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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - ON THE PREDESTINATION OF THE MEANS TO THE END


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    DISPUTATION XLI

    ON THE PREDESTINATION OF THE MEANS TO THE END

    I. After we have finished our discussion on the predestination by which God has determined the necessity of faith in himself and in Christ, for the obtaining of salvation, according to which faith is prescribed to be performed as the bounden duty of man to God and Christ; it follows, that we treat on the predestination by which God determines to administer the means to faith.

    II. For, as that act of faith is not in the power of a natural, carnal, sensual, and sinful man, and as no one can perform this act except through the grace of God, but as all the grace of God is administered according to the will of God -- that will which he has had within himself from all eternity -- for it is an internal act, therefore, some certain predestination must be preconceived in the mind and will of God, according to which he dispenses that grace, or the means to it.

    III. But we can define this predestination, that it is the eternal decree of God, by which he has wisely and justly resolved, within himself, to administer those means which are necessary and sufficient to produce faith in [the hearts of] sinful men, in such a manner as he knows to be comportable with his mercy and with his severity, to the glory of his name and to the salvation of believers.

    IV. The object of this predestination is, both the means of producing this faith, and the sinful men to whom he has creed either to give or not to give this faith, as the object of the predestination discussed in the preceding disputation was faith itself, existing in the preconception of the mind of God.

    V. The antecedent, or only moving cause, impelling to make the decree, is not only the mercy of God, but also his severity. But his wisdom prescribes the mode which his justice administers, that what is justly due to mercy may be attributed to it, and that, in the mean time, regard may be had to severity, according to which God threatens that he will send a famine of the word on the earth.

    VI. The matter is the conceded or the denied dispensation of the means. The form is the ordained dispensation itself, according to which it is granted to some men and denied to others, or it is granted or denied on this and not on that condition.

    VII. The end for the sake of which, and the end which, are conjoined to the administration itself at the very same moment, and are the declaration of the mercy of God, and of his severity, wisdom and justice. The end for which it was intended, and which follows from the administration, is the salvation of believers. The results are, the condemnation of unbelievers, and the still more grievous condemnation of some men.

    VIII. But the proper and peculiar means destined, are the word and Spirit; to which, also, may be joined the good and the evil things of this natural life, which God employs for the same end, and of the nature and efficacy of which we shall treat in the disputation on Vocation, where they are used.

    IX. To these means, we attribute two epithets, "necessity" and "sufficiency," ( 3,) which belong to them according to the will and nature of God, and which we also join together.

         (1.) Necessity is in them; because, without them, a sinner cannot conceive faith.

         (2.) Sufficiency also is in them; because they are employed in vain, if they be not sufficient; yet we do not account it necessary to place this sufficiency in the first moment in which they begin to be used, but in the entire progress and completion.

    X. God destines these means to no persons on account of, or according to, their own merits, but through mere grace alone; and he denies them to no one, except justly, on account of previous transgressions.

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