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The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 3

An Examination by Rev. James Arminius, D. D. Of A Treatise; Concerning The Order And Mode Of Predestination And The Amplitude Of Divine Grace By Rev. William Perkins, D.D., A Theological Writer In England Also, An Analysis Of The Ninth Chapter Of The Epistle To The Romans



William Perkins,. D. D., Fellow of Christ’ s College, Cambridge, was a Theological writer at the close of the sixteenth century. As will be seen from the following strictures on one of his treatises, he advocated views highly Calvinistic. The following "Examination, etc," was written by Arminius, in 1602.

Reverend Sir, and Beloved Brother in Christ, —

While I was lately, and with eagerness, examining a certain library, abundantly supplied with recently published books, a pamphlet presented itself to me, entitled "A Christian and Perspicuous Discourse concerning the Order and Mode of Predestination, and the extent of Divine Grace."

When I observed that it bore your name, which was already well known to me by previously published works of a high character, I thought that I must diligently read and consider it, and see whether you, who are devoted to the most accurate learning, could remove, in that work, the difficulties which have long disquieted my mind. I, therefore, read it once and again, with impartiality, as far as I could, and with candor, as you desire. But, in reading, I perceived that all my difficulties were not removed by your work, while I thought that some things, written by you, deserved to be examined in the light of truth. Accordingly, I judged it not improper to commence a friendly discussion with you concerning your treatise. This I do, with the greater freedom and confidence, because, in the second page of your pamphlet, you say, to the encouragement of my mind, that you "have written these things, that, by those devoted to theological investigation" — among whom I willingly reckon myself — "they may be read without prejudice or acerbity of mind, duly weighed, and judged by the pure word of God." This I undertake, and pledge myself to do according to my ability; asking of you that in return, you will, with the same disposition, read my remarks, weigh them, and examine and judge them by the rule of the same Scriptures. May God grant that we all may fully agree, in those things which are necessary to His glory, and to the salvation of the church; and that, in other things, if there can not be harmony of opinions, there may at least be harmony of feelings, and that we may "keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

With this desire, then, expressed at the beginning of our discussion, I enter on the subject itself, following in the track, which, in your writing, you have pursued before me. I will commence with your "Epistle to the Reader," and then proceed, with the divine help, to the treatise itself.


In your Epistle to the Reader, you lay down two fundamental principles, on which this doctrine of Predestination and Divine Grace, can and must be built. The first is "the written word of God;" the second "the common ideas, and the principles which God has infused into the minds of men," I have no opposition to make at this point, only let this be added, that, when, on account of the darkness of our minds, and the weakness and diversity of the human judgment (which you regret), it is not possible for us to agree concerning these matters, we must recur, for definite and final decision, to that which is first and equivalent to all other things — the word of God.

Of the first principle, laid down by you, I remark that it is true; but care must be used, lest any thing, which is not in accordance with human judgment, should be attributed to God, and defended as just, on the consideration that it is declared to be unjust by corrupt human judgment; unless it can be made clear, by a conclusive argument, that it is suitably ascribed to the Deity. For, it is sufficient, for the sake of referring any action or work to God, to say that He has justly performed it; though, from the antecedent, God has done this, will follow, of necessity, the consequent, therefore, it is just.

Of the second; — I concede that it is true. For He is the first cause, and the cause of causes, who, from the foreseen free act of rational creatures, takes occasion to make any decree, and to establish a certain order in events; which decree He would not have made, and which order He would not have established, if the free second causes had acted otherwise. The Apostle says,

"the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same," (Romans 8:20.)

To this vanity the creature would not have been subjected, if he, for whose sake it was created by God, had remained in his original integrity. The decree, in reference to sending Christ into the world, depends on the foresight of the fall; for he is

"the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," (John 1:29.)


"was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death," (Hebrews 2:9);

"as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," (Hebrews 2:14.)

He was constituted a

"high priest, ordained for men, that he might offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins," (Hebrews 5:1.)

The decrees of God, by which He ordains to punish His creatures, are universally on this principle, according to the Scriptures:

"That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25.)

"Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book," (Exodus 32:33.)

"I said, indeed, that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me forever, but now the Lord saith, be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed," (1 Samuel 2:30.)

But it is not therefore to be supposed that the imposing of penalties depends on second causes; so far from it, they would put forth every effort to escape punishment, if they could do so either by reason or force.

I could wish also that the word "ordaining" were used in its proper sense: from which they seem to me to depart, who interpret it — to decree that something shall be done. For its true meaning is to establish the order of things done, not to appoint things to be done that they may be done; though it is used sometimes by the fathers in the latter sense. But then God is denied, by the fathers, to be the ordainer of evils. Thus says Augustine: "God knows how to ordain, not crime, but the punishment of crimes."

Of the third; — It is characteristic of a wise being to do nothing in vain.

But he does something in vain, who does it not to attain some end. But God is infinitely wise. Let me caution you, then, not to extend the phrase, "to regard with indifference," farther, or to interpret it otherwise than is suitable. There is a real distinction between doing and permitting. He, who permits any thing, that he may attain some end, does not regard it with indifference. From this it is clear that not to regard with indifference is not the same as to do or to make. Of this also I remind you for a certain reason. Then consider whether the phrase, which you use, is correct. The word "prudently" seems to be too feeble to be applied to so great wisdom.

And it is not a usual form of expression to say that an action is performed "in view of a certain end," but for the sake of that end. The statement, He does not will or decree that which He can not, is ambiguous, and not sufficiently full. It is ambiguous, because it may be understood to mean that He can not will or decree, or that He can not do. It is not sufficiently full, because there should be an addition, so that the statement would be this: "He does not will or decree to do or permit that which He can not do or permit." For which reason also your conclusion is likewise imperfect, and, to the expression, "He has decreed thus to do," add, "or permit."

Of the fourth; — The decree of God is two-fold; that of efficacious action and that of permission. Both are immutable. The creature, however free, can not change himself by his own act, or receive any change from another, contrary to either of these decrees, and without the certain and fixed determination of the former or the latter. But it is not merely necessary that God should fix these, and not other, limits of the change, as if the creature — if this was possible without the divine superintendence of the change — might be able either to change himself, or to receive change from another, to such an extent that God could not bring it into order, and have occasion for the illustration of his glory. For to Him even NOTHING ought to be material for the declaration of His glory: and any change from Nothing to Something, produced by Him, ought to serve the same purpose.

Of the fifth; — All the judgments of God, "whatever they may be, whether hidden or partly known to us, are to be honored, and to be adorned with the praise of righteousness, provided, however, that it be manifest that they are the judgments of God. But under this pretense, no judgments are to be attributed to God which the Scripture does not assign to Him; much less those which are contrary to the righteousness of God revealed in the Scriptures. Thus Augustine says: "As man becomes more like God, so the more does the damnation of perishing men move him: it moves also our Savior himself, and caused his tears, not once only, to flow. It moves also God Himself; who says:

"What could have been done more to my vineyard that I have not done in it?" (Isaiah 5:4.)

"O that my people had hearkened unto me." (Psalms 81:13.)

"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die," (Ezekiel 18:23.)

But it so moves God, that He is yet delighted in the destruction of His enemies, who are refractory and refuse to repent. For His righteousness demands this. It moves Him, I say, because they are unwilling to be saved, not because, when they are unwilling to be saved, He may devote them to just destruction. It so moves Christ, the Savior, that he shall yet, willingly, banish, from his presence, unbelievers and evil doers, and adjudge them to eternal fire. For this is demanded by the office of Judge. It so moves a pious man, that he may not utter any objection against God in reference to His various decrees, and the execrations of His righteous judgments on the obstinate. This is required by the obedience which the creature owes to his Creator and Redeemer."

Concerning that objection, I may be allowed, with the leave of Augustine, to say that it is not the offspring of infirm and weak human nature, but of the refractory disposition of the Jews and of those like them, of whom the apostle speaks, (Romans 9:20.) It is indeed true that we, when compared with God, "are as grass-hoppers," yea, and "are counted to Him as less than nothing," (Isaiah 40:17, 22.) But, in such exaggerations of human insignificance, we are to be careful not to do injustice to the creation of God. For man was made in the image of God, and therefore, even to God Himself, man, not any beast, is the noblest creature, with whom, as the wisdom of God declares, are His delights, (Proverbs 8:31.)

Of the sixth; — The concurrence of God with second causes to perform any act, or produce any work, is two-fold, of the general, and the special aid of His grace. It is most certain that nothing good can be performed by any rational creature without this special aid of His grace. But whether it is the province of the divine will, absolutely willing it, to communicate this gracious aid, and by this communication, to absolutely work good in us, is in controversy among Theologians. This is not improperly so, since the word absolutely can not be found in the Scriptures, and it has not yet been proved that its equivalent is found in the Scriptures.

Of the seventh; — So also it is certain that "no evil can be avoided if God does not prevent it." But there is dispute concerning the mode of prevention; — whether it is by the omnipotent action of the Deity operating on the human will according to the mode of nature, from which there exists a necessity of prevention, or by such an action as operates on the will, according to the mode of the will as respects its freedom, from which the certainty of prevention exists.

Of the eighth; — It can not be concluded from an event that God has willed something, but we may know either this fact, that He was unwilling to hinder an event which He foresaw would occur. — Otherwise the distinction, which exists between the action and the permission of God, is destroyed. For some things occur, because God produces them, but others, because He permits them to occur, according to Augustine and to truth itself. But to will that any thing should occur, and to be unwilling to prevent its occurrence, are not the same things. For, in the former case, the event is resolved into the will of God as its first and special cause; in the latter, it is resolved affirmatively into a second cause, and negatively into the divine will, which has not prevented it, which prevention also is produced either by power according to the mode of nature, or by persuasion according to the mode of free-will. But concerning permission and prevention we shall treat more fully hereafter in their own place.

Of the ninth; — But let us examine this idea; "to be able to perform," "to will to do," and "actually to do," are divine gifts and effects on men. But there should be this additional remark, that God gives to no one the power of doing right, unless He is ready also to give the will and the act itself, that is, by the further aid of grace, to concur with man in willing and in actually doing that good, for which He has received sufficient strength, unless the man on his part may interpose, or, as the school-men say, may have interposed some obstacle.

"For unto every one that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." (Matthew 25:29).

Were this not so, the power would have been given in vain. But the all-wise God doth nothing in vain. Thus He gave to Adam the faculty of observing the law which He had enacted, and He was prepared to give him whatever else was needed, in addition to that faculty, for actual obedience, namely, both to will and to do, unless Adam willingly and by voluntary motion turned himself away from God, and from His grace. I see here a labyrinth which I will not now enter, because I should not be permitted to make my egress from it, except by the thread and guidance of an accurate explication of the mode of the concurrence of God with man in the performance of any good thing; which explication does not belong to this place, or, as I indeed, acknowledge, to my abilities.

Of the tenth; — That "God presides over the whole world, and all things created by Himself, and administers and governs all and each of them" is certain. But this is not only in justice, but also in mercy, even so far as He, in His infinite wisdom, knows what place ought to be assigned to each.

But, indeed, do all those axioms seem to you to be natural and common notions, They, indeed, belong to nature, as it was when it come from the hand of its Creator, surely not to it, as it has been darkened by sin. For to few among men is it given to know and understand those things. The whole troop of Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians in the church itself, do not know them. What the opinion of many of the Greek and Latin philosophers was concerning most of them, is apparent from an expression used by not one of them only: "What we are, is given to us by the Gods; what of good we are, we have from ourselves." To this notorious falsity, Augustine in more than one passage, sharply opposes himself.

On these principles in part, as a foundation, you build up a doctrine of Predestination, which is, indeed, beset with difficulties. This is caused by the fact, that men do not fear to add to the Scriptures, whatever they think proper, and are accustomed to attribute as much as possible to their own conceptions, which they style natural ideas. I can not but praise your effort. For light ought, by all means, to be thrown upon truth by all, to the utmost of their ability. Calumnies and accusations, by which the truth is assailed and beset, are to be refuted. Minds, embittered against it, are not only to be softened and soothed, but also, to be induced to embrace it.

It can not be made an objection against you, that you adduce the opinions of the ancient Theologians, especially those whom you quote, some caution being observed, lest we go too far in that direction. For the Fathers are themselves also liable to diverse interpretations, and, indeed, more than the divine and inspired writers, as they were endued with knowledge of the truth, which was less in degree and in clearness, and they could express the thoughts of their minds only with less accuracy and fitness. When I consider this, I doubt whether they have consulted the best interests of the church, who have thought that, in this age, the opinions of the Fathers are to be considered by them as authority in matters of religion. But the die is cast, and we must advance, whithersoever the fates of the Church bear us.

In reference to your declaration, that you present the testimony of the ancient Doctors and School-men, for the sake of exhibiting an agreement in that part of doctrine, I do not see how that is so. For I am quite persuaded that nothing can be thought of, more adapted to bring that whole doctrine of Predestination and the grace of God into confusion, and to overwhelm it with darkness, than the effort on the part of any one to bring forward and unite together all the opinions of the Fathers and the School-men, in reference to it. But I desire that you may not at once pronounce him an unjust estimator or judge, who dares to assert that the dogmas, which you present in this treatise, are found neither in the Scriptures nor in the Fathers. For if you shall, after reasons have been adduced by that estimator, arbiter or judge, be able to sustain your statement, you will find him not struggling against it, with an unfair and obstinate mind, but ready to yield to what is proved to be the truth with becoming equanimity. Nor will it be an easier matter to persuade me that the dogmas of which you here treat, are, in that same mode and sense, proposed and set forth in all the Reformed Churches. I say this, lest you should think that you can bear down one thinking differently by the prejudgment of those churches.


I come now to the treatise itself, which I will examine with somewhat more care and diligence. You will not complain if, in some places, I may with the closest criticism also subject some of the nicer points to the most rigid scrutiny. For who would not consent that a serious and solid discussion should be, as it were, spiced by a friendly diversity and a pleasant contest concerning the more accurate handling of a subject.

You begin and rightly with a definition of Predestination. But that definition does not seem to be adapted to the Predestination, which is set forth in the Scriptures. For the Predestination, of which the Scriptures treat, is of men in their relation as sinners; it is made in Christ; it is to blessings which concern, not this animal life, but the spiritual life, of which a part also are communicated in this animal life, as is clearly evident from Ephesians 1, where, among the spiritual blessings to which we have been predestinated in Christ are enumerated "adoption of children (verse 5th), "redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins," (verse 7th), "having made known unto us the mystery of his will," (verse 9th), which blessings are given to the predestinated in this life. The apostle well say

"the life, which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God," (Galatians 2:20)

signifying that he, in this animal life, was a partaker of spiritual gifts, and from them lived a spiritual life. But perhaps you did not wish to give an accurate definition, but only by some description to give us an idea of predestination. I may concede this, yet in that description there seem to be many things which ought to be noticed. For the word "counsel," by which you have desired to explain one kind of Predestination is not a kind of Predestination, but pertains to its efficient cause; for a decree is made by "counsel," which decree can be fitly considered a kind of Predestination — if indeed counsel can be attributed to God, by which He may decree anything, as in the Scripture, — e.g. Acts 4:28, and Ephesians 1:11. This I say, is apparent from the passages quoted. For in the former (Acts 4:28), "counsel" is said to determine before or predestinate things to be done; in the latter (Ephesians 1:11), it is said that God "worketh all things," — even institutes predestination-after the counsel of His own will.

There is, in this life, an equality of the pious and the wicked as to external blessings, but they are to be considered generally. For in individual cases there is a great difference both among the pious and the wicked, and so great indeed is it that, to those, who are dissatisfied with that inequality, it may need a defense by an argument for reducing it, hereafter, to an equality. Indeed it is said of the pious and the faithful

"if in this life, only, we have hope in Christ, we are, of all men, most miserable." (1 Corinthians 15:19.)

I approve what you say concerning "the final cause of Predestination," when rightly understood, that is, if a declaration of the glory of God through mercy and justice is attributed to Predestination, so long as it is the foreordination of sinners who shall believe in Christ to eternal life, and on the contrary, the predamnation of sinners who shall persevere in sins to eternal death; who shall believe, through the gracious gift of God, and who shall persevere in sins through their own wickedness and the just desertion of God. But if you think that God, from eternity, without any pre-existence of sin, in His prescience, determined to illustrate His own glory by mercy and punitive justice, and, that He might be able to secure this object, decreed to create man good but mutable, and ordained farther that he should fall, that in this way there might be a place for that decree, I say that such an opinion can, in my judgment, be established by no passage of the word of God.

That this may be made plainer, a few things must be said concerning the glory of God and the modes of its manifestation. No one can doubt that God, since He is the first and Supreme Efficient Cause of all His own acts and works, and the single and sole cause of many of them, has always the manifestation of His own perfection, that is, His own glory, proposed to Himself, as His chief and highest object. For the first and supreme cause is moved to produce any effect, by nothing, out of itself otherwise it would not be the first and supreme cause. Therefore, not only the act of Predestination, but also every other divine act has "the illustration of the glory of God" as its final cause. Now it is equally certain and known to all, who have even approached the threshold of sacred letters, that the manifestation of the divine perfection and the illustration of his glory consists in the unfolding of His essential attributes by acts and works comparable to them: but an inquiry is necessary concerning those attributes, by the unfolding of which He determined to illustrate His own glory, first, by which, in the second place, and so on, by successive steps.

It is certain that He could not, first of all, have done this by means of mercy and punitive justice. For the former could be exercised only towards the miserable, the latter only towards sinners. But since, first of all, the external action of God both was and must be taken up, so to speak, with Nothing, it is, therefore, evident that goodness, wisdom, and omnipotence were, first of all, to be unfolded, and that by them the glory of God was to be illustrated. These, therefore, were unfolded in the creation, by which God appeared to be supremely good and wise, and omnipotent.

But, as God made all His creatures with this difference that some were capable of nothing more than they were at their creation, and others were capable of greater perfection, He was concerned, as to the former, only with their preservation and government, accomplished by goodness, wisdom and power of the same kind and measure, since preservation is only a continuance of creation, as the latter is the beginning of the former, and government may not go beyond the natural condition of the creatures, unless when it seems good to God to use them, for the sake of men for supernatural purposes, as in the bread and wine used, in the Lord’s Supper, to signify and seal unto us the communion of the body and the blood of Christ; as to the latter, which He made capable of greater perfection, as angels and men, the same attributes were to be unfolded, but in a far greater measure. In the former case, the good communicated is limited, as each creature receives that which is appropriate to itself, according to the diversity of their natures, but, in the latter, there is a communication of supreme and infinite good, which is God, in the union with whom consists the happiness of rational creatures. Reason demanded that this communication should be made contrary to justice, wherefore He gave a law to His creatures, obedience to which was made the condition on which that communication should be made. Therefore, this was the first decree concerning the final cause of rational creatures, and the glory of God to be illustrated by justice and the highest goodness — highest as to the good to be communicated, not absolutely; by goodness joined to justice, in the case of those who should be made partakers of the highest good, through steadfastness in the truth; by punitive justice, in the case of those who should make themselves unworthy of it by their disobedience.

Then we see that justice, rewarding obedience, which was its office, according to the gracious promise of God, and punishing disobedience as it deserves, according to the just threatenings of God, holds the first place; in the former case, justice joined to goodness, in the latter, punitive justice opposed to the gracious communication of the highest good, without any mention of mercy, unless it may be considered as preserving the creature from possible misery, which could, by its own fault, fall into misery; as mercy is not considered when it is predetermined by the decree of Predestination. That decree was peremptory in respect to the angels, as in accordance with it, they are condemned: wherefore the predestination and reprobation of angels was comprehended in this. But what grace was prepared for the former in Predestination and was denied to the latter in Reprobation, and in what respects, I do not now argue. But it was not peremptory in reference to men, whom God did not decree to treat according to that highest rigor of the law, but in the salvation of whom He decreed to exhibit all His goodness, which Jehovah showed to Moses in these, His attributes, "The Lord, Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth" (Exodus 26:6). Therefore, the Predestination and Reprobation of men were not considered in that decree. For since Adam sinned, and in him all who were to be his descendants by natural propagation, all would have been devoted to eternal condemnation without hope of pardon. For the decree of Predestination and Reprobation is peremptory. So far, then, no predestination of men unto life, and no reprobation unto death had any place. And since there could be no Predestination and Reprobation, except in accordance with those attributes by which men are at once saved or damned — but the predestinated may be saved at once by mercy, and the reprobate may be damned at once by justice opposed to that mercy — it follows that there was no fixed predestination and reprobation of men, in reference to whom there could be no place for mercy and justice opposed to it. But there could be no place for them in reference to men who were not miserable, and not sinners. Then, since Predestination includes the means by which the predestinated will certainly and infallibly come to salvation, and Reprobation includes the denial of those same means, but those means are the remission of sins and the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and its perpetual assistance even to the end, which are necessary and communicable to none, except sinners, I conclude that there was no Predestination and Reprobation in reference to men, in whose case these means were neither necessary nor communicable.

Finally, since God can love no sinner unto salvation, unless he be reconciled to Himself in Christ, hence it is, that there could be no place for Predestination, except in Christ. And since Christ was ordained and given for sinners, it is certain that Predestination and its opposite, Reprobation, could have no place before human sin — its existence as foreseen by God — and the appointment of Christ as Mediator, and indeed his performance, in the prescience of God, of the functions of the office of Mediator, which pertains to reconciliation. Nor does it follow from this, that God either made man with an uncertain design, or failed of the end at which He aimed. For He prescribed to Himself, both in the act of creation, and in that of glorification, and its opposite, condemnation, the illustration of His own glory as an end, and He obtained it; by goodness, wisdom and power in creation, and He obtained it; by the same, but in a greater measure, and joined with justice in glorification and condemnation, and He obtained it. But, though the mode of illustrating His glory by mercy, which is a certain method of communicating goodness and the approach of the same to a miserable creature, and by justice, opposed to that mercy, could have no place except from the occasion of human sin, yet the decree of God is not, therefore, dependent on the man, for He foresaw from eternity what would be in the future, and in ordaining, concerning the future, to that end, He freely arranged it according to His own choice, not compelled by any necessity as if He could not, in some other way, have secured glory to Himself from the sin of man. But that the glory of God does not consist merely in the illustration of mercy and, its opposite justice, is evident from the fact that, then, He would not have obtained glory from the act of creation, nor from the predestination and reprobation of angels. It is to be understood, that mercy is not an essential attribute of the Deity distinct from goodness itself, as in the womb and the offspring of goodness; indeed, it is goodness itself extending to the sinful creature and to misery.

It can for this reason be said, in simple terms, that, in all His eternal acts, God determined to declare His own glory by goodness, wisdom, and omnipotence, with the addition of justice when equity demanded it at the prescription of wisdom, but that He adapted the mode to the state, or rather to the change of the object, in reference to which He had determined to unfold those attributes. In reference to this thing Tertullian says, in a beautiful and erudite manner, "God must, of necessity use all things in reference to all being, He must have as many feelings, as there are causes of them; anger for the wicked. and wrath for the ungrateful, and jealousy for the proud, and whatever else would not be for the advantage of the evil; so also, mercy for the erring, and patience for those not yet repentant, and honor for the deserving, and whatever is necessary for the good. All these feelings He has in His own mode, in which it is fit that He should feel them, just as man has the same, equally after his own manner." (Adversus Marcion, Lib. 2, cap 16.)

Predestination does not arise merely from goodness simply considered, the province of which is, indeed, to communicate itself to the creature, but also from that mode of mercy, which goes out from that goodness to the miserable to remove their misery, of grace in Christ, which goes out from it to sinners to pardon their sins, of patience and long-suffering, going forth from the same goodness towards those who, for a long time, struggle against it, and do not at once obey the call, thus prolonging the delay of conversion. So also reprobation is not merely fixed by justice, the opposite of that goodness, simply considered, but by justice tempered by some mercy and patience. For God

"endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction." (Romans 9:22.)

From these things, thus considered, I may be allowed, with your kind permission, to conclude that Predestination has not been sufficiently well defined or described by you. If any one is inclined to consider the series and order of the objects of the knowledge and the will of God, he will be more and more confirmed in the truth of the things briefly set forth by me.

The passage from Augustine, is in agreement with these views, if one wishes to gather his complete opinion from other passages. Fulgentius and Gregory most clearly support me in the passages quoted by you. For, if the act of predestination is the preparation for the remission of sins or the punishment of the same, then it is certain that there is place for predestination only in reference to sinners. If also the act of Predestination is the pre-election of some who are to be redeemed from their depravity, and the leaving of others in their depravity, from this also it is evident that predestination has to do with men considered as sinners. That sentiment of the School-men agrees most fully with the same views. For it openly declares that Predestination depends on the foresight of the fall, when they say that the perfection and goodness of God, who predestinates, is represented by the mode of mercy and punitive justice, which mode, as I have now frequently said, can have place only in reference to sinners. If any one acknowledges that this is indeed true, but says that God has arranged this, as an occasion for Himself, by decreeing that man should fall, and by carrying forward that decree to its end or limit, we ask the proof of that assertion, which, in my judgment, he will be unable to give. For that sentiment is at variance with the justice of God, as it makes God the author of sin, and introduces an inevitable necessity for sin. This I will prove. For if that decree existed, man could not abstain from sin, otherwise the decree would have been made in vain, which is an impious supposition.

For "the counsel of the Lord standeth forever." (Psalms 33:11). We remark also that the human will would have been circumscribed and determined by that decree, so that it could not turn itself except in one direction, in which there would be sin; by that act its freedom would be lost, because it would move the will, not according to the mode of free-will, but according to the mode of nature. Such an act it could not resist, nor would there be any volition in that direction, indeed, there would not be the power to put forth that volition on account of the determination of the decree.

Consider, also, that, by that sentiment, mercy and justice are considered as means resulting from Predestination, while they are the primary causes of Predestination, as is evident from the fact that the final cause of Predestination may be resolved into the manifestation of mercy and justice.

Here, observe, also, in what way you make the creation and the fall of man the means in common lying at the foundation of the counsel, or rather the decree of predestination, I think, indeed, that both the creation, and the fall preceded every external act of predestination, as also the decree concerning the creation of man, and the permission of his fall preceded, in the Divine mind, the decree of Predestination. I think, also, that I have partly proved this, in my preceding remarks. But it will be well to look at this with a little more diligence.

Every act, which has reference to an object, is posterior in nature, to its object. It is called an object relatively. Therefore, it has an absolute existence prior to the existence of its relation to the act. The object, then, exists in itself, before it can be under the influence of the act which tends towards it. But man is the object of Predestination. Therefore, man is prior to the act of Predestination. But man is what he is by creation. therefore, creation is prior to Predestination — that is, in the divine mind, or the decree concerning the creation of man is prior to the decree of Predestination, and the act of creation is prior to the execution of the decree of Predestination. If any one should reply that God, in the internal act of Predestination, is employed with man considered as not created, but as to be made, I answer that this could neither take place, nor be so understood by a mind judging rightly. For Predestination is a decree, not only to illustrate the divine glory, but to illustrate it in man, by the mode of mercy and justice. From this, it follows that man must also exist in the divine mind before the act of Predestination, and the fall of man must itself, also, be previously foreseen. The attributes of God, by which creation is affected, are, therefore, considered as prior, in the divine nature, to those in which predestination originates. Goodness, simply considered, wisdom, and power, operating upon Nothing, are, therefore, prior to mercy and punitive justice. Add, also, that since predestination originates, on the one hand, in mercy, and on the other, in justice, in the former case having reference to salvation — in the latter, to damnation — it cannot be that any means exist pertaining, in common, to the execution of election and of reprobation. For they are provided neither in mercy nor in justice.

There exist, then, no means of Predestination, common to both parts of the decree.

Whether the definition of the creation of man is correct. If you wished to define the creation of man that should have been done with greater accuracy. But if you wished only to describe it, there is yet, in that description, something which I may note. "Man was made mutable," as was demanded by the very condition of that Nothing from which he was made, and of the creature itself. which neither could nor ought to be raised, by creation, to the state of the Creator, which is immutability. But he was made mutable in such a sense that actual change from good to evil would follow that possible mutability, only by the voluntary and free act of man.

But the act of the creature does not remain free when it is so determined in one direction, that, if that determination continues, there cannot but be a change.

Whether the permission of the fall, is rightly defined. But of the "permission of the fall," we must treat at somewhat greater length: for very much depends on this for the expediting of this whole matter. It is certain that God can by the act of His own absolute power prevent all things whatever, which can be done by the creature, and it is equally certain that He is not absolutely under obligation to any one to hinder him from evil. But He can not, in His justice, do all that He can in His absolute power. He cannot, in His justice (or righteousness), forget the "work and labor of love" of the pious (Hebrews 6:10). The absolute power of God is limited by the decree of God, by which He determined to do any thing in a particular direction, And though God is not absolutely under obligation to any one, He can yet obligate Himself by His own act, as, for instance, by a promise, or by requiring some act from man. He is obligated to perform what He promises, for He owes to Himself the immutability of His own truth, whether He has promised it absolutely or conditionally. By requiring an act, He places Himself under obligation to give ability and the strength without which that act can not be performed; otherwise, He would reap where He had not sown. It is plain, from these positions, that God, since He conceded the freedom of the will, and the use of that freedom, ought not, and indeed could not, prevent the fall in any mode which would infringe on the use of that freedom; and farther, that He was not obligated to prevent it in any other way than by the bestowment of the ability which should be necessary and sufficient to the avoidance of the fall. Permission is not, therefore, a "cessation from the act of illuminating and that of inclining" to such an extent that, without those acts, a man could not avoid sin. For, in that case, the fault could be justly and deservedly charged upon God, who would be the cause of sin, by way of removing or not bestowing that which is necessary for the performance of an act which Himself has prescribed by His own law. From which it also follows that the law is unjust, as it is not in proportion to the strength of the creature on which it is imposed, whether that deficiency of strength arises from the nonbestowal or the removal of it before any fault has been committed by the creature.

Permission is, indeed, a cessation of the act of hindrance, but that cessation is to be so explained that it may not be reduced to an efficient cause of sin, either directly, or by way of the denial or removal of that, without which sin can not be avoided. In reference to this permission, if it be fitly explained, it can be doubtless said that "God not only foreknows it, but He even wills it by an act of volition" affirmatively and immediately directed to the permission itself, not to that which is permitted. As it can not be said concerning this, that God wills that it should not be done, for He permits it, and not unwillingly, so, also, it can not be truly said that God wills it. For permission is an act intermediate between volition and nolition, the will being inactive.

But the cause, in view of which He permits sin, is to be found, not only in the consequent, but in the antecedent. In the antecedent, because God constituted man so that he might have a free will, and might, according to the freedom of his will, either accord obedience or refuse it. He could not rescind this constitution, which Himself had established, in view of His own immutability, as Tertullian clearly shows, in his argument against Marcion (Lib. 2, cap. 5, 6 and 7). In the consequent, because He saw that He could use sin as an occasion for demonstrating the glory of His own grace and justice. But this consequent does not naturally result from that sin. From this, it follows that even from the highest evil, (if there be any highest,) evil, only, could result per se, or there would be an injury to the divine majesty, opposed to the divine good; but that consequent is an incidental result of sin, because God knows and wills to elicit, by His wisdom, goodness and power, His own glory from it, as light from darkness. As, then, evil is not good, per se, so it is not absolutely good that evil should occur. For if this be true. then God not only permits it, but is its author and effector. But it is incidentally good that evil should occur, in view of that wisdom, goodness, and power of God, of which I have spoken, by which God takes from sin the material for illustrating his own glory. Therefore, sin is not, in this respect, the means per se, for illustrating the glory of God, but only the occasion not made for this purpose, nor adapted to it by its own nature, but seized by God and used in this direction with wonderful skill, and praiseworthy perversion.

No absolute good in the universe would be prevented, even if God should prevent evil, provided that prevention should not be affected in a manner not adapted to the primitive constitution of man; and God is free to prevent sin, but in a way not at variance with the freedom of the will. Any other method of prevention would be absolutely contrary to the good of the universe, inasmuch as one good of the universe consists even in this, that there should be a creature endued with free will, and that the use of his own free will should be conceded to the creature without any divine interference. But if the existence of evil or sin should absolutely contribute to the good and the perfection of the universe, then God ought not only not to hinder sin, but even to promote it, else He would fail in His duty to His own work, and do injury to His own perfection. I admit that, without the existence of sin, there would not be that place for the patience of the martyrs, or for the sacrifice of Christ; but the patience of the martyrs and the sacrifice of Christ are not necessary results of the existence of sin.

Indeed we shall see, by considering the natural effect of sin, that from it would result impatience in those who are afflicted, and by it the wrath, of God would be kindled, which not only could, but in fact, would, prevent the bestowment of any good, even the least, and much more that of his Son, unless God should be, at the same time, merciful, and could, in His wisdom, find a way by which He might prevent the natural effect of sin, and using sin as the occasion, might promote other effects, contrary to the very nature of sin.

The passages cited from Augustine and Gregory, are not only not opposed to, but actually in favor of this opinion. For they do not say that it would have been good absolutely that evils should occur, but that God judged it better to bring good out of evils than to prevent them; thus comparing two acts of the Deity, and esteeming the one better than the other. I may be allowed to observe, in reference to the remark of Gregory, that he is not sufficiently accurate, when he compares the evils which we suffer on account of sins with the blessing of redemption as something greater: for he ought to compare our sins and faults, not the evils which we suffer on their account, with the blessing of redemption. If he had done this, and had carefully considered the words of the apostle, "and not rather (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do evil that good may come," (Romans 3:8), he would have judged otherwise, or, at least, would have expressed his views more fitly, without making such a transition, and without substituting the punishment of sin for sin itself. It is indeed right, for men and for any believer, to say with entire confidence, that there can be no redemption so excellent and no method of redemption so glorious that, for the sake of obtaining either, any sin, however small, is to be committed. For the Redeemer "was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil," (I John 3:8,) i.e., sins; they are not, therefore, to be committed in order that the Son of God, the Redeemer, might come. For that circular form of reasoning, the Son of God came that he might destroy the works of the devil, and sin was committed that it might be destroyed by the Son, is not only contrary to the Scriptures, but also hostile to all truth, as it leads infinitely astray.

From this it is also easily proved that the fall can not be called a happy transgression, except by a catachrestic hyperbole, which, while it may be adapted to declamations, panegyric orations, and rhetorical embellishments, should be far removed from the solid investigation of truth. To these is always to be added the remark, which I have made, frequently and with reiteration, that redemption could not have resulted from transgression, except as the latter might afford an occasion for it, by the arrangement of God, in accordance with His will, that the transgression should be expiated, and washed away by a Redeemer of such character and dignity.

But the distinction which you make between "the permission of the fall" and "the permitted fall" seems to me to be of no force. For the permission of the fall is not less by the Divine arrangement than the permitted fall. For God ordained His own permission for a certain end. But consider whether it is not absurd to distinguish between "the permission of the fall" and "the permitted fall." In the latter case, I speak of the fall, not considered in that it is a fall, but in that it is a permitted fall: as you must, of necessity, consider, when you style it "the means of the decree," which appellation is not appropriate to the fall except on account of the adjunct "permitted."

For not the fall but the permission of the fall, tended to the glory of God; not the act of many which is the fall, but the act of God, which is permission, having immediate reference to that act of man according to the prescript of the Divine arrangement, tended to His glory. But I acknowledge that permission is the means of the decree, not of predestination, but of providence, as the latter is distinguished from the former. I speak now of providence, as governing and administrative, which is not only not prior, in nature and order, to predestination, but is also the cause of the mission of the Son as the Redeemer, who is our head, in whom predestination is made, as the apostle teaches, (Ephesians 1.)

But how can it be true that the fall is permitted by God, and yet that "it would not have occurred unless God had willed it" I wish that it might be explained how God could, at once, will that the fall should occur, and permit the same; how God could be concerned, by His volition, with the fall both mediately and immediately — mediately by willing the permission, and immediately by willing the fall itself. I wish also that these things may be harmonized, how the fall could occur by the will of God, and yet the will of God not be the cause of the fall, which is contrary to the express declaration of God’s word,

"Our God is in the heavens; He hath done whatever He pleased," (Psalms 115:3.)

Also, in what way could God will the fall, and yet be "a God that hath no pleasure in wickedness," (Psalms 5:4,) since the fall was wickedness. The distinctions which are presented are not sufficient to untie the knot, as I shall show in the case of each of them separately. For they distinguish between the fall and the event of the fall; between the will of open intimation and that of His good-pleasure, revealed or hidden; between the fall as it was sin, and as it was the means of illustrating the divine glory.

They say that God willed that the fall should occur, but did not will the fall; that He willed the fall according to His good-pleasure and His hidden will, not according to His will, of open intimation, revealed and approving; that He willed the fall, not as it was sin, but as it was the means of illustrating His own glory.

The first distinction is verbal, and not real. He, who willed that the fall should occur, willed also the fall. He who willed that the fall should occur, willed the event of the fall, and He, who willed the event of the fall, willed the fall. For the event of the fall is the fall, as the event of an action is the action itself. But if He willed the fall, He was the cause of the fall. For "He hath done whatsoever He pleased," (Psalms 115:3.) If any one replies, that He willed that the fall should occur by the act of another, not by His own act, I answer — it could not be that God should will that the fall should occur by the act of another, and not by His own act: for it would not happen by the act of another, unless He should interpose with His own act, and, indeed, with an act, such that, from it, the act of another should necessarily exist; otherwise that, which He wished should occur by the act of another, would not be effected or occur by that act of another. The force of the argument is not increased: whether God willed that the fall should occur, mediately, by the act of another, or, immediately, by His own act.

These are mediately connected — the act of God and the act of another, that is, of man, or the fall. The fall proceeded from the act of man, but that depends of necessity on the act of God; otherwise it could happen that the act of another should not be performed, and thus it could happen that the fall should not occur, which, nevertheless, God willed should occur. It is not, therefore, denied that God is the cause of the fall, except immediately; it is conceded that He is so, mediately. No one, indeed, ever wished to deduce, from the declaration of any one, that God is the immediate cause of the sin perpetrated by man, for he would deduce a contradiction in terms, as they say in the schools, unless, indeed, the subject might be the general concurrence of God with man, in producing an act which can not be produced by man without sin.

The distinction of the will into that of hidden and revealed, while it may have place elsewhere, can not avail here. For the hidden will of God is said to be efficacious; but if, in its exercise, God willed that the fall should occur, it is certainly a necessary conclusion, also, that He effected the fall, that is, He must be the cause of the fall; for whatever God wills, even by His hidden will, the same, also, He does both in heaven and on the earth; and no one can resist His will, namely, that which is hidden. But I may remark concerning that distinction in the will, that I think that it may be said, that neither of these can be so contrary, or opposed to the other, that God, by one, wills that to be done, which, by the other, He wills not to be done, and vice versa. God wills by His revealed and approving will, that man should not fall, it can not, therefore, be true that God, by any will, considered in any way whatever, can will that man should fall; for though there may be distinction in the will of God, yet no contradiction can exist in it. But it is a contradiction, if God, by any act of His own will, should tend towards an object, and at the same time towards its contrary.

The third distinction, in which it is said that God wills sin, not as such, but as the means of illustrating His own glory, defends God from the charge of efficiency in sin no more than the two preceding. For that assertion remains true — God doeth whatsoever He wills, but He wills sin, therefore, He effects sin, not indeed as it is such, but as it is the means of illustrating His own glory. But if God effects sin, as it is the means to such an end, it can not be effected, unless man commits sin as such. For sin can not be made a means, unless it is committed. There exists, indeed, that distinction of sin into separate and diverse respects, not really, and in fact, but in the mode of considering it. But that we may make that distinction correctly, as it is indeed of some use, it must be said that God permits sin as such, but for this reason, because He had the knowledge and the power to make it the means, yea, rather, to use it as the means of illustrating His own glory. So that the consideration of sin as such was presented to the Divine permission, the permission itself being, in the mean time, caused both by the consideration that the sin could be the means of illustrating the Divine glory, and by the arrangement that the sin, permitted, should be, in fact, the means for illustrating that same glory.

The simile, which you present, of the mutable decaying house is not apposite for many reasons. For in the first place, in its fall, the house is passive; but in the fall of man he is active, for he sins. Secondly, that house is, not only mutable, that is, capable of decay, but subject to decay; but man, though capable of sinning, was still not subject to sin. Thirdly, that house could not stand if attacked by the winds; but man could preserve his position, even though tempted by Satan. Fourthly, the necessary props were not placed under that house; but man received strength from God, sufficient for steadfastness against the onset of Satan, and was supported by the assistance of divinity itself. Fifthly, the builder anticipated the ruin of the house, and in part willed it, because he was unwilling to prevent the fall when he could have done it; God, indeed, foresaw sin, but He did not will it; indeed, He endeavored to prevent it by precept and the bestowment of grace, necessary and sufficient for the avoidance of sin.

Farther than this, He must not prevent, lest He should destroy the constitution which He had established. The ideas, I will the ruin, and I will it, so far as I will not to prevent it, do not agree. For the ruin and the permission of the ruin can not be at the same time the immediate object of the will. For God can not be concerned in the fall, at the same time, both by an affirmative and by a negative act of the will. The act of willing the fall was affirmative, the act of not willing to prevent is negative, intermediate between two opposite affirmative acts, namely, between the act of volition and that of nolition concerning the fall. It is altogether true, that so much causality or efficiency is to be attributed to the builder as there is of will, directed to the ruin of the house, attributed to him.

Let us now consider the application of the similitude. God left Adam to himself, but yet Adam was not deserted by God; for He placed under him as it were a triple prop, lest he might sin or fall. He gave him a precept, that he might, in obedience, not choose to sin; He added a threat that he might fear to sin on account of the annexed and following punishment; He bestowed grace that he might be able in fact to fulfill the precept, and avoid the threatened punishment. It may be lawful, also, to call the promise, which was placed in opposition to the threatening, and which was sealed by the symbol of the tree of life, a fourth prop. The reason, in view of which, God left man to himself, was not that his ability might be tested by temptation, for from the actual occurrence of the fall, his inability to stand could be neither proved nor disproved; but because it was suitable that there should be such a trial of the obedience of him whom God had made the ruler of his own will, the lord and the head of his own voluntary sets.

Nor was permission instituted to this end, that it might be seen what the creature could do, if the Divine aid and government over him, should cease for a time, both because the Divine aid and government was not deficient, and because it was already certain that man could do nothing without the government and general aid of God, and nothing good without the special aid of His grace.

That "God was not the cause of that defection" is a Theological axiom. But you, by removing those acts, do not remove the cause of the defection from the Deity. For God can be regarded as the cause of sin, either by affirmative or negative acts. You, indeed, take from Him the affirmative acts, namely, the inclining of the mind to sin, the infusion of wickedness, and the deprivation of the gift, already bestowed, but you attributed to Him a negative act, the denial or non-bestowal of strengthening grace. If this strengthening grace was necessary to the avoidance of sin, then, by that act of denial, God became the Author of sin and of Adam’s fall. But if you attribute the denial or the non-bestowal of strengthening grace to God, not absolutely, but on account of the transgression of Adam, because he did not seek the Divine aid, I approve what you say, if you concede that it was in the power of Adam to seek that aid; otherwise it was denied to him to seek that also, and so we go on without end.

You say — "There are two parts or species of predestination, the decree of Election and that of Reprobation," concerning which it must be stated that one can not exist without the other, and that, one being supposed, the other must be also. This is signified by the word election, otherwise, predestination may be considered per se and without an opposite, and so all men universally would be predestinated unto life. In that case, there would be no election, which includes the idea of reprobation, as united to it by a necessary consequence and copula. Election and Reprobation are opposed to each other both affirmatively and negatively. Negatively, because election refers to the act of the will by which grace and glory are conferred, reprobation, that by which they are not conferred.

Affirmatively, since reprobation refers to the act of the will, which inflicts punishment on account of sin.

It is worthy of consideration that God, both in the decree of Election and in that of Reprobation, was concerned with men considered as sinners. For the grace which was provided by election or predestination, is the grace of the remission of sins, and the renewal of the Holy Ghost; and the glory which He has prepared by the same decree, is out of the ignominy to which man was liable on account of sin. Reprobation, also, is a denial of that grace and a preparation of the punishment due to sin, not in that it was due, but that it was, through mercy, not taken away. Isidorus and Angelomus, quoted by you, express this condition of the object both of Election and Reprobation. The former, when be says — "the reprobate are left, and predestinated to death," the latter, when he says that — of "the unbelieving people some are predestinated to everlasting freedom, but others are left in their own impiety, and condemned to perpetual death by occult dispensation, and occult judgment."

Your definition of Election is obscure from the want of some word. It seems that the phrase to be illustrated ought to have been added, thus: "The decree of election is that by which God destines certain men to His glorious grace to be illustrated in their salvation and heavenly life, obtained through Christ," otherwise the phraseology is not sufficiently complete.

But the definition, even when completed, in that way, seems to me to have been, ineptly arranged, as the parts are not arranged according to their mutual relations. For "salvation" and "heavenly life" hold the relation of the material prepared for the decree of election; "certain men" hold the place of the object or subject for which that salvation is prepared; the "illustration of His glorious grace" is the end of election; "Christ" is here made the means of obtaining that salvation and life. The order of all these in the definition according to their mutual relations, ought to be, — "The decree of election is that, by which God destined certain men to salvation and heavenly life, to be obtained through Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace." In this definition, however, Christ does not seem to me to obtain that place, which he deserves, and which the Apostle assigns to him. For Christ according to the Apostle is not only the means by which the salvation, already prepared by election, but, so to speak, the meritorious cause, in respect to which the election was made, and on whose account that grace was prepared. For the apostle says that we are chosen in Christ (Ephesians 1:4), as in a mediator, in whose blood salvation and life is obtained for us, and as in our "head," (Ephesians 1:22) from whom those blessings flow to us. For God chooses no one unto eternal life except in Christ, who prepared it by his own blood for them who should believe on his name. From this it seems to follow that, since God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith, election is peculiar to believers, and the phrase "certain men," in the definition, refers to believers. For Christ is a means of salvation to no one unless he is apprehended by faith. Therefore, that phrase "in Christ" marks the meritorious cause by which grace and glory are prepared, and the existence of the elect in him, without which they could not be elected in him. The definition, then, is susceptible of this form. "Election is the decree of God, by which, of Himself, from eternity, He decreed to justify in (or through) Christ, believers, and to accept them unto eternal life, to the praise of His glorious grace." But you will say, "Then faith is made dependent on the human will, and is not a gift of divine grace." I deny that sequence, for there was no such statement in the definition. I acknowledge that the cause of faith was not expressed, but that was unnecessary. If any one denies it, there may be added after "believers" the phrase "to whom He determined to give faith." But we should observe whether, in our method of consideration, the decree, by which God determined to justify believers and adopt them as sons, is the same with that by which He determined to bestow faith on some, but to deny the same to others. This seems to me not very probable. For there are, here, two purposes, each determined by the certain decree of God; their subjects are also diverse, and different attributes are assigned to them. I think that this ought to have been noticed in treating correctly of the Order and Mode of Predestination.

I do not much object to your statement that "the act of the divine mind is two-fold, regarding the end, and the means to the end, or to salvation," but that remark does not seem correct to me, in which you say that "the former is commonly called the decree, and the latter the execution of the decree" — for such is your marginal annotation — each of these is an act of the decree, as you acknowledge; but an act of the decree is internal, and precedes its execution whether it is in reference to the end or the means.

The passage in Romans 9, does not favor your idea as you claim. For it not distinguish the purpose from election, nor does it make the election prior to the purpose of damning of conferring salvation, but it says that the purpose is "according to election," not without election or apart from election, as is clearly evident from the words of the apostle. For they are as follows — "i[na hJ kat ejklogh<n tou~ Qeou~ pro>qesiv me>nh| " that the purpose of God according to election might stand," from which it is apparent that, by these words, is described the purpose of God, which is "according to election."

But that this may be more plainly understood, we may examine briefly the design and the scope of the apostle. The Jews objected that they, by virtue of the covenant and the divine word, committed to them, were the peculiar people of God, and, therefore, that honor could not be taken away from them, without the disgrace and the violation of the divine decree. They asserted, however, that the honor referred to, and the title of the people of God was taken from them by the Apostle Paul, when he made those only, who should believe in the Christ whom he preached, partakers of the righteousness of God, and of eternal salvation. Since they had not believed in that Christ, it followed, according to the doctrine of the apostle, that they were strangers to the righteousness of God and eternal salvation, and unworthy to be longer considered the people of God. But since they considered this to be contrary to the decree and the covenant of God, they concluded that it was, at the same time, absurd and foreign to the truth.

The apostle answers that the covenant, decree, or word of God hath not "taken none effect," (verse 6), but remains firm, even if many of the Jews should not be reckoned among the people of God, because that decree or covenant did not comprehend all Israelites, universally without election and distinction; for that decree was "according to election," as set forth in those words of God announcing his purpose. For God said "In Isaac," not in Ishmael, "shall thy seed be called." Also "The elder," Esau, "shall serve the younger," Jacob. The apostle asserts that God declared most clearly in these words, that He did not regard the whole progeny of Abraham, or that of Isaac, or of Jacob, or all of their individual descendants, as His people, but only those who were "the children of the promise" to the exclusion of "the children of the flesh." The Apostle reasons, most conclusively from those words of God, that the purpose of God is according to election, and that it, therefore, embraces, in itself, not all the Israelites, but, while it claims some, it rejects others. From which it follows that it is not wonderful or contrary to the purpose or covenant of God, that some of the Jews are rejected by God, and those indeed, who are specially excluded by that decree according to those words of God, as "the children of the flesh," i.e. those who were seeking to be justified "by the works of the law" and according to the flesh. Compare Romans 9:7-11 and 30-32, also 10:3-5 with ch. 4:1-3.

In Romans 8:29, those acts — I refer now to the decree and the execution of the decree — are clearly distinguished. In the decree two things are mentioned, foreknowledge and predestination, "for whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." It is inquired — what is the import of this foreknowledge or prescience? Some explain it thus: — "whom He foreknew," i.e. whom He previously loved, and affectionately regarded as His own, as indeed the simple word "to know" is sometimes used, as "I know you not."

(Matthew 25:12.) "The Lord knoweth the way of the righteous." (Psalms 1:6.) Others say that foreknowledge, or prescience of faith in Christ, is here signified. You assent to the former, and reject the latter, and with good reason, if it has the meaning, which you ascribe to it. But it is worthy of consideration whether the latter meaning of the work "foreknow" may not be so explained, as not only not to impinge upon the former, but also to harmonize with it most completely so that the former cannot be true without the latter. This will be evident, if it shall be demonstrated that God can "previously love and affectionately regard as His own" no sinner unless He has foreknown him in Christ, and looked upon him as a believer in Christ.

To prove this I proceed thus: — God acknowledges, as His own, no sinner, and He chooses no one to eternal life except in Christ, and for the sake of Christ. "He hath chosen us in Him," (Ephesians 1:4); "wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved," (verse 6).

"Nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:39).

"God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself."

(2 Corinthians 5:19).

For, if God could will to any one eternal life, without respect to the Mediator, He could also give eternal life, without the satisfaction made by the Mediator. The actual bestowment of eternal life is not more limited, than the purpose to bestow it. God truly loved the world, and, on account of that love, gave His own Son as its Redeemer. (John 3:16). But the love, here spoken of, is not that by which He wills eternal life, as appears from the very expression of John — for he interposes faith in Christ between that love and eternal life. Hence God acknowledges no one, in Christ and for Christ’s sake, as His own, unless that person is in Christ. He who is not in Christ, can not be loved in Christ. But no one is in Christ, except by faith; for Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, and we are engrafted and incorporated in him by faith. It follows then that God acknowledges His own, and chooses to eternal life no sinner, unless He considers him as a believer in Christ, and as made one with him by faith. This is proved by the following testimonies:

"As many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." (John 1:12.)

But to those, to whom He gave this power, and to them, considered in one and the same manner, He also decreed to give this power, since the decree of Predestination effects nothing in him who is predestinated, and there is, therefore, no internal change in him, intervening between the decree and the actual bestowment of the thing, destined and prepared by the decree.

"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

"They which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Galatians 3:9.)

"Without faith it is impossible to please him." (Hebrews 11:6.)

Hence he is not in error who says that foreknowledge or prescience of faith in Christ is signified in Romans 8:29, unless he adds the assertion that the faith, referred to, results from our own strength and is not produced in us by the free gift of God.

The same explanation is proved true from the following member: "whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of He Son." No one is conformed to the image of the Son of God if he does not believe on him. Therefore, no one is predestinated by God to that conformity, unless he is considered as a believer, unless one may claim that faith itself is included in that conformity which believers have with Christ — which would be absurd, because that faith can by no means be attributed to Christ, for it is faith in him, and in God through him; it is faith in reference to reconciliation, redemption, and the remission of sins. It is true, also, since it is the means of attaining that conformity.

But you say, — "They, who are predestinated to be justified and to become the sons of God, are also predestinated to believe, since adoption and justification are received by faith." I deny that consequence; indeed I assert that just the contrary can be concluded from that argument, if the act of predestination is one and the same. This I will prove: — If adoption and justification is received by faith, then they, who are predestinated to be justified and to become the sons of God, are, of necessity, considered as believers. For that, which is destined to any one by Predestination, will certainly be received by him. And as he is when he receives it, such he was considered to be, when he was predestinated to receive it. Therefore, the believer alone was predestinated to receive it. From which I again conclude, that no one is chosen by God to adoption and the communication of the gift of righteousness, unless he is considered by Him as a believer. You add — "It cannot be said correctly, that God foreknew that men would believe, and then predestinated them to faith, since those, whom He foreknew to believe, He thus foreknew because He decreed that they should believe.

But what relation has this to the matter. Such an affirmation is not made by the defenders of the sentiment to which I have referred. You confound two kinds of Predestination, and unite together acts of a different character. The Predestination in which God decreed to justify and adopt as sons believers in Christ, is not the same with that, in which He decreed, by certain means, to give faith to these and not to those. For the decree, is in this case, concerning the bestowment of faith in that, concerning the justification and adoption of believers; which, can not, indeed, be the same decree, on account of the diversity of the subject and the attribute.

Otherwise it is true, that "God first foreknew that men would believe, and then predestinated them to faith." For He foreknew that they would believe by His own gift, which decree was prepared by Predestination.

These things, having been thus plainly set forth, may throw some light on this whole discussion, in reference to Predestination. This we will do, at greater extent, hereafter, when we shall subjoin our own view of the mode and order of Predestination.

Those testimonies, which you cite from the Fathers and School-men, can be very easily harmonized with what has been said by us, yet to avoid prolixity, I will dispense with that labor. One thing, however, I will observe; namely, that the explanation of Peter Lombardus, however true it may be elsewhere, it is not adapted to the passage in Romans 8:29. For the Apostle has there presented the object of Predestination, (conformity to the image of Christ,) in a different light from that in which it is set forth or presented by Lombardus, namely, "that they should believe the word preached unto them." I will add, also, that you do not rightly conclude, because the word foreknowledge is used elsewhere by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of God, that, in the passage under discussion, it can not signify prescience of faith.

Further, in the decree of election, you refer to two acts, one "the purpose of choosing certain men to His love and grace, by which choice, men are made vessels of mercy and honor;" the other, "the purpose of saving, or of the bestowment of glory. This is not an unimportant distinction, if all things are correctly understood. For those things, which God prepares in election, are contained in grace and glory. But your statement — "Some, by the divine purpose, were chosen to the eternal love of God," must be explained to refer to that communication of love, by which God determined to communicate Himself to some.

If you regard, in a different light, that love of God which embraces us, it must be considered as preceding, in the order of nature, that decree or the Divine purpose by which grace and glory are prepared for us, grace, I say, which is the means of attaining to glory. Otherwise if you understand, by that word, the gracious disposition of God towards us, it coincides with the love of God, and is to be placed above the purpose or decree of God as its cause. This also is indicated by the order of the predicaments (in the logical sense of that word). For the purpose or decree is placed in the predicament of Action, the gracious affection and love, in the preceding predicament of Quality. This is evident from Ephesians 1:5-6, where God is said to have predestinated and adopted us "to the praise of the glory of His grace." If grace, then, is to receive praise from those acts, it must be placed before them as their cause.

Your position that "men to be created," are the object of the former purpose is not correct. For we are now treating of the subject, not as it is, in itself — for we know that the eternal purpose of God is antecedent to the actual existence of man — but as it is presented to the divine mind, in the act of decree, and in that of Predestination. If the object of that purpose is considered with that limitation, it is certain that men, not" to be created," but "already created, and sinners," — that is, in the divine mind — are the object of the divine purpose and Predestination. This is evident, from the love and gracious affection from which, and the grace to which he chose them. For that love is in Christ; in him is that gracious affection of God towards us; the grace which is prepared for us as a saving means, has place in Christ, and not elsewhere. This you have, with sufficient clearness, signified, when you said that men, in that grace to which He chose them, were made vessels of mercy;" which word is misplaced, except when wretchedness and sin have preceded it.

But if you think of the love and gracious affection of God, as in God apart from any consideration of Christ, I shall deny that the purpose and decree of Predestination was instituted and established by God, according to those things, so considered, and I shall claim from you the proof, which, in my judgment, you will not be able to give, both because the love of God towards those "to be created" is uniform towards all, for in Adam all were created without any difference, and because that love and gracious affection, by which the purpose of Predestination was executed, saves with certainty, the predestinated; but the predestinated are not saved by that love and affection, considered out of Christ. If you say that the love and gracious affection in God is the same, whether considered in Christ or out of Christ, I admit it: but man, "to be created," and man "having been created, and a sinner," are the same man. Created, and continuing in the condition of creation, he could be saved, by obedience, of the love and gracious affection of God, considered out of Christ. As a sinner, he could not be saved, except by the same feelings, considered in Christ. If you make the sinner the object of Predestination, you ought to add to predestinating grace, a mode adapted to the sinner who is to be saved. If you do not add this, will grace, considered without that mode, be sufficient? I do not think that you will urge that the grace and love, by which a man, who is not a sinner, can be saved, and which is separate from mercy, is to be considered in Christ, and affects us on account of, and in respect to, him. If, however, you do this, I shall ask the proof. And, after all the proof which you may be able to present, it will be proper to say that Christ himself is to be here considered in different relations; in the former case, as Mediator, preserving and confirming the predestinated in the integrity of their state; in the latter, as Mediator, redeeming and renewing the same persons from the state of sin and corruption; and I will add that grace and salvation come to us, not by the former, but by the latter mediation. For he is

"Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21.)

He is

"the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).

He is the Redeemer of the world by his flesh given "for the life of the world" (John, 6:51); by the destruction of "the works of the devil" (1 John, 3:8, and Hebrews 2:14); and by that reconciliation, which consists

"in imputing their trespasses unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." (2 Corinthians 5:19).

That act, indeed, is "of the mere will of God," but not "without respect to sin in the creatures;" of sin, which is considered, not as the cause moving God to election, but as a condition, which must exist in the object of that act. And, in this sense, He does injury. to no one, if He does not elect all, since He is not under obligation to bestow mercy on any one. But He can ordain no one to punishment, without the prevision of sin, in view of any right which He possesses over His creatures. For that right is not unlimited, as many think — unlimited, I say, in such a sense that God can rightly inflict any act, possible to His omniscience, upon any creature considered in any respect, and without injustice bring upon the creature all things which the creature can suffer from his omnipotent Creator. This can be made plain by the following demonstration: Every right of God, over His creatures, depends either on the goodness of God towards His creatures, or on their wickedness towards Him, or on some contract entered into between God and His creatures. Without considering the right, which depends on contract, let us discuss the others. The right, which depends on the goodness of God, or on the wickedness of men, can not exceed the magnitude of those things severally. Man received from God, by His goodness in creation, his existence, both that of nature, and that of supernatural grace, in the latter of which is also included the power of attaining to the highest felicity, and that of a supernatural nature, which God promised to man on the condition of obedience. The opposite of this highest felicity is the deepest misery into which the same man would fall, justly and according to divine right, if he should transgress that law. Hence, exists the right of God over man, in that he is a creature, according to which He can take from him that very being which He has given, and reduce it to its pristine Nothing. Hence, also, He can not have the right to condemn to eternal punishment a man unless he has become a sinner. For these four things — existence, non-existence, happiness, misery — are so mutually connected, that, as happiness is better than existence, so misery is worse than non-existence. This, Christ signified when he said "good were it for man if he had never been born" (Mark 14:21). Therefore, the divine right does not permit that He should inflict misery on man, to whom He has given existence, except on the commission of that, by the opposite of which he could obtain felicity, the opposite of that wretchedness. Hence, if He should not elect all, He would do injustice to no one, if the non-elect should be only deprived of the good to which they had no claim; but injustice would be done to them, if, by non-election or reprobation, they must suffer evil which they had not deserved. The right of God does not so far extend itself over them.

There seems to have been need of this explanation, otherwise, we must, of necessity, far into many absurdities, and impinge on the righteousness of God. This, Augustine also, admits, in many passages. I will quote one or two: "God is good, God is just; He can deliver some without merit, because He is good; He can not damn any one without demerit, because He is just." (In Julian, lib. 3, cap. 18.) "If it is believed that God damns any one, who does not deserve it, and is chargeable with no sin, it is not believed that He is far from iniquity." (Epistola 106, ad Paulinum.)

I may be permitted, with your leave, to note some things in the explanation of the second act, which seem to have been propounded by you with too little accuracy. For, when you, here, change the formal relation of the object, and consider men, under this act, as "about to fall," whom, under the first act, you presented as "about to be created," you seem to do it with no good reason. For, in your mode of considering the subject, men "to be created" are the object of both acts. But if all things are duly weighed, the object in both is, in fact, men as sinners, neither more in the former than in the latter, nor more in the latter than in the former act.

Nor was it necessary to use the participle of future time, since the discussion is, here, concerning the act of the divine mind to which all things are present. I pass over the fact that the ordination to salvation depends on the fall, as the occasion of making that decree, wherefore, you should have said "fallen," not "about to fall." I could wish, also, that there might be an explanation how that act, which is the purpose of saving and of bestowing of glory, is the same with the act under which they are ordained, on whom that glory is bestowed, and to whom it is manifested; also, how the second act, namely, the purpose of saving, pertains to the execution and completion of the former purpose, namely, that by which He chooses some to His own love and grace.

That "the act referred to has no preparative cause, out of the good-pleasure of God," is true, only let Christ be duly included in that divine good-pleasure. To this, you seem, indeed, to assent, when you say "that act is in respect to Christ, the Mediator, in whom we are all elected to grace and salvation."

But when you so explain your meaning that we are said to be elected, in Christ, to grace and salvation, "because he is the foundation of the execution of election," you again destroy what you have said. For, if Christ is only the foundation of the execution of election, the election itself is made without respect to Christ in the decree of God, preceding, in fact, the execution of it. It can not be said, then, that we are elected in him to grace and salvation, but only that we, having, out of Christ, been previously elected to grace and salvation, are by Christ made partakers of them. But the Scriptures make Christ the foundation not only of the execution, but of the act of election. For He is, according to the Scriptures, Mediator, not only in the efficacy of the application, but in the merit of obtainment; wherefore, also, when they speak of Christ, the Scriptures affirm that grace and eternal life are bestowed upon us, not only through him, but on account of him, and in him. The direct relation is first presented, because God can not love the sinner unto eternal life, except in Christ, and on account of Christ, since the justice of God requires that reconciliation should be made by the blood of Christ.

The sum of the whole is, that both acts, that of choosing to grace and the love of God, as well as that of the bestowment of glory and the preparation of the means necessary to salvation, depends upon Christ as their only foundation — upon Christ, ordained by God to be High Priest and Mediator by the blood of his cross, the Savior from sins, the Redeemer from the bondage of sin and Satan, the Author and Giver of eternal salvation. Therefore, neither of those acts is in reference to men as "to be created," but both of them in reference to them, as "fallen sinners, and needing the grace of the remission of sins and the renewing of the Holy Spirit."

Those "five degrees" are well considered as mutually dependent, but they can not all be attributed, nor are they all subordinate to the "second act;" nor yet, indeed, to the first act. For the first three, namely, the "appointment of the Mediator, the promise of him, as appointed, and the presentation of him, as promised" are in the order of nature and of causes antecedent to all predestination of men to grace and glory. For Christ, appointed, promised, presented, yet more, having accomplished the work of reconciliation, having obtained eternal redemption, and having procured the Holy Spirit, is the head of all those who are predestinated in him unto salvation, not yet, in the order of nature, predestinated, but to be predestinated. For Christ is the head; we are the members. He was, first, in the order of nature, predestinated to be the head, then we to be the members. He was first, ordained to be the Savior, then we were ordained, in him, to be saved for his sake and in him. He inverts the order laid down in the Scripture, who says "God first predestinated men, and then ordained Christ to be the head of those predestinated." It need not be inquired, with much prolixity, why many have conceived that the order should be inverted, yet I think that some passages of the Scripture, in which the love of God towards men is said to be the cause of the mission of his Son, on the one hand, and on the other, that, other passages, in which Christ is said to gather together and to bring to salvation the children of God, and the elect, have given occasion for a conception of this kind — an occasion, not a just cause. For that love is not the cause of predestination, and it has no necessary connection with predestination, and Christ is not only the Savior of those, who have been elected and adopted as Sons by God, but he is also the Mediator and head in whom the election and adoption were made. This I have already often said.

Your definition of the "appointment of the Mediator" was not sufficiently complete, for the condition of men was omitted, in reference to which the whole matter of Mediation was arranged. The passage which you have cited from 1 Peter 1:18-20, might admonish you of this. For Christ is there said to be the foreordained Mediator who redeemed us by his own "precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish, from vain conversation."

The word "sinners" ought to have been added. For Christ was ordained to be Mediator, not between God and men absolutely considered, but between God and men considered as sinners. From this, I may also deduce a proof of what I have already argued in reference to the object of predestination. For if Christ is Mediator for sinners, then it follows that no one is loved, in Christ the Mediator, unless he is a sinner. Therefore, no one is predestinated in Christ, unless he is a sinner.

It seems to me that there is, also, some confusion in your discussion of "the promise of the Mediator". For the promise is considered either as the pure revelation of the decree to give and send the Mediator, or as having, united with it, the offering of the Mediator, who was to be given, with all his benefits. The former is a mere prediction of the advent of the Messiah himself, antecedent to his mission. The latter is the offering of the Messiah, in reality to come at a future time, but, in the decree of God, having already discharged the office of Mediator, pertaining, with the gifts obtained by the discharge of the office, to the application of its benefits. In this latter respect, it is made subordinate to predestination. Considered in the former respect, it precedes, not predestination, it is true, for that is from eternity, but the execution of predestination. The revelation, without the offering, consists in these words, "I will give a Mediator to the world;" but the offering in these words "Believe in the Mediator, whom I will give unto the world, and you shall obtain salvation in him." By that revelation and prediction, God binds Himself to offer the Mediator to the world, whether it should believe or not; but by that offering He demands faith, and by the internal persuasion of the Holy Spirit, added thereto, He effects faith and binds Himself to give salvation to the believer.

It appears from this, that the promise is to be considered with this distinction, that in the former part, only, it is antecedent to the mission of the Messiah, but in the latter part it pertains to the execution of predestination.

Let us now, passing over that distinction of the promise and the offering, consider the universality of the promise, and the offering, taken jointly and in connection. Its universality is not to be measured by the degree of faith.

For faith is posterior to the promise and the offering, as it marks the apprehension and embraces the application of the promise. But a distinction must be made between the promise and offering made by God, with the act of man which apprehends the promise, which is faith, and that act of God which applies, to the believer, that which is promised and offered. The promise and the offering extends itself to all who are called, — called by the external preaching of the gospel, whether they obey its call or not. For even they received an invitation, who "would not come" to the marriage, and were, therefore, judged unworthy by God, (Matthew 22:2-8), since they "rejected the counsel of God against themselves," (Luke 7:30), and by the rejection of the promise, made themselves unworthy (Acts 13:46). It is not that unworthiness, in accordance with which all sinners are alike unworthy, as the Centurion, and the publican, who are, nevertheless, said to have had faith, and to have obtained the remission of their sins from Christ; from which they are, in the Scripture, called "worthy" (Revelation 3:4). But the passages of Scripture which are cited by you, do not limit the promise made, but the application by faith of the promised thing, with the exception of the second, Matthew 11:28, which contains only an invitation to Christ, with the added promise of rest, as an inducement to come, but in reality not to be given, unless they should come to Christ.

You say also, that" an exhortation or command to believe is joined with the promise, and that this is more general than the promise." In this last assertion you are, in my judgment, in an error. For the promise, as made, and the command to believe are equally extensive in their relation. If the promise does not refer to all, to whom the command to believe is given, the command is unjust, vain, and useless. It is unjust, Since it demands that a man should have faith in the promise, not generally, that it pertains to some persons, but specially, that it was made for himself. But the promise was not made for him, if the command is more extensive than the promise.

This command is vain, since it is in reference to nothing. It commands one to believe, but presents no object of faith, that promise which is the only object of faith, having been taken away. For which reason, also, the command is useless. It can in no way be performed by him, to whom the promise, as made, does not pertain. Indeed, should he attempt to obey the command to believe, he would effect nothing else than the conception in his mind of a false opinion of a falsity. For since the promise was not made to him, he can not believe that it was made for him, but only think so, and that falsely. The Scripture, however, every where represents the promise and the command to believe as of equal extent.

"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and to your children, etc." (Acts 2:38, 39.)

"Come unto me all ye that labor" the command; "and I will give you rest," the promise, made to all who are commanded to come (Matthew 11:28).

"If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink," the command; "He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," the promise, made to all who are commanded to come to Christ and drink (John 7:37, 38). Perhaps some may prefer to join the phrase "drink" to the promise, in this way, "if any one thirst, let him come unto me; if he shall do this, he shall drink so abundantly that out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." But explained in this way, it equally answers my present purpose.

You may say that you make the promise, in respect, not to its presentation, but to its application, of narrower extent than the command to believe. This, indeed, is correct. But the comparison is then incongruous. As, in the promise, three things are to be considered, as we said before, the promise made. faith exercised in the promise made, and the gift or application of the promised good, so, also, in the command, three things are included, the command itself, the obedience yielded to the command, and the reward bestowed on obedience. These three things, in each, answer severally to their corresponding opposites; the promise, as made, to the command; faith exercised in the promise, to the obedience yielded to the command; the gift or application of the promised good, to the reward bestowed on obedience. It was suitable that you should have instituted the comparison in this way. If you had done so, you would not have made the command more general than the promise; unless in this way, that the command is to be considered more general than the remuneration, which is bestowed on obedience. But who does not know that the promise is made to many, by whom it is not apprehended by faith, and that the command is addressed to many, by whom it is not obeyed? Hence you can perceive that it was not fitly said — "the promise relates to believers, (that is, the promise, not as merely made, but as applied, for the promise in the latter sense is antecedent to faith); and "the command relates to believers and to non-believers." It belongs to neither. The command is prior to faith, demands faith, and prohibits unbelief.

But what are those things which follow? You seem, most learned Perkins, to be forgetful of yourself, and to be entirely a different person from him whom you have displayed in other of your published works. Again and again I entreat you to be patient with me, as I shall discuss these points with candor and mildness.

First, observe the coherence of that, which follows, with that, which precedes. "For the elect are mingled with the wicked in the same assemblies." What then? Is the promise, as made, therefore, less extensive than the command to believe? You answer affirmatively, for the reason that the promise relates to the elect only, the command pertains to the elect and to the wicked. I reply, that the promise, as made and proposed by God, relates not to the elect only, but to the wicked, whom you place in opposition to the elect: and that the command, is not imposed either on the elect or on those opposed to them, except with the promise joined. I think that I see what you mean, namely, that, as the promise is not applied except to the elect, so also the same is not proposed except to the elect, that is: according to the divine mind and purpose. How this may be, we shall see hereafter. Meanwhile, I make the same remark in reference to the command. As the command, by which faith is not obeyed except by the elect, so, also, it is not proposed except to the elect, that is, according to the divine mind and purpose. For as, in the former case, the promise is proposed to the non-elect, without the divine purpose of applying the promise; so in the latter case, the command is proposed to the non-elect, without the divine purpose that they should fulfill or obey the command.

If, on account of the absence of the divine efficacy, you think that the promise is not made to the non-elect, on account of the absence of the divine efficacy, I affirm, also, that the command is not imposed on the non-elect. The fact is the same in reference to both. We will, hereafter, more filly discuss that matter.

Secondly, the phrases "elect" and "wicked" are unsuitably placed in opposition to each other, since with the former, "reprobate," and with the latter, "pious," should have been contrasted, according to the rule of opposition. But here the opposition of the two things is unsuitable, since, in one of the opposites, the other is also comprehended. For the wicked, in this case, may comprehend also the elect. For it refers to those who are commanded, in the exhortation of the ministers of the word, to repent. But repentance is prescribed only to the wicked and to sinners, whether they are elect or reprobate, though with a contrary result in each case. I now speak of the call to repentance.

Thirdly, you seem to me to limit the office of ministers to the mere calling of sinners to repentance, excluding the presentation of the promise, which is another part of the message entrusted to them. For they say — "Repent and believe the gospel, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Finally, of what importance is it, whether they know, or do not know, "who, and how many are elect and to be converted"? "Then," you will say, "they might arrange their sermons, and present them to each person with an adaptation to his state." This I deny. For Christ knew and understood that Judas was a reprobate, and yet he did not arrange his sermons differently on his account. The preachers of the word must not desist from the functions of their office in any assembly, as long as they may be permitted to discharge them, and there are those who are willing to hear. But when they are cast out, and none whatever listen to their word, they are commanded by Christ to depart, and to shake off the very dust from their feet as a testimony against them. From this it appears, that their rule of teaching and exhorting is not an internal knowledge, which they can have, of the election of some and the reprobation of others, but the external obedience or contumacy of those whom they teach, whether they be elect or reprobate.

You add, moreover, the cause, in view of which, "God wills that they should be admonished to repent, who, as He sees, never will repent, namely, that they may be left without excuse." But this, I say, is neither the only object, nor the chief object, nor the object per se, but incidentally, and the event rather than the object, except in a certain respect, as we shall see. It is not the only object, since there is another, that they should be admonished of their duty, and invited and incited to faith and conversion,

"not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth them to repentance" (Romans 2:4);

also that God may satisfy Himself, and His own love towards His own creatures also, by that exercise of long suffering and patience.

"What more could have been done to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?" (Isaiah 5:4.)

"God endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction," (Romans 9:22.)

These two objects are, also, of far greater importance than that of rendering the impenitent inexcusable; therefore that is not the chief object. It is not the object per se, because the admonition does not render them inexcusable, unless it is despised and rejected, but this result of the admonition depends on the wickedness of those called. God does not will this result, unless He also foreknows that future admonition will be useless through the wickedness, not through the infirmity, of those who are admonished, and unless He has already frequently invited them in vain to repentance, as in Isaiah 6:10, "Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy," etc. For a distinction should be made between the admonition, as first addressed to a person, and as repeated the second or third time, and the final presentation of the same, after long contumacy.

For the former is done through grace and mercy to miserable sinners, the latter through wrath against the obstinate, who, having hardened themselves by their own sin, have made themselves worthy of divine hardening. Therefore the rendering them inexcusable is rather the event of the admonition than an object proposed to the Deity, except against the obstinate, and those who are incorrigible through their own voluntary wickedness. This event deservedly, indeed, results from that rejected admonition, as the admonition becomes a savor of death unto death to those who were unwilling that it should be to themselves a savor of life unto life, that it might become against them a testimony of contumacy, as they refused to have the remedy of repentance, that they might endure the just and punitive will of God, who refused to obey His merciful and benevolent will.

But some one may reply that no other end was proposed to the Deity, in the exhortation, than that they should be indeed inexcusable, both because God, in the decree of reprobation, determined not to give the repentance and faith, which they could not have, except by His gift, and because God obtained no other end than that of rendering them inexcusable, and yet He is never frustrated in His design. These arguments seem, indeed, to be of some value, and to present no little difficulty, and if they can be fitly answered, by the use of necessary analysis and explanation, there is no doubt but that much light and clearness may in this way be thrown upon the whole subject of which we treat. I will endeavor to do what I may be able, trusting in divine grace, and depending on the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Do you, my friend Perkins, assist me, and if you shall desire any thing, which may not be presented by me in the discussion, kindly mention it. I pledge myself that you will find me susceptible of admonition and correction, and ready to give my hand to the truth, when proved to be so.

It will facilitate the discussion, if I arrange both the arguments with the parts of the subject under discussion in the form of a syllogism, and then examine the parts of the syllogism by the rule of the truth. That which belongs to the former argument may, in my judgment, be arranged thus: Those to whom God by a fixed decree has determined not to give repentance and faith, He does not admonish to repent and believe with any other object, than that they should be rendered inexcusable; — But God has determined, in the decree of reprobation, not to give repentance and faith to the reprobate; — Therefore, when God admonishes the reprobate to repent and believe, He does it with no other object than that they should be rendered inexcusable.

I reply to the Major; — It seems to depend on a false hypothesis. For it presupposes that "God, by the external preaching of the gospel, admonishes some to repent and believe, to whom He has determined by a fixed decree not to give repentance and faith." This proposition seems to me to disagree with the truth.

In the first place, because it inverts the order of the divine decrees and acts. For the decree, by which God determined to exhort some to repentance and faith, by the external preaching of the gospel, precedes the decree of the non-bestowment of repentance and faith. For the former pertains to the will of God, in the relation of antecedent, the latter, in that of consequent. This can be proved from many, and very clear passages of the Scripture. In Isaiah 6, hardening and blinding is denounced against those who refuse to obey "the calling of God," as appears from the fifth chapter. The Apostle Paul manifestly agrees with this in Acts 28:26, 27, citing the declaration of Isaiah against those Jews who did not believe.

Again, it is said, "My people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own heart’s lust; and they walked in their own counsels" (Psalms 80:11-12). In Hosea 1:6, the Israelites are called "not beloved," or "not having obtained mercy," "and not the people of God," only, after they had merited that rejection by the foul crime of unbelief and idolatry.

"The Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him" (Luke 7:30.

"Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46).

The Jews are said in Romans 9:22, to have "stumbled at that stumbling stone," because they had not sought to be justified by faith in Christ, but by the works of the law. In 1 Peter 2:7, 8, Christ is said to be "a rock of offense, even them which stumble at the word, being disobedient." From this it appears that the decree of blinding and hardening, of the non-bestowment of the grace of repentance and faith, pertain to the decree of God, in the relation of consequent, depending on the foresight of incredulity, disobedience and contumacy. This proposition, then, ought to be enunciated thus, the subject being changed into the attribute, and vice versa; — "God determined, by a fixed decree, not to give repentance and faith to those who, as He foresaw, would reject, in their wickedness and contumacy, the preaching of the gospel, by which they should be called to repentance and faith." It does not, indeed, follow from this, that God decreed to give faith to those whom He foresaw to be obedient. For there is a wide difference between the acts of divine mercy and divine justice.

For the latter have their cause in men, the former have their occasion, indeed, from men, but their cause from God alone. This is the purport of that passage from Augustine, (Book 1, to Simplicianus, Ques. 2), "Esau did not will or run; but if he had willed or run, he would have found God to be his helper, who would even have effected that he should will and run by calling him, unless he had become reprobate by the rejection of the call."

In the second place, because it charges God with hypocrisy, as if He would demand, by an admonition to faith made to such persons, from them, that they should believe in Christ, whom He had, nevertheless, made to them, not a Savior, not a savor of life unto life, unto the resurrection, but a savor of death unto death, a rock of offense, which charge must be contradicted both in its statement and proof.

If any assert that God demands faith not of them, but of the elect, who are mingled with the reprobates, but that this admonition, being presented by the ministers of the world, ignorant who may be the elect, and who reprobate, is to be presented also, to them, I shall reply that such can not be called "disobedient," because they do not obey an admonition, not made to themselves. If, however, that hypothesis is false, then the argument which follows is of no weight, since it is presupposed on both sides, that God does exhort to repentance and faith, those to whom He has determined not to give repentance and faith. For if He does not exhort such to repentance, He does not exhort them to any end, either that they may be rendered inexcusable, or any other.

It is in no way unfavorable to my reply, that the decree of reprobation was made from eternity. For we must consider what is the first external act, either negative or affirmative, towards, or in reference to a man, reprobate from eternity by the internal act of God. For the first external act, towards, or in reference to a man, when really existing, makes him reprobate in fact, as the internal act of God makes him reprobate in the mind and counsel of God, that is, as is commonly said, a distinction is to be made between the decree and its execution. It is certain that a man can not be called a reprobate in fact, in reference to whom God has not yet, by an external act, begun to execute the decree of reprobation.

I also remark, that the Major seems to me to be at variance with the truth, because it regards those who are reprobate, as being rendered inexcusable, while the order should be inverted, and those who are inexcusable should be made reprobates. For reprobation is just, and therefore, the reprobate must have been inexcusable before the act of reprobation; inexcusable in fact, before the external act of reprobation, and, foreseen or foreknown as inexcusable before the decree of reprobation. If they were reprobate on account of original sin, they were inexcusable on this account; if reprobate on account of their unbelief and rejection of Christ, they were inexcusable on account of that unbelief, etc.

I reply to the same Major that it is not possible that the exhortation is made, only to this end, that it might render one, who should hear it, inexcusable, and should, in fact and of right, render him inexcusable. For the exhortation renders its hearer inexcusable, not as it is heard, but as it is rejected. Moreover a rejection, which must render the person, who rejects, inexcusable, ought not to be inevitable. But the rejection of the exhortation, which is here discussed, is inevitable. First, because the exhortation is addressed to one in reference to whom God has already been employed in the external act of reprobation. But such a man can not avoid disobedience, according to the sayings of Christ. "Therefore, they could not believe, because that Esaias saith again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, etc. (John 12:39-40.) Secondly, since it is only presented to the end that it may be rejected. But this presentation is of the will of God, in the relation of consequent, which is always fulfilled, and attains its end.

Therefore, that rejection is inevitable.

As then the Major is false in these three respects, it follows that the conclusion from the syllogism is not legitimate. But let us look at the Minor. For in reference to this also, and by occasion of it, there will be some things to be said which will be, in no small degree, adapted to our purposes.

The Minor was this, — "But God has determined, in the decree of reprobation, not to give repentance and faith to the reprobate." I willingly agree to that statement, but let it be correctly understood. That it may be correctly understood, it is necessary to explain the non-bestowment or denial of repentance and faith, which is established by the decree of reprobation. For there is another denial of repentance and faith, which is administered by the decree of providence, inasmuch as this is distinguished from the decree of reprobation. If there is not an accurate distinction between these, error can not be avoided. I say, then, that it is very plain, from the Scriptures, that repentance and faith can not be exercised except by the gift of God. But the same Scripture and the nature of both gifts very clearly teach that this bestowment is by the mode of persuasion. This is effected by the word of God. But persuasion is effected, externally by the preaching of the word, internally by the operation, or rather the co-operation, of the Holy Spirit, tending to this result, that the word may be understood and apprehended by true faith. These two are almost always joined. For God has determined to save them, who believe by the preaching of the word, and the preaching of the word, without the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, is useless, and can effect nothing, as it is said

"Neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase" (1 Corinthians 3:7).

But God does not will that His word should be preached in vain, as it is said,

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void; but shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11).

It is in vain without the co-operation of the Holy Spirit; and it has, always joined with it, the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. For which reason, the gospel is called "the ministration of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:8), and they who resist it are said "to resist the Holy Spirit," (Acts 7 & 13, and Matthew 12), not only because they oppose the external preaching administered by the command and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, but also because they strive against the cooperation of the Holy Spirit. Whence, also, some are said to sin against the Holy Ghost, in that they wickedly deny, and, through their hate, persecute and blaspheme the truth of which they are persuaded in their own minds, by the persuasion of the Holy Ghost. This internal persuasion of the Holy Spirit is two-fold. It is sufficient and efficacious. In the former sense, since he, with whom it is employed, is able to consent, believe, and be converted. In the latter, because he, to whom it is applied, does consent and believe, and is converted. The former is employed, by the decree of providence, with a sure prescience that it will be rejected by the free will of man; the latter is administered by the decree of Predestination, with a sure prescience that he, to whom it is applied and addressed, will in fact consent, believe, and be converted, — because it is applied in a way such as God knows to be adapted to the persuasion and conversion of him to whom it is applied. These remarks are made in accordance with the sentiments of Augustine.

Hence also there is a twofold denial of grace, namely, of that which is sufficient, without which he can not believe and repent, and of that which is efficacious, without which he will not repent or be converted. In the decree of reprobation, sufficient grace is not, with propriety, said to be denied, since it is bestowed on many, who are reprobate, namely, on those, who by the external preaching of the gospel, are called to faith and repentance, but efficacious grace is denied to them, namely, that grace by which they not only can believe and be converted, if they consent, but by which they also will consent, believe, and be converted, and certainly and infallibly do so.

The Minor has this meaning, — God has determined by a sure decree of reprobation not to give to some persons repentance and faith, that is, by using with them efficacious grace, by which they will surely believe and be converted. But has not by that decree denied the grace, by which they may be able, if they will, to believe and to be converted. Indeed by another decree, namely, that of Providence, in distinction from Predestination, He has determined to give to them faith and repentance by sufficient grace, — that is, to bestow upon them those gifts in a manner in which they may be able to receive them, by the strength given to them by God, which is necessary and sufficient for their reception. God has, therefore, ordained, by the decree of Providence, by which external preaching is addressed to those whom God foreknew as persons who would not repent or believe, to give to them, having this character, sufficient grace and the strength necessary to their faith and conversion to God. Upon this determination, also, depends the fact that they are without excuse, who are all called by sufficient grace to repentance and faith. But He further decreed not to give efficacious grace to the same persons, and this by the decree of reprobation. But their inexcusableness does not depend upon this denial of efficacious grace. If, indeed, sufficient grace should be withheld, they, who do not believe and are not converted, are deservedly excused, for the reason that, without it, they could neither believe nor be converted. But if these things are explained in this way, according to the view of Augustine, and, perhaps also, in accordance with the sense of the Scriptures, it follows that it can not be concluded that God admonishes the reprobate to repentance and faith with no other design than that they may be left without excuse.

For according to the decree of providence, by which He gives to them grace sufficient to faith, and exhortation to repentance and faith is addressed and it is to this end, that they may be led to repentance and faith, and that God may satisfy His own goodness and grace, and be clear from the responsibility of their perdition. The exhortation, then, is not made according to the decree of reprobation, therefore, its design is not to be measured by the decree of reprobation.

The second can also be arranged and disposed in the form of a syllogism; God proposes to Himself in His acts, no end, without attaining it, for He never fails of His purpose; — But God, in the admonition which He addresses to the reprobate, attains no other end than that they should be left without excuse; — Therefore God, in that admonition, proposes no other end to Himself.

To the Major I reply that it seems to me to be simply untrue. For God has not determined all His own deeds in accordance with His own will, in the relation of consequent, which is always fulfilled, but He administers many things according to His will, in the relation of antecedent, which is not always fulfilled. Legislation, the promulgation of the Gospel, promise, threatening, admonition, rebuke are all instituted, according to the will of God, as antecedents, and by these acts He requires obedience, faith, repentance, conversion, and those acts were instituted to this end; yet God does not always attain those ends. The falsity of this proposition can be proved by the clearest passages of Scripture;

"Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes" (Isaiah 5:4);

"How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not" (Matthew 23:37);

"The Lord is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

The Pharisees are said to have "rejected the counsel of God against themselves" (Luke 7:30), when they might have been brought, by the preaching of John and baptism to a participation in his kingdom. But though God might fail of any particular end, yet He can not fail in His universal purpose. For, if any person should not consent to be converted and saved, God has still added, and proposed to Himself, another design, according to His will as consequent, that He should be glorified in their just condemnation. Therefore, that this proposition may be freed from its falsity, it must be amended thus, — God proposes to His will, as consequent, no end which He does not attain. If any one should say that it follows from this that God is either unwise and not prescient of future events, or impotent, I reply that it does not follow. For God does not always propose an end to Himself from His prescience — and further — God does not always please to use His own omnipotence, to accomplish any purpose which He has proposed to Himself.

As to the Minor, it also seems to me to be chargeable with falsity. For God, by that admonition, attains another end than that they should be rendered inexcusable, namely, He satisfies His own goodness and love towards us. Add to this that, as the fact of their being without excuse arises, not from the presentment, but from the rejection of the admonition, God has not proposed to Himself their inexcusableness as an end, except after the foresight that the admonition would come to them in vain. In this view, then, their inexcusableness does not arise from the antecedent will of God, administering the admonition, but from the consequent will, furnishing the rejection of the admonition.

It follows, therefore, that a true conclusion can not be deduced from these false propositions. The words of the Abbot Joachim must be understood according to this explanation, or they will labor under the error, which we have now noticed in your words.

The command of God by which He exacts repentance and faith from those, to whom the gospel is preached, can, in no way, be at variance from the decree of God. For no will or volition of God, whatever may be its character, can be contrary to any other volition. But it may be possible that a decree may be ignorant]y assigned to God, which is at variance with His command; also, a decree of God, which is assigned to Him in the Scriptures, may be so explained, as to be necessarily at variance with the command of God. The command by which God exacts faith of any one, declares that God wills that he, on whom the command is imposed, should believe. If, now, any one ascribes any decree to God, by which He wills that the same person should not believe, then the decree is contrary to the command. For it cannot be that God should, at the same time, will things contradictory, in whatever way or with whatever distinction the will may be considered. But to believe, and not to believe are contradictory, and to will that one should believe, and to will that he, the same person, and considered in the same light, should not believe, are contradictory. The decree is of such a character, that God is said to have determined, according to it, to deny the concurrence of His general government or of His special grace, without which, as He knew, the act of faith could not be performed by him, whom, by His command, He admonishes to believe. For He, who wills to deny to any person the aid necessary to the performance of an act of faith, wills that the same person should not believe. For he, who wills in the cause, is rightly said to will, also, in the effect, resulting, of necessity, from that cause. For, as it can not be said that God wills that a person should exist longer, to whom He denies the act of preservation, so, also, it can not be said that He wills that an act should be performed by any one, to whom He denies His own concurrence and the aid, which are necessary for the performance of the act. For the act of the divine preservation is not more necessary to a man, that he may continue to exist, than the concurrence of the divine aid, in order that he may be able to exercise faith in the gospel. If, then, that purpose not to do a thing, of which you speak, marks a denial of the concurrence of God, which is necessary to the exercise of faith in the promise, it certainly impinges upon the command, and can, in no way, be harmonized with it. For that denial, being of this character, holds the relation of most general and most efficacious hindrance, as that, which is not, is hindered, that it may not become something, most efficaciously by the purpose of creation, (i.e., by a denial of its exercise), and that which is, that it may not longer exist, by the will of preservation (not being exercised). If you understand the "purpose not to do a thing," in such a sense, then, truly, you do not free the will of God from contradiction by either of your answers.

You say that "God, in His commands and promises, does not speak of all which He has decreed, but only in part manifests His own will." I grant it.

But I say that whatever God says in His commands and promises, is such in its nature that He can not, without contradiction, be said to will or determine any thing, contrary to it, by any decree; for it is one thing to be silent concerning certain things which He wills, and another thing to will that which is contrary to those things which He has previously willed. It is certain, from the most general idea of command, that the whole will of God is not set forth in a command, but only that which He approves and wills to be done by us. There is no decree of God by which He wills any thing contradictory to that command.

I wish, also, that you would consider how ineptly you express what follows — What are these expressions? "God does not will the same thing alike in all. He wills conversion in some, only in respect to their trial and exhortation, and the means of conversion; in others, also: in respect to the purpose of effecting it." If you say those things in reference to the will of God as it requires conversion, they ought to have been differently expressed; if in reference to His will as it effects conversion, they ought, in that case, also, to have been differently expressed. Understood in either sense, the phraseology is not correct. But I think that you are here speaking of the will in the latter sense, according to which God does not will to effect conversion equally in all, for whom He does equally, and of the same right, require it. For, in some, He wills to effect it only by external preaching, admonition, and sufficient means, for so I explain your meaning. If this is in accordance with your views, it is well, but if not, I would wish that you would inform us what you have understood by the word "means." In others, He wills to effect it, by efficacious means, administered according to the decree of Predestination. There is here, indeed, no conflict of wills, but only different degrees of will, as far as we are concerned, or rather different volitions of God in reference to different objects, according to which God can not be said to will and not to will the same object, that is, to will the conversion, and not to will the conversion of the same man — the laws of just opposition being here observed. I could wish that it might be explained how "God sincerely wills that the man should believe in Christ, whom He wills to be alien from Christ, and to whom He has decreed to deny the aid necessary to faith," for this is equivalent to not willing the conversion of any one.

To your second answer, I say, that it is not sufficient that you should say that "the revealed will of God is not adverse to the will of good-pleasure, but the matter of predestination is to be so treated that the will of good-pleasure is not to be opposed to the revealed will; for I think that the limits of that opposition ought to have been thus expressed. For the will which you call that of "good-pleasure," ought to be investigated by means of the revealed will; hence the latter is to be brought into agreement with the former, not the former to be reconciled with the latter. I desire, also, that it should be considered by what right the revealed will is usually considered as distinguished from the will of good pleasure, since the good-pleasure of God is frequently revealed. It is the good-pleasure of God that he who beholds the Son and believes on him, should have everlasting life.

The word eujdoki>a is often used in the Scriptures, for that will of God, which is inclined towards any one, which is called "good-pleasure" in distinction from the pleasure of God, considered in a general sense.

Reprobation can not be referred to good-pleasure; for every exercise of good-pleasure towards men is in Jesus Christ, as the angels sung "good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). In reference to the passage in Matthew 11:25, 26, in which the word eujdoki>a is used in reference to the pleasure of God by which He has hidden the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven from the wise, and revealed them unto babes. I remark that the word eujdoki>a is properly to be referred to that, concerning which Christ gives thanks to his Father, that is, the revelation of the heavenly mysteries to babes. For it is to be understood in this way: "I give thanks unto thee, O Father, that thou hast revealed unto babes the mysteries which thou hast hidden from the wise." Christ does not give thanks to the Father that He has hidden the mysteries from the wise, for he prayed for the wise men of this world who crucified him. For the "princes of this world" are said to have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8), and he is said to have prayed for his persecutors, and particularly for those who crucified him.

In what respect is it true that the revealed will "always agrees, in its beginning, end and scope," with the good-pleasure, in the ordinary acceptation of that phrase, since the revealed will has often a different object from that of the will of good-pleasure? Also, if both are in reference to the same object, there can not be the same beginning, and the same end and scope to both except it be also true that God wills by His good-pleasure, that which, in His revealed will, He declares that He wills, unless, indeed, that same beginning is considered universally to be God, and the same end to be the glory of God. But that "the revealed will of God seems often to be diverse, and, indeed, in appearance, to be contrary to the decree of God, and also in reference to the mode of proposing it," is true, if you mean that this "seems" so to ignorant men, and to those who do not rightly distinguish between the different modes and the various objects of volition. These two wills of God, however diverse, never seem contrary to those, who rightly look into these things, and so judge of them.

As to the death of Hezekiah, and the destruction of Nineveh, God knew that it belonged to His justice, unless it should be attempered with mercy, to take away the life of Hezekiah, and to send destruction on the Ninevites; for the law of His justice claimed that these things should be denounced against them by Isaiah and Jonah. But God was not willing to satisfy the demands of justice, unless with the intervention of the decree of mercy, by which He determined that neither death should come on Hezekiah, nor destruction upon the Ninevites, unless they should be forewarned to seek the face of God by prayers, and, in this manner, to turn away the evil from themselves; and, if they should do this, they should be spared. But He knew that they would do this, being, indeed, assisted by grace and the divine aid, by which He had determined to co-operate with the external preaching; and so He determined to prolong the life of Hezekiah and to preserve the city of the Ninevites from destruction. Here, then, there seems to be not even apparent contrariety.

What you observe concerning "the human and the divine will of Christ," does not affect our present subject of discussion. It is true that there was such a difference; but this is not strange, since those wills belonged not to one origin, though they did belong to one person, embracing, in himself two natures and two wills. I may add, also, that Christ willed both to be freed and not to be freed from death. For as a man, he said, "O, my Father, let this cup pass from me," and as a man, also, he corrected himself, "nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39). That this is to be understood of the human will, is apparent, because there is one and the same will, as there is one nature to the Father and to the Son, as divine.

I may say, in a word, that Christ, as to the outward man, willed to be freed from immediate death, but according to the inward man, he subjected himself to the divine will. And, if you will permit, I will say, that there was, in him, a feeling and a desire to be freed, not a volition. For volition results from the final decision of the reason and of wisdom, but desire follows the antecedent decision of the senses or the feelings.

That "Abraham was favorably inclined towards the Sodomites, who were devoted, by the decree of God, to destruction," the Scripture does not assert. It also does not seem to me to be very probable that "he could pray in faith" for those whom he knew to be devoted, by the decree of God, to irrevocable destruction. For prayer was not to be offered in behalf of such persons. God commands Jeremiah (7:16, 11:14:, and 14:11,) not to pray for the people, which He had, by an irrevocable decree, and by His will as its consequent, destined and devoted to captivity and destruction. For although it may not be requisite in prayers, offered for any thing whatever, that one should certainly believe that the thing, which he seeks, shall be granted, it is necessary that the mind of him, who prays, should certainly believe that God, in His omnipotence and mercy, is both able and willing to do that which is asked, if He knows that it will be in accordance with His own grace. But that, which God has decreed not to do, and what He has signified, absolutely, that He will not do, He neither can do, nor will He ever will to do, so long as the decree stands, and it is not right for a believer to intercede with God in his prayers for that thing, if the decree of God has been known to him.

Your third answer is, that "God, as a creditor, can require what Himself may not will to effect." But there is an equivocation or ambiguity in the words, "what Himself may not will to effect." They may be understood, either in reference to that concurrence of God, which is necessary to the doing of that, which He commands, or in reference to that efficacious concurrence by which that, which He commands, is certainly done. If in reference to the latter, it is true. There is no kind of conflict or contrariety between these two — "demand or command that any thing should be done," and "yet not to do it efficaciously." If in reference to the former, it is not true. For God does not command that, in reference to which He denies the aid necessary to effect it, unless any one, of his own fault, deprives himself of that grace, and makes himself unworthy of that aid.

The right of creditor remains, if he, who is in debt, is not able to pay by his own fault. But it is not so with the command, in which faith is prescribed; for faith in Christ is not included in the debt which a man was bound to pay according to his primitive creation in the image of God, and the primitive economy under which he lived. For it began to be necessary, after God changed the condition of salvation from legal obedience to faith in Christ.

We come now to "the presentation of the Mediator." consisted both in the fact that the Mediator presented himself to God, the Father, as a victim for the sin of the world, and that the Father, by the word and His spirit, presents the Mediator, having performed the functions of that office, and having obtained remission of sins and eternal redemption to the world, reconciled through him. The former pertains to the provision of salvation, the latter to its application by faith in the same Mediator. The former is the execution of the act of appointment and promise, the latter coincides with the actual offering, which we have previously considered in discussing the promise. But the presentation, as it is defined by you, not immediately antecedent to the application, for between that presentation, and the application, there intervenes the offering of the Mediator by the word and the Holy Spirit.

What you say concerning the virtue and efficacy of the price, paid by Christ, needs a more careful consideration. You say, that "the efficacy of that price, as far as merit is concerned, is infinite"; but you make a distinction between "actual and potential efficacy." You also define "potential efficacy" as synonymous with a sufficiency of price for the whole world. This, however, is a phrase, hitherto unknown among Theologians, who have merely made a distinction between the efficacy and the sufficiency of the merit of Christ. I am not sure, also, but that there is an absurdity in styling efficacy "potential," since there is a contradiction in terms. For all efficacy is actual, as that word has been, hitherto, used by Theologians. But, laying aside phrases, let us consider the thing itself. The ransom or price of the death of Christ, is said to be universal in its sufficiency, but particular in its efficacy, i.e. sufficient for the redemption of the whole world, and for the expiation of all sins, but its efficacy pertains not to all universally, which efficacy consists in actual application by faith and the sacrament of regeneration, as Augustine and Prosper, the Aquitanian, say. If you think so, it is well, and I shall not very much oppose it. But if I rightly understand you, it seems to me that you do not acknowledge the absolute sufficiency of that price, but with the added condition, if God had willed that it should be offered for the sins of the whole world. So then, that, which the School-men declare categorically, namely, that Christ’s death was sufficient for all and for each, is, according to your view, to be expressed hypothetically, that is, in this sense — the death of Christ would be a sufficient price for the sins of the whole world, if God had willed that it should be offered for all men. In this sense, indeed, its sufficiency is absolutely taken away. For if it is not a ransom offered and paid for all, it is, indeed, not a ransom sufficient for all. For the ransom is that, which is offered and paid. Therefore the death of Christ can be said to be sufficient for the redemption of the sins of all men, if God had wished that he should die for all; but it can not be said to be a sufficient ransom, unless it has, in fact, been paid for all. Hence, also, Beza notes an incorrect phraseology, in that distinction, because the sin-offering is said to be absolutely sufficient, which is not such, except on the supposition already set forth. But, indeed, my friend Perkins, the Scripture says, most clearly, in many places, that Christ died for all, for the life of the world, and that by the command and grace of God.

The decree of Predestination prescribes nothing to the universality of the price paid for all by the death of Christ. It is posterior, in the order of nature, to the death of Christ and to its peculiar efficacy. For that decree pertains to the application of the benefits obtained for us by the death of Christ: but his death is the price by which those benefits were prepared.

Therefore the assertion is incorrect, and the order is inverted, when it is said that "Christ died only for the elect, and the predestinate." For predestination depends, not only on the death of Christ, but also on the merit of Christ’s death; and hence Christ did not die for those who were predestinated, but they, for whom Christ died; were predestinated, though not all of them. For the universality of the death of Christ extends itself more widely than the object of Predestination. From which it is also concluded that the death of Christ and its merit is antecedent, in nature and order, to Predestination. What else, indeed, is predestination than the preparation of the grace, obtained and provided for us by the death of Christ, and a preparation pertaining to the application, not to the acquisition or provision of grace, not yet existing? For the decree of God, by which He determined to give Christ as a Redeemer to the world, and to appoint him the head only of believers, is prior to the decree, by which He determined to really apply to some, by faith, the grace obtained by the death of Christ.

You allege these reasons in favor of your views, concerning the death of Christ. "Christ did not sacrifice for those for whom also he does not pray, because intercession and sacrifice are conjoined; — But he prays, not for all, but only for elect and for believers, (John 17:9,) and, in his prayer, he offers himself to the Father; — Therefore he sacrifices not for all, and, consequently, his death is not a ransom for all men.

I reply that the Major does not seem to me to be, in all respects, true. The sacrifice is prior to the intercession. For he could not enter into the heavens that he might intercede for us in the presence of God, except by the blood of his own flesh. It is also prior, as sacrifice has reference to merit, intercession to the application of merit. For he is called the Mediator by merit and the efficacy of its application. He acquired merit by sacrifice; he intercedes for its application. He does both, as Priest; but he makes that application as King and Head of His church. It is indeed true that Christ, in the days of his flesh, offered up prayers with tears to God, the Father. But those prayers were not offered to obtain the application of merited blessing, but for the assistance of the Spirit, that he might stand firm in the conflict. If, indeed, he then offered up prayers to obtain the application referred to, they depended on the sacrifice, which was to be offered, as though it were already offered. In this order, sacrifice and intercession are related to each other.

In reference to the Minor, I assert, that Christ prayed also for the non-elect.

He prayed for those who crucified him, for his enemies, among whom also were non-elect persons. For "the princes of this world" crucified him, and to most of them the wisdom and power of God, which is Christ, was not revealed (1 Corinthians 2). Secondly, the prayer of Christ, which is contained in the 17th chapter of John, was offered, particularly for those who had believed, and those who should afterwards believe, and, indeed, to obtain and apply to them the blessings merited by the sacrifice of his death. He asks that they may be one with the Father and the Son, as the Father and the Son are one; which He could not ask unless reconciliation had actually been made, or was considered, by God, as having been made. But such is not the character of all the prayers of Christ. Thirdly, I remark that the word "world," in John 17:9, properly signifies those who rejected Christ, as preached to them in the word of the gospel, and those who should afterwards reject him. This is apparent from the contrast — "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me," whom he describes as having believed (8th verse) and as believing at a future time (20th verse). The word is used similarly in many other passages — "The world knew him not" (John 2:10);

"Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light" (3:19);

"The Spirit of truth, whom the world can not receive" (16:17); "He will reprove the world of sin, because they believe not on me" (16:8, 9);

"How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?" (16:22.)

Therefore the extent of the sacrifice is not to be limited by the narrow bounds of that intercession.

I could wish to learn from Illyricus how it can be in accordance with the justice of God, and the infinite value of Christ’s sacrifice, that "prayer is expiatory and the rule of the Sacrifice [Canon Sacrificii].

"I think, not only that Christ did not ask of the Father to regard favorably his sacrifice, but that it was not possible that He should present such a petition: if that is indeed true, which our churches teach and profess with one voice, that the most complete satisfaction was made to the justice of God by the sacrifice of Christ. But that idea originated in the Polish mass, in which, also, are those words-"Canon Sacrificii."

But the words, which contain your conclusion are remarkable, and have no right meaning. What is meant by this? — "Christ was appointed to be a ransom by the intercession and oblation of the Son." Intercession is subsequent to ransom. Therefore the latter was not appointed by the former. Oblation belongs to the ransom itself, and is therefore prior to the intercession, and could, in no way, be concerned in the appointment of the ransom. But the action itself has the character of an oblation. Hence, also, the ransom itself, as I have already often said, is prior to election. For election is unto life, which has no existence except by the oblation of the ransom; unless we may say that election is unto life, not now existing, nor as yet merited, not even in the decree of God. For he is the "lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

You proceed further, and endeavor, but in vain, to confirm the same sentiment by other arguments. They seem to have some plausibility, but no truth. You say, that "Christ is only the Mediator of those, whose character he sustained on the cross; — But he sustained the character of the elect only on the cross; Therefore he is only the Mediator of the elect."

I reply to the Major, that it belongs not to the essence or the nature of Mediator to sustain the character of any one. For he is constituted a Mediator between two dissident parties. Therefore, as Mediator, he sustains the character of neither; unless, indeed, the nature of the mediation be, of necessity, such as to demand that the mediator should sustain the character of one of the parties. But this mediation has such a nature as the justice of God required. For it could enter upon no way of reconciliation with a world, guilty of sin, unless the Mediator should pledge satisfaction, and, in fact, should make it in accordance with the right of surety. This is what is said in 2 Corinthians 5:19, 21,

"God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself — for He hath made him to be sin"

for the world, that is, a sin offering. In this sense, also, it is truly said that Christ is not a Mediator, except for those, whose character he sustained. I speak here in respect to the Sacrifice; "For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained from me," etc., (Hebrews 5:5, 1.) Here, also, a distinction may be made between the act, by which reconciliation is obtained, and the completion of that act, which is reconciliation. The act, obtaining reconciliation, is the oblation of Christ on the cross. Its completion is the reconciliation. In respect to the act, he sustained our character, for we deserved death, not in respect to the completion. For the effect, resulting frown the oblation, depends on the dignity and excellence of the character of Christ, not of us, whose character he sustained. Indeed, if it be proper to use distinctions of greater nicety, in this place, I may say, that Christ sustained our character, not in respect to action, namely, that of oblation, but of passion. For He was made a curse for us, and an offering for sin. From which it is evident, that, as all men are sinners and obnoxious to the curse, and Christ assumed human nature common to all, it is probable that he sustained the character of all men.

We see this also in the Minor of your syllogism, which is "Christ sustained the character of the elect only on the cross," in which I notice a two-fold fault, that of falsity and that of incorrect phraseology. Its falsity consists in this, that Christ is said to have sustained on the cross the character of the Elect only. I prove it, from the fact that the Scripture no where says this; indeed it asserts the contrary in numerous passages.

Christ is called

"the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)

God is declared to have "so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son" (3:16). Christ declares that he will give "his flesh for the life of the world" (6:51). "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Corinthians 5:19).

"He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).

The Samaritans said

"We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world" (John 4:42).

Also 1 John 4:14, "We have seen and do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world." That, in the word "world," in these passages, all men, in general, are to be understood, is manifest from these passages and from Scriptural usages. For there is, in my judgment, no passage in the whole Bible, in which it can be proved beyond controversy that the word "world" signifies the Elect. Again, Christ it is said to have died for all, in Hebrews 2:9, and elsewhere. He is said to be

"the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe" (1 Timothy 4:10),

which declaration can not be explained to refer to preservation in this life without perversion and injury. Christ is also styled the "Mediator between God and men" (1 Timothy 2:5). He is said to have died for those "without strength, ungodly, and yet sinners" (Romans 5:6-8.)

What I said a little while since, is important also on this point; — that the case of the whole human race is the same, all being alike conceived and born in sin, and the children of wrath; and that Christ assumed human nature, which is common to all men, not from Abraham only and David, as Matthew traces his genealogy, but also from Adam, to whom Luke goes back in his third chapter. He offered, therefore, the flesh which he had in common with all.

"For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same, etc." (Hebrews 2:14).

He offered that flesh for the common cause and the common sin, namely, for the sin of the world, in respect to which there is no difference among men, and the Apostle adds this cause in the passage just cited, "that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death."

Let the dignity and excellence of the person, which could offer an equivalent ransom for the sin of all men be added to this. Let the gracious and tender affection of God towards the human race come into consideration, which, in the Scriptures, is usually spoke of by the general term filanqrwpi>a as in Titus 3:4. Which term signifies, in general terms, the love of God towards men; which affection cannot be attributed to God, if He pursues with hatred any man, without reference to his deserts and his sin.

I know that some will reply that God indeed hates no one except on account of sin, but that He destined some to His own just hatred, that is, reprobating some without reference to sin. But in that way the order of things is inverted; for God does not hate because He reprobates, but reprobates cause He hates. He reprobates a sinner, because the sinner and sin are justly hateful and odious to Him. Hatred is an affection in the Deity by which He hates unrighteousness and the unrighteous, as there is in Him also love for righteousness and the righteous. Reprobation is an act of God, internal in purpose, external in execution, and the act is, in the order of nature, subsequent to the affection. The destination of any one to hatred, however it may be considered, has necessarily these two things preceding it, hatred against unrighteousnes, and the foresight that the individual, by his own fault, will be guilty of unrighteousness, by omission or commission.

I know, indeed, that the love of God, referred to, is not in all respects equal towards all men and towards each individual, but I also deny that there is so much difference, in that divine love, towards men that He has determined to act towards some, only according to the rigor of His own law, but towards others according to His own mercy and grace in Christ, as set forth in his gospel. He willed to treat the fallen angels according to that rigor, but all men, fallen in Adam, according to this grace. For every blessing, in which also mercy and long suffering (Exodus 33:19 & 34:6-7) are comprehended, He determined to exhibit, in the deliverance and salvation of men. Some, however, may wish to do away with the distinction, which many Theologians make between the fall of angels and that of man. For they say that the angels fell beyond all hope of restoration, but that men could have a complete restoration, and they assign, as a reason, the fact that angels sinned, by their own motion and impulse, and man, by the instigation and persuasion of an evil angel.

To all these things, we may add, by way of conclusion, the proper and immediate effect of the death and suffering of Christ, and we shall see that no one of the human race is excluded from it. It is not an actual removal of sins from these or those, not an actual remission of sins, not justification, not an actual redemption of these or these, which can be bestowed upon no one without faith and the Spirit of Christ; but it is reconciliation with God, obtainment from God of remission, justification, and redemption; by which it is effected that God may now be able, as Justice, to which satisfaction has been made, interposes no obstacle, to remit sins and to bestow the spirit of grace upon sinful men. To the communication of these effects to sinners He was already inclined, of His own mercy, on account of which, He gave Christ as the Savior of the world, but, by His justice, He was hindered from the actual communication of them. Meanwhile God maintained His own right to bestow on whom He pleased, and with such conditions as He chose to prescribe, those blessings, (which are His by nature,) the participation in which He, through His mercy, desired to bestow on sinners, but could not actually do it on account of the obstacle of His justice, but which He can now actually bestow, as His justice has been satisfied by the blood and death of Christ; since He, as the injured party, could prescribe the mode of reconciliation, which also He did prescribe, consisting in the death and obedience of His Son and because He has given him to us, to perform, in our behalf, the functions of the Mediatorial office. If we decide that any person is excluded from that effect, we decide, at the same time, that God does not remit his sins unto him, not because He is unwilling to do so, having the ability, but because He has not the ability, as justice presents an obstacle, and because He willed not to be able. He willed that His justice should be satisfied, before He should remit his sins unto any one, and because He did not will that His justice should be satisfied in reference to that person.

On the other hand, also, if we decide that the nature of the Mediation is such, as you seem to conceive, that the sins of all the Elect are taken from them and transferred to Christ, who suffered punishment for them, and, in fact, freed them from punishment, then obedience was required of him, who rendered it, and, by rendering it, merited eternal life, not for himself, but for them, not otherwise than if we had constituted him Mediator in our place, and through him had paid unto God our debt. We must also consider that, according to the rigor of God’s justice and law, immunity from punishment and eternal life are due to the elect, and they can claim those blessings from God, by the right of payment and purchase, and without any rightful claim, on the part of God, to demand faith in Christ and conversion to him. It is not easy to tell under how great absurdities, both the latter and the former opinion labor. I will refute each of them by a single argument. In reference to the former, I argue that, if God was unwilling that satisfaction, for the sins of any, should be rendered to Himself, by the death of His Son, then faith in Christ can not, justly, be demanded of them, they can not, justly, be condemned for unbelief, and Christ can not, justly, be constituted their judge. The latter, I compute by an argument, of very great strength, taken from the writings of the Apostle. The righteousness, rendered by Christ, is not ours in that it is rendered, but in that it is imputed unto us by faith, so that faith itself may be said to be "counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5.) This phrase, if rightly understood, may shed the clearest light on this whole discussion. I conclude, therefore, that Christ bore the character of all men in general, as it is said, and not that of the elect only.

I notice incorrectness of phraseology in the statement that he bore, on the cross, the character of the Elect, when no one is elect, except in Christ, as dead and risen again, and now constituted by God the Head of the church, and the Savior of them who should believe in him, and obey him unto salvation. Therefore, there were no elect, when he was yet hanging on the cross, that is, both of these events being considered as existing in the foreknowledge of God; hence He could not have borne, on the cross, the character of the Elect. On this account, likewise, it would be absurdity to say that Christ bore the character of the reprobate, because reprobation had there no place. But he bore the character of men as sinners, unrighteous, enemies to God, apart from any consideration or distinction between Election and Reprobation. It is evident, then, from this reply, that it can not be concluded, from that argument, that Christ is the Mediator for the Elect only, the work of the Mediator being, now, restricted to the oblation made on the cross.

You advance, also, another argument to prove the truth of your sentiment, and say; — "Whatever Christ suffered and did as Redeemer, the same things all the redeemed do and suffer in him, and with him; — But Christ, as Redeemer, died, rose again, ascended, sat down on the right hand of the Father; Therefore, in him and with him, all the redeemed died, rose again, ascended, sat down at the right hand of the Father." You then assume, as a position by consequence, that "The Elect only die, rise again, ascend, sit at the right hand of the Father, in and with Christ. Therefore, they alone are redeemed." We will inspect and examine both parts of this argument in order.

The Major of this prosyllogism seems to me to be chargeable with notorious falsity, as can, also, be easily demonstrated. For it confounds the sufferings and the actions, by which redemption is effected and obtained, with the completion of redemption itself, and the application of redemption. For redemption does not refer to suffering, or to any action of Christ, but to the completion, the event, and the fruit of that suffering and action; therefore, the sufferings and the actions of Christ are prior to redemption; but redemption is prior to its application. They, however, are called redeemed from the application. Therefore, that, which Christ suffered and did to obtain redemption, the redeemed did not suffer or do.

For they were not at that time redeemed, but, by those actions, redemption was obtained, and applied to them by faith, and so they, as the result, were redeemed. The very nature of things clearly proves that redeemer and redeemed are things so related, that the former is the foundation, the latter, the terminus, not vice versa, and, therefore, in the former is comprehended the cause of the other, and indeed the cause, produced by its own efficiency; whence it follows that the redeemed did not that, which was done by the redeemed, since, in that case, they were redeemed before the act of redemption was performed by the redeemer, and the redemption itself was obtained. If you say that you consider the redeemed not as redeemed, but as men to be redeemed, I reply that, in whatever way, they are considered, it can never be truly said that they did, in and with Christ, what Christ did for the sake of redeeming them. For those, who were to be redeemed were not in Christ or with Christ, therefore, they could, neither in him nor with him, suffer or do any thing.

You will say that "they suffered and acted in him as a surety and pledge;" but I say in him as constituted a surety not by them, but by God for them, and on him the work of redemption was imposed by God. It is true, indeed, that he assumed from men the nature in which redemption was performed; yet He, not men in him, offered it. But, if they may be said to have suffered, because their nature suffered in the form of Christ, you see that, in this way also, the redemption is general for all those to whom the same nature belongs. Perhaps you refer to those passages of Scripture, in which we are said to be

"dead with Christ, buried with him and raised with him" (Romans 6:3, 4, 5).

Your explanation is unsatisfactory, if it regards them as having reference to our present subject. For those passages treat of the crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection, which we each, in our own person, endure and experience. But they do not pertain to the meritorious redemption, as the crucifixion, death, etc., of Christ. Again, in those passages, the subject of discussion is that of our engraftment into Christ by faith, and our communion with him, which pertain to the application of redemption; but, here, the subject of discussion is the obtainment of redemption, and the acts which pertain to it. Those passages teach, that we, being grafted into Christ by faith, received from him the power of the Spirit, by which our old man is crucified, dead and buried, and we are resuscitated and raised again into a new life. From this it is apparent that they have no connection with our present subject.

The right meaning of the Minor, is that Christ, performing the work of redemption, died, rose again, and ascended into the heavens. For he was not the redeemer, before he offered himself to death and rose again from the dead. I remark, more briefly, that Christ died and rose again in that he was Redeemer by the imposition and acceptance of the office, not by the fulfillment of the same. For the death and resurrection of Christ pertain to the function of the office of Redeemer. It now appears, from this, in what sense the conclusion is true. not in that in which you intend it, that they, whom you call "the redeemed," died and rose again in the person of Christ, but as I, a short time since, explained it, in a sense, pertaining, not to the obtainment of redemption, but to the application of the obtained redemption. For Christ is said to have

"entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption," (Hebrews 9:12),

which redemption he communicates to believers, by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.

These things being thus considered, your position by consequence does not weigh against the opinion, which I here defend. For it certainly happens to the Elect, only in the sense which we have set forth, with Christ to die, rise again, ascend, and sit at the right hand of the Father.

They also, by reason of their being engrafted in Christ, and the application of the benefits of Christ, and of communion with Christ, are said to be "redeemed."

"Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:9, l0).

So, also, in Revelation 14:3, 4, the same are said to have been "redeemed from the earth, and from among men." It is, however, to be observed that this position is not a consequence of the antecedents, unless there be added, to the Major, a restrictive phrase, in this way: "Whatever Christ suffered and did this all the redeemed, and they only, suffered and did in him, and with him.

The arguments which you adduce to prove this position, are readily conceded by me, in the sense which I have explained. But that, which you afterwards present to illustrate your meaning, deserves notice. For the sins of those, for whom Christ died, are condemned in the flesh of Christ, in such a manner that they may not, by that fact, be freed from condemnation, unless they believe in Christ. For

"there is, therefore, now, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

The error of confounding things, which should be distinct, and uniting those which should be divided, is constantly committed. For obtainment, and the act itself, which obtains, are confounded with the application, and the former are substituted for the latter.

You say, also, "the expiatory victim sanctifies those for whom he is a victim. For victim and sanctification pertain to the same persons; — But Christ sanctifies only the Elect and believers; — Therefore, Christ is victim for the Elect only and believers."

I answer to your Major, that the expiatory victim sanctifies, not in that it is offered, but in that it is applied. This may be plainly seen in the passage cited by yourself (Hebrews 9:13, 14).

"For if the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh — How much more shall the blood of Christ, etc."

For which reason, it is called in Hebrews 12:24, "the blood of sprinkling."

In the same manner, those, who, not only slew the paschal lamb, but also sprinkled the door-posts with its blood, were passed over by the destroying angel. If, then, the phrase "for whom" implies, not the oblation only, but also the fruit and advantage of the oblation, I admit the truth of the Major. But we are, here, discussing not the application of the victim Christ, but the oblation only, which, in the Scriptures, is simply said to be "for men" (Hebrews 5:1). But faith must necessarily intervene between the oblation, and its application which is sanctification. The oblation, of the victim, then, was made, not for believers, but for men as sinners, yet on this condition, that He should sanctify only believers in Christ. Hence, it can not be considered, even though the Minor should be conceded, that Christ offered himself for the Elect only, since Election, as it is made in Christ, offered, dead, risen again, and having obtained eternal redemption by his blood, must be subsequent to the oblation.

You add — "Christ is the complete Savior of those, whom he saves, not only by his merits, but by efficaciously working their salvation." Who denies this? But the distinction is to be observed between these two functions and operations of Christ, the recovery, by his blood, of the salvation, which was lost by sin, and the actual communication or application, by the Holy Spirit, of the salvation obtained by his blood.

The former precedes, the latter requires, in accordance with the Divine decree, that faith should precede it. Therefore, though Christ may not be said to completely save those who are not actually saved, yet he is said to be the Savior of others than believers (1 Timothy 14:10). I do not see how that passage can be suitably explained, unless by the distinction between sufficient and efficacious salvation, or salvation as recovered and as applied. The passages, which you cite from the Fathers, partly have no relation to the matter now discussed, and partly are related to it, but they teach nothing else than that the death and passion of Christ, which are a sufficient price for the redemption of the sins of all men, in fact, profit the Elect only, and those who believe unto salvation. What you say in reference to the application is correct; but I wish that you would distinguish between it, and those things which precede it.

From what has already been said, the decree, in reference to the bestowment of the Mediator and to the salvation of believers through the Mediator, is prior to the decree of predestination, in which some are destined to salvation in Christ, and others are left to condemnation out of Christ. But you say that "the decree of election is the cause and the beginning of all the saving gifts and works in men." I grant it, but not in view of the fact that it is the decree of election, but in that it is the desire of the bestowment of grace. In that it is the decree of election, it is the cause that grace is bestowed only on those: for it is the opposite of reprobation, and necessarily supposes it. For there is no election without reprobation, and the term elect itself signifies loved, with the contrast of not loved at least in the same mode and decree, and restricts love to those who are styled elect with the exclusion of those who are styled the non-elect or reprobate. So far, then, as saving gifts are bestowed upon any one in that act which is called election, it is properly love; in that the bestowment is restricted to some, to the exclusion of others, it is called election.

From this, it is apparent, in the first place, that the love which is according to election, would not be less towards the elect than it now is, even if God should declare the same favor, and His own love towards all men in general. Secondly, they, who make the love of God, in Christ, the cause of the salvation of men, and that alone, do no injury to grace, even if they deny that such love is according to election, that is, restricted to a few by the decree of God. They may, indeed, deny that which is true, but without injury to grace or mercy; for I presupposed that they make the same love to be the cause of salvation, as they do, who contend for election. I know, indeed, that Augustine often said against the Pelagians, that "they who make the grace of God common to all, in effect, deny grace altogether;" but this assertion is not, in all respects, true; but it was valid against the Pelagians, and all those who, at that time, made the grace of God universal.

For they explained the grace of God, to be the gift bestowed equally on all by creation, in our original nature. I acknowledge, indeed, that, from the universality of grace, some consequences can be deduced, which will prove that the universality of grace may be indirectly opposed to that grace by which the elect are saved. But it should be known that those consequences are not, all of them, tenable, we examine them accurately, and I wish that you should demonstrate this.

You will thus effect much, not, indeed, in sustaining the view which you here specially advocate, but in sustaining the doctrine of election and reprobation in general. But it will be said that, by the reprobation of some, that is, by election joined with love, the elect are more fully convinced that the love of God towards themselves is not of debt, than they would be if that same love were bestowed by God upon all without any distinction. I, indeed, grant it, and the Scripture often uses that argument. Yet that love, toward us, can be proved to be gratuitous, and not of debt, and can be sealed upon our hearts, without that argument. It appears, then, that there is no absolute necessity of presenting that argument. I do not say these things because I wish that the doctrine of election should not be taught in our churches; far be it from me; but to show that this subject is to be treated with moderation, and without offense to weak believers, who, for the very reason that they hear that they can not be certain of salvation, unless they believe that which is taught concerning Election with the rejection of some, begin to doubt whether the sense of certainty of salvation, which they have at times enjoyed, is to be attributed to the testimony of the Holy Spirit, or to a certain persuasion and presumption in their own minds. I write this from experience. So much in reference to Election. Let us now consider its opposite — Reprobation.

But you define the decree of reprobation in a two-fold manner. First you say — "It is the work of divine providence, by which God decreed to pass by certain men, as to supernatural grace, that He might declare His justice and wrath in their due destruction." In my opinion, there are, in this definition, four faults, which, with your consent, I will exhibit, if I may be able to do so. The first fault is, you have made the decree of Reprobation, "the work, etc.," when, as it exists in God, it can, in no way, be called a work, which is something apart from that which produces it, existing after an act, and from an act produced by the efficaciousness or efficiency of an agent. I should prefer then to use the word "act" in this case, The second fault is — you do not well describe the object of that act, when you say — "certain men are passed by," without any mention of any condition required in the object, or any reference to the fact that the men spoken of are sinners. For sin is a condition, requisite in a man, to be passed by in reprobation, or, so to speak, in one capable of being passed by. This I shall briefly prove in a few arguments.

First, the Scripture acknowledges no reprobation of men, as having been made by God, unless its meritorious cause is sin. Secondly, since reprobation is the opposite of election, it follows, if divine election has reference to sinners, that reprobation has reference to persons of the same character. But Election, as I have previously shown, has reference to sinners. Thirdly, because that supernatural grace, which is denied by reprobation, is grace necessary to sinners only — namely, that of remission of sins, and the renewal of the Holy Spirit. Fourthly, because justice and wrath can not be declared, except against a sinner, for where there is no sin there can be no place either for wrath or punitive justice, (of which you here necessarily speak). Fifthly, because punishment is due to no one, unless he is a sinner, and you say that "the wrath of God and His justice are declared in the due destruction of the Reprobate."

When I make sin the meritorious cause of reprobation, do not consider me as, on the other hand, making righteousness the meritorious cause of Election. For sin is the meritorious cause of the reprobation of all sinners in general. But election is, not only of that grace which is not of debt, and which man has not merited, but also of that grace which takes away demerit. Even if the meritorious cause is supposed, the effect is not at once produced, unless by the intervention of His will, to whom it belongs to inflict due punishment, according to the merit of sin; but He has power to punish sin according to its desert, or to pardon it, of His grace in Christ.

Therefore, in both cases, in election and in reprobation,. the free-will of God is considered the proximate and immediate cause. If you oppose to me the common distinction, by which sin is said to be required in the object of the execution, but not in the object of the decree itself, I reply that it is not right that God should will to condemn any one, or will to pass by him without consideration of sin, as it is not right for Him, in fact, to pass by or condemn any one without the demerit of sin. It is, then, truly said, the cause of the decree and of its execution is one and the same.

Your third fault is, that of obscurity and ill-adjusted phraseology. For what is implied in the phrase "to pass by as to supernatural grace," instead of — to pass by in the dispensation and bestowment of supernatural grace? There is ambiguity, also, in the word "supernatural." Grace is supernatural, both as it is superadded to unfallen nature, bearing nature beyond itself, and as it is bestowed on fallen nature, changing it, and raising it to things heavenly and supernatural.

The fourth fault is, that you present a result of the preterition which coheres by no necessary copula, with the antecedent cause of the preterition. For sin is not presupposed to that act; sin does not of necessity exist from that act; one of which facts is necessarily required from the necessity of coherence between the act and its result. If, indeed, you say that sin necessarily results from that preterition, then you make God the Author of sin by a denial of the grace, without which, sin can not be avoided. But if that grace, which is denied to any one by preterition, is not necessary for the avoidance of sin, then a man could, without it, abstain from sin, and so not deserve destruction. If he could do this, that declaration of justice and wrath does not result from the act of decreed preterition. But you know that the parts of a definition should mutually cohere by a necessary copula, and that a result should not be proposed, which, even on the supposition of any act, does not result from that same act. For such a result would be incidental, and therefore, ought not to be found in a definition which is independent, and designed to convey absolute knowledge.

Let us, now, examine the other definition, which you have adduced, perhaps for the very reason, that you thought your former one somewhat unsound. It is this; — "The decree of reprobation is the purpose to permit any one to fall into sin, and to inflict the punishment of damnation on account of sin." I know that this definition is used by the School-men, and, among others, by Thomas Aquinas, for whose genius and erudition I have as high an esteem as any one; but he, here, seems to me to be under a kind of hallucination. First, because he makes the decree of reprobation to be antecedent to sin, which opinion I have already refuted. Secondly, because he attributes that permission to the decree of reprobation, which ought to be attributed to a certain other, more general decree, that of providence, as I will show. An act which has reference to all men, in general, apart from the distinction between the elect and the reprobate, is not an act of reprobation; for, in that act, God had reference to the reprobate only; — But that act of permission, by which God permitted man to fall into sin, is general, and extending to all men; for in Adam, all sinned (Romans 5). And all are "by nature the children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3); — That act, then, is not one of reprobation, but of mere general providence, regarding all men entirely without difference, and governing and administering their primitive state in the person of Adam. If you say that both are to be conjoined, the permission of the fall and the infliction of punishment, and that the whole subject, taken in a complex manner, is the proper act of reprobation, I answer that, on that principle, permission, according to which Adam, and in him, all his posterity fell, which is one and univocal, is resolved into two diverse matters, and thus becomes two-fold and equivocal; that is, into the decree of reprobation, by which the reprobate are permitted to fall, and the decree of providence, by which even the elect themselves are permitted to fall.

I add another argument, which, in my judgment indeed, is irrefutable.

Reprobation and Election are spoken of as things separate and opposite; one is not without the other. Hence, no act can be attributed to one of them, the opposite of which, either affirmative or negative, may not be attributed to the other. But no act, opposite to that of permission to fall, can be attributed to Election. There is but one act which is opposite to the act of permission, namely, hindrance from failing into sin. But no man, not even one of the elect, is hindered from falling into sin. For the elect themselves sinned in Adam. Therefore, the act of permission is not to be assigned to the decree of Reprobation. If you diligently consider this argument, you will see that it is clearly evident, from it, that permission to fall was prior both to Reprobation and to Election, and therefore the decree of Permission was prior to the decree of Election and Reprobation — prior, in order and nature. Then, also, that other peculiarity of reprobation remains, and as it presupposes sin, I conclude that men, as sinners, are the object of reprobation.

You limit, moreover, the decree of reprobation to two acts. "The former is the purpose to pass by certain men, and to illustrate justice in them." But what justice, unless it is punitive? If it is punitive, then it coincides with the second act — "the ordination to punishment." Others distinguish that same decree into the negative act of preterition, and the affirmative act of ordination to punishment. If you meant the same thing, you have not expressed it well, for punitive justice superintends the ordination of punishment, but the freedom of the divine will superintends preterition.

Your assertion that "this preterition has not its cause in men" will not be proved by any passage of Scripture, which every where teaches that all abandonment is on account of sin. Though this is so, yet it does not follow that "the mere good pleasure of God" is not the cause of abandonment. For God is free to leave or not to leave the sinner, who deserves abandonment; and thus, the will of God is the proximate and immediate cause of abandonment, and indeed the only cause in this respect, that when it is possible for Him not to forsake the sinner, He may yet sometimes do so.

For God dispenses, absolutely according to His own will, in reference to the merit of sin, whether, in His Son, to take it away, or, out of His Son, to punish it. And how, I pray, does it "interfere with the liberty of the good pleasure" — I would prefer the word pleasure — "of God," if He is said not to be able to forsake one who is not a sinner? For it is only in view of His justice that He is able to forsake one unless he is a sinner. And liberty does not describe the objects with which God is concerned, in the operations of His will, but the mode in which He pleases to operate in reference to any object.

I could wish that you would not attribute any freedom to the will of God which may impinge upon His justice. For justice is prior to the will, and is its rule, and freedom is attributed to the will as its mode. That mode, then, is limited by justice. Yet it will not, therefore, be denied that God is completely free in the acts of His will. Since then He is completely free in the acts of His will, not because He wills all things, but because He wills freely whatever He wills, in what respect is it contrary to the freedom of God, if He is said not to will certain things? For He can not, in His justice, will them, and His freedom is not limited by a superior being out of Himself, but by His own justice. In this sense, also, the will of God is said to be "the cause of causes, and out of which, or beyond which no reason is to be sought," which is true also according to my explanation. For if any one asks, "why does God leave one, and choose another?" the answer is — "because He wills it." If it be asked, — "but why does He will it?" The cause is found not out of Himself. But there is a cause why He could justly will to leave any one, and that cause is sin, not effecting actual desertion, but deserving it, and making the sinner worthy of abandonment, and certainly to be abandoned, if God should choose to punish him according to his demerit, which choice is allowed to His free-will.

Man is indeed as "clay in the hands of the potter," but it does not follow from this that God can justly make of that clay whatever it might be possible for Him to make by an act of His omnipotence. He can reduce to nothing the clay formed by Himself and made man, — for this belongs to Him by supreme right: but He can not hate the same clay, or be angry with it, or condemn it forever, unless that lump has become sinful by its own fault, and been made a lump of corruption. Thus also Augustine explains the passage in Romans 9, as having reference to the lump of corruption.

But you say, "if God had willed by His eternal decree to pass over men as sinners only, not as men, then He did not make them vessels of wrath, but He found them vessels of wrath, made such by themselves." I reply that ignorance of the phrase, which the apostle uses in Romans 9, is shown here. For "to make a vessel unto wrath," does not signify to sin or to make one worthy of wrath through sin; but it signifies to destine to just wrath him who has sinned and so made himself worthy of wrath, which is an act of the divine judgment, peremptory indeed, because it is an act of reprobation, but it has reference to man as a sinner, for sin alone is the meritorious cause of wrath. If you urge further that in the word "lump," men, not as made but as to be made, are signified, and that this is proved by the force of the word, shall deny that the force and radical meaning of the word is to be, here, precisely insisted upon, and shall assert that, in Scriptural use, the word is applied to men, not only as made but as sinners, and as those received into the grace of reconciliation, and transgressing of the covenant of grace; as in the prophet Jeremiah,

"Behold as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel" (chapter 18:6.)

In your third argument you turn aside from the controversy, and from the real state of the case, contrary to the law of correct disputation, and, therefore, you do not come to the conclusion which is sought, unless you may say that to reject grace is the same as to sin, which two things are indeed often distinguished in the Scriptures. For the Pharisees were already, in Adam, and, indeed, in themselves, sinners before they "rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized" of John (Luke 7:30). The Jews, of whom mention is made in Acts 13:46, were already sinners, in Adam and in themselves, before they made themselves unworthy of the grace of God, rejecting the word of life. But the question here is whether God passes by sinners, not whether he sees that they will reject grace.

Again, it does not follow that "reprobation, therefore, depends on men," if God reprobates no one unless reprobation and rejection is desired. For an effect can not be said to depend on that cause which, being in operation, does not certainly produce the effect. All men as sinners, but some of them, namely, the Elect, are not left; hence sin is not the cause of rejection, unless by the intervention of the damnatory sentence of the judge, in which it is decreed that sin shall be punished according to its demerit. Who does not know that the sentence depends on the judge, not on the criminal, even if the criminal has deserved that sentence by his own act, without which the judge could neither conceive, nor pronounce, nor execute the sentence. Nor does it follow "that God chooses some, and so they are chosen by Him, and that He rejects others, and, therefore, they are rejected." For sin, as to demerit, is common to the elect and the reprobate, according to the theory, which simply requires that men as sinners should be made the object of predestination, without any special distinction in the sin itself.

But you present, as a proof, that the foreseen neglect of grace is not the cause of rejection, the statement that "infants," dying out of the covenant of the gospel, have not neglected this grace, and yet are reprobate and "rejected by God." I affirm that they rejected the grace of the gospel in their parents, grand-parents, great-grand-parents, etc., by which act they deserved to be abandoned by God. I should desire that some solid reason might be presented to me why, since all his posterity have sinned, in Adam, against the law, and, on that account, have merited punishment and rejection, infants also, to whom, in their parents, the grace of the gospel is offered, and by whom, in their parents, it is rejected, have not sinned against the grace of the gospel. For the rule of the divine covenant is perpetual, that children are comprehended and judged in their parents.

The fourth argument, which you draw from Romans 9, does not relate to the present subject. For the apostle there treats of the decree, by which God determined to justify and to save those, who should be heirs of righteousness and salvation, not by works, but by faith in Christ; not of the decree by which He determined to save these or those, and to condemn others, or of that by which He determined to give faith to some, and to withhold it from others. This might be most easily demonstrated from the passage itself, and from the whole context, and I should do it, if time would permit. But this being granted, yet not acknowledged, namely, that the apostle excludes works as the basis of the decree, of which he here treats, yet that, which you intend to prove, will not follow. For Augustine interprets it of works, which were peculiar to each of them (Esau and Jacob), not common to both, such as original sin, in which they were both conceived, when God spoke to Rebecca (12th verse). This interpretation of Augustine is proved to be true from the fact that the apostle regards Jacob, as having done no good, and Esau, no evil, when it was said to their mother Rebecca, "the elder shall serve the younger," as if it might be thought that Esau, by evil deeds, had merited that he should be the servant of his younger brother, who, by his good deeds, had acquired for himself that prerogative. Therefore, it does not exclude all respect of sin — sins, to which they were both equally subject. That "will" of God, in which "Paul acquiesces," is not that, by which He has purposed to adjudge any one, not a sinner, to eternal death, but by which, of those who are equally sinners, to one He shows mercy, but another He hardens; which words indeed mark the pre-existence of sin. For mercy can be shown to no one, who is not miserable; and no one is miserable, who is not a sinner.

Hardening also has sin as its cause, that is, contumacious perseverance in sin.

But from your last argument, you deduce nothing against those, who make sin a requisite condition in the object of Predestination; for they acknowledge that "it is of the mere will of God that this one is elected, and that one rejected." The passage also which you cite from the author of the book "De vocatione gentium," also places sin as a condition, prerequisite to Predestination. For he is not "delivered" who has not been, first, made miserable and the captive of sin.

The second act of reprobation, you make to be "ordination to punishment," which you distinguish into "absolute and relative." There might be also a place for the same distinction, in the contrary act of election. For absolute election is a reception into favor; relative election is that, by which one person, and not another, is received into favor. You do rightly in making the will of God the cause of absolute ordination, yet not to the exclusion of sin. For it is very true that, in the Deity, there is the same cause of willing and doing that which He has decreed. Sin also has the same relation to ordination as to damnation. It has the relation of meritorious cause to damnation, hence it has also the relation of meritorious cause to, ordination. There is likewise no probable relation, to which a contrary can not be conceived. Therefore, it can not be absolutely denied that "sin is the cause of the decree of damnation." For though it may not be the immediate, proximate or principal cause, yet it is the meritorious cause, without which God can not justly ordain any one to punishment. But I should desire the proof that "sin does not precede, in the relation of order, in the divine prescience, that former act" of preterition and rejection. There is, indeed, in my judgment, no passage of Scripture, which contains that idea; I wish that one may be adduced.

"Relative ordination is that by which this person, and not that, is ordained to punishment, and on the same condition." God has indeed the power of punishing and of remitting sin, according to His will, nor is He responsible to any one, unless so far as He has bound Himself by His own promises.

In this, also, "the liberty of the divine goodness is exhibited," but not in this only. For the same thing is declared in creation itself, and in the dispensation of natural blessings, in this, that He determined that one part of Nothing should be heaven, another the earth, a third the air, etc. Indeed He has in creation demonstrated "the same liberty in the bestowment of supernatural blessings." For He has honored some of His creatures with supernatural gifts, as angels and men, and others, indeed all others, He has made without supernatural gifts. He has likewise demonstrated the same freedom, not only in the creation, but in the government and care of His rational creatures, since He has made a communication of supernatural felicity, according to the fixed law and pleasure of His own will. From which angels and men could understand that God was free to communicate it to them according to His own will. This is declared by the arbitrary prescription of its condition. I make this remark that no one may think, that the act, which we now discuss, was the first act by which God evinced the freedom of His will.

Your words — "and indeed if God should destroy and damn all those who are rejected by Him, yet He would not be unjust," I can not approve, and you will not, if you compare your previous statements with them. For you said that ordination to punishment is subsequent to sin in the order of nature, and, here, you do not place sin between rejection, which is the first act of reprobation, and damnation, which is the second; while damnation does not follow rejection immediately, but it follows sin. Those words; so to speak, also contain a manifest falsity. First, because

"the judge of all the earth can not do right, if He should slay the righteous with the wicked" (Genesis 18:25);

and sin is the single and only meritorious cause of damnation.

"Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book" (Exodus 32:33).

"The soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). Secondly, because that rejection is the cause into which sin can be resolved, and, therefore, the cause of sin, by the mode of removal, or non-bestowment of that aid, without which sin can not be avoided. No small error is committed here, in the fact that, when you do not suppose sin to be previous to rejection and divine preterition, you yet make ordination to punishment subsequent to rejection, without any explanation of the coherence of both those acts. If you attempt this, you will fall into no less a fault; for you will make God, on account of that rejection, the author of sin, as can be shown by irrefutable arguments. The illustrations, which you propose, are not adapted to your design, and fail through want of analogy. For it is one thing to kill a beast, by which deed it ceases to exist and is not rendered miserable, or to exclude from your house one whom you do not please to admit, and a very different thing to condemn a man to eternal punishment, which is far more severe than to annihilate the same person.

"The cause of this relative reprobation is the mere will of God without any consideration of sin," namely, that which may have any effect in making a distinction between different persons, but not in giving the power to ordain certain persons to punishment, which power indeed exists in God as Lord and Judge, but can not really be exercised except towards a sinner who deserves punishment from the equity of divine justice. That which you quote from Augustine and Gregory agrees with this distinction. For both make sin the meritorious cause of reprobation, and consider sin and sinners as altogether prerequisite to predestination; but attribute the act of separation to the mere will of God.

In this "second act of reprobation," you make two "steps, just rejection, and, damnation on account of sin." It is apparent, from this, that you distinguish between that rejection which you made the first step of reprobation, and this latter rejection. Yet you do not state the distinction between those two rejections, which, however, ought to have been done, to avoid confusion. Yet it may be right to conjecture, since you make the former prior to sin, that you would make the latter consequent upon sin, and existing on account of the desert of sin. You make the divine rejection two-fold, but do not explain whether you mean, here, the latter, which you consider the first step in the second act of reprobation, or divine rejection in general. It is not the former, in my judgment, for that, as it pertains to the second act of reprobation, is on account of sin; and this is considered by you to be prior to sin. Perhaps it is the same with the rejection, which is the first act of reprobation. If so, you can not in the passages now referred to, escape the charge of confused discussion.

Let us see how you explain that twofold rejection. You say that the former is "the denial of aid, confirmation, and assisting grace, by which the first is rendered efficacious for the resistance of temptations, and for perseverance in goodness," and you style it "rejection of trial or test" and affirm that it occurs in the case of those "who have not yet forsaken God," illustrating it from the example of the first man, Adam. But I inquire of you, whether you consider that aid, confirmation, and assisting grace so necessary for perseverance in goodness, that, without it, a man could not resist temptation? If you reply affirmatively, consider how you can excuse, from the responsibility of sin, the Deity, who has denied to man, apart from any fault in him, the gifts and aids necessary to perseverance in goodness. If negatively, then indeed, tell me by what right you call this a rejection by God. Can he be said to be rejected by God, who is adorned and endued with grace, rendering him acceptable, provided with all gifts and aids necessary to perseverance in goodness, and even fortified by the help of the Holy Spirit to resist temptation? If you speak in accordance with Scriptural usage you can not call it rejection. You will say that it is not called, in an absolute sense, rejection, but in a certain respect, — that is, so far that God affords to him, on whom He has bestowed all those things — not efficacious aid, not actual confirmation in goodness, not that assisting grace, without which the former graces are inefficacious. This is apparent, you say, from the event, since, if he had obtained also those helps, he would have been steadfast in goodness, he would not have fallen.

This you express in quoting from Augustine: — "God rejected man, not as to ability, but as to will." If he had possessed the latter, he would have maintained his integrity.

Here we enter on a discussion of the utmost difficulty, and scarcely explicable, at least by myself, as yet but a tyro, and not sufficiently acquainted with those heights of Sacred Theology. Yet I will venture to present some thoughts, trusting to the grace of Him, who gives wisdom to babes, and sight to the blind. You will assist me in part, that, by our mutual conference, the light may shine with greater brightness. For I have undertaken to write not against you, but to you, for the sake both of learning and of teaching.

I see here two things which will need explanation from me. First, in reference to sufficient and efficacious grace. Secondly, in reference to the administration and dispensation of both, and the causes of that dispensatio


We have, thus far, examined your doctrine of Predestination. If now it may seem proper to you to correct it according to our observations, it will, without doubt, be free from the liability to be called "Manichean," "Stoic," "Epicurean," or even "Pelagian"; though, as set forth by you, it is free from the imputation of the last error. It can not be with equal ease acquitted of the former, to him, who shall accurately compare not only your opinion, but the logical consectaries of your opinion, with the dogmas of the Manichees, and the Stoics. Some would deduce Epicureism also from the same opinion, but only by means of a series of conclusions. I wish that you had with sufficient perspicuity vindicated your doctrine from those objections. You, indeed, attempt to do this in answering the various allegations, usually made against the doctrine, set forth by you. We will consider these, with your answers in order.



It is true that your theory, manifestly includes the very doctrine which is stated in that allegation. Therefore, in that accusation, no sentiment contrary to your opinion and doctrine is attributed to you. It is also true, that the allegation contains no offense. For the Scripture in plain terms declares that "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).

"Fear not, little flock" (Luke 12:32). In your reply, you show most clearly that nothing false is charged upon your theory, in that allegation. I do not, indeed, think that there is any one who can object, on this account, to that theory. For even all heretics, with whom we have become acquainted, think that the elect are few; many of them, and, I would dare to say, all of them, believe that "the few are known to God, and so definitely, that the number can be neither increased nor diminished, and they, who are numbered, can not be varied." But they offer another explanation of the term election, contrary to, or at least different from your idea. You ought, then, to have presented this allegation, not in such terms, that it could be made against you only by a foolish opponent — but as it would be stated by those who are opposed to your view. For they do not object to your theory, because you say that "certain persons, and few in number, are elected by God," but because you consider that "God, by a naked and absolute decree, without any reference to sin or unbelief, elected certain men, and that they were few; and that, by the same decree, He rejected the residue of the multitude of men, to whom He did not give Christ, and to whom He did not design that the death of Christ should be of advantage."

But something shall be said of the allegation in that form, under the other allegations referred to by you.



In that allegation, the word "men" should have been limited and restricted to certain men, namely, to those about to perish. For no one will impute to you such an opinion in reference to all men, since all know that you except and exclude the elect from that number. You ought then, to have set forth that allegation thus; — "We teach that God ordained some men, as men, without any consideration of sin, to hell-fire, and created them, that He might destroy them." This is, indeed, a serious allegation, and contains a great slander, if it is falsely charged upon you. If it is a true charge, you ought, by all means, to endeavor to free and relieve yourself of it, by a change of sentiment. I admit that you, and they, who agree with you in opinion, are not accustomed to speak in this way. But it is to be considered whether or not you assert what is equivalent to this, and if that shall be proved, you are held convicted of the charge. I will now, for the time, take the place of those who accuse you, yet being by no means myself an accuser; and do you see to it, whether I plead their cause well, and convict you of that charge.

He, who makes hell-fire the punishment of sin, who ordains that the first man, and in him all men, shall sin, who so, by his providence, governs that first man that he shall of necessity, sin, and shall not be able, in fact, to avoid sin, in consequence of which he, and all in him, commit sin, who, finally, certainly and irrevocably decrees in Himself to leave in Adam (i.e.

in depravity) most of these, who shall sin in Adam, and to punish sin in them by hell-fire, is said, most deservedly, to have ordained to hell-fire, by an absolute decree, some, and indeed most men, as men, apart from any consideration of sin, or any demerit on their part. There is a connection between their sin and hell-fire, from the position of that law which is sanctioned by penalty, and by the decree of God in reference to withholding the pardon of their sin. Sin is also, of necessity, connected with the decree of God, and, in truth, it depends on it, so that man could not but sin, otherwise there would be no place for the decree. From which it follows, that God has absolutely ordained very many to hell-fires since He ordained men to the commission of sins and absolutely decreed to punish sin in many.

But I will prove, that you and those who agree with you, hold each of these opinions. First, you say, and truly, that hell-fire is the punishment ordained for sin and the transgression of the law. Secondly, you say that God ordained the first man, and in him, all men should sin; you not only say this, but you also adduce the reason of that decree and divine ordination, that God, in that way, might declare His righteousness and mercy, in which His glory chiefly consists, for which there could be no place except through sin and by occasion at it. Thirdly, you add that God, by His providence, so arranged the primeval state of man that, though, as far as his own liberty was concerned, he might be able to stand and not fall, yet he should, in fact, fall and commit sin. These two things are mutually connected; for that God might attain the object of His own act of ordination, it was necessary that He should so arrange the whole matter that the object should be attained. But you do not make prescience of sin the foundation of that administration; wherefore it is necessary that you should consider, as presiding over it., the omnipotence of God, to resist which, the man would have neither the power nor the will. This being so considered, you make a necessity of committing sin. To all these things you add, moreover, the irrevocable decree of God, by which he determined to punish, without mercy and of mere justice, sin committed according to that decree. From this, I think that it is most clearly evident, that when that allegation is made against you, nothing is charged upon you which is foreign to your sentiment.

I now consider the other part of the allegation, in which it is asserted that, according to your doctrine, "God created men that He might destroy them." The truth of this allegation is evident from this, that you say that God created men for this purpose, that He might declare, in these, His mercy, and in those, His justice, and indeed His punitive justice — which is the opposite of mercy — and apart from foresight. From which it follows, as punitive justice destroys men, that God created some men that He might destroy them. For punitive justice and the destruction of man are connected, and the former can not be declared except by the latter. It is evident then that nothing, foreign to your theory is charged against you in the whole of that allegation.

Indeed I think that you wished to show favor to your own sentiment, when you made the charge less than it deserved. For it is much worse that God should have ordained men to sin, and should have created them that they might sin, than to have ordained them to hell-fire, and to have created them that He might destroy them. For if sin is a worse evil than damnation, as it is, evidently, since the former is opposed to divine good, and the latter to human good, then truly is it greater to ordain one to sin than to ordain to hell, to create a man that he might sin, than that he might perish. If, however, accuracy of statement is to be sought, it should be affirmed that, if a man is ordained to commit sin, then he can not sin. For sin is a voluntary act, and the decree of God in reference to sin introduces a necessity of sinning. Further, if a man is created that he may be condemned, then he can not be condemned by God. For condemnation is the act of a just judge. But a just judge does not condemn one unless he is wicked by his own fault, apart from necessity; and he is not wicked, apart from necessity, and of his own fault, who is created that he may sin, and thus perish.

Let us now examine your answer to this second allegation. You think that you blunt and confute it by a distinction in the second act of reprobation, but it is not so. For you freely admit that God, by His absolute purpose, deserted the creature, from which desertion, sin, according to your opinion, necessarily exists; otherwise you can not connect punitive justice with desertion, except in view of a condition; namely, the contingency that man should sin after that desertion. Therefore you admit what is imputed, in that allegation, to your theory, you do not confute the charge. You also blend, in a confused way, the permission of the fall, and the permission, by which God allows one to finally fail of blessedness. For these are not the same, or from the same cause. For all have fallen by the divine permission, but many do not finally perish in their fallen condition; and permission of the fall depends on the divine providence, which is general over the whole human race; and the final permission to remain in that fallen condition depends on reprobation, and only relates to some persons. Your assertion, also, that "sin is subsequent to the desertion and permission of God," is to be understood as referring to that permission, by which He permits man to fall into sin, which pertains to providence, not to that permission by which He suffers some to finally fail of blessedness, which pertains to reprobation. For sin is the cause of this latter permission, that is, the meritorious cause, as has now been frequently stated.

We, now, examine the testimonies which you present. In the remark of Lombardus, the phrase "future demerits" is to be understood to refer to what one has different from another. But common demerits, though they may not be the moving cause, yet they are the meritorious cause, and a condition requisite in the object of reprobation. So also the assertion of Jerome is to be referred to the doing good or evil, by which the brothers were distinguished from each other, and not to sin, in which they were both conceived. This is apparent from what he says: — "and their election and rejection displayed not the desert of each, but the will of him who elected and rejected. In the remark of Anselm that which I claim is clearly apparent. For he says, that "God does justly, if He rejects sinners." The word "miserable," used in another remark of the same father, indicates the same thing. With these agree the remarks of Thomas Aquinas and Augustine. For the question is not whether the will of God is the cause of election and reprobation, but whether it has sin as an antecedent, as the meritorious cause of reprobation, and a requisite condition in the object both of election and of reprobation, which is most true, according to the views always held by Augustine. The word "conversion," used by Thomas Aquinas, and the word "drawing," used by Augustine, make sin the antecedent to the act of the will which "converts" and "draws." We would examine the testimonies of other School-men, if their authority was of much weight with us. But I make this remark, that there is no one of those testimonies, which excludes the sin of Adam — and that of men in common with him — from the decree of Predestination, and some of them, indeed, clearly the same in that decree. For when the words "grace" and "mercy" are used, there is a tacit reference to sin.

That "the latter act" — that of destruction — takes place "in reference to sin," is certain, but it is in reference to sin, not by any previous decree ordained to take place, but ordained to be punished in some by justice, and to be remitted in others by grace, when it has been committed. This explanation, however, does not show that "the allegation is a slander," unless you, at the same time, show that sin did not necessarily exist from that decree of reprobation or from some other.

Your second answer consists only in words. For an act, if it is unjust, is not excused by its end or object. It is unjust to destroy a man apart from sin, and it remains unjust, even if any one may say that it is done "for the declaration of judgment," or "for declaring judgment"; and that, which is added, seems absurd — that "this is done for declaring judgment in just destruction," as it can not be just unless it is inflicted on account of sin.

The statement, that "God pleases to punish, with due destruction, a man, not as he is a man, but as he is a sinner," has the force of a sound answer, on the condition that the man has sinned freely, not of necessity. For the necessity and inevitability of sinning excuses from sin, and frees from punishment, him who commits that act. I say act, and not sin, because an act, which one necessarily and inevitably commits, can not be called sin.

The apparent distinction, by which a man is said to sin freely in respect to himself, but necessarily in relation to the divine decree, has no effect in warding off this blow; since it can not be that one should do freely that, which he does necessarily, or that one act can be performed necessarily, that is, can not but be performed, and yet contingently, that is, can possibly not be performed. For this is at variance with the first principles of universal truth, in reference to whatever it is proper to make an affirmation or negation. I know that some defend this distinction by referring to the example of God Himself, of whom they assert that He is both freely and necessarily good. But this assertion is incorrect. So false, indeed, is it that God is freely good, that it is not much removed from blasphemy. God is, what He is, necessarily, and if He is freely good, He can be not good, and who has ever said that those things which are in Him, of nature and essence, are in Him freely? The assertion of Cameracensis is indeed partly blasphemous, partly true.

It is blasphemous to say that "God can, without loss or detriment to His justice, punish and afflict eternally His own innocent creature." It is true that "God can annihilate one of His creatures apart from sin." But punishment and annihilation are very different. The latter is to deprive of that, which had been graciously bestowed, the former is to render one miserable, and indeed infinitely miserable, and apart from any demerit on account of sin. Misery is far worse than annihilation, as Christ says—

"It had been good for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24).

That it is contrary to the divine justice to punish one, who is not a sinner, appears from very many declarations of Scripture.

"That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked" (Genesis 18:25).

"Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book" (Exodus 32:33)

"Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you, who are troubled, rest with us" (2 Thessalonians 1:6, 7).

"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love," etc., (Hebrews 6:10).

The saying of Wisdom (chapter 12), quoted by Cameracensis, likewise teaches the contrary of what he attempts to prove from it. For it treats of the perdition of unrighteous nations, and, in plain words, declares in the 15th verse — "For so much, then, as thou art righteous thyself, thou orderest all things righteously, thinking it not agreeable with thy power to condemn him that hath not deserved to be punished." I grant, indeed, that the error of Cameracensis was caused by the fault of the old version. But you can not be excused on the account of this. For you ought to omit the testimony of an author who is led into an error by the fault of a version, since you are acquainted with it from the Greek text itself, and from translations better than that ancient one. It is true that "God is not bound by created laws," for He is a law unto Himself, He is justice itself. That law, also, according to which no one is permitted to inflict punishment upon the undeserving was not created, or made by men, and it has place not among men only. It is an eternal law, and immovable in the divine justice to which God is bound in the immutability of His nature, and righteousness. It is not universally true, that "whatever is right, is right because God so wills it," as there are many things which God wills, because they are right. It is right that God alone should be acknowledged by the creature to be the true God. We affirm that God wills this because it is right, not that it is right because God wills it. The act of simple obedience is right, not because God wills that it should be performed by the creature, but because it is such in itself, and God can not but require it of the creature, though it may belong to free-will to prescribe in what matter He wills that obedience should be rendered to Him. As far as we are concerned, also, it is truly our duty in reference to laws, divinely enacted for us, not so much to see whether that which they command is just in itself, but simply to obey them, because God prescribes and commands it.

Yet this duty is founded on the fact that God can not prescribe that which is unjust, because that He is essential justice, and wisdom, and omnipotence.

I had designed to omit a more extended examination of the remarks, quoted by you, from the Scholastic Theologians; but I will say a few words. "The four signs of Francis Maro, necessary for understanding the process of predestination and reprobation" of which he speaks, are of no value, are notoriously false, and are confused in their arrangement. In the sentence from D. Baunes, the "permission by which all nature was permitted to fall in Adam" is absurdly ascribed to reprobation, as that permission, and the fall which followed it, extended to the whole human race, without distinction of the elect and the reprobate. Those "four things," which, Ferrariensis says, "are found in the reprobate," are not in him, as reprobate, and in respect to the decree of reprobation, but the latter two, only; for "the permission of the fall and sin," to use his own words, are found in the elect, and pertain to the more general decree of providence, by which God left man to the freedom of his own will, as has been before and frequently said. Therefore, arguments, other than these, should have been presented by you, for the refutation of that charge. I very much wish that you would cite Scripture for the confirmation of your sentiments and the overthrow of those allegations. The writings of the School-men, ought not to have weight and authority, especially among us; for our Doctors of Theology with one voice affirm of them, "that they have changed true Theology into Philosophy, and the art of wrangling, and that they endeavor to establish their opinions, by the authority, not so much of the Sacred Scriptures, as of Aristotle."



This is, indeed, a heavy charge, and yet it is set forth in a milder form by you, than by those who make it. You ought to add those things which pertain essentially to this allegation, and are charged by them upon you and your doctrine. Such are these — "It would follow from this, ‘that God is the Author of sin; that God really sins; that God alone sins; and that sin is not sin,"’ which Bellarmine charges against the sentiment of certain of our doctors — the sentiment also, which you seem to defend. But the reason that they present all those things, as opposed to your doctrine, is this: — You say that all things happen by the efficacious will of God, which can not be resisted, and that events do not occur, because God, by an absolute decree, has determined that they should not occur. From this, it follows, also, that sinful acts are performed by the will of God, which can not be resisted, and that righteous acts are omitted, because God has simply and absolutely decreed that they shall not be performed; and therefore, that God is the Author of sin, and the preventer of righteousness and of good acts. From which it is inferred that God, truly and properly speaking, sins; and, since the necessity, from which men perform such acts, acquits them from sin, it follows that God alone sins, just as He alone is responsible, who strikes a blow by the hand of another person, of which he has laid hold. But since God can not sin, it follows that sin is not sin.

Hence, it seems to me that no injustice is done to your doctrine by that allegation.

But let us see how you dispose of it. Neglecting the general charge, you begin your discussion with that part which refers to the fall of Adam. You admit that this occurred "not only according to the prescience of God, but also by His will and decree; yet," as you explain it — "by His will, not approving or effecting it, yet not prohibiting, but permitting it." This distinction, properly used, indeed, solves the difficulty. If it is your opinion and the opinion of others, that God did not approve, and did not effect the fall; did not incite, and did not impel Adam to fall; did not lay upon him any necessity of sinning, either by acting or not acting, but only willed not to prevent, but to permit the fall of Adam; then, I acknowledge that all those things are unjustly alleged against your sentiment. You, indeed, make this statement verbally, while in fact you so explain permission or non-prevention, that it amounts to the "efficient decree of God." This I will prove. You say, "What God does not prevent, occurs, because God does not prevent it, the reason of the non-existence of a fact, or event, is that God does not will that it should exist." I conclude, therefore, that the divine permission or non-prevention, and the event are mutually, and indeed immediately connected, as cause and effect. Thus, also, non-prevention has the relation of energetic performance. Therefore, likewise, the volition of God, and the non-existence or event of a thing are mutually connected as cause and effect, and hence, a volition that a thing shall not be done, has the relation of energetic prevention. This I show, more extendedly, in this manner.

Sin is twofold, of Commission and Omission — of Commission, when that is performed which has been forbidden — of Omission, when that is not performed which has been commanded. There is, in your opinion, a concurrence in that act which can not be committed by a man without sin, and indeed such a concurrence that God is the first cause of the act, and man is the second, the former moving man, the latter moved by God, and, indeed, moving, in such sense, that man, of necessity, follows that motion, and consequently of necessity performs that act which involves transgression. Not to prevent sin of omission is, in your opinion, not to give that grace without which sin can not be omitted, and the contrary good can not be performed. But he, who, in that manner, concurs, and denies such grace, is absolutely the chief and efficient cause of sin, and indeed, the only cause, as the joint cause of the act — man, since he can not resist the motion of the first cause, can not sin in following that irresistible motion. But, if you can so explain your sentiment and that of others, that it shall not, in reality, differ from it, then I shall not object to it.

You will not escape by the distinction that "it is one thing to will a thing per se, and another to will it as to the event," unless, by the "event" of a thing, you understand that which results from the prolongation and the existence of the thing itself, which is not your sentiment. For you say that "God wills the event of sin," that is, "that sin should happen, but does not will sin itself;" which distinction is absurd. For the essence of sin consists in the event, for sin consists in action. God, also, wills sin itself, in the mode in which He wills that sin should happen, and He wills that sin should happen in the mode in which He wills sin itself. He does not love sin per se. He wills that sin should happen for His own glory; He wills also sin for His own glory. I speak this in the sense used by yourself.

Show, if you can, the difference, and I will acquiesce.

Your assertion, that "God wills not to prevent sin," is ambiguous, unless it is explained. What! Has not God hindered sin, as far as was suitable, and according to the mode in which it is right for Him to treat a rational creature, namely, by legislation, threatening, promise, the bestowment of sufficient grace, and even the promise of His assistance, if man would consent to have recourse to it? This he could do, or we go infinitely astray.

But He did not hinder sin by any omnipotent or physical action, because that would not have been inappropriate; He would have thus prevented man from using that primeval liberty in which He had placed him; and, by consequence, as we have elsewhere quoted from Tertullian, "He would have rescinded His own arrangement."

It is rightly said, that God properly, and primarily, and, we may add, immediately, willed His own permission. But it does not thence follow, that God also willed the event of sin. For it is a non-sequitur — "God voluntarily permits sin, therefore, He wills that sin should happen." The contrary is true, — "God voluntarily permits sin; therefore, He neither wills that sin should happen, nor wills that it should not happen." For permission is an act of the will when inoperative which inoperativeness of the will may here be properly ascribed to the Deity, since He endowed man with free-will, that He might test his free and voluntary obedience. He could not have done this, if He had imposed an inseparable hindrance upon man. But the cause of the occurrence of that which God permits is not the permission, although it would not happen without that permission. He who performs the act is the proper and immediate cause, with the concurrence of the Deity, which is always prepared for him. But permission can not be resolved into a cause per se, if we are to treat this subject accurately and truthfully, but only into a cause sine qua non, or one which removes, or, rather, does not present a hindrance, and indeed such a hindrance as I have referred to, which cannot be resisted by the creature.

Your statement, "as no good thing can exist or be done, except by the agency of the Deity, so no evil can be avoided, unless God hinders it," is true, if rightly understood; that is, the agency of the Deity being that, by which He may suitably effect what is good by means of a rational and free creature, and the hindrance of God being that, by which He may suitably hinder a free creature from that which is evil. But the limit both of doing and hindering is such that it does not deprive man of freedom, but permits him, also, freely and of his own will, according to the mode of will, to do good and to abstain from evil. Otherwise good is not performed by man, and evil is not avoided by him, but an act, only, is performed or avoided, by a necessity either natural or supernatural. Those words, also, are susceptible of amendment, if any one should wish to discuss these things with greater accuracy. The statement might have been this: "As no good is, or is done, except by the agency of God, so no evil is avoided, except by the hindrance of God." For by the agency of God, good not only can be but is done, and by His hindrance, evil not only can be, but is hindered.

But if you wish to retain that word "can," you ought to have expressed your ideas in this way: "As nothing good can be, or can be done, unless God wills to do it, or to give to another the power and the will to do it, and to concur with him in doing it, so nothing evil can be avoided unless God wills to give, and actually does give strength sufficient for the avoidance of sin, and wills to call out that strength and to co-operate with it." In this sense, "not even the least thing is done without the will of God, namely, either willing that it should be done, or willing not to prevent, but to permit, that it should be done." It is not true that "providence is inactive" in permission, even explained in such a manner as to coincide neither with that will of God, by which He wills that something shall be done, nor with that by which He wills that something shall not be done. If it coincides with either of these, there is no permission, and the assertion of Augustine — "nothing is done except by the agency or permission of God," is without force.

I now examine some arguments, which you present in favor of your view.

The first is deduced from several passages of Scripture. Let us see now what can be proved from these passages. The passage in Acts 2:23, teaches, not that God willed that the Jews should slay Christ, but, that he was "delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" into the power of those who wished to slay him. Nothing more can be inferred from Acts 4:28. For God predetermined to deliver His own Son into the hands of his enemies, that He might suffer from them that which God had laid upon him, and which the Jews, of their own wickedness and hatred against Christ, had determined to inflict upon him. God, indeed, "determined before" that death should be inflicted on Christ by them; but in what character did God consider them when He "determined before" that this should be done by them? In that character, surely, which they had at the time when they inflicted death upon Christ, that is, in the character of sworn enemies of Christ, of obstinate enemies and contemners of God and the truth; who could be led to repentance by no admonitions, prayers, threats or miracles; who wished to inflict every evil on Christ, if they could only obtain the power over him, which they had often sought in vain.

It is evident, then, that there was here no other action of God in this case than that He delivered His own Son into their hands, and permitted them to do their pleasure in reference to him, yet determining the limit to which He pleased that they should go, regulating and governing their wickedness, in such a manner, yet very gently, that they should inflict on him only that which God had willed that His own Son should suffer, and nothing more.

This is clearly seen in the very manner of his punishment, in preventing the breaking of his legs, in the piercing of his side, in the inscription of the title, and the like. But there appears here no action of God by which they were impelled or moved to will and to do what they willed and did; but He used those who wished, of their own malice and envy, to put Christ to death, in a mode, which, He knew, would conduce to His own glory and the salvation of men.

But the reason that it cannot be said, with truth, that God and Christ, in the delivery of Christ to the Jews, sinned, does not consist, only or chiefly, in the fact that they were led to this delivery by various motives.

What if Judas had done the same thing with the design that Christ, by his own death, should reconcile the world unto God, would his sin have been less heinous? By no means. It was not lawful for him to do evil that good might come. But the chief reason of the difference is that God had the right to deliver His Son, and Christ, also, had the right to deliver his own soul to death, and consequently, in doing this, they could not sin. But Judas had no power in this case, and he, therefore, sinned. There is a distinction in actions not only as to their end, but as to their principle and form. Saul was not acquitted of sin, because he preserved the herds of the Amalekites for sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:9-22).

Again, what is implied by that inference? — "therefore, we may also say that, when Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, he did that which the hand and counsel of God foreordained to be done?" This, indeed, never was the language of the apostles and of the church, and never could be, in matters having so much dissimilarity. For the relation of Adam and of those enemies of Christ is not the same. The former, previous to eating the fruit, was holy and righteous; the latter, before the death of Christ, were wicked, unrighteous, unfriendly, and hostile to Christ. The latter, in all their desires, sought for, and frequently and in many ways, attempted to put Christ to death. Adam was disinclined to eat of the forbidden fruit, even when he was enticed to it by his wife, who had already transgressed. The death of Christ was necessary for the expiation of sins, and was, per se, declarative of the glory of God; the fall of Adam was wholly unnecessary, and, per se, violated the majesty and glory of God. He needed not the sin of man for the illustration of His own glory. What, likewise, can be imagined more absurd than that circular reasoning? "The death of Christ was foreordained by God, that it might expiate the sin of Adam; the fall of Adam was foreordained, that it might be expiated by the death of Christ."

Where is the beginning and where is the end of that ordination? Nevertheless God ordained the fall of Adam, not that it should occur, but that, occurring, it should serve for an illustration of His justice and mercy.

The passage in 1 Peter 3:17, is to be explained in a similar manner. "God wills that the pious should suffer evils," for their chastening and trial. He wills that they should suffer these evils from other men; but from men of what character? From those, who of their own wickedness and the instigation of Satan, already will to bring those evils upon them, which ill will God already foresaw, at the time when He predetermined that those evils should be inflicted upon the pious. Therefore, they were moved, by no act of God, to will to inflict evils upon the pious; they were moved, also, by no act to inflict evils, unless by an act such as ought rather to move them from that volition, and to deter them from that infliction; such as would, in fact, have moved and deterred them, unless they had been deplorably wicked. The doctrine, life, and miracles of Christ and the Apostles, drew upon them the odium and hatred of the world.

The fact that God is declared, in 2 Samuel 16:10, to have said unto Shimei, "Curse David," also, if rightly explained, presents no difficulty. Let Shimei, and David, and the act which may be called "the precept of cursing," be considered. Shimei was already a hater of David, of most slanderous tongue, and bitter mind, impious, and a contemner of God and the divine law, which had commanded "Thou shalt not curse the rule of thy people (Exodus 22:28)." David, by his own act against God and his neighbor, had rendered himself worthy of that disgrace, and altogether needed to be chastened and tried by it; he was, moreover, endued with the gift of patience to endure that contumely with equanimity. The act of God was the ejection and expulsion of David from the royal city and from the kingdom. In consequence of this occurred the flight of David, the fact that the rumor of that flight came to the ears of Shimei, and the arrangement that David and Shimei should meet together. Thus, by the act of God, David, fleeing and driven before his son, was presented to Shimei "a man of the family of the house of Saul," and an enemy of David, ready to curse him. Add, if you please, the hardening of the mind of Shimei, lest he should fear to curse David, on account of the attendants of David, that so he might, in some way, satisfy his own mind and his inveterate hatred against David. Therefore, that opportunity, by which David, in his flight, was presented to Shimei, and the hardening of the mind of Shimei, divinely produced, and also the direction of that cursing tongue, were acts pertaining to that precept of God, apart from which acts, nothing in that precept can be presented, which would not impinge on the justice of God, and make God the author of sin.

A comparison of all these things will show that Shimei, not so much as God, was the author of that malediction. Shimei was alone the author of the volition, yet it is rather to be attributed to God, as He effected that which He willed, not by moving Shimei to the malediction, but by procuring for Shimei the opportunity to curse David, and the confidence to use that opportunity. From this, it appears, most plainly, that God is without blame, and Shimei is involved in guilt. The passages — Jeremiah 34:22, and Samuel 3:37 — will be explained similarly, and will present no difficulty. From an examination of these, it will appear that they have no reference to the fall of Adam, — which was the beginning of sin; and all other evils have place, sin having now entered into the world, and men having become depraved by sin.

We proceed to your second argument, that "God voluntarily permits sin" is certain, and it is equally certain that "the will to permit is the will not to prevent." But pause here. The will to permit or not to prevent, is not the same with "the will not to bestow grace." For He permits that person to fall, to whom he has given grace sufficient and necessary to enable him to stand. Let us proceed. You say that "He, who does not will to prevent sin, which he foreknows will happen, by confirming grace when he can do it, in fact wills that the same should happen." But I deny that the volition of sin can be deduced from the nolition of preventing or hindering. For there are three things distinct from each other, no one of which includes another — "to will that sin should not be committed," that is, to will its prevention; "to will that it should occur or be committed," that is, to will its commission; and "to will to prevent or not to prevent it," that is, to will its permission or non-prevention. The former two are affirmative acts, the last one a negative act. But an affirmative act can not be deduced from a negative for there is more in an affirmative than in a negative act, and there can not be more in a conclusion than in the premises.

Further, I say that your argument, on this point, is fallacious. For God wills to permit sin in one respect, and to hinder it in another — to hinder it so far as would be appropriate, which hindrance is not followed of certainty, by the omission of sin, and to not to hinder it, in another mode, which hindrance would, indeed, be followed by the omission of sin, yet without any virtue or praiseworthiness in him who omits it, as he can not do otherwise than omit it on account of that hindrance. But I may be allowed to argue, in opposition to such a view, that He, who hates sin and by the enactment of law and the bestowment of sufficient grace wishes to hinder, wills, not that sin should happen, but that sin should not happen, which is an affirmative act of the will. You will say that this is a correct conclusion, the will being understood as that "of approval." I answer that God can not, by any mode of volition, will things which are contradictory.

But "to happen" and "not to happen" are contradictory. Therefore, it can not be that God, by one mode of volition should will that an event should happen, and, by another mode of volition, should will that it should not happen. It may indeed be true that God, in His will "of good pleasure" as they style it, purposes to permit that which, in His will "of approval" or "that which is revealed", He wills should not be done. Thus your conclusion is faulty, and the remarks of Calvin and Beza, let it be said with due respect to so eminent men, are hardly consistent with the truth.

But examine, I pray you, your subjoined statements, and you will see and acknowledge that you put them on paper, when you did not observe what you said. You say that "Whatever God does not hinder, He does not hinder it, either because He wills it to be done, or because He is altogether unwilling that it should be done, or because He does not will that it should be done." What is the difference between the latter two reasons? "To be unwilling that any thing should be done" is "not to will that any thing should be done;" the modifying word "altogether" is of no effect, since, in things opposed to each other, the negative can not receive any increase, as, for instance, in the phrase "not a man;" a wolf is as much "not a man" as is the earth, the air, the sky; but perhaps by the expression — "He is altogether unwilling that it should be done" you mean "He wills that it should not be done," or "because His will does not act." If the first be true, my view is correct. But the second can not be true, for it is absurd to say "God does not will to prevent any thing because He wills that it should not be done." You ought not, in that enumeration of reasons, to have introduced such a statement; for "not to will to prevent," and "to will that a thing should not be done" are opposites and from this it is certain that one can not be the cause of the other. In the investigation and distribution of causes, it is neither usual nor proper to introduce that which is the opposite of an effect. But let that pass.

You will say then, "that ‘not to hinder’ must be on account of one of those three causes." I grant it. "But it is not ‘because His will does not act,’ which is Epicureanism, nor ‘because He does not will that it should be done,’ therefore, it is, ‘because He wills that it should be done.’" I deny the antecedent. For this is the reason that God does not hinder an event, because He neither wills that it should occur, nor wills that it should not occur, as will be more clearly evident, if you consider the matter in this light. That, which God wills to be done, He efficaciously brings to pass.

That, which He wills not to be done, he efficaciously hinders. That, which he neither wills to be done, nor wills not to be done, He leaves to the creature. How is it possible that the human mind should conceive that God does not prevent, that is, permits any thing, because He wills that it should be done. Indeed the expression "He wills that it should be done" has too much comprehensiveness to admit that permission or non-hindrance should be deduced or concluded from it.

Your objection to this argument, namely, that, from it the conclusion is drawn that "such things are done, either through the ignorance or through the negligence of the Deity, is absurd; you can not defend it, even against yourself. For you have already made a distinction between "not to will" and "not to care that a thing should be done." Therefore, you can not deduce one from the other. How, also, can it be asserted that a thing is done without the knowledge of God, which is done by the permission of God, and by His will, the agent of that permission. But, it will hereafter appear, when we shall have explained, more largely, in reference to that permission, that what God permits, He does not permit without knowledge or care. It is, however, to be understood that permission is an affirmative volition, and not one that is merely negative. For God wills His own permission by an affirmative act. But in reference to the thing, which He permits, the act of His will is a negative act.

Far be it from any one to think that any decree of God is contrary to justice or equity. If God has decreed any thing, it is certain that He has justly decreed it. But it is to be considered whether, and how God has decreed it. It is not possible that any of His decrees should be at variance with His justice, as revealed to us in the Scriptures; it is, then, to be understood that it is not sufficient, in order to remove a charge from a decree which we ascribe to God, to add — "He has decreed it but justly;" for the addition of that phrase does not make the decree just, but it must be shown that the decree, which we attribute to God, really belongs to Him, and there will, then, be no question concerning its justice.

Your third argument is weak. For, from the event of any thing, it can not be concluded that God willed that it should happen, but that He willed not to prevent it; and this volition, not to prevent, is also an act of the providence of God, which is present to all things and to each, and presides over them, either by effecting them, or by permitting them; yet administering and ordaining all things for just and legitimate ends, and in such a way as to "regard, not only the events of things, but also their commencements, and the principles of things and actions." It is known, indeed, that Satan and the wicked can not only not perfect any thing, but can not even begin it, except by the permission of the Deity. That which you add, "by His will," I do not concede, until you shall prove it by a greater weight of arguments than you have yet adduced. You say truly — "It is impious to affirm that any thing exists or is done, unless the holy and just God has decreed it from eternity, and indeed willed either to do or to permit it." For the decree of God is twofold, efficacious and permissive. Neither can take the place of, or intrude upon the other.

Let us consider also your fourth argument — "The decision of the ancient church." Augustine, manifestly makes a distinction between permission and efficiency. And although he says that "nothing is done unless God wills it to be done" he yet explains himself when he says "either by permitting it to be done, or by doing it Himself:" and thus, that which He permits is not an immediate object of the will, but permission is the immediate object, while that, which God permits, is the object of permission. So, also, the statements of Tertullian, Jerome and others, are to be explained, that they may not impinge on the Scriptures, which declares absolutely

"Thou art not a God which hath pleasure in wickedness" (Psalms 5:4.)

Hence, if I may be permitted to speak freely, I shall affirm that I should prefer that Augustine, Jerome, Catharinus and all others had abstained from phrases of this kind, which are not contained in the Scriptures, and which need lengthened explanation, that they may not be made the occasion of heresy and blasphemy.

That second distinction, according to which God is said "to will that evil may be, and yet not to will evil," has no force. For God hates evil, and hates the existence of evil; and since evil exists in action, its being done is its being, and its being is its nature. Through there may be a subtle distinction between the essence and the existence of evil, it can not be said that there is so much difference between them that God wills that sin should exist, but does not will sin itself; For since God hates the essence of evil, if I may so speak for the sake of form, He, therefore, forbids that evil should be done, and the reason that He is unwilling that sin should exist, is the fact that He hates sin itself. But He does not hate the existence of evil, or evil itself, so much that He may not permit evil to be done by a free agent, not because it is better that evil should be, than that they should not be, but because it is better first, that He should permit His rational and free creatures to act according to their own will and freedom, in which consists the trial of their obedience, than that, contrary to His own original arrangement, He should take away that freedom from the creature, or even prevent its exercise; secondly, that He should bring good out of evil, rather than not permit evil to be. But the idea that God wills that evil should exist not as such, but as the means of good, needs a more extended explanation, which by the will of God, we will hereafter present.

The first objection to which you refer is of great weight. For the will is said to be evil in view of an evil volition and that volition is said to be evil, which is directed to an object to which it ought not to be directed. But evil is an object to which it ought not to be directed. Therefore that volition is evil, by which any one wills evil, and by which he wills that evil should be done. For there is a verbal distinction, but a real agreement between those ideas. Hence, also, "it belongs to an evil will to will that evils should be done, whether that will delights in the evils, or wills to use them for a good purpose." It is not right that any one should will that evil should be done, that he may have an opportunity of using that evil to a good end. The rule, which you cite is correct, — "Evil is not to be done," or even willed "that good may come." The first wickedness exists in the will or the volition of evil, the second in its perpetration.

Your answer does not remove the difficulty stated in this objection. Of what importance are those "two principles?" Even if their correctness is conceded, the objection is still valid. For, in reference to the first; — As there is no evil in the nature of things, the will can not be directed to evil, per se, and it pertains to universal will, and not only to that, but to universal desire and appetite to tend to good, per se. The evil consists in this, not that the will is directed to evil, but that it is directed towards an undue good, or in reference to an undue mode and end. As to the second; — It is true that "there is no evil which has no good joined with it." There is no supreme evil there is no evil except in that which is good. It does not, however, follow that it is good that sin should happen. For sin is so great an evil that it ought to be avoided, even if it have some good united with it: The act of fornication has this good, it is the sexual intercourse, natural to man and woman, yet it is to be avoided, because it can not be committed without sin. But the good to which you seem to refer, is not united to sin except incidentally, that is, by the intervention of the Divine will, directing that evil to a good end.

The remark of Augustine, if understood strictly, can not be admitted, but, with suitable explanation, it may be tolerated. It is not true that "it is good that evils should exist." For God effects every good. Then it would follow, according to the remark, that He effects the existence of evils. This is at variance with another statement of Augustine, in which he says — "God does some things, but permits other things to be done, as in the case of sin." How can it be said, without a contradiction in terms, of God — "He causes that evils should exist, and permits evils to exist?" The reason, subjoined, does not prove this. For Almighty God does not, therefore, permit evil, because it is good that evil should exist, but because He knows that, in His own wisdom and omnipotence, He can educe good from the evil, contrary to its nature and proper efficacy, and this of His own pure act, either by way of just punishment or gracious remission. It is not good that evil should exist unless incidentally, namely, on account of the wisdom, omnipotence and will of God. But that, which is incidental, is not under consideration.

But let us, now, look at your answer. You say that "sin, considered universally in its causes and circumstances, assumes a twofold respect or formality." In the first place, you say that "sin is considered not under the relation of sin, but as far as it has the relation of good in the mind of God, decreeing it." But I deny that sin has the relation of good in the mind of God decreeing it. For the acts of God, in reference to sin, altogether declare that sin is considered by God not in the relation of good, but in that of evil.

For He permits sin, but effects good: He punishes sin, but He punishes that which is evil, and as it is evil. He remits sin and pardons it; but that which is pardoned is considered as an evil by him that pardons it. But God decrees the permission of sin because He knows that He can produce good results from sin, not in that sin is good, but in that it is evil. Nor is it rightly said — "sin has the relation of good in the mind of God, who decrees it, because God knows how to make sin an opportunity of good acts;" for He does not produce those acts except with the consideration of sin as sin. It is wonderful, also, that any consideration can be affixed to sin, which is contrary to its definition. The definition of sin is a transgression of the law, and, therefore, it is a violation of the Divine will. Hence it is, also, evident that it is incorrectly said that "sin has the relation of good, because it exists in that which is good, and because it tends to that which is good." For "good" is affirmed of a subject, in which sin exists as a deforming vice and as corrupting, not of sin existing in that subject. But how far God wills the subject, in which sin exists, that is, the act which can not be performed by a man without sin, we will perhaps discuss, more largely, hereafter, when we shall speak of permission in general. Sin likewise tends to good not per se, but incidentally only, because God ordains, not that it should be done, but that, having been done, it should result in good, and makes, from it, an occasion for good. God is not said — to will that sin should occur, so far as in His wonderful wisdom He knows how to elicit good from it, but He so far wills to permit and not to hinder it. For this is the reason that He permits and does not will to hinder, not that He wills that sin should occur.

You affirm, in the second place, that another relation of sin is "that, in which it is considered formally and properly, that is, as sin." Here, also, you adduce a twofold consideration of sin, either as it is sin in respect to men, or as it is sin to God. But if you will listen to me, those are vain and frivolous distinctions, and invented, not to explain the matter, but to involve it more deeply. "In respect to men," you say, "God does not will, or approve, or effect sin, but wills as to its event, not absolutely, as in the case of those things which are good in themselves, but only by willing to permit that sin should be committed." Be it so, and this, if rightly understood, can be tolerated. I will not examine what you say in reference to a three-fold action of the divine will, since it has no bearing at all on the subject, at least against the sentiment which I defend.

What you say in the margin is true — "God wills that sin should happen, so far as it is possible that it should happen without the efficiency of God." I wish that you had discussed this subject more fully, and it would, indeed, have been evident that you have, thus far, not rightly, set forth the mode in which God wills that sin should happen. You so set it forth as not to acquit God of the efficiency of sin. You say that "sin, as such to God, is neither willed, nor approved, nor affected, nor indeed permitted by Him." I concede the first three, but deny the last, for the proper object of the divine permission is evil, as it is evil, and indeed considered by God as evil; though the reason of His permission of sin, is not the evil itself. A distinction is to be made between the object of permission and its cause.

We have already demonstrated that He permits evil as evil. But you have not rightly stated the cause or reason why God permits evil, for He does not permit evil on account of a conjoined good, but because He can elicit good from evil, which good can not, on that account, be said to be conjoined to sin, because it is elicited from sin only by the action of God.

But if you understand the phrase "conjoined good" to imply — not in the nature of sin itself, but in the act of God, I do not oppose you.

The words of Beza, which you quote, will not bear a rigorous examination.

The former is either false, or equivocal; false, if understood of the permission, of which we now treat, which is opposed not to legal prohibition, but to efficacious prevention. It is true that God by law prohibits sin as sin, and yet permits, that is, does not hinder the same sin as sin. But if it refers to the permission, which is the opposite of the prohibition, made by law, the discussion is equivocal, for we are not treating of that permission. For who does not know that God can not, at the same time, strictly require and not strictly require the same thing by law. Permission has likewise been previously defined or described by yourself as "the denial of confirming grace" not indeed as "the non-imposition of a law." The second statement of Beza is simply false. For punishments of sins are not permitted by the Deity, but are inflicted by a just judge, and have God himself for their author. "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" (Amos 3:6). Also, of what sin, I pray, was the first sin the punishment? Yet it was permitted. Therefore, it was not a punishment.

The remarks of Calvin, must be understood according to the interpretation already presented by us, otherwise they can not be defended. But, as it was his aim to overthrow the doctrine of the School-men on this subject, it ought not to be said by one, who has undertaken to defend his views, that "the School-men speak correctly when they do not disjoin the will from permission." This you say; they, however, state that there is this distinction between the two, — that permission is the immediate object of the will, but sin is the object of permission. All the School-men openly acknowledge that what God permits, He voluntarily permits. Nor is the blasphemy of the Manichees to be charged upon Calvin, because though he sometimes uses unsuitable phraseology, he elsewhere clearly defends himself and his doctrine from that accusation.

The second objection, noticed by you, is this, — "God wills contraries, if He wills that to happen, which He, in His law, prohibits." This is, indeed, a valid objection, and your answer does not remove it. For "to will anything to happen," and "to will the same thing not to happen," do not differ "in respects" only, but "absolutely and in their whole essence." Nor is there any respect or mode, according to which God can be said to will that anything should happen, and at the same time to will that it should not happen. For the divine will can not be engaged in contrary acts about one and the same object, in whatever respects it may be considered. Nor can one and the same act of the divine will be engaged on two contrary objects, such as "to happen" and "not to happen," in whatever respects those objects may be considered. "God prohibits evil as evil," but He permits the same, not as it puts on the relation of good, for it is false that sin ever puts on the relation of good, but because God knows how, from it, to elicit and produce good. The remark of Thomas Aquinas does not favor your view, and is not opposed to mine.

The third objection you have formed at your own pleasure, that you might be able more easily to overthrow it. For a boy, possessed of very little skill in Dialectics, knows that there is a great difference between the cause consequentioe and the cause consequentis. The cause, indeed, can be inferred from the effect. And therefore you, properly, affirm that the Major of the syllogism, contained in the objection, "is not general." But your correction, added to that Major, has no effect as to its truth. For it is not true that "if no middle cause intervenes between the antecedent, on the existence of which the consequent follows, and that consequent, then the antecedent is the cause of the consequent." Nor does the antecedent, therefore, cease to be the cause of the consequent, even if a middle cause intervenes. For Satan was the cause of the eating of the forbidden fruit, even if man was its proximate and immediate cause. By this, the force of your reply is weakened. If you can show that these two things are mutually consistent, that God can will that sin should happen, and that man still sins of his own free will, you have gained your case. I indeed admit that man can sin certainly, and yet freely; but to sin certainly is not the same as to sin necessarily. For the word "certainly" is used in respect to the divine prescience; but "necessarily" in respect to the decree of God, and the divine will, by which He wills that sin should happen. Hence, also, you incorrectly attribute certainty to the decree of God, when, you ought to attribute it to His prescience, and necessity to His decree. You also, afterwards, yourself acknowledge that God is the author of the sin of man, that is, by a desertion of him, and by the non-bestowment of the aid necessary for the avoidance of sins, from which it follows that man necessarily sinned. For he, who makes a law, and does not bestow the aid which is necessary for the fulfillment of the law, is the cause of the transgression of his own law.

You say, that "in this desertion, the will of man comes in, since he is not deserted, unless he wills to be deserted." I answer, that, if it is so, then the man deserved to be deserted. I ask, however, whether the man could will not to be deserted. If you say that he could, then he did not sin necessarily, but freely. If, on the other hand, you say that he could not, then the fault falls back upon God not less than before, because God is the cause of that volition, by which the man willed to be deserted, since He did not bestow the necessary grace, by which the man could will not to be deserted, and nothing can be conceived, which may intervene between this desertion on the part of God, and the volition of man, by which he willed to be deserted.

Your second answer to this objection is of no greater advantage to you; indeed you twice admit that God, by His own decree, by which He willed that sin should happen, is the cause of sin. First, you say that "sin is the mere consequent of the decree;" whence it follows that the decree is the cause of sin, unless you present some other relation in which sin may be the consequent of the divine decree, which you are wholly unable to do.

You say that "the decree of God is, in such a manner, the antecedent of human sin, that it has no relation of cause, except that of deficiency. But I affirm that, in the use of this second argument, you are convicted of making God the author of sin. If that, which was deficient through the influence of the cause, was necessary to the avoidance of sin, then certainly God, by the deficiency of the operation, which was necessary to the avoidance of sin, is the cause of sin; unless you teach that man had previously deserved this deficiency of the divine operation. The words of Augustine do not sustain your opinion. For he only means that sin, which is committed contrary to the precept of God, is not committed when He is unwilling that it shall be committed, and absolutely wills that it shall not be committed, but when He permits it, and by a voluntary permission.

You refer to another objection. "The decree of God is the energetic principle of all things, according to your sentiment; therefore, also, it is the principle of sin." You acknowledge and teach that the antecedent is true.

First, by the authority of the Scripture, and cite the first chapter to the Ephesians, but in a sense different from that of the Holy Spirit. For all those passages, in that chapter, refer to salutary gifts and effects which God, in His Son, and by the Holy Ghost, works in the elect, as is also proved by the word "good-pleasure." Secondly, by a reason, which is a sound one; for God is the cause of all beings and acts; yet it is to be suitably explained how He produces all acts. You deny the consequence, because sin is a "defect of being — not a real being, but only a being of the reason." It is necessary to explain, more fully, in what sense sin is a "defect" rather than "a real being." Sin is a being of the reason, because it not only has its subsistence in the mind, but also has its origin from the mind, and was produced by the mind, that it might serve to obtain for it the knowledge of things — of good and evil. But a defect, even if it has no substance or fixed form, yet exists in the subject, from which the habitude of sin proceeds, and so affects the subject that it is perceived by it; and it is not understood by the mind, except in relation to its own habits, by which its limits are also determined. From which it is apparent, that sins are not purely beings of the reasons. You allow, indeed, that sin is not a being of the reason, when you say "it follows and exists, immediately and surely, from the removal of original righteousness." But though sin is, not a positive being, but a defect, yet if God is the energetic cause of that act, which can not be committed by man without sin, then He is also the energetic cause of sin. You admit this, when you say that "God is the energetic cause of all acts." You, then, do and must admit the consequent; unless you show in what way it can be effected that a man should freely perform the act, which, in respect to himself is sin, if the same act is produced by the energetic decree of God, which no one can resist. But more on this subject hereafter.

Finally, it is objected to your sentiment that it teaches that "God inclines to sin and positively hardens." I admit that this objection is made, and not without cause. It has never happened to me to see an answer, which frees the doctrine, which you advocate from that objection and charge. You answer, that you "do not approve of a permission, separate from the will."

Who does approve of such a permission? Who has ever denied that what God permits, He voluntarily permits? You say — "I do not attribute to God positive or physical action, as if He would infuse corruption and wickedness into a man." I wish, however, that you would explain how sin is committed, "necessarily in respect to the Divine decree," apart from any physical action of the Deity — whether that physical action be positive or negative — and, indeed, if you please, apart from positive action. You resolve that act, which is not performed without sin, into a first cause, in such a manner as, also, of necessity, to make God the positive cause of sin.

But it is not necessary that He should infuse wickedness or corruption to such a degree that physical, or positive action can be attributed to Him; it is sufficient, if He moves, if He impels to the act, if He limits the liberty of the man, so that He can not but will and do that, which has been prohibited. You admit that "God effectively hardens;" which, indeed, I do not deny, but it is necessary that there should be an explanation, such that God may not, in any way, be made the author of sin. This we shall hereafter see.

I do not disapprove of the threefold action of Divine Providence in reference to human acts, referred to by Suidas. But consider whether that "action, which is according to the good-pleasure, by which God wills, approves, effects, and is delighted in any thing," is referred to in a sense different from that, in which you always use the word good-pleasure. For you have before said, on the authority of Ephesians 1, that "God does all things according to the good-pleasure of His own will;" of which passage, relying on its true interpretation, which you here present from Suidas, I have deprived you.

In reference to "the second action of Divine Providence, which is that of arrangement, or that of sustentation and preservation," I would have you consider whether it is so much the preservation and sustentation of motions, actions, and passions as of existence and faculties. For since the existence of things, and the faculties existing in them are the first acts, and motions, actions, and passions, resulting from them are the second acts, or from second acts, it seems, indeed, that an act of Divine Providence presides over the latter, different from that which presides over the former, It is true, indeed, that God sustains sinful nature. But it should be carefully explained how far and in what way God concurs with the creature in the performance of an action; but whatever explanation of that matter may be made, there must always be caution that a concurrence, with a second cause, may never be attributed to the first cause, such that the cause of evil can be rightly ascribed to the latter. You say — "the will can do nothing alone, yet it can act in an evil manner," and illustrate it by simile. Let us see how far it is appropriate. It is especially to be considered that it is applicable to a man, in an unfallen state, because "his pipe is not disjointed;" therefore that simile is not to be applied to his primitive state.

Again, — in "lameness," two things are to be considered, namely, walking or motion, and lameness, which is irregularity of motion." You compare walking with the act, and lameness with the irregularity of the act, in which the relation of sin properly consists. But those two things are not present in every act which is evil. For instance, the eating of the forbidden fruit, in which it is not allowable to distinguish between the act and its sinfulness.

For the act itself ought not to have been performed, and the relation of sin consists, not in the fact that he performed the act of eating in a mode, in which it ought not to have been performed, but in that he performed it at all. That illustration would have place in acts, good in themselves, but performed in a way, in which they ought not to be performed. Thus he, who gives aims, "that he may be seen of men," performs a good act, but in an improper manner, — he walks, but is lame. Hence it follows that no one can be impelled to an act, the commission of which is a transgression of the law, without sin, and blame in the impeller and mover. You, also, see from this how cautiously the mode, in which God is said to be the cause of an act, but not of the sin existing in the act, is to be explained.

You say that "the third action of Divine Providence is of concession, that of acquiescence or permission, by which God blamelessly effects certain things, in the evil deeds of men." It is not doubtful that this may be truly said of the Deity.

In this third action, you make also another three-fold division. You say that the first is "permission," but you explained it in such a manner, that it could not be adapted to Adam, in his original state, but to those only who have sinned, and, by their sins, deserved to be left by God to themselves, and given "over to a reprobate mind." For "God did not loose the reins upon Adam. He did not remove the impediments of sinning. He did not free him, previously bound, with cords." I have nothing at all against "the second action" and its explanation, if it be applied to sinners; yet I think that some things, highly necessary, might be added to it.

You do not seem to me to explain, with sufficient distinctness, "ordination," which is the third action. For the word is used in a twofold sense — that of decreeing and determining that something shall be done, and that of establishing an order in that which is done, and of disposing and determining to a suitable end, things which are done. This equivocal use of the word should have been avoided, and the different significations of the word should not be confounded, as you do, in the same discussion, when you say that "God ordains sin as to its cause and principles," in which case, the word "ordain" is used, in its first signification: again — "He ordains the same thing as to its result and purposes," in which case, it is used in the second signification. The explanation, which you add, from the case of Satan, is only in reference to the ordination, as to the end and the result. If there is not a suitable explanation of the mode in which "God ordains, as to its causes and principles, an act, which can not be done by a man without sin" — I prefer to use this phraseology rather than the word sin — the cause and blame of sin will, by an easy transition, be charged upon God.

The words of Clemens Alexandrinus can only be understood of an ordination to an end, and I wish that you and all our writers would persist in the use of such language. For it is correct, and explains the action of God, who effects His own work by the evil deeds of wicked persons. In the words of Augustine, "there is the most manifest difference between "to make" and "to ordain," and the word ordain is used in its second signification, that of disposing and determining wills, evil by their own fault, to these and those purposes and to certain actions. But those words of Augustine, "God works in the hearts of men, inclining their wills whithersoever He pleases, even to evil things, according to their demerits," are to be suitably explained, so as not to impinge upon what follows; that "God does not make the wills evil." He, therefore, inclines evil wills to evil things, that is, so that they expend their wickedness upon one object, rather than upon another. If he is said to impel any one to will that which is evil, it is to be understood that He does this by the instrumentality of Satan, and, in such a way as can be easily reconciled with His justice.

Fulgentius explains the matter most correctly and in a few words. For he sufficiently acquits Him of sin, when he denies that "God is the author of evil thoughts." For thoughts are the first causes in the performance of a work; and he also uses the word "ordain" in the latter signification, as can be clearly seen from his subjoined explanation. For he says that "God works good out of an evil work."

Your third answer denies, and with propriety, that the "Fate of the Stoics" is introduced by your doctrine, that is, Fate explained, as the Stoics taught concerning it. But it does not remove this difficulty, that, on the supposition of that Divine decree, which you suppose, a necessity is introduced with which liberty can not be consistent. While, therefore, the Fate of the Stoics may not be presented in your doctrine, yet a fate is presented, which places a necessity upon all things, and takes away freedom. You attempt to explain the decree of God in a way such as may not, by the divine decree, take away freedom, though it supposes necessity; to do which is, in my opinion, wholly impossible. But let us see how you present the mode of explaining and of disentangling the matter.

First, you distribute that, which is necessary, into the simply or absolutely necessary, and the hypothetically necessary. The absolutely necessary — you correctly say — "is that which cannot be otherwise, and whose contrary is impossible," but you do not, in your statement, make any distinction whether you treat of a thing which is incomplex and simple, or of a complex being. But let that pass. It is certain that there is nothing necessary in that sense, but God, and what pertains to Him. All other things are placed outside of that necessity. You say "that the necessary, of hypothesis, is that which can not be otherwise when one, or a number of things, is supposed." You do not here make a distinction in the supposition of things, between that, by which a thing is supposed to be, and that by which a thing is concluded; which latter necessity is distinguished into that of the consequent [consequentis], and that of the consequence [consequentioe]. The latter is syllogistic, the former is that of causes, producing effects, or consequents, causes which neither are necessarily supposed, nor act necessarily as causes, but if they are supposed, and act as causes, the effect necessarily exists. For example, God does not, necessarily, create a world, but if He creates one, then it exists, necessarily, from that action. You consider that "the necessary by hypothesis is of nature, of precept, and of decree." That which is necessary of nature removes freedom and contingency. So, also, that which is necessary of precept; for that, which is rendered obligatory by law, is not left to the freedom of the creature, though, from the necessity of nature, an act is necessarily produced unless it be prevented by that which has greater power. But, by the necessity of precept, the act is not necessarily produced; there is laid upon the creature a necessity of performing the act, if it wishes to obey God, and to be accepted by Him.

You badly define necessity of decree, as "that which God has foreknown and willed either to effect or at least to permit." For the necessity of prescience, and of the Divine permission is one thing, and that of efficiency is another. Indeed, we may allow that there is no necessity of prescience and of permission, but only of efficiency, or of the divine will.

For, not the prescience of God, but "His will is the necessity of things," though, the prescience of God being supposed, it may follow that a thing will be, not from prescience as an antecedent [causa consequentis],but as sustaining to prescience the relation of conclusion [consequentioe].

We shall hereafter treat of permission, at a greater length. We remark, also, that what is necessary of decree, can not at the same time, be called free or contingent in respect to the will as efficient.

In the second place, you distinguish necessity into that of coaction, and that of certainty. This is not well, for these are not opposed, as one and the same thing can be produced, by the necessity of coaction, and can be certainly foreknown. Again, they are not of the same genus. For the former belongs to the will, effecting something, and is prior, in nature, to the thing effected, while the latter is by prescience, and is subsequent, in nature, to the thing. The former coincides with the necessity of consequent, the latter, with that of the conclusion. Thirdly, there is a necessity which is nearer, as to relation, cause and genus to the necessity of coaction, and is the opposite of coaction, and from which, as its contrary, the necessity of coaction ought to have been distinguished. It is the necessity of inevitability, which term, also, indeed, comprehends the idea of coaction, but an unnamed species may be called by the name of its genus.

That this may be more clearly understood, I explain myself thus: The necessity of inevitability is twofold, one introducing force, in things purely natural, when it is called violence, and in things voluntary, when it is called coaction; the other, inwardly moving a thing, whether it be nature or will, so smoothly and gently, that it cannot but be inclined in that direction, and will that to which it is moved. Yet I admit that the will is not carried or moved, according to the mode of the will, but according to the mode of nature, as, by the act of moving, freedom is taken away, but not spontaneous assent, while both are taken away by the act of impelling. I pass over your definition of coaction. That of certainty does not please me; for, in that definition, you conjoin things, which do not belong together. For a thing is said to happen certainly in respect to prescience, but immutably in respect to the thing itself; and immutability does not correspond with certainty. For certainty is attributed to prescience, which can not be deceived on account of the infinity of the divine nature and wisdom. You should, then, expunge that word "immutably" from your argument. For that which can either happen or not happen, can not be done immutably, yet it can surely be foreknown by Him who foreknows with certainty, all things even those which are contingent. But you rightly add an axiom to the certainty of necessity; "Every thing which is, so far as it is, is necessary."

Thus far, the distinctions of necessity. You will now show how they mutually correspond.

"All relations of effects are to their own causes," but either to separate causes, or to concurrent causes, and to joint causes, and to causes which act at the same time. If they are to separate causes, the effects are named from the mode, in which those effects exist from their causes. If necessarily, they are called necessary effects, if contingently, they are called contingent. But if many causes concur to produce one effect, that effect has relation to, and connection with, each of its causes, but does not receive its name, except from the mode, in which it exists and is produced from those united causes; if that mode is necessary, the effect is called necessary; if that mode is contingent, it is called contingent. It can not, however, be that one and the same effect should exist in part contingently, and in part necessarily, in any respect whatever. It is, indeed, true that, if that which is called a second cause, operates alone and of its own will, the thing might be called contingent; but, since the first cause moves the second, so that it can not but be moved, the whole effect is said to be necessary, since it can not be that the effect should not be produced, when those first and second causes are in operation.

The position that "the freedom of second causes is not taken away by that necessity," is, here, of no importance; as also your opinion that "an effect can be called free and contingent in respect to a certain cause, which is said to be necessary in respect to the first cause." For it is absurd to wish to harmonize freedom with necessity, and the latter with the former. All necessity, indeed, is at variance with freedom, and not the necessity of coaction alone. This is so true, that even any degree of vehemence can not be successful in weakening its truth. I grant that it is true, that "the decree of God ordains second causes, and, among them, the freedom of human will," but, in such a manner that freedom is not taken away by that "ordination:" but freedom is taken away, when God, either by coaction (which cannot be, both on account of the divine omnipotence, and on account of the nature of the will), or, by an easy and gentle influence, so moves the will, that it can not but be moved.

You seem to me not to discriminate between a free movement and one which is spontaneous. A spontaneous movement is so different from one that is free, that the former may coincide with a natural and internal necessity, but the latter can by no means do so. For a man spontaneously wishes to be happy, and not freely. Beasts are spontaneously borne towards those things, which are good for them, by natural instinct, but no liberty can be attributed to them.

From these considerations, it is apparent that it can, in no manner, be said that "Adam fell necessarily and at the same time freely," unless you introduce the necessity of certainty, which belongs, not to the fall, but to the prescience of God, on account of His infinity. But freedom is taken away, if a decree of God is supposed, since "Adam could not resist the will, that is, the decree of God." Your answer that "as he could not, so he also would not," is refuted by the consideration that he could not will otherwise. This you confess to be true "as to the event," but not true "as to his power." But it is not the subject of disputation, whether the will of Adam was deprived of the power, which is called freedom, which was not necessary to induce the necessity of the fall, but whether the event itself, that is, the fall, occurred necessarily. When you admit this, you must admit also that he did not fall freely. For that power was limited and determined as to the act and event, so that, in the act, he could not will otherwise; else the decree of God was made in vain. Here, also, you unskillfully use spontaneous motion for free motion..

To elucidate the subject, you "distinguish three periods, — previous, present, and future to the fall." But the present and the future are of no importance to this discussion. For the fall can not have any necessity from present and future time. Previous time only serves our purpose. You say that a at the present moment, the fall was necessary, in a twofold respect." First, — "on account of the prescience of God." But prescience is not a cause of necessity, nor can anything be said to be done infallibly, on account of prescience, but prescience is the cause, that a thing "which will occur, contingently, at its own time," is certainly foreknown by God.

Secondly; — "on account of the permissive decree of God." But permission can not be a cause of immutability or of necessity. For it is a negative act, not a prohibition; and from it an affirmative necessity can not exist.

The words of Honorius, and Hugo do not aid you, for they treat of something wholly different, and they are not reliable authorities. But the reason, which you present, is partly fallacious, partly of no force. The fallacy, a petitio principii, consists in this sentence, "because an evil, which is permitted, can not but happen." The reason is of no force, when you say "because it can not happen otherwise than God decreed." It does not follow, from this, that it therefore happens necessarily; since, though evil can not happen otherwise than God permits it, yet that permission does not impose a necessity upon the event or sin. For the divine determination is not in reference to sin, that is, shall be committed, but in reference to the same thing, which is about to take place of its own causes, that is, shall not extend further than seems good to God. I do not accede to your definition of "permission" that "it is a negative of that grace, — which is sufficient for the avoidance of sin." For, as has often been said, this is not to permit a man to sin freely, but to effect that he should sin necessarily. I wish also that you had explained, in what way "the necessity of the divine decree, by which He determined that Adam should sin, was evitable in respect to the freedom of the human will, when it was inevitable in respect to the event." I pass over the inconsistency of calling necessity evitable.

You do not wish that any one should think that "that necessity arose from the decree of God." But you have said so many things, in proof of it, that you now express your unwillingness in vain. Explain how that necessity follows the decree, and yet the decree has not the relation of cause, in respect to that necessity. For the decree is the cause of necessity, in the relation of consequent, not in that of consequence. Those are words and phrases, designed to avoid the force of truth, in which there is no truth, and not even the semblance of truth. For it will always remain true that whatever is necessary "of decree" has the cause of its necessity in and from the decree of God. Is not that laborious investigation and use of many distinctions a sign of falsity, when the statement of truth is simple and open? The assertion that "the predestinate are saved necessarily, and the reprobate are damned necessarily," is to be correctly understood. The fact, that any one is predestinate, is at variance with the fact of damnation, and the fact, that any one is reprobate, is at variance with the fact of salvation.

But the ability to be saved or damned, is at variance with neither. For the decree is not in respect to the ability, but in respect to the fact of salvation or damnation. But those two acts, which you mention, namely, that of not showing mercy and that of damning, are subsequent to sin. For mercy is necessary, only, to the miserable and the sinner, and it is truly said that "the purpose of damning does not make any necessity of damnation unless by the intervention of sin," but by its intervention, in such a sense, that it is possible that it should not intervene. If, however, God has decreed to make and govern men, that he can not but sin, indeed, in order that He may declare His own righteousness in his destruction, that purpose introduces a necessity of sin and of damnation.

It is an absurd assertion that "from prescience that necessity follows in the same way." For what God foreknows, He foreknows because it is to take place in the future. But what He decrees, purposes, and determines in Himself to do, takes place thus because He decrees it. Also, from prescience is concluded the certainty of an event, which is a necessity of the consequence, and from the decree immutability of the same thing is concluded, which is a necessity of the consequent.

You make an objection against yourself, — "They who are predestinated to death can not, if they will, be freed by repentance." That objection is not appropriate to this time and place. But I present you with an objection, that they, who are predestinated to death, are, also, according to your doctrine, predestinated to sin; that what God has decreed to bring upon them, namely, death, He may be able to bring upon them justly, that is, on account of sin. But indeed, if God can predestinate to sin, that He may be able to bring death upon the sinner; He is able also to bring death upon one, who is not a sinner, because he, who is a sinner in consequence of the divine predestination, is in fact not a sinner. It is far worse to predestinate a just man to sin than to predestinate an innocent man to death. Of this we have also, previously, spoken.

Your effort to charge the same necessity on the opinion "which supposes a permission of evil" is futile. I refer, here, to "permission," when rightly explained, and understood according to its own nature. But you describe permission in such a manner, as really to amount to an act of efficiency.

For if "to permit is to will not to hinder," which it is in fact, and "the will not to hinder is such, that, without that hindrance, sin can not be avoided," as you assert, then, "to will not to hinder sin" is to effect sin, by a negation of the necessary hindrance.

Thus evil also necessarily exists from that permission, but by no means freely on the part of man. From which, it is clearly evident that the decree of God is not more evitable than a permission of the kind, which you have described. But, unless the distinction of the decree of God into energetic or efficacious and permissive is without foundation, — as it certainly is not — then it is necessary that permission should be described so as not to coincide with energetic decree.

The charge of holding the Stoic and Manichean doctrine, which is made by some against you, is not made by them with the idea that your opinions entirely agree with that doctrine, but that you agree with it in this, that you say that all things are done necessarily. You ought to remove this charge from yourself, and free your doctrine from this accusation.

You unite contrary things together when you say that "a man can not abstain from sinning, and yet he sins not necessarily, but freely." Nor is it sufficient to constitute freedom of the will, that it "be capable of being turned in opposite directions, and to choose spontaneously," if it shall be "determined to one directions only, by the Deity:" For that determination takes away the freedom of the will, or rather the liberty of volition. For though the will, in other things not determined by Gods may remain capable of change in any directions and free, yet the volition is not free, since it is determined precisely to one of two contraries.

The remark of Anselm presents the same idea as we have, often, presented, that a distinction is to be made between the necessity of the consequent, and that of the consequence: the former precedes, the latter follows the action. But your necessity of decree precedes the act and does not follow, while that of Anselm follows it, therefore, they are not the same. In the remark of Gaudentius there is not even a trace of the doctrine which you defend.

In your brief recapitulation, you fail, as greatly, of untying the knot. For it will always remain true that a denial of grace, necessary to the avoidance of sin, is a cause of sin, by the mode of the non-bestowment of the necessary hindrance; and it will, always be false, that he sins freely and voluntarily, who can not but sin, and that the will acts freely in that direction, to which it is determined by the certain and inflexible decree of God. It is false in the sense that freedom and determination are mutually opposed in the limits of their action. For the former has respect to two contraries, the latter to one only.

You present the example of the "angels who obey God both necessarily and freely," on your own authority, and do not at all prove what you assert. I assert that these two things are mutually inconsistent, so that, if you affirm that the angels obey God freely, I shall say, with confidence, that it is possible that the angels should not obey God. If, on the other hand, you affirm that they can not but obey God, I shall thence boldly infer that they do not obey God freely. For necessity and freedom differ from each other in their entire essence, and in genus. And I would dare say, without blasphemy, that not even God Himself, with all His omnipotence, can not effect that what is necessary may be contingent or free, and that what is done necessarily, may be done freely. It implies a contradiction, that a thing should not be possible not to be done, and yet be possible not to be done, and it is a contradiction, opposed to the first and most general idea, divinely infused into our minds, in reference to whatever subject the truth is affirmed or denied. And a thing can not, at the same time, be and not be, at the same time, be and not be of a given character. For the fact, that God can not do this, is a mark not of impotence but of invariable power. The fact that a thing exists, depends on the actual power of God. If it should happen, at once and at the same time with the previous fact, that the same thing should not be, then the actual power of God would be either overcome, or have an equal power opposed to itself, so that it would happen that a thing, which is by the power of God, at the same time, is not. Which is the greatest of all absurdities.


As frequent mention of the permission of sin has been already made by us, it will be a work, not useless in itself, and not displeasing to you, if I shall distinctly set forth what I consider the true view concerning permission, in general, according to the Scriptures. You will read, weigh, and judge, freely and with candor, and if I shall, as to any point, seem to err, you will recall me to the right way, by serious and friendly admonition. I will treat, first, of permission in general, then of the permission of sin.

We know that permission pertains to action, in a generic sense, from the very form of the word, whether in itself or by reduction as they say in the schools. For cessation from act may also be reduced or referred back to the act, but it has, as its proximate and immediate cause, the will, not knowledge, not capability, not power, though these, also, may be requisite in the being, who permits. No one is rightly said to permit, who does not know what and to whom he permits, and is not capable of permitting or preventing, and finally has not the right and authority to permit. If permission is attributed to any one, who is destitute of that knowledge, or capability, or power, it is in an unusual and extended sense, which ought not to have a place in an accurate discussion of a subject.

The object of permission is both the person to whom anything is permitted, and the act which is permitted, and, under the act, I would include, also, cessation from the act. In the person, to whom anything is permitted, two acts are to be considered in respect to the person, — first, strength sufficient to the performance of an act, unless there is some hindrance; secondly, an inclination to perform the act, for apart from this, the permission would be useless. Strength is necessarily requisite for the performance of an act; even if this is present, unless the person, to whom an act is permitted, has an inclination to the act, it is permitted to no purpose, and in vain. Indeed it can not be said, correctly, that an act is permitted to any one, who is influenced by no inclination to the performance of the act. From this it is apparent that permission must be preceded by the prescience or the knowledge of the fact that both sufficient strength and an inclination to perform the act, exist in him, to whom the permission is granted. The mode of permission is the suspension of efficiency, which efficiency is also possible to the being, who permits, either according to right, or according to capability, or in both respects, and, when used, would restrain, or in fact prevent the act.

We may, hence, define permission in general, thus; — It is the act of the will by which the being, who permits, suspends any efficiency which is possible to him, which, being used, would restrain, or, in fact, prevent an act in him to whom the permission is granted, to the performance of which act the same person has an inclination and sufficient strength.

These conditions being applied to the Divine permission, by which He permits an act to a rational creature, the definition may be thus arranged: — Divine permission is an act of the divine will by which God suspends any efficiency possible to Himself, either by right, or by power, or in both modes, which efficiency, used by God, would either restrain or really prevent an act of a rational creature, to the performance of which act, the same creature has an inclination and sufficient strength. But, since the will of God is always directed by His wisdom, and tends to good, that permission can not but be instituted to a certain end and the best end.

There are two modes or species of permission, as is manifest in the definition, in which, to efficiency, if used, either the limitation of an act, or its prevention is ascribed. For the will of God is considered, in a twofold respect, either as He prescribes something to His creatures, by command or prohibition, or as He wills to do or to prevent anything. Hence the efficiency, which is under discussion, is twofold, on one hand, as the prescription or enactment of a law by which any act of the creature is restrained, by which restraint or limitation that act is taken away from the freedom of the creature, so that he can not, without sin, perform it, if it is forbidden, or omit it, if it is commanded; and on the other, as the interposition of an impediment, by which any act of the creature is prevented.

In the first mode, there was a limit as to the eating of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and as to the love due to a wife, the former by prohibition, the latter by command. In the second mode, Balaam was prevented from cursing Israel, Ahaziah from the murder of Elijah, Sennacherib from the capture of Jerusalem, and Abimelech from sin with Sarah. But since God, if He pleases, suspends this efficiency, in both modes, when and where it seems good to Him, permission is also twofold; on one hand, as He does not restrain an act by a law, but leaves it to the decision and freedom of the creature, whether this may be on account of the simple nature of the act itself, as in that expression of the apostle "all things are lawful for me" (l Corinthians 6:12) or, on account of another forbidden evil, an example of which may be taken from the "bill of divorcement;" on the other hand, as He does not, by His own action, interpose an impediment to an act, — an impediment, by which the act may be really prevented, not one, by which it can or ought to be prevented. Thus He permitted Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit, and Cain to kill his own brother. Though He used impediments, by which, each of those acts could, and ought to have been prevented, yet He did not use impediments, by which the act, in either case, was prevented.

We may be allowed to divide, also, the latter mode of permission which is by abstaining from the use of an impediment, which would prevent the act, according to the difference of the modes in which God is able, and, indeed, accustomed to prevent an act, to the performance of which a creature is inclined and sufficient. I do not wish, however, that such sufficiency should be ever understood apart from the concurrence of the first cause.

That variety arises from the causes by means of which a rational creature performs an act. Those causes are "capability, and will, — we, here, speak of voluntary acts, to which the permission, of which we now treat, has reference — and, therefore, the impediment is placed either upon the capability or the will of the creature; that is, God effects that the creature should be either not able, or not willing to produce that act. In the former mode He prevented the entrance of Adam into Paradise, in the latter, He prevented Joseph from polluting himself with adultery with the wife of his master.

More particularly, we must consider in how many ways God may prevent the creature from being able or willing to perform the act, to which he has an inclination and sufficient strength, that is, apart from this impediment.

We consider prevention as applied, first to the capability, secondly, to the will. That the creature may be able to effect any thing, it is necessary that he should have capability; that no greater or equal power should act against him; finally, that he should have an object on which his capability can act.

From this it is evident that an impediment may be placed on the capability in a four-fold manner; — first, by the taking away of being and life which are the foundation of capability; secondly, by the deprivation or diminution of the capability itself; thirdly, by the opposition of a greater, or, at least, an equal power; fourthly, by the removal of the object; either of which ways is sufficient for prevention. We will adduce examples of each mode.

In the first mode, the capture of Jerusalem attempted by Sennacherib, was prevented by the slaughter of "an hundred four score and five thousand" men, made by one angel (2 Kings 19:35, 36). Thus, also, the effort to bring Elijah before Ahaziah was prevented by the fire, twice consuming fifty men, who were sent to take him.

In the second mode, Samson was prevented from freeing himself from the hands of the Philistines, after his hair was cut off (Judges 16:19, 20), the strength of the Spirit, by which he had formerly been so mighty, having been taken away or diminished.

In the third mode, Uzziah was prevented from burning incense to the Lord by the resistance of the priests (2 Chronicles 26:18), and the carrying of Lot and the Sodomites into captivity was prevented by Abram with his servants, attacking the victorious kings (Genesis 14:15, 16).

In the fourth mode, Ahab was prevented from injuring Elijah (1 Kings 19:3), and the Jews, who had sworn to slay the apostle Paul, were prevented from effecting their design (Acts 23:10). God removed Elijah, and Paul was rescued from the Jews by the chief captain. Thus, also, Christ often removed himself out of the hands of those, who wished to take him; of those, also, who wished to make him a king.

The permission, which is contrary to this prevention, also subsists by four modes, contrary to those just exemplified, but united together. For a complete cause is required to the production of an effect, the absence of a single necessary cause, or element of the cause, being sufficient to prevent the effect. Thus it is necessary that, when God permits any act to the capability of a creature, that creature should be preserved as it is, and should live; that its capability should remain adapted to the performance of the act; that no greater or equal power should be placed in opposition; finally, that the object, to be operated upon, should be left to that capability. It appears, from this, that this divine permission is not inactive, as so many actions of the providence of God are requisite to that permission, — the preservation of being, of life, and the capability of the creature, the administration and government, by which a greater or an equal power is opposed to the creature, and the presentation of the object. We may be allowed, also to adduce similar examples of permission. Thus God gave His Son into the power of Pilate and of the Jews. "This is your hour and the power of darkness" (Luke 22:53). Thus He gave Job into the hands of Satan (Job 1:12), Zachariah into the hands of his murderers (2 Chronicles 24:21), and James into the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2).

Let us now consider how God may prevent a creature from a volition to perform an act, to which he has an inclination and sufficient strength. An impediment is placed by the Deity, upon the propensity and the will of a rational creature, in a twofold mode, according to which God can act on the will. For He acts on the will either by the mode of nature, or according to the mode of the will and its freedom. The action, by which He affects the will, according to the mode of nature, may be called physical impulse; that, by which He acts on the same, according to the mode of the will and its freedom, will be suitably styled suasion. God acts, therefore, preventively on the will either by physical impulse or by suasion, that it may not will that, to which it is inclined by any propensity. He acts preventively on the will, by physical impulse, when He acts upon it, by the mode of nature, that, from it may necessarily result the prevention of an act, to which the creature is inclined by any propensity. Thus the evil disposition of the Egyptians towards the Israelites seems, in the judgment of some, to have been prevented from injuring them. God acts, preventively, on the will by suasion, when He persuades the will by any argument, that it may not will to perform an act, to which it tends by its own inclination, and to effect which the creature has, or seems to himself to have, sufficient strength. By this, the will is acted upon preventively, not of necessity, indeed, but of certainty.

But since God, in the infinity of His own wisdom, foresees that the mind of the rational creature will be persuaded by the presentation of that argument, and that, from this persuasion, a prevention of the act will result, He is under no necessity of using any other kind of prevention. All the arguments, by which the reason can be persuaded to the performance of an act, can be reduced to three classes — that which is easy and practicable; that which is useful, pleasant, and delightful; and that which is honest, just and becoming. Hence, also, God, by a three-fold suasion, prevents a person from the will to perform any act. For He persuades the mind that the act is either difficult to be performed, or even altogether impossible; or useless and unpleasant; or dishonest, unrighteous and indecorous.

By the argument from the difficult and impossible, the Pharisees and chief priests were, often, prevented from laying violent hands on Christ: for they knew that he was considered a prophet by the multitude, who seemed prepared to defend him against the efforts of his enemies. The Israelites, pursuing the king of Moab, when they saw that he had offered his eldest son, as a burnt offering, and, from this fact, knew that he was strengthened in his own mind, departed from him, thinking that they could not take the city without very great difficulty and much slaughter (2 Kings 3:23-27). Sanballat and Tobiah, and the other enemies of God’s people, endeavoring to hinder the building of the walls of Jerusalem, were prevented from accomplishing their design, when they heard that their plots were known to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4:15). For they despaired of effecting any thing, unless they could take the Jews by surprise. By the argument from the useless, the soldiers, who crucified Christ, were prevented from breaking his legs (John 19:33), because he was already dead, and it would have been useless to break his legs, as this was designed, and usually done to hasten death; and, at this time, the Jews desired that their bodies should be taken down from the cross before sunset. But God had declared, "a bone of him shall not be broken" (John 19:36). By the same argument — of inutility — Pilate was prevented from releasing Christ.

"If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend" (John 19:12).

Thus, also, Pharaoh did not wish to let the people of God go (Exodus chapters 5, 6 and 7). By the argument from the unrighteous or dishonest, David was prevented from slaying Saul, when he had fallen into his hands;

"The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the anointed of the Lord" (1 Samuel 24:6).

It is sufficient, for the prevention of an act by the argument of suasion, that the act should seem to be impossible, useless, or unrighteous to those, by whom God wills that it should not be performed, even if it is not so in reality. Thus the Israelites were prevented from going up into the promised land, when they learned, from the spies, the strength of the nations, and the defenses of the cities, thinking that it would not be possible for them to overcome them (Numbers 13 and 14). Thus David was prevented from fighting, for the Philistines, against Saul and the Israelites; for the Philistines said to their king —

"let him not go down with us to battle, lest, in the battle, he be an adversary to us" (1 Samuel 22:4).

Thus Ahaz was prevented from asking a sign of the Lord, at the suggestion of Isaiah, the prophet; for he said, "I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord (Isaiah 7:12). To this last argument pertain the revelations of the Divine will, whether they are truly such, or are falsely so esteemed. Thus David was prevented from building the temple of the Lord, by the Divine prohibition in the mouth of Nathan (2 Samuel 7:5 etc.), though he had purposed, in his own mind, to do this for the glory of God. Thus Laban was prevented from speaking

"to Jacob either good or bad," for, he said, "it was in the power of my hand to do you hurt" (Genesis 31:29).

The king of Babylon being prevented by the oracle of his own gods, which he consulted, from attacking the Ammonites, marched against the Jews, whom God wished to punish. Each of these is not always used separately, from the others, by God to prevent an act which He wishes should not be performed, but they are some times presented, two or three together, as God knows may be expedient, to the prevention of an act which He wishes to prevent.

We do not, in this place, professedly discuss what that action is, by which God proposes suasory arguments, designed to act preventively on the will, to the mind of the creature, inclined to the act and having strength adequate to its performance. Yet it is certain, whatever that act may be, that it is efficacious for prevention, and will certainly prevent, which efficacy and certainty depends, not so much on the omnipotence of the divine action as, on the prescience of God, who knows what arguments, in any condition of things or at any time, will move the mind of man to that, to which God desires to incline him, whether on account of His mercy or of His justice.

Yet, in my judgment, it is lawful so to distinguish that action as to say that, on the one hand, it is that of the gracious and particular providence of God, illuminating, by His Holy Spirit, the mind of the man who is regenerate, and inclining his will, that he may will and not will that which God purposes that he should will and not will, and that, indeed, of a pure inclination to obey God; on the other hand, it is that of more general providence, by which He acts on men as men, or as only morally good, that they may not will, and may will, as God purposes that they should not will and should will, though not with this event and purpose, that they should, in their nolition or volition, obey God.

We now deduce, from this, the modes of permission, the opposite of prevention, which are not to be separated like those of prevention, but are to be united. For, as a single argument can act preventively on the will, that it may not will what God purposes to prevent; so it is necessary that all those arguments should be absent by which the will would be persuaded to an act of nolition, otherwise, there would be no permission. Therefore, the permission, by which God permits a rational creature to perform an act, to the performance of which he has inclination and adequate strength, is the suspension of all those impediments, by which the will was to have been persuaded, and in fact moved to a nolition. For it can be that God, being about to permit an act to the will of the creature, should so administer the whole matter, that not only some arguments of dissuasion, but all conjoined, may be presented to the will of a rational creature; yet, as persuasion can but result from that presentation of arguments, which is also known to God, it is from this fact that the presentation of arguments, is most consistent with the permission of that thing to dissuade from which they were used.

Let us illustrate the subject by examples. God permitted the brethren of Joseph to think of slaying him; (Genesis 37:18;) and at length they sold him, not caring that he was their brother, and that they were forbidden, by the laws of God, to commit murder, or to sell a free person into slavery.

So, also, He permitted the enemies of His Son to condemn him, though innocent and unheard, and finally to slay him, setting at naught their own law, which not only had been imposed on them by the Deity, but was called to their remembrance, by Nicodemus, Joseph and others, in the inquiry, "Doth our law judge any man before it hear him?" They obtained false witnesses, and found that "their witness agreed not together" (Mark 14:56). Yet they did that, which their envy and hatred against Christ dictated. Thus God likewise permitted Saul to persecute David (1 Samuel 23 and 24), making no account of the fact that he had been taught and convinced of David’s innocence by his own son, and by personal experience. From this discussion, it is apparent that a difference must be made between a sufficient and an efficacious impediment, and that the permission of which we here treat, is a suspension of efficacious impediment. A sufficient impediment is used, by God, partly to declare that the act, to prevent which He takes care that those arguments should be proposed, and presented, is displeasing to Himself, partly that they may be more inexcusable, who do not permit themselves to be prevented; and even that He may the more, on account of their iniquity, incite them to the act which is so eagerly performed. Then we have this three-fold permission of the Deity — first, that by which God leaves any act to the decision of a rational creature, not restraining it by any law; secondly, that by which He permits an act, in respect to the capability of the creature; third, that by which He permits the act, in respect to the inclination and will of the creature. The last two can not be disjoined in a subject, though they can and ought to be suitably distinguished from each other. For it is necessary that an act, which God does not will to prevent, should be permitted both to the capability and the will of the creature, since, by the sole inhibition, either of the capability, or of the will, an impediment is presented to the act such that it is not performed.

Some may say that the species or modes of prevention are not sufficiently enumerated; as no act is prevented in its causes only, but also, in itself. It is necessary to an act, not only that God should bestow both the power and the will, that he should produce the effect itself, and without the intervention of means. It must follow, therefore, that an act will not be certainly produced, even if God should bestow the power and the will, and hence, it is possible that an act should be prevented, even if God does not present an impediment to the capability or the will, that is, if He withholds from the creature his own concurrence, either active or motive, which is immediately necessary to produce the act. From this, it can be deduced, also, that an act is not fully permitted, even if it is left by God to the capability and will of the creature, unless God has determined to unite immediately to produce the same act, by his own act, motion, or concurrence. I reply, that I do not deny the necessity of that concurrence or immediate act of God to the production of an act; but I say that it has once been determined by God, not to withhold, from His creatures His own concurrence, whether general or special, for the producing those acts, to perform which He has given to His creatures the power and the will or which He has left to the power and will of His creatures; otherwise, He has, in vain, bestowed the power and the will, and He has, without reason, left the act to the capability and the will of the creature. I add that an example of an impediment, of that kind, can not be given, that is, an impediment, placed by God, in the way of an act permitted to the capability and will of a creature, by withholding from the creature His own immediate concurrence.

I, therefore, conclude that the modes or species of prevention, and therefore, of permission, have been sufficiently enumerated. I grant that not only much light, but also completeness, will be added to the doctrine of the divine permission, if it not only may be shown how God prevents acts, for which rational creatures have an inclination and sufficient strength, but may be explained, with accuracy, how God produces and effects His own acts and His own works, through His rational creatures, whether good or bad. In which investigation, many learned and pious men have toiled, and have performed labor, not to be regretted; yet I think that so many things remain to be solved and explained, that no genius, however surpassing, can be sufficient for all of them, and so it can be truly said that the mine of this truth is not only deep and profound, but also inexhaustible. Yet, if we descend into it with soberness, and, following the thread and guidance of the Holy Scriptures, there is no doubt that it will be granted unto us to draw thence so much as God, the only fountain and giver of the truth, knows will conduce to the salvation of the church, and to the sanctification of His name in this world, to whom be glory for ever, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Having thus discussed the subject of permission in general, let us now consider the permission of sin. At the outset, it must be understood that sin is not permitted in the first mode of permission, for it is sin in that it is forbidden by the law, therefore, it can not be permitted by the law; else, the same thing is sin and not sin; sin in that it is forbidden, and not sin, in that it is permitted, and not forbidden. Yet, since it is said truly that sin is permitted by God, it is certain that it is permitted in some way, which will, generally considered, be a suspension of all those impediments by the interposition of which sin could not be committed by the creature. But the impediments by which sin, so far as it is sin, is prevented, are the revelation of the divine will, and an act moving or persuading to obedience to the divine will. From which it is evident that permission of sin is a suspension of that revelation, or of that suasion, or of both.

It may be stated, here, from the general definition of permission, that revelation, motion, or suasion have so much efficacy, that if they are used and applied, the sin would not, in fact, be committed. I say this, then: Let no one think that God performs no act sufficient to prevent sin, when sin is not, in fact, prevented, and thence conclude that God wills sin; and again, let no one judge that, when God perform one or more acts, sufficient to prevent sin, that He unwillingly permits sin. In the latter of which remarks, we see that they are frequently mistaken, who do not consider the subject with sufficient accuracy. For the sole consideration of efficacious prevention, by the suspension of which, permission is properly and adequately defined, effects, in view of the use of some, though inefficacious, impediments, that we should understand that God does not will sin, nor yet that he permits it unwillingly, because He has, in addition to those sufficient impediments, also efficacious ones in the storehouse of His wisdom and power, by the production of which, sin would be certainly and infallibly prevented.

That, what has been thus said by us, in general terms, may be more evident, let us explain, with a little more particularity, in reference to differences of sin. Sin is either of omission or of commission. Sin of omission is a neglect of an act, prescribed and commanded by law; sin of commission, is a performance of that, which is forbidden and prohibited by law. But since, in a preceptive law, not a good act, only, is enjoined, but its cause, mode and purpose, also in a prohibitive law, not a bad act, only, is forbidden, but also the cause and purpose of the omission, it is apparent that sin, both against a preceptive law, and against a prohibitive law, is twofold: against a preceptive law if the enjoined act is omitted, and if it is performed unlawfully as to manner and purpose; and against a prohibitive law, by performing an action, and by not performing, but omitting it with an unlawful reason and purpose. The examples are plain.

He, who omits to bestow alms on the poor, sins in omitting a prescribed act. He, who bestows alms on the poor that he may be seen of men, sins in omitting the due reason, and purpose of the bestowal. He, who steals, sins in committing a forbidden act; he, who abstains from theft, that his iniquity may be covered for the time and may afterwards more deeply injure his neighbor, sins in omitting the forbidden act with a wrong purpose. The divine permission is to be accommodated to each of the modes both of mission and of commission.

Sin is distributed, in respect to its causes, into sin of ignorance, of infirmity, and of malice; and by some, an additional distinction is made, namely, sin of negligence or thoughtlessness, as different and separate from the former, while others think that this is embraced in the three species previously mentioned.

The divine permission is also adjusted to these differences. It would be an endless work to present all the divisions and differences of sin, and to show how the divine permission is related to each class. But we must not omit that, in sin, not it alone but the act also, blended with it, is to be considered, as in sin there is the transgression of the law, and the act, that is the act, simply as such, and the act, as forbidden or prescribed, the omission of which prescript is sin. But permission can be considered, either in respect to the act, or to the transgression, for sin is prevented in the prevention of the act, without which sin can not be committed. Again, the act is prevented in the prevention of the sin, which necessarily inheres and adheres to the act, so that the act itself can not be performed without sin. For one may abstain from an act, towards which he is borne by his inclination, because it can not be performed without sin; another, on the contrary, abstains from sin because he is not inclined to the act itself.

When he abstains from the act because it is sin, he abstains from sin per se, from the act incidentally: but when he abstains because the act is not pleasant to him, he abstains from the act per se, from sin incidentally.

When also an act, is permitted as an act, it is permitted per se, sin is permitted incidentally. When sin is permitted as sin, it is permitted per se, the act is permitted incidentally. All of which things are to be diligently considered in reference to the subject of permission, that it may be understood what efficiency God suspends in that permission, and what efficiency He uses to no purpose — to no purpose in relation to the event, in that sin is not omitted, not to no purpose in relation to the objects which God has proposed to Himself, the best and the most wisely intended, and most powerfully obtained. But though we have already discussed the permission of acts in general, it will not be superfluous to treat here of the same, so far as those acts are blended with sin, and sin with them; though, in the mean time, the principal reference in this discussion, must be to the permission of sin, as such. For, as these two are so connected, that they can not be separated in an individual subject, the very necessity of their coherence seems to demand that we should speak of the permission of both in connection, though of the permission of sin per se, and of the act incidentally. But since the relation of sin appears, most plainly, in an act committed against a prohibitive law, as omission of good may be often comprehended under it by synecdoche, as in the definitions of sin, — "it is that which is done contrary to the law," — also, "a desire, word, or deed against the law," — it will not be irrelevant to show, in the first place, how God permits that sin, whether as it is a sin, or as it is an act, which He permits, or in both relations.

We will present the modes of permission corresponding to the contrary modes of prevention, as before. The murder which Ahab and Ahaziah intended to perpetrate on the prophet Elijah, was an act, which, being performed would have taken away the life of Elijah, and it was a sin against the sixth commandment of God. God prevented that murder, not as a sin, but as an act. This is apparent from the mode of prevention, for in one instance, he took Elijah out of the hands of Ahab, and in another He consumed, with fire sent down from heaven, those who had been sent to take the prophet (2 Kings 1). The former case was according to the fourth mode, heretofore mentioned; the latter was, according to the first mode, in opposition to the power of Ahaziah and in this case prevented the effect.

David, being instigated by his followers to slay Saul, his persecutor and enemy, refused, being restrained from that act, not as an act, but as a sin, for he said

"The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord" (1 Samuel 24:6).

The mode of prevention was by a revelation of the divine will, and by a persuasion to obedience, and was suitable to the prevention of sin as such.

The defilement of Sarah, the wife of Abraham when she was brought to Abimelech, would have been an act, by which, as the violation of Sarah’s chastity, would have caused great grief to Abraham, and would have been a sin against the seventh precept of the Decalogue. It was divinely prevented, if you consider the mode of prevention, as far as it was sin. For God, in a dream, revealed to him that she was "a man’s wife" (Genesis 20:3), and he could not, without sin, have carried out his design. If you examine the design and reason of the prevention, it was both in respect to the act and to the sin; as an act, because it would have caused indelible grief to Abraham, and from this God wished to spare his servant; as sin, because God knew that Abimelech would have done this "in the integrity of his heart" (6th v.) and He, therefore, withheld him from sin, in adultery with the wife of his friend.

Let us look at the opposite modes of permission in examples, also selected from the Scriptures. The sale of Joseph, made by his brethren, (Genesis 37), was an act and a sin; also, the affliction by which Satan tried Job, the man of God (Job. 1 & 2). Both were permitted by God. Was this in respect to the act or to its sin? This can not be gathered from the mode of the permission, for God abstains from all modes of restraint when He permits any thing, and if He did not so abstain, He would prevent, and then would, consequently, be neither the act nor sin. But, from the end and the mode of effecting the permitted act and sin, a judgment may be formed of the respect according to which God has permitted the act of sin. From the sale of Joseph resulted his removal to Egypt, his elevation to the highest dignity, in that land from which, food, necessary for his father’s family, could be procured, in a time of most direful famine. God declares that He sent him into Egypt for this purpose. All this resulted from the sale, not as it was a sin, but as an act. In the affliction of Job, God desired that the patience and constancy of His servant should be tried, and it was tried by the affliction not as a sin but as an act. On the other hand, God permitted David to number the people (2 Samuel 24), and Ahab to slay Naboth (1 Kings 21), in which cases the numbering of the people, and the murder were acts, but were permitted as sin. For God purposed to punish Israel, and that Ahab should fill up the measure of his crimes. It is, indeed, true that God also wished to take pious Naboth from this vale of sorrows to the heavenly land; this was effected by the murder, not as it was a sin, but as an act. Yet the proper, immediate, and adequate reason that God permitted Ahab to perpetrate that murder, is that of which I have spoken — the measure of his crimes was to be filled. For God could, in some other way, without human sin, have called Naboth to Himself. Again, God permitted Absalom to pollute, by incest, the wives or concubines of his father, and this was done in respect to both. For it was permitted both as an act, and as sin. As an act, it served for the chastisement of David who had adulterously polluted the wife of Uriah; as a sin, it was permitted, because God wished that Absalom, by his crime, should cut off all hope of reconciliation with his offended father, and, in this way, hasten his own destruction, the just punishment of rebellion against his father. In both respects, also, God permitted Ahab to go up to Ramoth-Gilead contrary to the word of the Lord; as a sin, because God wished to punish him; as an act because God wished that he should be slain in that place, to which he came by the act of going up. From these examples a judgment may be formed of similar cases. Thus far in reference to permission of sin, which consists in the perpetration of an act, prohibited by law.

Let us now consider sin, as it is committed when an act, forbidden by law, is not performed, but omitted not from a due reason and purpose. Here the act is prevented, but sin is not prevented. There is, then, in this case, the permission of sin only, as such, and the mode of permission is a suspension of the revelation of the divine will, or at least of suasion and motion to obedience to the known will of God. For the creature omits the act, not because God has forbidden it, but for some other reason. Thus the brothers of Joseph omitted to slay him, as they had determined to do, not because they began to think that this crime would displease God, but because, from the words of Judah, they thought it useless, and that it would be better to sell him into bondage (Genesis 37). Absalom, after thousands of followers had been collected, omitted to pursue his fleeing father as Ahithophel counseled him, not because he considered it wrong to pursue his father, for he was wholly hostile to him, but he followed the counsel of Hushai, because he considered that the curse, advised by Ahithophel, would be dangerous for himself and the people. In this and similar examples, we see that God restrained an act, which had been forbidden and therefore was sin, and yet did not prevent sin, which was committed by those, who omitted that forbidden act; but he permitted them to sin in the mode of omitting the forbidden act. The reason is manifest, as by the act, a person, whom God purposes to spare, would be injured, but no one but the sinner himself is injured by sin committed in an undue omission of an act, as is just. Indeed by the prevention of an act, there is prepared for the persons, who have omitted an act, the punishment due to them both on account of this sin of undue omission, and for other reasons, as happened to Absalom.

We now proceed to the permission of sin, which is committed in the mere omission of an act, which has been commanded. This is permitted by God, as it is an omission of an act, and as it is sin. God, I assert, permits that act, which the law commands to be omitted, either as it is an act, or as it is sin. God permitted the sons of Eli to disobey the admonitions of their father, (1 Samuel 2:25); Saul, to spare the king of the Amalekites, (1 Samuel 15:8); the Israelites, when the statement of the spies had been made, to refuse to go up into the promised land, (Numbers 14:4), the citizens of Succoth and Penuel, to deny bread to the army of Gideon, (Judges 8:6 & 8); Ahab, to send away Benhadad alive, a man devoted to death by the Lord, (1 Kings 20:34:); Festus, before whom Paul was accused, not to pronounce sentence against him, and in favor of the Jews, (Acts 25:12); etc. He permitted all these things partly as they were omissions of acts, partly as they were sins, that is, omissions contrary to a preceptive law, which imposed commands, partly in both respects. In reference to the sons of Eli, the Scripture says — "they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them." The permitted omission of obedience thus far was sin. The omission by Saul of the slaughter of those, whom God willed and commanded to be slain, was permitted as it was a sin, not as it was the omission of an act, by the performance of which they would have been deprived of life. For God had determined to take away the kingdom of Saul from him, and had already denounced this against him, by the mouth of Samuel, because he had sacrificed, not waiting for Samuel, (1 Samuel 13:9-14). Agag, also, was afterwards hewed in pieces before the Lord by the prophet Samuel. The fact that the Israelites omitted to go up into the promised land, as they had been commanded by the Lord, occurred because God purposed that their bodies should fall in the wilderness, as they had so often tempted God, and murmured against Him. Then that omission was permitted as a sin.

God permitted the citizens of Succoth and Penuel to withhold bread from the army of Gideon, partly that He might test the constancy of those, who were "pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna," partly that He might prepare punishment for the citizens of Succoth and Penuel. In this case then, the omission of the act was permitted as it was such, and as it was sin. For as, being provided with food, they would have been strengthened, who were pursuing the Midianites, so the omission of the act, as such, on their part, was grievous and to be worthy of punishment. The sending away of Benhadad, or his release from death was permitted by God, as a sin — a sin, committed against an express command — for God purposed that Ahab should heap up wrath against the day of wrath, on account of his heinous sins; and also as an act, as He purposed that Benhadad, in the prolongation of his life, by the omission of an act commanded by God, might fight afterwards with Ahab, and, after his death, with the Israelites, and besiege Samaria to the great injury of its inhabitants. Festus was permitted by God, to refrain from acquitting Paul — according to law and right as he could be convicted of no crime — in respect to the act as such, and not as sin. For, from that omission resulted a necessity for the appeal of Paul to Caesar, which was the occasion of his departure to Rome, where God willed that he should bear testimony concerning His Son.

In respect to sin, when a prescribed act is performed unduly as to manner and design, it is certain that it is permitted as such, for in it nothing is permitted except the omission of a due mode and purpose, which omission is purely sinful. This is evident from the mode of permission, which, in this case, is certain; namely, the suspension of efficiency by which sin, as sin, is permitted. Joab performed many distinguished deeds and those prescribed by God, in fighting bravely, against the enemies of the people of God, in behalf of Israel, that it might be well for the people of God; but God did not incline his mind to do this from a right motive. It is apparent that he sought his own glory, in those deeds, from the fact that he, by wicked treachery, destroyed men, equal to himself in bravery and generalship, that he might be alone in honor. For the man who defends any cause, only that it may be defended, and for the glory of God, will not be vexed that as many as possible, endued with skill and bravery, should be united in its defense; indeed, he would most deeply rejoice and be glad on this account.

As to the differences of sin in view of its causes — ignorance, infirmity, malice, negligence — there is in respect to these a clear distinction in their permission. For the permission of a sin of ignorance arises from the suspension of the revelation of the divine will; of malice, from the suspension of the act by which the perversity of the heart is corrected and changed; of infirmity, from the withholding of strength to resist temptation, of negligence, from the suspension of the act by which a serious and holy care and anxiety is produced in us to watch our faculties, and to walk in the law of the Lord. For God knows, when it seems good to him to perform a work, by the acts of rational creatures, which can not be committed by them without sin, how to suspend His own efficiency, so as to permit His creatures to perform their own acts. He willed that His church should be proved and purged by persecutions, and indeed by the act of Saul, a man zealous for the law, who, from inconsiderate and preposterous love towards his own religion, wished that the sect of the Nazarenes, so called should be extirpated. That this might be effected through him, He suffered him to be some time in ignorance, without which, as he was then constituted, he would not have persecuted the church. For he says that he "did it ignorantly" (1 Timothy 1:13). In the case of Julian the apostate, a most foul persecutor of the church, God did not correct his willful and obstinate hatred of Christ and his church. For when he was convinced of the truth of the Christian doctrine, he could have persecuted it only through willful malice. God’s procedure, in not correcting that hatred, was deserved by him, who, willingly and of his own fault, had apostatized from Christ. God purposed that Peter, presuming too much on himself, should come to a knowledge of himself, and He suffered him to deny his Master, from fear of death, not affording him such support of His Spirit, as to move him to dare to profess Christ openly, despising the fear of death. David, being freed from his enemies, and having conquered many neighboring kings and nations, began to guard his steps with too little care, and heedlessly gave himself up to negligence, especially because he had Joab, a distinguished general and skilled in military duties, in whom, on account of consanguinity, he could trust; from this it happened that he fell into that shameful adultery with the wife of Uriah. But God permitted him to fall into that negligence, and on that occasion to commit sin, that he might be more diligently watchful over himself, mourn on account of his own sin for an example to others, afford a distinguished specimen and example of humility and repentance, and rise more gloriously from his sin.

It would be tedious to remark the same thing in each kind of sin; but let these suffice, as exhibiting the means and mode of forming a correct judgment in reference to permission. But though the whole complex matter, which is made up of act and transgression, may be permitted by God, through a suspension of all divine acts, by the use of which, on the part of God, the act, either as an act or as sin, would have been prevented, yet it is useful to consider, distinctly, in what respect that permission may be given by God, and what efficiencies, and of what kind, He suspends, that He may not hinder the commission or omission of an act prescribed or forbidden. For in this the divine goodness, wisdom and power, and even justice is seen as distinctly as possible, and it is most clearly proved how God, in all his own action, restraint and permission, is free from blame, and without sin, and by no means to be considered the author of sin. In showing which, it is so much the more evident how easily they may fall into absurdity and blasphemy, who refer, indeed, to a providence, acting, restraining, permitting, but not with sufficient distinctness, accuracy, and diligence, bringing together and comparing them, and distinguishing each from the others.

The individual causes of permission, in its variety and in that of the permitted acts, and of sins, are, at the same time, various and manifold, and not generally explicable, which can, perhaps, in some way, be demonstrated by those, who have their senses exercised in divine things, and are accustomed to consider them with earnest study. Two general or universal reasons can be presented for the fact that God permits events in general, and why He permits any particular event. One is the freedom of the will, which God bestowed on rational creatures, and which He designed as the mistress and the free source of their actions. The other is the declaration of the divine glory, which is of such a character as not only to effect and prevent that which can be effected and prevented, for his own glory, but also so to reduce to order the acts of rational creatures which are permitted, and which frequently deviate from the order, prescribed to them, that from it the praise of the divine goodness, mercy, patience, wisdom, justice and power may shine forth and be revealed. To which pertains that, which is beautifully said by Augustine, "God has judged that it belongs to His own omnipotent goodness to bring good out of evil rather than not to permit evil to exist."

The creature is likewise to be considered, to whom is granted the permission of an act of commission or of omission, which can not, without sin, be committed or omitted; namely, as to his character at the time when that act is permitted to him, — whether, as only created, and remaining in his primeval integrity, or as fallen from that state; again, whether made a partaker of grace, or invited to a participation of grace; whether brought to that state, or resisting grace, or not sufficiently solicitous to receive it, and to continue in it, and the like. For God can deny to any creature, considered as such, action, motion, efficiency, concurrence, either general or special, of nature or of grace, of providence or predestination — though I do not dare to make a confident assertion in reference to the act of Predestination — which act and concurrence, which motion and efficiency He could not, without injustice, deny to the same creature considered in a different relation. But a permission of sin depends, as we have before seen, on a suspension of the divine act, motion, efficiency, etc.

He, however, who wishes to discuss fully and thoroughly the subject of permission must, of necessity, treat of the general providence of God, and of that special providence, which preserves, governs, rules, effects, prevents and permits. For, as permission is opposed to prevention, by the mode either of privation or of contradiction, so it is opposed to efficiency by negation; and it is the nature of permission to have, antecedent to itself, various acts of God concerning the same creature, to which permission is granted, and concerning that act which is permitted. If these acts of God are not accurately explained, it can not be understood what that efficiency is, in the suspension of which, permission properly and immediately consists. This, also, is the reason that many, when they hear any thing concerning permission, immediately, in their own minds, conceive of inactive quiet, and abstinence from all effort on the part of providence; others, considering the power and efficacy of that providence, which is present in and presides over all things and acts, either reject the idea of permission, or acknowledge it only in word, in the mean time, so explaining it as to resolve it into a certain act of God, and into the efficiency of providence. But these errors are both to be avoided, lest we should take away, from the divine providence, acts which belong to it, or should attribute to it things foreign to it, and unworthy of His justice.

In reference to the remarks, already made, some one will object that I attribute to permission not only the illegality and the irregularity of the act, but also the act itself; and thus remove from the operation of the divine will and efficiency, not only the illegality of the act, but the act itself. He will say that, in this, he perceives a double error; first, because I attribute sin, simply and taken in any respect, to permission, and remove it from the divine efficiency and will; when it ought, in a certain respect, to be attributed to the divine efficiency and will; secondly, because I take away, from the efficiency and the will of God, the act which is the first and supreme cause of all being. Let us examine a little more closely both objections. We explain the former by the sentiments of the objector himself. In sin there are three respects; for there is, first, guilt; second, punishment; third, the cause of other sins. Indeed God is not, they say, the cause of sin in respect to its guilt, but to its punishment, and to its being the cause of other sins. They affirm that God is, without controversy, the cause of punishment, because that is an act of justice, by which sin, deviating from the law of the prescriptive justice of God, is brought under the rule of divine punitive justice. That sin is of God, as it is the cause of other sins, they, also, prove from the acts of blinding, hardening, giving over to a reprobate mind, which are acts of God and are causes of sins.

I answer; — to the first, that the objection is not valid against all sins. For the first sin, committed by a creature, can not be the punishment of another sin. There are also many sins which are not, in fact, the causes of other sins; for God may so administer and dispense the fall and the sins of His creatures, as that they may result in good, that is a greater odium against sin, and a more diligent solicitude and anxiety to guard their own steps. Therefore many sins, contrary to this objection, come to partake of an opposite character, by the permission of God, and in no respect by His efficiency. It will be said, in reply, that there are, nevertheless, many sins which must be considered in those three respects: of these at least, it may be proper to say, that in the last two respects they have God, as their cause and author. I answer secondly, that there is no act or sin, which has, at the same time, the relation of guilt, of punishment, and of the cause of another sin, if these things may be correctly and strictly considered. I confess that this is usually said, and is common with many who treat of this subject.

I will prove my assertion, first by argument, then by presenting examples of blinding and hardening. That no act at the same time, sin and punishment, is certain, since sin is voluntary, punishment is involuntary; sin is action, punishment is passion; by punishment sin is brought into subjection, but sin is not brought into subjection by sin; but by punishment, I say, differing from sin or guilt, not in relation only, but in the thing and subject which is the act. When this is said by learned men, a reason ought to be assigned for this opinion. I acknowledge it; but let us consider the sense in which this is said and understood by them.

They say that sin is the punishment of sin, because, on account of previous sin, God permits the sinner to commit another sin, and, indeed, suspends some of His own acts, and performs others, in which case the creature will sin of his own wickedness, and will commit other sins, on account of which he deserves greater punishment and condemnation, and thus, as sin deserves greater punishment, it is said to be the punishment of sin by a metonymy of cause and effect. In this sense they understand their own declaration, or it can not be sustained. But that no sin is, at the same time, guilt and the cause of another sin, is also true, if it may be rightly understood; that is, a proximate and immediate cause. It is, indeed, the meritorious cause of another sin, that is, it deserves that God should afterwards suspend some act, and perform other acts, which being performed, he will, of his own wickedness, as said before, commit some sin; it is also the preparatory cause of the perpetration of other sins: for by sin the conscience is wounded, desire for prayer, and confidence in it are destroyed, a habit of sinning is prepared, a power over the sinner is granted to Satan, from which an easy lapse into other sins readily follows; yet it is not the proximate and immediate cause of another sin.

"It is nevertheless a cause," some may say, "though remote and meritorious." What then? By this very distinction the whole force of the objection is destroyed. By it, God is made the cause of some acts, the creature will, of His own wickedness, deservedly add another sin to the former, and God is absolved from the charge of being the cause of sin, which deserved that He should perform those acts of sin, as it is the cause of another sin. For the action of the Deity intervenes between the sin, which is the cause of another sin, and that consequent sin. In that objection, however, it was inferred that God is the cause of sin, in that He is the occasion of the second sin. That error arises from the confusion and the inaccurate consideration of those acts. Sin, in the relation of guilt, is first in order, then follows demerit or conviction to punishment, from the justice of God; which is the act of God, who punishes that sin by merited desertion, and blindness. But "blindness," you say, "is sin or guilt, and the punishment of previous sin, and the cause of subsequent sin, and God is the cause of blindness." The truth of what has been previously said may be demonstrated in this example. That blindness, judicially produced by God, is correctly said to be the punishment of previous sin, and can, if rightly understood, be said to be the cause of consequent sins, that is, by a removal of restraining grace, and by the performance of some acts, from which it will follow that the creature, thus blinded and left, will, of his own wickedness, commit sin. But that blindness is not sin or guilt. A distinction is to be made between the blindness as the act of God to which man is judicially subjected, and the blindness of man himself by which he renders his own mind hard and obstinate against God, which is the act of man, produced by wickedness and obstinate pertinacity. These acts indeed concur, but do not coincide, nor are they one single action, made up of the efficiency of those concurrent actions, which together make up one total cause of that act, which is called blindness. Learned men often speak in such a manner, I grant, but not with sufficient distinctness; and perhaps in a sense which agrees with my explanation, and is not contrary to it. For they use the term blindness, in a complex and indistinct manner, for the act and its result, or the work and its effect, which is, thereby, produced in the person made blind, which may be called passive blindness, produced by that active blindness. Of blindness, thus confusedly and indistinctly considered, it may be said that it is sin, the punishment of sin, and the cause of sin, but this is not at variance with my opinion, for I deny that God is the cause of that blindness, so far as it is sin and guilt. Active blindness — as we now term it, by way of distinction — which is produced by a man, making himself blind, is sin, for it is a great crime to harden one’s own mind against God. Active blindness, which proceeds from God, is the punishment of previous sin, by which the sinner has merited to himself desertion, and privation of grace. The active blindness, which is from man, and that, which is from God, concur to the same effect, which is passive blindness, which is, properly, punishment. Finally, the active blindness of man, blinding himself, and that of God, blinding man, is the cause of the accumulation of other sins with those previously committed, by the blinded sinner, but in the mode of which I have spoken.

I answer, that if it is true that one and the same act is sin or guilt, the punishment of sin, and the cause of subsequent sin, then it can not be true that God is its cause, according to the last two relations, and not according to the first, for a twofold reason. First, this distinction of relation can not effect that God should be the cause of one thing, and not of another, in fact, joined to it, unless in that mode, which will be hereafter explained, which they exclude from this subject, who say that blindness, produced by God, is sin, and the cause of sin. These respects are useful to a mind, intelligent and able to discriminate between things most intimately connected, which constitutes actually and numerically, one thing, but considered in different relations, they can not have place in actual efficiency, the limit of which is real existence. God inflicts punishment on a person who is a sinner, and His creature; the act of infliction does not distinguish the creature from the sinner, but the mind of Him, who punishes, makes the distinction, for it knows how to punish the creature, not as such, but as sinful. This error is frequently committed, that relations are carried further than their nature may permit. Secondly, because of those three relations, order, nature, and causality, the former is that in which sin is considered as guilt, the latter two are those in which it is considered as punishment, and the cause of consequent sin. God is the first cause of all effects, which He produces with or by His creatures; but, in this case, He will be a subsequent cause, for He will produce, in the relation of subsequent respects, an act, which the creature produces in the relation of prior respect, which is absurd, and inverts the order of causality and efficiency, which exists between first and second causes. There may, indeed, be supposed to exist a concurrence, which we shall hereafter explain; but they, who say that the blindness, inflicted by the Deity, is the cause of consequent sins, and at the same time a sin, deny that this concurrence has any place here. These things, indeed, I have thought, ought to be explained, somewhat fully, on account of the difficulty of the subject itself, and of preconceived opinions.

Let us proceed to the second objection, which we thus set forth, according to the meaning of its authors. "In sin there are two things, the act and its illegality, or violation of law. As an act, it is positive; as a violation of law, it is privative: the latter has the will of the creature for its cause; the former must necessarily be referred back to the first cause, and, in this relation, God is the cause of that act which, in respect to man, or as it proceeds from man, is sin. Therefore it is wrong to remove the act, which is not performed by a man without sin, from the divine will and efficiency, and attribute it to the divine permission, since that act, as such, belongs to efficiency, but as it violates law, it belongs to the divine permission. I reply, first, that it can not be said truly, and universally of all sin, that in it there are these two things, namely, the act and the violation. For, sometimes, it is the act itself which is prohibited, and sometimes, not the act itself, but some circumstance in reference to the act. Thus the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was prohibited, not any circumstance connected with it; and, therefore, the act of eating, itself, was undue, unlawful and inordinate; it was, indeed, in itself a deviation from the rule, that is, from the law which forbade the eating. That act, of and in itself, apart from the law, is a natural act and has, in itself, no inordinacy.

But after the enactment of a law which prohibits eating, that act, can not be considered as good, agreeably to its natural relations, as there is added to it the fact of inordinacy, on account of which it ought to be omitted; for it is then to be omitted, of itself and on its own account, because it is forbidden by the divine law, and because to eat is to sin, the whole inordinacy consisting in the fact that the act of eating, referred to, has a place in the number and series of human actions, which place it ought not, on any account, to have, and the number of which ought not to increase, but it ought to be wholly omitted, and to be kept under restraint, and to be never carried into effect.

The simile of a lame horse, which very many adduce to illustrate this matter, is not applicable to an act, which is prohibited by law. For in lameness there is the gait, and there is the limping or irregular gait; and a defect is added to the gait or motion on account of weakness or injury of a leg, which defect, though it may not, in fact be separated from the gait itself, can, nevertheless, be readily distinguished from it; and hence it may occur that the same horse, after the cure has been effected, can walk properly, and so lameness will be separated from his gait. But in the eating of the forbidden fruit, it was not the eating and the defect of eating, which was forbidden, but the eating itself, wholly and solely, had the relation of sin, because it was committed contrary to the law. That simile would be applicable in sin, which is committed against a law which prescribes the act itself, but prohibits some circumstance of the act; which sin consists in the fact that an act, good, according to, and prescribed by the law, is performed in a manner, which is not right, as when alms are given to a poor man, from ambition and pride, that he, who bestows them, may appear unto men to be liberal and a lover of the poor, and even religious. That act is good and may be illustrated by the gait, but the defect in it is like the lameness produced by disease or injury, and causes the act to limp, and to be displeasing to God, yet it is not to be omitted, but to be performed, only in a due and right manner, all defectiveness being avoided and omitted, which, rightly and in fact, can and ought to be separated from it.

I acknowledge that the question or objection is not satisfied by that answer; for some one may affirm, that, "eating is nevertheless, a positive act, and, therefore, has an existence, though forbidden, and since all existence has God as its cause, God also is the cause of that act of eating; and so, also, of other positive acts, though they may be committed against a prohibitory law; and consequently, sin, as an act can not be removed from the efficiency of God."

I reply, that I, by no means, take from the efficiency of God an act, which is not perpetrated by the creature without sin; indeed, I openly confess that God is the cause of all acts, which are perpetrated by His creatures, but I desire this only that the efficiency of God should be so explained as not to derogate any thing from the freedom of the creature, and not to transfer the fault of his sin to God; that is, to show that God may, indeed, be the effector of the act, but only the permitter of the sin; and that God may be at once the effector and permitter of one and the same act. This subject is of most difficult explanation, yet we may make some effort towards its elucidation.

I remark, then, that God is, either mediately or immediately, the cause of an act which proceeds from a creature. He is the mediate cause, when He exerts an influence upon the cause and moves it to cause the act. He is the immediate cause, when He exerts an influence on the act and, with the creature, is the whole cause of that act. When God moves the creature to cause anything, since the creature, as the second and subordinate cause, is determined by the first moving cause to a particular act, which has its form from the influence and motion of the Deity, that act, whatever may be its character, can not be imputed, as a fault to the creature; but if the act can be called sin, God is necessarily the cause and the author of that sin. But since the latter idea can never be true, it is certain that the explanation can not be found in that mode of the mediate action of the Deity, how God is the cause of the act, which is not performed by man without sin, and the permitter of the sin. When God is the immediate cause of an act, which proceeds from a creature, then the second cause, if it is free, and we are now treating of free agents — has it in its own power either to exert its influence in the act, or suspend that influence so that the act may not take place, and to exert its influence so that one act, rather than another, may be performed. Hence it follows, that, when a second cause has freely exerted its influence to produce all act, and when, by its particular influence, it has determined the general influence of God to this particular act, and has disposed the form of the act, the second cause is responsible, and the act may be deservedly called "sin" in respect to the second cause; but God is free from responsibility, and, in respect to Him, the act can not be called sin.

The concurrence and influence of the Deity bestows nothing upon the free will of the creature, by which he may be either inclined, or assisted, or strengthened to act, and it does not in the first act, but in the second, dispose the will, and therefore it presupposes, in the will, whatever is necessary for acting, even without the exception of the concurrence of the Deity itself. Though the will of the free creature may not, in reality, have that concurrence, except when he puts forth activity, yet he has it in his own power before he performs that which is prepared for, and imposed upon him. If this is not so, the will can not be said to have the act in its own power, or in its proximate capability; nor can the cause of that act be called moral but natural only, and therefore necessary, to which sin can, by no means, be attributed.

In this way that difficulty is solved, and it is shown how God can be the cause of an act, which can not be performed by the creature without sin, so that neither He may be the author of sin, nor the creature be free from sin; that He, indeed, may be only the permitter of sin, but the creature may be the proper cause of sin. For God leaves to the choice of a free second cause the disposition of its own influence to effect any act, and when the second cause is in the very movement and instant of exerting its influence, God, freely and of His own choice, joins His influence and universal concurrence to the influence of the creature, knowing that, without His influence, the act neither could nor would be produced. Nor is it right that God should deny His concurrence and influence to the creature, even if He sees that the influence of the creature, exerted to effect an act, which he is just ready to perform, is joined to sin, and is committed contrary to His law. For it is right that the act, which He left to the freedom of man, when the law had not yet been enacted by which that act was afterwards forbidden, should be left to the freedom of the same creature, after the enactment of the law.

A law would be imposed, in vain, on an act, for the performance of which God should determine to deny His own concurrence. In that case, it could not be performed by the creature, and therefore no necessity would exist that its performance should be forbidden to the creature by a law. Besides God, in His legislation, designed to test the obedience of His creature; but this He could not do, if He determined to deny, to the creature, His concurrence to an act, forbidden by law; for apart from that concurrence, the creature can not perform that act. Why should God, in reference to an act, to which, as naturally good, determined not to deny His concurrence, deny that same concurrence, when the act has been made morally evil by the enactment of law; when He declares and testifies in His own legislation, that He wills that the creatures should abstain from that act, in that it is morally evil, and not in that it is an act, in its natural relations.

But He wills that the creature should abstain from the act, as evil, when He imposes upon him a prohibitory law, to which he is bound to yield obedience. When, however, He determines to deny His concurrence, He wills that, in its natural relations, it shall not be performed by the creature.

For the former is a kind of moral hindrance, the latter is a natural hindrance; the former, by the enactment of law; the latter, by the denial of concurrence; — by the enactment of law, in view of which that act can not be committed without sin, and by denial of concurrence, in view of which the act can not be committed at all. If the latter impediment, that of the denial of concurrence, exists, there is no necessity that the other, that of the enactment of law, should be interposed.

It is apparent, from this explanation, that the creature, committing sin, commits it in the full freedom of his will, both as to its exercise, and as to the form of the action, to which two things the whole freedom of the will is limited. Freedom, as to its exercise, is that by which the will can put forth, and suspend volition and action. Freedom, as to the form of action is that, by which, it wills and performs this rather than that action. We will show that freedom, in both respects, exists, in another manner, in the act of sin, which the creature performs with the general concurrence of God. In the act of sin, its existence and its essence are to be considered. The existence of the act depends on the freedom of the will, as to its exercise.

That its essence should be of this rather than of that character — that it should be rather a forbidden act than one not forbidden, against this precept rather than against that, depends on the freedom of the will as to the form of action. That the act should exist, the creature effects by its own free influence, by which it wills to do rather than not to do, though not without the influence of the divine concurrence, uniting itself freely to the influence of the creature at its very first moment and instant. But that the act should be of one character rather than of another, the second cause effects, freely determining its own act to a certain direction, to this rather — than to that — that it should be one thing rather than another. If any one says that, on this supposition, the divine concurrence is suspended on the influence of the creature, I reply, that this does not follow from my statements. Though God may not concur unless the creature wills to exert his influence, yet the exertion of that influence depends purely, on his own freedom; for he can omit that exertion.

It may be clear from this, how God is both the permitter of sin, and the effector of an act, without which the creature can not commit sin; the permitter of sin, in that He leaves to the creature the free disposition of His own influence; the effector of an act, in that He joins His own concurrence to the effort of the creature, without which the act could not be, at all, performed by the creature.

If any one takes exception to this distinction, on account either of the difficulty of the subject or of the defect of my explanation, and so contends that efficiency in sin is in some respect to be ascribed to God, because He is the effector of that act, I wish that he would consider that God can, on the same principle, be called the permitter of the act, because He is the permitter of the sin, and, indeed, far more justly, since, in His own prohibition, He declares that He is unwilling that the act — already permitted, not only to the freedom and the ability of the creature, but also to its right and power — should be performed by the creature; by which prohibition, that act is removed from the divine efficiency, only so far as that ought to avail to deter the will of the creature from performing that act; and, on the other hand, the efficiency of that act is, so much the more, to be ascribed to the freedom of the will, as it can be understood to have, more vehemently willed that which is forbidden by the divine law.

But, in whatever way that subject may be explained, it is carefully to be observed, both that God be not made the author of sin, and that the act itself be not taken away from the efficiency of God; that is, that the whole act, both as an act merely, and as sin, may be rightly made subject to the providence of God — as an act to efficient providence, as a sin to permissive providence. If, however, there shall still be an inclination in the other direction, there will be less error, if the act is taken away from the divine efficiency, as an act, than if sin is attributed to the efficiency of God, as a sin. For it is better to take away an act from the Deity, which belongs to Him, than to attribute to Him an evil act, which does not belong to Him; so that a greater injury is charged on God, if He is said to be the cause of sin, than if He is regarded as an unconcerned spectator of an a



The meaning of this allegation, is that God, by His own eternal and immutable decree, has determined, of His mere will to elect some, but to reprobate others, and those the more numerous. Since the elect can not be brought unto salvation, as having become sinners in Adam, unless satisfaction to the justice of God, and expiation for sin should have been made, therefore, God determined to give his own Son to them, as Mediator, Reconciler, and Redeemer, who should assume human nature, for them only, should die for their sins only, should reconcile them only to the Father, should meritoriously obtain the Holy Spirit and eternal redemption for them only, should offer, according to His purpose, grace to them only, should call them, only, to faith, and should bestow, by an internal vocation, faith on them, only, etc., to the exclusion, from all these things, of those whom He reprobated, so that there should be to them no hope of salvation in Christ, because God had willed from eternity that Christ should not be made man for them, or die for them, apart from any consideration of their unbelief; and when He arranged that the gospel should be preached also to them, it was not done for their benefit, but because the elect were intermingled with them, who, by that preaching, were according to the decree of God, to be led to faith and salvation. You should, indeed, have answered whether you admitted that allegation as made truly against your doctrine, or whether you think your doctrine to be not amenable to it. You seem to admit that this is truly your sentiment. It ought, indeed, to be admitted by you, if you wish to be consistent with yourself, and to speak in harmony with your doctrine.

You answer, then, that what is charged against your doctrine in that allegation, is not a crime, but let us see how you show and prove this.

First, you say that "it is not hard that they should be left without Christ," because "they might at the first, in Adam, have received saving grace, righteousness, and a life of blessedness, together with the ability to persevere in the same, if they had only willed it." I affirm that very many persons are absolutely left without Christ, who never were, and never will be partakers of the saving grace of Christ. For the grace, bestowed on Adam and on all his posterity in him, was not the grace of Christ, which was not, at that time, necessary. But "God could," you say, "without injustice, at that time, have condemned all, and not have bestowed, on a single individual, grace through Christ. Who denies it? The point in dispute is not — whether God, when man, with all his posterity, sinned of his own fault: and became obnoxious to eternal death, was obligated to give His own Son to the world as a mediator — but whether it can be truly said that, when God willed that His own Son should become a man and die for sins, He willed it with this distinction, that he should assume, for a certain few only, the human nature which he had in common with all men; that he should suffer for only a few the death which could be the price for all the sins of all men, and for the first sin, which all committed alike in Adam; whether God purposed to proceed according to the rigor of His justice, and to the strictness of the law, and the condition made requisite in the law, with the largest part of the human race, but according to His mercy and grace with a few, according to the gospel and the righteousness of faith, and the condition proposed in the gospel; whether He proposed to impute, even to a certain few, the sin which they had personally committed in Adam, without any hope of remission. This, I assert, is the question: you reply affirmatively to this question, and, therefore, confess that the allegation is made, with truth, against your doctrine, nor can you escape by the plea, that "it is not wonderful that they should be left without Christ, since they had rejected the grace offered in Adam." Your answer has reference to the justice of the act, and the question is concerning the act itself; your answer has reference to the cause, and the question is concerning the existence of the thing, the cause of which you present.

That your answer may not, to some, seem too horrible, you present, secondly, another answer, namely, "Christ may be said to have died for all," but you subjoin an explanation of this kind, which perverts the interpretation, and absolutely nullifies your apparent and verbal confession. For you add that "he did not die for all and for each equally in reference to God, in the same sense for the lost and for the elect, or efficiently on the part of God." Let us linger here, and weigh well what you say. The Scripture declares explicitly, and in plain terms, that Christ died even for those who are lost, (Romans 14:15; 2 Peter 2:1). Not equally, you say, in respect to God. But what is the meaning of the phrase "in respect to God"? Is it the same as "according to the decree of God?" Indeed, Christ, "by the grace of God tasted death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). By the command of God, Christ laid down his life "for the life of the world" (John 6:51), and "for the sheep" (John 10:15). He can not, indeed, be said to have died for any man, except by the decree and the command of the Father. You will say that you do not now refer to the decree, by which God, the Father, imposed upon His Son the office and duty of expiating sins by his own death; but to the decree, by which He determined to save the elect through Christ. But I assert that the latter decree is, in its nature, subsequent to the death of Christ, and to the merit obtained by that death.

You add then, that "he died not equally for the reprobate" (you ought to use that word, and not the word "lost") "and for the elect." You consider these things in the wrong order. For the death of Christ, in the order of causes, precedes the decree of election and reprobation, from which arises the difference between the elect and the reprobate. The election was made in Christ, dead, raised again, and having meritoriously obtained grace and glory. Therefore, Christ also died for all, without any distinction of elect and reprobate. For that twofold relation of men is subsequent to the death of Christ, pertaining to the application of the death and the resurrection of Christ, and of the blessings obtained by them. The phrase, "Christ died for the elect," does not signify that some were elected before Christ received the command from God to offer his life, as the price of redemption for the life of the world, or before Christ was considered as having died, (for how could that be, since Christ is the head of all the elect, in whom their election is sure?), but that the death of Christ secures for the elect only, the blessing which is bestowed through an application of Christ and his benefits.

Hence, also, the phrase used by the school-men, is to be understood thus, that "Christ died for all men sufficiently, but, for the elect and believers only, he died efficaciously." Your phrase, "efficiently on the part of God," is, in my judgment, irrelevant. What is the meaning of the statement — "Christ died efficiently, on the part of God. for the elect, and not for the reprobate"? This phraseology can not be used in any correct sense. I know that you wished to give the idea that the efficacy of Christ’s death is applied to some and not to others. If you mean this, you ought to speak so that this might be understood to be your meaning. If your affirmation and that of the school-men, be rigidly examined, it will be seen that they can not be used without injury to the death of Christ and its merit. For they attribute sufficiency to the death of Christ, but deprive it of efficacy, when, indeed, the death of Christ is a sufficient price for the life of the world, and was efficacious for abolishing sin and satisfying God. We do not speak, you say, of the efficacy of his death, but of that of its application. The contrary, however, is clearly manifest; for you deprive of efficacy that to which you attribute sufficiency — and you attribute sufficiency to the death of Christ. If this, also, is examined rigidly, it will be seen that you do not even attribute sufficiency to the death of Christ.

For how shall that be a sufficient price which is no price? That is not a price, which is not offered, not paid, not reckoned. But Christ did not offer himself, except for a few only, namely, the elect. Certainly, my friend, those are words and evasions, sought for the purpose of avoiding the stroke of truth.

You, then, bring some passages of Scripture to prove your proposition.

"Christ says to the reprobate, ‘I never knew you,’ therefore, he never acknowledged them for his own." What then? Did he, therefore, not die for them? That certainly, is an inconclusive argument. For it is necessary that, by his own death, he should redeem unto himself those whom he was to have for his own: but those whom he has not as his own, he did not know as his own, or acknowledge for his own. But, as he acknowledges some for his own, it is not sufficient that he should die for them, and, by the right of redemption, prepare them for himself, but also should make them his own in fact, by an efficacious application of blessings. Hence, it is apparent that there are, here, the fallacies of ignoratio elenchi and causa non causa.

The other argument which you adduce is not more valid. "If all and each are efficaciously redeemed, all and each are also reconciled to God; — But all are not reconciled, nor do all receive the remission of their sins; — Therefore, not all and each are efficaciously redeemed." What if I should say that I concede all this, if it is only correctly understood, and that your conclusion does not belong to the question? You confound the result with the action and passion, from which it exists. For the offering of Christ in death, is the action of Christ, by which he obtained redemption. You then confound the obtainment of redemption with its application: for to be efficaciously redeemed, means to be a partaker of the redemption, made and obtained by the death of Christ. You confound, also, reconciliation made with God by the death and sacrifice of Christ, with the application of the same, which are plainly different things. For "God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (‘2 Corinthians 5:19). We are said to have been "reconciled to God, when we were enemies" (Romans 5:10), which cannot be understood of the application of reconciliation. But your statement — "remission of sins and satisfaction belong together," is not, in all respects true. For satisfaction precedes, as consisting in the death and obedience of Christ, but remission of sins consists in the application of that satisfaction by faith in Christ, which may possibly, not actually follow the satisfaction which has been rendered. Christ, indeed, obtained eternal redemption and the right to remit sins, but sin is not remitted except to those who really believe in Christ. The remark of Prosper is entirely in accordance with these statements. For, by the word redemption, he understands the act both in its accomplishment and in its application. This your second argument, therefore, aside from the purpose, and, on account of confusedness and equivocation, proves nothing.

Your third argument is also inconclusive. For, even if the antecedent is granted, the consequent does not follow. It is true that "Christ gave himself, that he might obtain, from the Father, the right of sanctifying those who should believe in him," and these are thus immediately joined.

But, as he obtained the right, he also, in fact, used that right, by his Spirit and the application and sprinkling of his own blood, sanctifying to himself a peculiar people, and redeeming and freeing them from their own depraved condition, which right pertains to the application of the benefits, obtained for us by the death of Christ. But it does not, thence, follow that, because all do not, in fact, become partakers of that sanctification, therefore, Christ did not give himself for them as the price of redemption; for the action of Christ is confounded with its result, and the application of benefits with their obtainment.

The fourth argument labors under the same fault — that of confusedness.

It is true that "the redemption, which has been accomplished, and, therefore, sonship, are destined for those who believe in Christ; "but it is necessary that the act should precede, by which Christ must obtain for us redemption and sonship, which act, in the order of causes, precedes the entire purpose of God in reference to the application of the redemption.

In the fifth argument, you commit the same fallacy. For the point in dispute, is, "Did Christ die for all without any distinction of elect and reprobate?" and you present, as an argument, the assertion — "his death and the benefits of his death are not applied to all without distinction."

You say that "we may grant that they are, on the part of God, freed from condemnation; yet they are not so far the recipients of grace as that sin no longer reigns in them." I reply that if you grant the former, the latter must also be conceded. For these two benefits, obtained for us by the death and resurrection of Christ — freedom from the condemnation of sin, and from its dominion — are conjoined. One can not be bestowed without the other, on any person.

You, lastly, produce some testimonies from the old writers, but they all, it rightly explained, agree with these things which we have said. For Ambrose plainly speaks of the advantage resulting from the application of Christ’s passion, when he says "he did not descend for thee, he did not suffer for thee," that is, "not for thy benefit." Whence, also, I pray, does faith come to us? Is it not from the gift of the Spirit which Christ has merited for us? Therefore, the passion and the descent of Christ must have preceded our faith, and, therefore, they can not be limited by that faith.

But faith is the instrument of that application. Augustine, also, treats of "deliverance" not as obtained, but as applied. Thus, also, Bernard, Haimo, and Thomas Aquinas. If any of the fathers or school-men seem, at any time, to speak differently, their words must be so explained as not to impinge the truth revealed to us in the Scripture.

Let us now look at some of the objections to your doctrine which you notice. The first is this — "The Scriptures assert that Christ redeemed the world." Why did you not use the word suffer for rather than the word redeem, so as to avoid ambiguity; especially, when the question has reference not to the application of Christ’s passion, but to that passion itself, and the death of Christ. But let us consider the objection, as it is presented by yourself. I say that a distinction is to be made between redemption obtained and redemption applied, and I affirm that it was obtained for the whole world, and for all and each of mankind; but that it was applied only to believers, and to the elect. First, I show that if it was not obtained for all, faith in Christ is, by no right, required of all, and if it was not obtained for all, no one can be rightly blamed, on account of rejecting the offer of redemption, for he rejects that which does not belong to him, and he does it with propriety. If Christ did not die for all, then he can not be the judge of all. The latter idea is conceded, on both sides. But I say that, in the remark of Augustine, the subject discussed is the application of reconciliation, and actual salvation.

The second objection is — God "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." But you do not subjoin the conclusion. It may, indeed, be deduced from the antecedents. But it is of much importance, how that conclusion is formed. For one concludes, "therefore all men universally, will be saved, and will come to the knowledge of the truth. For who hath resisted his will?" Another infers "then there is no predestination, according to which God wills that some should believe and be saved, and that some, being alien from the faith, should be condemned, and this, also, from His decree." A third deduces this conclusion: "Therefore, there can be no will of God by which He absolutely and without reference to sin in man, wills that any should be condemned and not come to the knowledge of the truth." The first conclusion is not legitimate. For they are not always saved, whom God wills to be saved. The second, also, can not be deduced from the text. But of the third, I think that it can be said with truth that it can and must be deduced from those words. I give a plain and perspicuous reason. No one can be condemned for rejecting the truth unless he has been called to it, either in his own person, or in the person of his parents, grand-parents, great grand-parents, etc. No one is called to it, if God does not will that he should come to it; and all men who shall be condemned, will be condemned because

"light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19).

Let us consider your reply. You present this in a four-fold manner. The first is this: "The word all does not embrace all the descendants of Adam, but is used in reference to men in the last age of the world." This, indeed, is truly said, the circumstance of this passage being considered, which treats of the amplitude of the grace exhibited, in the New Testament, in Christ; but the truth of the same words extends itself even further. For that is the perpetual will of God, and had its beginning in the first promise of the blessed Seed, made in paradise. That God did indeed suffer the Gentiles to walk in their own ways, does not contravene this declaration. For they were alienated from the covenant of God, and deprived of the promises by their own fault — by their own fault, committed either in themselves or their ancestors. It ought, then, to have been conceded by you that God willed, through all ages, that all men, individually, should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved, so far as they were embraced in the divine covenant, not, indeed, when they had in themselves, or their parents, departed from it.

Your second answer is — "God willed that all men should be saved who are saved," which, indeed, does open violence to the phraseology, and holds up to ridicule the apostle, who if that explanation is correct, presents so foolish an argument. The design of the apostle is to exhort that "prayers should be made for all men, and for all that are in authority." This reason is "this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, who will have all men to be saved, etc." It is here apparent that the word all is used, in the same sense, in the statement of the reason, as in the exhortation. Otherwise, the connection of the parts is destroyed, and there are four terms in the syllogism. But if it is intended, in the statement of the reason, to refer to all who will be saved, then it must be taken in the same sense in the exhortation also, and then the exhortation of the apostle must be understood in this sense: "I exhort that prayers and supplications be made for all who are to be saved, for God wills that all, who are to be saved, shall be saved." What is doing violence to the meaning of the apostle, if this is not? "But Augustine so explains it: "What then? We do not rest in his authority." Also, we prove this by a collation of a similar passage: "This I deny. For the passage in 1 Corinthians 15:22, "in Christ shall all be made alive," is not similar. For the emphasis may, here, be placed on the words "in Christ," and then it will read thus: "all, who are made alive, will be made alive in Christ, and no one out of Christ." The emphasis, indeed, belongs on those words, as is apparent from the contrast of the other member, "as in Adam all die." But in the passage, in the first epistle to Timothy, there is nothing similar to this. For it says, "God wills that all men should be saved," in which that repetition and reduplication can not have any place. Does not the Scripture teach that we must pray for all, even for those who are not to be partakers of salvation? So far, at least, as it is not evident to us whether they have or have not sinned unto death; for those of the former class, and them only, prayer is not to be made.

Your third answer is that "the phrase means not single individuals of classes, but classes of single individuals;" as if the apostle had said "God wills that some of all classes, states and conditions of men should be saved." This answer you defend from the diverse use of the word all, which is taken, at one time distinctively, at another collectively, which is, indeed, true, although you have interchanged the distributive and collective use of the word. For all the animals were, in a distributive sense, in Noah’s ark, and all men, in a collective sense. Even if the use of that word is twofold, it does not thence follow that it is used in one and not in the other sense, for it can be used in either. In this passage, however, it is used not for classes of single individuals, but for single individuals of classes; for the will of God goes out towards single individuals of classes, or to single human beings. For he wills that single men should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved, that is, all and each, rich and poor, noble and ignoble, male and female, etc. As the knowledge of the truth and salvation belong to single human beings, and is, in fact, prepared, by predestination, for the salvation of single individuals, not for classes, and is denied, by reprobation, to single individuals, not to classes, so, also, in the more general providence of God, antecedent, in the order of nature, to the decree of predestination and reprobation, the divine will has reference to single individuals of classes, not to classes of single individuals. For providence, having reference to classes of single individuals, pertains to the preservation of the species, but that, which refers to single individuals of classes, pertains to the preservation of individuals. But that providence which ministers salvation and the means necessary for salvation, pertains to the preservation and salvation of individuals. Besides, if this passage is to be understood to refer to classes, then the apostle would not have said "for all in authority," but "for some, at least, in eminent positions," but he openly says "that prayers should be made for single individuals in that relation." Nor is there any necessity of any other acceptation of that word, for there is no need of that plea to avoid this consequence, "therefore, all and each are saved." For the salvation of all would not follow from the fact that God wills that any one should be saved, by his will, approving and desiring the salvation of all and of each, but it would follow, if He, by an efficacious volition, saves all and each. To this effect, also, is the distinction made by Damascenus, which we will examine at somewhat greater extent.

Your fourth answer is, "Paul here speaks according to the judgment of charity, not according to the judgment of secret and infallible certainty."

This is really absurd, unless you refer to the charity of God. For Paul here treats of the will of God to which he attributes this volition, that He wills the salvation of all men; not of His will according to which He earnestly desires the salvation of all. But it is, in the mean time, true that God does not will this infallibly or certainly, so that it can not, or at least will not happen otherwise. This, however, is not said by those, who use this passage to sustain a positive contrary to your sentiment. It is settled, then, that from this passage it is a fair inference that "God can not be said, without reference to sin in men, to will that any should err from the truth, or should not come to the truth, and should be condemned."

We may now consider the distinction, made by Damascenus, in which He regards the will of God, as antecedent and consequent. It is of special importance to observe, when the antecedent and consequent wills are spoken of relatively, in what relation they receive those appellations. This relation is that of the will to the will, or rather that of the divine volition, to the divine volition, the former as antecedent, the latter as consequent — for God puts forth one volition before another, in the order of nature, though not of time — or it is that of the divine volition to the preceding or subsequent volition or act of the creature. In respect to the latter, the divine will is called antecedent; in respect to the former, consequent. But these two relations do not greatly differ, though I think that the relation to the volition and act of the creature, either subsequent to or preceding the divine volition, was the cause of the distinction. If we consider the order of volitions, which God wills previous to any act or volition of the creature, we shall see, in that order, that there are some antecedent, some consequent volitions, yet all previous to any act and volition of the creature. And, since that volition, which exists of some cause in us, may be called consequent, it is certain that the distinction was understood by Damascenus, its first author, in the sense that it was in relation to the act or volition of the creature.

The will of God, then, may be called antecedent, by which He wills anything in relation to the creature (our discussion, a rational creature) previous to any act of the creature whatever, or to any particular act of it.

Thus He willed that all men and each of them should be saved. The consequent will of God is that, by which He wills any thing in reference to a rational creature after any act or after many acts of the creature. Thus He wills that they, who believe and persevere in faith, shall be saved, but that those, who are unbelieving and impenitent, shall remain under condemnation. By His antecedent will, He willed to confirm and establish the throne of Saul forever; by His consequent will, He willed to remove him from the kingdom, and to substitute in his place a man better than he.

By his antecedent will Christ willed to gather the Jews as a hen gathers her chickens; by his consequent will, he willed to scatter them among all nations.

You, indeed, approve this distinction, but do not approve the example of antecedent will, presented by Damascenus himself. Let us examine the reasons, in view of which you form this decision.

First you say, "It would follow from this that there is in the Deity weakness and limited power." I deny this sequence; for the divine power is not the instrument of the divine inclination, or desire, or velleity, but of free volition, following the last decision of the divine wisdom, though God may use His power to obtain what He desires within proper limits. Nor is it true that, if one desires or seriously wills any thing, he will effect the same in any way whatever, but he will do it in those ways, in which it is suitable that he should effect it. A father may desire and seriously propose that his son should obey him, but he does not violently compel him to obedience, for it would not be obedience. A father seriously wills that his son should abstain from intoxication, yet he does not confine him in a chamber, where he can not become intoxicated. A father seriously wills to give the paternal inheritance to his son; and by a consequent volition, namely, one that follows the contumacious and obstinate wickedness of the son, wills to disinherit him, nor yet does he do all things, within the scope of his power, that his son may not sin. For, it was possible for the father to keep his son bound and lettered with chains, that he might not be able to sin. But it was as suitable that the father should not use that mode of restraint, as it was to will the patrimony to his son.

The illustration taken from the merchant desiring to save his goods, yet throwing them into the sea is well adapted to its purpose. God seriously wills that all men should be saved, but compelled by the pertinacious and incorrigible wickedness of some, He wills that they should suffer the loss of salvation — that they should be condemned. If you say that the analogy fails, because God could correct their wickedness, but the merchant can not control the winds and the waves, I reply that it may, indeed, be possible to absolute omnipotence, but it is not suitable that God should in that way correct the wickedness of His creatures. Therefore God wills their condemnation because He does not will that His own righteousness should perish.

They, who object that this will may be called conditional, do not say all which might be said, yet they say something. Not all, because this inclination by which God desires the salvation of all men and of each, is simple, natural, and unconditional in God. Yet they say something, since it is true that God wills the salvation of all men, on the condition that they believe, for no will can be attributed to God, by which He may will that any man shall be saved in a sense, such that salvation will, certainly and infallibly, come to him, unless he is considered as a believer, and as persevering in faith even to the end. Since, however, that conditional volition may be changed into an absolute one, in this manner — God wills that all believers should be saved, and that unbelievers should be condemned, which, being absolute, is always fulfilled, this volition may be said not to pertain to this distinction of the will. For, in that volition, He wills nothing to His creature but He wills that these two things, faith and salvation, unbelief and condemnation, should indissolubly cohere. Yet, if it seems proper for any one to consider this an example of antecedent volition, I will not contradict him, yet the application is only by a volition, consequent on the act of faith and perseverance, of unbelief and impenitence.

Your conclusion that "the will of God must be in suspense until the condition is fulfilled, and that the first cause is dependent on second causes," is not valid. For, concerning the former part, I remark that inclination in God is natural towards His own creature, whether the man believes or not. For that inclination does not depend on faith, and uncertainty can not be attributed to the will of Him who, in His infinite wisdom; has all things present to himself, and certainly foreknows all future events, even those most contingent. Nor is the first cause, consequently, dependent on second causes, when any effect of the first cause is placed, in the order of nature, after an effect of the second cause, as that effect, consequent in order, belongs to the mere will of the first cause. It is absurd to say that the condemnation of those, who perish, depends on themselves, even if they would not perish unless by their own demerit. For they willed to merit perdition, and not to perish, that is, they willed to sin and not to be punished. Therefore that punishment depends on the mere and free will of God, yet it can inflict it only on sinners, the operation of power being suspended by justice, agreeably to which that power ought to be exercised. It is no more a valid conclusion that, by this distinction, the free choice of faith or unbelief is attributed to men. For it is in entire harmony with that condition that no one has faith except by the gift of God, though there can be no doubt that man has the free choice not to believe.

You say, secondly — "this conditional will of God is inactive because it belongs to infinite power, and because He can do whatever He will." But it is not suitable that He should use His infinite power to effect that, to which He is borne by natural desire, and it is useful for man, that this will of God should be presented to him as conditional, indeed, rather than as absolute, as was previously said; for it seems as an argument to persuade him to believe. For if he wishes to be saved he must believe, because God has appointed that men shall be saved only through faith.

Your third reason, referring to angels, can be made doubtful by the relation of the antecedent, and even if this is conceded, the consequent does not follow. For the relation of angels and of men is not the same. I am, indeed, fully of the opinion that it is most true that God, by antecedent volition, willed that all and each of the angels should be saved, but only in a due mode and order. Three divine volitions in reference to angels may be laid down in order: the salvation of angels, the obedience of angels, the condemnation of angels. God wills the first from love for His creatures; the second from love for righteousness and the obedience due to Him from His creatures, and, indeed, in such a sense, that He more strongly wills that the second should be rendered to Himself, than the first to His creatures; the third He wills from the same love for justice, whose injury He can not leave unpunished, since punishment is the sole mode of correcting disorder.

Your statements, under your fourth reason, are correct, "and God might will that all sinful men as such should be condemned," if He had not from love towards men determined to lay their sins on His Son, to this end that all who should believe in him, being freed from their sins, should obtain the reward of righteousness. It may indeed be said that God willed that all sinners, as such, should be condemned; but not all sinners are, in fact, condemned, because believers, though they have sinned, are considered not as sinners, but as righteous in Christ.

Fifthly, you say that "the antecedent will of God is absolute." What then? I do not wish to hinder you from regarding the antecedent will in your own way, different from the sentiment of Damascenus. You should, however, consider that you are not then arguing against him. But who has ever defined absolute will — "that which can not be resisted"? Absolute will is that which is unconditional. For example, God willed absolutely that Adam should not eat of the forbidden tree; yet he did eat of that tree. The will, which can not be resisted, is called efficacious. It is not allowable to arrange things defined, and their definitions, according to our own choice.

"But," you may say, "it is not possible to resist the antecedent will." I deny it. You assert, as proof, that "the will, referred to in Romans 9, is antecedent will, and that it can not be resisted." It is for you to prove that assertion. The very statement declares, since the subject, in that passage, is the will of God, by which He hardens, and has mercy, which are divine effects, following acts of the creature which are sinful, called sin, that the will, here spoken of, is consequent not antecedent.

Another method, which you use to prove the same thing, is equally weak.

For, it is not true that "God, simply and absolutely, wills that some should believe and persevere, and others be deserted, either not believing or not persevering." He does not will to desert them, unless they desert themselves; and He is even gracious to those, who do not think of Him.

The argument from the event is futile. For some things occur by the will and the efficiency of God, some by His permission. Therefore it can not be concluded from any event that God willed it. But it has been previously shown how an event may take place, not because God may be unwilling to prevent it; though it would not happen, if God should will efficaciously to prevent it. Therefore that conclusion can not be thus deduced. It is, indeed, true that the reason can not be given why God should afford to one nation the means of salvation, and not to another, why he should give faith to one man, and not to another, which facts may not be resolved into his will. Yet it is not thence concluded, and it is not true, that the will, in that case, is antecedent, even though it precedes all causes in men.

Sixthly, you say that the foundation being destroyed, the edifice falls. But the foundation of that opinion in reference to the antecedent will, which desires the salvation of all men and of each, is the passage in 1 Timothy ch. 2, which has been already discussed by us, and that is incorrectly understood by Damascenus. I reply, first; — Not only that passage, but many others, most clearly sustain that distinction of the will into antecedent and consequent. "How often would I have gathered you together," is an example of antecedent, and "your house is left unto you desolate" of consequent will (Matthew 23:37-38). "And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding," is a case of antecedent will, "they which were bidden were not worthy" and were destroyed, of consequent will. He, also, was invited, according to antecedent will, who, being afterwards found, not having on a wedding garment, was cast out, according to consequent will (Matthew 22:3, 7, 8, 12 and 13). According to antecedent will, the lord commanded his servants to reckon their talents, and to use them for gain for their master; by consequent will, the talent, which he had received, was taken from the wicked and slothful servant (Matthew 25). By antecedent will, the word of God was first offered to the Jews; by consequent will, the same word was taken from them and sent to others (Acts 13). The same distinction is proved by a consideration of the attributes of God; for since God is good and just, He can not will eternal death to His own creature, made in His image, without reference to sin; He can not but will eternal salvation to His creature. The immutability of God necessarily requires the same thing. For since His providence has given to all His creatures means, necessary and sufficient, by which they can attain their designed end, but the designed end of man, made in the image of God, is eternal life, it hence follows that all men are loved by God unto eternal life by antecedent will; nor can God, without a change of His own arrangement, deny eternal life unto men, without reference to sin; which denial, being consequent on the act of man, pertains to consequent will.

The views of Augustine are not opposed to Damascenus. Augustine, indeed, denies that this passage refers to efficacious will; but Damascenus makes no such assertion; he even concedes the very same thing with Augustine; — "God does not will efficaciously to save all and each of mankind." The second interpretation of Augustine is rejected by us on sure grounds. Nor is Prosper opposed to Damascenus. For he, who says that "God wills antecedently that all men should be saved," does not deny that He can, by a consequent will, pass by many men, to whom He does not impart the grace of vocation. Thomas Aquinas, also, is, no more than the others, opposed to Damascenus, for he, in commenting on this passage, speaks of efficacious and of consequent will; and elsewhere he approves of the distinction of Damascenes, and makes use of it, in explaining the passage, which is in controversy. Hugo clearly agrees with Damascenus, if his views are suitably explained.

The third objection is this: "Whatever any one is bound to believe is true; — But every one is bound to believe that he has been efficaciously redeemed by Christ; — Therefore, it is true that every one has been efficaciously redeemed by the death of Christ; and, therefore, even the reprobate have been redeemed, since they also are bound to believe this."

Since this objection is of great importance, and alone sufficient, if it is true, it is necessary that we should examine it with diligence, and at the same time your answer to it. The truth of the Major is manifest, for truth is the foundation of faith, nor can one be, in any way, bound to believe what is false. But you make a distinction in reference to truth and say, that "what is true, is either: true, as to the intention of God, who obligates us to believe, or as to the event." But that distinction is of no importance. I affirm that what is true, according to the intention of God, must be believed according to that intention. What is true, according to the event, must be believed according to the event; and the intention of God can not obligate any one to believe any thing to be true according to the event, which is not true according to the event. In general, it is true that we are bound to believe that which is true in that mode in which it is true, not in any other mode; otherwise, we should be bound to believe what is false.

You see, then, that there is no need of that distinction in the Major; indeed it is most clearly evident that you, lest you should say nothing, wished, by that minute distinction, to avoid this effective blow.

Let us consider the Minor. Its phraseology is bad, because the efficacy of redemption pertains to its application, which is made through faith.

Therefore faith is prior to efficacious application, and the object of faith is prior to faith itself. We may correct it, and it will read thus, "But every one is bound to believe in Christ, the Savior, that he died for his sake, and obtained for him reconciliation and redemption before God." This is, indeed, most true. For they can not be condemned, for want of faith, who were not bound to believe this. But here also you use a distinction, but one which is irrelevant and ridiculous — pardon my freedom of speech — and you do great injustice to yourself, and your own genius, when you endeavor to disguise the plain truth, by so puerile distinctions. You say that the elect are obligated to believe, so that, by faith, they may be made partakers of election, the reprobate are obligated to believe, so that, by neglecting to do so, they may be without excuse, even in the intention of God. But what is the difference whether one is bound to believe to this or that end, provided he is only bound to believe. From which obligation to believe, the truth of that which any one is bound to believe may afterwards be inferred. The expression — "that they may be made partakers of election," is absurd. It should be corrected thus — "that they may be made partakers of the blessings prepared for them in election," or, if we wish to confine ourselves to the limits of the objection, — "that they may, in fact, be made partakers of the redemption prepared for them by Christ." But the reprobate are also bound to believe for the same reason. If it be said that they, absolutely, can not be made partakers, I will say that, for this very reason, the reprobate are not obligated to believe. For the end of the exercise of faith is the application of redemption, and of all the blessings, obtained for us by the merit of Christ. The end of the command and the requirement of faith is that the application may be possible. But how absurd is the declaration that the reprobate are under obligation to believe, so that they may, by not believing, be rendered inexcusable. Unite, if you can, these things, so inconsistent, and widely distant as heaven and earth.

This, however, has been before referred to.

You proceed with your distinctions, and say — "one command has reference to obedience; another, to trial." But what relation has this to the present matter? For whether God commands, with the purpose that man should, in fact, obey, or with the purpose, only, of testing his obedience in the effort to execute the command, the man is always obligated to perform what God commands, as is apparent in the offering of Isaac by Abraham.

Nor has this command, in the relation of that, any analogy, with what you subjoin, — "God does not sport with men, even if He, by the preaching of the word, calls those whom He does not purpose to save." Indeed we have already said enough in reference to those and similar evasions. I will say, in a word, — that no one can confess that he is guilty for rejecting a promise made verbally, if the mind of the promiser has determined that the promise does not belong to the person addressed; or rather if he, who verbally promises, has, by a fixed decree, determined that the promise may not and can not belong to the other person.

You present an objection, as an adversary to yourself, thus — "but you will say that it could not belong to him." Not only may that objection be urged, but also another — "How do you confute that statement, so that it may not follow from it that he is without blame, who could not receive the salvation offered to him?" You will say that such inability is voluntary, and born with us, and therefore undeserving pardon. You err here, and confound inability to keep the law, propagated in us from Adam, with inability to believe in Christ, and to accept the grace of the gospel, offered us in the word. By what deed have we brought this inability upon ourselves? Not by a deed preceding that promise; then it was by a deed following it, that is, by a rejection of the promise of the gospel; which rejection also can not be imputed to us as a fault, if we were unable to receive it at the time when the promise was first presented to us. The answer, then, amounts to nothing, because the two kinds of inability are confounded, in which is the fallacy of ignoratia elenchi, also that of equivocal use of terms.

You reply, in the second place, that "what any one is obligated to believe is true, unless he may have placed before himself an obstacle by not believing." Is this correct? Can any one place before himself an obstacle, by his own unbelief, that what he is bound to believe may not be true? Absurd. One can, by his own unbelief, place before himself an obstacle, so as not to be able afterwards to believe, that is, to deserve hardening in unbelief on account of rejecting the truth offered to him. One can, also, by his own unbelief, deserve that God should change that good will, by which He offered His Son as the redeemer, into wrath, by which He may will to punish him without remission or pardon.

Thirdly you reply that "the argument twice depends on assertion, in both parts." But who compelled you to so reduce that argument into an illogical syllogism, when it might have been put in a legitimate form and mode, in this way, "That which every one is bound to believe, is true; — That Christ is his redeemer, who, by his own death, meritoriously obtained the divine grace, and the pardon of his sins, is what every one, called in the gospel, is bound to believe; — Therefore it is true, that Christ is the redeemer of all, who are called by the gospel and commanded to believe.

But among them are many reprobate persons. Therefore it is true that Christ is the redeemer of many reprobate persons. If we consider vocation to be that by which any one is called, either in himself or in his parents, then all men, universally, are or have been partakers of that vocation, and therefore all have been redeemed by Christ." But the form, also, in which you have put it is the same in effect, though you have so arranged the words, that they seem to have a different meaning. I see that you wrote those things with a hurried pen, without an examination of the syllogism as you have proposed it.

The fourth objection, from the fathers, is valid against you, nor do you reply in accordance with the terms of the sentiment hostile to you. The amount of the objection is this, "Christ died for all sufficiently, both as to the common nature of the human race, and as to the common cause and sufficient price of redemption." You have introduced efficacy into the argument or objection, while they, who make this objection against you, know that there is the clearest distinction between the death of Christ itself and its application. You say, "and thus far in reference to the extent and efficacy of Christ’s death," when the discussion has been hitherto in reference not to its efficacy, but to its sufficiency, and its oblation and the universality of that oblation. You, now, proceed to treat of the amplitude of grace, but what you present does not much affect the point at issue.

The question is not, whether all and each of the human race are, in fact, regenerated and renewed, but whether God has reprobated any man, without respect to sin as a meritorious cause; or whether He has determined absolutely to deny to any man the grace of remission and of the renewal of the Holy Spirit without reference to unworthiness, in that he has made himself unworthy of that grace — unworthiness, not resulting from original sin, but from the rejection and contempt of that offered grace.

The distinction of sufficient and efficacious grace might have been well adapted to this subject, as we have also previously demonstrated.

Yet there is one thing of which I may admonish you. You seem to me not correctly to deprive, of supernatural grace, the image of God, consisting of righteousness and holiness. For though the former gift was bestowed on man at his creation and at the same time with nature itself, for so I now consider it, yet it is supernatural, and surpasses the nature of man itself, as I prove from the act of regeneration, which belongs to supernatural grace.

For, since there is need of regeneration for the recovery of that righteousness and holiness, which regeneration is a supernatural act, it is necessary that the same should, originally, have been bestowed on man, by a supernatural action. I wish, also, to know what those supernatural things are which man is said to have lost in the fall, his natural qualities having become corrupt. Thus far, in reference to these things.

I think, indeed, that it is sufficiently evident from what we have thus far discussed that the view of Predestination which you have presented can not be proved by the Scriptures; that it can not be defended against strong objections; that it can not be acquitted of manifold absurdity. It ought then to be abandoned by you, and another should be sought from the Scriptures, which may harmonize with them, and may be able to sustain without injury the onset of assailant objection


In the first part of our treatise, we have examined, most learned Perkins, your sentiment concerning Predestination, and have proved that it is, by no means, consistent with the Holy Scriptures. Another labor now remains to us, to consider how you refute the opinion which you say is different from yours.

You, briefly, set forth that opinion, diligently gathered from the writings of others, consisting of four parts — First, "God created all and each of mankind in Adam unto eternal life."

Secondly, "He foresaw the fall."

Thirdly, "Since He is good by nature, He seriously wills that all men, after the fall, should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth; and therefore He wills to bestow, on all men, all the aids both of nature and of grace that they might be saved, but indefinitely, that is if they should believe. This will of God" (they say) "is predestination, and is the same with that embraced in the gospel. The rule of this will is — ‘He that believeth shall be saved, but he, that believeth not, shall be damned.’" Fourthly, "Election is according to foreknowledge of future faith — to fail of which is possible, wholly, as some, or finally, as others claim, — and Reprobation is according to foreknowledge of unbelief or contempt of the gospel."

I can not speak, with certainty, in reference to the statement of that theory, whether it agrees with the views of its authors or not, because you are silent concerning the authors from whom you have taken it: yet, with your permission, I may say that it does not seem to me to have been staged by you with sufficient correctness. Omitting the first two propositions, I think that, in enunciating the third, you make a frivolous statement, which will, I believe, be scarcely admitted by those, whose sentiment you profess to present. For what is the meaning of this — "God wills that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, but indefinitely, if they should believe"? Is not faith itself the knowledge of the truth? Therefore the enunciation is deceptive and ridiculous — "God wills that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, but indefinitely, if they should come to the knowledge of the truth, or he wills that all men should come to faith, if they should believe." The next sentence is of a similar character, — "God wills to bestow, on all men, all the aids both of nature and of grace, that they may be saved, but indefinitely, if they should believe," when faith itself holds a distinguished place, among the aids of grace by which salvation is obtained. From the passage of the gospel, which is quoted, "He that believeth shall be saved," etc., it is apparent that they, whose sentiment you present, would, in this third proposition, have stated not that which you say, but this, "God determined to save, from the fallen human race, only those who should believe in His Son, and to condemn unbelievers."

The fourth proposition is not, I think, expressed sufficiently in accordance with the views of those authors. For, if I am not mistaken, their sentiment is this, — "Election to salvation is according to foreknowledge of future faith, which God has determined to bestow of His own grace upon them by the ordinary means ordained by Himself. But Reprobation is according to foreknowledge of unbelief or contempt of the gospel, the fault of which remains, entirely, in the reprobate themselves." I admit that there may be need of some explanation of that sentiment, but you do not seem to have explained it correctly. You should have considered not one view only, adverse to your own view, but the others, also, which are opposed to it, and you should have refuted all of them, that, in this way, it might be evident that no view, other than yours, is true.

We may, now, consider in what way you refute that theory. You enumerate very many errors which, you think, result from it, which we will examine in order.

The first error; — This either is not an error, or can not be deduced from that theory. It is not an error, if its hypothesis be correctly understood.

For it is universally true that "God wills that all men should be saved, if they believe, and be condemned if they do not believe." That is, God has made a decree for electing only believers, and for condemning unbelievers.

"But this," you say "is an error because it makes Election universal, and from it universal Reprobation is inferred, that is, by the added condition."

But that sentiment makes neither Election nor Reprobation universal, which can not be done, but it establishes the particular Election of believers, and the particular Reprobation of unbelievers. Innumerable passages of Scripture present this Election and Reprobation. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life," etc. (John 3:36). "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). "To him give all the prophets witness, etc." (Acts 10:43). "Seeing that ye put it from you, etc." (Acts 13:46).

"He, that hath the Son, hath life; and he, that hath not the Son of God, hath not life." (1 John 5:12).

That Election and Reprobation is, therefore, evidently proved by many passages of Scripture.

It does not follow, from this, that; "God always acts in the same manner towards all men." For though He may seriously will the conversion and salvation of all men, yet He does not equally effect the conversion and salvation of all.

"What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, etc." (Deuteronomy 4:7.)

"The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, etc." (Deuteronomy 7:6).

"He hath not dealt so with any nation" (Psalms 147:20).

"It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 13:11).

"Who, in times past, suffered all nations to walk in their own ways" (Acts 14:16).

But you have not distinguished, as you ought to have done, between the decree of God, by which He determined to save those who should believe in His Son, and to condemn unbelievers, and that by which He arranged with Himself in reference to the dispensation of means, ordained by Him to faith and conversion. For those decrees "I will to give life to him who believes," and "I will to give faith to this man" are distinct. Faith, in the former, holds the place of subject, in the latter, that of attribute. If you had made this distinction, you would not have laid the burden of such an absurdity on that theory.

The second error; — I remark that the highest and absolute design of the counsels of God "is not regarded by the authors of that theory to be the communication of the divine goodness in true happiness, to be made to all men." For they say that God destined salvation for believers alone; and, though He may not impart his goodness, and life eternal to a large number of persons, as unbelievers, yet they do not say this "without reference to the divine purpose." For they assert that one part of the divine purpose is that, by which He determined to deny eternal life to unbelievers. Therefore this is alleged in vain against that opinion. "But" you say "the ultimate design of the counsels of God either has an uncertain event, or is proposed in vain," — which ideas coincide, and should not have been expressed distinctly — if "the theory is received." Its supporters will deny that conclusion. For the ultimate design of the divine counsels is not the life of one and the death of another, but the illustration of the goodness, justice, wisdom and power of God, which He always secures. Yet allow that the eternal life of these, and the death of those is the ultimate design of those counsels: it will not follow that it has an uncertain event, or is proposed in vain, if the former is bestowed upon no one, apart from the condition of faith, and the latter awaits no one, apart from unbelief. For God by His own prescience, knows who, of His grace, will believe, and who, of their own fault, will remain in unbelief. I wish that you would consider, that certainty of an event results properly from the prescience of God, but its necessity results from the omnipotent and irresistible action of God; which may, indeed, be the foundation of the prescience of some events, but not of this event, because He has determined to save believers by grace; that is, by a mild and gentle suasion, convenient or adapted to their free-will, not by an omnipotent action or motion, which would be subject neither to their will, nor to their ability either of resistance or of will. Much less does the damnation of some proceed from an irresistible necessity, imposed by the Deity.

The third error; — You ought, here, first to have explained what is meant when it is said that "the will of God depends on the will of man." It may be that you extend that phrase further than is proper. It is, indeed, certain that the will of God, since He is entirely independent, — or rather His volition — can not depend on the will of man, if that phrase be correctly understood, as signifying "to receive its law or rule from the volition of man." On the other hand, it is certain that God does will some things, which He would not will, if a certain human volition did not precede. He willed that Saul should be removed from the throne; He would not have willed it, if Saul had not willed to be disobedient to God. God willed that the Sodomites and their neighbors should be destroyed; He would not have willed it, if they had not willed to persevere obstinately in their sins. God willed to give His own Son as the price of redemption for sinners; He would not have willed it, if men had remained in obedience to the divine command. God willed to condemn Judas; He would not have willed it unless Judas had willed to persist in His own wickedness.

It is not true, indeed, that "the will of God depends on the will of man."

Man would, if he could, effect that the volition of God should not follow his own antecedent volition — that punishment should not follow sin.

Indeed God is purely the author of His own volition. For He has determined in His own free-will to follow a volition of His creature, by His own volition of one kind and not of another; the faith of His creature by the remission of sins and the gift of eternal life; the unbelief of the same, by eternal damnation. This is the meaning of that opinion, which you undertake to refute, and you therefore, with impropriety charge this absurdity upon it.

You, however, make an allegation of much greater weight, against this sentiment, that "by it the creature is raised to the throne of God, the Omnipotent Creator." How do you sustain that allegation? "It is claimed" you say "that God wills that all men should be saved through Christ, and that many of them are not saved because they, of themselves, refuse." But, good sir, does that doctrine say that "God wills that all men should be saved through Christ, whether they will or not? It does, indeed, assert that "God wills that they should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" which last can not be done, apart from their free-will. For no one can, if he is reluctant or unwilling, come to the knowledge of the truth, that is to faith. If God should will, absolutely and apart from any condition, that all men should be saved, and yet some should not be saved because they refused, then it would follow that the divine will was overcome by the human will, and the creature was raised to the throne of the Creator.

But as God wills that His own volition, joined, in due order and mode, with the volition of man, should precede salvation, it is not wonderful that a man, who should deny his own assent unto God; should be excluded from salvation, by that same determination and purpose of the divine will.

"But God" you say "ordains and disposes the action of the second cause; the divine will is not ordained by the will of the creature." Who denies these statements? That is not the doctrine which you here oppose.

Therefore, here also, you attempt, in vain, to overthrow it by this absurdity.

You add another absurdity, as consequent on this opinion. "If that sentiment is true, then men elect themselves, by accepting the grace of God, which is offered to them, by the common aid of grace, and are reprobated by themselves, by rejecting offered grace." Let us examine this.

Even if a man should, by accepting common grace, through the aid of common grace, make himself worthy of Election, and another, by rejecting the same, should make himself worthy of Reprobation, it would not follow that Election and Reprobation belong to the man, but to God, who judges and rewards worthiness and unworthiness. It is also entirely true, in reference to Reprobation, that man is the meritorious cause of his own damnation, and therefore of Reprobation which is the purpose of damnation. Wherefore he may be called the maker of his own damnation, in reference to its demerit; although God can, if He will, remit to him this demerit. But the relation of Election is different; for it is merely gratuitous, not only unmerited, but even contrary to the demerit of man.

Whether the grace, which is offered to man, may be also received by him by the aid of grace, which is common to him with others who reject the same grace, or by grace peculiar to him, is perhaps in controversy. I do not, indeed, see that the sentiment, which you have presented, has given any prejudgment concerning that matter. It is a strange assertion that "God would not be extolled, if men should obtain his blessing merely by the aid of common grace." Who has deserved that a blessing should be offered to him? Who has deserved that grace of any kind should be bestowed on him to the obtainment of that blessing? Do not all these things pertain to gratuitous divine favor? If so, is not God to be extolled, on account of them, with perpetual praises by those, who, having been made partakers of that grace, have received the blessing of God? Of what importance to this matter is it, whether he may have obtained the offered blessing by the aid of common or of peculiar grace, if the former, as well as the latter, has obtained the free assent of man, and it has been foreknown by God that it certainly would obtain it? You will say that, if he has apprehended the offered grace by the aid of peculiar grace, it is, then, evident that God has manifested greater love towards him than towards another to whom He has applied only common grace, and has denied peculiar grace. I admit it, and perhaps the theory, which you oppose, will not deny it. But it will assert that peculiar grace is to be so explained as to be consistent with free-will, and that common grace is to be so described, that a man may be held worthy of condemnation by its rejection, and that God may be shown to be free from injustice.

The fourth error; — The knowledge of God, as it has relation to his creatures, may be regarded in two modes. In one, as God knows that He can make those creatures, and at the same time that they can be made in this or in that mode, that they may not only exist, but may also be able to serve this or that purpose. This knowledge, in the Deity, is natural and precedes the act or the free determination of the will, by which God has determined in Himself to make the same creatures at such a time. In the other mode, as God knows that those creatures will exist at one time or another; and, regarded in this light, it depends on the determination of the divine will. This knowledge can be referred to the acts of the creatures themselves, which God has determined either to effect or to permit.

Knowledge, considered in the former mode, refers to all acts in general, which can be performed by the creatures, whether God is efficient in them, or only permits them. From this, follows the decree to effect these and those acts, and to permit them, which decree is followed by the knowledge, by which God foreknows that those acts will occur, at any particular time. This latter knowledge, which is rightly called prescience, is not, properly, the cause of things or acts. But the former knowledge, with the will, is the cause of things and acts. For it shows the mode of operating, and directs the will. The will, however, impels it to execution. It is, therefore, certain that there is no determinate or definite prescience in reference to culpable evil, unless it has been preceded by a decree to permit sin. For without this, sin will not exist. Prescience has also reference to things future and certainly future; otherwise, either it is not prescience or it is uncertain. These things are rightly said by you, and the order, which you have made in prescience and decree, is correct; but it is not contrary to the hypothesis of the doctrine, which you oppose, but so consistent with it, that it can not be defended without this order. For it states that God, from eternity, knew that it was possible that man, assisted by divine grace, should either receive or reject Christ; also, that God has decreed, either to permit a man to reject Christ, or to co-operate with him that he may accept Christ by faith, then, that God foreknows that one will apprehend Christ by faith, and that another will reject him by unbelief. From this follows the execution of that decree, by which he determined to justify and save believers, and to condemn unbelievers, which is an actual justification of the former, and a condemnation of the latter. It is, therefore, apparent that you improperly allege such absurdity against that doctrine.

Your statement that "God permits evil, always, with respect to or on account of a conjoined good," deserves notice. Those words can be understood to mean that God would permit, an evil on account of a good, conjoined with the evil, which sentiment can not be tolerated. For the good, which comes out of evil, is not conjoined with the evil, but is wonderfully brought out of evil, as its occasion, by the wisdom, goodness and omnipotence of God. For He knows how to bring light out of darkness. The knowledge, also, by which God knows that he can use evil to a good end, is also the cause of the permission of evil. For, as Augustine well says, "God, in His goodness, never permits evil unless, in His omnipotence, He can bring good out of the evil."

The fifth error; — Here three things must be properly distinguished. The acts and sufferings of Christ, the fruits and results of those acts and suffering, and the communication and application of those fruits, Christ, by the sacrifice of his own body, by his obedience and passion, reconciled us unto God, and obtained for us eternal redemption, without any respect or distinction of elect and reprobate, of believers and unbelievers; as that distinction is, in the order of nature, subsequent. That reconciliation and redemption is applied to us, when we, having faith in the word of reconciliation, believe in Christ, and in him are justified, or regarded as righteous, and are, in fact, made partakers of redemption. Hence it appears, according to that theory, "that not many of those, to whom reconciliation and redemption is, in fact, applied, by faith, are lost." Therefore, it will not follow, from this, that "sin, Satan, the world, death, hell, are more powerful than Christ the Redeemer. For, they could not, in the first place, prevent Christ from offering himself to the Father in sacrifice, obeying the Father, and suffering death; and, in the second place, that he should not thereby obtain reconciliation and eternal redemption before God.

In reference to the application of these blessings, it is true that sin, Satan, the world, and the flesh, prevent many from believing in Christ, and being made partakers of them. Yet God is not overcome by these, both because it has seemed good to God not to use His omnipotent and irresistible power to cause men to believe, and because God has determined that no one shall be a partaker of those blessings, who does not believe in Christ.

It is not true that "God is mutable, according to this hypothesis." For the theory does not state that God, absolutely and simply, wills to save all men, but conditionally: and according to His own prescience, He has determined to condemn, eternally, those who will not incline themselves to this counsel. This is also, finally, performed in fact without any charge. It is not sufficient to charge absurdity on any doctrine; it must be proved, by fair inference, to be a consequence of that doctrine.

The sixth error; — I am very certain, from the Scriptures, "that saving grace is" not "universal" in the sense that it can be said to have been bestowed on all and each of mankind in all ages. But you ought to have said that "saving grace is stated to be universal" by that doctrine. You neglect to do that, and are much engaged in proving something else. I do not, indeed, object to this, but the other thing was equally necessary to reach the object, which you had proposed to yourself. But also, at this point, there are some things deserving consideration. You do not, with sufficient accuracy, regard the distinction between "the ability to believe, if one wills," and "the ability to will to believe." For each of these, the latter, as well as the former, must, and indeed does pertain to those, who will continue in unbelief. For unless they have the ability to believe, and, indeed, the ability to will to believe, they can not rightly be punished for their unbelief. Besides one includes the other, for no one can believe, unless he can will to believe. No one believes, without the exercise of his will. But the actual exercise of the will to believe is a different thing from the ability to will to believe; the latter belongs to all men, the former to the regenerate only, or rather to those enlightened by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Hence, you see that you ought to make corrections in many particulars, and that in place of "the ability to will to believe," should be substituted "the will to believe," which is most closely connected with the act of faith, while the other is removed to the greatest distance from actual faith. The distinction between the ability, the will, and the act, is here especially necessary: but not only is it to be suitably explained, but also the causes are to be referred to, by which it may be given to men to be able to will, and to act.

In your third argument, in which you prove the speciality of grace, you use the disjunctive correctly in your expression, "who had not the knowledge of faith, or did not retain it." There is a greater emphasis, in that disjunctive, than one would, perhaps, at first, think. For, if they did not "retain it," they lost it by their own fault; they rejected it, and are, therefore, to be punished for the rejection of the gospel. If they are to be punished for this, they were destined to punishment, on this account. For the cause of the decree is not different from that of its execution.

You present an objection to your own doctrine, deduced from the usual saying of the school-men, "A man can not be excused for a deficiency of supernatural knowledge, from the fact that he could, and indeed would, receive it from God, if he would do so according to his own ability, and since he does not do this, he is held guilty of that deficiency. You reply to this objection, but not in a suitable manner. For it is not a sufficient distinction that "grace is given either of merit or of promise:" nor, indeed, does it agree with the contrary or opposite parts. For God can give this, without either merit (I should have preferred the word debt), or promise, but of unpromised grace, since He does and gives many things of grace, which He has not promised. Let us look at that promise, which was made immediately after the fall; it was made, neither of debt, nor of promise, but of grace preceding the promise. For God gives life "to him that worketh," of promise and of debt (Romans 4:3, 4). But consider whether a promise is not contained in that declaration of Christ, "Unto every one which hath shall be given," by which God pledges himself to illuminate, with supernatural grace, him who makes a right use of natural grace, or at least uses it with as little wrong as is possible for him.

The argument, from idiots and infants, is wholly puerile. For who dares to deny that many idiots and infants are saved? Yet this, indeed, does not happen to them, apart from saving grace. Some remark is to be made in reference to the passages which you cite, though it may, perhaps, be irrelevant. In Romans 9:16, where it is said "not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy," the word "righteousness" is understood. For the discussion in that place is in reference to those, to whom righteousness is properly imputed, not to them that work, but to them that believe, that is, righteousness is obtained not by him that willeth or that runneth, but by him to whom "God showeth mercy," namely, to the believer. Matthew 13:11, proves that grace is not given equally and in the same measure to all, and, indeed, that the knowledge of "the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" is not divinely bestowed on all. In the other passages, the things which are opposed, do not belong in this relation. "The Spirit breathes not upon all, but on whom he wills" (John 3:8). What if He wills to breathe upon all? From the statement, "he breathes where he wills," it does not follow that he does not breathe on any one, unless it is proved that he does not will to breathe upon him. So, also, "The Son revealeth the Father to whom he will" (Luke 1:29). What if he will to reveal himself to all? Not all believe, but those who are drawn" (John 6:44). But, what if all are drawn? You see that those things are not rightly placed in opposition, though it may be true that the Spirit does not breathe upon all; that Christ does not reveal the Father to all; that all are not drawn by the Father.

I wish, also, that your remarks in reference to the disparagement of efficacious grace, had been more extended. First, indeed, the nature of grace itself, and its agreement with the free-will of man, then its efficacy, and the cause of that efficacy, ought to have been more fully explained. For I consider nothing more necessary to the full investigation of this subject.

Augustine, because he saw this, treats, in very many places, of the agreement of grace and of free-will, and of the distinction between sufficient and efficacious grace. I remark here, in a word, that by efficacious grace is meant, not that grace is necessarily received and can not be rejected, which certainly is received, and not rejected, by all, to whom it is applied. I add that it is not to the disparagement of grace, that the wickedness and perversity of most men is so great that they do not suffer themselves to be converted by it unto God. The author of grace determined not to compel men, by his grace, to yield assent, but to influence them by a mild and gentle suasion, which influence, not only, does not take away the free consent of the free-will, but even establishes it. Why is this strange, since God, as you admit, does not choose to repress the perverse will, that is, otherwise than by the application of grace, which they reject in their perversity. I do not oppose those things which you present from the fathers, for I think that most of them can be reconciled with the theory which you here design to confute.

You also present certain objections, which can be made against you, and in favor of that doctrine, and you attempt to confute them. The first is this, "the promise, in reference to the Seed of the woman, was made to all the posterity of Adam, and to each of the human race, in Adam himself." This, indeed, is true, nor do those things, which are stated by you, avail to destroy its truth. For the idea that the promise pertained to all men, considered in Adam, is not at variance with the idea that the Jews were alone the people of God. These ideas are reconciled by the fact that the people of other nations were alienated from the promise by their own fault or that of their parents, as may be seen from the whole tenor of the Holy Scriptures.

The second and third objections are made by those who do not think that historical faith in Christ is necessary to salvation. Your refutation of these pleases me, and those objections are of no moment. You also meet, with a sufficient reply, the objection from the fathers. But that objection is not presented, oppositely to the views of those, whom, in this treatise, you oppose. For they admit that the grace, by which any one is enabled to will to be converted, and to will really to believe in Christ, is not common to all men, which idea they do not regard as opposed to their own sentiment concerning the election of believers, and the reprobation of unbelievers.

The seventh error; — Should I say that this dogma is falsely charged upon that doctrine, you will be at a loss, and indeed will not be able to prove your assertion. For they acknowledge that the rule of predestination is "the will and the decree of God." This declaration — "Believers shall be saved, and unbelievers shall be condemned" — was made apart from any prescience of faith or unbelief, by God, of His own mere will, and they say that in it is comprehended the definition of Predestination and Reprobation. But when the Predestination of certain individuals is discussed, then they premise the foreknowledge of faith and of unbelief, not as the law and rule, but as properly antecedent. To which view, the passage in Ephesians 1, is not opposed. For believers are "predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." The purpose, according to which Predestination is declared to have been made, is that of adopting believers in Christ to sonship and eternal life, as is apparent from many passages of Scripture, where that purpose is discussed (Romans 8 and 9). From this, it is also evident that your first argument against those who hold that opinion, amounts to nothing.

In the second place, you assert, that "divine Election is rule of giving or withholding faith. Therefore Election does not pertain to believers, but faith rather pertains to the elect, or is from the gift of Election." You will allow me to deny this, and to ask for the proof, while I plead the cause of those, whose sentiment you here oppose. Election is made in Christ. But no one is in Christ, except he is a believer. Therefore no one is elected in Christ, unless he is a believer. The passage in Romans 11:5, does not serve to prove that thesis. For the point, there discussed, is not the election of grace, according to which faith is given to some, but that, according to which, righteousness is imputed to believers. This may be most easily, proved from the context, and will be manifest to any one, who will more diligently inspect and examine it. For the people, "which God foreknew, (verse 2d,) that is which He foreknew according to His grace, is the people, which believed, not that which followed after righteousness by the works of the law (Romans 9:31). This people God "hath not cast away." For thus is to be understood the fifth verse, "there is a remnant according to the election of grace," that is, they, only, are to be esteemed as the remnant of the people of God, who believe in Christ, as they alone are embraced in the election of grace, the children of the flesh, who followed after righteousness by the law, being excluded. That, which follows, teaches the same thing, "if by grace, then it is no more of works." What is that which is "by grace "? Is it election to faith? By no means; but it is election to righteousness, or righteousness itself. For it is said to be "by grace" not "by works." For it is not, here, inquired whether faith, but whether righteousness belongs to any one by works. Consider also the next verse "What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the election hath obtained, and the rest were blinded." What is that which Israel had sought for, and had not obtained? Not faith, but righteousness.

See the end of the 9th and the beginning of the 10th chapters. They rejected faith in Christ, and endeavored to obtain righteousness, by the works of the law, and this is the reason that they did not attain "to the law of righteousness." It is the same thing, also, which the elect are said to have obtained, not faith, but righteousness.

You will ask — "Is not faith, then, given according to Election?" I answer faith is not given according to that election, which is there discussed by the apostle, and therefore that passage does not conduce to your purpose.

But, is there, then, a twofold Election on the part of God? Certainly, if that is Election, by which God chooses to righteousness and life, that must be different, by which He chooses some to faith, if indeed he does choose some to faith: which, indeed, I will not now discuss, because it is my purpose only to answer your arguments.

Your third argument is equally weak, for prescience of faith and of unbelief has the same extent as predestination. In the first place, unbelief is a negative idea, that is, want of faith, and it was foreseen by God, when He decreed unto damnation. Secondly, the infants of believers are considered in their believing parents, and are not to be separated from the people of believers.

Your fourth argument is answered in the same way as the second. Faith is not the effect of that election, by which some are elected to righteousness and life. But it is this election to which they refer, in the examination of whose doctrine you are now engaged. The passage, in Ephesians 1, regards faith, as presupposed to predestination. For no one, but a believer, is predestinated to adoption through Christ — "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God." The passages, adduced from the fathers, sustain the idea that faith is the effect of election, but, without doubt, that election is referred to, by which God makes a distinction among men in the dispensation of means, by which faith is attained, which will perhaps not be denied by those, with whom you are now engaged, if it may only be correctly explained according to the Scriptures.

The fifth argument amounts to this: — "Election is not according to the foresight of faith, since the cause of the divine foresight of faith in one, and not in another, is the mere will of God, who purposes to give faith to one, and not to another." Your opponents would reply that faith is, in such a sense, of the mere will of God, that it does not use an omnipotent and irresistible influence in producing faith in men, but a mild suasion and one adapted to incline the will of man, according to the mode of the human will: therefore the whole cause of the faith of one, and the unbelief of another, is the will of God, and the free choice of man.

To the sixth argument, he, who acknowledges that faith can be wholly lost, will reply that the rule or rather the antecedent condition of election is not faith, but final perseverance in faith: of that election, I mean, by which God chose to salvation and eternal life.

The eighth error; — That true and saving faith may be, totally and finally, lost, I should not at once dare to say: though many of the fathers frequently seem to affirm this. Yet the arguments, by which you prove that it can be, neither wholly nor finally, lost, are to be considered.

Your first proof is deduced from Matthew 16:18 — "upon this rock I will build," etc., and you argue in favor of your doctrine in a three-fold manner from that passage. Your first proof is equivocal on account of the double meaning of the word faith. For it means either the confession of faith made by Peter concerning Christ, or trust resting in that confession and doctrine of faith. Faith, understood in the former sense, is the rock, which remains unshaken and immovable, and is the foundation of the church; but faith, understood in the latter sense, is inspired in the members of the church, by the spirit and the word, by which they are built upon the rock as their foundation. Therefore the word faith is used in the antecedent in a sense, different from that, in which it is used in the consequent.

Your second proof is this; — "They, who have been built on the rock do not wholly fall from it; — But those, who truly believe, are built upon the rock; — Therefore, they do not utterly fall from it." Answer. The Major of this proposition is not contained in the words of Christ, for he says not that "those built on the rock shall not fall from the rock," but "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (the rock, or the church)." It is one thing that the gates of hell should not prevail against the rock, but another that those who are built upon the rock shall not fall from it. A stone, built upon a foundation, may give way, and fall from it, while the foundation itself remains firm. If Christ referred to the Church, I say, even then, that to assert that those who are built upon the rock shall not fall from it, is not the same as to declare that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. For the act of falling pertains to the free will of the person who falls; but if the gates of hell should prevail against the church, this would occur on account of the weakness of the rock on which the church is founded. The Minor does not repeat the same idea as was contained in the Major. For, in the Minor, it is stated that believers are built, not having been built, completely, on the rock, on account of the continuation and confirmation of the work of building, which must, necessarily, continue while they are in this world. But while that continuation and confirmation lasts, believers do not seem to be out of danger of falling. For as any person may be unwilling to be built upon the rock, so it is possible that the same man, if he begins to be built, should fall, by resisting the continuation and confirmation of the building. But, it is not probable that Christ wished to signify, by those words, that believers could not fall, as such an assertion would not be advantageous. Since it is necessary that they should have their own strength in the rock, and therefore, that they should always bear upon and cling to the rock, they will give less earnest heed, in temptations, to adhere firmly to the rock, if they are taught that they can not fall from it. It may be sufficient to animate them, if they know that no force or skill can throw them from the rock, unless they willingly desert their station.

As to your third proof, even if it should be evident that Christ declared, that the gates of hell should not prevail against the church, yet it would not follow that no one could fall away from the faith. If any one should fall, nevertheless the church remaineth unshaken against the gates of hell. The defection of an individual, as was before said, is not caused by the power of hell, but by the will of him, who falls, in reference to the inflexibility of whose will the Scripture says nothing; the use of argument, presenting such consolation, would not be useful for the confirmation of the faithful.

In reference to the sentiments of the fathers, you doubtless know that almost all antiquity is of the opinion, that believers can fall away and perish. But the passages, which you present from the fathers, either treat of faith in the abstract, which is unshaken and immutable, or concerning predestinated believers, on whom God has determined to bestow perseverance, who are always to be distinguished, according to the opinion of the fathers, and especially of Augustine, from those who are faithful and just, according to present righteousness.

Your second argument proves nothing, for, though it is true that he that asketh may be confirmed against temptations, and may not fall away, yet it is possible that he may not ask, and thus may not receive that strength, so that defection may follow. Hence arises the constant necessity of prayer, which does not exist, if one obtains that assistance from God, without daily prayers, nor is it, here, declared that believers may not intermit the duty of prayer, which must necessarily be presupposed to that conclusion, which you wish to deduce from prayer.

That "Christ undertakes to confess the elect" (Matthew 10:32) is true. But "elect" and "believers" are not convertible terms according to the view of the fathers, unless perseverance be added to faith. Nor is it declared, by Christ, in Matthew 24:24, that the elect can not depart from Christ, but that they can not be deceived, by which is meant that though the power of deception is great, yet it is not so great as to seduce the elect: which serves as a consolation to the elect against the power and artifices of false Christ’s, and false prophets.

Your third argument can be invalidated in many ways. First, "entire defection from true faith would require a second engrafting, if indeed he, who falls away, shall be saved." It is not absolutely necessary that he, who falls away, should be again engrafted; indeed some will say, from Hebrews 6 and 10, that one, who wholly falls away from the true faith, can not be restored by repentance. Secondly, There is no absurdity in saying that they may be engrafted a second time, because in Romans 11:23, it is said of branches, which had been cut or broken off, that "God is able to graft them in again." If you say that the same individuals are not referred to here, I will ask the proof of that assertion. Thirdly, It does not follow from the second engrafting that "a repetition of baptism would be necessary" because baptism, once applied to an individual, is to him a perpetual pledge of grace and salvation, as often as he returns to Christ: and the remission of sins, committed even after baptism, is given without a repetition of baptism. Hence, if it be conceded that "baptism is not to be repeated," as they, with whom you now contend, willingly admit, yet it does not follow that believers can not wholly fall away, either because those, who wholly fall away, may not be entirely restored, or because, if they are restored, they do not need to be baptized a second time.

It does not seem that your fourth argument, from 1 John 3:9, can be easily answered. Yet Augustine affirms that, here, they only are referred to who are called according to the divine purpose and are regenerated according to the decree of the divine predestination. If you say that it is here said of all, who are born of God, that they do not sin, and that the seed of God remains in them, I will reply that the word "remain" signifies inhabitation, but not a continuance of inhabitation, and that so long as the seed of God is in a person, he does not sin unto death, but it is possible that the seed itself should, by his own fault and negligence, be removed from his heart, and as his first creation in the image of God was lost, so the second communication of it may be lost. I admit, however, that this argument is the strongest of those which have been hitherto referred to.

To the fifth, I reply, that the seed of the word of God is immortal in itself, but it can be removed from the hearts of those, who have received it (Matthew 13:19, etc).

The Sixth argument. So long as the members abide in Christ as the branches in the vine, so long they can not indeed perish, as the vivifying power of Christ dwells in them. But if they do not bear fruit, they shall be cut off (John 15:2). It is possible that the branches, even while abiding in the vine, may not bear fruit, not from defect of the root or of the vine, but of the branches themselves. Romans 6, is also an exhortation of the apostle to believers, that they should not live any longer in sin, because they, in Christ, are dead to sin. This admonition to Christians would be in vain, if it were not possible that they should live in sin, even after their liberation from its dominion. It is to be considered that the mortification of the flesh is to be effected through the whole life, and that sin is not, in a single moment, to be so extinguished in believers that they may not at some time bear the worst fruit, provoking the wrath of God, and deserving the destruction of the individual. But, if a person commit sins, deserving the divine wrath, and destruction, and God remits them, only on condition of contrition and serious repentance, it follows that those, who thus sin, can be cut off, and indeed finally, if they do not return to God. That they should return, is not made necessary by the efficacy of their engraftment into Christ, although that return will certainly occur in those, whom God has determined, by the immutable decree of His own predestination, to make heirs of salvation.

The Seventh argument. "All who are members of Christ attain the stature of a perfect man." This is true, if they do not depart from Christ. This they can do, but it is not included in the internal and essential definition of members, that they should not be able to recede and fall away from their head. It is declared, in John 15, that the branches which do not bear fruit are taken away; and in Romans 11, some branches are said to have been broken off on account of unbelief.

You, then inquire, as if you had fully proved that faith can not be wholly lost, — "What is the reason that faith may not utterly fail?" and reply — "It is not from the nature of faith, but from the gift of grace, which confirms that which is promised to believers." You, here, incorrectly contrast faith itself, and confirming grace, when you ought to contrast a man, endued with faith, on one hand, and the gift of grace on the other. The reason that faith can not wholly perish, or rather that the believer can not wholly lose his faith, is found, either in the believer himself, or in grace, which confirms or preserves faith, that the believer may not lose it. It is not in the believer himself, for he, as a human being obnoxious to error and fall, can lose his faith. But if God has determined that he should not lose his faith, it will be preserved through the grace by which He strengthens him, that he may not fall. "Simon, I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not" (Luke 22:32). The faith, then, of Peter could have failed, if we consider his strength. But Christ, by his intercession, obtained for him that grace, by which its preservation was secured. The covenant of God, of which mention is made in Jeremiah 32:40, does not contain in itself an impossibility of departure from God, but a promise of the gift of His fear, by which, so long as it shall continue in their hearts, they shall be restrained from departing from God. But the Scripture nowhere teaches that it is not possible to shake off that gift of fear, nor is it profitable that promises of such a character, should be made to those in covenant with God. It is sufficient that they should be sustained, by the promises, against all temptations of the world, the flesh, sin and Satan, and that they may be made strong against all their enemies, if they will only be faithful to themselves and to the grace of God.

You add another question: "How far can believers lose grace and the Holy Spirit?" You reply that this question can be solved by a twofold distinction, both in believers and in grace. In the distinction, which you make among believers, those, whom you mention first, do not at all deserve to be called believers; for hearing and understanding the word, if approbation of the same is not added, do not constitute a believer. They, who occupy the second order, are called believers in an equivocal sense.

For true faith can not but produce fruit, convenient to its own nature, confidence in Him, love towards Him, fear of Him, who is its object. You distinguish believers of the second and third order in such a manner as to make the latter those who "apprehend Christ the redeemer by a living faith unto salvation" which you deny in reference to the former; in the mean time conceding to both not only an approbation of evangelical truth, heard and understood, but also the production of certain fruits, when you ought, indeed, to have considered the declaration of Christ;

"without me ye can do nothing; as the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me" (John 15:4, 5).

Can any one indeed abide in Christ, unless he apprehends him as a redeemer, by a living faith unto salvation. Therefore that whole distinction among believers is futile, since the last class only ought to receive this name. If you can prove that these can not fall away and perish, you fully accomplish your purpose. The other classes can not be said to lose grace and the Holy Spirit, but rather to reject grace and to resist the Holy Spirit, if they do not make further progress; though the hearing, understanding and approbation of the word may tend to this that they should, apprehend Christ Jesus as their Redeemer, by a living faith unto salvation.

Let us now come to your distinction of grace, and see how you from this distinction meet the question above presented. You say that "Grace is of a twofold character. Primary grace is the gratuitous favor of God, embracing his own in Christ unto eternal life." Be it so. You also say that "some fall from this grace, in a certain manner, that is, according to some effects of that grace of which they must be destitute and the contrary of which they must experience, when they commit any grievous sin; not according to that grace, when God always preserves His paternal feelings towards them, and does not change His purpose concerning their adoption, and the bestowment on them of eternal life." But these things need more diligent consideration. The effect of grievous sin committed against the conscience is the wrath of God, the sting of conscience, and eternal damnation. But the wrath of God can not be consistent with His grace in reference to the same thing, at the same time, and in respect to the same person, so that he should, in reference to him with whom He is angry, in that very wrath, yet will eternal life. He can will to bestow on him certain effects of grace, by which he can be brought back to a sound mind, and, again to bestow on him, thus restored, that grace of God unto eternal life. An accusing conscience — one really accusing, can not be consistent with grace and the gratuitous favor of God unto eternal life. For, in that case, the conscience would not really accuse. God does not will to bestow eternal life on one, whom His own conscience testifies, and truly, to be unworthy of eternal life; unless repentance shall intervene, which, of the gracious mercy of God, removes unworthiness. God does not will to bestow eternal life on him who has, by his sin, merited eternal damnation, and has not yet repented, while he is in that state. Therefore he truly falls from that grace which is designed to embrace him unto everlasting life. But, since God knows that such a man wills; by those means, which He has determined to use for his restoration, rise from the death of sin, he can not be said to wholly fall from the Divine grace. But a distinction is to be made here in relation to the various blessings which God wills to bestow on such. He wills eternal life only to the believing and penitent. He wills the means of faith and conversion to sinners not yet converted, not yet believers. And it does not seem to be a correct statement that "God regards sin, but not sinners with hatred," since the sin and the sinner are equally odious to God. He hates the sinner on account of his sin, of which he is the author, and which, except by him, would not be perpetrated.

In the description of that primary grace, there is that, which weakens the answer itself. "It is the favor by which God embraces in Christ his own.

He embraces no one in Christ, unless he is in Christ. But no one is in Christ, except by faith in Christ, which is the necessary means of our union with Christ. If any one falls from faith, he falls from that union, and, consequently, from the favor of God by which he was previously embraced in Christ. From which it is also apparent, that in this explanation there is a petitio principii. For the question is this, "Can believers fall from this primary grace, that is, from the favor of God, by which he embraces them in Christ?" It is certain that they can not, while they continue to be believers, because so long they are in Christ. But if they fall from faith, they also fall from that primary grace. Hence the question remains — "Can believers fall from faith?" But you concede that believers, do fall, so far as themselves are concerned. I conclude, then, that God does not remain in them, and that neither the right of eternal life, nor filiation belongs to them, according to the declaration, "as many as received him, etc." (John 1:12).

Hence, if you had wished to make your statements consistent, it was necessary to deny that believers fall from faith, or, if you concede this, to concede, at the same time, that they can fall from the favor of God by which He embraces them in Christ unto eternal life. But, as I said, this whole subject may be elucidated, if the grace of God is suitably distinguished from its various effects.

Let the passages of Scripture, which you cite, be examined.

"Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

Who will deny this? But some say — "The sheep can not be taken out of the hands of the shepherd, but can, of their own accord, depart from him."

You affirm that "this is a weak statement." By what argument? "Because when they fall, they are taken by the Devil." Truly indeed, they are taken, when they fall, and it is not possible, that it should be done in any other way. For unless the sheep are in the hands of the shepherd, they can not be safe against Satan. But the question is — Does not the act of departure and defection in its nature, precede their seizure by Satan? If this be so, your answer is vain and futile. You argue again in this manner, "‘If ye continue in my word, ye are my disciples indeed,’ (John 8:31), therefore, he who continues to be one of the flock, and does not fall, is truly one of the flock." Answer. — In the first place, there is ambiguity in the word continue. It signifies either present observance of Christ’s word, or continuous observance, without defection from that word. Present observance, if it is sincere, makes one a disciple of Christ, or rather proves that one is a true disciple of Christ, otherwise one can never be truly called a disciple of Christ, unless when he has passed the limit of this life, when defection will be no longer to be feared, which is absurd. In the second place, I affirm that in the phrase "my disciples indeed" there is a twofold sense; it signifies either that one, who at any time falls away from the word of Christ, was never a disciple indeed, though he may, at some time, have kept his word in sincerity; or that one, who at any time has kept the word of Christ and then obtained the name of disciple, if he yet falls away, is afterwards unworthy of the name of disciple. Therefore, if the relation of his present state is considered, He is "a disciple indeed;" if the relation of his subsequent state, he is not a disciple indeed, or does not deserve that name, because he, at some time, deserts it, unless one may say that no one has ever sincerely observed the word of Christ, who falls from it. This assertion needs proof. The passage in Romans 8, "Who shall separate us from the love of God?" is wholly irrelevant. For it is the consolation by which believers are strengthened against all present and assailing evils.

None of these can at all effect that God should cease to love those, whom He has begun to love in Christ. Romans 11:29 is not better adapted to your purpose. For though "the gifts of God are without repentance" yet one can reject the gifts of God, which he receives. Your quotation from (2 Timothy 2:19,) "The Lord knoweth them that are His," does not favor your design. The Lord knoweth His own, even if some believers do fall away from faith. For it can be said that God has never known them as His own, by the knowledge, which is the handmaid of Predestination now under consideration. The distinction of Augustine may be applied here;-" some are children according to present justification, some according to the foreknowledge and predestination of God."

Secondary grace, you say, is either imputed or inherent. The phrase imputed grace does not sound well in my ears. I have heretofore thought that grace is not imputed, but imputes, as in Romans 4:4, "the reward is not reckoned of grace, but of debt." Righteousness is said, in the same chapter, to be imputed of grace, without works. But, passing by this, let us examine the subject. The question proposed was — "How far may believers lose grace and the Holy Spirit?" You answer — in respect to imputed grace, which consists in justification, a part of which is the remission of sins — "The remission of sins is not granted in vain." Be it so. But believers may, after remission of some sins has been obtained, commit sin and grievously backslide. If, then, they should not repent of that act, will they obtain remission? You answer in the negative. I conclude from this, that they can lose that grace of the remission of their sins. But you reply — "It can not be that they should not repent." I know that this is asserted, but I desire the proof — not that the elect indeed, can not depart hence without final repentance, but that they, who have once been believers, can not die in final impenitence. When you shall have proved this, it will not be necessary to recur to this distinction of grace, for then you would be permitted to say that the believer never finally loses his faith and dies in impenitence.

You make a distinction in inherent grace, as "faith" and "the consequent gift of faith." In faith you consider "the act and the habit of faith." From this distinction, you answer the proposed question, thus — "Faith, considered in respect to habit and ability, can not be lost, on account of confirming grace, (though it can per se be lost,) but faith, in respect to any particular act, can be lost." First, I ask proof of your assertion. "Faith, in respect to habit, can not be lost, on account of confirming grace." I also inquire — "Is that act of faith, in respect to which faith can be lost, necessary or not, that any one may apprehend Christ? If it is, then a man can fall from grace, if he loses, as you say, the act of apprehension of Christ, or, rather, if he does not apprehend Christ by that act. If it is not necessary, then, it was indeed, of no importance to have considered that act, when the loss of grace was under discussion.

You attempt to prove, both by the example of David and by the opinions of the fathers, that the habit of faith and love can not be lost. The example of David proves nothing. For, should it be conceded that David, when he was guilty of adultery and murder, had not lost the Holy Spirit, it does not follow from this that the Holy Spirit can not be lost. For another might sin even more grievously, and thus lose the Holy Spirit. If, however, I should say that David had lost the Holy Spirit when he committed that adultery and murder, what would you answer, You might reply that it is evident that it was not so from the 51st Psalm. That Psalm, I reply, was composed by David after he had repented of those crimes, having been admonished by Nathan. God, at that time, according to the declaration of Nathan, restored the Holy Spirit to David (2 Samuel 12:13). In reference to the assertions of the fathers, I consider that the case of Peter is not to the prejudice of the opinion, which states that faith can be destroyed. For Peter sinned through infirmity, which weakens faith, but does not destroy it. I pass over Gratiaus. It would be proper to discuss, at some length, the sentiment of Augustine, if it had been proposed to present it fully. If, however, any one wishes to know what was the opinion of Augustine concerning this matter, let him look at the following passages: "De Predestinatione Sanctorum" (lib 1, cap. 14), and "De Bono Perseverantiae" (lib. 2, cap. 13, 16, 19, 22, 23). Let some passages be added from Prosper, who holds and every where defends the opinions of Augustine, e.g. Ad cap. Gall. respons. 7: Ad objectiones Vincentinas, respons. 16; De vocatione Gentium, lib. 2, cap. 8, 9, and 28. From these passages, it will, in my judgment, be apparent that Augustine thought that some believers, some justified and regenerate persons, some, on whom had been bestowed faith, hope and love, can fall away and be lost, and indeed will fall away and be lost, the predestinate alone being excepted.

You quote some objections to the foregoing explanation. The first objection is this: "Sin and the grace of the Holy Spirit can not subsist together." You reply, that "this is true of reigning sin, or sin with the full consent of the will." But you deny that the regenerate sin with the full or entire consent of the will. I answer, first, that "reigning sin" is not the same as that which has the full consent of the will. For the former belongs, generically to quality or habit, the latter pertains generically to action, and by the latter is prepared a way for the former. From this, it is clearly manifest that reigning sin can not subsist with the grace of the Holy Spirit.

It is also true that sin does not reign in the regenerate. For, before this can take place, it is necessary that they should reject the grace of the Holy Spirit, which mortifies sin and restrains its power. We must, then, examine the other mode of sin, and see whether some of the regenerate may sin or not with the full consent of the will. You deny this, and deduce the reason for your denial from the beginning and successive steps of temptation. You consider the beginning of temptation to be concupiscence or native corruption, and you say that "it exists alone in the unregenerate man, who is entirely carnal. That, in the renewed man, there is, at the same time, flesh and Spirit, but in various degrees, so that he is partly carnal, partly spiritual;" from which you conclude that "concupiscence can subsist with the grace of the Holy Spirit, but not reign." I reply that though I have but little objection to that conclusion, yet I can not altogether approve those things which precede. For some of them are not true, and the statement is imperfect.

It is not true that "an unregenerate man is wholly carnal," that is, that there is in him only the flesh. For by what name shall that truth be called which the wicked are said to "hold in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18)? What is that conscience which accuses and excuses (Romans 2:15)? What is the knowledge of the law by which they are convinced of their sins (Romans 3:20)? All these things can not be comprehended under the term flesh. For they are blessings, and are adverse to the flesh. Yet I admit that the Holy Spirit does not dwell in the unrenewed man. The statement is imperfect, because it omits the explanation of the proportion, which exists between the flesh and the Spirit in the renewed man, as the Spirit predominates in the regenerate person, and because, from the predominating element, he receives the name of spiritual man, so that he can not come under the term carnal. But observe, moreover, that your conclusion has reference to concupiscence, which is a quality, while the question related to actual sin, namely — "Can actual sin consist with the grace of the Holy Spirit?" You refer to "five steps, of temptation." You concede that the first step may pertain to the regenerate, also the second, and it is, indeed, true. But it can never be proved that Paul, for such a reason, "complained of his own captivity, because he could delight in sorrowful meditation in reference to the commission of sin." For he is treating there, of sin already committed.

"The evil which I would not, that I do."

The third step, which is "the consent of the will to the perpetration of sin," you attribute also to the regenerate, "but a more remiss consent, according to which they will, in such a sense, that they are even unwilling to commit sin," and you think that this can be proved from the example of Paul in Romans 7. I wish you to consider, here, how these things harmonize together, that, in reference to one and the same act, the will or volition may be twofold, and, indeed, contrary to itself, even at the very moment when the act is performed. Before the act, while the mind is yet in doubt, and the flesh is lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, this might be affirmed: but, when the flesh carries out its concupiscence into action, that is, does that which it has lusted against the Spirit, then, indeed, the Spirit has ceased to lust. The position must then be assumed, that the renewed man commits sin from the concupiscence of the flesh, the Spirit in vain lusting against it, that is, the flesh is stronger than the Spirit, and the desire of the Spirit is overcome by the flesh, contrary to the declaration of Scripture — "greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1 John 4:4), and contrary to the condition of the regenerate, in whom the Spirit predominates over the flesh, nor does it occur that the flesh should conquer, unless when the Spirit is quiet, and intermits the contest.

"But the Scripture affirms (Romans 7) that the renewed man would do good, yet does it not, and would not do evil, yet does it." I answer. in that passage, reference is made not to a regenerate person, but to a man under the law. But, even, if this point be conceded, I affirm that it is not possible that there should be volition and nolition, at the same time, concerning the same act; hence, that volition, which is followed by an act, is a pure and efficacious volition; the other is not so much volition as velleity, which is produced, not by the Holy Spirit striving against the flesh, but by the conscience, or the law of the mind, existing in man, which ceases not to struggle against the flesh, until it is seared, and deprived of all feeling. That struggle of the conscience does not effect that the man should not sin with his full consent, but rather aggravates the sin, and declares how vehement is the consent of the will to a sin, presented by the concupiscence of the flesh, when not even the conscience, exclaiming against it, has not power to restrain the will from that consent.

It is, then, an injurious and most dangerous opinion, which holds that the renewed man does not sin with full consent, when he feels the sting of conscience, opposing the sin which the will is about to perpetrate. As this happens to all, who are affected by any sense of right and wrong, it will be very easy for them to persuade themselves that, as they do not sin with the full consent of the will, they have a certain indication of their own regeneration. Therefore, if the full consent of the will to sin can not consist with the grace of the Holy Spirit, it is certain that the regenerate sometimes lose the grace of the Holy Spirit, because they sin with the full consent of the will, when they sin against the conscience.

You consider the fourth step to be "the carrying out of an evil work into an act." This is correct, but the distinction which you make, can not be proved from the Scriptures. When the regenerate person commits sin, he commits it being overcome by the concupiscence of the flesh, while the Spirit of regeneration is quiescent, and not testifying against the sin, unless before the sin, when the consent of the will has not yet been gained by the suasion of concupiscence, and after the sin when the Spirit has begun to revive. But the "testifying," of which you speak is nothing else than the act of the conscience accusing the person both before and after the commission of sin. The whole man, then, sins, but "not according to that principle by which he is renewed." This was unnecessarily added; for who would ever call this in question? This, also, can be said of a man placed under the law, as he does not sin according to the law of his mind, that is, of his conscience approving the law, but only according to the flesh.

Hence, you see that the distinction in this case, ought to have been of another character. Nor does it seem necessary to concede, "that an action, performed by a regenerate person, may be less sinful than if performed by him in whom sin reigns."

For the fault and sinfulness of an action is to be judged from the strong consent of the will to the sin. But he is borne more vehemently towards sin, who rejects the act of the Holy Spirit striving in the contrary direction, and follows the concupiscence of the flesh, than he, who, opposing the concupiscence of the flesh by his conscience alone, at length yields. Thus the sin of David, committing adultery and murder was far more heinous than that of a heathen man committing the same sins; the inhabitants of Bethsaida and Chorazin sinned more grievously than the citizens of Tyre and Sidon, because the former, committing their sins, resisted more influences, adapted to restrain from the commission of sin, than the latter.

You say that the last step is "when a sin, confirmed by frequent repetition, becomes a habit." That step or degree was called, you remark, by the Greeks to< ajpotelei~n But you will allow me to deny that the Greeks used that word, in that sense. For your fourth step was equivalent to ajpotelei~v the same as to commit sin. But this last step is a degree, not so much in sin, as in sinners, of whom some advance further than others.

You deny that this step can happen to the regenerate.

This needs proof. In all those distinctions, there is a continual assumption of the point to be proved. For they, who say that the regenerate can lose the grace of the Holy Spirit, say, also, that the regenerate may not only sin, but may persevere in sin, and contract the habit of sin.

The second objection, which you adduce, is this: "Adam, being yet pure, fell wholly, therefore, much more may they fall, who, having been born and renewed after the fall of Adam, have believed." The force of the argument depends on the parity or equality of the conditions of the parties; that of Adam, in respect to which he was created in righteousness and true holiness; and that, of his descendants, in respect to which they have been renewed in righteousness and true holiness. You attempt to solve the difficulty by showing the dissimilarity of the cases. But the dissimilarity, which exists between the two conditions, does not effect that the regenerate may not be able, altogether, to fall away. Nor, indeed, is this affirmed, in the passage, which you cite from Augustine. For, though the regenerate may have the will to do according to their ability, of which gift Adam was destitute, according to the sentiment of Augustine, yet it does not follow that they can not repudiate and willingly reject this gift. You were permitted to add other things, in which the condition of believers in Christ differs from the original state of Adam in righteousness. Among other things, this is peculiar, that the latter state had not the promise of the remission of sins, if it should happen that Adam should ever once commit sin; but that of believers is rendered more blessed by the promise — "their sins will I remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12). Hence it is that the faith of God is not made "without effect," even if those in covenant with him do sin (Romans 3:3). For the covenant is one of grace and faith, not of righteousness and works. Yet make whatever differences you please between the two states, it will be always necessary to admit that perseverance, voluntary, free, and liable to change, was necessary to salvation in both states. Man does not persevere, either in the former or the latter state, unless freely and willingly. This is so far true "that God does not take away even from those, who are about to persevere, that liability to change, by which they may possibly not choose to persevere," as is affirmed in the treatise "De vocatione Gentium, lib. 2, cap. 28."

You refer to a third objection, "This member of a harlot is not a member of Christ — But the believer, who is a member of Christ, can become the member of a harlot; — Therefore, the believer may cease to be a member of Christ." You reply to this objection by making distinctions in the term member. But those distinctions are unnecessary. First, the subject of discussion is a member not in appearance, but in truth. An apparent member is, in an equivocal sense, a member, and therefore, does not belong to the definition; and there would be four terms to the syllogism. Nor is the subject of discussion a member, which is such in its destination, for we know that all men, who are in destination members of Christ, are, universally, members of Satan, before they are in fact brought to Christ, and united to him. Since, therefore, members, which are really such, are referred to in the objection, to what purpose are these niceties of distinction sought? "In reference to those who are really members," you say, "some are living, others are half dead. But both are members, according to election." If this be so, you attain your object; for who is so foolish as to say that the elect may finally be lost? But they whom you consider your opponents, will deny that all true members of Christ are such by predestination. They will affirm that some are such according to their present state, their righteousness and present engraftment in Christ.

Let us however, consider your answer, in the supposition of the truth of that distinction. You assert that "a true and actual member, and one that remains such cannot be a member of a harlot." That, indeed, is not strange.

For it is an identical proposition, and, therefore, amounts to nothing. The member of Christ, that remains such, is not a member of a harlot, but this does not answer the question — Will a living member of Christ always remain alive?

It was affirmed in the objection that a living member of Christ may become a member of a harlot, and may, therefore, not remain a member of Christ.

The point, to be proved, is again assumed in your answer to that argument.

But you say that "the half dead may, as far as they are concerned, at any time, lose the Holy Spirit." But, from what state do they become half dead? Is it not from being wholly alive? You would not indeed say that any one is half dead, at the time, when he is engrafted in Christ. You see that such an assertion is absurd. The state of the case, according to those who argue against you, is like this. At the beginning of faith in Christ and of conversion to God, the believer becomes a living member of Christ. If he perseveres in the faith of Christ and maintains a good conscience, he remains a living member. But if he becomes indolent, has no care for himself, gives place to sin, he becomes, by degrees half-dead: and proceeding in this way he at length wholly dies, and ceases to be a member of Christ. You ought to have refuted these statements, which, so far from refuting, you rather confirm by your distinctions. You have indeed treated this subject, with less care than its dignity, and your learning deserved.

The ninth error; — That, which is so styled by you, is erroneously charged on the sentiment adverse to you: for they do not say this, nor can it, in any way, be deduced from their sentiment. This is their opinion. "A man, by his own freewill, receives the grace, which is divinely offered to him, whatever it may be." For as grace preserves, so the free-will is preserved, and the free will of man is the subject of grace. Hence it is necessary that the free-will should concur with the grace, which is bestowed, to its preservation, yet assisted by subsequent grace, and it always remains in the power of the free-will to reject the grace bestowed, and to refuse subsequent grace; because grace is not the omnipotent action of God, which can not be resisted by the free-will of man. And since the state of the case is such, those same persons think that a man can reject grace and fall away. From which you see that you have undertaken a futile task, when you refute the error which you charge on that sentiment. Yet we may consider, also, those same things: perhaps an opportunity will be afforded to note something, which will not be unworthy of knowledge.

"This sentiment," you affirm, "attributes a free will, flexible in every direction, of grace, to all men." Do you deny that the free will is "flexible in all directions" — I add, even without grace? It is flexible by its own nature: and as it is addicted to evil in its sinful state, so it is capable of good, which capability grace does not bestow upon it; for it is in it by nature. But it is, in fact, only turned to good by grace, which is like a mold, forming the ability and capacity of the material into an act, though it may be, of itself, sufficiently evil. Augustine (de predestin Sanctorum, cap. 5) says, "It belongs to the nature of man to be able to have faith and love, but it pertains to the grace of believers to actually have them." But you may be dissatisfied that this is said "to exist in all men," but that dissatisfaction is without cause. Their meaning is not that grace is bestowed on all men, by which their free will may be actually inclined to good; but that in all there exists a will which may be flexible in every direction by the aid of grace.

But they teach, you say, that "it is in the will of man to apply itself to the grace which is bestowed by the aid of universal grace, or to reject the same by the inability of corrupt nature." What do you desire at this point? You will answer "that for the phrase ‘universal grace’ should be substituted ‘particular grace.’" But who has ever said that "a man can apply himself to particular grace by the force of universal grace"? I think that no one can be so foolish: for the man is led to the use of particular grace, offered to him, by the free-will, assisted by particular grace. The expression, "to reject the same by the inability," etc., is ineptly used; for inability does not reject; a passive non-reception pertains to it, while it is the province of depravity to reject. When, therefore, you have introduced, according to your own judgment, the phrase "universal grace," you fight against your own shadow. For it is evident that "the ability to believe is not carried out into action, unless by the aid of other subsequent grace, which we call particular or special, since it does not happen to all and to each of mankind.

The passages of Scripture, which you adduce, do not answer your purpose. For the former two are adapted to prove that the faithful do not fall away from Christ; and let it be remembered that, according to Augustine and the author of the book, "De vocatione Gentium," that perseverance pertains only to believers, who are predestinated to life. The passages from Augustine show that the grace, prepared for the predestinate, will certainly incline their hearts, and will not be rejected by them because God uses such persuasions with them, as He knows to be suitable to them, and adapted to persuade them. This he calls efficacious grace, and always distinguishes it from efficient grace. You, however, in quoting Augustine, with sufficient superciliousness, repudiate that distinction. But what arguments do you use? You say that no grace is sufficient for conversion, which is not efficacious. I deny it, and nature itself exclaims against your assertion, while she distinguishes sufficiency from efficacy. God is sufficient for the creation of many worlds, yet He does not efficaciously perform it. Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men, yet he does not efficaciously accomplish it. But you perhaps understand by efficacious cause that which can effect any thing, and so make it identical with efficient cause. But they who distinguish between sufficient and efficacious define the latter as that, which really produces the effect.

You do not prove that which you intend, when you say that "man has not free-will in spiritual things." Granted. But if grace may restore the freedom of the will, is it not then in the exercise of free-will, that he either can do sufficiently, or really does efficaciously? Nor is it to the purpose to say that "we are dead" (Colossians 3:3), and that "our sufficiency is of God" (2 Corinthians 3:5). This is not denied by those, who speak of sufficient grace. Nor does that three-fold inability do away with sufficient grace.

They, who make the distinction, say that sufficient grace is able to remove that three-fold inability, and to effect that a man should receive offered grace, should use it when received, and should preserve it.

You endeavor to prove, in the next place, as the necessary consequence of "the five-fold nature of grace, preeminent, preparative, operative, co-operative, and persevering," that no single grace can be sufficient, because "no one of those five kinds of grace is alone sufficient for salvation, since all joined together are necessary." It is not a sound conclusion, that there is no sufficient grace because no one of those five kinds of grace is sufficient alone. The reasoning here is from a particular case to a general conclusion, and therefore is not valid; there is here also the fallacy of Composition.

But the first two kinds of grace, namely, prevenient and preparative, are either sufficient or efficacious. For God precedes (by His grace) sufficiently and efficaciously; He also prepares sufficiently and efficaciously. It may be questioned, also, whether the same can not be said of operative and co-operative grace. Yet let us concede that those terms properly pertain to efficacious grace. Nevertheless they who defend the use of the phrase "sufficient," will say that these latter kinds of grace are prepared for and offered to all those, who have suffered themselves to be moved by prevenient and preparative grace, which is sufficient in its character, in the direction intended by that grace; and afterwards the gift of perseverance is also bestowed. Hence you have not, by that argument, disproved sufficient grace so far as it is distinguished from efficacious grace. But we will not examine the definitions of that five-fold grace, because this does not pertain to the scope of this discussion.

You also endeavor to refute the same distinction by a simile. But in it there is a great want of analogy. For an inert mass is moved, naturally and necessarily, by the application of forces, which exceed the force of its gravity; but we, as human beings, are moved according to the mode of freedom, which God has bestowed on the will, from which it is called free-will.

At this point, the similitude, which Cardinal Contarenus uses in reference to predestination, and the opposite of your simile, may be not ineptly mentioned. He supposes a twofold gravity in a stone, one natural, the other adscititious. The strength which is sufficient to raise a stone, tending downwards by natural gravity alone, will not be sufficient, if that adscititious gravity shall be added, and the efficiency of sufficient strength will be hindered by the adscititious gravity. We see this clearly in athletes, engaged in wrestling. One endeavors to raise the other from the earth, and to prostrate him, thus raised up. Either of them would be able in a moment to effect this in reference to his antagonist, if the latter should only offer the resistance of the native weight of his body, but because he does not wish to be raised, he depresses himself and his adversary as much as he can, by using the strength of his nerves and bones, which far exceeds the weight of his body alone. So there is, in man, by derivation from the first sin of the first man, a weight, which is, or may be called, native. There is, in addition to this, another produced in each person by his own wickedness, which does not so much exist in him, as is present with him, serving as a hindrance that the power of that grace, which is sufficient to overcome the natural tendency, may not effect that which, without the interposition of that impediment, it would effect. Nor is the flexibility of our will, nor our power of choice taken away by the concurrence of those five gifts, but, by that concurrence, it is effected that the will, which by its own nature is flexible in every direction, and the choice, which is able to elect freely between two different things, should incline certainly and infallibly in that direction, towards which the motion of the five-fold grace impels it. Hence, also, I wish that instead of "inflexible inclination," you had said "certain and infallible inclination." For, if we do not say that the mind of a man may possibly be inclined in another direction, even at the time when it is inclined in a given direction by efficacious grace, it follows that the will of man acts not according to the mode of liberty, but according to the mode of nature, and thus not the free-will, but the nature of man, will be saved. But the free-will, at least as to its exercise, will be, in that case, destroyed by grace, while it belongs to grace not to take away, but to correct nature itself, wherein it has become corrupt.

Nor is what is said concerning the promised Spirit opposed to these views.

For the "Spirit, who effects that, in fact, we may walk," does not take away the freedom of the will and of human choice, but he acts upon the free-will, in such a manner, as he knows will be suitable and adapted to it, that it may be, certainly and infallibly, inclined. I wish that the same thing may be understood of the phrase, "the Father draweth." Those things, which follow, have not the effect of weakening this doctrine. For, by the supposition of "efficacious grace acting in those, concerning whom God, certainly and infallibly, wills their conversion and salvation," the existence of sufficient grace is not denied: nor indeed is that, which you infer, included in that supposition, namely, that they, who are truly believers, can not but persevere. We may be permitted to infer from it the certain, but not the necessary existence of an effect. Ignorance of this distinction is the cause of your idea that you must deny sufficient grace.

Next follows the explanation of some passages of Scripture, which they who hold to sufficient grace are accustomed to use in proof of it. You seem to have selected them from Bellarmine, who presents them, in the same order, as you use. We will consider your refutation.

The first passage is from Isaiah 5. Bellarmine deduces from that passage a twofold argument in proof of sufficient grace. The first is like this, when put in a syllogistic form: "He, who did all things for his vineyard which were necessary that it might be able to bear fruit, used sufficient culture for its productiveness; — But God, etc.; — Therefore, etc." The truth of the Major is plain from its very terms. It consists in a definition, and is itself a definition. For sufficient culture is that in which all things necessary for fruitfulness are used." The truth of the Minor is contained in the text. For he, who has done all things which he might do for fruitfulness, has used all necessary means.

God could not, with justice, speak in such terms if He had not used all necessary means. Therefore the conclusion is a correct one. You reply by making a twofold distinction in sufficiency, and in the nature of the vineyard; the sufficiency of external means, and that of internal grace; also of a good and bad vineyard. In the first part of this reply, you concede what is proved in the passage under consideration. For, if the external means are of such a character, that men would be sufficiently invited and led by them unto salvation, unless their minds were so perverse and depraved, as you say, then it follows that those means would have been sufficient. For is it necessary, in order that sufficiency, by those means, may be attributed to grace, that internal grace, certainly changing the bad vine into a good one, should be added. Indeed it can be said that so much internal grace, as would be sufficient for a change of heart, was not wanting, or at least would not have been wanting, if they had not, in their perversity, rejected the external means. The distinction between the good and the bad vineyard is of no importance in this place. For this is the very thing, concerning which God complains that His vineyard was so perverse that it would not respond to the sufficient culture which had been bestowed upon it.

The second argument of Bellarmine is like this. If God had not bestowed on that vineyard all things necessary for the production of grapes, then He would have said absurdly that He "looked that it should bring forth grapes;" — But He said, well and justly, that He "looked that it should bring forth grapes;" — Therefore he had bestowed on it all things necessary for the production of grapes. The truth of the Major is certain.

For God knew that a vineyard could not produce fruit, which was destitute of any of the means necessary for fructification, and if He knew this, He knew, also, that it would be futile, nay, foolish to look for grapes from a vineyard, which could not bear grapes. The Minor is contained in the text. Therefore the conclusion is valid, that sufficient grace was not wanting to the vineyard.

It is worth the while to consider what is the meaning of that divine looking for or expectation, and how it may be correctly attributed to the Deity. An expectation, by which an act is looked for from any one, depends on a proper knowledge of the sufficiency, necessary for the performance of the act, which either exists in Him or is present with Him, on whom the act is incumbent, else, the expectation would be unreasonable. No one looks for figs from thistles, or roses from a thorn-bush. This divine expectation, therefore, if we do not wish to call it unreasonable, which would be blasphemy, depends on the same knowledge. Nor does the fact that, in the infinity of His knowledge, God knows that no effect will follow, from the sufficiency of those forces, to prevent us from attributing that expectation to Him. For that knowledge does not at all interfere with the sufficiency of causes on which depends the justness and reasonableness of the expectation. It is, indeed, true that the divine knowledge effects that God can not be deceived. But he, who looks for fruit in vain, and to whose expectation the event does not correspond, is deceived. From this, it is easy to infer that expectation is attributed to God only by anthropopathy.

But, if even this be conceded, it will nevertheless follow from the consideration that expectation is attributed, with this appropriate qualification, to the Deity, that sufficient strength was present with the individual from whom something was expected. But if, in that expectation, we consider not only the knowledge referred to, but also the highest desire, with which, he, to whom expectation is attributed, demands the production of fruits, in that respect expectation is most properly attributed to God. For he desires nothing so much from men; in nothing is He equally delighted. This also is most plainly expressed in that parable.

Let us now return from this digression.

To that second argument you make no reply, but propose another case which you think will be more easily managed. But let us examine this, also, with your answer. The case is this: "If he did not bestow grace to bear fruit, which could not be had, except by His gift, then God had no just cause of expostulating with the Jews." The reply consists in a denial of the consequence, for the denial of which, a three-fold reason is assigned. The first is this; "as He did not owe that grace, He was under obligation to no one." Secondly, "because they rejected it when offered to them in their parents." Thirdly, "because they did not, after having rejected it, seek it anew, or have any care concerning it." Indeed to one, who carefully considers the matter, the reason is a single one, though consisting of three parts. For the reason assigned that God could rightly expostulate with those, who do not bear fruit in this, that "they had grace sufficient for this purpose but rejected it." To confirm and strengthen this reason, it is added that God would not be obligated to give grace a second time, and that, even should He be obligated, He would not deny it to those desiring it, but He would not give it to those not desiring it, and not having any care whatever concerning that grace. That reason for just expostulation is to be examined, and even so much more diligently, as it is more frequently used. It is asked, then, "Could God rightly expostulate with them because they do not bear good fruit, who have rejected the grace received in their first parents, which is necessary for the production of those fruits, or rather who have lost it, by a judicial removal of it, on the part of God?" For the discussion of this question, it is necessary to consider, first, "whether God could demand fruit from those who have, as a punishment from God, lost the grace necessary for that production, which was received in their first parents," that is, who are destitute of necessary grace, though by their own demerit. From this will readily follow the answer of the question "whether He can justly expostulate with such persons, if they do not produce fruit. We remark, then, — every divine demand, by which He requires any thing from a creature, is prescribed by law. But a law consists of two parts, command and sanction. The command, by which an act is prescribed or forbidden, ought not to exceed the strength of him, on whom the command is laid. The sanction contains a promise of reward to the obedient, a denunciation of punishment against the transgressor. Hence it is evident that the demand of the law is twofold, of obedience and of punishment. That of obedience is prior and absolute; that of punishment is subsequent, and has no place except when obedience is not yielded. Hence, also, there is a twofold satisfaction of the law; one, in which the obedience, prescribed by the law, is rendered; the other, in which the punishment, required by the law is inflicted. He, who satisfies the claim of the law in one way, is free from its demands, in the other. He, therefore, who pays the penalty laid down in the law, is entirely free from obligation to render obedience. This is true, universally, of every kind of punishment.

If the punishment of disobedience comprehends within itself a privation of that grace, without which the law can not be obeyed, then, indeed, by a twofold right, he seems to be entirely free from obligation to obedience, both because he has suffered due punishment, and because he is deprived of that strength without which the law can not be obeyed, and deprived, punitively, by God Himself, the enacter of the law, which fact is of much importance. For thus is excluded that argument, which some present, saying, that the servant is bound to render obedience or servitude, even if he has cut off his own hands, without which he can not render it. The case is not analogous. For the fault and sin of the servant consists in the fact that he has cut off his hands, but in the other case, God himself the lawgiver, takes away the strength, because it has not been used by him, who had received, according to the declaration, "to him that hath shall be given, etc." That servant, indeed, deserved punishment by that crime, and if he should suffer it, his master could not afterwards demand from him service which he could not render without hands. Therefore it seems necessary to conclude that God can not demand fruit from those, whom he has deprived, though on account of their own demerit, if the strength necessary for producing fruit. Let us take the illustration of a tree. The tree, which does not bear fruit, deserves to die, but when that punishment has been inflicted upon it, no one can, by any right demand fruit from it.

Hence, therefore it follows secondly "God can not justly expostulate with those, who do not bear fruit if they are destitute of grace necessary for this, even by the punishment of God. It is of no consequence that God is not obligated to restore grace to them. For as He is not obligated to bestow grace, so He can not demand the act of obedience; and, if He wills to demand an act, He is obligated to restore that grace, without which the act can not be performed. Thus also it is not to the purpose that they do not seek the grace, which they have lost. For thus they twice deserve not to receive grace, both because they have lost it, of their own fault, and because they do not seek it when lost. On this very account, God has not the right to demand an act, not susceptible of performance. These things are in reply to your answer to the case proposed.

The second passage is in (Matthew 23:37). "How often would I have gathered thy children together, and ye would not." From this passage Bellarmine, to prove that there is sufficient grace, thus argues, "If Christ did not desire that the Jews should be able to will, then he could not, justly complain that they would not. But he did justly complain that they would not. Therefore he desired that they might be able to will." This reasoning is based on the supposition that no one can justly complain of any person that he has not performed an act, for the performance of which he had not sufficient strength.

Your reply to that argument is twofold. The former part, which refers to the distinction of the will into that of good-pleasure, and that of sign or revelation has nothing whatever to do with the subject of the argument.

For Bellarmine does not say that Christ wished to gather them according to his good-pleasure, but he openly denies it, and affirms that he can sustain that position from the passage itself. For a gathering, which is made according to the will of good-pleasure is not only sufficient but also efficacious. Let the gathering together here referred to, be according to the will, which is styled that of sign or revelation, and from it follows that, which is deduced by Bellarmine. For, in no mode of the will, does he wish to gather them unless he assists or is ready to assist, that they also, whom he wishes to gather, may be able to will; and thus it is a false assertion, that "God can, by the will of sign, will to gather the Jews together, though He may not aid them to be able to will." For the necessary consequences or effect of this will is sufficient aid, by which also the Jews themselves might be able to will. It is a contradiction in terms, though indirectly, to assert that "He wills to gather, and wills not to give sufficient aid by which the Jews may be able to will to be gathered, who can not, except by their own will, be gathered." You add, to this reply, that which has also been said in reference to the first argument, and its repetition is unnecessary.

The latter part of your reply is, "Christ does not here speak as God, but as the minister of the circumcision." Granted. Then he wished to gather them together as the minister of the circumcision, and as a minister who had power to baptize with the Holy Ghost. Therefore, in that declaration of his will he showed that he either had given or was ready to give sufficient grace to them, without which they could not be gathered together. But in the passage in Isaiah 5, God Himself speaks, who is able efficaciously to soften and convert hearts, and says — "What could have been done more to my vineyard?" Who would reply, according to the meaning of your answer, "Thou mightest have softened their hearts and have converted them and it was suitable that thou shouldst do this. For thou art God, and speakest there as God." Therefore that distinction is absurd and not adapted to solve that objection. We see indeed on how weak foundations, that opinion rests, which can not present other answers to meet those arguments.

The third argument is from the 7th chapter of the acts, 51st verse. "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost." From this passage Bellarmine argues in a twofold manner. First, — "Those, in whom good desires are not inspired, can not be said to resist the Holy Spirit, — But the Jews are said to have resisted; Therefore good desires were inspired in them, by which they could have been converted." Secondly — "They, who can not but resist, can not be justly accused on account of their resistance; — But the Jews were justly accused by Stephen; — Therefore they were able to resist."

From these two syllogisms can be deduced as a consequence, — "They had grace sufficient to enable them not to resist and even to yield to the Holy Spirit." The latter argument is the stronger. Though something may be said against the former, yet a small addition may give to it also strength to withstand any opposition.

Let us examine your reply. It seems to us, not at all pertinent, and in part very ridiculous. For Bellarmine concedes that this is not said of "the efficacious operation of the Spirit." For he clearly distinguishes between sufficient and efficacious grace or operation. Indeed he does this very thing by quoting passages to show that there must be a division of special grace into sufficient and efficacious. "But this passage," (Acts 7:51), you say "refers to the external ministration of the prophets." True; — but that ministration was one, by which the Spirit chose to work; otherwise the man, who opposed that ministration, could not be said to resist the Holy Ghost. These things are co-ordinate and conjoined so far that the Spirit wills to work at least sufficiently through that ministration. The interpretation of Peter Lombardus is truly worthy of the parent of the Scholastic Theology, and unworthy of an introduction to the light by you, without stern reprehension. I do not add a refutation of it, because its perversity appears, on its very front, to those who examine it.

The fourth passage, which you have made third in order, is from the 3d chapter of Rev. 20th verse. "I stand at the door and knock." On this Bellarmine remarks — "He, who knocks at a door, knowing with certainty that there is no one within, who can open, he knocks in vain, and indeed is a foolish person. Far from us be such an idea in reference to the Deity.

Therefore when God knocks, it is certain that the man can open, and consequently he has sufficient grace." Your answer does not touch this argument of Bellarmine, for he does not wish to infer the universality of grace but that there is such a thing as sufficient grace, and this you do not, in your answer, contradict. Whether, indeed, that sufficient grace is universal, that is, is bestowed on all and each of mankind universally, is discussed, in another place, by Bellarmine, whose defense, indeed, I have not undertaken, and I am not desirous to do so, yet it is necessary to love the truth, by whatever person it may be spoken.

The tenth error; — This, in your estimation, is that "the hypothesis, which you oppose, is at variance with itself." This is indeed a valid mode of confutation. But how do you prove the liability of that theory to the charge of self-contradiction? You very injuriously charge it with the opinion that "God determined to bestow all natural and gracious aids upon all men." Who can hold such an opinion, when he acknowledges that there is an "efficacious grace which God does not impart to all?" Indeed you are not consistent with yourself in the statement of their doctrine. For you say that it affirms that "God bestows all aids upon all men," and afterwards say that it asserts that "God does grant to all not actual perseverance, but the ability to persevere or to will to persevere." Is not the gift of actual perseverance one among all aids? How shall both these assertions be made without contradiction? Correct your error, and when you have corrected it, you will see that you ought to have made the remark "without which no one actually obtains salvation," as explanatory of efficacious grace. Yet God is not wanting to those to whom He gives the grace, by which they can be saved, though He may not give the grace by which they will actually be saved. Those words "by persevering, to obtain salvation," should have been arranged thus "to persevere and obtain salvation." You erroneously confound act with ability and efficacy with sufficiency.

The eleventh error; — In this, you allege against this doctrine that "it introduces heresies long condemned," namely, those of the Pelagians. This assertion you indeed afterwards seem to soften down, because the Pelagians attribute the faculty of doing well either wholly to nature, or only in part to grace, while the doctrine attributes it wholly to grace. You, however, find fault with it because "it makes grace universal, and thus involves itself in yet greater difficulty." Something has been heretofore said on this point. Yet of what weight is your refutation? For what if any one should say that all men universally, have the power of believing and obtaining salvation, if they will, and that this very power is bestowed, divinely, upon the nature of mankind, by what argument will you disprove the assertion? It does not follow, from this statement, that nature and grace have an equally wide extent. For the ability to believe pertains to nature, actual belief is of grace. So with the ability to will, and actual volition, "It is God, which worketh in you, etc." (Philippians 2:13). "Unto you it is given to believe, etc." (Philippians 1:29). You seem to do injury to the truth, when you say that it is a Pelagian idea that "a man can, by the opposition of his will, resist grace." There is no page in Scripture, where this is denied. Is a man a mere log that, by pure necessity of nature, he must yield to grace? If this is not true, then a man consents freely, and therefore has the ability not to consent, that is, to resist. Otherwise to what purpose are threats and promises? The opinion that "a man has ability in the exercise of the will, to yield to the grace of God, when explained to refer to remote ability, and which may, otherwise, be called capacity to receive active and immediate ability, by which any one can will to yield to grace," is not Pelagian. Would that they, who, at this day, hold the dogma of Predestination, might prove that it does not introduce, by fair inference, the idea of fatal necessity. You say also that the Papists formerly held these views. The fact that a similar crime is charged on both does not prove a similarity in other respects. It is possible that they, when you oppose, may differ from the Papists, and that the latter defend a doctrine which is obnoxious to your objections.

The twelfth error; — You affirm that "this doctrine is in harmony with the Papish view of predestination. If that should be conceded, is the doctrine therefore false? You, indeed, present a statement of it, but do not refute it.

You think that it is so absurd that it may be sufficient to have presented it — that the statement itself will be a sufficient refutation. But, if some one should undertake to defend that doctrine, how would you refute it? We may make the attempt, "God foresaw from eternity the natures and the sins of men; this foresight preceded the decree by which he gave Christ to be the Savior of the world." I should say — "The foresight of most sins," for He did not foresee the sin of the crucifixion of Christ, until after that decree was made. You have given a careless statement of that doctrine, as you have not made that necessary distinction. Then God decreed "to give, for the sake of Christ, sufficient grace, by which men might be saved." To all? The Papists do not assert this. Then, "He predestinated to life those who, He foresaw, would finish their life in the state of grace, which was prepared for them by the predestination of God;" this is indeed not very far from the doctrine of Augustine.

Your theory is "God did not reveal Christ for all and each of mankind."

This theorem is not of much service to you in proving the speciality of predestination and of grace, since those, with whom you contend, even on the supposition of its truth, meet you with a twofold argument.

First, — the reason that God did not reveal Christ to all and to each of mankind was the fact that their parents rejected the word of the gospel; — on which account He permitted both the parents and their posterity to go on in their own ways, and this, for so long a time, as the divine justice and their sins seemed to demand.

The second argument is, that, in the mean time, while they were destitute of the knowledge of Christ, God "left not himself without witness" (Acts 14:17) but even then revealed to them some truth concerning His power and goodness, and the law also, which He kept inscribed on their minds. If they had made a right use of those blessings, even according to their own conscience, He would have bestowed upon them greater grace, according to that declaration, "to him that hath shall be given." But by abusing, or not using, those blessings, they made themselves unworthy even of the mercy of God, and therefore were without excuse, and not having the law they were condemned, their own thoughts accusing them (Romans 2:14, 15).

But that God concealed the promise of the Messiah from any man, before that, rejection can not be proved from the Scriptures. Indeed, the contrary can be proved from those things which are narrated of Adam and his posterity, and of Noah and his children in the Scriptures. The defection from the right way gradually progressed, and God is not bound at any particular time to send a new revelation to men, who do not rightly use the revelation which they already have.

From this, it is manifest what judgment must be passed on those consectaries.

To the first; — The reason that the promise of the blessed seed was not revealed to all men is both the fault of their parents in rejecting it, and of themselves in holding the truth, which they now have, in unrighteousness.

To the second; — The answer is the same.

To the third; — All men are called by some vocation, namely, by that witness of God, by which they may be led to feel after God that they may find him (Acts 27:27); and by that truth, which they hold in unrighteousness, that is, whose effect, in themselves, they hinder; and by that inscription of the law on their hearts, according to which their thoughts accuse one another. But this vocation, although it is not saving in the sense that salvation can be obtained immediately from it, yet it may be said to be antecedently saving, as Christ is offered for them; and salvation will, of the divine mercy, follow that vocation, if it is rightly used.

To the fourth; — It is stated that "no one has said that the prescience of faith or unbelief is the rule of predestination," and this charge is futile. But that some may be condemned, by the law alone, is most true, and on account of their impenitence, though not on account of their rejection of Chris