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ever wicked, and covered with all kind of iniquities. We ought not, therefore, to give a reason, from the difference of men or their works, why the Gospel and the knowledge of Christ is obtained by some and not by others; but to acquiesce in the good pleasure of the Divine will ; according to the Apostle, (2 Tim. i. 9) He hath called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began. But still it may be pretended, Although God is not bound either by debt, or by any promise confirmed by the death of Christ, to reveal Christ to them that make a good use of the light of nature, yet since of his grace he is accustomed to give to men many things which he had not promised; what should hinder us from saying that he has this as his common way of distributing the grace of the Gospel, that he grants it to those who make a better use of the light of nature, and does not grant it to those who, by abusing the light of nature more than others, render themselves more unworthy of the light of grace? One impediment is, that by this we do not admit the perpetual testimony of Scripture to the contrary, which refers the communication of saving grace, not to the man who works better, but to God, who loves and pities one more than another. (Rom. is. 18.) Another impediment is, experience itself. For it often happens, that a man from his infancy is very modest, temperate, and a victor over his passions for the most part, and lives and dies in a place where the Gospel of Christ cannot by any means be preached to him : But another, enslaved to lust, and covered with wickedness, is so overruled by God, that he hears, believes, and is saved. We say then that all men, from their bad use of nature, render themselves unworthy of the Gospel; and that God, in communicating or denying the Gospel, is not accustomed to weigh the degrees of human worthiness and unworthiness, and from thence to derive his common rule of bestowing or not bestowing grace; but sometimes denies it to those who have not made good use of the remains of nature, and in the mean time grants it to those who have abused them much worse : and sometin.es does the contrary. From whence it appears that the reason of the difference why God grants his grace to one and not to another, ought to be referred to the good pleasure of God himself, and not to the different kind of operations of men.
ARGUMENT 2. Secondly, we prove, that it is not contrary to the Divine goodness, even admitting the death of Christ, still not to grant the means of application to all men whatsoever according to his good pleasure : because the death of Christ is a benefit granted freely by God himself to the human race. But it is just and right that the free application of his own benefit should be in the power of the Benefactor, who is never bound by the giving of one benefit to the giving of another, unless he should have made such a promise; which promise of granting the means by which the death of Christ may be applied, neither can all men promiscuously, nor any person for himself individually, rightly assert was made. Moreover, it is no reflection on the Divine goodness not to grant any benefit to one, if he does not bring an injury upon any one, or unjustly deny to or deprive any one of a benefit due to him; but illumination by the grace of the Gospel, the death of Christ being supposed, yet is not due to nature, now corrupted by sin. Thus Bannes says (In. 1, qu. 23, art. 3, p. 279,) The same argument is not applicable to natural and supernutural illumination, because that which is natural is due to nature, but the illumination of grace is not due to nature, especially as it is so currupted by sin, but is conferred by grace. If it is conferred by grace, then it is not due to all. For among the twelve articles which pertain to the Christian faith, Augustine has put this second (Epist. 107), The grace of God is not given to all men. If it is conferred of grace, then it is not given or denied according to the good or bad use of natural light; for, as Prosper rightly remarks, (Resp. 8, ad Capit. Gallor.) It is impiety to affirm that the grace by which we are saved is either given in payment for meritorious deeds or restrained by evil oncs. And, (De Vocat. Gent.) There are no wickednesses so detestable as to drive away the gift of grace. Those therefore who are desirous of defending the justice and good
ness of God by human conjectures, contend that he supplies the gratuitous means of salvation to all who make use of their natural endowments either aright or not badly, but denies them to others who have abused the same gifts, (as Augustine says) being ignorant of the height and depth of Divine grace, form improbable fables. Whether, therefore, we will or not, if the cause is sought Why those means, by which they may apply Christ to themselves for salvation, are granted to some individuals, and not to others, we must overlook the disparity of men, or of human works, and ascend to the free good pleasure of God, as Prosper elegantly observes, (Carmine. de Ingratis. cap. 35) Since the same cause equally implicates all, they are not to be distinguished by merit, who are far from possessing the gift.
ARGUMENT 3. From the fact we argue thus as to the right; God does not omit to do any thing, which it would be an impeachment upon Divine goodness, justice, or wisdom not to do. This cannot be doubted, since it is impossible that he who is Goodness, Justice, and Wisdom itself, could ever de part from the rule of goodness, justice, or wisdom in doing or not doing any thing. I add, therefore, the minor, and affirm that, the death of Christ being admitted, yet God has heretofore denied, and does now deny to many nations and many individuals, those means without which the death of Christ is applied to no one. This will evidently appear, whether we consider the immediate means of salvation by which man is placed in a state of spiritual life and salvation, and in the actual participation of the death and merits of Christ, such as repentance, faith, regeneration, and sanctification; or whether we regard the external means, which, as instruments, God makes use of to produce the former, such as the sending of teachers and pastors, the preaching of the Gospel, and all other helps, without which those internal and immediate means of salvation cannot ordinarily be produced. With respect to the former, faith and a saving knowledge of Christ, is a special gift, granted to some, denied to others, according to the good pleasure of the Divine will. It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given (Matt. xiii. 11.) No man can come unto me, ercept it were given unto him of my Father (John vi. 65.) By grace are ye saved, through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (Ephes. ii. 8.) All men have not faith (2 Thess. iii. 2.) So likewise as to repentance, regeneration, sanctification, all which are given to some because the special mercy of God procures them, but are denied to others, because the same mercy does not unfold its riches to them. Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned (Lament. v. 21.) He halh mercy on whom he will, and whom he will he hardeneth (Rom. ix. 18.) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John i. 13) Blessed be God, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again (1 Pet. i. 3.) I omit other passages. From these it appears, that God gives or denies to men those means, by which union with Christ and salvation are immediately connected, according to the good pleasure of his will, not according to the difference of the human will. This all the orthodox Fathers have stoutly defended against the Pelagians. Ambrose, on Luke vii. 9, says, God calls whom he thinks fit, and makes religious whom he will. Augustine observes, (Epist. 107) We know that grace is not given to all men, nor according to the merits of their will to whom it is given. In the same Epistle he teaches further, That those to whom this grace is not given, differ for the most part by no merit, no will from others, but are in a similar case with those to whom it is given. As in natural birth the formation by Divine power precedes all will of man to be born; so in spiritual birth, in which we begin to put off the old man, no man can have a good will of his own motion; as Fulgentius observes (lib. de Incarn. & Grat. cap. 19,) and again, (cap. 21) If God by his grace should not give to man, man could never be willing to believe in God, because grace does not find this will, but produces it in man. It is clear, therefore, that God does not give those internal means promiscuously to all men, by which they may apply to themselves the death of Christ. Nor can our opponents here pretend, that this Divine giving and not giving of faith derives its origin from the
resistance or non-resistance of the human will, since the Scriptures expressly refer this to the good pleasure of God in being willing or not willing to shew compassion; and the Fathers in express words exclude the disparity of the wills of men before grace received.
Hitherto we have disputed about immediate means, let us now descend to the external means, whereby these are conferred. The death and merit of Christ had its efficacy in the acceptation of God from the origin of the world; yet, under the Old Testament, God did not gravt to all men every where the external means of its application, but, as the Psalmist says, He sheweth his word unto Jacob, &c. He hath not dealt so with any nation (Ps. cxlvii. 19, 20.) And of the same sentiment is St. Paul, (Acts xiv. 16) God in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Prosper has noticed the same thing (De lib. arbitr. p. 225.) He says, It is not removed from common observation, what countless numbers of mankind in so many ages have died, sunk in their errors and impielies, without any knowledge of the true God. And looking to the times of the New Testament, he says, (De vocat. Gent. ii, 17) There are also now, in the extreme parts of the world, some nations upon whom the grace of the Saviour hath not shone. From which things it follows, that, even the death of Christ being admitted, God is nevertheless not bound, by reason of his goodness or justice, to provide and offer to all men individually the means whereby they may apply Christ to themselves. For with respect to God the argument well follows from fact to right both affirmatively and negatively, God does this, therefore he does justly ; God does not do this, therefore he is not bound by any right that he should do it.
OBJECTION 1. Some persons meet this argument by~ The reason why the Gospel is not preached every where arises not so much from this, that those who should preach it are not sent by God, as because those who are sent refuse to go. This is the opinion of Corvinus (contra Tilenum, p. 105.)
Reply. But if God, by reason of his goodness and justice, as it were from some kind of congruity, the death of Christ being supposed, were bound to communicate to VOL. II.