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De Natura Deorum: • Every one,' saith he, 'obtaineth virtue for himself : never any wise man thanked God for that; for our virtue we are praised, in virtue we glory, which might not be, were it a gift of God :' and truly this in softer terms, is the sum of the remonstrants' arguments in this particular.
Lastly, Observe, that this error is that which of all others, the orthodox fathers did most oppose, in the Pelagian heretics: yea, and to this day, the more learned schoolmen stoutly maintain the truth herein, against the innovating Jesuits. With some few of the testimonies of the ancients, I will shut up this discourse :9 'It is certain that when we do any thing we do it,' saith St. Augustine, but it is God that causeth us so to do:' and in another place;'“Shall we not account that to be the gift of God ? because it is required of us, under the promise of eternal life? God forbid that this should seem so, either to the partakers or defenders of grace:' where he rejecteth both the error, and the sophism wherewith it is upholden. So also Cælestius, bishop of Rome, in his epistle to the bishops of France: 'So great,' saith he, 'is the goodness of God towards men, that he will have those good things to be our good duties (he calls them merits according to the phrase of those days) which are his own gifts: to which purpose Icited before two canons, out of the Araúsican council:' and St. Prosper in his treatise against Cassianus the Semipelagian,' affirmeth it to be a foolish complaint of proud men, that free-will is destroyed, if the beginning, progress, and continuance in good, be said to be the gifts of God: and so the imputation of folly, wherewith the Arminians, in my first quotation, charge their opposers, being retorted on them, by this learned father, I refer you to these following excerpta for a close.
• Quia sibi quisque virtutem acquirit,--neminem de sapientibus unquam de ea gratias Deo egisse, propter virtutem enim laudamur, et in virtute gloriamur, quod non fieret, si donum esset Dei, non a nobis. Cicero De Nat. Deor.
r Alvarez. disput. 86. ubi Aug. Thom. alios, citat. 9 Certum est nos facere cum facimus, sed ille facit ut faciamus. Aug. de Grat. et Lib. Arbit. cap. 16.
-Neque id donum Dei esse fateamur, quoniam exigi audivimus a nobis, præmio vitæ si hoc fecerimus oblatu? absit, ut hoc placeat particibus et defensori bus gratiæ. Aug. de Prædest. San. cap. 20.
• l'anta est erga homines bonitas Dei, ut nostra velit esse merita quæ sunt ipsius dona. Cælest. Epist. ad Ep. Gal. cap. 12.
i Non enim conturbat nos, superbientium inepta quærimonia ; quia Liberum Arbitrium causantur auferri : si et principia et profectus, ct perserantia in bonis usque ad finem Dei dona esse dicantur. Prosp. ad Collat. pag. 404.
mandeth ;' Rem. Apol.
'If you will fear the Lord It is absurd to affirm that and serve him, then shall you God either. worketh by his continue following the Lord power, or procureth by his your God ;' 1 Sam. xii. 14.
wisdom, that the elect should * And I will put my fear do those things which God into your hearts, that ye shall requireth of them;' Episnot depart from me; Jer. copius. xxxii. 40.
• He hath wrought all our • Faith and conversion works in us;' Isa. xxvi. 12. cannot be acts of our obedi
• He worketh in us both to ence if they are wrought by will and to do, of his good God in us ;' Rem. Col. Hag. pleasure;' Phil. ii. 13.
That God should require that of us, which himself will work in us, is a ridiculous action scarce fit for
a stage;' Rem. Apol. He hath blessed us with • That saying of Augusall spiritual blessings in him;' tine that God crowneth his Eph. 1.3.
own gifts in us, is not easily 'To you it is given in the to be admitted;' Ibid. behalf of Christ to believe in • There is nothing more him;' Phil. i. 29.
vain and foolish, then to as• The blood of Christ purg- cribe faith and regeneration eth our consciences from dead to the merit of Christ;'Idem. works, to serve the living God;' Heb. ix. 14.
Whether salvation may be attained without the knowledge of, or
faith in, Christ Jesus. I shall shut up all this discourse concerning the meritorious cause of salvation, with their shutting out of Christ, from being the only one, and absolutely necessary means, to bring us unto heaven, to make us happy: this is the last pile they erect upon their Babylonish foundation, which makes the idol of human self-sufficiency, every way perfect, and fit to be sacrificed unto. Until these proud builders, to get materials for their own temple, laid the axe to the root of Christianity, we took it for granted, that there is no salvation in any other, because there is ‘none other name under heaven, given unto men, whereby we must be saved ; Acts iv. 12. Neither yet shall their nefarious attempts, frighten us from our creed, nor make us be wanting to the defence of our Saviour's honour, but I shall be very brief in the consideration of this heterodoxy, nothing doubting, but that to have repeated it, is fully to have confuted it, in the judgment of all pious Christians.
First, then, They grant salvation to the ancient patriarchs and Jews, before the coming of Christ, without any knowledge of, or faith in, him at all: nay, they deny that any such faith in Christ, was ever prescribed unto them, or required of them. It is certain that there is no place in the Old Testament, from whence it may appear that faith in Christ (as a Redeemer) was ever enjoined, or found in any of them ;' say they jointly in their apology: the truth of which assertion, we shall see hereafter : only they grant a general faith, involved under types and shadows, and looking on the promise, as it lay hid in the goodness and providence of God, which indirectly might be called a faith in Christ: from which kind of faith, I see no reason why thousands of heathen infidels should be excluded. Agreeable unto these assertions are the dictates of their patriarch Arminius, affirming, that the
• Certum est locum nullum esse, unde appareat, fidem istam, sub Vet. Test. præceptam fuisse, aut viguisse. Rem. Apol. cap. 7. p. 91.
b. Consideretur omnis descriptio fidei Abrahæ, Rom. iv. et apparebit in illa Jesu Christi non fieri mentionem, expresse, sed illa tantum implicatione, quam explicare cuivis non est facile. Armin. Gavisus est videre natalem Isaac, qui fuit typusmei. Idem.
whole description of the faith of Abraham, Rom. iv. makes no mention of Jesus Christ, either expressly or so implicit ly as that it may be of any one easily understood;' and to the testimony of Christ himself, to the contrary; John viii. 56. • Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw.it, and was glad:', he answereth, “He rejoiced to see the birth of Isaac, who was a type of me;' a goodly gloss corrupting the text.
Secondly, What they teach of the Jews, that also they grant concerning the: Gentiles, living before the incarnation of Christ; they also might attain salvation, and be justified without his knowledge::For although,'saith Corvinus, 'the covenant was not revealed unto them by the same means that it was unto the Jews, yet they are not to be supposed to be excluded from the covenant (of grace), nor to be excluded from salvation; for some way or other, they were called.'
Thirdly, They are come at length to that perfection, in setting out this stain of Christianity, that Bertius,d on good consideration, denied this proposition, that no man can be saved, that is not ingrafted into Christ, by a true faith :' and Venator to this question,e . Whether the only means of salyation, be the life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ,' answereth, 'No?' Thus they lay men in Abraham's bosom, who never believed in the Son of Abraham make them overcome the serpent, who never heard of the seed of the woman; bring goats into heaven, who never were of the flock of Christ, never entered by him the door; make men please God without faith, and obtain the remission of sins, without the sprinkling of the blood of the Lamb; to be saved without a Saviour, redeemed without a Redeemer; to become the sons of God, and never know their elder brother; which prodigious error, might yet be pardoned, and ascribed to human imbecility, had it casually slipped from their pens as it did from some others; but seeing it hath foundation in all the
c Gentes sub veteri testamento viventes licet ipsis ista ratione qua Judæis non fuit revelatum : non tamen inde continuo ex fædere absolute exclusæ sunt, nec a salute præcise exclusi judicari debent quia aliquo saltem modo vocantur. Corvi. defens. Armin. ad Tilen, p. 107.
Nego hanc propositionem : neminem posse salvari, quam qui Jesu Christo, per veram fidem sit insitus, Bert. ad Sibrand. p. 133.
e Ad hanc quæstionem an unica via salutis, sit vita, passio, mors, resurrectio, et ascensio Jesu Christi? respondeo, non. Venat. apud Fest. Hom. et Peltium.
s Zuing. profes. fid. ad reg. Gal.
grounds of their new doctrine, and is maintained by them, on mature deliberation, it must be looked on by all Christians as a heresy to be detested and accursed. For, first, deny the contagion and demerit of original sin; then make the covenant of grace to be universal, and comprehend all and every one of the posterity of Adam; thirdly, grant a power in ourselves to come unto God, by any such means as he will appoint and affirm, that he doth assign some means unto all, and it will naturally follow, that the knowledge of Christ is not absolutely necessary to salvation : and so down falls the pre-eminence of Christianity, its heaven-reaching crown must be laid level with the services of dunghill gods.
It is true, indeed, some of the ancient fathers, before the rising of the Pelagian heresy, who had so put on Christ, as Lipsius speaks, that they had not fully put off Plato, have unadvisedly dropped some speeches, seeming to grant, that divers men before the incarnation, living metà dóyou, 'according to the dictates of right reason,' might be saved without faith in Christ; as is well shewed by learned Causabon in his first excercitation on Baronius : but let this be accounted part of that stubble, which shall burn at the last day, wherewith the writings of all men, not divinely inspired, may be stained. It hath also since (as what hath not), been drawn into dispute among the wrangling schoolmen ; and yet, wbich is rarely seen, their verdict in this particular, almost unanimously passeth for the truth. Aquinasi tells us a story of the corpse of a heathen, that should be taken up in the time of the empress Irene, and her son Constantine, with a golden plate on his breast, wherein was this inscription : ‘Christ is born of a virgin, and I believe in him, O sun, thou shalt see me again in the days of Irene and Constantine. But the question is not, whether a Gentile believing in Christ may be saved, or whether God did not reveal himself and his Son, extraordinarily to some of them? For shall we straiten the breast, and shorten the arm, of the Almighty, as though he might not do what he will with his own. But whether a man by the conduct of nature, without the knowledge of Christ, may come
& Artic. of the Church of Eng. art. 18. Nihil magis repugnat fidei, quam sine fido salvum esse posse quempiam bomi
Acost. de indo. Salu. Proc. Aquin. 2. 2æ. q. 2. a. 7. c. Christus nascitur ex virgine, et ego credo in eum, O Sol, sub Irenæ et Constantini temporibus iterum me videbis.