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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - SECOND PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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SECOND PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
They differ in this, that the first presents men as not yet created, but to be created, to God, electing and predestinating, also passing by and reprobating, (though, in the latter case, it does not so clearly make the distinction): the second presents them created, but considered in a natural state, to God electing and predestinating, "to be raised from that natural state above it; it presents them to Him in the act of preterition, as considered in the same natural state, and to Him in that of reprobation, as involved in sin by their own fault: the third presents them to Him both electing and predestinating, and passing by and reprobating as fallen in Adam, and as lying in the mass of corruption and perdition.
THE ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE SECOND PROPOSITION
That, in this statement of views (which are apparently, not really, contradictory) you have, in some manner, fallen into error, we shall, in its own place, demonstrate. I could wish that in this case an ambiguity, in the verb reprobate, and the verbal reprobation, had been avoided. This word is used in three ways; one general, two particular. The general use is when non-election, or preterition and damnation, is comprehended in the word, in which way Calvin and Beza frequently understood it, yet so as to make some distinction. A particular mode or signification is when it is opposed to election, and designates non-election or preterition (a Latin phrase derived from forensic use) in which sense the fathers used it according to the common use of the Latins. There is also a particular use of the word, when reprobation is taken for damnation, as I perceive that it is used by you in this whole letter. The first mode is synecdochical, the second common, the third metonymical; I add that the third might properly be called catachrestic if we attend to the just distinction of these members. I wholly approve the second meaning and shall adhere to it in this whole discussion.
THE REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE SECOND PROPOSITION
I have made a difference, not a contrariety between those views, and have already explained that difference according to my judgment. I do not, however, wish to be tedious in the proof of this point. For, in this matter, it is my aim that of a number of positions, any one being established, others, perhaps before unsettled, may be demonstrated.
The word reprobation may be sometimes used ambiguously, but it was not so used by me: and, if it had been, blame for that thing ought not to be laid on me, who have used that word in the sense and according to the use of those, whose views I presented, but especially according to the sense in which it has been used by yourself, with whom I have begun this discussion. For I had examined various passages in your writings, and in them I found that the word was used by you in the last sense, which you here call catachrestic. I will adduce some of those passages, from which you will see that I have used the word in accordance with your perpetual usage. In your Notes on Jude, (fol 27-6,) "The proper cause of reprobation is man himself; of his own sin, dying in sins." So in your Sacred Axioms concerning Nature and Grace, prefaced to the Refutation of the Pamphlet of Puccius, Axioms xliv, xlv, xlvi, xlvii, xlviii, and especially xlix and l, the words of which I here quote. Axiom xlix, "Nor is preterition indeed the cause of reprobation or damnation, but only its antecedent. But the peculiar and internal efficient cause of this is the sin of the creature, while the accidental and external cause is the justice of God." Axiom i, "Therefore Reprobation (that we may clearly distinguish the matter) is understood either in a wider sense, or in one which is more narrow and peculiar to itself. In a wider sense, if you consider the whole subject of the divine counsel from preterition, as the antecedent and commencement, to damnation, as the end and consequent, with the intervention of the peculiar cause of damnation, namely, sin; in a more narrow and appropriate sense, if you consider only the effects of sin." We might add, also, what is said in the 51st axiom. Of the theses concerning Predestination, discussed by Coddaeus under you, the 14th has this remark: "Preterition is the opposite of preparation of grace and reprobation or preparation of punishment is the opposite of preparation of glory. But preparation of punishment is the act in which God determines to punish his creatures, &c." In theses 17 and 18, "reprobate on account of sins, from the necessity of justice." Here you seem to have wished to use those words properly: which you also signify more plainly in the Theses concerning election discussed by the younger Trelcatius under your direction. Thesis xii, "But if reprobation is made the opposite of election, (as it really is,) it is a figurative expression, that is either by synecdoche, or by catachresis. By synecdoche, if it refers to the whole series of acts opposed to Predestination; by catachresis, if it refers to non-election. For non-election is the first limit of the divine purpose, dependent on his will alone. Reprobation is the ultimate limit, next to the execution, dependent on the supposition of antecedent causes." Hence it is apparent that I have used that word in the sense which you have styled "appropriate." I will state, in a few words, what I think in reference to the same word, and its use. I am wholly of the opinion that the word reprobation, according to the use of the Latin language, properly signifies non-election, if election does not consist without reprobation. But I think that it is never used in the Scripture for an act which is merely negative, and never for an act which has reference to those who are not sinners. If at any time Augustine and others of the fathers use it for preterition, non-election, or any negative act, they consider it as having reference to a reelection in sin, and in the mass of corruption, or for a purpose to withhold mercy, the latter term being used for a deliverance from sin and actual misery. Calvin and Beza use it in almost every case, for the mere preparation of punishment, or for both acts.