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WORKS OF ARMINIUS - TWENTY-SIXTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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TWENTY-SIXTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
Fifthly, because, according to it, the decree is equivocal, and true only on condition of a distribution of its terms. It is equivocal because glory and grace, which are prepared in election and reprobation, are equivocal; for it is the glory which follows the ignominy of sin through the grace of remission and regeneration, or it is glory bestowed on nature, as originally created, by supernatural grace superinfused into that nature. It is true only on the condition of a distribution of its terms, because it absolutely ordains neither kind of grace to its subject; not the grace, superinfused upon nature, and glory by means of it, because it is not that grace by which a man is saved and glorified; not the grace of remission and removal, because it can ordain that grace only to the sinner. The decree must, then, be understood with this distribution; -- I will to this man glory and grace, certainly indeed, yet of the former or latter kind, as one or the other may be necessary for him, according to the diversity of his condition.
REPLY OF JUNIUS TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH PROPOSITION
We deny that "the decree is equivocal and true only on condition of a distribution of the terms." It is not equivocal for it is expressed in general terms and refers to grace and glory in a general sense. That which is thus stated is not equivocal. Neither grace nor glory, in the decree, is two-fold, but both are one in substance, in fact, and in relation, but different in degrees in relation to their object. As life in man is not two-fold in its nature, though it may increase of itself, by the law of nature, so neither grace nor glory is two-fold, though each may progress in us by its own degrees. Grace, in both cases, is supernatural, both when it graciously renews nature, and when it raises a person above the mode of nature. Whatever may be said of it, it is supernatural and in fact one. Glory, also, in both cases, is universally supernatural, both that which is adequate to the mode of nature, and that which is above nature. The latter embraces and absorbs the former, as the greater light does the less; yet, in both cases, it is light, and is supernatural, since nature lost and grace may restore it. Nor, indeed, is that decree to be considered as certain only on condition of a distribution of terms; for God absolutely ordains His whole grace, that is, every mode of it, to His own elect, without modification or any exception. Therefore, also, He ordains and bestows upon them the grace of remission and renewal, as its antecedent mode, and the grace of that celestial glory, as its consequent mode. Indeed, if it was possible that any thing of a supernatural character, in addition to the antecedent grace or consequent glory pertaining to nature, should be desired, and if there is any thing else to which I might wish to refer, God will fully bestow it, because He has universally decreed to His own, that grace and glory which is, indeed, communicable. But God can ordain the grace of remission and renewal only to the sinner and in relation to sin, but He had respect to the whole man, generally, on whom He could bestow His whole grace and apply it in a supernatural mode. The decree, then, of grace and of glory is to be understood absolutely, because it was ordained absolutely and generally, without restriction, exception or modification of the grace and glory which God communicates to His own. There is variety in the object and in its mode, but the fact that grace and glory is absolutely and generally decreed and bestowed on various objects, does not evince that the grace and glory are diverse in themselves; as the light of the Sun is not various, if it comes to us variously, or is variously perceived by us.
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH PROPOSITION
You seem not to have fully understood my proposition. -- That you may understand it according to my meaning, I will, so far as I am able, state it in phraseology, used by yourself in this matter. I say that this decree is equivocal, because grace and glory, prepared in this decree, are equivocal, that is each of them is equivocal. For the grace, which preserves and confirms in original integrity, is one thing; that, which restores from a sinful state is another. Also, glory, in respect to the mode of the object, which, being above nature, is superadded to that which is adequate to the mode of nature, is one thing, and that, which is bestowed on nature, freed from the ignominy of sin and misery, is another.
This decree is true only on condition of a distribution of its terms, because it does not ordain to man either this grace or that, or glory of this or that mode, absolutely, but one only, in the case of grace or of glory, and on a certain condition. It does not ordain to man, absolutely, the grace of preservation in his original integrity, and glory from or through that grace, because that is not the grace and glory, by which man is saved and glorified. It does not ordain to man, absolutely, the grace of restoration from a state of sin, and of glory from a state of ignominy, because it can absolutely ordain that grace and glory only to a sinner. Therefore the decree must be understood with the following distribution of its terms: -I ordained to this man grace or glory, certainly indeed, but either of this or of that mode as the former or the latter shall be necessary for him, according to his different state of integrity or of sin.
I will now consider your answer. You deny that this decree is equivocal: I affirm it. To sustain your denial, you add, "it is expressed in general terms, and refers to grace and glory in a general sense. That, which is thus stated, is not equivocal." I concede the latter, and deny the former. I affirm that grace and glory are spoken of, indeed in general terms, but they are not understood in a general sense, which is equivocation. I prove that they are not understood in a general sense, because grace and glory are prepared for man, in predestination, not understood in a general sense, but as they are spoken of particularly. Examine your remarks in answer to Proposition 11th. That cannot be said to be prepared generally, which is not prepared in some particular part or species. Much less can that be said to be so prepared, which is of a nature, such that, if it is prepared, in one part or species, of itself, it can not be prepared in another. But this is the state of the case. Grace, taken generally, comprehends the grace of preservation in the state of integrity, and of restoration from the state of sin. Glory, taken generally, comprehends glory superadded to primitive nature and glory bestowed on fallen nature, raised from a state of ignominy. Neither grace nor glory, generally, is prepared for man. If, indeed, the grace of preservation in a state of integrity, and glory, superadded to nature, was prepared for man, then the grace of restoration from a state of sin, and glory, from a state of ignominy, could not be prepared for him, since he did not need this latter grace and glory, if he obtained the former, and there could be no place for the latter, if the former had a place. But, if there is any place for the grace of restoration from a state of sin and of glory from one of ignominy, a place was not made, in the predestination of God, for the grace of preservation and for glory by means of that grace. Hence it is apparent that my proposition was not clearly understood by you, who have thought that there is such a relation of two-fold grace and glory, that one grace embraces and absorbs the other, and one glory has the same relation to the other, according to the illustration of light. Grace, renewing the nature, and grace, exalting, above the mode of nature, the same renewed nature, sustain this relation, for one embraces and perfects the other. I did not, however, refer to that two-fold grace, but to the grace of preservation in the primitive state, and to that of restoration from a state of sin. These are not mutually dependent; one does not comprehend the other, but one excludes the other. But glory, adequate to the mode of nature, and glory, above nature, sustain such a relation, that one perfects and embraces the other. I did not, however, refer to this two-fold glory, but to glory, in both modes supernatural, in one superadded to primitive nature, in the other bestowed on fallen nature, restored from its ignominy. In this sense, therefore, that decree is equivocal, since, in it, the words, grace and glory, are spoken of, generally and in a universal sense, but they are not prepared, generally and in a universal sense, in predestination, but separately, distinctly and particularly.
You also deny that "this decree is true only on condition of a distribution of its terms," but you deny it in the sense, which was really intended by them. Your denial is true in the former sense. For the grace of remission and that of renovation, as an antecedent mode, are simply and truly prepared for man. But that was not my meaning, as is most clearly apparent from the words themselves. For I placed the grace of remission and of renewal in contrast not to the grace of celestial glory, but to the grace of preservation in a state of integrity. God, in predestination, did not absolutely ordain grace in those two modes, or those two parts or species of grace for man, or either of them absolutely; but one only, and that on the condition of distribution, according to the decree of which we treat. He did not ordain both parts absolutely, since both parts can not have place at the same time. The former excludes the latter as unnecessary, and, indeed, as not being able to have place at the same time; the latter excludes the former, as not having been applied, from which want of application in the case of the former, namely, the grace of preservation in the primitive state, the latter, namely, that of restoration from a sinful state, became necessary, if indeed man was to be saved of grace. He did not ordain either of these, simply and absolutely without any condition; not that of preservation, for it was not bestowed on man, and it would have been bestowed, if it had been prepared absolutely and of predestination; not that of remission of sins and of renewal, that is, of renewal from a state of sin, because He could ordain that grace absolutely only to a sinner, and that decree did not regard man as a sinner. But it ordained, on condition of the distribution of the terms, either this or that, as the condition of man demanded one or the other.
That a decree of this kind is true only on condition of the distribution of its terms is clear from the terms, if correctly understood. I will illustrate it by an example. Every statement is necessarily true or false; -- But this is a statement; Therefore it is necessarily true or necessarily false. This does not follow. For on condition of a distribution of the terms, it is true that every statement is necessarily true or false, and neither part is, abstractly and separately, necessary. The nature of the decree of predestination demands that it should be absolutely certain and true that God ordained for a man the grace of preservation in a state of integrity, or absolutely certain and true that God ordained for a man the grace of renewal from a state of sin. But God does not ordain, on condition of the distribution of terms, for a man either the grace of preservation or the grace of renewal.
But since predestination, as it is defined by you, refers to the last mode, I affirmed correctly that it is only certain on condition of the distribution of terms. I conclude, by a fair deduction, that it is, therefore, not predestination. If it truly pertains to predestination to ordain, absolutely and definitely, the grace of preservation and, if it does not ordain that, to ordain, absolutely and definitely, the grace of restoration, then it follows that God did not and could not regard man in general. For the ordination of the former grace definitely excludes sin, that of the latter definitely includes the consideration of sin, and, in both modes, that general consideration is equally refuted. For the general consideration of an object neither excludes any circumstance, nor is united to any certain and special circumstance. That predestination of grace, however, which preserves in a state of integrity, excludes the circumstance of sin, and this predestination of grace restoring from a state of sin, is definitely united to the circumstance of sin. Therefore the decree of predestination was not made abstractly and universally or generally, without any restriction or modification of grace and glory, but it was, and necessarily must have been, made with a restriction and modification of grace and glory. For the decree of predestination is that, by which is prepared the grace, through which a man is certainly saved, not that, by which salvation would be possible, if indeed any state of man might require the application of such grace, nor that, by which he would be saved, if it should be applied to any state of man. But that grace, by which a man is certainly saved, must be modified and restricted. For he is saved either by the grace of preservation, or by that of restoration, by one or the other, of necessity. If he is saved by one, he does not need to be saved and he can not be saved, by the other; if he is not saved by one, he must be saved by the other, or excluded from salvation, and that, by which he is saved, is prepared in predestination, and the other, by which he is not saved, is absolutely excluded.
You affirm that "there is variety in the object and in its mode." But we here treat of that variety in the object and its mode, which variety is so great that grace and glory must be modified and restricted to this or that variety of the object; the grace of preservation in the state of integrity and glory, by means of it, are suitable to the object, considered in its original state; the grace of restoration and glory, by means of it, are suitable to the object, considered in sin and misery. Grace and glory, considered absolutely and universally, can not be decreed or bestowed, in predestination, upon various objects. For predestination has reference, necessarily, to a uniform and univocal object, that is either to one absolutely not a sinner, or to a sinner, and it bestows grace only on a subject, of one mode and univocal. It saves one, absolutely not a sinner or absolutely a sinner; it does not adapt itself to this one or that one, of this or of that character, but it adapts itself absolutely to an object of this character, and not otherwise considered. The grace of preservation saves, absolutely, the angels, for the grace of restoration was never ordained concerning them or bestowed upon them. The grace of restoration absolutely saves human beings, for the grace of preservation, in their original state of integrity, was never ordained for them or bestowed upon them. Grace is, indeed, as you say, one in itself, and in its essence, as, also, is glory, but each is variously applied according to the mode and relation of the object; and, between the application of grace and the mode and relation of the object, there is this reciprocity that, from the application of grace, the relation of the object may be inferred, and from the mode of the object, reciprocally may be deduced what grace it may be necessary to apply to that object. The same is true of glory.
The illustration of the light of the Sun, introduced at the end of your answer, may also serve my purpose. The light of the Sun is one and the same, whether it is shed upon and renders more luminous a body already illuminated, or it is shed on a dark body and drives away the darkness, and renders that light which was before dark. If only the same difference existed between an illuminated and a dark body, as exists between a man in his original state and a sinner, then rays of the Sun, sufficient to illuminate the body already light, would not suffice to illuminate the dark body, unless they were greatly increased and multiplied.