Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

in that it is offered to the will of man by God, but that the thing itself is conferred on him, inspired, infused into him. Not, likewise, because God only confers the power of believing, and from thence expects the consent, or the act of believing, from man's will, but because he, who worketh both to will and to do, and thus worketh all in all,) “ worketh in man both to will to believe, and to “ believe itself,” (et velle credere et ipsum credere:)' · 15. This grace God owes to no one. For what can he owe to him, who is able to give nothing first, that he may be recompensed : 2 Nay, what can he owe to him, who has nothing of his own but sin and falsehood (or, a lie) ? He, therefore, who receives this grace owes and renders everlasting thanks to God: he who receives it not either does not care for those spiritual things, and rests satisfied in what is his own; or, being secure, (presumptuous), he vainly glories that he possesses what he has not.—Moreover concerning those who outwardly profess faith, and amend their lives, it is best to judge and speak after the example of the apostles; for the inmost recesses (penetralia) of the heart are to us impenetrable. And, for others who have not yet been called, it behoves us to pray to God, who calls the things which are not as though they were : but in no wise are we to act proudly towards them, (adversus eos est superbiendum,) as if we had made our. selves to differ. 3

"We believe that the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts doth • impart to us true faith. Belgic Confession, Art. xxii.

? Rom. xi. 35.
* Rom. xi. 18-20. 1 Cor. iv. 6,7.

16. But, in like manner as by the fall man does not cease to be man, endowed with intellect and will, nor hath sin, which has pervaded the whole human race, taken away the nature of the human species, but hath depraved and spiritually stained it; so even this divine grace of regeneration does not act upon men like stocks and trees; nor take away the will and its properties ; (proprietates ;) or violently compel it while unwilling; but it spiritually quickens, (or vivifies,) heals, corrects, and sweetly, and at the same time, powerfully inclines it: so that, where before the rebellion and resistance of the flesh fully ruled, now the prompt and sincere obedience of the Spirit may begin to reign; in which the true and spiritual renewal and liberty of our will consist. In which manner (or for which reason) unless the admirable Author of all good should work in us, there could be no hope to man of rising from the fall, by that free will, by which, when standing, he precipitated himself into ruin.

17. But in the same manner as the omnipotent operation of God, whereby he produces and supports our natural life, doth not exclude, but require the use of means, by which God in his infinite wisdom and goodness sees fit to exercise this his power; so this fore-mentioned supernatural power of God, by which he regenerates us, in no wise excludes or sets aside the use of

A more lucid and scriptural exposition of the efficacious influence, by which the regenerating, life-giving, illuminating grace of the Holy Spirit, draws, teaches, and inclines the heart to willing and sweet submission and obedience, can hardly be produced from any writer. 2 Cor. x. 5.

the gospel, which the most wise God hath ordained as the seed of regeneration and the food of the soul. Wherefore, as the apostles, and those teachers who have followed them, have piously instructed the people concerning this grace of God, in order to his glory and to the keeping down of all pride ; and in the mean time have not neglected, by the holy admonitions of the gospel, to keep thein under the exercise of the word, the sacraments, and discipline: so still be it far from us, that teachers or learners in the church should presume to tempt God, by separating those things which God, of his own good pleasure, would have most closely united together. For grace is conferred through admonitions; and, the more promptly we do our duty, the more illustrious the benefit of God, who worketh in us, is wont to be, and the most rightly doth his work proceed. To whom alone all the glory, both of the means and of their beneficial fruits and efficacy, is due for everlasting. Amen.

BY THE TRANSLATOR.'

These seventeen articles are abbreviated, as before, in the two that follow.

ART. III. Of Man's Will in the State of Nature.

That by Adam's fall his posterity lost their · Can any statement be more rational, anexceptionable, and scriptural than this is ?

• free will, being put to an unavoidable necessity 'to do, or not to do, whatsoever they do, or do not, whether it be good or evil; being thereunto predestinated by the eternal and effectual secret decree of God.

*Art. IV. Of the Manner of Conversion.

"That God, to save his elect from the corrupt ‘mass, doth beget faith in them, by a power equal 'to that whereby he created the world, and raised

up the dead ; insomuch, that such unto whom ' he gives grace cannot reject, and the rest, being ' reprobate, cannot accept it.''

REJECTION OF ERRORS UNDER THE THIRD AND

FOURTH HEADS.

The orthodox doctrine having been set forth, the Synod rejects the errors of those,

1. Who teach, That it cannot properly be said, that original sin (peccatum originis) * suffices of itself for the condemnation of the whole human race, or the desert of temporal and

eternal punishments :' for they contradict the apostle, who says, Rom. v. 12. “ By one man “ sin entered into the world, and death by sin ; “ and so death passed upon all men, for that all

Let the candid reader compare carefully the seventeen articles above given, with these two abbreviated articles, and then judge for himself, whether such a reporter deserves the least credit or confidence.

“ have sinned.” And ver. 16.“ By one man the “ offence entered unto condemnation.” Also, Rom. vi. 23. “ The wages of sin is death.”

2. Who teach, “That spiritual gifts, or good * habits and virtues, such as kindness, sanctity, 6 and justice, could have no place in the will of s man when he was first created, and therefore, ' neither could they in the fall be separated from s it. For this opposes (pugnat) the description of the image of God, which the apostle states in

Eph. iv. 24., where he describes it (as consisting) .“ in righteousness and holiness," which have a : place in the will altogether.

3. Who teach, “That spiritual gifts are not separated from the will of mari in spiritual death, as it (the will) never was corrupted in itself, but * only impeded by the darkness of the mind, and the irregularity of the affections ; which impediments being removed, it may be able to exert the free power planted (insitam) in it; that is, 6 of itself to will or choose, or not to will or

choose, whatever good is proposed to it.' This is new and erroneous ; and causes the power of free will to be exalted, against the words of the prophet Jeremiah, xvii. 9. “ The heart is deceitful “ above all things and perverse :” and of the apostle, Eph. ii. 3. “ Among whom (contumacious “men) we all had our conversation in times past,

1. Original sin is so base and execrable, that it suffices to * the condemnation of the whole human race.' Belgic Con*fession, Art. xv. God saw that man had so cast himself into

the condemnation of death, both corporal and spiritual, and . was made altogether miserable and accursed.' Ibid. Art. xvii.

In every person born into the world, it deserveth God's wrath • and damnation. Art. ix. Church of England.

« AnteriorContinuar »