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its own natural endowments, as that from thence God, according to his ordinary law, dictated to himself of his own goodness, may be bound to give spiritual grace to a natural man. But this is contrary to the Apostle, who says, (Rom. xi. 6) grace is no more grace, if it be of works. For, as Fulgentius says, (De Incarn. & Grat. Christi, cap. 18) We should not then receive it from the compassion of the Giver, but from the equity of retribution. Secondly, It would fol. low also, that the reason of predestination and preterition is to be assigned to the different qualities or actions of men, which all the orthodox oppose; since the reason of predestination, which is a preparation of grace, cannot be different from the reason of grace, which is the bringing of it into act. He, therefore, who teaches that the reason of grace being given or not given, is to be sought from human dispositions or operations, necessarily seeks for the same reason of predestination and preterition. Thirdly, It would follow, that God would oppose a law made by himself, when he, as it were, forces grace upon those who place an obstacle to his grace, which the Apostle Paul most humbly confesses that he had done; and yet God mercifully called him to the knowledge and grace of Christ, when he was committing a flagrant sin and rushing against Christ. On which Fulgentius excellently observes (De Incarn. & Grat. cap. 18,) In what the mercy of God prevents us, or preventing what things it finds in us, the Teacher of the Gentiles shews us, not in any other, but in himself, saying, WHO WAS BEFORE a blasphemer, &c. Here he intimates, indeed, that all men are refractory until preventing grace subdues them. Fourthly, If it be admitted, that this giving or denying of grace, is according as human wills place an obstacle in the way or not, almost all the definitions in the Councils against the Pelagians will be set aside, such as, first, the decree against Pelagius in the Diospolitan Council,* It is confessed, that grace is not given
* This Council was convened in the year 418, by two Bishops of Gaul, Heros and Lazarus, who joined with Orosius, a Spanish Priest of that period, and drew up a Petition embodying the errors wherewith they charged Pelagius, as contained in his books, and taught by Cælestinus his disciple.
of merit, in order that it may be true grace, that is, given freely through his mercy, who hath said, I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY. For that grace should be given or not given, according to the use made of natural endowments, as it may be rightly or not, or (as others say) according as a man does or does not what he can, is the same with the Fathers, as to be given of merit, and denied of demerit. Further, neither will the decree of the African fathers in their Synodical epistle* stand good. Grace itself is in no way acknowledged, unless it be given, and as long as it is not in man, so long he necessarily opposes it in word or in work. How can it be understood, that the grace of the Gospel is to be given to heathens who are in the state of corrupt nature, as it were, on this condition, if they oppose no obstacle to grace, since so long as they are destitute of grace, they necessarily resist it, by the necessity indeed of a depraved disposition and habit. Lastly, they oppose the decrees of the Council of Orange (Canon 4) If any one contends that God waits for our will, in order to cleanse us from sin ; and does not confess, that even if we are willing to be cleansed, this desire is wrought in us by the operation and influence of the Holy Spirit, he opposes the Apostle. And Canon 6, If any one subjoins the help of grace to the humility and obedience of man, &c. he opposes the Apostle. I omit others. Let them explain to us, how God cannot be said to wait for the will of man, and to subjoin the help of supernatural grace to the obedience of the law of nature written in the hearts of men, if, the death of Christ being granted, according to his common mode of acting, God gives grace to all, if they make a right use of their natural endowments, and does not give it, if they do not make a
This accusation was preferred to a synod of fourteen Bishops, held at Dios. polis, antiently called Lydda, a city of Palestine. Eulogius of Cæsaria was President, and John of Jerusalem held the second place. Pelagius appeared and disowned the errors attributed to him. Augustine has recorded the acts of this Council in the Book of Pelagius's acts, and has also given an abridgment of them in his 106th Letter. Vide Du Pin and Milner.
• This refers to a Council held about the same period and on the same occasion as above described.
right use of them. Since, therefore, all these things are far from the truth, it remains that we should say that God, notwithstanding the merit of the death of Christ, may and does give or deny the grace of applying this merit to individuals, according to the good pleasure and freedom of his own will, and not according to the merits or various operations of the wills of mankind.
ARGUMENT 5. Our opinion is confirmed by the useful ends which it serves to illustrate, and which are altogether abrogated by the contrary opinion. For example, If God, the death of Christ being admitted, be assumed nevertheless to distribute the grace by which it may be applied, or not to distribute to men, according to his own good pleasure, and not according to any disparity of human wills or actions, from thence will appear,—First, the absolute liberty of God in the first conferring of grace; which Divine attribute in this thing is to be acknowledged by all. I will give unto this mun, even as unto thee, (Matt. xx. 14) is the voice of God asserting for himself his own liberty, even when the merits of men are unequal. But also, I will give lo this man and not to thee is a word equally worthy of God, where all things on the part of men are acknowledged to be equal, and it equally goes to illustrate the supreme liberty of God, as St. Paul proves, Rom. ix. For although God were willing to be bound by the virtue and efficacy of the death of Christ, to give remission of sins to those who believe, and to give glory to those who are regenerate and ingrafted into Christ, yet he hath not willed that he should be obliged to give the Gospel to such and such nations or individuals, or to give faith and efficacious grace in consequence of considering any of their actions or dispositions in the state of corrupt nature, without Christ. They, therefore, go to diminish the Divine liberty which God hath reserved to himself, who teach that grace is communicated or denied to men according to their good or bad use of nature; which is the same as if they should say, That grace is prevented by nature.
Secondly, According to our opinion, that which the Scriptures urge so much, becomes conspicuous, viz. the gratuitous and special mercy of God in giving to some men both the light of the Gospel and saving grace. On which Prosper appositely remarks (De vocat. Gent. lib. 2, cap. 31.) There is some part of the human race, which is led by special benefits to eternal salvation. They altogether take away this special mercy, who think that by the death of Christ it was effected that God should offer the means of saving grace to all, but should leave to the special freewill of individuals whether they would obey or resist offered grace; so that if they oppose no obstacle, grace should be given them, but if they do, they should be deprived of grace. For according to the opinion of these persons, God did not shew any special mercy to Jacob or Peter, which he did not shew to Esau or Judas; but Jacob and Peter applied to themselves, by some special operation, what Esau and Judas neglected to apply. This Faustus of Rheis taught openly, (De lib. arbitr. lib. I, cap. 10) who denied the special dispensation of God concerning the salvation of certain men; which he learnt from Pelagius, as may be seen from Prosper, (Carm. de Ingratis. cap. 10.) But Augustine thought otherwise (De bono persever. cap. 12,) The Lord gives to whom he will because he is merciful; and does not give to whom he will not, that he may make known the riches of his glory in the vessels of mercy.
Thirdly, According to our opinion it follows, that all occasion of glorying is taken away from men, and the glory of human salvation is wholly attributed to God, who distinguishes one man from another, according to the saying of the Apostle, (1 Cor. iv.7) Who maketh thee to differ? What hast thou that thou didst not receive ? From whom, says Augustine, but from him who muketh thee to differ from ano. ther, to whom he hath not given what he hath given to thee? (De præd. Sanct. cap. 9.) But if the opinion of those should be adopted, who think that by the death of Christ God is made equally benevolent towards all men, and contend that from this equal inclination towards all men, he so administers his grace, that whosoever makes a good use of the light of nature, or does what he can of himself, attracts this grace to himself, and he who makes a bad use
of the same light, or does not do what he can of himself, does not obtain it; he who thus becomes a partaker of grace, has just ground of glorying in himself, because, hy his own free-will, he made himself to differ from another, from whom he was not made to differ by any special gift of Divine mercy.
ARGUMENT 6. If, the death of Christ being supposed, according to the decree of God, the gift or denial of grace to individuals proceeds not from the absolute freedom of God, but from the difference of human wills and actions, then it is easy for any one to give an account why the Gospel was denied to one nation, why it was granted to another, and why faith, and quickening and regenerating grace is given to some individuals and not to others. For on the part of those that have it, it is answered, That the light of the Gospel was given to them, because they made a good or not a bad use of the light of nature. On the part of those that have it not, it is answered, that they remain destitute of the light of the Gospel, because they have not made a good use of the light of nature. And so among Christians, if it should be inquired, why one man has faith and regenerating grace, and another has it not? on the part of those who have it, it is answered, Because they were willing to believe, and were unwilling to put any obstacle in the way; and on the part of those who have it not, Because they would not believe, and would not remove the obstacle to grace. At the same time, there is not one word about the special call, according to his own purpose, wherewith God powerfully inclines the hearts of those to believe whom specially he is willing to pity. I now add, that it is the Pelagians who give so obvious a reason why grace is obtained or not on the part of men, and that it is condemned by all the orthodox; who always limit the gift or denial of efficacious grace to the secret purpose of the good pleasure of God; nor do they think that, the death of Christ being admitted, God is so bound to administer his own grace promiscuously, that to have it or not to have it, depends on the difference of human wills. We do not deny the demerit, unworthiness, and voluntary