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of those who extend this universal efficacy of the death of Christ which we defend, further than the truth of the thing permits. For there are some who, because the death of Christ, in the sense aforesaid, is affirmed to have been imposed for the human race, for themselves and all mankind individually, immediately infer, that it is now incumbent on the Divine justice and goodness, that he should administer the means necessary for producing faith to all for whom he thus gave Christ to death. But because it appears more clearly than mid-day light, that to heathens and pagans, upon whom the light of the Gospel never shone, means were not given which immediately suffice to produce faith in thens, they resort to an assertion, that sufficient means were always given even to such persons, by which they might be led mediately, and, as it were, by degrees, to faith in Christ, if they had made proper use of them. But if any one should inquire what those means of grace are, which are obvious to all men, and are sufficiently able to lead all men to the faith of Christ, they bring before us Nature clothed with the vame of Grace. · For they say that there are certain remains of spiritual
life in all men, namely, in the understanding, some knowledge of God, in the affections, some desire after the knowledge of what is good; of which natural endowments if a man makes a right use, God will give him more grace, and present him with saving faith. Aquinas seems to lean to this opinion (Quæst. 14, De veritate, art. 11, Resp. ad. 1,) where he writes in this manner, If a man brought up in the woods should follow the dictale of natural reason in ihe desire of good and the avoiding of evil, it is most certainly to be believed thut God will either reveril to him by internal inspirution those things which are necessary to be believed, or will direct to him some preacher of the faith. The opinion, therefore, of those persons amounts to this, that they think that God, by the efficacy and merit of the death of Christ, is now bound, as it were by a statute law, to supply sufficient means to all, by which they may be led to Christ, if they should be willing; so that on the part of God nothing is wanting that they should not obtain faith and a benefi
cial participation of the death of Christ. For the solution of this difficulty we have brought forward this proposition to be explained and confirmed, viz.
Thesis 4. The death of Christ being granted to be applicable to all men on condition of faith, it is consistent with the goodness and justice of God to supply or to deny, either to nations or to individuals, the means of application, and that according to the good pleasure of his own will, not according to the disparity of human wills. I shall premise a few things, and then proceed to confirm the proposition. First, then, it is to be observed, that those who are of a contrary opinion think (Adver. Tilen. Corv. p. 403, and 109, 121, 158, 119), That God is bound as it were by a fired decree, and appoi..ted law, to grant the talent of grace to those who rightly use the talent of nature. Secondly, they presume, That every pagan, although dwelling in the shadow of death, is able, by his own free will, to use this natural talent well or ill. Thirdly, From this distinction, whether right or wrong, of those who use their natural gifts, they endeavour to give a reason why God should deign to enlighten some with the Gospel and the knowledge of Christ, and not others. They affirm, If any one rightly uses those gifts, he will be led by degrees to a saving knowledge of Christ ; but if he wickedly abuses them, he is deservedly deprived of the knowledge of Christ. Augustine seems to have been of a different opinion (Libro de Nat. & Grat. cap. 8 and 9) where he grants, that the means of salvation cannot be applied to some infants, where also he acknowledges, that adults who have died in thal region where they could not hear of the name of Christ, could by no means become righteous by nature and free-will. We also affirm that there is no decree, no law, or promise of God extant, according to which any one can certainly conclude, This man has used the light of nature rightly or less badly, therefore God will illuminate him with supernatural grace. Arminius indeed says (Vide Armin. contra Perk. p. 218,) that God has promised this in that saying of Christ, To him THAT HATH SHALL BE GIVEN. But much more truly and learnedly the Reverend Bishop of Salisbury (De vera Grat. Chr. p. 68) says, Arminius here commits a fallacy, in promising to him that hath in a state of nature, a gift for salvation in a state of grace, and makes the light of faith the reward of diligence in unbelievers. For in whatever thing, and of whatever kind, good use is made, in the same thing he also promises increase. Alvarez, a Papist, informs us on this subject (De Auxil. disp. 56, p. 651), No law was ever made for giving the helps of grace to those who do all that is in their power from the faculty of nature, neither did Christ the Lord by his death merit, or desire to merit, such a law. The Apostle Paul teaches that the dispensation of supernatural grace proceeds, not according to the use and works of the will of man, but according to the purpose and counsel of the will of God: He worketh all things according to the purpose and counsel of his own will (Eph. i. 11.)
Secondly, although we acknowledge that some sparks of natural light remain in heathens, and some imperfect desire of moral good, yet, as the same Bishop of Salisbury whom we have before commended, excellently says, (pp. 66, 67) Because those deformed ruins have no inhabitant but the devil, there cannot be any other than a corrupl use, in the midst of the corruption of these remains. Let the adversaries shew to us even one man from the beginning of the world, who froin the good use of nature derived to himself the gift of grace. It is impossible (morally speaking) that a heathen in a state of corrupt nature, should not place very many obstacles to Divine grace, so far is he from well using his natural powers, so that he may obtain for himself gratuitous and supernatural aid. Aquinas truly says, (Contr. Gent. lib. 3, p. 160) If through preceding disorder free-will should decline to evil, it will not be at all in his power to offer no impediment to grace. Therefore, they who think that Evangelical grace is given to all those who make a right use of the light of nature, and do not oppose an impediment to grace, dream that there are such men in a state of corrupt nature, as it is not credible there ever were, or are, or will be. For whatever muy be called an impediment, no one can remove this impediment but God, as Bradwardine truly
teaches (De causa Dei, contra. Pelag. lib. 2, cap. 32*). Thirdly, and lastly, we assert, on the testimony of the holy Scripture and of experience, that the Gospel and other means of salvation, were not granted or denied to men for this reason, because some made a right use of the light of nature, or at least made a less evil use of it, and others perversely and wickedly abused it. For it appears from the sacred Scriptures, that the light of the Gospel shone on those thoughtless persons who in the worst manner abused their natural light or talent. Such were the Romans, Corinthians, (1 Cor. vi. 11) Ephesians, (Eph. ii. 8, 21) among whom the torch of the Gospel was lighted up by the Apostles, when they were voluntarily living in
• BRADWARDINE (Thomas) a learned English Divine of the 14th Cen. tury. He was born at Hartfield, in Sussex, and educated at Merton Col. lege, Oxford, where he took the degree of D.D. and became Proctor and Divinity Professor of the University, and after being appointed Chancellor of the Diocese of London, attended Edward III. as his Confessor during his wars in France. Whilst so situated, a vacancy occurred in the See of Canterbury, and the Monks elected him Archbishop; but Edward, who was fond of his company, refused to part with him. Another vacancy happen. ing soon after, the Monks elected him a second time, and Edward yielded to their desires, and Bradwardine was consecrated Archbishop in 1349 ; but he died 40 days after his consecration at Lambeth, and was buried at Can. terbury. He excelled in Mathematical knowledge, and wrote several trea. tises on that science which have been published; among them is one on the quadrature of the circle. He was most distinguished, however, for his ac. curate and solid investigations in Divinity; and is best known as the author of a book against Pelagianism, entitled De Causa Dei. The reader unacquainted with it, but desirous of knowing something of the contents of a thick and closely printed Latin folio, or of the nature of a work as profound in argument as it is elaborate in illustration, may consult Milner, who, in Vol. IV. of his Church History, has given a good account of it. The ori. ginal itself is well worthy of examination, if it were only to convince some of the would-be-thought theologians of our time, that humility and reserve would become them better than a jejune expression of opinions on subjects which have so occupied men of gigantic minds; and to display to others the deep piety and ardent devotion which existed with solid learning, extensive acquirements, and a lofty genius. The fame of this work, it is said, led Chaucer, in his “ Nuns' Priests' tale,” to rank Bradwardine with St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. An Apologue in this treatise appears to have furnished Parnell with the story of his beautiful Poem “ The Hermit."The best Edition is that by Sir Henry Saville, printed at London, in 1618. the filth of superstition and lusts. It is also not less manifest, to how many the Gospel was never revealed, who lived less wickedly. Who is ignorant that among the philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Xenophon; and among the Romans, Fabricius, Scipio, Cato, made a good use of the light of nature beyond other men ? yet none of these on that account became a partaker of the grace of the Gospel. Therefore the reason of the Gospel and supernatural light being given or denied, is not to be sought in the better or worse use of the light of nature, but in the good pleasure of God, who calls or not as it pleases him. These things being disposed of, let us proceed to the proposition itself: which we confirm, in the first place, by an argument derived from the death of Christ, from whence our adversaries think that they can infer the contrary.
ARGUMENT I. If by the death of Christ a covenant was established, according to which renission of sins is promised to every one that believeth, but no covenant was established according to which the Gospel is promised to any heathen who uses his natural endowments rightly, or no ways badly, then, the death of Christ being admitted, it is rash to conclude that God is bound by his faithfulness, or goodness, or justice, or any other covenant, to reveal to men the mystery of the grace of the Gospel on account of a better use of nature. But it is most certain, that such a covenant no where exists. Therefore a revelation, or a denial of the Gospel, depends on the good pleasure of God, who withholds or reveals it as it seems good to himself, and not on account of the different kinds of actions of men. We prove the major thus : that God is bound to no man, and owes no man anything, except of his own gratuitous and voluntary promise. Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (Rom. xi. 35.) Upon which sentence Augustine says (in Psalm 1xxxiii.), The Lord makes himself a debtor not by receiving, but by promising ; he hath not proinised any thing spiritual to the works of corrupt nature however splendid they may be. He hath not made any law by which he may be restrained from giving spiritual blessings to men how