First, in general.1. Since no man was ever created by God in a merely natural state; whence also no man could ever be considered in the decree of God, since that, which exists in the mind, is the material of action and exists in the relation of capability of action, but takes its form from the will and decree by which God determined actually to exert His power, at any time, in reference to man. Hence, whatever distinction may be made, in the mind, between nature, and a supernatural gift, bestowed on man at the creation, that is not to be considered in this place. For the creation of the first man, and, in him, of all men, was in the image of God, which image of God in man is not nature, but supernatural grace, having reference not to natural felicity, but to supernatural life. It is evident, from the description of the image of God, that supernatural grace in man is that divine image. For, according to the Scripture, it is |knowledge after the image of Him that created him,| (Col. iii.10,) and |righteousness and true holiness| pertaining to the new man which is created after| (according to) |God.| (Ephes. iv.24.) In addition to this, all the fathers, seem, without exception, to be of the sentiment that man was created in a gracious state. So, also, our Catechism, ques.62. Since there is found, in the Scriptures, no reference to the love of God according to election, no divine volition and no act of God concerning men, referring to them in different respects, until after the entrance of sin into the world, or after it was considered as having entered.
ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE TENTH PROPOSITION
Before I refer to arguments, an ambiguity must be removed, which is introduced here, and which will be frequently introduced whenever reference is made to a |merely natural state.| Things are called natural from the term |nature.| But nature is two-fold, therefore, natural things are also two-fold. I affirm that nature is two-fold, as it is considered, first in relation to this physical world, situated nearer and lower in elementary and material things, which is described by Philosophers in the science of Physics, secondly, in relation to that spiritual world, namely, that which is more remote and higher, consisting in spiritual and immaterial things, which is treated of in Metaphysics, rightly so called. From the former nature we have our bodies, and by it we are animals; from the latter, we have our spirits, and by it we are rational beings, which is also observed by Aristotle (lib.2, de gener. animalium cap.3) in his statement that the mind alone |enters from without| into the natural body, and is alone divine; for there is no communion between its action and that of the body. Hence, it is, that natural things must, in general, be considered in three modes; physically, in relation to the body according to its essence, capability, actions and passions; metaphysically, in relation to the intelligent mind, according to its essence and being; and conjointly in relation to that personal union, which exists in man, as a being composed of both natures. But particularly, a distinction must be made in these same natural things, in respect to nature as pure and as corrupt. Therefore, all those things, which pertain to the nature of man in these different modes, are said to belong to the mere natural state of man, sin being excluded.
Now, I come to the particular members of your Proposition. First, you affirm, |that no man was ever created in a merely natural state.| If you mean that he was created without supernatural endowments, I do not see how this can be proved, (though many make this assertion). The Scripture does not any where make this statement. But you are not ignorant that it is said in the schools, that a negative argument from authority, as, |it is not written, therefore, it is not true| is not valid. Again, the order of creation, in a certain respect, proves the contrary, since the body was first made from the dust, and afterwards the soul was breathed into it. Which, then, is more probable, that the soul was, at the moment of its creation, endowed with supernatural gifts, or that they were superadded after its creation? I would rather affirm that, as the soul was added to the body, so the supernatural endowments were added to the soul. If God did this in relation to nature, why may He not have done it, in the case of grace, which is more peculiar. Lastly, I do not think that it follows, if man was not made in a merely natural state, but with supernatural endowments, that grace, therefore, pertains to creation, and also that supernatural gifts would therefore, pertain, in common, to the whole race. That this consequence is false, is proved by the definition of nature, and the relation of supernatural things. For what else is nature than the principle of motion and rest, ordained by God? If, then, supernatural things are ordained on this principle, they cease to be supernatural and become natural. Besides the relation of supernatural things is such that they are not natural, as they are not common; for those things which are common to all men belong to nature, but supernatural things are personal, and do not pass to heirs. I acknowledge that Adam and Eve received supernatural gifts, but for themselves not for their heirs; nor could they transmit them to their heirs, except by a general arrangement or special grace. If this be so, then man is without supernatural endowments, though, as you claim, the first man may not have been made without them; and he is justly considered by us as not possessing them, and much more would he have been so considered by the Deity. Indeed, my brother, God contemplated man, in a merely natural state, and determined in His own decree to bestow upon him supernatural endowments. He could then be so considered in the decree of God. He contemplated nature, on which He would bestow grace; the natural man, on whom He would bestow, by His own decree, supernatural gifts. Was it not, indeed, a special act of the will, to create man, and another special act of the will to endow Him with supernatural gifts? Which acts, even though they might have occurred at the same time (which does not seem to me necessary, for the reasons which have been just advanced) cannot be together in the order of nature, since one may be styled natural, and the other supernatural. I know that you afterwards speak of the image of God, but we shall soon see that this has no bearing, (as you think), on this case. Meanwhile, I wish that you would always keep in view the fact, that, though all these things should be true, yet they are not opposed to that doctrine which asserts that in this decree, God considered man in general.
I will leave without discussion those subsequent remarks on the material and the formal relation of the decree of God, since the force of the argument does not depend on them, and pass to the proof. |The creation of the first man,| you affirm, |and, in him, of all men, was in the image of God,| (I concede and believe it,) |which image of God in man is not nature but supernatural grace, having reference not to natural felicity but to supernatural life.| What is this, your statement, my brother? Origen formerly affirmed the same thing, and on this account received the reprehension of the ancient church in its constant testimony and harmonious declarations, as is attested by Epiphanius, Jerome and other witnesses. I do not, however, believe that you agree in sentiment with Origen, in opposition to the united and wise declaration of that church, but some ambiguity, which you have not observed, has led you into this mistake. Let us then expose and free from its obscurity this subject, by the light of truth.
The first ambiguity is in the word nature, the second in the term supernatural. We have just spoken in reference to the former, affirming that this term may refer to the lower nature of elementary bodies, or to that higher nature of spiritual beings, or finally to our human nature, composed of both natures in one compound subject; and that this latter nature is itself two-fold, pure and depraved.
The latter ambiguity consists in the fact, that the term supernatural is applied, at one time, to those things which are above this inferior nature, and pertain to the superior, spiritual, or metaphysical nature; at another, to those things which are above even that higher and metaphysical nature, that is, to those which are properly and immediately divine; and at another, to those things which are above the condition of this our corrupt nature, as they are bestowed upon us only of supernatural grace, though they might have pertained to that pure nature. The body, for example, is of this lower nature, and in comparison with it, the soul is supernatural. Again, our souls are of the higher nature, which pertains to angels. In reference to both the soul and the body, all divine things are supernatural as they are superior to all corporeal and mental nature. How you say that |the image of God in man is not nature but supernatural grace;| that is, as I think, it is not of nature, but of grace, or not from nature, but from grace. Here consider, my brother, the former ambiguity. |The image of God is not of nature,| if the lower or corporeal nature is referred to, is a true statement, but if the higher nature is referred to, it is not a true statement. For what is nature? It is the principle, ordained of God, of motion and rest in its own natural subject, according to its own mode. Place before your mind the kinds of motion, which occur in the lower nature, generation, corruption, increase, diminution, alteration, local transition, which they style fora &c. You will find this difference, that the subjects of this lower nature experience these motions according to their own essence and all other matters, that is, according to their material, form, and accidents, but the subjects of that higher nature are moved by no means according to their essence, but only according to their being; but that divine things surpass both natures, in an infinite and divine mode, because they are, in all respects, destitute of all motion. The body is mortal; whence, if not from this inferior nature? The soul is immortal; whence, if not from that superior nature? But both natures are ordained of God, and so perform their work, immediately, that God performs, by both mediately, all things which pertain to nature. But the image of God is from that superior nature, by which God performs mediately in the children of Adam, as He instituted our common nature in Adam, our first parent. It is indeed true, that it was supernatural grace by which God impressed His own image on Adam; just as he also performed the work of creation by the same grace. God bestowed its principle not on nature, of nature, but of Himself; but when nature has received its existence, that which existed by nature, was produced by nature in the species and individuals. Though, in its first origin, it is of grace, yet it is now, in its own essence, of nature, and is to be called natural. But the image of God is produced, in the species and in the individuals, by nature. Therefore, it must be called natural We shall hereafter consider its definition, for it is necessary first to elucidate the statement that |the image of God has reference, not to felicity, but to supernatural life.| Let us remove the ambiguity, as we shall thus speak more correctly of these matters. Natural felicity pertains either to the nature from which we have the body, or to that from which we have the spirit, or to both natures united in a compound being. To this latter felicity the image of God has, naturally, its reference; to that of the body as its essential and intimately associated instrument; to that of the spirit, as its essential subject; to that of the man, as the entire personal subject. If you deny this, what is there, I pray you, in all nature, which does not seek its own good? But, to every thing, its own good is its felicity. If, in this lower nature, a stone, the herds, an animal, and, in that higher nature, spirits and intelligent forms do this, surely it cannot be justly denied to man, and to the image of God in man. You add that |it has reference to supernatural life.| This, however, is a life dependent on grace, as all the adjuncts show. If you understand that it has reference to that life only, we deny such exclusive reference. If to this (natural) life, and to that life conjointly, we indeed affirm this, and assent to your assertion that the image of God in man has respect to both kinds of felicity, both natural and supernatural; by means of nature, in a natural mode, and of grace, in a supernatural mode.
I would now explain this, in a more extended manner, if it was not necessary that a statement should first be made of the subject under discussion. Perceiving this very clearly, you pass to a definition of that image, in proof of your sentiment. |It is evident,| you say, |from the description of the image of God, that supernatural grace, in man, is that divine image.| You will permit me to deny this, since you ask not my opinion. You add, |According to the Scripture, it is knowledge after the image of Him that created him,' (Col. iii.10,) and righteousness and true holiness pertaining to the new man which is created after God.' (Ephes. v.25)|. I acknowledge that these are the words of the apostle, and I believe them, but I fear my brother, that you wander from his words and sentiment.
In the former passage, he does not assert that the image of God is |knowledge after the image etc,| but that the |new man is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.| The subject of the proposition is man, one in substance, but once |old,| now |new.| In this subject there was old knowledge, there is new knowledge. According to the subject, the knowledge is one, but it differs in mode; for the old man and the new man understand with the same intellect, in the previous case as the old, afterwards as the new man. What, therefore, is the mode of that knowledge! |After the image of God.| This is the mode of our knowledge and intelligence. The former (that which is old) according to the image of the first Adam who |begat a son in his own likeness;| (Gen. v.3;) the latter according to the image of the second Adam, Christ and God, our Creator. The image of God is not said to be knowledge, but knowledge is said to be renewed in us after the image of God. What, then, is knowledge? An act of the image of God. What is the image of God? The fountain and principle of action, fashioning in a formal manner, the action, or the habit of that image. The mode, in which this may be understood, is a matter of no interest to me. Consider, I pray you, and I appeal to yourself as a judge, whether this can be justly called a suitable description; -- |The image of God is knowledge according to the image of God.| This description, indeed, denies that the image of God is either one thing or another; either knowledge or the image of God, if, indeed, knowledge is according to the image of God. You will, however, understand these things better, from your own skill, than they can be stated by me in writing. I now consider the other passage. |The image of God is righteousness and true holiness' pertaining to the new man, which is created after God.|' Here you affirm something more than in the previous case, yet without sufficient truth. That knowledge, of which you had previously spoken, is a part of truth, for it is the truth, as it exists in our minds. Here you state that it is truth, and righteousness and holiness. But let us examine the words of the apostle. He asserts, indeed, that the new man is one |which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.| I will not plead the fact that many explain the phrase |after God,| as though the apostle would say |by the power of God working in us.| I assent to your opinion that the words kata< Qeon mean simply the same as would be implied in the phrase |to the image,| or |according to the image of God.| Yet do you not perceive that the same order, which we have just indicated, is preserved by Paul; and that the subject, the principle, and the acts or habits, thereby inwrought, are most suitably distinguished? The subject is man, who is the same person, whether as the old; or the new man. The principle is the image of God, which is the same, whether old or new, and purified from corruption. The acts or habits, inwrought by that principle, are righteousness, holiness, and truth. Righteousness, holiness, and truth are not the image, but pertain to the image. Let us return, if you please, to that principle, which the Fathers laid down |natural things are corrupt, supernatural things are removed.| You may certainly, hence, deduce with ease this conclusion; -- righteousness, holiness and truth are not removed, therefore, they are not supernatural. Again, they have become corrupt, therefore, they are natural. If they had been removed, none of their elementary principles would exist in us by nature. But they do exist; therefore, they are by nature, and are themselves corrupt, and, with them, whatever originates in them. The same is the fact with the image of God. The image of God is not removed; it is not, therefore, supernatural; and, on the other hand, it has become corrupt; it is, therefore, natural. For it is nowhere, in the Scriptures, said to be bestowed, but only to be renewed. I shall offer proof, on this point, from the Scriptures, when I have made a single remark. Righteousness, holiness, truth, exist only in the image of God; there is, in man, some righteousness, holiness and truth; therefore, there is in man somewhat of the image of God. Moses, in Genesis 1, certainly relates nothing else than the first constitution of nature, as made in reference to every subject and species. But he relates that man was made in the image of God. This, then, was the constitution of human nature. But, if it is of nature, then the image of God pertains universally to the human race, since natural things differ from personal things in this, that they are common. The same is evident from Gen. v.3. Adam begat Seth |in his own likeness,| in his own image; but Adam was made in the image of God; therefore he begat Seth in the image of God. It may be said, however, that the image of God, and the image of Adam differ, and that a distinction is made between them by Moses. They indeed differ, but in mode, not in their essence; for the image of God in Adam was uncorrupted, in Seth it was corrupted through Adam; yet in both cases it was the image. In the same respect, this image, in the rest of the human race, is called according to its corruption, the image of the earthy, according to its renewal, the image of the heavenly. But since the image of God is diverse in mode only, and not in essence, it is said to be renewed, and restored, and not to be implanted or created, as we have before observed, as that which differs not in essence, but in mode or degree. The same thing is taught in Gen. ix.6. |Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.| If the image of God did not exist in the descendants of Adam, who are slain, the argument of Moses would be impertinent and absurd. But the argument, either of Moses or of God, is just and conclusive; for if you say, -- |The slayer of him, whom God has made in His own image, ought to be slain by man; God made the man who is slain in his own image; therefore, let the murderer be slain by man.| the argument is valid. For since man was made in the image of God, it is just that his murderer should be slain, and indeed that he should be slain by man. But if you explain the passage |for in the image of God made He man,| so that |He| shall refer to man, my interpretation of the argument will be even more confirmed. I do not, however, remember that it is affirmed any where in the Scriptures that man made man, nor can it be proved to me. These things, I think will be sufficient that you may see, my brother, that the image of God is naturally in man.
What, then, is the image of God? For it is now time that we pass from destructive to constructive reasoning. I will state it, in the words of the orthodox Fathers. Let Tertullian, of the Latins, first speak (lib.2 advers. Marcion, cap.9.) |The distinction is especially to be noticed, which the Greek Scriptures make, when they speak of the afflatus, not of the Spirit, (pnohn non pneuma) for some, translating from the Greek, not considering the difference or regarding the proper use of words, substitute Spirit for afflatus, and afford heretics an occasion of charging fault on the Spirit of God, that is, on God Himself; and it is even now a vexed question. Observe, then, that the afflatus is inferior to the Spirit, though it comes from the Spirit, as its breath, yet it is not the Spirit. For the breeze is lighter than the wind, and if the breeze is of the wind, the wind is not therefore, of the breeze. It is usual also, to call the afflatus the image of the Spirit; for thus also, man is the image of God, that is of the Spirit, for God is Spirit, therefore, the image of the Spirit is the afflatus. Moreover the image will never in all respects equal the reality; for to be according to the truth is one thing, to be the truth itself is another. Thus, also, the afflatus cannot, in such a sense, be equal to the Spirit, that, because the truth -- that is the Spirit, or God -- is without sin, therefore the image, of truth also, must be without sin. In this respect the image will be inferior to the truth, and the afflatus will be inferior to the Spirit, having some lineaments of the Deity, in the fact that the soul is immortal, free, capable of choice, prescient to a considerable degree, rational, and capable of understanding and knowledge. Yet, in these particulars, it is only an image, and does not extend to the full power of divinity, and so, likewise, it does not extend to sinless integrity, since this belongs alone to God, that is to truth, and can not pertain to the mere image; for as the image, while it expresses all the lineaments and outlines of the truth, yet is destitute of force, not having motion, so the soul, the image of the Spirit, is not able to exhibit its full power, that is, the felicity of freedom from sin, otherwise it would be not the soul, but the Spirit, not man, endowed with mind, but God, &c.| Ambrose (hexaemeri lib.6, cap.7), after many arguments, concludes in this way; |for what will a man give in exchange for his soul?' in which there is, not merely a small portion of himself, but the substance of the entire human race. It is this by which thou hast dominion over other living creatures, whether beasts or birds. This is the image of God, but the body is in the likeness of beasts; in one there is the sacred mark of divine resemblance, in the other the vile fellowship with the herds and wild beasts, &c.| Also, in Psalm 118, sermon 10, |Likeness to the image of God consists, not in the body, or in the material parts of our nature, but in the rational soul; in respect to which man was made after the likeness and image of God, and in which the form of righteousness, wisdom, and every virtue is found.|
To the same purpose are the words of Augustine, in his first Book |De Genes. contra Manich,| chap.17th, and in many other places. I mention also Jerome, because he evidently has the same view, and, in writing against Origen, he uses the same argument with that of Epiphanius and the Greek Fathers. I would refer to Basil, if you did not know that Ambrose quotes from him. Why should I speak of Chrysostom, the two Gregories, Cyril, Theodouret? Damascenus, an epitomist of all those writers, presents this subject, with the greatest accuracy, in the book which he has inscribed |Concerning the respect in which we were made in the image of God.| Also, in another, which has reference to |The two wills in Christ,| in which he uses the following words, |as to the rational, and intellectual, and voluntary powers, they belong to the mind at birth, and the Spirit is superadded, as having princely prerogative, and in these respects both angels and men are after the image of God, and this is abundantly true of men, &c.,| in which passage he has, with the utmost diligence, introduced those things which are essential and those which are adjunct.
I conclude with a single argument from Augustine against the Manichees. |Those men,| he says, |do not know that it is not possible that nature should use any action, or produce any effect, the faculty for which has not been received according to nature. For example, no bird can fly, unless it has received the faculty of flying, according to nature, and no beast of the earth can walk, unless it has received the faculty of walking, according to nature. So, likewise, man cannot act or will, unless he has received, according to nature, that faculty, which is called the |voluntary,| and the |energetic;| and he cannot understand if he has not received from nature the intellectual faculty, and he cannot see, or perform any other action, and, therefore, in every kind of nature, natural actions find place, and they exist at once and together, but those which depend on the will and activity, do not exist together.| From which reasoning he infers that man understands, reasons, wills, and, above other creatures, does many things which savour of divinity; therefore, many faculties exist in man, in respect to which he is said, in the Scriptures, to have been made in the image and likeness of God.
Here then is that image of God, in our soul; its essential parts not only show, of themselves, some resemblance, by nature, to divinity, but are, by nature and grace together, adapted to the perception of supernatural grace, as we shall soon show. You add that |all the fathers, seem, without exception, to be of the sentiment that man was created in a gracious state. So also our Catechism, ques.6.| I have, indeed, known no one among orthodox divines, who holds any different opinion; nor is there any other correct explanation of our catechism.
But you seem to fall into an error from a statement, which is susceptible of a two-fold interpretation, and to unite things really distinct. For it is not meant that the first man was created with grace, that is, that he received, in the act of creation, nature and supernatural grace; but this is their meaning: the man who was first created, received grace, that is, supernatural grace, as an additional gift -- which idea we have before presented in this answer. What then? Did he not have supernatural grace in creation? If you understand, by grace, the good will of God, he had grace; if you understand supernatural gifts, bestowed upon him, then he did not have those things, which are supernatural, from creation, or by the force of creation, since creation is the principle of nature, or its first term, but supernatural things entirely differ from it; but he had them in creation, that is, in that first state of creation in which Adam was until he fell into sin. That you may more easily understand the subject, let us use the illustration of the sun and moon, to explain the divine image. The moon has an essential image, and one which is relative and accidental. As its image is essential, it has its own light in some degree; yet it would be darkened, unless it should look towards the sun; as its image is relative, it has light borrowed from the sun, while it is looked upon by it, and looks to it. So, there was, in man, a two-fold relation of the image of God, even from the creation. For man had his own essential light fixed in the soul, which shines as the image of God among created things; he had also a relative light, as he was looked upon by God, and looked back to God. The essential image is natural; the relative image was, so to speak, supernatural, for it looked to God, through nature joined to grace, by a peculiar and free motion of the will; God looked upon it, of grace, (for, what action of God towards us is natural?) We have that essential light, corrupted by sin; it is plain that we have not lost it. We have lost the relative light; but Christ restores this, that we may be renewed, after God, in his own image, and that the essential light may be purified, since natural things are corrupted, the supernatural are lost, as we have previously said.
Your second argument is stated thus: |Since there is found, in the Scriptures, no reference to the love of God according to election, no divine volition, and no act of God, concerning men, referring to them in different respects, until after the entrance of sin into the world, or after it was considered as having entered.| If I should concede this, yet the sentiment of those, who say that man is considered, in general, by the Deity, would not, therefore, be confuted, as we have before shown. But I may, perhaps, be able to disprove this assertion by authority, by reason, and by example. You have authority in Romans ix.11-13. |For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.| What do those three phrases indicate |the children being not yet born;| again, |neither having done any good or evil;| and |according to election, not of works, but of Him that calleth.| You will say, |these expressions are according to truth; but they have reference to fallen and sinful nature.| But they exclude, with the utmost care, all reference to sin and refer all blessing to the sole vocation of God, who calleth, as even yourself, my brother, if you are willing to observe it, (and you certainly are thus willing,) may easily deduce from that proposition. To this authority you will certainly submit every semblance of reasoning. (Ephes. i.4, 5,) |He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ to Himself.|
Election originates in special love; and when He is said to have chosen us in Christ, all reference to ourselves is excluded; predestination also precedes both persons and cases relating to them. Indeed this is indicated by the words |foreknow| and |predestinate,| (Rom.8). Christ himself attributes to the blessing of the Father only that they were made possessors of the kingdom, |from the foundation of the world,| (Matt.30). In sin, or previous to sin? In view of sin, or without reference to it? Why should the former be true, I ask, rather than the latter? Why indeed, should not the latter rather, since all things are said to depend on God, who calleth? To these, let the following considerations be added:
1. Whatever absurdity may be connected with this subject, you will perceive, (if you examine it closely,) that it pertains as much to the former interpretation, and rather more to it than to the latter. This absurdity is not to be passed by, but rather to be religiously and suitably removed.
2. I deny that a reference to sin belongs to the matter of filial adoption. I call nature as a witness: Does not a father beget sons, before he investigates or observes what shall be their condition? But this generation, (namely that of the children of God), is of will and not of nature. True: yet it is attributed to the will of God alone, not to any condition in us. Every condition in us is excluded, even that of sin; the will of God, alone, His purpose, alone, is considered in the matter. God distinguishes by His mere will among those equal in nature, equal in sin; whom, considered in their natural condition simply, not in that of sin, but generally in Christ, He adopts as His children. As in nature, children are begotten without reference to their future condition, so God, of His own will, adopted from eternity His own children.
3. Whatever is more consistent with the wisdom and grace of God, would be performed by the Deity, and is to be believed by us, rather than that which is less consistent. But it is more consistent with His wisdom and grace that He should adopt unto Himself children without any consideration of character, than that He should do so on the supposition of such consideration; otherwise nature would act more perfectly than God, as according to nature, fathers beget children, without such consideration. Therefore, the former view is more consistent with the character of God, and rather to be received with faith by us.
As an example, for the confirmation of this matter, we will take, if you please, that of the Angels. Whoever are the sons of God, are sons by election. Angels are the sons of God, (Job 1, 2, & 37,) therefore, they are such by election, as Paul affirms (1 Tim. v.21,) when he calls them |the elect.| But they are elect without consideration of their sins, as they did not sin, but remained in their original condition.
Therefore, the love of God is with election, without
reference to sin, or consideration of it, which you seem to
deny in your assertion. Perhaps you will say that your assertion had reference only to men. But I reply, that love and election are spoken of in relation both to angels and men, and in the same manner, since God placed, in both, his own image, in reference to which election is made. The most decisive proof of this is found in the principle that, if any act which apparently exists in reference to two things, which have the same relation, does not really exist in reference to one, it does not exist in reference to the other. In the election of Angels, there is no reference to their condition or their works; therefore, in the election of men there is no such reference. If the condition of Angels and of men is, in some respects, different, it does not follow that the mode of their election is different; especially when the relation of that thing, in reference to which they are chosen, is the same in both cases. This is the image of God, which, preserved or restored according to His own will, he has called and united to Himself, which will remain immutably in Christ, |gathering together in one all things,| (Ephes. i.10,) and which he had placed on the common basis of his own nature, from which, those, who were to be damned according to His judgment, fell of their own will.
It is not possible to adduce any other example; because all other things are created in a different relation. For they are destitute of the image of God, in which consists, with suitable limitations, the object of election. Therefore, the nature of the divine election, made concerning men, can be illustrated by the example of angels, and by no other example. But the divine election was such, not that it separated, at first, the Angels who sinned from those who did not sin, but that, of His own will and grace, he distinguished those who were not about to sin, as previously elected and predestinated to adoption, from others who were about to sin of their own free will. What reason, then, is there that we should think that another mode of the divine election must be devised in reference to men?
REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE TENTH PROPOSITION
I apply the term natural to whatever pertains to the substance and existence of man, without which man cannot exist. Such are the soul and the body, and the whole system compounded of them, with all natural attributes, affections, passions, &c. I apply the term supernatural to whatever God has bestowed on man above and in addition to those natural characteristics, which indeed pertain to the perfection of man, not in respect to his animal nature, but in respect to his spiritual nature, to the acquisition not of natural, but of supernatural good. I apply the phrase |merely natural,| in this place, to that which has nothing supernatural added to it. The sense then of my words is that man is not made in a merely natural state, without supernatural endowments.
I do not here contend, with much strenuousness, whether he has those supernatural endowments from the act of creation or from another act of superinfusion, but leave this without decision, as neither useful or injurious to my cause. But I decidedly state and affirm, that God decreed to make man such by nature, as he in fact did make him; but such, that He might add to him some supernatural endowments, as He not only wished that he might be such as he was by nature, but He wished also to advance him further to a happier state, namely, to a participation of Himself, to which he could not attain, unless endowed with supernatural gifts. But when I deny that man was made in a merely natural state, and, therefore, was created with supernatural gifts, I wish not to indicate that the act, by which supernatural endowments are communicated, was creation, (for in my 26th proposition I have called that act superinfused Grace,) but that God was unwilling to cease from the act of communicating His blessing to that part of primitive matter or Nothing from which He created man, and that of His own decree, until he should also have bestowed those supernatural gifts upon him. I thought that I ought to observe the mode of expression, used in the Scripture, which declares that man was created |in the image and likeness of God,| which image and likeness of God comprehends in itself also supernatural gifts. If this is true, as I contend, then man was created with supernatural endowments. For he was made in the image of God, and the word |made| is attributed, without distinction, to all parts of the image, without separating that, in the image, which is natural from that which is supernatural to man. I am glad to quote here the words of Jerome Zanchius, who, in his first book concerning the creation of man, chapter 1, speaks concerning this same matter in these terms;| I am pleased with the sentiment of those, who say that with the inbreathing of life, there was also inbreathed and infused by the Deity whatever Adam possessed of celestial light, wisdom, rectitude, and other heavenly gifts; in which he reflects the Deity, as His true image. For he was created such as the Scripture teaches, affirming that he was made in the image of God, and Solomon in Eccl. vii.29, |God made man upright.| But he was not such when his body only was formed. When, with a soul placed in him, he became a living soul, that is a living man, that he was made upright, just, &c., and thus, at the same time with his soul, rays also of divine wisdom, righteousness, and goodness were infused.| Thus Zanchius, who clearly decides what I left without decision in either direction, and this for a twofold reason; I knew that it was a matter of dispute among the learned, and I perceived that nothing could be deduced from it either of advantage or disadvantage to my cause.
Those supernatural gifts, which were bestowed on man, he received for transmission to posterity, on the terms, on which he received them, namely, of grace, not as this word denotes the principle of natural endowments, for from grace, understood in its widest sense, we have received even our nature, as that to which we had no claim, but as it is used in contra-distinction to nature, and as it is the principle of supernatural gifts. I can then concede that God had reference to man in nature, as the subject of grace, the natural man as the subject of supernatural gifts; but that He had reference to him, contemplated in the administrative decree of creation, not in the decree of predestination, which we have now under discussion; as the subject of grace sufficient for supernatural felicity, not of effectual grace, of which we now dispute; as the subject of supernatural gifts, to be transmitted to his posterity, without exception, according to the arrangement of grace, and without any condition, not of such gifts as are peculiar to those, who are predestinated, and to be bestowed, with certainty and infallibly, upon them, in reference to which is the controversy between us.
Hence, these things are not opposed to my sentiment, for in them the fallacy of ignoratio elenchi is committed. I wish, however, that you would always remember that I speak constantly concerning the grace, prepared in the decree of predestination, and in no other decree. But I have proved that man was not made in a merely natural state, in the sense, as I have already stated, of a destitution of supernatural endowments, whether he is said to have them by the act of creation, or by the act of superinfusion; and I have proved it by an argument, deduced from the image and likeness of God in which man was created. Which argument is valid, whether the image of God signifies only supernatural gifts, bestowed on man by the Deity, as our Catechism and Confession, and some of our theologians affirm in reference to the image of God, or nature itself, together with those supernatural gifts, which is my opinion; according to which I wish that my affirmation, that |the image of God in man is not nature, but supernatural grace,| should be understood, that is, that it is not nature alone, apart from supernatural endowments, which is sufficient for any argument. For the question is not concerning natural qualities, and therefore, the decision of the point whether they belong to the image of God, according to my opinion, or not, does not affect the subject of inquiry. Let supernatural qualities be embraced in the definition of the image of God, in which man was made, and I have obtained what I desire.
I also wish that my subsequent remarks should be understood in the same manner, namely, that the image of God, has respect, not to natural felicity only, but to supernatural, and if that is true, as you seem to concede, I have attained my object. I did not wish to define with accuracy the image of God in which man was made, since this was not necessary to my purpose: it was sufficient to have shown that |knowledge, righteousness, and holiness| pertained also to the image of God, whether that image consisted wholly or only in part in them. For either of these statements would be equally available for my purpose, as I had undertaken to prove that man was not created without supernatural endowments, and therefore that he could not have been considered, in the decree of predestination, as created in a merely natural state, without supernatural endowments. But, before I come to the defense of my argument on this point, I must speak, at somewhat greater length, of three things, in considering which, a considerable part of your answer is occupied. First. I will explain more fully than I have before done, what I call natural, and what, supernatural qualities. Secondly. I will speak of the image of God, and what things, whether natural or supernatural, are embraced in it, and in its definition. Thirdly, by what action of the Deity, man has both the former, and the latter qualities.
First; I call those qualities natural which pertain to the nature of man, without which man cannot be man, and which have their source in the principles of nature, and are prepared, by their own nature, for natural felicity, as their end and limit: such are the body, the soul, the union of both, and that which is made up of both, and their natural attributes, affections, functions, and passions; under which I also comprehend moral feelings, which are sometimes spoken of in contradistinction to those which are natural. I call those qualities supernatural which are not a part of man, and do not originate in natural principles, but are superadded to natural principles, for the increase and perfection of nature, designed for supernatural felicity, and for a supernatural communion with God, our Creator, in which that felicity consists.
Between these, exists a natural relation of this character, that natural qualities may receive the addition of supernatural, by the arrangement of God, and that supernatural qualities are adapted for adding to, adorning and perfecting nature, and are therefore ordained for exalting it above itself. Hence, without ambiguity, under the term natural, I have comprehended nature both corporeal and spiritual, and that which is composed of both. It is, however, to be carefully observed -- that ambiguities of words are to be noticed and explained, in a discussion, when, if taken in one sense, they favour any view, and, if in the other, they do not, when, according to one sense, a statement is true, and, according to the other, is false. But when the statement is true, and pertinent to the subject, in whatever sense a word is taken, there is no need of an explanation of the ambiguity. Thus, in this case, you observe that I understand, by natural qualities, both those which pertain to the inferior nature, that is, to the body, and those which pertain to the superior nature, that is, to the soul, and in whatever mode you take it, my argument is equally strong and valid. We shall hereafter notice examples of equally unnecessary reference to ambiguity.
Secondly; two things must be considered in reference to the image of God in man, in what things does it consist, and which of them may be called material, and which supernatural?
I affirm that the image of God in man embraces all those things which represent in man any thing of the divine nature, which are partly essential: yet God did not wish that the images of all of them should be essential to man, whom He wished to create, in such a condition, not only that he might be that which he was, but that he might have the capability of becoming that which he was not, and of failing to be that which he was. I call essential the soul, and in it the intellect, and will, and the freedom of the will, and other affections, actions, and passions, which necessarily result from them. I call accidental both the moral virtues, and the knowledge of God, righteousness and true holiness, and whatever other attributes of the Deity exist, to be considered in Him as essential to his own nature, but in man as an express image, of which under the term |divine nature,| Peter says, that believers are |partakers.| 2. I do not think that all these things can be comprehended under the term natural, but I think that |knowledge, righteousness and true holiness,| are supernatural, and are to be called by that name. I am in doubt whether I have your assent to this affirmation. For in one part of your answer, you say that those are natural qualities, and present arguments in support of that view, and in another place, in the same answer, you acknowledge that Adam had supernatural gifts though not from the act of creation: by which supernatural qualities, I know not what you can understand, except those things which are mentioned by the apostle in Colossians 3, and Ephesians
4. Yet you seem to set forth under the term reflexive image, those very things which you acknowledge to be supernatural. But, whether I rightly understand your sentiment or not, I will speak of those things which, I think, tend to confirm my sentiment, and to refute your view, as I understand it.
I prove, then, that those qualities are supernatural. First, from Colossians 3, and Ephesians 4. Whatever things we have, from regeneration, by the spirit of Christ, are supernatural. But we have, from regeneration, by the Spirit of Christ, |the knowledge of God, righteousness and true holiness.| Therefore, they are supernatural. If any one says that we do not have them, in substance, from regeneration, but only a renewal of the same qualities, which had previously been made corrupt, I do not see how that assertion can be proved. For the phrases of the apostle teach another doctrine. For he who must |put on the new man,| is not clothed with the |new man,| or with any part of him. But to the new man, pertain |righteousness and true holiness.| Then, in the case of him, who must be |renewed in knowledge,| it is not his knowledge which has become corrupt and must be renewed, but his intelligence, which must be enlightened with new knowledge, which has been utterly expelled by the darkness of the old man. I designed this, only, in my argument, and not to define the image of God in man. But I cannot see that I differ from the view of the apostle in my explanation. For the knowledge of God, in the passage quoted by me, is the |image of God| itself, and |after the image of God.| Nor are these expressions at variance with each other, nor are they so absurd as you wish them to appear. You say |the image of God is knowledge, according to the image of God, therefore, the image of God is denied to be either knowledge or image.| I deny this sequence if the definition is rightly understood, namely, in the following manner. The image of God, renewed in us by the regenerating Spirit, is the knowledge of God, according to the image of God, in which, at the beginning, we were created. This image has a two-fold relation, in that it is created anew in us by the Spirit of Christ, and that it was formerly created in us by the Spirit of God. That knowledge differs not only in mode, but in its whole nature, from the knowledge of the old man: nor is it said to be renewed, but the man is said to be renewed in it. But I confess that I cannot understand how knowledge is an act of the image of God, and how that image is the fountain or principle of that act, that is of knowledge. For I have hitherto thought that man was said to be created in or to the image of God, that is, because, in mind, will, knowledge of God, righteousness and finally holiness, he refers to God Himself, as the archetype. In the other passage from Ephesians 4, I do not find the three characteristics, |truth, righteousness and holiness,| but only two, righteousness and holiness, to which is ascribed truth, that is, sincerity, purity, simplicity. Knowledge, also, is not a member or portion of that truth, but a gift, created in the intellect or mind of man, as righteousness and holiness are ingenerated in the will, or rather the affections of man.
Secondly, I prove that the same qualities are supernatural in this way. Those things, according to which we are, and are said to be, partakers of the divine nature, and the children of God, are supernatural: but we are, and are said to be partakers of the divine nature, and children of God, according to knowledge, righteousness and holiness; therefore, these are supernatural. The Major does not need proof. The Minor is evident from a comparison of the first, second, third, and fourth verses of 2 Peter 1. Thirdly, those things which have their limit in supernatural felicity, are supernatural; but the knowledge of God, righteousness and holiness are such; therefore, they are supernatural.
Fourthly, the immediate causes of supernatural acts are supernatural. But the knowledge of God, righteousness and holiness, are the immediate causes of supernatural acts: therefore they are supernatural. I now come to your arguments, in which you attempt to show that the image of God in man is natural, and that those qualities, knowledge, righteousness and holiness, are natural, not supernatural.
Your first argument is this: Supernatural qualities were removed, natural qualities were corrupted. But truth, righteousness, holiness, were not removed, they were corrupted; therefore, they are not supernatural, but natural. Your first argument is this: Supernatural qualities were removed, natural qualities were corrupted. But truth, righteousness, holiness, were not removed, they were corrupted; therefore, they are not supernatural, but natural. Your Minor is defended thus. The principles of these qualities are in us by nature; they would not be, if they had been removed. I reply -- that I admit the Major; but the Minor does not seem at all probable to me, not even by the addition of that reason. For, I affirm that the knowledge which is according to piety, the righteousness and the holiness, of which the apostle speaks, were not corrupted, but removed, and that none of the principles of those qualities remain in us after the fall. I acknowledge that the principles and seeds of the moral virtues, which have some analogy and resemblance to those spiritual virtues, and that, even those moral virtues themselves, though corrupted by sin, remained in us after the fall. It is possible that this resemblance may mislead him who does not accurately discriminate between these moral and those spiritual virtues. In support of this sentiment, in which I state that those gifts were taken away, I have the declaration of the Catechism, in the answer to question nine, in these words:
|Man deprived himself and all his posterity, of those divine gifts.| But an explanation of the nature of those divine gifts is given in the sixth question, namely, |righteousness and holiness.| I know not but that I have the support of your own declaration on this point. For in the eighteenth of your Theses, Concerning Original Sin, discussed in 1594, are these words: |For, as in Adam the form of human integrity was original righteousness, in which he was made by God, so the form of corruption, or rather of deformity, was a deprivation of that righteousness.|
In the nineteenth Thesis, |The Scripture calls the form, first mentioned, the image and likeness of God.| In the twentieth Thesis, |The Scripture calls the latter form, the image and likeness of Adam.| If I rightly understand these expressions, I think that it plainly follows from them that original righteousness was removed, and that it is, therefore, supernatural, according to the rule |supernatural qualities were removed; natural qualities were corrupted.| I have also, in my favour, most, perhaps all, of the Fathers. Ambrose, in reference to Elijah and his fasting, chap.4th, says, |Adam was clothed with a vesture of virtues before his transgression, but, as if denuded by sin, he saw himself naked, because the clothing, which he previously had, was lost,| and again in the seventh book of his commentary on the 10th chapter of that gospel, marking, more clearly, the distinction between the loss of supernatural qualities and the corruption of natural ones, he speaks thus: |Who are thieves if not the angels of night and of darkness? They first despoil us of the garments of spiritual grace, and then inflict on us wounds.| Augustine, (De Trinitate, lib.14, cap.16,) says, |Man, by sinning, lost righteousness and true holiness, on which account, this image became deformed and discoloured; he receives them again when he is reformed and renewed.| Again, (De civit. Dei. lib.14, cap.11) he affirms that |free-will was lost.| To conclude this part of the discussion, I ask what were those spiritual qualities, which were renewed or lost, if not the knowledge of God, righteousness and holiness.
Another argument, adduced by you, is this: |Whatever belongs to the species is natural; But the image of God belongs to the species; Therefore it is natural.| I answer, the Major is not, in every case, true. For a quality may pertain to the species either by a communication through nature or natural principles, or by an arrangement of grace. That, which, in the former, not in the latter, pertains to the species, is natural. In reference to the Minor, I affirm that the image of God pertains to the species, partly through nature, partly of grace; therefore the image of God in man is partly through nature, partly of grace; therefore, the image of God in man is partly natural, partly supernatural. If you make any other inference, you deduce a general conclusion from a particular proposition, which is not valid. If an addition be made to your Major, so that, in its full form, it should stand thus:
|Whatever is produced in the species, and its individuals, by nature, is natural,| I will admit it as a whole. But in that case, the Minor would not be wholly true. For the image of God is not promised in us wholly by nature, for that part of it which is in truth and righteousness, and holiness, is produced in us by nature, but is communicated by an act of grace, according to the arrangement of grace. But it is objected that the image cannot be common, if it is not natural. For natural qualities differ, in that they are common, from those which are personal, (the question refers not to supernatural qualities). I answer a thing is common in a two-fold sense, either absolutely, according to nature, or conditionally, according to the arrangement of grace. The image of God is common in part according to nature and absolutely, in those things which belong to man according to his essence, and which cannot be separated from his nature, and in part conditionally, according to the arrangement of grace, in those things which pertain not to the essence but to the supernatural perfection of man. The former are produced in all men absolutely, the latter conditionally, namely that he should preserve those principles, which are universal to the species, and particular to the individual, uncorrupted. Therefore, the whole image is common, but partly by nature, and partly of the arrangement of grace; by nature, that part, which is called natural; according to the arrangement of grace, that part which I call supernatural. This, also, is according to the declaration of the Scripture that Seth was begotten in the image and likeness of Adam, not in the image of God. He was indeed begotten in the image of God, not as God communicated it, in its integrity, to Adam, but as Adam maintained it for himself. But Adam maintained it for himself not in its integrity, therefore, he communicated it in that condition. But that, which is in its integrity, and that, which is not in its integrity, differ, not only in mode and degree, but also in some of the essential parts of that image, which are possessed by the image, in its integrity, and are wanting to the image, not in its integrity, which Adam had originally, by a complete communication from God, and of which Seth was destitute on account of the defective communication from Adam.
Your third argument is this: |The image of God is not said to be produced or created in us, but to be renewed or restored, therefore, it was not lost or removed, but corrupted.|
I answer -- Neither part of your assumption is, in a strict sense, true; with suitable explanation, both parts are true, but neither of them is against my sentiment. I will prove the former assertion, namely, that neither part of the assertion is true. We are said to be |new creatures in Christ| and |to be created to good works.| David prayed that God would |create| within him |a clean heart.| The image of God is nowhere said to be restored and renewed within us, but as we are said to be |renewed in knowledge after the image of God,| |to be renewed in the spirit of our mind,| and |to be transformed by the renewing of our mind.| Yet, with suitable explanation, both parts of the assumption are true, but they are very favourable to my sentiment, as I will show. There are in us, in respect to ourselves, two parts of the image of God, one essential, the other accidental to us. The essential part is the soul, endowed with mind, affection and will. The accidental is the knowledge of God, righteousness, true holiness, and similar gifts of spiritual grace. The former are not said to be produced or created in us, because it was deformed and corrupt. The latter is not said to be restored or renewed in us, because, from a defect in the subject, it has no place in us and not because it was not corrupt and deformed, but it is said to be produced and created in us, (for we are called, on its access, new creatures,) because it resembles a mold, by the use of which, that essential part is restored and renewed. The words of the apostle plainly set forth this idea, in which it is affirmed not that the knowledge, referred to, is renewed, but that we, as partakers of the image of God so far as it is essential to us, are said to be renewed in knowledge, as in a new mold, according to the image of God, so far as it is accidental to us. Both parts, then, of the antecedent are true. For the image of God is restored and renewed in us, namely, our mind and will, and the affections of the soul; and the image of God is produced and created in us, namely, the knowledge of God, righteousness, and true holiness. The former is the subject of the latter; the latter is the form, divinely given to the former. Therefore, also, the argument of Moses in commanding the murderer to be slain, is valid. For in man, even after transgression, the image of God remained, so far as it was essential to him, or that part remained, which pertained to the essence of man, though the part, which was accidental, is removed through sin.
We now discuss the action of the Deity, by which we have both the natural and the supernatural part of the image of God. I have not made any distinction in the act, both because I wished to use the phraseology of Scripture, according to which the word creation signifies the act by which man has in himself, the image and likeness of God, for it speaks thus:
|Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,| and |so God created man in his own image,| and because both parts equally well answered my purpose. But, if the subject is considered with accuracy, I think that a distinction is to be made in those acts, and that one is rightly termed creation, by which man received natural qualities, the other, superinfusion, by which he received the supernatural. For life in man is two-fold, animal and spiritual; animal, by which he lives according to man, spiritual, by which he lives according to God. Of the former, the principle is the soul in man, endowed with intellect and will; of the latter, the principle is the Spirit of God, communicating to the soul those excellent gifts of knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. It is probable that the principles of these kinds of life, each so diverse from the other, were bestowed on man, not by the same, but by a different act. But it is not important to my sentiment to decide in what mode, whether by a two-fold or a single act of God, man had these qualities, only let it be understood that he had both the former and the latter, before God was employed concerning him in the act of predestination; that is, he had them in respect to the divine consideration. I make the statement in general terms, because those things, both natural and supernatural, were conferred on the whole species, the former absolutely, the latter on the condition that the species should preserve to itself that principle. Hence, I conclude, if it was conferred on the species, then it was conferred by a decree of providence, in contra-distinction to predestination; if it was conferred conditionally, it was not conferred by a decree of predestination, by which no gift is conditionally conferred. It is now evident from this that my argument is valid. For if man was created by God, under this condition, that he should have, not only natural, but also supernatural gifts, either by the same act of creation, or by the additional act of superinfusion, (in reference to which I have never contended,) it follows, then, that God, in the acts of predestination and reprobation, which separate men, could not have reference to men, as considered in a merely natural state. You also seem, afterwards, to concede this, that man had supernatural endowments, even in his primitive state, but as an increment to nature, and not from the act of creation, which is the principle of nature. This I concede, and from it make this inference, since those things, which the first man had, were possessed by all his posterity in him, (for all which he was, we also were in him, according to the 40th Thesis of your disputation concerning Original Sin, previously cited,) the former, of nature, the latter, of the arrangement of grace, it follows that God could not, in the decree under discussion, have reference to man, considered in a merely natural state, nor indeed, to man, considered with supernatural endowments, for a being of such character could not be passed by, or at least was not passed by, except from the fact that it was foreseen that he would lose those supernatural endowments by transgression and sin.
Your assertion that these statements, however true they may be, are not opposed to that sentiment, which considers man in general, is valid, if it is proved that man was, or could be considered universally by God in the act of decree. But I think that my arguments are valid, also, against that sentiment. For if God could not consider man in a merely natural state, if not with supernatural endowments, if not without sin, regarding him as the object of the acts of predestination and reprobation, then also he could not consider the same being in a general sense. For a general consideration is excluded by the necessary consideration of any particular circumstance, which becomes the formal relation (ratio) of the object, apart from which formal relation God could not consider man, when He was acting in reference to man in that decree. Besides, how can the general consideration yet have place, when a circumstance, which that general consideration comprehends within itself, is excluded.
If what you say concerning |the essential and the relative image| has this meaning, that the essential image comprehends truth and righteousness, and holiness, and yet is entirely natural to man, as may be deduced from some things alleged by you, then I affirm distinctly, that I cannot oppose it; indeed, I think that I can prove the contrary. But if you apply the phrase |essential image| to all which man has, essential to himself, according to the image of God, I admit it. Then the |respective| image will embrace what I call supernatural and accidental. But, as these things, with the premises which I have laid down, do not tend to refute my sentiment, I proceed to the remainder of my argument.
My second argument is this, that no love of God according to election, or divine volition regarding human beings variously, or divine actions varying in reference to them, is found after sin entered into the world, or after it was considered as having entered. But if this argument is valid, it also refutes the sentiment, which states that man was considered |in general.| For if there is no divine election and reprobation of men except after the entrance of sin into the world, then man is considered, not |in general,| but particularly, in reference to the circumstance of sin. But you plead |authority, reason, and example.| You plead |authority| from three passages of Scripture, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, and Matthew 25. Neither of these is opposed to my view, since I do not deny that election and reprobation were made from eternity, and do not say that sin was the cause of the decree, but a condition requisite in its object. The passage in Romans 9, is not adverse to me; first, because Jacob and Esau had been already conceived in sin, when those words were addressed to Rebecca, as is evident from the text. The affirmative, that they had done neither good nor evil, is to be understood in reference to the distinction which might be made between them, as is explained by Augustine in many places. The apostle then denies all reference to sin, namely, to that by which any distinction might be made between them, not to that, of which they were both equally guilty. Secondly, because he attributes all things to the vocation of God, who calleth, which is of mercy, and has reference only to sinners. Thirdly, because the |purpose of God, according to election| which states, |not of works,| is a gracious purpose in Christ, to the promise of which reference is made in Romans iv.16 |it is of fruit, that it might be by grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed,| that is, of faith of, or in Christ, which pertains only to sinners, for he, who has not sinned, does not need faith in Christ, since he obtains righteousness, and thereby life, by the laws. Let this, then, be the answer in reference to this passage, if it is to be understood of Esau and Jacob in their own persons, without any typical meaning. But the meaning of that passage is far different, as could be proved, if it were necessary.
I come, now, to the passage cited from Ephesians 1. That passage is so far from being opposed to my sentiment that I shall hereafter use it as a strong argument in my favour. Election is here said to be |from eternity;| I grant it. It is said to have been made |in Christ;| I acknowledge it. It is said to be |unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ;| I consent to it. I do not, however, see that either of these statements is opposed to the idea, that sin is a condition, requisite in the object of election and reprobation. It is true that any reference to ourselves, as a cause of our own election, is denied. Predestination precedes persons, in respect to their actual existence, not as they are considered by the Deity. It refers to causes, before they actually exist, but not before they are foreseen by God from eternity, though, in the foresight of God, they exist, not as the causes of predestination, but as a condition requisite in the object. In Matthew 25, the blessed of the Father, who shall possess the kingdom prepared for them of the mere benediction of God, are spoken of. But that benediction is in Christ, by which the malediction is removed, which even the blessed themselves had deserved according to the prescience of God, before they were blessed in Christ; and the kingdom, which was prepared for them, by the blood of Christ, is a kingdom, to which they are raised from the ignominy and slavery of sin. If you had thoroughly considered that, which is really in controversy, you would not have thought that those passages could be used effectually against me.
The reasons, adduced by you, are not more adverse to my opinion, for they oppose the sentiment which makes sin the cause of the decree, not that which makes it a condition, requisite in the object. I will examine them. To the first, I answer that my sentiment, either as antecedent or consequent, is not absurd, until it is proved to be so. Your second and third reasons change the state of the question. For they exclude from that decree sin, as a cause, on account of which God adopted children unto Himself, or in view of which He made the decree; in reference to which there is no question. To the second, I say, that the subject of discussion, here, is the adoption made in Christ, which pertains to no one except by faith in Christ, to which we are not begotten but begotten again by God. From this it is proved, that the adoption is of sinners, and of sinners equally involved in sin, not of men equal in nature. To the third, I answer; --
In the first place, we must judge from the word of God, what may be more, and what may be less in accordance with the wisdom and grace of God. In the second place, I affirm that it is equally in accordance with the wisdom and grace of God, that He should adopt unto Himself sons from those who are not sinners as from those who are sinners, and vice versa, if such should be His choice. What you say in reference to |the supposition of such consideration| is aside from the subject. In the third place, the wisdom and grace, according to which God adopted children unto Himself from among men in that |hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory, which none of the princes of this world knew,| which wisdom is |Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block,| -- and that grace, is that which is joined with mercy, bestowed on the sinner, and is in Christ. The latter tends far more illustriously to the glory of God than grace, as used in contradistinction to mercy, and so much the more, as he, who has deserved evil, is more unworthy than he, who has deserved nothing, either good or evil. It has been shown before, that the example of angels is not analogous, but the reverse. For God determined to secure the salvation of men and of angels in different modes. The relations, therefore, of predestination, in the former, and in the latter case, are diverse. God stamped His own image on both, but with a different condition, namely, that it should be preserved in none, but restored in some, among men. God so tempered, as Augustine says, the natures of angels and of men, that He might first show, in them, what their own freewill could effect, then what should be the beneficial influence of His grace, preserving in the case of angels, and restoring, in the case of men. He showed in the case of angels, namely, grace in contradistinction to mercy. He showed in men, the power of the latter grace, namely, grace joined to mercy, and both of his own eternal purpose. Since, then, He did, in men, what He did not in angels, and, in angels, what He did not in men, and this from the decree of predestination, I conclude that there is one relation of divine predestination in the case of angels, and another in the case of men. Therefore, there is no love of God towards men, according to election, without the consideration of sin. There was no discussion between us in reference to angels, and, in my argument, express mention was made of men; whatever, then, is proved concerning angels, has no weight in the refutation of my argument.