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The Works Of James Arminius Vol 1 by James Arminius


Let scripture itself come forward, and perform the chief part in asserting its own Divinity. Let us inspect its substance and its matter. It is all concerning God and his Christ, and is occupied in declaring the nature of both of them, in further explaining the love, the benevolence, and the benefits which have been conferred by both of them on the human race, or which have yet to be conferred; and prescribing, in return, the duties of men towards their Divine Benefactors. The scripture, therefore, is divine in its object.

(2.) But how is it occupied in treating on these subjects? It explains the nature of God in such a way as to attribute nothing extraneous to it, and nothing that does not perfectly agree with it. It describes the person of Christ in such a manner, that the human mind, on beholding the description, ought to acknowledge, that |such a person could not have been invented or devised by any created intellect,| and that it is described with such aptitude, suitableness and sublimnity, as far to exceed the largest capacity of a created understanding. In the same manner the scripture is employed in relating the love of God and Christ towards us, and in giving an account of the benefits which we receive. Thus the Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the Ephesians on these subjects, says, that from his former writings, the extent of |his knowledge of the mystery of Christ| might be manifest to them; (Ephes. iii.4.) that is, it was divine, and derived solely from the revelation of God. Let us contemplate the law in which is comprehended the duty of men towards God. What shall we find, in all the laws of every nation, that is at all similar to this, or (omitting all mention of |equality,|) that may be placed in comparison with those ten short sentences? Yet even those commandments, most brief and comprehensive as they are, have been still further reduced to two chief heads -- the love of God, and the love of our neighbour. This law appears in reality to have been sketched and written by the right hand of God. That this was actually the case, Moses shews in these words, What nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?| (Deut. iv.8.) Moses likewise says, that so great and manifest is the divinity which is inherent in this law, that it compelled the heathen nations, after they had heard it, to declare in ecstatic admiration of it. |Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people?| (Deut. iv.6.) The scripture, therefore, is completely divine, from the manner in which it treats on those matters which are its subjects.

(3.) If we consider the End, it will as clearly point out to us the divinity of this doctrine. That End is entirely divine, being nothing less than the glory of God and man's eternal salvation. What can be more equitable than that all things should be referred to him from whom they have derived their origin? What can be more consonant to the wisdom, goodness, and power of God, than that he should restore, to his original integrity, man who had been created by him, but who had by his own fault destroyed himself; and that he should make him a partaker of his own Divine blessedness? If by means of any word God had wished to manifest himself to man, what end of manifestation ought he to have proposed that would have been more honourable to himself and more salutary to man? That the word, therefore, was divinely revealed, could not be discerned by any mark which was better or more legible, than that of its showing to man the way of salvation, taking him as by the hand and leading him into that way, and not ceasing to accompany him until it introduced him to the full enjoyment of salvation: In such a consummation as this, the glory of God most abundantly shines forth and displays itself. He who may wish to contemplate what we are declaring concerning this End, in a small but noble part of this word, should place |the Lord's Prayer| before the eyes of his mind; he should look most intently upon it; and, as far as that is possible for human eyes, he should thoroughly investigate all its parts and beauties. After he has done this, unless he confess, that in it this double end is proposed in a manner that is at once so nervous, brief, and accurate, as to be above the strength and capacity of every created intelligence, and unless he acknowledge, that this form of prayer is purely divine, he must of necessity have a mind surrounded and enclosed by more than Egyptian darkness.

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