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all sufficient means of application, he would not suffer any one through carelessness to defraud another of a benefit due to him, especially of such an one as that, without which no salvation is to be hoped for. Moreover, it implies a contradiction, that God, by his ordinary law should provide and administer to all men the means relative to the application of Christ, and not administer them to some, because of the carelessness of the preachers. As if the care of the preachers were not to be numbered among these means without which the knowledge and application of Christ preached cannot be obtained, Further, If the goodness and justice of God should require this, that these means of applying Christ should be administered to all, without doubt he would kindle, at least in some of the preachers, a mind and care of preaching and offering the Gospel to some individuals in a nation. For it is he who knows how to send forth labourers into his harvest, according to his good pleasure. And lastly, what carelessness of preachers was the cause that the Gospel was not preached by any one to the Americans two hundred years ago, when nobody ever dreamt that there were such nations in existence? We must, therefore, refer it to a higher cause, namely, the free good pleasure of God in granting or denying these means. He by his special providence directs them to be administered by his servants, as may be seen Acts xvi. 6, 7, They were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia ; after they were come to Mysia, they essayed to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not.
Objection 2. Secondly, they answer, That those who have been long destitute of the grace of the Gospel, have refused it by their ancestors, and thus their posterity are deservedly deprived of the preaching of the Gospel, because their ancestors despised it. We are not therefore to refer it to the absolute will of God, that the saving light of the Gospel does not shine upon some nations. (Corvin. p. 108, and Voss. p. 671).
Reply. But neither do these things well consist with their opinions. For if God, respect being had to the death of Christ, had determined to administer to all men
sufficiently the means of salvation, it would seem not to be equitable, that on account of the preaching of the word, which was despised by their ancestors in the time of Noah, he should deny it to their posterity after some thousands of years. For if notwithstanding the sin of Adam, it was obtained by the death of Christ (according to their opinion) that sufficient means of salvation should be administered to all, it would be unreasonable and unjust to break this, as it were, ordinary law, on pretence of sins committed by some others who were our ancestors. As, therefore, on account of the sin of Adam, God may justly deny to his posterity every spiritual benefit, so we admit that from the sins of the ancestors of others, God may also take occasion to deny to us any gratuitous benefit. But if by the death of Christ and the concurring goodness of God, a law is established concerning the administration of the means of grace, now, as if on account of the sin of Adam, who was the federal head of all his posterity, God will not abrogate this his decree ; so much less consistent is it, that on account of the sins of others, who do not sustain this common relationship to the human race, their posterity should be deprived of this benefit. In vain, therefore, do they resort to the sins of their ancestors, in order to give a reason for the denial of this thing, who profess, that by virtue of the death of Christ and the goodness of God, it was prepared for all men individually by the Divine decree, and as it were due to them by an established law.
OBJECTION 3. Thirdly, they answer, That the grace of the Gospel is denied to some, because by continued transgression against the law they have shewn themselves to be unworthy of having Divine grace offered to them.
Reply. But this answer will make the truth of our opinion more evident. For, in the first place, I assume', what no man in his senses will deny, that every man in the state of corrupt nature, if his sins were marked, has shewn himself to be unworthy of the grace of the Gospel. And I also add, That the worthiness and unworthiness of men, or their greater and less unworthiness, is not the rule acVOL. II.
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cording to which God proceeds in dispensing or denying the Gospel either to individuals or to nations. Which things being granted, it will follow, that unworthiness is always found in those to whom the Gospel is denied; but it is in those also to whom it is granted. Therefore this unworthiness will have the nature of a circumstance which always accompanies the persons to whom the Gospel is given or not given ; but it will not be a cause of discrimination why the Gospel is given to one and not given to another. Therefore in this matter we must come to the good pleasure of the Divine will alone, who, as it pleases him, grants his aid both to those who do and to those who do not what they can, as Alvarez says (De Auxil. disp. 58.) But since this answer, which teaches that the grace of the Gospel is repelled by the unworthiness of men, seems tacitly to hint that it may be procured ly some degree of worthiness in them, let us hear what the orthodox Fathers have taught against the Pelagians in this matter. Augustine (Epist. 107, p. 500) shews that the saving grace of Christ is not granted nor denied to men according to this rule of greater or less unworthiness. His words have been before quoted. Prosper very often inculcates this (De vocat. Gent. lib. 1, cap. 15), Part of men are delivered, while another part perish; but if we would ascribe this to the merits of their wills, that it might appear that the wicked had neglected grace and the good had chosen it, the case of people innumerable will oppose us, who throughout so many ages have not been enlightened by the preaching of the heavenly doctrine. Nor can we say, that their posterity were any better, upon whom the light has arisen, &c. Again (in Carmine de Ingratis, cap. 12,) Prosper shews that this was the very sentiment of the Pelagians, namely, that God of his own goodness was willing to call all men to grace, but that the will of some, their first light having been extinguished by their vices, had made itself unworthy of a second. But he contends, that on the contrary, examples may be produced (cap. 14) which shew that the hearts of the wicked, in whom nothing good had ever dwell, and who had no sign or sense of righteousness, were converted by the power of God. The sum of the argument
comes to this, That the grace of the Gospel is not given to men because they are judged worthy of it, since no man is found worthy of so great a gift ; nor is it denied to men because they are more unworthy than others, since this light has been granted to the worst, while at the same time it has been denied to those who were less depraved. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the secret good pleasure of God, who, that his mercy may shine more conspicuously, does not regularly grant the light of the Gospel to those who have made a good or a less bad use of the light of nature, but on the contrary, calls to himself the slothful and the negligent, and unworthy and ungrateful sinners. And hence it appears, that God always remains free and that it is in no way inconsistent with his goodness to give or not to give to any men the Gospel, and other means necessary for the application of the merits of Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, no account being taken of man's worthiness or unworthiness, or his greater or less unworthiness.
ARGUMENT 4. The same may be proved by the manifest inconsistencies by which the contrary opinion is maintained. For if by the death of Christ it has been universally obtained that God should be bound by a fixed decree or by some law of congruity as much as possible, to grant to all men individually the grace of the preaching of the Gospel, and of internal sanctification, then it would follow, that the primary reason why one is actually made partaker of both these gifts, and another is not, consists in this, that the one by opposing an obstacle repels this grace, or altogether prevents it from being offered to him, the other neither repels it nor hinders it. Our adversaries do not avoid this consequence. For they do not restrain the difference of the call of the Gospel and saving grace being denied or granted, to the mere will of God, but to various conditions or dispositions considered on the part of men. Thus Corvinus* says, (contra Tilen. p. 489) Al
• John Arnold Corvinus was not more distinguished as a lawyer than as a theologian. During the theological disputes which raged in Holland in though the word of the cross is not preached every where, yet God is ready to announce it to all those who duly submit themselves to the ministry of the law, that is, who follow the light of the law of nature, which flourishes even in the hearts of heathens. And discoursing of natural gifts (p. 118) he says, That God has left these gifts to the Gentiles, that if, according to the intention of God, they should use those gifts to glorify God, according to the measure of their knowledge, they should be led to Christ and the knowledge of himself ; but on the contrary, should be left in their ignorance, if they should hold the truth which they had in unrighteousness. Here he openly suspends the call of the Gospel on the use or abuse of natural gifts. The same Corvinus contends that internal
law, that the difference, why one man is actually made a partaker of this grace and another is not, is restrained to the difference of human wills, and not to the good pleasure of God. Yea, he says, That it is certain that the conversion of no individual in particular is intended by God (contra Boger. p. 263.) But although these things may be pleasing to human reason, they are contrary to the word of God, and may be overturned by manifest inconveniences. For if we admit, either that the external call of the Gospel, or that internal and effectual infusion of regenerating grace are given and denied according to the various dispositions and operations of men ; it will follow, in the first place, That free-will in a corrupt state, not illuminated with the light of the Gospel, can make such good use of
the former part of the 17th Century, he espoused the side of the Remonstrants or Arminians, among whom he laboured as a minister. Disgusted with the persecutions to which he was exposed, he was obliged in 1622 to retire into the Duchy of Sleswig, whence he proceeded into France. He was admitted Doctor of Law at Orleans, and afterwards practised as an advocate at Amsterdam, where he was appointed professor of Law. Besides various excellent works on the civil law, some of which are deservedly es. teemed to this day, he wrote several theological pieces, the most distin. guished of which is his Defensio Sententiæ Jac. Arminii de prædestinatione, gratiâ Dei, libero hominis arbitrio, &c. adversum Danielem Tilenum. Lugduni, 1613, 8vo. He is said to have converted his adversary. Corvinus died in 1650. (Biographie Universelle, toin. X. p. 27.)