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6. Who employ the distinction of impetration and application, that they may instil this opinion into the unwary and inexperienced, That God, as far as pertained to him, willed to confer equally upon all men the benefits which were acquired by the death of Christ; and that some rather than others (præ aliis) should be partakers of the remission of sins and eternal life, this discrimination depended on their free will, applying to themselves the grace indiscriminately offered; not from an especial gift of mercy operating effectually in them, that they, rather than others, should apply to themselves this grace. For these, while they pretend that they propose this distinction in a wholesome sense, endeavour to give the people a taste of the pernicious poison of Pelagianism.1
' of the whole human race. Neither is it to be believed that it 'is entirely extinguished, or pulled up by the roots, in baptisın; 'seeing that from it, as a from a corrupt fountain, perpetual streams and rivulets continually arise and flow forth; though to the children of God it does not avail, nor is imputed to their condemnation, but is remitted to them by the pure grace and mercy of God; not that they should fall asleep confiding in 'this remission; but that, by the sense of this corruption, it 'should excite the more frequent groans (gemitus) in the 'faithful; and that they should more ardently desire to be freed 'from this body of death. Hence we condemn the error of the Pelagians, who assert that original sin is nothing but imitation. ‹ Phil. ii. 13. John xv. 5. Psalm li. 7. Rom. iii. 10. Gen. vi. 3. 'John iii. 6. Rom. v. 14. Eph. ii. 5. Rom. vii. 18-24.' Belgic Confession, Art. xv.
' 1 Cor. xv. 10. Eph. ii. 3- -6. Tit. iii. 4-6. Art. x. of the Church of England, on Free Will.
'We believe, that the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts im
parts unto us true faith, that we may attain to the true know'ledge of this so great a mystery; which faith, embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, and claims it to itself, as made its
7. Who teach, That Christ neither could nor ought to die, neither did he die, for those whom "God especially (summe) loved and chose to eter'nal life, when to such there was no need of the ' death of Christ.' For they contradict the apostle, saying, "Christ loved me, and gave himself for me." Gal. ii. 20. Also, "Who can lay any cc thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God "that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? "It is Christ who died "-doubtless for them. Rom. viii. 32, 34. And the Saviour, who declared, "I lay down my life for my sheep." John x. 15. And, "This is my command, that ye love "one another, as I have loved you; greater love "hath no man than this, that he lay down his life "for his friends." John xv. 12, 13.
THE THIRD AND FOURTH HEADS OF DOCTRINE.
Concerning the Corruption of Man, and the Method of his Conversion to God.
Art. 1. Man, from the beginning created in the image of God, was adorned in his mind with the true and saving knowledge of his Creator and of spiritual things, with righteousness in his will and heart, and purity in all his affections; and thus was altogether holy: but, by the instigation of the devil and his own free will, (libera sua voluntate,) revolting from God, he bereaved himself of these inestimable gifts; and, on the contrary, in
own; and seeks thenceforth nothing beyond him.' Belgic Confession. Art. xxii.
their place, contracted blindness, horrible darkness, and perversity of judgment in his mind malice, rebellion, hardness, in his will and heart; and finally, impurity in all his affections.
2. And such as man was after the fall, such children also he begat: namely, being corrupted, corrupt ones; corruption being derived from Adam to all his posterity, (Christ only excepted,) not by imitation, as the Pelagians formerly would have it, but by the propagation of a vicious nature, through the just judgment of God. 1
3. Therefore all men are conceived in sin, and born the children of wrath, indisposed (inepti) to all saving good, propense to evil, dead in sins, and the slaves of sin; and, without the grace of the regenerating Holy Spirit, they neither are willing nor able to return to God, to correct their depraved nature, or to dispose themselves to the correction of it. 2
4. There is indeed remaining in man, since the fall, some light of nature, by the help of which he retains certain notions concerning God and natural things; concerning the difference of things honourable and shameful; and manifests some
Hence we condemn the error of the Pelagians, who assert 'that this original sin (peccatum originis) is nothing else than 'imitation.' Belgic Confession, Art. xv.
• Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (in imitatione Adami) as the Pelagians do vainly talk (fabulantur); 'but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man, 'that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby 'man is very far gone (quam longissime distet) from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, &c.' Art. ix. Church of England.
* See on Rejection of Errors under the preceding head, No. 6.
desire after virtue and external discipline: but, so far from his being able, by this light of nature, to attain to the saving knowledge of God, or to turn himself to him, he does not use it rightly in natural and civil things: nay, indeed, of whatever kind it may be, he contaminates it all in various ways, and holds it in unrighteousness; which when he does he is rendered inexcusable before God. 1
5. The reason (or purport or purpose, ratio) of the decalogue, particularly delivered from God, by Moses, to the Jews, is the same as that of the light of nature; for, while it exposes the magnitude of sin, and more and more convicts man of guilt, but neither discloses a remedy, nor confers the power of emerging from misery; and so, being rendered weak through the flesh, leaves the transgressor under the curse; man cannot through it obtain saving grace.
6. What, therefore, neither the light of nature nor the law could do, that God performs by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the word, or the ministry of reconciliation; which is the gospel
'Man, by the fall,' entirely withdrew and alienated himself 'from God, (his true life,) his nature being wholly vitiated and corrupted by his sin; by which it came to pass, that he rendered himself obnoxious, as well to corporal, as to spiritual 'death. Therefore having become wicked and perverse, and in 'all his ways and pursuits (studiis) corrupt, he lost all those 'excellent gifts, with which he (God) had adorned him; so that ⚫ only small sparks and slender remains (vestigia) of them are 'left to him, which yet suffice to render men inexcusable; because whatever there is in us of light hath been turned into 'blind darkness.'' Belgic Confession, Art. xiv.
Rom. iii. 20. v. 20. viii. 3. 2 Cor. iii. 7, 9. Gal. iii. 10, 22.
' Rom. i. 18, 20. ii. 1, 12, 16. Eph. iv. 17-19.
concerning the Messiah, by which it hath pleased God to save believers, as well under the Old as under the New Testament. 1
7. God revealed this mystery of his own will to fewer persons under the Old Testament; but now, the distinction of people being taken away, he manifests it to more. The cause of which dispensation is not to be ascribed to the dignity (or worthiness) of one nation above another, or to the better use of the light of nature; but to the most free good pleasure and gratuitous love of God.Therefore they to whom, beyond and contrary to all merit, such grace is given (fit) ought to acknowledge it with a humble and thankful heart: in respect of the rest to whom this grace is not given, to adore with the apostle the severity and justice of the judgments of God, but by no means to scrutinize them curiously. 2
8. But as many as are invited by the gospel, are invited sincerely (or in earnest, serio). For sincerely and most truly God shews in his word what is pleasing to him; namely, that they who are called should come to him. And he sincerely promises to all who come to him, and believe, the peace of their souls and eternal life. 3
9. That many, who are called by the ministry of the gospel, do not come and are not converted, the fault of this is not in the gospel, nor in Christ offered by the gospel, nor in God inviting by the
' Rom. viii. 3. Gal. iii. 22. Heb. iv. 1, 2. xi. 7. 'Both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind
by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, 'being both God and man.'-Art. vii. Church of England.
See Rejection of Errors under the first head, No. 9.
'Matt. xxii. 4-10. John vi. 37-40. Rev. xxi. 6. xxii. 17. VOL. VIII.