The second theory is this—God, from eternity, considering men in their original native condition determined to raise some to supernatural felicity and ordained for the same persons supernatural means which are necessary, sufficient and efficacious to secure that felicity to them, to the praise of his glorious grace; and to pass by others, and to have them in their natural state, and not to bestow on them those supernatural and efficacious means, to declare the liberty of his own goodness; and that he reprobated the same individuals, so passed by, whom he foresaw as not continuing in their original condition, but falling from it of their own fault, that is, he prepared punishment for them to the declaration of his own justice.


This theory is stated, in these words, not more nearly in accordance with the sentiment of its authors than the preceding. For in the first place, I do not remember that I have read these words in Thomas Aquinas, or others: in the second place, if any have used this phraseology, they have not used it in that sense, as shall be proved under the sixth proposition. But in the phrase supernatural felicity, understand th<n uiJoqesian, the adoption of the sons of God with all its adjuncts and consectaries. After the words "declare the liberty of his own goodness," add, if you please, "and the perfection of his manifold wisdom." The word reprobation is to be taken catachrestically, as we have before observed. I should prefer that words should be variously distinguished in referring to matters which are distinct.


If I have stated this second theory as nearly in accordance with the sentiments of its authors as in the preceding case, it is well; but I fear on this point since I do not, with equal confidence claim a knowledge of the second. Yet I think that I have derived the explanation of this from the Theses discussed under your direction in which I recognize your style and mode of discussion. Thus in Thesis 10 of those which were discussed, Coddaeus being the respondent, is this statement. "Human beings" (that is, one part of the material of predestination, as is stated in Thesis 7, of the same disputation concerning predestination) "are creatures in a condition of nature (which can effect nothing natural, nothing divine) to be exalted above nature, and to be transmitted to a participation of divine things by the supernatural energy of the Deity." The same assertion is found in the Thesis 4 of your tenth theological disputation, in which the subject of the predestination of human beings alone is discussed, as is the case with the first Thesis, that no one may think that things, said in common concerning the predestination of angels and of men, ought to be expressed in general terms. which might afterwards be attributed specially to each of these classes, according to their different condition to the elect angels, an exaltation from that nature, in which they were created by the Deity, but to elect human beings on elevation from their corrupt nature into which they fell, of their own fault. If, however, this matter is thus understood, there is now no discrepancy between us in this respect.

But I think that it is evident from those words of your Theses that human beings, considered in their original condition are the material of predestination, or its adequate object. Human beings I say in their original condition, both in the fact that nothing supernatural or divine has been bestowed upon them, and that they have not yet fallen into sin.

Considered in their original condition, I say again, in view of the fact that even if they have either supernatural and divine gifts or sin, they are not considered with reference to these by Him who determined to perform any certain act concerning them, which is equivalent to an assertion that neither supernatural or divine gifts, nor sin, held, in the mind of Him who considered them the position of a formal cause in the object, From these words I deduce this conclusion: Human beings, considered in their natural state which can admit nothing supernatural or divine, are the object or material of predestination;-But human beings, considered in their natural condition, are here as beings considered in that natural state, which can do nothing supernatural or divine, or rather they are the same in definition;- Therefore, human beings in their natural state are the object and material of predestination, that is, according to the views embraced in your Theses. The Major Proposition is contained in the Thesis. For if the will or decree of God in reference to the exaltation of men from such a state of nature to a state above nature is predestination, then men, considered in that natural state, are the true material of predestination; since the acts of God, both the internal, which is the decree concerning the exaltation of certain human beings, and the external, which is the exaltation itself, (as it ought to be, if we wish to consider the mere object) leave to us man in his mere natural state which can do nothing supernatural or divine.

If it is said that, in these words, the condition of sin is not excluded, since even sinners may be raised from their corrupt nature, I reply, in the first place, that this cannot be the meaning of those words, both because it is not necessary that it should be said of such a nature that can do nothing supernatural or divine, for this is understood from the qualifying term, when it is spoken of as "corrupt," and because, in the definition of preterition, Thesis 15, that act, by which the pure nature of some creatures is not confirmed, is attributed to preterition, which preterition is the leaving of some created beings in their natural condition. I reply, in the second place, that there is here an equivocation in the definition, and that the decree is equivocal and only true on the condition of its division, of which I will say more hereafter. The Minor is true, for this is evident from the reciprocal and equivalent relation of the antecedent and consequent to each other. But what pertains to predestination is enunciated in these words, "to be exalted above nature, and to be transferred to a participation of divine things by the supernatural energy of the Deity, which divine things pertain to grace and glory," as in your Thesis 9. It is not doubtful that my words, in which I have described the second theory, are in harmony with these statements, but if any one thinks that there is a discrepancy because, in your Theses, grace and glory are united, and that it can be understood from my words that I designed to indicate that glory first, and grace afterwards, are prepared for men in predestination, I would inform him that I did not wish to indicate such an idea, but that I wished to set forth, in those words, what the predestinate obtain from predestination.

I come now to the second part, which refers to preterition, and in reference to this, your Theses make this statement "Preterition is the act of the divine will, by which God, from eternity, determined to leave some of his creatures in their natural state, and not to communicate to them that supernatural grace by which their nature might be preserved uncorrupt, or, having become corrupt, might be restored to the declaration of the freedom of his own goodness." Also in your theological axioms Concerning Nature and Grace, axiom 44. "To this purpose of election in Christ is opposed the eternal purpose of non-election or preterition, according to which some are passed by as to be left in their own natural state." These are my words: "but he determined to pass by some and to leave them in their natural state, and not to impart to them those supernatural and especially those efficacious means, to declare the freedom of his own goodness." He, who compares our statements, will see that one and the same sentiment is expressed in different words. For "supernatural grace" and "supernatural means" signify the same thing, "the grace by which nature, when uncorrupt, might be strengthened, and when corrupt, might be restored," is what I have described in the phrase "efficacious means." For "efficacious means" either confirm nature when uncorrupt or restore it when corrupt; as sufficient means are those which have the power to confirm or restore. Moreover the end, which I have proposed, is expressed in your second Thesis, "to the praise of his glorious grace," and again, in the second Thesis of the tenth disputation, "to the praise of his most glorious grace," and in Thesis 15 of the disputation concerning predestination, in which Coddaeus is the respondent, you have stated the end of preterition to be "the declaration of the freedom of the divine goodness, with no additional remark; yet I do not object to what you wish to add in this place, "the perfection of his manifold wisdom." However, the freedom of goodness and the perfection of wisdom cannot be at the same moment engaged in the acts of predestination and preterition. For the office of wisdom takes precedence, in pointing out all possible methods of illustrating the glory of God, and that which may especially conduce to the glory of God. But the freedom of his goodness is subsequent in its operation, in making choice of the mode of illustration, and in carrying it out into the action, in the exercise (so to speak) of power. In reference to the third part, I make the same remark, namely, concerning reprobation, or the preparation of punishment, that I have also explained it correctly according to your view, for thus is reprobation or the preparation for punishment defined in Thesis seventeen. "It is the act of the divine pleasure, by which God from eternity determined for the declaration of his own justice to punish his creatures, who should not continue in their original state, but should depart from God, the author of their origin, by their own deed and depravity. But I have used the same words with only this addition, "the same individuals, so passed by," by which addition I have only done that which was made requisite by the arrangement and distinction in character which I have adopted; for those, for whom punishment is prepared, are not different from those who are passed by, though punishment was prepared for them, not because they are included in the latter class, the passed by, but because they were foreseen as those who would be sinners.

I cannot, therefore, yet persuade myself that this sentiment has been incorrectly set forth by me. If I shall see it hereafter, I will freely acknowledge it, though this may not be of so much importance.

This indeed I desire, that whether the first view, or the second, or any other view whatever be presented, it may be clearly and strongly proved from the Scriptures, and be defended, with accuracy, from all objections. In reference to the word "reprobate," I have spoken before in reply to your second answer, and I am prepared to use it hereafter according to your later explanation, as you have given it in your last answer. I should perhaps have so used it, in my former letter, if I had found it so used by yourself in your own writings, for I know that equivocal meaning has always been the mother of error, and that it ought to be carefully avoided in all serious discussions.

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