WORKS OF ARMINIUS - NINTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
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NINTH PROPOSITION OF ARMINIUS
In the first question, I do not present as a matter of doubt, the fact that God has elected some to salvation, and not elected or passed by others for I think that this is certain from the plain words of Scripture; but I place the emphasis on the subject of election and non election; -- Did God, in electing and not electing, have reference to men, considered in their natural condition. I have not been able hitherto to receive this as truth.
THE ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE NINTH PROPOSITION
We remarked, in the sixth proposition, that, though the mode of regarding man can and ought to be distinguished by certain respects or relations, yet the authors of the first theory have stated that mankind was considered in common by the Deity in the case of election and reprobation; but the authors of the second have not excluded that common relation of the human race, which they have referred to a special relation; but they have only desired that the contemplation of supervenient sin should not affect the case of election and reprobation, according to the declaration of the apostle, "neither having done any good or evil," (Rom. ix, 11,) and according to those words "natural condition," mean only the exclusion of any reference to supervenient sin from the case of election. If this observation is correct, the latter state of the question, properly considered, will not be at variance with the former. For he, who states that man, as not yet created, as not yet fallen, and as fallen, was considered by the Deity in the case of election and reprobation, he certainly affirms the latter, and both the former. The question, therefore, is, properly, not whether God, in electing and in passing by or reprobating, had reference to men in their natural condition, that is, apart from the contemplation of sin, as sin, but the question should be, whether God had reference, in this case, to man, apart from any contemplation of sin as a cause. We deny this, on time authority of the word of God. Nor did Augustine, to whom the third theory is ascribed, mean any thing else, as he has most abundantly set forth (lib. 1, quaes. ad Simplicianum), for what he asserts concerning Jacob and Esau is either to be understood, in the same manner, in the ease of Adam and Eve, or the rule of election and reprobation will be different in different cases, which is certainly absurd. Before, then, Adam and Eve were made, or had any thing good or evil, the Divine election, as we have plainly stated in the same argument, was already made according to the purpose of grace, which election preceded both persons, and all causes originating from, or situated in, persons. The truth of this is proved from authority, reason, and example. From authority, in Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and elsewhere. From reason; for, in the first place, election is made in Christ, not in the creatures, or in any condition in them; secondly, it is admitted by all, (which you afterwards acknowledge in part, though in a different sense,) that predestination and reprobation suppose nothing in the predestinate or the reprobate, but only in Him who predestinates, as the apostle affirms "not of works, but of Him that calleth." (Rom. ix, 11.) Augustine presents a most luminous exposition of that passage, showing, from the reasoning of the apostle, that neither works, nor faith, nor will, was foreseen in the case. The procreation of the child depends, in nature, on the parent only; much more does the adoption of His children originate in God alone (to whom it peculiarly pertains to be the cause and principle of all good), not in any consideration of them. Finally the example of angels demonstrates the same thing, of whom some are called elect, others are non-elect. Of the angels, the elect were such apart from any consideration of their works, and those, who are non-elect, passed-by; or reprobate, are non-elect, apart from the consideration of their works. For, as Augustine conclusively argues in reference to men, "if, because God foresaw that the works of Esau would be evil, He, therefore, predestinated him to serve the younger, and, because God foresaw that the works of Jacob would be good, He, therefore, predestinated him to have rule over the elder, that which is affirmed by the apostle, would be false, 'not of works,'" &c. The state of the case is the same in reference to angels. For God provided against the possible misery of these, by the blessing of election; He did not provide against the possible misery of those, in the work of reprobation and preterition. But how? by predestinating the elect angels, to the adoption of sons, who are so styled in Job 1, 2 & 38, and not predestinating the others. God begat them as sons, not by nature, but by will, which will is eternal, and preceded from eternity their existence, which belongs to time. What does the child contribute towards his procreation? He does not indeed exist. What does an angel contribute towards his sonship? If nothing, what does man contribute? In reply to both these, Augustine, in the place already cited, surely with equal justice, thunders forth that inquiry of St. Paul, "who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?" &c. (1 Cor. iv, 7.)
God, therefore, regards man in general; He does not find any cause in man; for the cause of that adoption or filiation is from His sole will and grace. But if any one should say that sin is the cause of reprobation or preterition, He will not establish that point. For, in the first place, the reasoning of Augustine, which we have just adduced, remains unshaken, based on a comparison of works foreknown; in the second place, since we are, by nature, equally sinners before God, one of these three things must be true; -- either all are rejected on account of sin, as a common reason, or it is remitted to all, or a cause must be found elsewhere than in sin, as we have found it. Lastly, "who makes us to differ," if it be not God, according to the purpose of His own election? Therefore, the affirmation stands, that God, in the case of election and reprobation made from eternity, considered man in general, so that He has in Himself, not in man, the cause of both acts. Yet let us accurately weigh the arguments, which are advanced here, though, properly, they are not opposed to this theory.
THE REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE NINTH PROPOSITION
I think it is sufficiently evident how the authors of the first theory considered man, from what was said in reply to your answer to Prop. 6. But that the authors of the second theory, by the addition of that special relation, did not exclude the universal relation, seems hardly probable to me. For he, who says that sin supervened to election and preterition originating in their own causes, excluding sin not only from the cause of election and preterition, but from the subject and the condition requisite in it, he denies that man, universally, considered as fallen, is presented to him who elects and passes by, and if he denies this, he denies also that man is considered in general, by God, in the act of decree. In other respects I assent to what you affirm. Sin is not the cause of election and preterition, yet this statement must be rightly understood, as I think that it is here understood, namely, that sin is not the cause that God should elect some, and pass by others: let it be only stated that sin is the cause that God may be able to pass by some individuals of the human race made in His own image. In the former statement there is agreement between us, in the latter we disagree, if at all. It is not, then, the question, "Did God have reference, in His own decree, to men apart from any consideration of sin, as a cause, that is, as a cause that He should elect these, and pass by those." For this is admitted even by Augustine, who, nevertheless, presupposes to that decree sin, as a requisite condition in its object. But the question is this; "Is sin a condition requisite in the object, which God has reference in the acts of election and preterition, or not?" This is apparent by the arguments presented by myself, which prove, not that sin is a cause of that decree, but a condition, requisite in the object. Augustine affirms this, and I agree with him. Let us look at some passages from his works. In Book 1, to Simplicianus, he excludes sin as a cause that God should elect or reprobate, but includes it as a cause that He might have the power to pass by or reprobate, or as a condition requisite in the object of election and reprobation. The latter, I prove by his own words, (there is no necessity of proof as to the former, for in reference to that, there is agreement between us). "God did not hate Esau, the man, but He did hate Esau, the sinner," and again, "Was not Jacob, therefore, a sinner, because God loved him? He loved in him not sin, of which he was guilty, but the grace which Himself had bestowed, &c., and again, "God hates iniquity, therefore He punishes it in some by damnation, and removes it from others by justification." Again, "The whole race from Adam is one mass of sinful and wicked being, among whom both Jews and Gentiles, apart from the grace of God, belong to one lump." If you say that Augustine was here discussing, not preterition, but predamnation, I reply that Augustine knew no preterition which was not predamnation, for he prefixes to preterition hatred as its cause, as he prefixes love to election. Then, I conclude, according to the theory of Augustine, that what is affirmed in the case of Esau and Jacob, is not to be understood in that of Adam and Eve, and it does not, hence, follow that there would be a diverse mode of election and reprobation, unless it be first proved that God, in election, had reference to Adam and Eve, considered in their primitive state, which, throughout this discussion, I wholly deny. But there is a manifest difference between Esau and Jacob, and Adam and Eve. For the former, though not yet born, could be considered as sinners, for both had been already conceived in sin; if they had not been created, they could not be considered as such, for they were such in no possible sense; not even when they had been created by God, and remained yet in their original integrity. It cannot be inferred from this, that "persons, and all causes originating from, or situated in persons" preceded the act of election. For sin, in which Jacob and Esau were then already conceived, did not precede. Yet I admit that sin was not the cause that God should love one and hate the other, should elect one and reprobate the other, but it was a condition requisite in the object of that decree. Those arguments, however, which you present, do not injure my case. For they do not exclude sin from the object of that decree as a requisite condition, nor as a cause without which that decree could not be made, but only as a cause, on account of which one is reprobated, another elected.
This is apparent from Romans 9. For Esau had been conceived in sin when those words were addressed by God to Rebecca. In the same chapter also, the elect and the reprobate are said to be "vessels of mercy" and "of wrath," which terms could not be applied to them apart from a consideration of sin. I will not now affirm, as I might do with truth, that Jacob and Esau are to be considered, not in themselves, but as types, the former being the type of the children of the promise, who seek the righteousness which is of faith in Christ, the latter, the type of the children of the flesh, who followed after the righteousness of the law, which subject requires a more extended explanation, but here not so necessary. The first chapter to the Ephesians clearly affirms the same thing, as it asserts that the election is made in Christ, because it is of the grace, by which we have redemption in the blood of Christ, &c.
Your arguments "from reason" do not militate against the position, which I have assumed, they rather strengthen it. For in the first place, "the election is made in Christ," therefore, it is of sinners, as will be hereafter proved at greater length. Secondly, "predestination and reprobation suppose nothing in their subject." Therefore, whatever character the subject may have, which receives grace, for such a character, and considered in the same relation, is the grace prepared. But the sinner receives, and he only, the grace prepared in predestination. Therefore, also for the sinner alone, is grace prepared in predestination, but of this, also, more largely hereafter. Thirdly, men are the sons of God, not by generation, but by regeneration; the latter, presupposes sin, therefore, adoption is made from sinners. The example of angels in this case proves nothing. Their election and reprobation and those of men are unlike, as you in many places acknowledge, for their salvation is secured by the grace of preservation and confirmation, that of men by the grace of restoration. He begat angels, as sons to Himself, according to the former grace; He regenerated men as sons to Himself by the latter grace. Therefore, God regarded man not in general, but as sinful, in reference to which point is this question between us, though he might find in man no cause that He should adopt one and pass by another, in reference to which we have no controversy. The question then remains between us, did God, in His decree of predestination and reprobation, have reference to man considered in his natural purity, or to man considered as in his sins? I assert the latter, and deny the former, and I have presented many arguments in support of my opinion; but I will now consider, in their order, those things, which you have presented against it.