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De Moor VII:33: The Object of Reprobation, Part 2

As far as the Object of Reprobation, more comparatively considered, is concerned: the Remonstrants hold, α. that for the common ill, which passed from Adam to his posterity, and which, with respect to Original Sin, they almost entirely deny, a common Remedy in Christ was provided, and that He was intended as a Mediator for all, even Reprobates; they arrange the Decree of this matter before the resolution of Election and Reprobation: thus the Confessio Remonstrantium has it, chapter VII, § 4: “This is wont commonly to be called Original Sin. Concerning which, nevertheless, it is to be held, that the most benign God, for that general ill, which was derived to us from Adam, had prepared for all a gracious remedy in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as the second and new Adam. So that even hence the noxious error of those might be evident enough, who are wont to found a Decree of absolute Reprobation, invented by themselves, on that sin.” In chapter VIII, § 10, of the Confessionis they write, that those that assert an absolute Election and Reprobation of certain persons was made in the first order, before Jesus Christ was determined for them as Mediator by the Father, completely overturn all the force of Christ’s merit and the truth of its efficacy: for, on behalf of those whom they call Reprobates, they deny true Expiation to have been made. With which assertions of the Remonstrants compare the Confessionem Mennonitarum Waterlandorum, articles IV, VII, in Herman Schijn’s Historia Mennonitarum, pages 175, 178-180.

β. They maintain that the Decree of Reprobation is merely Evangelical, depending upon the condition of final Unbelief and Impenitence, and the Foresight thereof. Since they hold Reprobation itself as a temporary action, which is elsewhere called Casting Away or Desertion, and which has as its object those called by the Gospel, but unbelieving and impudently and obstinately spurning it. In chapter XX, § 1, 2, of the Confession, they have: “Concerning the impious and unbelieving, or those that are obstinately unwilling to believe and repent, and, although for a long time and many times called, warned, reproved, chastened, etc., yet persist in disobedience to the Gospel; God wills to be overtaken by adverse…acts, pertaining…partly to this life, and partly to the future life. Acts pertaining to this life are Reprobation, etc.” The Catechismus Remonstrantium teaches the same, questions XXXIX, CIII-CV; on which compare HEIDANUS’ Wederlegginge des Remonstrantschen Catechismus, so that you might perceive the absurdity of the doctrine of the Remonstrants concerning Reprobation, pages 161-163, 339-346. With which assertions of the Remonstrants compare the sayings of the Lutheran, Jakob Andreæ, in the Actis Colloquii Montisbelligartensis, pages 447, 448: Those to be adjudged to eternal judgment are not therefore damned, because they sinned: …but they are damned, because they are unwilling in true faith to embrace Jesus Christ, who suffered, was crucified, and died no less for those than for Peter, Paul, and all the saints…. Therefore, men perish and are damned, not because God made an eternal and immutable Decree concerning them, that He is not willing to save them, as if He created and ordained them to damnation, for the declaration of His justice: but they are therefore damened, since they do not by faith apply to themselves the benefit of the death of Christ, who died for them, and made satisfaction for their sins. To which BEZA responds in the same place: But to me what thou sayest is completely new, and previously unheard of: That men are not damned, because they sinned: since sin is the sole cause of eternal damnation, why the wicked are left in their malice and condemned. The same thing Jakob Andreæ no less expressly writes, page 424: No less is this dreadful to hear and abominable, what the Learned Beza dares to deny: that Unbelief is the Cause of the Decree of God concerning the perdition of men. Seeing that Christ openly declares: he that believeth not is condemned already.[1] Likewise, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, because they believe not on me.[2] Again, he that believeth shall not come into condemnation.[3]

γ. Hence the Remonstrants exclude the Gentiles and Infants from this Reprobation, since they never heard the Gospel, and so have not despised this Calling through positive Unbelief; to whom, on account of the want of faith, they hence destine the Punishment of Loss only, the body not to be raised and the soul not annihilated; but forever separated from the blessed and glorious vision of God: which sort of Punishment of Loss, in what manner it is able to obtain in a rational Soul without a sense of sorrow, takes hold of those to whom it is applicable: indeed, Arminius indiscriminately imputes Salvation to the Infants of the Gentiles, passing away without actual sins. The Apologia Remonstrantium, chapter XX, page 222, says: “Whether there is any Reprobation, wherein God is engaged concerning the Gentiles, and those that have never heard, or are not able to hear, the Gospel, the Remonstrants nowhere determine in his their declaration: for they stand only within the assembly of the called, etc., at the same time being certain that God destined none of the Gentiles to eternal torments, except on account of the proper and conquerable fault of each one, etc.: and so not one of the Gentiles by that Reprobation is rejected or reprobated.” Likewise, chapter VII, page 83: “If God threatened Adam and his posterity with such a death, it would have been necessary for Adam and his posterity to arise again from that death, and afterwards to be cast down into eternal torments, concerning which the Scripture uttered not even a γρὺ/syllable. Concerning those that spurn and reject the Gospel and the manifest promise of eternal life, the Scripture does indeed speak in this way; but concerning Adam and his posterity, it has no trace…. Not as if the death, with which God threatened Adam, signifies the extinction or annihilation of body and soul; for this is not required by the reference to death, which by its own force imports nothing other than the dissolution of soul or body, or the destruction of the composite whole; but it never signifies the annihilation of the parts, especially of the soul or spirit: but that it, enduring forever, would draw with itself the eternal death of the soul of man, that is, the punishment of loss, or eternal separation from the blessed and glorious vision of God, etc.:” upon which consult TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter LI, page 648, chapter XI, pages 175, 176; and WALÆUS’ Responsionem ad Censuram Corvini in Molinæi Anatomen Arminianismi, chapter IX, opera, tome 2, pages 160, 161; likewise HEIDANUS’ Wederlegginge des Remonstrantschen Catechismi, pages 105-108, 111, 112. The Apologia, page 87, adds: God wills to destine, or is by right able to destine, no Infants, dying without their own actual sins, to eternal torments, on account of Original Sin, etc. Neither does it matter, say they in the same place, whether they be the Infant children of believers or of Pagans: for the same innocence belongs to infants as infants, etc.: to which again compare TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XIII, pages 206-208: see also Arminius in his Responsione to XXXI Articulos, in Arminii tractatibus, pages 117-121, where he responds to Articles XIII and XIV in this manner: “Original Sin is not going to condemn anyone. All infants of all Gentiles, dying without actual sins, are saved.” Curcellæus,[4]in Quaternione Dissertationum, Dissertation II, § I, opera, pages 892, 893, says: I acknowledge, 1. that because of the Sin of Adam all men are liable to corporal Death, but not to the punishment of gehenna. 2. That human nature has been corrupted more and more by the fall of Adam: …although I do not think that because of that Corruption alone God sentences any Infants to the Punishment of eternal Fire: compare MARESIUS’ Defensionem Fidei catholicæ adversus Quaternionem Curcellæi, Disseration II, section I, § 32-39, pages 321, 322, who in that place, section V, § 13, page 368, also asserts: “And, since our Adversary does not deny that Infants are without any actual Sin of their own, but because of the Sin of Adam are liable to corporal death and the hardships of this life; he certainly ought either to deny their final resurrection and compearing in judgment, and to state that those die in body and soul after the likeness of beasts; or to acknowledge that those to be condemned of Infants on the last day are going to be condemned because of that same sin, because of which they had already endured the hardships of life for a time and temporal death: and that all the more justly, because to that first sin of Adam, which they also had engaged in representatively, was added an inhering original stain and blot of vice, which also involves a liability to eternal death.” Again, Curcellæus, Dissertation II, § 62, 63, page 914, says: “To the former opinion concerning the Punishment of Loss alone (following upon Original Sin) adhere the greatest part of the Pontifical Doctors. And I would not dare to condemn it…. Neither do I hinder that it should be said, that God keeps all Infants of Unbelievers, dying in infancy, from heaven, because they derive their origin from Adam as sinner and liable to death: although I esteem it far safer here to leave the question open, since the Word of God does not manifestly pronounce in favor of this opinion; indeed, as I will afterwards explain, it has certain things that appear to support the contrary. The latter opinion, concerning the Punishment of sense, Protestant commonly embrace, and say that Infant that were not of the number of the Elect, because of Original Sin, are going to be sentenced fo the eternal torments of Hell. But this is plainly false, etc.” And in § 74, pates 917, 918: “That is the very thing that is in question, whether such an Election and Reprobation has place in Infants. For there is no point, or even a speck, in the whole Scripture that teaches that…. What, therefore, you will ask, is to become of them? Response: God knows: it is not necessary for us to decide anything concerning it, one way or the other. It is sufficient to grasp for the consolation of all Christian parents, who are solicitous concerning the state of their children snatch away by untimely death, that God, who is consummately good and just, is not able to establish anything concerning them repugnant to His goodness and equity. Indeed, He has not expressly promised eternal life to Infants lacking fath and love: but nothing hinders Him from bestowing it upon them; indeed, it is altogether consistent with His boundless goodness, and with that pronouncement of the Lord Jesus, of such is the kingdom of heaven, Matthew 19:14. Which is so general, that it appears to comprehend the children, not only of believers, but of unbelievers also:” on which compare also MARESIUS, Dissertation II, section XXI, § 1-8, 10, 11, pages 505-507, section XXIX, § 13-32, page 538-543. While in § 71, page 917, he also makes mention of Adults, who are neither to be blessed, not to be delivered to infernal Fire, the description of whom he relates as quite agreeable to the Gentiles: “Indeed, of the number of Adults also are granted those between believers and unbelievers, namely, those that do not embrace Christ as their Savior, concerning whom they have heard nothing. For, although negatively they are able to be called Unbelievers, because they do not have faith, yet are they not positively and culpably after the likeness of those that refuse to believe upon Him; just as it is understood from the words of Christ, John 15:22, 24:” upon which see also the animadversion of MARESIUS, in the Dissertation cited, section XXIII, § 22-31, pages 533-535.

Thus the opinion of the Remonstrants is now more than clear enough to us, but which rests upon the false foundation of Universal Grace, Election, Redemption, and Universal Vocation, and is devoid of legitimate proof.

Now, that the Decree of Reprobation is not merely Evangelical, which presupposes a Call through the Gospel, and its Rejection through final Unbelief and Impenitence, is easily demonstrated: α. If we recall into memory for ourselves, that Predestination was made in the common mass of Corruption, and so immediately presupposes the Fall and original Sin: compare the things said on § 17, 18. β. That which follows Reprobation does not precede it, nor is presupposed in the reprobated subject: but sins committed against the Gospel, Unbelief in particular, is a consequence of Reprobation, because external Vocation follows it: John 10:26; 12:39, 40: see above, § 10, and below, § 35. γ. If the cause of Reprobation were only final Unbelief and Impenitence, no others than those to whom the Gospel had become known would be reprobated; no adult Gentiles or Infants would be reprobated, and, since the means were not granted, all these, contrariwise, would be Elected unto Salvation: which is a doctrine altogether foreign to the Scripture; see Chapter I, § 19, 20. δ. It is certain, that final Unbelief and Impenitence are not alone in deserving eternal Torments: but they are also the just wages of all actual sins committed against the Law of Nature or of Moses, indeed, of Original sin also, Romans 2:11, 12; 6:23; 3:19; Ephesians 2:3. ε. The Inventions of the Punishment of Loss without sense after this life, and of the Resurrection of the Body consequently to be denied to those that are going to bear only the Punishment of Loss, shall come to be refuted in Chapters XV, XVI, XXXIV.

Johannes a Marck

Therefore, with these things set forth, we boldly assert with our AUTHOR:

1. That reprobates are More Numerous and Nobler than the elect. And indeed, if, a. it cannot happen, but that God from eternity knew and accordingly decreed concerning the eternal and ultimate end of a man to Salvation or to Damnation; from those things we saw in § 24, 25, concerning the lesser number and less noble state of the Elect, it necessarily follows that a Greater Number and Nobler were destined for destruction. b. If in the event the Impious are More Numerous and Nobler and are damned, it follows that these were also reprobated from eternity: since Impiety and Damnation have regard to the consequences and execution of the Decree of Reprobation.

Let not anyone object, that such a Decree is a disgrace to God, because it argues a Defect of Goodness or Power in God. For, I deny that argument with respect to its Minor Premise. For the Decree of Reprobation depends upon the Altogether Free Will of God, who in Predestination, with none of His Perfections injured, proposed to Himself to illustrate not just His Goodness and Mercy, but also His Righteousness and Power. Now, in Reprobating the greater part of Men God willed so brilliantly to demonstrate His holy and altogether just Hatred towards Sin: God willed to give a more illustrious proof of His Goodness in the Few certainly to be saved, than He would have given in a salvation inefficaciously determined in the case of a great many: God also shows His Power in the execution of this Decree through the perdition of the most powerful; the Remonstrants do not speak much concerning the Power of God, according to whom the certain salvation of no man depends upon God.

2. That among the Reprobates are also Gentiles ignorant of the Gospel, and left without the preaching of it; and also Infants of Unbelievers. While concerning the Infants of Believers, especially those that departed this life in infancy, with our AUTHOR (following the footsteps of FRANCIS JUNIUS in Collatione de Natura et Gratia, reason XXVIII, opera, tome 2, columns 332, 333, and of the Fathers of Dort, the Canons of Dort, chapter 1, articles 17,[5] compared with Judicio Deputatorum Synodi Zuyd-Hollandicæ de primo articulo Remonstrantium, page 36, § IV, concerning the Reprobation of Infants) we hope well, because of the promise of God, Genesis 17:7; etc.; otherwise in themselves no less damnable and perhaps certain ones even to be damned. The Apologist seizes upon this opinion in Censura Confessionis Remonstrantium, which on chapter VII, § 4, page 109, has: “We believe, therefore, that Christ prepared a remedy for all, namely, adult believers, and the covenanted children of believers; indeed, to the former certainly and by faith, but to the latter by the judgment of charity, with their hidden dispensation reserved to God, in that application of the remedy, which depends upon His mercy.” Which words the Apologia attacks, page 87: “It comes to be noted in this place, that it is altogether truth that the adversaries of the Remonstrants believe that absolute Reprobation is to be extended to the infants, not only of the Gentiles, but also of those covenanted and believing…. Necessarily cruel is the heart that…attaches so cruel a will…to the infinitely good God, etc.” However, with respect to this absolute Reprobation extended even to Infants, TRIGLAND notes in his Antapologia, chapter XIII, page 208: “In what sense we believe this is able to be seen from the things said. We understand a Reprobation, whereby, while all are by nature children of wrath[6] and worthy of reprobation, God reprobates these and leaves them in admitted viciousness, rather than others, whom He decided to elect and to adopt. We see no injury to be done to anyone by this, and hence, even if God elects and efficaciously calls not all that pertain to the covenant, or to the visible Church, there is nothing on account of which there might be murmuring against Him. Ishmael was the firstborn of faithful Abraham, Esau of Isaac, no less than Isaac and Jacob; and both were circumcised on the eighth day: but Ishmael was not the son of promise, neither was Esau beloved and chose, etc.”

But, as far as the Gentiles and Infants of Unbelievers are concerned: although our AUTHOR, on account of the freedom of God and the often hidden ways of the Spirit, does not even wish to determine anything firmly concerning the Individual Persons of the Gentiles and of Infants born of Unbelievers; and perhaps ZWINGLI pronounced too freely concerning the Infants of Gentiles, for example, in his Elencho contra Catabaptistas, opera, part 2, folio 35b, 36a; Declaratione de Peccato originali ad Urbanum Rhegium, folio 120 near the end, 121 (although here he speaks hesitantly concerning Christ’s Redemption of Infants of the Gentiles dying in infancy, and among other things says: Therefore, we attribute deliverance from Original Sin only to those [believers and their children], with others left to the judgment of God); Fidei Ratione ad Carolum Imperatorem, folio 540 and elsewhere; with Eckhardus noting it in his Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter X, question I, pages 205, 206: but Zwingli’s error is not prejudicial to the common opinion of the whole Church, as ARNOLDI has it in his Scopis dissolutis Eckhardi, on the place cited, page 174: nevertheless, our AUTHOR observes: α. That all these are by nature children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3, unclean, 1 Corinthians 7:14, strangers and remote from God, without hope, Ephesians 2:12, 17, left to themselves, Acts 14:16; if God should leave them all in that state, it is a certain indication of divine Reprobation. β. Concerning their Salvation, decreed or to be wrought, God has revealed nothing. We have a divine promise concerning the Infants of Believers: but no promise was made to the Infants of Unbelievers, and at the same time all are by nature damnable on account of shared sin; whence concerning the Infants of Unbelievers departing in infancy a foundation for hoping good things is wanting. γ. The Gentiles everywhere were destitute of the Ordinary Means of Grace; that God wills to apply salvation to them without these in some extraordinary way, it is rashly contrived, Mark 16:16; Romans 10:17.

Compare what things against the doctrine of Cornelius Wiggers concerning a Universal Covenant of Grace, erected in Adam with all mankind, TRIGLAND warns, Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 3, pages 248, 249, 266b, 267. Concerning the Predestination of Infants departing from this life at that age, especially those that were born of Pagan or Unbelieving parents, see also what things the Most Illustrious JAN JACOB SCHULTENS[7] selects, Omstandigen Brief aan den Heer Holtius, 1775, pages 92, 95-99. Moreover, compare on § 33 above; SPANHEIM’S Disputationem inauguralem de Quinquarticulanis Controversiis, § 21-24, columns 1173, 1174, § 26, columns 1175, 1176.

[1] John 3:18. [2] John 16:8, 9. [3] John 5:24. [4] Etienne de Courcelles (1586-1659) was an Arminian theologian. He studied in Zurich, and later succeeded Simon Episcopius at the Remonstrant seminary in Amsterdam. He was a personal friend of Descartes, and was influential in introducing Cartesian rationalism into Dutch Arminian circles. [5] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 17: “Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they, together with the parents, are comprehended, godly parents have no reason to doubt of the election and salvation of their children whom it pleaseth God to call out of this life in their infancy.” [6] Ephesians 2:3. [7] Jan Jacob Schultens (1716-1788) was a Dutch orientalist, and the son of Albert Schultens. He served as Professor of Theology at Herborn (1744-1749), and succeeded his father as Professor of Oriental Languages at Leiden (1749-1778).

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