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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - NINETEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS


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    NINETEENTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS

    In addition to all that has been said, it is proper to consider that, since predestination, preterition, and reprobation, really produce no effect on the predestinate, passed by, and reprobate, the subject of the actual execution, and that of the decree in the divine mind, are entirely the same and are considered in the same mode. Hence, since God does not, in fact, communicate grace, except to one who is a sinner, that is, the grace prepared in predestination, since he does not, in fact, pass by, does not condemn or punish any one, unless he is a sinner, it seems to follow that God did not decree to impart grace, to pass by, to reprobate any one, unless considered as a sinner.

    ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE NINETEENTH PROPOSITION

    Before I treat of the subject itself, it is necessary to refer to the ambiguity which was alluded to, in my answer to the second proposition. In the whole of your letter, to reprobate is to damn, and reprobation is damnation. But in my usage, reprobation, and preterition or non-election are the same. Hence that the subject may be made more plain, you will not complain if I should substitute the word damnation for the word reprobation. You say that "predestination, preterition and damnation, have no reference to action in the predestinate etc," that is, that the predestinate or elect, the passed by, and the damned, are elected, passed by, and damned by God without any consideration of quality which exists in the individual. I think, indeed, that the relation of these things is different according to the Scriptures. Election and non-election have reference to nothing in the elect and the passed-by: but damnation supposes sin, in view of which the sinner is damned, otherwise the entire work of predestination, is limited to eternity.

    I readily acknowledge that, in these matters, the subject must be considered in the same light whether existing in fact or only in the mind. For the elect is elected, and the reprobate is passed by as a man; he is damned as a sinner. He, who is, in fact, elected or passed by as a man, is so elected or passed by in the mind of the Deity. He who is damned as a sinner, is so predamned. Else, the internal and the external acts of God would be at variance, which is never to be admitted. This being fully understood, you see, my brother, that whatever things you construct on this foundation, they can, in no way, be consistent.

    You say that" God does not, in fact, communicate the grace prepared in predestination," that is, saving grace, "except to one who is a sinner, he does not, in fact, pass by any one, unless he is a sinner." If you affirm this of saving grace, in an absolute and universal sense, it is shown to be false by the salvation of the elect angels, and the preterition of others. Did God elect and pass by the angels as sinners. Origen may hold this view. We hold an entirely different one. If, however, you say that you are speaking of grace towards man, then it follows, from this statement, that the first man, in that primitive integrity, had not the communication of saving grace. This, indeed, I think that you will not affirm. Therefore, this grace is communicated to man as man, though not as a sinner, and not to man only, but to the angels. If you say that it was communicated to man, in his present sinful character, we do not deny it. Indeed, we believe that it is now communicated to none except he is a sinner, since no one of the human race is not a sinner. We readily concede to you that no one is damned or punished unless he is a sinner. Thus, a part of your conclusion is denied, namely, that which has reference to election, and a part is conceded, namely, that which refers to damnation.

    REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE NINETEENTH PROPOSITION

    I used the word reprobation in the sense in which you use it, as I have several times already stated and proved. I do not, however, object to your substitution, in its place, of the word damnation. But you do not take my argument in its true sense. I do not, indeed, consider that the predestinate, the passed-by, the damned are elected, passed by, damned by the Deity without reference to any quality, which may exist in them. Is it possible that I should do so, when I, always and every where, endeavour to prove that sin is a condition or quality requisite in the object of the divine decree, My real meaning is this. Predestination, preterition, pre-damnation, as acts remaining in the agent, or as internal acts, produce no feeling in an external object, but the execution of those internal acts, which consists in external acts, passes over to external things, and produces an effect on them, as is explained by Thomas Aquinas (Summa prima quaest. 23, artic. 2), from which passage it is apparent that, in the scholastic phraseology, it is one thing to produce an effect and another thing to suppose or have reference to something in the elect, the passed-by, the damned. But if those internal acts have no effect on the object, then it follows that the object is the same in every respect, and is considered in the same mode by the Deity, both in the act of decree and in that of execution. Hence, I conclude that, since it is certain that God, in the external act, communicates the grace, which is prepared in predestination, to man, only as a sinner, and, in the external act, passes by man only as a sinner, and, in the external act, damns man only as a sinner, it follows that God, in the internal act, prepared grace only for a sinner, determined to pass by only the sinner, and predamned only the sinner, that is, in the internal acts of predestination, preterition, and predamnation, had reference only to man considered as a sinner. That God communicates the grace, prepared in predestination, only to the sinner, passes by only the sinner, (concerning damnation, we agree), is, I think, most evident. Your two-fold argument does not at all affect this truth. To the first part, I make the answer, which your foresight has anticipated that we are discussing, not the predestination and reprobation of angels, but those of men, the term grace being restricted to that which was prepared for man, in the act of predestination.

    To the second part of your argument, which charges my proposition with absurdity, I reply, that there is an ambiguity in the phrase, saving grace. It may refer to that grace which is sufficient and able to confer salvation, or to that which is efficacious, and does, certainly, and in fact, bestow salvation. Again, it may refer to the grace, which God bestowed on man in his primitive state, or to that which is now bestowed in his sinful state, that, being made free in Christ, he may, through Him, obtain life from the dead. My proposition concedes that man possessed the former in his state of innocence, and so avoids absurdity. It also denies that he possessed the latter before the fall, and, at the same time, denies that this is absurd. This latter grace, and not the former, was prepared in predestination, and so my argument remains firm and immovable.

    For these reasons, Reverend Sir, I can not yet persuade myself that man, considered as a sinner by the Deity, is not the adequate object of predestination, preterition and predamnation.

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