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creature to yield to these incitements, then God effects his own work by the act of the creature. What does this mean, If it be his wil to yield ? Is not the freedom of the will openly denoted, by which, when this presenting of arguments and occasions is laid down, the will can yet refuse to yield ?
3. They also meet the THIRD : For they deny, that God intends by those incitements to move the creature to the commission of an act which is joined to sin, that is, to commit sin ; because they say, that God intends the trial of his creature, whether he will obey God even after having been irritated by these incitements. And when God saw, that the creature preferred to yield to these incitements, rather than to obey Him, then He intended not the act of the creature, for that is unnecessary; because, his intention being now to try, He obtains the issue of the act performed by the will of the creature. But God intended to effect his own work by an act (positum] founded on the will and the culpability of the creature.
It is apparent, therefore, that these words which my brethren have omitted, most manifestly refute the calumny, and in the strongest manner solve the objection. This I will likewise point out in another method, that the whole iniquity of this objection may be rendered quite obvious :
That man who says, “ God tries his creature by arguments “ and occasions of sinning, whether he will obey Him even after “ he has been stirred up by incitements,” openly declares, that it is in the power of the creature to resist these incitements, and not to sin: Otherwise, this [act of God) would be, not a trial of obedience, but a casting down and an impelling to necessary disobedience. Then, the man who says, “ God, by these provocatives and incitements, tries the obedience of his creature," intimates by these expressions, that those occasions and arguments which are presented by God when He intends to try, are not incitements and irritations to sin through the end and aim of God: But they are incitements, First, By CAPABILITY according to (affectum) the inclination of the creature, who can be incited by them to commit an act connected with sin. They are also incitements, Secondly, In their Issue, because the creature has been induced by them to sin, but by his own fault ; for it was his duty, and in his power, to resist this inclination, and to neglect and despise these incitements.
It is wonderful, therefore, and most wonderful indeed, that any man, at all expert in theological matters, should have ventured to fabricate from my words this calumny against me: Against me, I say, who dare not accede to some of the sentiments
and dogmas of my brethren, as they well know, for this sole reason-because I consider it flows from them, that God is the author of sin! And I cannot accede to them on this account because I think my brethren teach those things from which I can conclude by good and certain consequence, that God absolutely intends the sin of his creature, and thence that He so administers all things, as, when this administration is laid down, man necessarily sins, and cannot in the act itself and in reality omit the act of sin. If they shew that the things which I say do not follow from their sentiments, on this account at least I shall not suffer myself to be moved by their consent in them. Let the entire Theses be read, and it will be evident how solicitously I have guarded against saying any thing, from which by the most distant probability this blasphemy might be deduced ; and yet, at the same time, I have been careful to subtract from the Providence of God nothing, which, according to the Scriptures, ought to be ascribed to it. But I scarcely think it necessary, for me now to prove at great length, that the fact of God's Providential efficacy respecting Evil is exactly as I have taught in those words; especially after I have premised this explanation. I will, bowever, do this in a very brief manner:
Eve was not only a creature not entirely hardened in evil," but she was not at all evil; and she willed to abstain from eating the forbidden fruit because " it was connected with sin,” as is apparent from the answer which she gave to the serpent:
36 God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it.” Her compliance with this command was easy, in the midst of such an abundance of fruit; and the trial of her obedience would have been very small, if she had been solicited with no other argument by the tempter. It happened therefore, that, in addition to this, the serpent presented to Eve an argument of persuasion, by which [irritaret] he might stimulate her to eat, saying, “ Ye shall not surely die, but ye shall be as gods." This argument, according to the intention of the serpent, was an incitement to commit sin: Without it, the serpent perceived, she would not be moved to eat, because he had heard her expressing her will to abstain from the act because it was “ connected with sin.”
I ask now, Is (administratio) the whole management of this temptation to be ascribed to God, or not? If they say, “ It must not be attributed to Him,” they offend against Providence, the Scriptures, and the opinion of all our divines. If they confess that it should be ascribed to Him, they grant what I have said, Byt what was the end of this management ? An experiment, or trial, whether Eve, when solicited by arguments, and stimulated by Satan, (vellet] would resolve to refrain from an act, that she might obtain from her Lord and Creator the praise of obedience. The instance of Joseph's brethren, which is quoted in the Fifteenth Thesis of my Ninth Public Disputation, proves this in the plainest manner, as I have shewn in that Thesis.
Let the case of Absalom be inspected, who committed incest with his father's concubines. Was not this the Occasion of perpetrating that act—God gave his father's concubines into his bands, that is, he permitted them to his power? Was not the Argument inducing him to commit that act, from which nature is abhorrent, furnished by the advice of Ahithophel, whose counsels were considered as oracles ? (2 Sam. xvi, 20—23.) Without doubt, these are the real facts of the case. But that God himself managed the whole of this affair, appears from the Scripture, which says that God did it. (2 Sam. xii. 11, 12.)
Examine what God says in Deut. xiii. 1-3, “ Thou shalt not obey the words of that prophet, who persuades thee to worship other gods, although he may have given thee a sign or a wonder which may have actually come to pass.” Is not the prediction of " the sign,” [by this false prophet,] when confirmed by the event itself, an Argument which may gain [authoritatem] credit for him? And is not the credit, thus obtained, an incitement, or an argument to effect a full persuasion of that which this prophet persuaded ? And what necessity is there for arguments, incitements, and incentives, if a rational creature has such a propensity to the act, which cannot be committed without sin, that he wills to commit it without any argument whatsoever? Under such circumstances, the grand tempter will cease from his useless labour. But because the tempter knows, that the creature is unwilling to commit this act, unless he be incited by arguments, and
opportunities be offered, he brings forward all that he can of incentives to allure the creature to sin. God, however, presides over all these things, and by his Providence administers the whole of them, but to an end far different from that to which the tempter directs them: For God manages them, in the first place, for the trial of his creature, and, afterwards, (if it be the will of the creature to yield,) for Himself to effect something by that act.
If any think, that there is something reprehensible in this view, let them so circumscribe the right and the capability of God, as to suppose Him unable to try the obedience of his crealure by any other method, than by creating that in which sin can be committed, and from which He commanded him by a law to abstain. But if He can try the obedience of his creature by some other method than this, let these persons shew us what that method is beside the presenting of arguments and occasions, and why God uses the former method more than the preceding one which I have mentioned : Is it not because he perceives, that the creature will not, by the former, be equally strongly solicited to evil, and that therefore it is a trivial matter to abstain from sin, to the commission of which he is not instigated by any other incentives ?
Let the history of Job be well considered, whose patience God tried in such a variety of ways, and to whom were presented so many incitements to sin against God by impatience; and the whole of this matter will very evidently appear. God said to Satan : “Hast thou considered my servant Job, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and departeth from evil ?” Satan answered the Lord and said: “What wonder is there in this, since thou hast so abundantly blessed Him? But try him now by afflictions.” And the Lord said unto Satan: “Behold, all that he hath is in thy power: Only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” What other meaning have these words than, Behold, incite him to curse me! I grant thee permission, since thou thinkest small praise is due to that man who abounds with blessings, and yet fears me. Satan did what he was permitted, and produced none of the effects ; [which he had prognosticated]; so that God said, “ Job still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him.” (ii, 3.) This trial being finished, when Satan asked permission to employ against him greater incentives to sin, he obtained his request; and, after all, effected nothing. Therefore God was glorified in the patience of Job, to the confusion of Satan.
I suppose these remarks will be sufficient to free the words of
my Theses from all calumny and from sinister and unjust interpretations. When I have ascertained the arguments which our brethren employ to convict these words of error, I will endeavour to confute them; or if I cannot do this, I will yield to what may then be deemed the truth.
ARTICLE XXIV. (IV.) T'he Righteousness of Christ is not imputed to us for Righteousness ; but to believe (or the act of believing] justifies us.
ANSWER. I do not know what I can most admire in this article-the unskilfulness, the malice, or the supine negligence of those who have been its fabricators ! (1.) Their NEGLIGENCE is apparent in
this, that they do not care how and in what words they enunciate the sentiments which they attribute to me; neither do they give themselves any trouble to know what my sentiments are, which yet they are desirous to reprehend.—(2.) Their UNSKILFULNESS. Because they do not distinguish the things which ought to be distinguished, and they oppose those things which ought not to be opposed.—(3.) The Malice is evident, Because they attribute to me those things which I have neither thought nor spoken; or because they involve matters in such a way, as to give that which was correctly spoken the appearance of having been uttered in perverseness, that they may discover some grounds for calumny. But, to come to the affair itself.
Though in this article there seem to be only two distinct enunciations, yet in potency they are three, which must also be separated from each other to render the matter intelligible. The First is, “ The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. SECOND, “ The righteousness of Christ is imputed for righteousness.”_Third, “ The act of believing is imputed for righteousness :" For thus ought they to have spoken, if their purpose was correctly to retain my words; because the expression, "justifies us,” is of wider acceptation than, " is imputed for righteousness." For God justifies, and it is not imputed for righteousness. Christ, “the righteous servant of God, justifies many by his knowledge." But that by which He thus does this, is not “ imputed for righteousness."
1. With regard to the First, I never said, “ The righteous ness of Christ is not imputed to us :” Nay, I asserted the contrary in my Nineteenth Public Disputation on Justification, Thesis X: “ The righteousness by which we are justified before God may in an accommodated sense be called imputatide, as being righteousness either in the gracious estimation of God, since it does not according to the rigour of right or of law merit that appellation, -or as being the righteousness of another, that is, of Christ, it is made ours by the gracious imputation of God.” I have, it is true, placed these two in alternation : By this very thing I declare, that I do not disapprove of that phrase. “The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, because it is made ours by the gracious estimation of Christ,” is tantamount to, “ It is imputed to us ;" for “imputation” is “a gracious estimation.”—But lest any one should seize on these expressions as an occasion for calumny, I say that I acknowledge, “ The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us;" because I think the same thing is contained in the following words of the Apostle, “God hath made Christ to be sin for us,