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results from this doctrine? Is it supposed to follow as a necessary consequence from it, that, if the infants of unbelievers are saved, they are saved without Christ and his intervention ? Borrius, however, denies any such consequence, and has Junius assenting with him on this subject. If the brethren dissent from this opinion, and think that the consequences which they themselves deduce are agreeable to the premises, then all the children of unbelievers must be subject to condemnation,--the children of unbelievers, I repeat, who are “strangers from the covenant." For this conclusion no other reason can be rendered, than their being the children of those who are "strangers from the covenant:" From which it seems, on the contrary, to be in ferred, that all the children of those who are in the covenant are saved, provided they die in the age of infancy. But since our brethren deny this inference, behold the kind of dogma which is believed by them : "All the infants of those who are strangers from the covenant are damned; and of the offspring of those parents who are in the covenant, some infants that die are damned, while others are saved.” I leave it to those who are deeply versed in these matters, to decide, whether such a dogma as this ever obtained in any church of Christ.

ARTICLE XV.
Ir the Heathen, and those who are strangers to the true knowo-

ledge of God, do those things which by the powers of nature they
are enabled to do, God will not condemn them, but will reward
these their works by a more enlarged knowledge by which they
may be brought to salvation.

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ANSWER. This was never uttered by me, nor indeed by Borrius, under such a form, and in these expressions : Nay, it is not very probable, that any man, how small soever his skill might be in sacred things, would deliver the apprehensions of his mind in a manner so utterly confused and indigested, as to beget the suspicion of a falsehood in the very words in which he enunciates his opinion. For what man is there, who, as a stranger to the true knowledge of God, will do a thing that can in any way

be acceptable to God? It is necessary that the thing which will please God, be itself good, at least, in a certain respect. It is further necessary, that he who performs it knows it to be good and agreeable to God. “For whatsoever is not of faith, is sin," that is, whatsoever is done without an assured knowledge that it

is good and agreeable to God. Thus far, therefore, it is needful for him to have a true knowledge of God, which the Apostle attributes even to the Gentiles. (Rom. i, 18-21, 25, 28; i. 14, 15.) Without this explanation there will be a contradiction in this enunciation: “He who is entirely destitute of the “ true knowledge of God, can perform something which God “ considers to be so grateful to Himself as to remunerate it with “ some reward.” These our good brethren either do not perceive this contradiction ; or they suppose, that the persons to whom they ascribe this opinion are such egregious simpletons as they would thus make them appear.

Then, what is the nature of this expression, “ If they do those things which the powers of nature enable them to perform ?"

Is “nature,” when entirely destitute of grace and of the Spirit of God, furnished with the knowledge of that Truth which is said to be “held in unrighteousness,” by the knowledge of “ that which may be known of God, even his eternal power and Godhead," which may instigate man to glorify God, and which deprives him of all excuse, if he does not glorify God as he knows Him? I do not think, that such properties as these can, without falsehood and injury to Divine Grace, be ascribed to “nature,” which, when destitute of grace and of the Spirit of God, tends directly downward to those things that are earthly.

If our brethren suppose, that these matters exhibit themselves in this [foolish] manner, what reason have they for so readily ascribing such an undigested paragraph to men, who, they they ought to have known, are not entirely destitute of the knowledge of sacred subjects ? But if our brethren really think, that man can do some portion of good by the powers of nature, they are themselves not far from Pelagianism, which yet they are solicitous to fasten on others. This Article, enunciated thus in their own style, seems to indicate, that they think man capable of doing something good “by the powers of nature;" but that, by such good performance, he will “ neither escape condemnation nor obtain a reward.” For these attributes are ascribed to the subject in this enunciation; and because these attributes do not in their opinion agree with this subject, they accuse of heresy the thing thus enunciated. If they believe, that “a man, who is a stranger to the true knowledge of God," is capable of doing nothing good, this ought in the first place to have been charged with heresy. If they think, that no one “ by the powers of nature” can perform any thing that is pleasing to God, then this ought to be reckoned as an error, if any man durst affirm it. From these remarks it obviously follows, either that they are themselves very near the Pelagian heresy, or that they are ignorant of what is worthy, in the first instance or in the second, of reprehension, and what ought to be condemned as heretical.

It is apparent therefore, that it has been their wish to aggravate the error by this addition : But their labour has been in vain ; because by this addition they have enabled us to deny, that we ever employed any such expression or conceived such a thought; they have at the same time afforded just grounds for charging them with the heresy of Pelagius. Thus the incautious hunter is caught in the very snare which he had made for another. They would therefore have acted with far more caution and with greater safety, if they had omitted their exaggeration, and had charged us with this opinion, which they know to have been employed by the Scholastic Divines, and which they afterwards inserted in the succeeding Seventeenth Article, but enunciated in a manner somewhat different, “God will do that which is in Him, for the man who does what is in himself.” But, even then, the explanation of the Schoolmen ought to have been added," that God will do this, not from [the merit of] condignity, but from [that of] congruity; and not because the act of man merits any such thing, but because it is befitting the great mercy and beneficence of God." Yet this saying of the Schoolmen I should myself refuse to employ, except with the addition of these words: “God will “ bestow more grace upon that man who does what is in him by “ the power of Divine Grace which is already granted to him, “ according to the declaration of Christ, To him that hath shall be given;" in which he comprises the cause why it was given to the Apostles to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven," and why “to others it was not given." (Matt. xiii, 11, 12.) In addition to this passage, and the first and second chapters of the Epistle to the Romans which have already been quoted, peruse what is related in the Acts of the Apostles, (x, xvi, xvii,) about Cornelius the Centurion, Lydia the seller of purple, and the Bereans.

ARTICLE XVI. The works of the unregenerate can be pleasing to God, and

are (according to Borrius) the occasion, and (according to ARMINIUS) the impulsive cause, by which God will be moved to communicate to them his saving grace.

ANSWER. About two years ago were circulated Seventeen Articles which were attributed to me, and of which the fifteenth is thus expressed : “ Though the works of the unregenerate cannot

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possibly be pleasing to God, yet they are the occasion by which God is moved to communicate to them his saving grace." This difference induces me to suspect, that the negative (cannot) has been omitted in this Sixteenth Article: Unless, perhaps, since that time, having proceeded from bad to worse, I now positively affirm this, which, as I was a less audacious and more modest heretic, I then denied. However this may be, I assert that these good men neither comprehend our sentiments, know the phrases which we employ, nor, in order to know them, do they understand the meaning of those phrases. In consequence of this, it is no matter of surprise that they.err greatly from the truth when they enunciate our sentiments in their words, or when they affix other (that is, their own). significations to our words. Of this transformation they afford a manifest specimen in this Article.

1. For the word, “the unregenerate,” may be understood in two senses, (i.) Either as it denotes those who have felt no {actum) motion of the regenerating Spirit, or of its tendency or preparation for regeneration, and who are therefore destitute of the first principle of regeneration. (ii.) Or it may signify those who are born again, and who feel (actus] those motions of the Holy Spirit which belong either to preparation or to the very essence of regeneration, but who are not yet regenerated : That is, they are brought by it to confess their sins, to mourn on account of them, to desire deliverance, and to seek out the Deliverer who has been pointed out to them; but they are not yet furnished with that power of the Spirit by which the flesh, or the old man, is mortified, and by which a man, being transformed to newness of life, is rendered capable of performing works of righteousness.

2. A thing is pleasing to God, either as an initial act belonging to the commencement of conversion, or as a work perfect in its own essence and as performed by a man who is converted and born again. Thus the confession, by which any one acknowledges himself to be “a cold, blind and poor creature,” is pleasing to God; and the man therefore flies to Christ, to “buy of Him eye-salve, white raiment, and gold :” (Rev. iii, 15–18 :) Works which proceed from fervent love are also pleasing to God. See the distinction which Calvin draws between “ initial and filial fear;" and that of Beza, who is of opinion that “sorrow and contrition for sin do not belong to the essential parts of regeneration, but only to those which are preparatory;" but he places “the very essence of regeneration in mortification, and in vivification or quickening." VOL. II.

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3. “ The occasion," and "the impulsive cause, by which God is moved," are not generally received in the same manner, but variously. It will answer our purpose if I produce two passages, from a comparison of which a distinction may be collected at once convenient and sufficient for our design. The king says, (Matt. xviii, 32,) “I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me.” And God says to Abraham, (Gen. xxii, 16, 17,) “ Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, in blessing I will bless thee.” He who does not perceive, in these passages, a difference [impulsionis) in the impelling motivés, as well as (placentiæ] in the pleasure derived, must be very blind with respect to the Scriptures.

4. “The saving grace of God” may be understood either as primary or secondary, as I præveniente] preceding or subsequent, as operating or co-operating, and as that which knocks or opens or enters in. Unless a man properly distinguishes each of these, and uses such words as correspond with these distinctions, he must of necessity stumble, and make others appear to stumble whose opinions he does not accurately understand. But if a man will diligently consider these remarks, he will perceive that this Article is agreeable to the Scriptures, according to one sense in which it may be taken; but that, according to another, it is very different.

Let the word “unregenerate” be taken for a man who (jam renascitur] is now in the act of the new birth, though he be not yet actually born again ; let “the pleasure” (which God feels] be taken for an initial act; let “the impelling cause” be taken by the mode of final enjoyment; and let secondary, subsequerit, com operating and entering grace be substituted for “ saving grace;" and it will instantly be manifest, that we speak what is right when we say: “ Serious sorrow on account of sin is so far pleasing to “ God, that by it; according to the multitude of his mercies, He “ is moved to bestow grace on a man who is a sinner.”

From these observations, I think, it is evident with what caution persons ought to speak (ubi] on subjects, on which the descent into heresy, or into the suspicion of heresy, is so smooth and easy: And our brethren ought in their prudence to have reflected, that we are not altogether negligent of this cautiousness, since they cannot be ignorant that we are fully aware how much our words are exposed and obnoxious to injurious interpretations, and even to calumny. But unless they had earnestly searched for a multitude of Articles, they might have embraced this and the preceding, as well as that which succeeds, in the same chapter.

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