Imatges de pÓgina

tioned Gen. ij.7. Others declare themselves, in their affirming the original righteousness of the first man to bave been natural, to mean no more than this, that Adam had by nature a remote power

of performing such righteousness, but that he needed a supernatural assistance to bring this power into act; that is, (to speak more plainly,) he had natural faculties capable of doing this, if excited, raised, elevated, and assisted by a divine grace. And who in his wits will deny this? Yet thus the famous Tilenus (even before he turned to the Remonstrants, and when he was yet in flagrant favour with his countrymen) explains this doctrine, (Syntag. Disput. Theolog. par. I. disp. 32. n. 35—38,) using the similitude; “As the vine doth not therefore want a “ natural power to bring forth wine, because it needs " those external helps of the sun, and rain, and cul

ture, to its actual bringing forth : so also in Adam, “ the rectitude of his will, and the good order of his

affections, was never the less natural, although in actu secundo it was excited and assisted by the

help of moving grace b.” Now this similitude (I say) we willingly admit, allowing for the difference betwixt natural and free agents. For hereby is sig. nified, that Adam in the state of integrity had naturally, and without the aid of the divine Spirit, no more power to perform a righteousness available to eternal life, than the vine hath to bring forth wine

b Quemadmodum vitis non propterea caret vi naturali ad proferendum vinum, quod externis illi opus est auxiliis, puta sole, pluvia et cultura, ut actu proferat : sic et in Adamo non ideo naturalis non fuit voluntatis rectitudo, et affectuum eúraţia, licet in actu secundo, gratiæ moventis auxilio excitaretur et adjuvaretur.

[ocr errors]

without the warm influence of the sun, and the dew of heaven, and dressing: which concession grants as much as any sober man will contend for. And yet the same learned man a little after doth plainly enough confess, that the doctrine of those protestant writers, that affirm the original righteousness of the first man to have been natural, cannot be excused from Pelagianism, unless it be thus explained.

Hence some, even of the systematic writers, stick not in direct terms to acknowledge, that those perfections, wherein the original righteousness of the first man is granted by all to consist, were supernatural to him. I shall produce one testimony, which may be instar omnium, and it is the testimony of Wollebius, whose system hath been so thumbed by young students in theology. His words (Christ. Theol. I. 8. can. 8, 9, 10,) are these: “c The

gifts belonging to the image of God were partly natural, partly supernatural. The natural were the

soul, a simple and invisible substance, and its fa“ culties, viz., understanding and will. The super“ natural were the clearness of the understanding d, “ the liberty and rectitude of the will, the conformity “ of the appetites or affections, the immortality of “ the whole man,” &c. But enough of this.

Secondly, Upon the foundations laid, you may raise an impregnable argument to evince the absolute necessity of divine grace in man fallen, in order




c Imaginis Dei dona partim naturalia erant. Naturalia erant animæ simplex ac invisibilis substantia, ejusque facultates, intellectus nimirum et voluntas. Supernaturalia erant, intellectus claritas, voluntatis libertas et rectitudo, appetituum seu affectuum conformitas, totius hominis immortalitas, &c.

d Viz., in reference to supernatural acts or objects.

to the performance of that righteousness which is required unto his eternal salvation, against the heresy of Pelagius. The argument is by the abovementioned learned man, Daniel Tilenus, (Syntag. Disput. Theolog. par. I. disp. 34. n. 24.) formed a majori ad minus, thus: “ If the natural man, even in “ the state of integrity, could not of himself attain “ to a supernatural end, with what face can he now, " in the state of corruption, arrogate to himself so

great a strength and confidence e ?! But what need I fly to the testimonies of single authors, especially moderns ?

We find this argument expressly made use of by the council of Orange, purposely called against the heresy of Pelagius reviving in France. (Concil. Aurausican. cap. 19. inter opera August. tom. VII. p. 614. edit. Paris. 1635.) The words of the holy Fathers, assembled in that council, are these: “The nature of man, if it had remained “ in that integrity wherein it was created, could by

no means have saved itself without the assistance " of its Creator. Wherefore seeing without the

grace of God it could not keep the salvation “ which it had received, how can it possibly with“ out the grace of God recover that which it hath “ lost f?"

Lastly, You may from that large account which I have given you of the sense of antiquity, as to the


e Si homo yuxukos, ne in integra quidem natura, supernaturalem finem per se erat assecuturus; qua fronte tantum roboris, aut fiduciæ, sibi arroget corruptus ?

f Natura humana, etiamsi in illa integritate, in qua est condita, permaneret, nullo modo seipsam, Creatore suo non adjuvante, servaret. Unde cum sine gratia Dei salutem non possit custodire, quam accepit, quomodo sine Dei gratia poterit reparare, quod perdidit ?

last hypothesis, most certainly assure yourself how unjust a charge that is, which some 8 bold men have fastened on all the Christian writers before Pelagius, especially on those that flourished within the first three centuries ; namely, that they held the same doctrine, which was afterwards condemned by the church as heretical in Pelagius; exalting the tò airEcovolov into the throne of the divine Spirit, and asserting a sufficiency of man's natural powers in his lapsed estate, without the grace of God, to perform those things which conduce unto eternal life. For you may now evidently discern, that those excellent persons were so far from this persuasion, that they believed an absolute necessity of a divine and supernatural principle, even in man entire, to raise and elevate his natural powers unto the attainment of so high an end. And this notion you nowhere find more clearly delivered, than it is by the writers of the first three hundred years. Many learned men have, with a laudable zeal, stood up in vindication of the holy Fathers and martyrs from this foul calumny, and have more than sufficiently done it, by amassing many testimonies out of their writings, wherein they expressly acknowledge an absolute necessity of the divine grace, and the operation of the Holy Spirit in lapsed man, in order to his eternal salvation, But none of them (that I have yet met with) hath made use of this notion, which yet runs (as it were) in a continued vein through the writings

& Among the rest, our countryman Mr. Baxter tells us,

" Yet “s the truth is, most, if not all the Fathers of the first two hun“ dred or three hundred years do speak in a language seeming “ to lean strongly that way-But the plain truth is, till Pelagius's “ days, all spoke like Pelagians." Saints' Rest, part I. p. 154.

of all the primitive Fathers, and strikes (as we but now observed) at the very heart of the Pelagian heresy.

Thus I have returned a very large answer to the inquiry, concerning the covenant of life made with man in the state of integrity, much larger, I believe, than was expected, and, I am sure, than I at first intended. For I have scarce, I think, omitted any thing which might be said of that covenant with any certainty, either from the express dictates of the sacred oracles, or from the consent of the catholic church, the best guide we can follow in those cases wherein the holy Scriptures speak less plainly.

« AnteriorContinua »