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gift of God, does not change, either does not understand the commands of God, or despises them when understood, &c. Again, No man can desire, or ask for, or even know this grace, unless he should first receive it from God. What is more plain, if Fulgentius be believed, than that quickening grace is not given by God to all men, and that it cannot be possessed by any one to whom it is not given from above ? If plainer words are wanted, I add (from the book de Incarnat. & Grat. Jesu Christi, p. 89) God who prepares the will, himself also gives it. If God should not give it to man by his grace, man can never be willing to believe in God, because grace does not find this will, but works it in man. You see that the opinion of those Fathers who opposed the Pelagians and Semipelagians, is in agreement; That quickening and saving grace is not given to all men, and that a vitiated will can indeed, from its own depravity, loathe the grace which is not given to it, and repel it when it is offered in the external means, but it cannot lay hold of and take to itself this quickening grace by the strength of its own innate liberty.
But since the very marrow of Pelagianism consists in the way in which they pretend that quickening grace is administered to men by God, and is accepted by men, let us shew what the adherents to the Pelagian faction, and what the orthodox Fathers, state on this subject, by bringing forward the testimonies on both sides.
With respect to the Pelagians. They maintain that quickening and regenerating grace so flows to all men from the death and merit of Christ, through the mercy of God, that to be quickened and regenerated, or not to be quickened and regencrated, depends primarily on the will of man em. bracing or despising grace. To this then their opinion amounts, That saving grace is offered to all men, in Christ, of the pure mercy of God, but is given to no one of his absolute good pleasure. But if it should be particularly inquired, Why is the saving grace of Christ given to one, and not given to others? they answer, Because one is willing to receive it when it is offered, the other is unwilling. But let them speak for themselves. Vitalis of Car
thage* (apud Augustinum, Epist. 107) contends, that grace follows the will of man, and is given to men because they are willing to receive it. The remnants of the Pelagian heresy, the Massilians,t say, (apud Prosperum in Epist. ad Augustin.) As far as it pertains to God, eternal life is prepared for all; but as far as it relates to the freedom of the will, it is apprehended by those who of their own accord believe in God, and receive the help of grace through the merit of their believing. Pelagius himself says, (apud Augustin. de Grat. Christi. contra P. & C. lib. I, cap. 31, p. 781) That men who make a good use of their free-will deserve the grace of God, but others having a free-will, by which they may come to faith, and merit the grace of God, through making a bad use of their freedom, are destitute of grace and incur danınation. Faustus of Rheis says, It is of the goodness of God, that man is called, it is of his own will that he readily obeys.
But let us turn from the antient Pelagians and Semipelagians, to those who abominate the name of Pelagians, but are not averse from their error. In this class I place those Papists who teach that grace is efficacious through the consent of the human will; so that if it should happen that the will assented, then God would grant quickening grace, but if it should resist, then the operation of God, who is willing to quicken and regenerate the soul, is rendered vain. Among these also I think Arn:inius and his disciples are to be numbered, who suspend the giving or denying of saving grace upon the will of man, so that they say, That God does not will the conversion and regeneration of any one of his absolute good pleasure, but that he wills the conversion and regeneration of all on this condition, viz. if they should not resist his exciting grace,
• Vitalis was a Spaniard contemporary with Augustine, and considered as the founder of the Semipelagians. Before he fell into the errors here attributed to him, he had been bewildered on other grounds, and wrote his Diocesan, Capreolus Bishop of Carthage, lo know if he might say, that God is born of a Virgin.-Vide Du Pin, Vol. II. Cent. 5, p. 49.
+ These were Presbyters of Marseilles originally called Massalia. Pe. lagianism having lost its first ground, these men took refuge in the more specious notions of Vitalis.-Vide Milner, Vol. II. p. 388.
but he leaves them unconverted, if they do resist it. Thus the Remonstrants speak, (Acta Synod. p. 21, Explic. 3, & 4 art.) If the reason be inquired why one is converted and not another, it is unswered, One is converted because God converts him, since he does not oppose new contumacy; the other is not converted, because he opposes a new contumacy. In which they state the reason of the gift and denial of Divine and saving grace to arise from the different acts of the human will, but a deep silence is always observed by them on the subject of God removing, of his special mercy, the stony and rebellious heart, or his not removing it, according to the liberty of his own will. Thus also Corvinus does not ascribe it to the difference of Divine, but of human will, that we have or have not that grace by which we are converted and saved. (Contra Bogerman, p. 263.) It is certain, the conversion of no one in particular is intended by God. A little after, Granting all the operations which God makes use of to effect conversion in us, still conversion remains so much in our power that we cannot be converted. Such is their opinion.
But very different is that of the holy and orthodox Fathers. They taught that the grace which quickens, regenerates, and converts the soul, was not given or denied according to the assent or dissent of free-will, but according to the gratuitous and absolute will of God, as he is willing or uuwilling to take away the innate hardness of the human heart. Let us produce Augustine in the first place, who, always admitting the accomplishment of the work of human redemption on the cross, contends that some have grace because God of his special mercy hath wrought in them that they should receive it; and that others have it not, because God did not choose to soften their rebellious hardness by having compassion upon them. What he has stated is very plain, (Retract. lib. 1, cap. 10) What I have said, that all men are able to turn themselves to fulfil the commands of God, if they are willing, let not the Pelagians think that is spoken according to their opinion. For it is altogether true that all men can do this if They will; but the will is prepared by the Lord, and is so much
increased by the gift of love, that they are able to do it. From which words it appears, that the conversion of the human will to God does not depend on this condition, if it is willing to obey of its own excitement; but that the will and the power depend on the preparation of God, and the gift of love. Again, Augustine says, (Epist. 107) How is it said, that all men would receive grace, if those to whom it is not given did not refuse it of their own will, when it is not given to many infants, who have not a contrary will? And shortly after, How are the merits of the human will weighed in this matter, since those to whom that grace is not given are in a similar condition wilh those to whom it is given, and yet by the just judgment of God it is not given to them? But let us hear the sentiments of others. Prosper says, Who disputes that free-will becomes obedient to the exhortation of him that calls, when the grace of God hath begotten in it the desire of believing and obeying ? The grace of God is not therefore given to the will on condition of obedience, but having been given, it produces obedience. Agiin (De vocat. Gent. lib. I, cap. 18, The will of God is the cause of receiving grace in all men of every condition and age; with him the reason of election is concealed ; from that grace desert arises, but it is received without merit. This testimony is to be observed, because although this author, whoever he was, contends that the help is not totally taken away from any men, yet he does not think that it is so offered to all, that the difference why one receives it and another does not, is referred to this, that one is willing to receive it, the other to resist it; but he refers the cause of the reception of grace to the secret election of God, and consequently also the cause of its not being received, as far as it is a mere denial, to the secret non-election of God. But if it should be considered as a moral omission on the part of men who resist grace, then it is to be referred to the corruption of mankind. But to proceed. Fulgentius every where refutes this error of the Pelagians, who think that saving grace is procured for and offered to all men in Christ the Redeemer, as it were on this condition, that some should have it, because they were willing to receive it, others should be destitute of it, because they chose to repel it. But he teaches that a good will was given to some, and that it could not but be repelled by all to whom it is not given. We produced some of his testimonies before, we will now subjoin some others. (Lib. I, de ver. Prædest. p. 158,) Not indeed because we will, do we receive grace, but neither is grace given to us whilst we are willing. A little after, p. 159, Grace alone prodaces a gond will in us, it alone gives faith to the will. The will, which has not faith, cannot have any merit of faith to be received, because not to have faith is to displease God. Again, (lib. 2, not far from the beginning, p. 160) It is the part of God to give his grace to what men he will, and as much as he will. He does not give it as due to the wills or works of men, but being merciful and kind, he gratuitously pour's it into the hearts of those whom he has enlightened. And therefore he freely grants it to whom he will, and as much as he will, because he is not invited by any beginning of good will, nor by the effect of any good work, before he bestows grace. These things are a death-blow to Pelagian and also to Arminian sentiments, which state that quickening and saving grace (of which Fulgentius speaks) are prepared or given to no one according to the purpose of the election of God, but are contingently given or denied to some according to the different condition of the human will obeying or opposing it: which theology displeased even the sounder Papists. A few testimonies of whom we shall add by way of overweight.
Dominicus Bannes (in 1, Aquin. qu. 32, conclus. ult. p. 278) says, God determined from eternity, by a will either ab solute or consequent, not to give to all men supernatural assistance. But if any one should inquire why he rather confers these gifts on some persons in particular, but denies them to others, this depends on the simple will of God, neither is any reason of it to be sought, as Augustine and Thomas teach us. A little after, Therefore let the Christian and humble divine learn with Thomas and Augustine to be ignorant, rather than with the curious to be wise more than he ought, lest he should fall into the Pelagian heresy, by referring a difference of this kind to free-will, as its first and radical cause, namely, Because