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mere good pleasure, and effectual calling to grace and glory, depend in such a manner on the Divine will, that it does not separate this Divine will from the foreseen acts of the human will. For he who does this, falls into the error of the Semipelagians.
cThe second member of the sentence is involved and perplexed with so many ambiguous forms of speaking, that it is difficult to determine its truth or falsehood, without first dividing it into portions.
Christ died for all men individually, with some general
Christ is rightly said to have died for all men, inasmuch as on his death is founded a covenant of salvation, applicable to all men while they are in this world. Nor can he be improperly said to have died for each individually, inasmuch as his death may profit each for salvation, according to the tenor of the new covenant, none being excluded. On the other hand, it cannot profit any individual, contrary to the tenor of that covenant, although he should be of the elect. If Cain or Judas had believed and repented, he would be saved through the benefit and merit of the death of Christ. If David or Peter had not believed, nor repented, he would not be saved. In this sense the death of Christ may be understood to be set equally before all men individually.
What is added in the last place, concerning the general · intention of God, by which he wills that all men indivi
dually should be saved through the death of his Son, needs explanation. It must be observed, therefore, that according to the custom of the Scriptures, the Divine will or intention sometimes denotes merely the appointment of means to an end, although there is no determinate will in God of producing that end by those means. And the Schoolmen refer this intention or will of God to the common order of Providence. In this sense he willed and in-' tended the obedience and salvation of the angels who apostatised, inasmuch as he furnished them with gifts, fit in. themselves and suitable, to perform obedience and obtain salvation. And in this sense God, with a general intention, wills life to all men, inasmuch as he willed the death of Christ to be the fountain and cause of life to all men individually, according to the tenor of the evangelical covenant. But we must observe, that the Scriptures mention another will or intention of God, and that properly so called, which never fails in producing the good intended, and which the Schoolmen refer to the order of special predestination. Of this intention or will of God, Augustine rightly says from the Psalmist, (Ench. cap. 97) In heaven and in earth there are some things which God did not both will and perform; there are some things which he willed and did not perform, though he hath done all things whatsoever he would. And Aquinas, (1. qu. 10, art. 6.) Whatever God simply wills, he performs. If, therefore, by this general intention of God to procure the salvation of all men by the death of Christ, they wish to exclude the special will, and special and effectual operation of God in effecting the salvation of the elect; or if they would infer from thence, That the benefit of the death of Christ, that is, the grace of God and eternal salvation of men (as far as relates to God) is intended for all men individually with the same kind of will, and is applied by the same mode of operation, really and actually to be had and obtained by each individual, according as he makes a good use of his own free-will; they bring forward Semipelagianism. But if by this general intention they mean nothing more than a general aptitude and sufficiency in the death of Christ to effect the salvation of all men individually in the mode of an universal cause, or a general appointment of God concerning the salvation of all men individually, who, through the grace of God, duly apply to themselves this universal cause; then there is no need to reject this form of speaking VOL. II.
PART II. dThat God, by his universal grace founded in the death of
Christ, which was sufficient in itself, and by a suitable invitation and calling to repentance, although in different ways, grants to all men individually, that they may be saved if they will.
The term universal grace does not sound well with the Orthodox; for those gifts which are bestowed upon all men individually (although they are given to the unworthy and the undeserving) are not referred to that which is called the grace of Christ, but to the common philanthropy of God. From whence the opinion, That the grace of God is universal, or is given to all individually, seemed to be erroneous to Augustine, Prosper, Fulgentius, and the other adversaries of the Pelagians. If, therefore, this Author means by universal grace, That the grace of Christ is given and actually communicated to every individual of the human race, I do not see by what means this form of speech can be defended. For the saving grace of Christ (if we believe the Apostles) is communicated to individuals by the preaching of the Gospel. (Mark xvi. 15, 16; Rom. i. 16; 1 Cor. i. 18, 21.) From whence Prosper says, They live without grace, and are not partakers of Christian grace, to whom Christ was never preached. The Apostle affirms the same thing of the Ephesians, before Christ was preached to them. (Eph. ii. 12.) But if by universal grace, he means nothing more than an universal capacity of salvation in all persons living in this world, or an universal propensity in God to save every man, if he should believe in Christ, he ought to correct his language, lest by unusual, and a less sound form of words, he should give offence to the Orthodox. Further, this universal grace of some kind being admitted, that which he adds, That God, through this universal grace, by an invitation suitable and sufficient in itself, calls all men 10 repentance, is refuted by the experience of time, and the contrary event of things. For if he speaks of repentance, which remission of sins and eternal life follows, that invitation or calling is not apt or sufficient in itself for such repentance, which does not send the penitent to Christ. But that which sends the penitent to the death of Christ for the expiation of the sins of men, is altogether unknown out of the Church, where the Gospel of Christ is not known. Therefore an invitation and calling apt and sufficient for saving repentance is not given to all men. Moreover, neither ought this opinion to be approved, That God by his universal grace grants to all men individually that they may be saved if they will. For first, it is foolish to assert, That infants, who are born the children of wrath, and die out of the Church, can be saved if they will; since they have not the use of reason or free-will. By the same rule it might be said, That they could walk, and join themselves to any Christian church, if they would. But I ask, as to adults, what is this, That every individual of them can be saved, if they will ? Are they not willing to be saved? Without doubt they are. For to be saved, is nothing else but to be happy, which all men individually desire. But perhaps these words are to be understood, If they are willing to believe in Christ, they may be saved. I do not dispute, that all men individually may be saved, who are rightly willing to believe in Christ; but I also assert, that every individual who thus believes cannot be damned. Yet I add, that universal grace is not proved by a power of obtaining salvation, conceived by those who are in a state not yet purified, nor ever to be purified. It is therefore evident, that the condition, If they are willing to believe in Christ, cannot be fulfilled by many, unless God wills to send to them preachers of the Gospel. (Rom. x. 14, 15.) For as no one can see a visible object when it is absent, so when a credible object is absent, no one can exercise the act of believing. There are, therefore, multitudes who cannot be saved, because they cannot believe in Christ. They cannot believe in Christ for obtaining remission of sins, because the act of
believing pre-supposes the object having been proposed to the sinner, in which he may believe, as may be collected from Romans iii. 25, 26.
: PART 111.
e It is through men themselves alone, and the hardness of
their hearts, that they are not saved.
It is true, that the corruption and hardness of the human heart is the real and positive cause which drives the wicked from salvation, and thrusts them into perdition. It is moreover certain, that God neither will nor can work in those to whom he deigns to grant the means of grace, a contempt or abuse of these means. For as the sun cannot cause darkness, or cold in the air; so God cannot cause malice and wickedness in the human heart. This, however great it is in repelling the means of grace, is wholly to be imputed to man alone; in no way to God. But it ought to be added, in the last place, that there is no hardness in the human will so obstinate, that God cannot soften it if he will, and which he will not at length soften in all the elect, by that special mercy of which the Apostle speaks, He hath mercy on whom he will,
I think, therefore, that the opinion of Cameron was here badly expressed.
f I know that the opinion of the English Divines given at the Synod of Dort, neither establishes universal grace, nor acknowledges that apt and sufficient means of salvation are granted to all men individually upon whom the Gospel hath not shone.
s Lastly. I think that no Divine of the Reformed Church of sound judgment, will deny a general intention or appointment concerning the salvation of all men individually by the death of Christ, on this condition- If