WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ELEVENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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ELEVENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
Secondly, of Election.
1. Election is said to have been made in Christ, who was ordained as mediator for sinners, and was called Jesus, because He should save, not certain individuals, considered merely in their nature, but "His people from their sins." He is said to have been foreordained, and we in Him, and He, in the order of nature and causes, before us. He was ordained as saviour, we, as those to be saved. But in Christ, having such a character, and being considered such as the Scripture describes him to us, man could not be considered in a merely natural state. Much less, therefore, could he be elected in Him.
2. Election is said to have been made of grace, which is distinguished from nature in a two fold manner, both as the latter is pure and considered abstractly, and as it is guilty and corrupt. In the former sense, it signifies the progress of goodness towards supernatural good, to be imparted to a creature naturally capable of it; in the latter sense, it signifies the ulterior progress towards supernatural good to be communicated to man, as corrupt and guilty, which is also, in the Scriptures, called mercy. In my judgment, the term grace is used, in the latter sense, in the writings of the apostles, especially when the subject of discussion is election, justification, sanctification, &c. If this is true, then election of grace was made of men considered, not in a "merely natural state, but in sin."
ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE ELEVENTH PROPOSITION
It is true, that election is made by God the Father in Christ the Mediator; but that the Mediator was ordained, only for sinners, is not absolutely true. Therefore, the inference is not valid. Indeed, should its truth be conceded, yet it has no weight against those, who state that, in election, reference was to man in general. But that the Mediator was ordained, not for sinners alone -- to say nothing of that Mediation, which is attributed to Christ in creation and nature, "all things were made by Him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John i, 3, 4,) "by whom also He made the worlds." (Heb. i, 2, &c.) -- I demonstrate most completely by a single argument.
Christ is Mediator for those, to whom He was, from eternity, given as Head by the Father; -- He was given as Head by the Father to Angels and men; therefore, he is the Mediator for both the latter and the former. But angels did not sin; he was not, then, ordained Mediator for sinners only. Let us discuss each point, if you please, separately, that we may more fully understand the subject.
When we speak of the Head, we consider three things, according to the analogy of nature; its position, by which, in fact, dignity, and authority, it holds the first place in the whole body; its perfection, by which it contains all the inward and outward senses, in itself, as their fountain and the principle of motion; finally its power, by which all power, feeling, motion and government is accustomed to flow from it to the other members.
According to this idea, Christ is indeed the Head, in common, of all created things; the Head, I say, of superior nature, and of interior nature, and of all those things which are in nature. We transcend this universal relation, when we contemplate the Head, as appointed from eternity. Angels and men are, after God, capable of eternity; and to both Christ was given eternally, by the Father, as the Head, not only that they should exist forever, (which is the attribute of spiritual nature) but also, and this is specially of grace, that they should be forever heirs of eternal glory, as sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. The latter were ordained of God, by the adoption of grace in Christ Jesus, all to one end, namely, to the sight, the enjoyment, and announcement of the glory of God, and of them was constituted the mystical body of Christ, the celestial church. Finally, as in all this life, that is the head of a living creature, from which power, feeling and motion flow into the members of the body, so in all that eternal life, the body grows by the influence of Christ, its Head, and each of the members obtain immutability of life, that is, eternity from this fact, that they subsist in Christ, their Head, apart from whom they would be dissolved. But Christ, is the Mediator by the relation in which he is the Head of angels and men, for, as Head, he' joins them to Himself; as Mediator, he joins them to the Father. That Christ is Head and Mediator, is in fact, one and the same thing, only that the divinity intervenes in the relation, since He is called the Head, as to our relation to Himself; and Mediator as to our relation to the Father. "But," it may be said, "he did not redeem the angels as he redeemed us. This indeed is true; but Mediator and Redeemer differ from each other, as genus and species. To angels, Christ is Mediator of preservation and confirmation; but to us, he is Mediator, also, of redemption and of preservation from that from which we have been redeemed. So he is styled Mediator for both, though in a different mode. The Major, then, of my syllogism is true, that "Christ is the Mediator of those to whom he was appointed from eternity as their Head." But that He was appointed, both to angels and men, as their Head, and therefore, as Mediator, is taught by the apostle in Colossians 1, when he affirms of Christ that he "is the image of the invisible God," that is, He represents God the Father, in his word and work, chiefly to those whom the Father has given to him, as their Head and Mediator; "the first born of every creature," namely, every one whom God has, of His grace, predestinated to adoption, and begotten then, that they might be His children; for there is a comparison of things which are homogeneous, and so the passage is to be understood. Then, explaining both those attributes, he subjoins, first, in general terms, "For by Him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth visible, and invisible," (but he explains these things, to take away the plea of the angel worshipers, whom he assails in this epistle,) "whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist;" and then, with particular reference to the glorious body of which He is precisely the Head and Mediator, "and He is the Head of the body, the church," who, in the confirmation of grace is "the beginning," but in redemption, is "the first-born from the dead," the common end of all, which is "that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." The cause, is the decree of the Father, predestinating His Son for the adoption of His children, "for it pleased the Father that, in Him, should all fullness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of His cross to reconcile all things to Himself;" &c. He sets forth this idea still more clearly, when, warning them from the worship of angels under the pretense of philosophy, he says, "for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power," that is, of angels to the worship of whom, they were solicited. For, of every one soliciting them to the worshipping of angels, he afterwards affirms that they do not hold the "Head, from which all the body, by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." To the same purpose is Ephesians 1.
It is then to be stated, generally, that he was ordained to be Mediator for sinners, but not for them only, since he is also Mediator for the angels, who have maintained their original purity, but he is ordained as Redeemer for sinners only. We may be able to express this very idea in another mode, if we say that he was ordained Mediator, both for those, who could sin, that they might not sin, and for those, who had sinned, that they might be saved from their sins. Both modes of interpretation tend to the same result. The same is the case with the name Jesus. But what need is there of many words? We say that he was ordained as Mediator both for those who stood and for those who fell, as Redeemer only for those who fell; for those who stood, that they might remain, standing, and for those who fell, that they might rise again, and remain standing. From which it follows, a mode of argumentation, plainly the same, being preserved, that when election is said to have been made in Christ, God had reference to man, considered generally, as not yet created as created in a natural state, as standing and as having fallen, but this is the same thing as being considered in a merely natural state, which you deny. The same argument applies to what follows.
I come to your second argument. You say "Election is said to have been made of grace," and further, that "grace is spoken of in a two-fold sense, when it is used in opposition to nature, and that it is to be taken, in the latter sense, in this argument," and you conclude that, "the election of grace was made of men, considered not in a natural state, &c." Do you not see, my brother, that your conclusion is unsound, involving the fallacy of division, and that it is also equivocal? For, in the Major, grace is used collectively or generally, but in the Minor distributively; in the former, it is used simply, as to its essence, in the latter, an accident is taken into account, namely, the different modes of the object, which do not affect the essence of grace. Why shall we not rather argue in this manner? Election is of grace; -- grace has reference to those, whom it establishes in good, and to those whom, saved from evil, it restores to good; election, then, has reference to the same. That, which is stated in general terms, should be applied in general terms, for this, both nature and reason demand, unless there is a positive restriction in the necessity of the subject, or there be some limitation by an adjunct. That election is used in a general sense, is most clearly evident from a comparison of angels and men. You say, that grace is used, in the latter signification, in the writings of the Apostles in this and similar arguments. This may be correct, but this is not affected by a restriction of the term grace, which in God and of God, embraces all things, but by a restriction of the object kata ti the restriction is in the object, that is, in man, not in that which is added or granted to him. What, if a farmer should command his servant to cultivate a field, which field needed first to be cleared, then plowed, and lastly to be sowed, &c., would you, then, restrict the word cultivate to one of these processes? That, which is general or common, remains general or common, and its generality may not be narrowed down by any particular relations of the object. Therefore, as you see, this consequence, deduced from faulty reasoning, is not valid, nor is that, which is stated in general terms, to be restricted to particular circumstances.
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER OF THE ELEVENTH PROPOSITION
The two arguments advanced by me, as they are most conclusive, so they remain unaffected by your answers. I prove this, in reference to the first. Its strength and force consists in this, that the election of men is said to have been made in Christ, as the Mediator between God and sinful men, that is as Reconciler and Redeemer, from which I argued thus: Whoever are elect in Christ, as Mediator between God and sinful men, that is, as Reconciler and Redeemer, they are considered by God, electing them, as sinners; -- But all men, who are elect in Christ, are elect in Christ, as Mediator between God and sinful men, that is, as Reconciler and Redeemer; Therefore, all men, who are elect in Christ, are considered by God, electing them, as sinners.
The Major is plain. For, in the first place, they, who are not sinners, do not need a Reconciler and Redeemer. But election is an act, altogether necessary to those who are elected. In the second place, Christ himself is not considered by God as Mediator of Redemption, unless in view of the fact, that he is ordained as such for those who have sinned. For the divine foresight of sin preceded, in the order of nature, the decree by which its ordained that His Son should be the Mediator, appointed to offer in the presence of God, in behalf of men, a sacrifice for sins. In the third place, the election of men by God is made only in the Mediator, as having obtained, by his own blood, eternal redemption.
The Minor is evident. For since Christ is the Mediator between men and God, only as Reconciler, Redeemer, and the advocate of sinners; Mediator, I say, who, by the act of His Mediation, affords salvation to those, for whom he is Mediator. (1 Tim. ii, 5 & 6; Heb. viii, 6 &c.; ix, 15; xii, 24.) Hence follows the conclusion, since the premises are true, and consist of three terms, and are arranged in a legitimate form.
Let us now examine your arguments in opposition to what I have adduced. You affirm that Christ is not ordained as Mediator for sinners only, and therefore, my conclusion is not valid. Let it be conceded that your antecedent is true, yet it does not follow that my conclusion is not valid. For, in my premises, I did not assert that Christ was ordained Mediator only for sinners, nor are the questions discussed between us, -- of what beings is Christ the Mediator -- when spoken of universally -- and in what modes. But I spoke of Christ, as ordained a Mediator for men in particular, and affirmed that he was ordained Mediator for them, only as sinners; for he was ordained Mediator to take away the sins of the world. The subject of discussion, then, in the mode in which he is the Mediator for men. Here, you commit two fallacies, that of Irrelevant conclusion [ignoratio elenchi], and that of reasoning from a particular case to a general conclusion, [a dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter]. I speak of Christ's Mediation as pertaining to a particular case, namely, as undertaken for man, you treat of his Mediation, as simply and generally considered. But you rightly separate the consideration of the mediation, which is attributed to Christ, in creation and nature, for the latter is, entirely, of another kind and mode. According to this, he is the Mediator of God to creatures; according to that, of creatures to God. The one, refers to all creatures, the other, only to those, made in the image of God. The one tends to the communication of all natural and created good to all creatures, the other, to the bestowment, on rational creatures, of a participation in infinite and supernatural good. You, indeed, prove that he was ordained Mediator, not for sinners only, but without any necessity. For this is not the question between us. The point to be proved by you, was that he is the Mediator of men, not of sinners, which I know that you would not wish to attempt, as a different doctrine is taught in the Scriptures. Yet, let us examine the argument. He was ordained as Mediator also for the angels; -- But the angels did not sin; -- Therefore, he was not constituted Mediator only for sinners. I may concede all this, for it weighs nothing against my argument, since I have not said in general terms, that Christ was ordained only for sinners. I restricted his Mediation to men, to the work of their salvation, to the mode in which salvation was obtained for them. Hence, if this be true, I conclude that my argument remains firm and unmoved, in which I proved that, in Christ as the Mediator of men before God, only sinners were elected.
I wish that we might always remember that there is no controversy between us concerning the election of angels or the mediation, by which they are saved, and that we are treating only of the election and reprobation of men, and of the mode of mediation by which they obtain salvation, for it will be perceived that statements, which, taken generally, are not true, may be, in the highest degree, true, when applied to the particular case of mankind. There is, then, no need of considering those things, which are said concerning Christ as the Mediator of angels. If, however, I may be permitted to discuss even this point, I may ask for the proof of your Major, in which you affirm that "Christ is Mediator for those to whom he was given, as Head, by the Father." I think that I have good reason for denying your postulate. For, in Philemon 2, Christ is said to have received "a name which is above every name, that, at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow, of things in heaven, because he, "being in the form of God, humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Here we see that the reason of his being constituted the Head, even of heavenly things, was this, that, by his own blood and death, he might perform the functions of Mediator for men before God. If he was the Mediator for angels, then this fact, and not the former reason, should have been alleged, in this passage, for his appointment as Head, even of angels.
These two terms, Head and Mediator, seem to me to have an order and relation, such that the appellation of Mediator pertains to Christ in a prior relation, and that of had in a posterior relation, and the latter, indeed, on account of the former. For, by the act of Mediation, he acquires for himself the right of dominion, the possession of which the Father delivers to him, when He bestows the title of Head upon him. This is implied, also, in the distinction used in schools of Divinity, Christ is Mediator by merit and by efficacy. By merit first, then by efficacy. For by his merit, he prepares for himself a people, the blessings necessary for their happiness, and the right and power of imparting those blessings to his own people; from which are derived the titles Head, saviour, Leader, Prince, and Lord; in accordance with which titles, there flows, of his own efficacy, to his own people, an actual communication of those blessings, which he obtained by the merit of his death. For in Hebrews ii, 16, it is said that Christ: "took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Now, if the statement, made by our divines, is true -- that this assumption of nature was made that he might be able to perform the functions of Mediator for those whose nature he assumed, you perceive that the conclusion is valid, that since "he took not on him the nature of angels," he did not perform the functions of Mediator for them. To this add, that it is very frequently said, by our Theologians that Christ is Mediator only as he stands between God and men, which assertion they refer to his human nature, taken into a personal union by the Word, that he might, in this way, stand between both, partaking, with the Father, of the Divine nature, and with us, of human nature. Hence, also, he is called Emmanuel in a twofold sense, first, because he is God and man in the unity of his person, and secondly, because, being such, he has united God and men in the office of Mediation. But he does not stand between God and angels. Consider, also, the declaration of Heb. v, 1, "every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God." But Christ was not taken from among angels, therefore, he was not ordained for angels in things pertaining to God. Indeed, I affirm, with confidence, that there was nothing to be done, by the way of any mediation for, or in behalf of angels before God. I add, also, that a Mediator should not be inferior in nature to those for whom he acts in that capacity. But Christ, in his human nature, was made "a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death. (Heb. ii, 9.) Therefore, he is not Mediator for angels. Finally, I remark, angels are "ministering Spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." (Heb. i, 14.) "Unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come," but unto Christ Jesus primarily, and unto all his brethren, secondarily, whose nature he sanctified in himself, and exalted with himself to that dignity. Therefore, Christ is not the Mediator of angels. But the inquiry may be made, Cannot Christ, then, be said in any manner to be Mediator for angels? I answer; -- The term mediator may be applied in a two fold manner, either in behalf of creatures to the Deity, or of the Deity to creatures. I deny that Christ is Mediator in behalf of the angels before God, but I do not deny he is Mediator for God to angels. For this coincides with the appellation of Head, which I confess belong to Christ, in respect to angels, though in a relation different from that, by which he is the Head of believers. For the union, which exists between Christ and believers of the human race, is more strict and close, than that which exists between him and angels, on account of the consubstantiality of his human nature with that of men, from which angels are alien. But enough on these points. Whether they are, as I have stated them, or not, it affects, neither favourably nor unfavourably, my argument, but you entirely agree with me when you say that he was ordained as Redeemer only for the fallen. From this, also, I infer the truth of my sentiment. Men are elected in the Redeemer, only as fallen; for they are not elected that they should remain standing, but that they should rise again, and then remain standing, as you have rightly observed. But how can you infer, that, since election is made in Christ, the election, I say, of men, in Christ, the Redeemer, (for those words are to be supplied), it follows that God had respect to men, in general, considered generally as not yet created, as created in their natural state, as yet standing and as fallen. I think that the contrary can, and must be inferred. Therefore, God, in election, had reference to man, only as fallen. For, in election, He regarded man in the Redeemer, and the Redeemer is such only of the fallen.
As to the latter argument, the form of the answer is the same. I do not use the word grace equivocally; I do not use it at the same time collectively and distributively. I admit that it is used in a two-fold sense, for the grace of preservation and restoration; I admit that it is used collectively, and absolutely, particularly and concretely, that is, the grace of preservation and restoration. But, what then? If I use a word, which has a general and equivocal sense, is equivocation, therefore, at once, to be laid to my charge? But I have used that word, at all times in this discussion, in the same way, namely, as referring to the grace by which some men are elected. It is that grace by which restoration and its means are prepared, not that by which preservation and its means are appointed. For the latter grace was not bestowed on human beings.
From the former grace alone, all they, who are saved, obtain their salvation. In the Major of my syllogism, grace is spoken of in a particular relation, and in the Minor, it is used in the same way, and, neither in the former nor in the latter, is it used in a general sense, as the following syllogism will show. They who are elected according to the grace of restoration, which is joined with mercy, having place only in reference to sinners, are considered by Him, who elects, as sinners; But all men, who are elected, are elected according to the grace of restoration, which is joined to mercy, having place only in reference to sinners; - - Therefore, all men, who are elected, are considered by Him, who elects, as sinners. Grace is spoken of, throughout, particularly and relatively in respect to men, and in no case, is it used generally or absolutely. Indeed, it cannot be used generally or absolutely when it has reference relatively and particularly to election, whether of angels or of men. For neither these nor those are elected or saved by grace, taken absolutely, but both by grace used relatively, angels by the grace of preservation, men by the grace of restoration.
When, however, we treat of election universally and abstractly, we must discuss the subject of grace, as its cause, universally, absolutely and abstractly; for, to a genus, general attributes are to be ascribed, which may be afterwards applied to the species after their several modes. Your argumentation, then, is aside from our controversy. Election is of grace; grace respects those, whom it establishes, and those whom, saved from evil, it restores to good. Therefore, election has reference to the same persons. For we do not now discuss election in general, and absolutely, if so, the word grace, according to correct usage, must be understood in a general sense. But we discuss the election of men; therefore, the general term grace must be restricted to that grace, according to which men are elected. It is not, therefore, proper to say that "grace has reference to those whom it establishes in good," for the grace, of which we here treat, does not refer to those whom it establishes in good, for grace established no one of the human race, it only restored those, to whom it had reference. But you say that the grace, which establishes in good, and that, which restores, are one in essence, and only distinguished and restricted in relation to the object. What if I should concede this? My conclusion will still be valid. The question between us has reference to the object and its formal relations by which relation you say that grace is distinguished and restricted. But that restriction of the object has only this force, that the grace, which, according to your assertion, is one in essence, must unfold itself and be applied to a sinner, and to one not a sinner, in a different mode; and indeed must use acts of a different character in the two cases. There is, then, a restriction in "that which is added or granted," but it is a necessary consequence of the restriction of the object. This distinction, then, is sufficient for the conclusion which I desire.
The question is not concerning objects of election, essentially different from each other, but concerning different modes of considering an object, which is one and the same in essence, and concerning a different formal relation. I will illustrate it by a simile. Justice in God is one in essence, namely, giving to each one that which is due to him; to him who is obedient, what pertains to him, according to the divine promise, and to the sinner that which pertains to him, according to the divine threatening. But from the fact that justice renders the retribution of punishment an object, it is necessarily inferred that the object is worthy of punishment, and was, therefore, liable to sin; so likewise with grace. Grace then is one in essence, but varies in its mode; one in principle and end, but varied in its progress, steps and means: one, when taken absolutely and in general, but two-fold, when taken relatively and particularly, at least in respect to opposite and distinct matters. But in the whole of this course of reasoning, I have used the term grace, in a particular relation, as it is varied in mode, progress, steps and means, and as it is taken relatively and distributively. No equivocation, then, has been used in this; there is no reasoning from general to particular, from the abstract to the concrete.
But, though, all these statements be true, they avail nothing, you affirm, against those who state that mankind in general were regarded in election. These arguments, indeed, prove that mankind in general could not have been regarded in election, or at least that such was not the case. For if man was considered in general, then he was elected by grace, taken in a general sense. For a general effect requires a general cause. But man was elected, not by grace considered generally, but by grace considered particularly, relatively, and distributively, with reference to the circumstance of sin. If man was considered in general, then he was elected in the Mediator not considered generally, but considered particularly as Redeemer. Therefore, in election, man was not considered in general, but with restriction to the circumstance of sin, which was to be proved. The illustration of the field to be cultivated, is not against this view, indeed it is in its favour. For if a farmer should command his son to cultivate a field, which was overrun with briars, and, therefore, required culture joined with clearing, then the word cultivate, though, when taken in a general sense, it is not restricted to clearing, yet, when applied to that particular field, it necessarily includes that act. Hence we infer, that, if a field cannot be cultivated without the act of clearing, it is, therefore, overrun with briars and weeds, and, by analogy, if a man can not be saved without the act of restoration, he is, therefore, a sinner; for a sinner only is capable of restoration, and restoring grace is adapted only to his case.