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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - FOURTEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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FOURTEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
First, because Adam and, in him, all men were created in a state of supernatural grace, hence no one could be considered in a merely natural state. The antecedent is proved, because all were created in Adam after the image and likeness of God; but that is supernatural grace, as has been said: secondly, the law, which was given to Adam, was enacted for all, which is evident from the fact that all sinned in Adam, and became guilty of transgression. But that law could not be obeyed without supernatural grace, which I prove from the subject of the law, from the appendix of the law, from the instigator of transaction, and from the mode of instigation. The law required obedience towards God, that man should live, not according to man, but according to God, which life is not animal, but spiritual, and its cause in man is supernatural grace. The appendix of the law consisted in the threatening of temporal and spiritual death, that of the body and of the soul. Punishment, which is spiritual and opposed, not only to animal, but also to spiritual good, ought not to be annexed, in equity, to a law which can be observed without supernatural grace; especially when the same law, if observed, could not afford supernatural or spiritual good, since it can be observed without supernatural grace. It seems unjust that the transgression of a law should deserve eternal and spiritual death, but its observance could not obtain eternal and spiritual life from God, on the terms of divine goodness and justice. The instigator was Satan, whose design was to cast down man, by transgression, to death, not only of the body, but of the soul, and when man could only resist through supernatural grace. The mode of temptation was such that it could not be successfully resisted by man, if destitute of supernatural grace.
ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE FOURTEENTH PROPOSITION
Your antecedent, namely, "Adam and in him all men were created in a state of supernatural grace," is ambiguous. Again, it can not be proved, as we have shown, in answer to the tenth proposition. The consequent is denied, and is also ambiguous. Since I have previously discussed both of these points, I come now to the arguments. The proof from the image of God, was related in the same answer, and it was shown that it was not supernatural of itself; but that it had relation and adjustment to supernatural grace, not of nature or its own essence, but by the arrangement of grace. This argument, therefore, now, as before, is denied. The first position in the second argument, is not to be admitted without some distinction, for one law, given to Adam, was general; the other particular. The general law, namely, that which is natural and joined to the natural, was enacted for all. This was by no means true of the particular law. The latter was that he should not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is not credible that this law, which was one of particular requisition should have been enacted for all; it is not credible that, if all had remained unfallen, they would have come into Eden to that tree, that their obedience should be tested.
The Scripture, also, does not make this statement. We concede the second position in reference to the universal law, not in that the law was natural, but in that the nature of man itself and the natural law, was adjusted to grace. The natural, as such, was within the capability of man; as it was related and adjusted to grace, it could not be observed without supernatural grace. In reference to the special law, the second position is erroneous. For the mere act of eating or not eating of any fruit, is natural. The power to eat or abstain from that fruit, was, in fact, possessed by man, though these acts were not both left with him by the requisition and arrangement of the special law declared by God. Therefore the second point is, in this case, erroneous, for it was possible for him not to choose, not to touch, not to eat the fruit, as it was to do the contrary. This was of natural power (which possessed full vigour) in a natural subject. To establish this point, you adduce four arguments, all pertaining to the mode of general law. I will briefly examine each in order. The first argument pertains to general law, both as it is natural and as it is adjusted to grace. We concede, then, that the affirmative is true of general law, but deny it as to the particular law, by which God required obedience in a particular matter, and in one merely natural or animal. It pertained to natural power to abstain from or to eat that fruit; it pertained to natural will to avoid the experiment of sin and death, of which God had forewarned them. God tested the obedience of man in a matter merely natural, and in the same thing he miserably renounced obedience to God, of his own will, not by any necessity. He had then no just ground of complaint that God should hold him responsible, because, in a matter of no difficulty, and according to nature, he did not willingly render due obedience unto the Lord, but preferred, to His word, the word of the serpent in the case of Eve, and that of his wife in the case of Adam.
You will perhaps say that he would not have committed that transgression, if grace had been bestowed upon him. Must you, then, always require grace, and make it ground of accusation, if it is not bestowed, even in a matter which is natural, and, indeed, merely natural? God bestowed a natural constitution on Adam, for this very reason, that in a matter merely natural, he might use his natural powers. He gave that which was sufficient. Do you demand more? I quote, on this point, the words of Tertullian (lib. 2 advers. Marcion, cap. 7.) "If God bestowed upon man the freedom of the will and power to act, and bestowed it suitably, He undoubtedly, according to His authority as Creator, bestowed them to be enjoyed, but to be enjoyed, so far as depended upon Himself; in accordance with His own character, that is 'after God,' that is according to goodness, (for who would grant any permission against himself,); but so far as depended upon man, according to the motions of his freedom. Who, indeed, bestowing on a person any thing to be enjoyed, does not so bestow it, that it may be enjoyed according to his mind and will? It was, therefore, a consequence that God should not interfere with the liberty once granted to man, that is, that He should retain in Himself the action of His prescience and prepotency, by which He could have intervened, so that man should not fall into danger, in attempting to enjoy his own freedom, in an evil mode. For had He thus intervened, He would have rescinded the freedom of the will, which, in reason and goodness, He had bestowed. Then let it be supposed that he had intervened, that He had destroyed the freedom of the will, by calling him back from the tree by not permitting the tempting serpent to converse with the woman, would not Marcion exclaim, O futile, unstable, unfaithful Lord, rescinding that which He had established! Why did he bestow the freedom of the will, if He must interfere with it? Why did He interfere, if He bestowed it? Let Him then choose the point in which He shall charge Himself with error, whether in its bestowment, or in its rescission, &c."
Your statement, that "supernatural grace is the cause of spiritual life in man," we believe to be most certainly true, and we avow the same thing. Yet there was one mode of spiritual life in Adam, and there is another mode in us, in whom supernatural grace alone produces this life, while Adam had, together with this grace, the image of God unimpaired and uncorrupted, and therefore had spiritual life in both modes, the natural and supernatural. But these things will be introduced, appropriately, in another place.
Your second argument, from the appendix of the law, is plainly in the same condition. This seems to be its scope. If God, in the case of election and reprobation, had reference to men considered in a merely natural state, (that is, with the same ambiguity, and on the supposition which we have denied above,) He would not have ordained spiritual punishment, opposed not only to animal, but is spiritual good, for transgression of a law, which might be observed without supernatural grace; for it is in accordance with equity (which point was also regarded in the law of the twelve tables) that the punishment should be adapted to the crime; -- But God ordained punishment of this kind; -- Therefore, He did not have reference to men, considered in a natural condition. In reference to the antecedent of the Major, I will say nothing; I have already spoken often on that point. The consequent is denied. It would be true, if both sins or evil deeds and their punishments were estimated only from the deed (which the law forbids), and according to its kind. But there are many other things, by which the gravity of offenses is usually, and most justly estimated; the author of the law, the author of the crime, its object, end, and circumstances. We must consider the author of the law, for the authority of a law, enacted by an emperor, is greater than that of one, enacted by a tribune, of one imposed by God, than of one imposed by man. The author of the crime, whether he commands it, or personally commits it. For a crime is greater which is committed through the persuasion of an enemy, than one committed through that of a master or father. The same distinction may be applied to the personal commission of sin. The object, for an offense, against a parent, is more heinous than against a stranger, against one's self and family, than against a person not thus connected, against God than against man. The end, for it is a greater sin, if you transgress a law with an unimportant end or no end in view, than if the same thing is done of necessity, if with all unworthy and wicked design than if with a worthy and good design.
What shall I say in reference to circumstances? What I have already said is, in my judgment, sufficient. But he, who transgresses the law of God, is guilty of these aggravating particulars, of which even the first, alone, is sufficient for the infliction, with the utmost justice, of spiritual punishment. Should he regard lightly the legislator, God? Adding the second, should he listen to an enemy, the enemy of God, and of his race, and of the universe, Should he, the recent workmanship of God, and the tenant of Paradise, transgress the recent commandment of God, Adding the third particular, should he rush forward against himself, his family, and God, not ignorantly, but with due warning? Do not these, my brother, seem to you to be cases of the greatest aggravation? Are they not worthy of bodily and spiritual punishment? As in general, so in special or particular law, the same rule is to be observed. The law was particular, and that in a natural requirement, which man could perform naturally, as we have before said. Here perhaps, you will say, that it is improper that supernatural punishment should be imposed in reference to a natural offense. But consider all those things which I have just said. Man transgressed the law of God, from which he has just received the blessings of nature and of grace, and to whom he owed all things as his Supreme Ruler. He transgressed by the persuasion of the Devil, the public and sworn enemy of God, of the universe, and of the human race, to listen to whom, once only, is to renounce God. At the time of his transgression, he was the recent work of God, the heir of all natural and supernatural good, the inhabitant of Paradise, the foster-child of heaven, the lord of all things, servant of God alone. Man transgressed, using violence against himself, and bringing sin and death, and all evils upon himself and his posterity, dishonouring God in himself, though forewarned by the God of truth, and prescient, in his own mind, of coming evil. He transgressed in a matter, most trivial, entirely unnecessary, of the least importance, when he really abounded in the blessings of the whole world, and this with a most unworthy and plainly impious design, that he might be like God, "knowing good and evil." How could he, who was not faithful and obedient in a matter of the least importance, be faithful in one of great importance, He transgressed in a beastly manner, served his belly and appetite, blind to all things belonging to heaven and earth, except the flame of lust, wickedly placed before his eyes, deaf to all things except the voice of the devil. Here, if we please to glance at other circumstances, how many and how strong arguments exist for most just though most severe damnation! Truly, was that, in many respects, an infinite fall, which brought infinite ruin. But should any one affirm, that it was an unworthy thing that man should be condemned for so small a matter, let him consider these two things; first, it was an unworthy thing that man, in "so small a matter," should disobey the mandate of his Supreme Ruler, of the author of nature, of grace, and of his salvation; secondly, it is not a small matter, which was ordained for the manifestation of due obedience in natural things, and as a just method of the perception of supernatural blessings. God willed that Adam should, by this sign, manifest his religious and voluntary obedience in natural things, and in this way suitably exert himself to attain supernatural blessings. Does this seem a small matter, when he acted contrary to the will of God, and to all natural and supernatural blessings in a thing of so little importance? But, to proceed; do you think, my brother, that this punishment can be inflicted on man more justly, if considered in his fallen state, than if considered in his natural condition, This is the amount of your argument. I have not indeed hesitated to affirm the contrary. I say that the sin of Adam was more heinous, because he sinned when unfallen, than if he had sinned, as a fallen being. Consider the simple fact in the case of man. You will, I know, declare that it was a more unworthy thing that man, in a state of integrity, should become the slave of sin, than if, in a sinful state, he should fall into sin. It is, therefore, more just that Adam, at the time of that transgression, should be considered as unfallen, than in reference to the fall which afterwards supervened. This illustrates the truth of the righteousness of God. As to your statement, "it seems unjust that the transgression could deserve eternal and spiritual death, &c." I wonder, indeed, that it could have been made by you. For you are not ignorant that the law of God, whether general or particular, is the appointment of the present course according to which we both worship God in the discharge of duty, and reach the goal of supernatural grace. As a traveler, to whom his Lord has prescribed the mode of his journey, if he departs from the prescribed path, by the same act renounces both his journey and its goal, by his own sin, but if he remains in the path, he performs his duty, thus I judge that it was necessary that Adam should be treated. The unhappy traveler left the right path. Did he not, therefore, also renounce the good which God had graciously set before him? If he had remained in the path he certainly would have attained the goal, of grace, not of merit. How, not of merit? Because, by not keeping the path, the servant loses both his way and his life, as the proper cause of his own evil, but by keeping the way, he obtains life, as the result of his journey. Life is proposed, of grace, not of merit, both to the obedient and to the disobedient, as the result of pursuing the right path. In this way the obedient obtains grace, and the disobedient is the cause to himself that he does not obtain grace, and, by his own act, forfeit the life, which depends on that grace.
The third argument, from the instigator of the transgression, and the fourth, from the mode of temptation, are disposed of in the same answer. The third argument is this; "man could resist the Devil only through supernatural grace; therefore the law could not be observed without supernatural grace" -- and the fourth; "the mode of temptation was such that it could not be successfully resisted by man, if destitute of supernatural grace; therefore, the law could not be observed without supernatural grace."
In the first place, though I should admit both arguments, in reference to general law according to our previous distinction, yet we might, with propriety, deny their validity in reference to that particular law, which enjoined a natural act, situated properly and absolutely within the capability of nature, for it is as truly natural not to eat that which is bad in its nature or effect, as it is to eat that which is good. It was then within the capability of man not to sin, for the refusal or neglect to eat was in the capability of man, of his own natural power.
In the second place, we must make a distinction in reference to both those arguments, even when referred to the general law of God, concerning that which is called supernatural grace. For, as in nature, the work of Providence is threefold, to sustain a thing as to its existence, to govern it as to its action, and to protect or preserve it as it may be liable to destruction, so also in the pious, the work of grace is threefold, for it is accustomed to sustain, and to govern, and to protect them. It always sustains, because inherent and common grace is permanent, but it rules and protects, or preserves when and as it chooses; for this act, as it is assisting and not inherent, is particular, and the free act of variable grace. This distinction having been stated, we thus judge concerning these arguments. Man was never without supernatural grace, either inherent or habitual: he was not without assisting grace, except in that particular act, in which God did not govern, did not preserve, because it was an act of nature, which must be tested in its own mode, which has been allotted to it by the infinite wisdom of God. For, as Tertullian says -- God retired, from the administration not of all grace, but of supernatural grace from the time when he said to man, "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat of it," (Gen. ii, 16 and 17,) and committed the whole matter, of compact and solely, to the nature of man." Indeed he wholly transferred to the will of man, according to the law of his nature, the power to render or not to render obedience in all matters pertaining to nature. But "he could not resist the devil, and the mode of the temptation was irresistible." This is denied; for if he could, according to his nature, refrain from eating of the forbidden fruit, he could, in this, resist the devil, and the mode of the temptation was not irresistible. He could refrain from eating, because that was, in the simplest sense, natural, and, by compact, as we have just said, was placed in the power of man. But he did not refrain from eating, certainly, because he did not wish to do so, but he willingly consented to the temptation, concerning which point, we have already under Prop. 9 noticed the opinion of Augustine.
In the observance of general law, the case is different, cause, as we have before said, the law operates on nature and adjusts nature to the supernatural, and it could not be observed, nor indeed could the devil be resisted, without supernatural grace.
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE FOURTEENTH PROPOSITION
My object, in the arguments which I now present, is to prove that Adam, and in him, all the human race, were created in a state of supernatural grace, that is, that in their original condition they had, not only natural attributes, but also supernatural grace, either by the act of creation or superinfusion. From which I conclude, that God, in the act of predestination, and preterition or reprobation, could consider no one in a merely natural state. My first argument is taken from the nature of the divine image, to which or in which man was created. Another argument is deduced from the law, which was imposed on Adam, and on all men in him, which I assert, was not to be observed without supernatural grace. The former argument was discussed in my reply to the answer to the tenth Proposition, and I refer to what was then stated.
We will now consider the latter, and, in the first place, its Major, which supposes that the law, given to Adam, was enacted for all men, with the addition, as proof, of the fact that all men have sinned in Adam, and become partakers of his transgression. You discuss this Major Proposition, without reference to the proof. I notice the mode in which you assail the former, and what force is possessed by the latter for its confirmation. You make a distinction in the law, imposed on Adam, and regard it as having a two-fold relation, first, as common and natural; second, as particular. You say that the former was enacted for all men, the latter, not for all men. I agree with what you say concerning common or general law, and shall hereafter make use of it to confirm my own proposition. I do not, in all respects, assent to what you say concerning particular law. The law, concerning the forbidden tree, had, in part, a particular reference, and in part, a general one. For it is symbolical, and consists, therefore, of two parts, the symbol and that signified by it. The symbol was abstinence from the forbidden tree; the thing signified was abstinence from disobedience and evil, and the trial of obedience. So far as abstinence from disobedience and evil was prescribed by that law, it was a general law. But as the law required an observance of a symbolical character, it must be considered in a two fold light, either as prescribing symbolical observance in general, or the observance of that particular symbol. So far as the law should prescribe the observance of any symbol, in general, to test the obedience of man, it would, to that extent, be general. For God would have determined to test the obedience of all men by some symbol, either this one or some other, if it had been their lot to be born in a state of integrity. I prove this first from the fact that He purposed that the condition of all men should be the same with that of Adam, if they should be born in the state in which Adam was created, in respect to the image of God. Secondly, it was most suitable that the experiment of obedience should be made in a matter which was indifferent; but a law, which commands or forbids any thing indifferent is symbolical and ceremonial. But, so far as the observance, prescribed by the law, had reference to that particular symbol, namely, abstinence from the fruit of the forbidden tree, it can, in one sense, be called general, and in another, it may be particular. It was general as prescribed to Adam and Eve, the parents and social head of the human race, in whom, as in its origin and root, was then contained the whole human race. It was particular, as prescribed to the same persons as individuals, and as it, perhaps, would not have been imposed on other human beings, if they had, at that time, been born, and considered in themselves, and not in their first parents. I say perhaps; for you know that there are those who think, that if the first human beings had maintained their integrity, that their descendants would have been born and would have dwelt in Paradise, and this idea has some probability. For if that earthly paradise was a symbol of the heavenly kingdom, as seems probable from the fact that the third heaven, the residence of the blessed, is called, in the Scripture, paradise, it is most probable that no one of the human race would have been excluded from that paradise on earth, if he had not first rendered himself worthy of the heavenly paradise. This point may, however, be left without decision.
That the law (to come to the argument of my Major) which Adam transgressed, was enacted for all men, I proved by an irrefragable argument, which you passed by. "Sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John iii, 4.) The law can not be transgressed by him for whom it was not enacted. Hence that law, which Adam transgressed, was enacted for all who are said to have sinned in him. But that law was the same which is called particular by you. More briefly; the law, which all men transgressed in Adam was enacted for all men. But all men transgressed, in Adam, the law concerning the forbidden tree. For against no other law is Adam said to have sinned, and, indeed, we are all said to be guilty of the sin committed against that law. Therefore that law was enacted for all men. In whatever respect, then, it is considered, it is equally in my favour, and is equally adapted to sustain my sentiment.
I come now to the Minor. "But that law could not be obeyed without supernatural grace." You grant this in reference to the general law, you deny it concerning that in which the eating of the fruit of that tree was forbidden. I may assent to your position for the sake of the argument, and from that position sustain my proposition. A law which can not be observed without supernatural grace, should be imposed only on those to whom supernatural grace has been given by God; -- But that general law could not be observed without supernatural grace; -- Therefore, it should be imposed only on those to whom supernatural grace was given by God. It was imposed on Adam, and, in him, upon all men. Therefore, Adam, and, in him, all men, had supernatural grace. Therefore, they could not be considered in their natural condition by God in the act of predestination and reprobation. This might suffice for my purpose. I affirm, however, that even the particular law concerning the forbidden tree could not be obeyed without supernatural grace, not indeed so far as the external act of abstinence from the fruit of that tree was prescribed, but as, under that symbol, obedience was commanded, and it was enjoined on man to live not according to man, but according to God. This you acknowledge when you say that "these acts" (eating and abstaining), "were not both left with him by the requisition and arrangement of the special law declared by God, though the power to eat is to abstain from that fruit was in fact absolutely possessed by man. That law, however, was to be observed, not according to fact only, but according to the arrangement of that particular law. You say that my argument "pertains to the mode of general law." Let that be admitted, and still sustain my proposition, as I have before demonstrated, and I have also shown that, in the law which you call particular, there is something of the nature of general law. Those arguments are, therefore, in this respect valid. The first also is sustained, as is apparent from our previous statements. For as the law required obedience which should consist, not only in the external deed, but in the external disposition of the mind, for that reason it could not be obeyed without supernatural grace.
My second argument does not seem to have been understood by you in accordance with my meaning. The design of the argument was -- and in this consists its force -- that spiritual punishment could not be inflicted for the transgression of that law, to the observance of which spiritual good was not promised. But spiritual good was not promised to the observance of this law, if, indeed, it could be observed without supernatural grace. For supernatural grace and supernatural happiness are analogous. Hence it follows, that if spiritual punishment was the penalty of the transgression of that law, then, also spiritual good was promised to the observance of the same, and, therefore, it could be observed only by supernatural grace; otherwise nature could, by its own fact, obtain supernatural good. Here we must consider a three-fold distinction in the transgression and observance of law. First, a single transgression of law deserves punishment, but reward pertains only to those who observe the law even to the end; secondly, the violation of one precept deserves punishment, but reward is bestowed only on those who have kept all its precepts; thirdly, the violation of a precept may be estimated from the omission either of an external act or of an internal feeling, or of both at once, also, from the intention, so that he, who fails in one of these points, may be considered a transgressor, but observance is judged of from all these united, nor can it be regarded as perfect if it is not complete in all these points. I acknowledge that what you say concerning the heinousness of the sin perpetrated by our first parents is very true, nor do I think that its heinousness can be declared in words. But how do you infer that my argument is designed to set forth that punishment would be inflicted more justly, on a man, if he should violate the law, when he was corrupt and sinful by nature, than if he should do the same thing, when he was pure by nature, These states of human nature were placed in opposition by me, but I contrasted man in a natural condition with one endued with supernatural grace. Punishment is inflicted with greater justice on the latter than on the former; indeed it would be inflicted unjustly on the former, if the law could not be observed without supernatural grace; and if the observance of the law had not the promise of spiritual good, spiritual punishment is inflicted unjustly on the transgression of that law.
I will not now speak of my last two arguments and your answers to them, both because so much has been said on the preceding points, and because you concede to me that man was not without habitual, supernatural grace. I conclude then that man could not be considered in a merely natural condition by God in the act of predestination, since he was not in that state. In this, then, we agree. But you say, "these arguments have no weight against the opinion which considers man in general." I answer, that these arguments prove that man could not have been considered in general, for he could not have been considered in a merely natural condition. But in the state of supernatural grace, he was not considered as reprobate or passed by. For, in reprobation or preterition, man is left in the state of nature, which can have nothing supernatural or divine, as is stated in your Theses. Also, that state of supernatural grace has its measure and proportion to supernatural felicity according to the providence of God. Moreover as to those, on whom God wills to bestow supernatural happiness, by the affirmative act of His providence, on them he cannot, by the negative act of preterition, will not to bestow the same happiness, unless he has considered them as failing to attain, by those supernatural means, to that happiness, but as either about to sin, or as having already in fact transgressed, of their own free will. Otherwise there would be two contrary acts of God in reference to one subject, considered in the same relation, and performed at the same time.