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SermonIndex.net : Christian Books : ON THE CREATION, AND CHIEFLY THAT OF MAN

The Works Of James Arminius Vol 2 by James Arminius

ON THE CREATION, AND CHIEFLY THAT OF MAN

The creation of things out of nothing is the very first of all the external acts of God; nor is it possible for any act to be prior to this, or conceived to be prior to it; and the decree concerning creation is the first of all the decrees of God; because the properties according to which he performs and operates all things, are, in the first impulse of his nature, and in his first egress, occupied about nihility or nothing, when those properties are borne, ad extra, |outwards.| 2. God has formed two creatures rational and capable of things divine; ONE of them is purely spiritual and invisible, and [that is the class of] angels; but the OTHER is partly corporeal and partly spiritual, visible and invisible, and [that is the class of] men; and the perfection of this universe seeing to have required the formation of these two [classes of] creatures.3. QUERY. -- Did it not become the manifold wisdom of God, and was it not suitable to the difference by which these two rational creatures were distinguished at the very creation, that, in the mode and circumstances of imparting eternal life to angels and to men, he might act in a different manner with the former from that which he adopts towards the latter? It appears that he might do so.4. But two general methods may be mentally conceived by us, ONE of which is through the strict observance of the law laid down, without hope of pardon if any transgression were committed; but the OTHER is through the remission of sins, though a law agreeable to their nature was likewise to be prescribed by a peremptory decree to men, with whom it was not the will of God to treat in a strict manner and according to the utmost rigor; and obedience was to be required from them without a promise or pardon.5. The image and likeness of God, after which man was created, belongs partly to the very nature of man, so that, without it, man cannot be man; but it partly consists in those things which concern supernatural, heavenly and spiritual things. The former class comprises the understanding, the affections, and the will, which is free; but the latter, the knowledge of God and of things divine, righteousness, true holiness, &c.6. With respect to essence and adequate objects, the faith by which Adam believed in God is not the same as that by which he believed in God after the promise made concerning the Blessed Seed, and not the same as that by which we believe the gospel of Christ.7. Without doing any wrong to God, to Adam, and to the truth itself, it may be said, that in his primeval state Adam neither received or possessed a Proximate capability of understanding, believing, or performing any thing whatsoever which could be necessary to be understood, believed, or performed by him, in any state whatsoever at which it was possible for him to arrive, either by his own endeavours or by the gift of God, though he must have had a remote capability, otherwise something essential would still have been to be created within man himself.8. The liberty of the will consists in this -- when all the requisites for willing or not willing are laid down, man is still indifferent to will or not to will, to will this rather than that. This indifference is removed by the previous determination, by which the will is circumscribed and absolutely determined to the one part or to the other of the contradiction or contrariety; and this predetermination, therefore, does not consist with the liberty of the will, which requires not only free capability, but also tree use in the very exercise of it.9. Internal necessity is as repugnant to liberty as external necessity is; nay, external necessity does not necessitate to act except by the intervention of that which is internal.10. Adam either possessed, or had ready and prepared for him, sufficient grace, whether it were habitual or assisting, to obey the command imposed on him, both that command which was symbolical and ceremonial, and that which was moral.
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