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De Moor VII:11: God's Independence in Predestination Defended, Part 2

Among the Adversaries of the more recent age, following in the footsteps of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, the Papists at the Council of Trent separated into parties, with some asserting with Augustine the gratuitous Election of God, but others with the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians suspending it upon the foreseen Merits of men and their good use of free Will: see PETRUS SUAVIS POLANUS’ Historiam Concilii Tridentini,[1]book II, pages 239-246, 262, 263. Which contention was continued and sharply agitated thereafter between the Franciscans and Dominicans (whom in this matter Pope Benedict XIII commends in the Brief dated 1724: see the words in PHILIPPE VLAMING’S[2] Epistolam XII contra David Pierman, § 8, tome 1, page 335), and between the Jesuits and Jansenists, with the latter contending for a gratuitous Predestination of God, the former for the Foresight of Works, which opinion is more common among the Papists. Although the Jesuits themselves are at variance among themselves on this point; while some maintain that men are freely chosen to the first Grace indeed; but not freely to Glory, but because of future Merits foreseen: others, on the other hand, insist that men are chosen altogether freely, not only to Grace, but also to Glory, like BELLARMINE, who pursues this argument diffusely and very closely to our mind, Controversiis, tome 4, book II, de Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, chapters IX-XI and following to chapter XV inclusively, where he asserts, chapter IX, column 603: “We say that no reason for divine Predestination is able to be assigned on our part, so that we might exclude, not only Merits properly so called, etc.: but even if it be not said to be Merit except of Congruity,[3] and even if it be not called a true cause, but only a condition without which he that is predestinated would not have be predestinated.” This opinion, says he, ought to be called, chapter XI at the end, column 612, “not the opinion of whatever Doctors, but the faith of the Catholic Church.” In chapter X, columns 606, 607, he has: “Therefore, Scripture teaches that some are chosen of every race of men, and those are chosen to the kingdom of heaven, and chosen efficaciously, so that they infallibly arrive at the kingdom, and finally chosen altogether gratuitously, and before all Foresight of Works…. Finally, that they are chosen, not only freely, but even without any Foresight of Works, the same Apostle teaches in Romans 9:11-13; 11:5, 6; 2 Timothy 1:9.” He adds in chapter XV, column 630: “It is shown that men are freely chosen, not only to efficacious Grace, but also to Glory.” But in chapter XVI, column 635, he affirms that the Cause of the Reprobation of the impious is to be referred partly to the will of God alone, partly to foreseen sins. But he relates those things again elsewhere concerning Free Will, sufficient Grace, the uncertainty of Salvation, and the Merits of Works, which things are ἀσύστατα, not cohesive, with that doctrine. Meanwhile, MARESIUS, in his in Sylloge Disputationum, part II, pages 324-343, gives a Disputationem Theologicam, wherein the orthodox opinion of Bellarmine concerning the purely gratuitous Predestination of men to life is asserted and vindicated, against the artifices and raillery of Becanus and the other Jesuits.

With the Papists, urging Foreseen Works, the Socinians join themselves to a certain extent, although these, according to our AUTHOR, hold neither true Foresight, nor true Faith. More specifically, these maintain that Predestination is only a general and indefinite Decree, concerning the salvation of all believing in Christ and persevering, but the indefinite damnation of those not believing and not persevering, with the object vague and undetermined: or that, if it concern also certain persons, that Decree is then plainly conditioned à priori, resting upon the faith and good works that the men will render; and that the same is mutable, not peremptory, except after the actual perseverance of the man in faith and good works. In which manner they do not hold true Foresight, because all that Foreknowledge of God concerning the Salvation or Damnation of a man is conjectural and uncertain until the man’s death, depending upon the Free Will of the man, which he himself is obliged to determine. Neither do they hold true Faith, althought they speak of Faith foreseen, because they overthrow its nature, explaining Faith as obedience to Evangelical commandments, conjoined with confidence of reward to be bestowed on those perseveringly yielding obedience of this sort: see SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum cum Socinianis, § XXVI, columns 815, 816; Volkelius de Vera Religione, book V, chapter XVII; and MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 480 and following, especially pages 525, 526, on Volkelius’ de Vera Religione, pages 538, 539.

Jacobus Arminius

As the Arminians urge a general and indefinite Decree concerning the salvation of those that are going to believe and persevere in the Faith, and the damnation of the unbelieving, which is God’s antecedent Will: so they maintain that God foresees through Middle Knowledge those that are going to believe or not; upon which His consequent Will rests concerning the salvation or damnation of these or those: while they ultimately leave it undecided, whether Faith is to be called the Cause of Election, or its Condition. But a number among them state that Election is a temporal act, which has a believing man as its object, and Faith as the prerequisite Condition: and thus they maintain that Reprobation is done according to the consideration of antecedent Unbelief, and of final Perseverence in the same; so that its object is not only man as sinner, but also finally unbelieving and impenitent: see TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 1, pages 553-563, 635b, 636a, 650b; the Canons of Dort, chapter I, Rejection of Errors, § 5,[4]chapter V, Rejection of Errors, § 1;[5]Catechismum Remonstrantium, questions XXXIX, XL, compared with HEIDANUS’ Wederlegginge des Remonstrantschen Catechismi, pages 161-178; SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum cum Remonstrantibus, article I, columns 850, 851, opera, tome 3. And the Northern Anabaptists profess that is this head they make themselves the companions of the Remonstrants: see Confessionum Waterlandorum,[6]article VII, pages 5-7.

As far as the Lutherans are concerned, there was no controversy over this point between them and our men while LUTHER was living, and for some time afterwards. Georg Calixtus,[7] in his Animadversionibus ad Confessionem Thorunensem, page 14, admits: “Our Predecessors, adhering to the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, retained and taught the doctrine of Augustine, until the year 1580. Ægidius Hunnius,[8] if I be not mistaken, was the first, or certain the chief among the first, to revive the ancient (as he calls it) opinion received before Augustine in the primitive Church, etc. Yet not with the difficulty, contradiction, and accusation of of Pelagianism. After him it prevailed among Our Men.” Yet at the same time he acknowledges, in his Judicio de Controversiis Theologicis, quæ inter Lutheranos et Reformatos agitantur, § XX-XXIII, XXVI, XXXIV, that we differ from the more recent Lutherans in the head of Predestination, in such a way that this is done, not with a bad spirit, but for the sake of a more luminous defense of divine Grace: wherefore, with this divorce of opinions not withstanding, he wills that we should be embraced mutually and constantly in fraternal love, since in this, in which we differ from one another, error or ignorance is able to befall without danger to salvation: which judgment of Calixtus HOORNBEECK commends and approves, Summa Controversiarum, book IX, pages 563, 564. In which spirit, at the Colloquy Cassel in the year 1661, held between the Theologians of Marburg and of Rinteln, it was also judged that with respect to the foundation of doctrine there was the greatest agreement on both sides, even in the case of Predestination; while both sides were denying that any strength was left to man after the fall to initiate or to perform anything spiritually good; they were affirming, on the other hand, that the whole business of salvation solely depends upon the divine Good Pleasure and Grace, but that damnation is decreed to be imposed upon no one, except because of sin. But, in this a difference was remaining, Whether Predestination was made according to the Foreknowledge of persevering Faith, preceding that Decree: and whether the Predestination of others was made according to the Foreknowledege of final Impenitence and Unbelief: see SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum cum Augustanæ Confessionis Theologis, opera, tome 3, column 892, § 11.

Our AUTHOR not incorrectly observes, that the Lutherans break in on themselves more than a little, and dissent from us in expression and affection, more than in matter and opinion; namely, when they set up a general conditioned Decree, concerning the salvation of all under the condition of Faith, and to this subjoin a particular Decree concerning the Election or Reprobation of these or those from a foresight of Faith, or from foreknowledge of Unbelief, in such a way that in Election Faith has the relation of a Cause, either impulsive, or at least instrumental: that is, if at the same time they deny Man’s own discrimination, and acknowledge the Efficacy of Grace and the Certitude of Election. For thus, 1. the universal Decree concerning the salvation of all under the condition of Faith, and the particular Decree concerning the salvation of this or that one from a Foresight of Faith, a Faith only to be given by God, oppose each other. 2. Incorrectly is it supposed, that there is in God a Prescience of the Faith of this one or that one before the Decree; since that Faith is to be graciously conferred to man only by the Decree of God. 3. The Decree is unskillfully confounded with its execution, the condition preceding the Decree with the means of the execution of the Decree: compare HOORNBEECK’S Summam Controversiarum, book IX, pages 603-607; SPANHEIM’S Decadum Theologicarum VII, § 10, opera, tome 3, columns 1241, 1242.

But they incline more towards the errors of the Remonstrants, when they hold that God was prepared to work in all that most special grace of Faith, which is fully the gift of God; but determined the same in particular for those that He foresaw by His altogether certain Prescience were going to make good use of the means granted to them, and were going to do what was in them, and were not going to spurn the Grace themselves or in their ancestors, on account of whose contempt it happens that Grace is denied to posterity. And indeed in this manner, the Division of Man appears to be attributed to himself, having been withdrawn from God: at the same time the cause disposing to Grace, or the foreseen Dispositions to faith, are discerned in man, against the constant teaching of LUTHER in his books de Servo Arbitrio, etc. But BUDDEUS sets forth the opinion of the Lutherans in this manner, and wishes it to be distinguished altogether from that of the Universalists among the Reformed, at the same time also certainly from the error of the Remonstrants, Institutionibus Theologiæ dogmaticæ, tome 2, book IV, chapter I, § 19, pages 988-991: see the very words of Buddeus below in § 23. Add Institutiones Theologiæ dogmaticæ, tome 2, book V, chapter II, § 5, pages 1599-1602, § 7, pages 1609-1611, in which latter place he contends, that final Faith, and that foreseen, is to be considered as the external impulsive Cause, less principal, of Predestination to Salvation, not as if it has in itself anything of worth or merit; but that the order of salvation requires this, that the merit of Christ, which is offered to all, be received and applied, which is able to be done in no other way than by Faith: but, since he believes that it is in the power of man to receive or to repudiate the offered Faith, and it is Contingent, he does not esteem this to depend upon the divine Decree, but he thinks that it is foreseen by the decree God antecedently to Election: he denies that Faith derives its origin from Election, and asserts rather that Election was made with regard to Faith. In § 8, page 1612, he likewise inculcates, that men were elected, as God foresaw them persevering in true Faith unto the end of life: while, on the other hand, in § 11, pages 1616-1619, Buddeus relates that, according to the opinion of the Lutherans, eternal Reprobation rests upon the foreseen sins of men and especially the final Unbelief of the same as the eternal impulsive Cause. In § 12, pages 1620-1627, Buddeus warns of error in the doctrine of Predestination worthy of rejection, on the one side, of those that attribute to men more than is fitting, namely, a great many of the Papists and the Remonstrants, who think that Predestination unto Salvation was made with regard to works; or, or with regard to faith, they imagine this to be some of the sort that is put in the power of the man himself, even left to himself: on the other side, of those that attribute to God what is not fitting for Him, namely, who derive all things from a certain absolute Predestination, and thus affirm God to be the cause of all good and bad equally: this he argues to be done by Us, and by the Dominicans and Jansenists among the Romanists, that is, who at the same time renew the ancient error of the Predestinarians; this he repeats on page 1633, in the notes on § 13, where “he affirms, contrariwise, them to go in the right way, who, avoiding both extremes, seek the cause, as of all evil, so also of Reprobation, not in some Absolute Decree of the Deity, but in the wrong-headed will of men, not admitting, or rejecting, the means of Salvation; yet neither do they think that anything here is to be attributed to the merites of good works, or to the natural strength of men:” that assertors of this opinion have never been wanting in the Church, he then takes upon himself to prove, pages 1628-1634. Now, MOSHEIM,[9] in his Consultatione de Auctoritate Concilii Dordraceni, contends, that the opinion of the Lutherans was condemned in the Anti-Remonstrant Articles at the Synod of Dort. The inaccuracy of this assertion, if the Lutherans wish to savor of Luther and his Symbolic Books, VITUS[10] shows at length in his Apologia Synodi Dordraceni, opposed by Mosheim. Concerning the opinion of LUTHER concerning Predestination, contrary to that of the Remonstrants, and never recanted by him, see TRIGLAND, Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 2, pages 61-66, who argues the same concerning MELANCHTHON, pages 66-70, and concerning both, pages 101, 102. The opinion of today’s Lutherans concerning Predestination, as it is related by PFAFF,[11] see in his Historia Formulæ Consensus Helveticæ, chapter I, § 5. Concerning the cause of Election, WENDELIN disputes against the Lutherans at length, Exercitationibus theologicis VIII-XI; with whom compare Eckhardus, in his Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter XV, question IX, Whether regard to Faith enters into the decree of Election? pages 349-354, question XI, Whether Election was made according to Foreknowledge? pages 357-359, question XII, Whether Predestination is absolute? pages 359-361, question XIII, Whether Reprobation is absolute? pages 362-369; Jasper de Hartogh,[12]Wegwyzer der Eenvuldigen, chapter I, pages 30, 31, chapter III, page 78. On the Questions of Eckhardus just now cited, consult in turn ARNOLDI’S Scopas dissolutas Eckhardi, chapter XV, questions IX, XI-XIII, pages 321-329, 332-340. Concerning this controversy between us and the Lutherans, SPANHEIM is also able to be consulted, Elencho Controversiarum cum Augustanæ Confessionis Theologis, opera, tome 3, columns 897-899, 906, 907; STAPFER, Theologicæ polemicæ, tome 5, chapter XX, § 31-33, pages 136-145, § 48-64, pages 164-169, § 74-79, pages 179-189, § 89, pages 197, 198, § 94, pages 207-210.

What our AUTHOR has, speaking of the more recent Lutherans, especially after the Colloquy of Mumpelgart in the year 1586, agrees with those that are found in HEINRICH ALTING’S Theologiam elencticam novam, locus IV, page 199, but has regard to the Colloquy held at Mumpelgart in the year mentioned, with Duke Frederick of Wurttemberg and Mumpelgart[13] presiding, between JAKOB ANDREÆ, the Provost and Chancellor of the Academy of Tubingen,[14] and THEODORE BEZA, Professor and Pastor at Geneva; the Colloquii Acta related to this controversy concerning Predestination read on pages 412-457, where, although Andreæ strenuously urges the Universal Election of all in Christ, the cause of which is Faith, and asserts Unbelief to the be cause of God’s Decree concerning the destruction of men; nevertheless, the same Jacob also writes, that Faith in Christ does not belong to nature, or to our human strength, but is the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when Faith is said to be the cause of Election, it does not savor of the doctrine of the Pelagians, who attributed to the strength of nature what the Holy Spirit alone is able to furnish: see Acta Colloquii, page 424. Now, concerning the place of the Colloquy, thus BAUDRAND[15] in the Lexico Geographico of FERRARI:[16] Mons Belligardus, Montbelliard, Montpelgard to the Germans, a town and County, seat of the Dukes from the house of Wurttemberg, under the Vosges mountains, near the river Doubs, between Alsace to the east and the Duchy of Burgundy to the West, in Germania, obedient to its own Count. It is forty Roman miles[17] from Vesontio to the north-east, and thirty-three miles from Basel to the west.[18]

As thhe Men of Saumur recede from the common way in the ordering of the Decrees, making mention of a Decree, 1. concerning the giving of Christ as Mediator for mankind, 2. concerning universal Vocation, 3. concerning the giving of Faith to some, 4. concerning the giving of Salvation to those; so at this point they also make use of a troublesome way of speaking concerning Predestination to Life and Glory by Faith, as the condition forseen by God in one that is elect: thus TESTARD,[19] in his Irenico, thesis XXIX: “No one would deny Election unto Justification and Glorification, if they be distinctly considered to be as a result of foreseen Faith, and its object to be a believing man, insofar as he is believing.” CAPPEL, Thesibus de Electione, thesis XIII: “Destination unto eternal Life and Glory, or the will of God concerning the glorification of man, rests upon the condition of Faith and Repentance; but God Himself brings that to pass in us.” But, 1. compare what things I have already observed above against the order of the Decrees of the Universalits, Chapter VI, § 14. 2. At this point, the Universalists also confound the Decree with its execution, and do not subordinate the Means in the divine intention to the End, but rather set them before. 3. Yet there is agreement on the foundation, when they speak of the Condition, not as uncertain and depending upon man; but as certain, to be given by God, according to His sheer grace. This Universalism is repudiated by the Helvetic Formula of Consensus, § VI:[20] compare PFAFF’S Historiam Formulæ Consensus Helveticæ, chapter I, § 1-5; RIVET’S[21]Synopsin Doctrinæ Amyraldi[22] et Testardi de Natura et Gratia, opera, tome 3, pages 828 and following. In which manner Amyraut and Testard attempt to excuse themselves with respect to the Conditional Predestination and the diverse Decrees of Predestination, which they had inculcated, at the Synodo Nationali Alençon in 1637: see the the Actis of those Synod, chapter XV, § 20-22, page 574: see also Examen van het Ontwerp van Tolerantie, part 6, pages 201-206.

[1] Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623) was a Venetian prelate, historian, and canon lawyer. Although a Roman Catholic, he defended the liberties of Venice against Papal intrusion, and was a proponent of the separation of church and state. His History of the Council of Trent, published under the name Petrus Suavis Polanus, was highly critical of the Papal Curia’s involvement in the Council. [2] Philippe Louis Verhulst (died 1753) was a Roman Catholic. [3] By Merit of Congruity one lives in a natural state in such a way as to be worthy of God’s grace, and to oblige God to grant it. [4] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, Rejection 5: “That the incomplete and non-decisive election of particular persons to salvation occurred because of a foreseen faith, conversion, holiness, godliness, which either began or continued for some time; but that the complete and decisive election occurred because of foreseen perseverance unto the end in faith, conversion, holiness and godliness; and that this is the gracious and evangelical worthiness for the sake of which he who is chosen is more worthy than he who is not chosen; and that therefore faith, the obedience of faith, holiness, godliness and perseverance are not fruits of the unchangeable election unto glory, but are conditions, which, being required beforehand, were foreseen as being met by those who will be fully elected, and are causes without which the unchangeable election to glory does not occur. This is repugnant to the entire Scripture which constantly inculcates this and similar declarations: Election is not out of works, but of Him that calleth. ‘That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth’ (Romans 9:11). ‘And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed’ (Acts 13:48). ‘He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy’ (Ephesians 1:4). ‘Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you’ (John 15:16). ‘But if it be of works, then is it no more grace’ (Romans 11:6). ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son’ (1 John 4:10).” [5] Canons of Dort, chapter 5, Rejection 1: “That the perseverance of the true believers is not a fruit of election or a gift of God gained by the death of Christ, but a condition of the new covenant, which (as they declare) man before his decisive election and justification must fulfill through his free will. For the Holy Scripture testifies that this follows out of election, and is given the elect in virtue of the death, the resurrection and intercession of Christ: ‘but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded’ (Romans 11:7). Likewise: ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:32-35).” [6] Waterland is in North Holland, just north of Amsterdam. [7] Georg Calixtus (1596-1656) was a German Lutheran theologian, remembered for his efforts to provide a broad enough base for the reconciliation and reunion of all Christendom. His very irenicism was an object of controversy throughout his career. Nevertheless, he was able to retain his post as Professor of Theology at Helmstedt from 1614 to 1656. [8] Ægidius Hunnius (1550-1603) was a Lutheran theologian. He was fiercely committed to Lutheran Orthodoxy, and so he spent much of his career in the polemical struggle with the encroaching Calvinism. [9] Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1693-1755) was a German Lutheran church historian. He is especially remembered for his Institutionum historiæ ecclesiasticæ. [10] Stephanus Vitus (1687-1736) was a German Reformed minister and theologian, living and working in the context of hot polemics with the Lutherans. He served as Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Collegium Carolinum at Cassel. [11] Christoph Matthæus Pfaff (1686-1760) was a German Lutheran Theologian of encyclopedic learning. He was appointed Professor of Theology at Tubingen (1716). Within four years, he became chancellor, and held the post for thirty-six years. [12] Jasper de Hartogh (1666-1727) was a Dutch Lutheran pastor. [13] Friedrich of Wurttemberg (1557-1608) signed the Formula of Concord in 1577 and the Book of Concord in 1580. [14] Jakob Andreæ (1528-1590) was a German Lutheran Reformer and Theologian. Although he worked for unity among Christians, he maintained a sharp polemic against Reformed doctrine. [15] Michel Antoine Baudrand (1633-1700) was a French historian and geographer. [16] Filippo Ferrari (1551-1626) was an Italian monk of the mendicant Order of the Servants of Mary. He served as prior general and vicar general of his Order, and as Professor of Mathematics at Pavia. His Lexicon Geographicum went through a number of editions, including that of Baudrand in 1670. [17] A Roman mile is about ninety-five yards short of an English mile. [18] Montbelliard is in the north-eastern reaches of modern France. [19] Paul Testard (1599-1650) was a French Reformed Pastor and Theologian. [20]Helvetic Formula of Consensus, Canon VI: “Wherefore, we can not agree with the opinion of those who teach: l. that God, moved by philanthropy, or a kind of special love for the fallen of the human race, did, in a kind of conditioned willing, first moving of pity, as they call it, or inefficacious desire, determine the salvation of all, conditionally, that is, if they would believe; 2. that he appointed Christ Mediator for all and each of the fallen; and 3. that, at length, certain ones whom he regarded, not simply as sinners in the first Adam, but as redeemed in the second Adam, he elected, that is, he determined graciously to bestow on these, in time, the saving gift of faith; and in this sole act election properly so called is complete. For these and all other similar teachings are in no way insignificant deviations from the proper teaching concerning divine election; because the Scriptures do not extend unto all and each God’s purpose of showing mercy to man, but restrict it to the elect alone, the reprobate being excluded even by name, as Esau, whom God hated with an eternal hatred (Romans 9:11). The same Holy Scriptures testify that the counsel and will of God do not change, but stand immovable, and God in the, heavens does whatsoever he will (Psalm 115:3; Isaiah 47:10); for God is in finitely removed from all that human imperfection which characterizes inefficacious affections and desires, rashness repentance and change of purpose. The appointment, also, of Christ, as Mediator, equally with the salvation of those who were given to him for a possession and an inheritance that can not be taken away, proceeds from one and the same election, and does not form the basis of election.” [21] Andrew Rivet (1573-1651) was a Huguenot minister and divine. He ministered at Sedan and at Thouara; he went on to teach at the University of Leiden (1619-1632) and at the college at Breda. His influence among Protestants extended well beyond France. [22] While studying at Saumur, Moïse Amyraut (1596-1664) was heavily influenced by hypothetical universalism of Scottish theologian John Cameron. He served as professor at Saumur (1633-1664), together with Louis Cappel and Josué de la Place.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
13. Okt. 2022
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