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•'Or, wherefore he did not hinder his fall? and other questions ;
we place them among the curious ones; knowing, that God • prohibited man to eat of the forbidden fruit, and that he
punished the transgression : but that the things which are done, are not evil in respect of the providence of God, of the will and power of God; but in respect of Satan, and of our own will, fighting against the will of God.'
ARTICLE IX.-Concerning Free-Will, and the Powers of Man.
We teach in this cause, (which always in the church, has begotten many controversies, that the condition or state of man should be considered as threefold. In the first place, what man was before the fall, upright indeed and free, who was both
able to remain in the good, and to turn aside unto evil. But he * turned aside unto evil, and entangled both himself and the
whole human race, in sin and death; as it has before been said. * Then it is to be considered what man was after the fall. Not
indeed that understanding was taken away from man, or will torn from him; and he was altogether changed into a stone or
the trunk of a tree : but those were so changed and diminished : in man, that they were no longer capable of those things, of • which they were before the fall
. For the understanding was darkened; but the will from free, became a slave. For it serves sin, not unwillingly, but willingly: therefore it is called voluntas, not noluntas. (willingness, not unwillingness.) Therefore, as far as evil or sin, is concerned, man is not forced, either by God or by the devil; but does evil of his own accord; (sua sponte, spontaneously ;) and on this side, is of most freewill. (liberrimi est arbitrii.) For in that we, not unfrequently,
see the worst villainies of man, and his counsels, to be hindered • by God, that they should not attain their end ; this does not • take away the liberty of man in evil; but God prevents • fprævenit) with his power, wbat 'man had otherwise freely
determined. Even as the brethren of Joseph had freely parposed to take off Joseph; but they could not, because it seemed otherwise to the counsel of God. But as to that which concerns what is good and virtuous, the understanding of man does not of itself judge rightly of divine things. For the evangelick
and apostolick Scripture requires regeneration from every one • of us, who desires to be saved. Whence our first birth of * Adam confers on us nothing towards salvation. Paul says, " The animal man (tuxizo) perceiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, &c." • The same person denies elsewhere
“ fit (idoneos) of ourselves to think any thing “ good.". It is evident that the mind or understanding is the • 1 Cor. ii. 14.
• 2 Cor, iii. 5.
• that we are
gaide of the will; but when the guide is blind, it is manifest how far the will also can attain. Therefore indeed, there is no free-will to good in man, not as yet born again ; nor powers
to perform what is good.-The Lord in ihe gospel saith, * Verily, verily, I say unto you, that every one who committeth. " sin; is the slave of sin." i "And the apostle Paul saith, “ The affection of the filesh is enmity against God."
" For it " is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." ;
Truly there is some understanding in fallen man, as to earthly
things. For God of his mercy hath left him a capacity; yet far • distant from what was in him before the fall. God commands : him to cultivate his capacity, and he adds at the same time gifts ' and proficiency. And it is manifest that we make, as it were,
no proficiency in all the arts, without the blessing of God. For • the Scripture refers all arts unto God : indeed even the gentiles * referred the origin of arts to the gods as the inventors of them.
Lastly, it is to be seen whether the regenerate are possessed # of a free-will, and how far. In regeneration the understanding ' is illuminated by the Holy Spirit, that it should understand the ' mysteries and the will of God: and the will itself is not only
changed by the Holy Spirit, but it is endued with powers, so • that it may of its own accord, (sua sponte,) will and be able to • do good. Unless we grant this, we deny Christian liberiy, and
introduce legal slavery. But even the prophet introduces God
as saying, “I will put my laws into their minds, and in their “ hearts will I write them:" • And the Lord also saith in the • gospel,
“ If the Son shall make you free, then are ye free « indeed."
• Paul also says to the Philippians; “ To you it is given, for Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer “ for him." 'And again, “ I am persuaded, that he who hath “ begun a good work in you, will perforin it to the day of the * Lord Jesus." And also, • It is God who worketh in you, “ both that you may be willing, and that you may be able.” • Where at the same time, we teach, that two things are to be • observed ; namely, that the regenerate, in the choice and per. • formance of good, not only act passively but actively. They are • influenced by God, that they themselves may do, what they do. ' For Augustine rightly adduces this, that God is called "our “ Helper ;" * but no one wanteth a helper, but he that doeth • somewhat. The Manichæans robbed man of all action, and made • him as a stone or a stock.--Secondly, in the regenerate there • remains infirmity. For, when sin dwelleth in us, and the • flesh striveth against the spirit, even unto the end of our life; • the regenerate cannot, as unencumbered, altogether perform ' that which they had determined. These things are confirmed
' by the apostle, in the seventh of Romans, and in the forth
of Galatians. Therefore, indeed, our free-will, (liberum ar• bitrium) is weak, because of the remains of the old Adam, and
of natural (agnate) human depravity abiding in us to the end of life. In the mean while, as the powers of the flesh, and the remains of the old man, are not so efficacious, that they should entirely extinguish the operation of the Spirit ; on this
account believers are called free : (liberi:) but so, that these : acknowledge infirmity, and can glory nothing concerning
their free-will. For, certainly, that ought always to be present ! before the minds of the faithful, which blessed Augustine so :: often inculcates, from the apostle: “ What hast thou, that
thou hast not received? And if thou bast received it, wby “ dost thou glory, as though thou hadst not received it ?" To
this it must be added, that the thing does not immediately come to pass, which we have determined. For the events of
things are placed in the hands of God. Whence Paul prays to ' the Lord, to prosper his journey. And even on this account
our free-will is feeble.But no one denies that, in externals, the regenerate and the unregenerate have free-will. For man both has his constitution in common with the animals, to wbom be is not inferior ; that he should will- some things, and not will
other things. Thus he is able to speak, or to be silent; to go ." out of his house, or to remain at home. Though even here I also the power of God is to be observed, which effected, that
Balaam could not reach that which he willed; neither could Zacharias, coming out of the temple, speak as he willed. In this concern, we condemn the Manichæans, who deny that
to man, being good, the beginning of evil was from free-will: "We condemp also the Pelagians, who say, that a bad inan bas
sufficiently free-will, for the performance of a good con mand
ment. Both are convicted by the holy Scripture, which saith • unto those ; " God made man uprightly,' but it saitb to
these; “ If the Son shall make you free, then are ye free 66 indeed."
Concerning the Predestination of God, and the Election of the
Saints. • God from eternity predestinated or elected, freely and of his • mere grace, without any respect of min, the saints whom he - willeth to save in Christ, according to that of the apostle : * God chose us in him, before the foundations of the world were “ laid." 'And again, “ who saved us, and called us with a " holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
and grace, which were indeed given unto us on “ account of Christ Jesus, (per Christum Jesum, for the sake of • Jesus Christ,) before eternal times; but are now made mani
** his purpose
"* fest by the appearance of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”. “There
fore not without a medium, though not for any merit of ours, but in Christ, and because of Christ, God elected us : so that they who now are grafted into Christ by faith; these same
persons are also the elect; but the reprobaie are they who are ' without Christ, according to that of the apostle :
own selves, whether ye be in the faith. Do ye not know your
own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be repro" bates?"1
• Finally, they are elected saints, in Christ by God, unto a certain end, which also the apostle expounds, and says: “ He hath elected us in him, that we should be holy, and un- blamcable before him in love; who predestinated us, that he
might adopt us for children by Jesus Christ unto himself; " that the glory of his grace may be praised.” ? ' And though
God knows who are his own, and somewhere mention is niade of the fewness of the elect; yet good hope is to be had con
cerning all, neither is any one rasbiy to be numbered among • the reprobate. Paul certainly says to the Philippians, “ I givo " thanks for you all," (but he speaks concerning the whole
church at Philippi,) " that ye bave come into the fellowship “ of the gospel; being persuaded, thai he who hath beguo a 65 good work in you, will perform it: as it is just, ihat I should “ think this of you all."; • And when our Lord was asked, “ Are they who are saved few?” “The Lord did not answer
or say, that fewer or more would be saved; but he exhorts • rather, that every one should “strive to enter in at the strait
gate.” As if he should have said :- It does not belong to you 10 enquire over curiously concerning these things, but rather
earnestly to endeavour to enter heaven by the right way. “Therefore indeed we do not approve the impious voices of certain persons,
who say that few are elected, and as I do not know, whether I be in the number of these few persons, I will not withihold indulgence from my inclination. (genium meum non fraudabo.) Others say ,- If I am predestinated of elected of
God, nothing can hinder me from salvation, alondy certainly - determined; whatever I shall at length devise of evil. (desiyna
The word implies devising some nci plan, comnionly of mischief or wickedness. Terence iddelphi, 1 act, 2 scene, 1.6, 7.) But if I ani of the number of the reprobate, no faith or re
pentance will help me; as the determination of God cannot be • altered. Therefore, instructions and admonitions are useless. For
against this fightech that of the apostle : “ The servant of the " Lord ought to be prompt for teaching, instructing those who
oppose themselves; if at any time God may give them repentance, to acknowledge the truth; that they may recover
4 Luke xiii, 23-28
12 Corxiii. 5, • Eph. i. 4-6. 3 Phil. i. 3.-7. s Compare the first Article of the Synod of Dort.
* themselves from the snare of the devil, having been taken “ captive by him at his will."! But also Augustine, concerning
the good of perseverance, in the fourteenth and following . chapters, shews that each ought to be preached : both the grace • of free election and predestination; and admonitions and salu
tary doctrines. We blame those, therefore, who seek without • Christ, (extra Christum,) whether they were elected from • eternity; or what God had determined concerning them be• fore all eternity. For the preaching of the gospel should be • beard, and believed in; and it should be considered as undoubted, • that, if thou believest and art in Christ, thou art elect: for the • Father hath opened to us, in Christ, the eternal sentence of his • predestination; as I have lately expounded from the apostle. • It is therefore to be taught and considered before all things, • how great love of the Father, towards us, hath been revealed • to us in Christ: that is to be heard, which the Lord himself daily preaches to us in the gospel ; how he calls, and says; “ Come unto me all ye that labour, and are burdened, and I will “ refresh you."} "So God loved the world, that he gave his “ only begotten Son for the world ; that every one who believeth " should not perish, but should have eternal life." Likewise, " It is not the will of your Father, that one of these very little " ones should perish." s • Christ therefore is the mirrour, in ' which we must contemplate our election. We shall have
sufficiently perspicuous and firm evidence, that we are written ' in the book of life; if we have fellowship with Christ, and be, • by true faith, is our's, and we are his. "Let it comfort us, in • the temptation of predestination, than which scarcely any is
more dangerous, that the promises of God are universal to s believers : because he saith, ** Ask and it shall be given you." “Every one that asketh receiveth.” That finally we pray with
the universal church, “ Our Father, who art in the heavens ;"
that by baptism we are grafted into the body of Christ; that • in the church, we feed on his flesh and blood, frequently, unto • life eternal. Strengthened by these things, we are commanded
to “ work out our own salvation with fear and tranbling," according to the precept of Paul.'
The other articles in this confession have nothing in them, relative to doctrine, so peculiar, as to render it needful to adduce
1 2 Tim. ij. 24-26.
• 2 Tim. i. 1. This seems to refer to sounething not found in the article, but which had lately been published by the person who composed this article. 3 Matt, xi. 28-30.
4 John iii. 16. € 5 Matt, xviii, 14.
* Matt, vii, 7, 8. Luke xi, 9, 10.