lib. 3, cap. 23.)

    6. "They deny, in express words, the existence of this fact - - that it was decreed by God that Adam should perish by his own defection."

    7. "God foreknew what result man would have, became he thus ordained it by his decree."

    8. "God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, but by his own will he ordained it."

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