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  • WORKS OF ARMINIUS - RELATION OF SINFUL MEN TO CHRIST, & THE MEANS OF SALVATION


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    DISPUTATION XLII

    ON THE VOCATION OF SINFUL MEN TO CHRIST, AND TO A PARTICIPATION OF SALVATION IN HIM

    I. The vocation or calling to the communion of Christ and its benefits, is the gracious act of God, by which, through the word and His Spirit, he calls forth sinful men, subject to condemnation and placed under the dominion of sin, from the condition of natural life, and out of the defilements and corruptions of this world, to obtain a supernatural life in Christ through repentance and faith, that they may be united in him, as their head destined and ordained by God, and may enjoy the participation of his benefits, to the glory of God and to their own salvation.

    II. The efficient cause of this vocation is God and the Father in the Son; the Son, also, himself, as constituted Mediator and King by God the Father, calls men by the Holy Spirit, as he is the Spirit of God given to the mediator, and the Spirit of Christ, the King and the Head of His church, by whom the Father and the Son both "work hitherto." But this vocation is so administered by the Spirit, that he also, is properly denominated the author of it. For he appoints bishops in the church, he sends teachers, he furnishes them with gifts, he grants them divine aid, and imparts force and authority to the word.

    III. The antecedent or only moving cause is the grace, mercy and philanthropy of God, by which he is inclined to succour the misery of sinful men, and to bestow blessedness upon him. But the disposing cause is, the wisdom and the justice of God, by which he knows the method by which it is proper for this vocation to be administered, and by which he wills to dispense it as it is proper and fight. From this, arises the decree of his will concerning its administration and mode.

    IV. The instrumental cause of vocation is the word of God administered by the aid of man, either by preaching or by writing; and this is the ordinary instrument; or it is the divine word immediately proposed by God, inwardly to the mind and will, without human aid or endeavour; and this is extraordinary. The word employed, in both these cases, is that both of the law and of the gospel, subordinate to each other in their separate services.

    V. The matter of vocation is men constituted in their sensual life, as worldly, natural, sensual, and sinful.

    VI. The boundary from which they are called, is, both the state of sensual or natural life, and that of sin and of misery on account of sin; that is, from condemnation and guilt, and afterwards from the bondage and dominion of sin.

    VII. The boundary to which they are called, is, the communication of grace, or of supernatural good, and of every spiritual blessing, the plenitude of which resides in Christ -- also their power and force, as well as the inclination to communicate them.

    VIII. The proximate end of vocation is, that men may love, fear, honour and worship God and Christ -- may in righteousness and true holiness, according to the command of the word of God, render obedience to God who calls them, and may, by this means, make their calling and election sure.

    IX. The remote end is the salvation of those who are called, and the glory of God and of Christ who calls; both of which are placed in the union of God and man. For as God unites himself to man, and declares himself to be prepared to unite himself to him, he makes his own glory illustrious; and, as man is united to God, he obtains salvation.

    X. This vocation is both external and internal. The external vocation is by the ministry of men propounding the word. The internal vocation is through the operation of the Holy Spirit illuminating and affecting the heart, that attention may be paid to those things which are spoken, and that credence may be given to the word. From the concurrence of both these, arises the efficacy of vocation.

    XI. But that distribution is not of a genus into its species, but of a whole into its parts; that is, the distribution of the whole vocation into partial acts concurring together to one result, which is obedience yielded to the vocation. Hence, the company of those who are called and who answer to the call, is denominated "a Church."

    XII. The accidental issue of vocation is, the rejection of the doctrine of grace, contempt of the divine counsel, and resistance manifested against the Holy Spirit, of which the proper and per se cause is, the wickedness and hardness of the human heart; and to this not unfrequently is added the just judgment of God, avenging the contempt shown to his word, from which arise blindness of mind, hardening of the heart, and a delivering up to a reprobate mind, and to the power of Satan.

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