WORKS OF ARMINIUS - FIFTEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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FIFTEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
Secondly, because the grace of predestination, or that prepared for man in predestination, is Evangelical, not Legal; but that grace was prepared only for man considered as a sinner. That it is Evangelical is clear, because the decree of predestination is peremptory. It has reference, then, not to Legal grace, of which a man may not make use, as in the case of transgression of law, and yet be saved, but to Evangelical grace, by which he must be saved, or excluded from salvation.
Again, the grace, prepared in predestination, is that of the remission of sins, and of regeneration, that is, of the turning of sin and to God, by the mortification of the old, and the vivification of the new man.
ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE FIFTEENTH PROPOSITION
I accede to your first statement, if it be correctly understood, but some explanation may be necessary concerning the second. In the assumption which you make, there should be a distinction, for it is false, if referred to Evangelical grace, understood with a general reference to nature; if that grace be understood with reference to ourselves, it is very true. But, as you know, it is fallacious to argue from the concrete to the abstract. I will explain the subject in a few words. In supernatural Evangelical grace there are two parts, one to preserve those who are now in a state of grace; the other to gain those who are not in that state. The order of this grace, considered according to nature, is one thing; considered according to ourselves it is another. The order of nature is that they, who are in a state of grace, should be preserved (as in the election and predestination of angels), and afterwards that they, who are not in that state, should be brought into it, as is done for men. Considered according to ourselves, who have fallen from grace, the order is different. It is necessary that they, who have fallen, should first be raised up, as Christ does in the gospel, and then be kept, as He will do for us eternally, in heaven, when we shall be like the angels. Your second statement, then, is false in the abstract, if you say that Evangelical grace, in general, is not prepared for man, except as he is considered sinful, for it was prepared for man in the abstract and in common, as God also testified to man, in the symbol of the tree of life, placed in Eden. But if you speak of Evangelical grace, in the latter sense, that is considered in this mode and order, then indeed I accede to your statement. But then the conclusion will not be valid, as we have just said. For the Evangelical grace of God is one in its substance, but two-fold in its mode and order, which mode and order does not change the substance of the thing. Hence it was not at all to the purpose that your first statement might be sustained, which we also, if it is rightly understood, strongly affirm.
Your statement that "a man may not make use of Legal grace and yet be saved," is a doubtful one, unless it be fully explained, and as I know that you understand it; but this does not relate to the question. Finally, Evangelical grace, by your limitation to the remission of sins, regeneration, &c., is, as you also, my brother, perceive from what we have now said, rendered incomplete, because you pass over preservation, which is one essential part of it. In other respects we accede to your proposition.
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE FIFTEENTH PROPOSITION
My argument may be stated thus: -- Evangelical grace is prepared only for man, considered as a sinner; -- But the grace of predestination, or that prepared for man in predestination, is Evangelical; -- Therefore, the grace of predestination is prepared only for man, considered as a sinner. This is a syllogism in form, mode, and its three terms. Hence it includes nothing else and nothing more than is in the premises. Though Evangelical grace, considered in general, might have two parts, yet I have restricted the Evangelical grace, which was prepared for man. But grace, considered in the abstract, was not prepared for man, but only one part of it; that is, the acquisition of those who are not in a state of grace, not the preservation of those who are in a state of grace, for no one of men has been kept in that state of grace, which he obtained at his creation, all have fallen. There is, therefore, in this case no fallacy from the concrete to the abstract. I use the term Evangelical grace in my first and second statements in entirely the same manner; not in one case "according to nature" and, in the other, "according to ourselves" or vice versa, but in both cases "according to ourselves," namely, as that which was prepared, for men, not angels. Therefore, by your own acknowledgment, both my statements are true. You say that "it is false, in the abstract, that Evangelical grace is not prepared for man, except as he is considered as sinful, for it was prepared for man in the abstract and in common, as God also testified to man in the symbol of the tree of life placed in Eden." I reply -- there is an equivocation in the word "prepared," and when that is removed, the truth of my view will be manifest. The preparation of grace is either that of predestination or of providence, as used in contra- distinction to the former. In providence, sufficient grace is prepared, and if it is efficacious, as some think, it is not finally efficacious. In predestination, grace, which is efficacious, and indeed finally efficacious, is prepared. Predestination superadds to providence, as the School-men say, fire certainty of the event. In providence is prepared that general grace, which pertains promiscuously to all men; in predestination is prepared that particular grace, which is peculiar to the elect. In providence is prepared both Legal and Evangelical grace; in predestination only Evangelical grace. In providence is prepared grace communicable both in and out of paradise; in predestination is prepared grace, communicable only out of paradise. It is true that God symbolized, by the tree of life, general not particular grace, Legal not Evangelical grace, grace communicable in paradise, and, finally, sufficient, not efficacious, grace. Therefore, the grace, which God symbolized by the tree of life, is that of providence, not of predestination. But Evangelical grace, which is finally efficacious, particular not general, only communicable out of paradise, and which is prepared for man in predestination, is no other than that which is adapted only to man considered as a sinner. I refer, then, in my first and second statement, to Evangelical grace, in this mode and order. Therefore, my conclusion is valid. And, though grace is the same, in substance, and varies only in its mode and relation, yet that variation of mode, is a reason that grace, constituted in that mode and order, can certainly be prepared only for the sinner. The whole matter will be more manifestly evident, if I conclude by the addition of proofs of the Minor of the preceding syllogism. Evangelical grace, by which man is in fact saved, which consists in the remission of sins and in regeneration, belongs only to man considered as a sinner; -- But the grace, prepared in predestination for man, is Evangelical grace, by which man is in fact saved, consisting in remission of sins and in regeneration; -- Therefore, the grace, prepared for man in predestination, does not belong to man except as he is considered as a sinner. Consequently man was not considered by God, in the act of predestination, in his natural condition.
If any one should argue thus, "Evangelical grace was prepared for man in the abstract and in common; -- But the grace, prepared for man in predestination, is Evangelical grace; Therefore, grace was prepared in predestination for man, considered in the abstract and in common," he will, on more than one account, be chargeable with fallacy. In the first place, the Major, considered in the abstract, is false. For that grace, which preserves its subjects in their primitive state, which you call, also, Evangelical in respect to the angels, was not prepared for man. Again, there are four terms in the syllogism. For, in the Major, Evangelical grace is spoken of in the abstract; in the Minor, it is spoken of in the concrete. If it be said that it is understood in the Minor in the same manner as in the Major, then the Minor, also, is false. For the grace prepared for man in predestination is Evangelical grace, in the concrete, and understood in respect to us. I use your phraseology. But what if I should deny that the grace which is bestowed on angels, in election and predestination can be called Evangelical, and should ask for the proof of your statement? This I could do with propriety and justice. For it is certain, especially as the gospel is explained to us in the Holy Scriptures, that the grace bestowed on angels can not be called Evangelical. The sum of the gospel is this, "Repent and believe the gospel" or "believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and your sins shall be remitted unto you, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards, eternal life." These expressions are by no means adapted to the elect angels.
If you say that it is not Evangelical in the mode in which the gospel is adapted to sinful men, yet, it can be called Evangelical as, according to it, they are preserved in their own state, you will permit me to ask the proof of that statement. In the weakness of my capacity, I can conceive of no other reason for that sentiment than that Christ is also called the Mediator of angels, and that they are said to be elect in him. You know, however, that this is in controversy among the learned, and we have already presented some thoughts concerning it. But, even with the concession that Christ can be called the Mediator of angels, I can not persuade myself that the grace, which was bestowed on the angels, was prepared or obtained for them by any merit of Christ, or any work which he performed, in their behalf, before God. Grace, which Christ did not obtain, can not, in my opinion, be called Evangelical. Again, I think that, in general, there is a two-fold mode and way of obtaining supernatural and eternal happiness. One of strict justice and Legal, the other of mercy and Evangelical, as there is, also, a two-fold covenant with God, of works and of faith, of justice and of grace, Legal and Evangelical. In the former mode and relation, happiness is obtained by perfect obedience to the law, given to the creature by God; in the latter, happiness is obtained by remission of disobedience and the imputation of righteousness. The human mind can not conceive any other mode; at least, no other is revealed in the Scriptures. These two modes have, to each other, this relation, that the former precedes, as is required by the justice of God, by the condition presented to the creature, and by the very nature of the case; the other follows, if, in the former way, happiness can not be allotted to the creature, and it seems good to the Deity, also, to propose the latter, which depends on the mere will of God. For He can punish or pardon disobedience. Both modes are used in reference to man, as the Scriptures declare in many places, and briefly in Rom. viii, 3.
I think that the former mode only was used in reference to the angels, and that God determined to treat the angels according to the Legal covenant strictly of justice and works; but to display all His goodness in the salvation of men. This is apparent from the fact that the angels, who fell, sinned irremediably and without hope of pardon, and the other angels did not obtain pardon for sins, for they had not committed them, but were preserved and confirmed in their own state, through the grace, it may be, which they received through the mediation of Christ, and which he communicated to them, not, in a correct sense, by that which Christ either merited or obtained for them by any work performed in their behalf, before God. These things, however, are irrelevant.
In my statement that it is possible for man not to use Legal grace, and yet be saved, I intended to convey the same idea which you also have expressed, that God can, if he will, move iniquity "as a cloud;" and I think that the apostle says the same in Romans iv, 5. "To him that worketh not," (that is, who does not fulfill the law, and therefore, does not use Legal grace,) "but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
In limiting Evangelical grace to the remission of sins and regeneration, I committed no fault. For I explained it, not in the abstract, (if it is ever so used), but in the concrete. But, thus explained, it excludes that part which you call "the grace of preservation" (unless that phrase is applied to perseverance in a state of restoration). We were not saved, in the primitive state, by that grace, for it was not prepared for in that state, by predestination. For we all fell and sinned. Here, again, there is need of the admonition that we are not now treating of angels, therefore those things which may be common to angels and men, are here, according to the law of general and specific relations kaq o[lou, to be so restricted as to apply only to men, otherwise, in discussing the species, we shall treat of the genus.