Calvinism and Evangelical Arminianism

John L. Girardeau


SECTION III.

OBJECTIONS FROM THE MORAL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD ANSWERED,
PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

I now proceed to consider the objections which are urged against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation. They are mainly derived from two sources - the moral attributes of God, and the moral agency of man. Before these objections are specially examined a few things must be premised. 

First, the question of the divine decrees in relation to the everlasting destinies of men is one which, as it is raised by God's supernatural revelation of his will in his Word, must be settled by its authority. Reason in its original integrity - right reason, which was a part of God's first revelation of himself to man - was entitled to speak concerning the general plan of the divine government, and to deduce inferences from it in regard to God's eternal purposes as thus manifested. But sin has occurred; and the question of a possible recovery from its retributive results reason could have no means of determining. Upon that question only a new and supernatural revelation could throw any trustworthy light. This would have been true had reason itself retained its original purity. But it has not. The faculty which presumes to sit in judgment upon the awful problem of sin, and its relation to the divine government, has itself been seriously affected by the moral revolution which has taken place. It is therefore doubly incompetent to assume the functions of a judge. 

True, reason circumstanced as it now is, has a legitimate office to discharge in judging of the claims of a revelation professing to come from God. But that preliminary office having been performed, and the conclusion having been reached, that the Bible is a revelation from God, the duty of reason is to submit to the divine authority involved in that expression of his will. Hence one great Protestant canon is, that the Bible is the only complete and ultimate rule of faith and practice. It alone, in spiritual matters, infallibly teaches us what we are to believe, and what we are to do. 

But, as this supreme rule has to be interpreted, another great canon, co-ordinate with the first, is that the Holy Spirit, speaking in the Scriptures, is the supreme judge of controversies in religion. The supreme rule is the Scriptures; the Supreme Judge of the meaning of the rule is the Holy Ghost speaking in the Scriptures - this is the watchword of Protestantism. 

Now, in the controversy between Calvinists and Arminians touching the decrees of God in relation to the destinies of men, both parties admit the canons which have been noticed. It is clear, then, that both parties to the issue are under obligation not to judge the infallible Scriptures by fallible reason - not to subordinate the supreme rule to a lower, and the supreme judge to an inferior. Appeals are competent from the court of reason; but the court of last resort, from which no appeal can lie, is the Scriptures illuminated and interpreted by the Holy Ghost. This is, on both sides, acknowledged. 

The argument, then, is one founded on Scripture, and it may be fairly claimed that the doctrines of election and reprobation have, in the conduct of this discussion, been made to rest upon scriptural proofs. If so, no merely rational objections can be validly urged against them. 

Secondly, the fact deserves to be noted that, in the prosecution of this controversy, the arguments of Arminian writers have been chiefly grounded in rational considerations, and not in the direct testimonies of Scripture. When the Calvinist shows from the express declarations of the divine Word that God from eternity elected some of the human race to salvation, the Arminian is unable to adduce such positive statements to prove that he did not. His arguments are drawn, in the main, from general principles announced in the Scriptures, and from what are supposed to be fundamental intuitions of the human mind. Now it is evident that this sort of reasoning, in relation to doctrines of a purely supernatural character, cannot be of equal value with direct appeals to the explicit deliverances of Scripture. Ignorance and an evil heart of unbelief are prolific sources of error in regard to the mysterious truths of a supernatural revelation. 

In the first place, we are ignorant of God's nature as it is in itself, and of the vast and comprehensive scheme of his moral government as a whole. The analogy of our own nature, and the limited observation to which we can attain of the procedures of divine providence, are utterly insufficient guides to the understanding of such supernatural truths as the election and condemnation of human beings. 

In the second place, our ignorance is often manifested in wrong inferences from admitted principles. It is obvious that the danger arising from this source is much greater when we deduce our inferences from general statements, than when we draw them from definite declarations made in the professed delivery or elucidation of particular truths. 

In the third place, an evil heart of unbelief inclines us to refuse submission to God's authority, and to reject doctrines which are plainly revealed. Of this danger the teachers of religion in our Saviour's day furnished eminent examples. We tend to accept tradition, precedents, widespread opinions and the apparently instinctive judgments of reason, rather than the authoritative statements which miraculous credentials prove to come directly from God himself. The docile and trusting temper of little children becomes us in dealing with the oracles of God. 

In the fourth place, under the operation of the same causes men are prone to assert for the natural reason the prerogative of final judgment upon the contents of supernatural revelation. They appeal to the intuitive judgments of their souls as a higher law superior to the Bible itself. The danger of mistake just here is great and imminent. The Bible does not contradict any true intuition, intellectual or moral, of our being. It must harmonize with our fundamental laws of belief and our fundamental laws of rectitude, for its Author is theirs. When a conflict seems to emerge between it and them, we may be sure that we have mistaken false laws for true, embraced a cloud for a divinity. There is peril of grievous blundering when we bring the Bible to the bar of our intuitions. 

Thirdly, Arminian writers are in the habit of dwelling at much greater length upon the difficulties of reprobation than upon those of election. Reprobation, they argue, is but an inference from election, and in disproving the consequence they claim to disprove that from which it is derived. This was the course pursued by the Remonstrant divines at the Synod of Dort, and when the Synod objected to it as illegitimate they complained of the decision as a grievance. This is certainly unfair. The doctrine of election is much more definitely, fully and clearly delivered in Scripture than that of reprobation, and therefore it should be made the first and principal topic of discussion. The Arminians, moreover, overlook the fact that Calvinists do not hold reprobation to be merely an inference from election. They maintain that it is also supported by independent testimonies of Scripture. It is necessary to a thoroughgoing apprehension of the state of the controversy that attention be called to this method of procedure on the part of Anti-Calvinists. 

Fourthly, it merits notice, in view of the fact that Anti-Calvinists conduct their argument mainly by urging objections to the Calvinistic position, that "mere objections constitute at best but a negative testimony which cannot destroy positive evidence." The same course of argumentation would, if successful, upset our belief in some of the grandest and most essential articles of the Christian scheme. If positive evidence of Scripture is to be sacrificed to objections and difficulties raised by the natural reason or the natural feelings, nothing would be left to us but the dry bones of Natural Religion, and even them the Atheist would not allow to rest in peace. 

It is not intended to affirm that Arminians offer no testimony upon this subject, which is professedly drawn from Scripture. But the direct proofs, as has already been shown, are, as proofs, insignificant both in weight and in number; being so debatable in character as to be actually adduced on the Calvinistic side, and opposed, as they are, by an overwhelming mass of direct proofs in favor of the doctrines in question. The quantity of direct and positive evidence is certainly against the Arminian. He furnishes, it is true, abundance of indirect proof, derived by way of inference from doctrines conceived to be inconsistent with those of election and reprobation. In view of this seeming conflict of doctrines, pains have been taken in the previous part of this discussion to exhibit the direct and positive proofs afforded by the Scriptures of the doctrines of election and reprobation. If the Arminian were able to collect an equal body of such proofs in favor of the doctrines that God efficiently wills the salvation of every individual man, and of the doctrine that he gave his Son to die that every individual man should be saved, the result would certainly be that the Bible would contradict itself, and consequently there need be no further question in regard to what it teaches. But if the direct proofs of the Arminian amount to no more than the establishment of the doctrines that God, in some sense, wills the salvation of all men, and that, in some sense, he gave his Son to die for all men, no contradiction emerges; and the sense, in which the statements that God wills the salvation of all men and that he gave his Son to die for all men are to be taken, must be adjusted to doctrines which are positively and unequivocally asserted in the divine Word. Doubtful statements must be squared with unambiguous. They must dress by the right. 

Fifthly, it is unwarrantable for us, limited as are our faculties, and sinful as are our natures, to speculate as to what God ought to do or must do in consistency with his character. It becomes us rather to hear with reverence what, in his Word, he says he has done or will do. Impressed by the necessity of the direct and positive testimony of Scripture, which is lacking in the usual argument from the character of God against the Calvinistic doctrine, some distinguished Anti-Calvinistic writers, such as Bishop Copleston and Archbishop Whately, virtually abandoned that line of proof. 

Having cited attention to these considerations which lie at the very threshold of the question before us, I pass to the examination of special objections to the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation; and the first class we encounter is derived from the Moral Attributes of God.


1. OBJECTION FROM DIVINE JUSTICE.

It is objected that these doctrines are inconsistent with the justice of God. 

It is important to observe that this objection derived from the divine justice is not mainly directed against the decree to elect some of the human race to salvation. How could it? What has justice to do with election, which is confessedly the result of grace? It is true that the Calvinistic doctrine of election is charged with imputing partiality to God in distinguishing between the members of the race, so as to save some and leave others to perish. But the objection is chiefly leveled against the decree to reprobate some of the human race. It is especially this decree which is declared to be in conflict with justice. Now let us recall the statement of the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation. It is that God decreed sovereignly to pass by - that is, not to elect to salvation - some of the guilty and condemned mass of mankind, and judicially to continue them under the condemnation which, by their sin, they were conceived in the divine mind as having deserved. That is the Calvinistic doctrine. Is it against this doctrine that the objection from justice is urged? It is not. What, then, is the doctrine, as stated by Arminian writers, against which the objection is pressed? Let us hear one of them who at the present day holds the position of a representative theologian. He says: 

"By unconditional election divines of this class [Calvinists] understand an election of persons to eternal life without respect to their faith or obedience, those qualities in them being supposed necessarily to follow as consequences of their election; by unconditional reprobation, the counterpart of the former doctrine, is meant a non-election or rejection of certain persons from eternal salvation; unbelief and disobedience following this rejection as necessary consequences."1 

Let these statements be compared. The Calvinist says, God finds men already disobedient and condemned, and leaves some of them in the condition of disobedience and condemnation to which by their own avoidable act they had reduced themselves. The Arminian represents the Calvinist as saying, God decrees to reject some of mankind from eternal salvation, and their disobedience follows as a necessary consequence. That is to say, if the language mean anything, God's decree of reprobation causes the disobedience of some men, and then dooms them to eternal punishment for that disobedience. But who would deny that to be unjust? That is not what the Calvinistic doctrine teaches. No section of the Calvinistic body teaches it. The Calvinistic Symbols do not. The Sublapsarian theologians do not; and they constitute the vast majority of Calvinists. The Symbols and these theologians alike hold that man was created upright, in the image of God, endowed with ample ability to refrain from sinning, and that, therefore, he fell by his own free self-decision. Even the Supralapsarian theologians do not unqualifiedly teach the doctrine here imputed to Calvinists. To a man, they contend that God decreed to reprobate some of mankind "for their sin." But should it be said that they, in taking this position, are chargeable with inconsistency, it must be remembered that the body of Calvinists, being Sublapsarian, are not liable to the same charge. It is not, therefore, the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation which is liable to the criticism of being incongruous with the justice of God, but one which Calvinists would unite with Arminians in condemning. The arrow misses the mark, and for a good reason: it was aimed at another. This is the first blunder in the Arminian statement of the Calvinistic position. It is represented to be: that God decreed to cause the first sin of man and then decreed to doom some of the fallen race to destruction for its commission. The true statement is: that God decreed to permit sin, and then decreed to continue some of the race under the condemnation which he foreknew they would, by their own fault, incur. 

The second blunder in the Arminian statement of the Calvinistic position is, that the decrees of election and reprobation are represented as being equally unconditional. They are said to correspond in this respect. This representation is only partly correct; and how far it is correct and how far incorrect, it is important to observe. It is admitted that both the decrees of election and reprobation are conditioned upon the divine foreknowledge of the Fall; that is to say, the foreknowledge of the Fall is, in the order of thought, pre-supposed by each of these decrees. This is the doctrine of the Calvinistic Confessions, and even of Calvin himself.2 But the question before us is, whether the divine foreknowledge of the special acts of men, done after the Fall, conditioned these decrees. It has already been shown that in this regard the decree of election is unconditional. It is not conditioned by the divine foreknowledge of the faith, good works and perseverance therein of the individuals whom God wills to save. The question being, whether the decree of reprobation is also unconditional, a distinction must be taken. The preterition - the passing by - of some of the fallen mass, and leaving them in their sin and ruin, is unconditional. It is not conditioned by the divine foreknowledge of their special sins, rendering them more ill-deserving than those whom God is pleased to elect. So far reprobation is unconditional. In this regard, it is, like election, grounded in the good pleasure of God's sovereign will. But the judicial condemnation - the continuing under the sentence of the broken law-of the non-elect, is conditional. It is conditioned by the divine foreknowledge of the first sin and of all actual transgressions, the special sins which spring from the principle of original corruption. In this respect, and to this extent, the decrees of election and reprobation are different, the one being unconditional, the other conditional. To say, then, that they are entirely alike in being both unconditional is to misrepresent the Calvinistic position. This exposition is supported by the following statement of Principal Cunningham: "The second - the positive, judicial act - is more properly that which is called, in our Confession, 'foreordaining to everlasting death,' and 'ordaining those who have been passed by to dishonor and wrath for their sin.' God ordains none to wrath or punishment, except on account of their sin, and makes no decree to subject them to punishment which is not founded on, and has reference to, their sin, as a thing certain and contemplated. But the first, or negative, act of preterition, or passing by, is not founded upon their sin, and perseverance in it as foreseen."3 

The third blunder in the Arminian statement of the Calvinistic position is, that the decrees of election and reprobation are alike in being causes from which human acts proceed as effects; the former being the cause of holy acts in those who are to be saved, the latter, of sinful acts in those who are to be lost. After what has already been said there is little need to dwell upon the defectiveness of this statement. A sinner is destitute of any principle of holiness from which holy acts could spring. The efficiency of grace is a necessity to the production of holiness in his case. But the principle of depravity in a sinner's nature is itself a cause of sinful acts. Unless, therefore, the Calvinistic doctrine could be fairly charged with teaching that God causes the sinful principle, it cannot be held to teach that he causes the sinful acts which it naturally produces. On the contrary, it maintains that the principle of sin in the nature of man is self-originated. Its consequences are obviously referred to the same origin: all sin, original and actual is affirmed to be caused by man himself. God, in reprobating the sinner for his sins, cannot be said to cause his sins. But it will be replied that the difficulty is not entirely removed; for reprobation supposes that God withholds from the sinner the efficiency of grace by which alone he could produce holy acts, and so is represented as causing the absence of those acts and the commission of sinful. The rejoinder is plain: the assertion of a correspondence between the two decrees in regard to causal efficiency operating upon the sinner is given up. The only similarity remaining is one between election as directly and positively causing holy acts and reprobation as indirectly and negatively occasioning sinful. This amounts to a relinquishment of the analogy affirmed to obtain between them, and the preferment of a separate charge against the justice of reprobation: namely, that God is unjust in withholding from some sinners the efficient grace which he is said to impart to others. But if all men are sinners by their own free self-decision and, therefore, by their own fault, there would have been no injustice had God withheld his grace from all. Consequently there could have been no injustice in withholding it from some. What is true of all must be true of some. This point will meet further consideration as the discussion advances. 

It is clear, in view of what has been said, that the implication contained in the fore-cited Arminian statement of the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation is far from being correct - namely, that God, by virtue of that decree, causes the sins of the non-elect in the same way as, by virtue of the decree of election, he causes the faith and good works of the elect. In the decree of election he ordains men to salvation not because of their obedience, but of his mere mercy, according to the counsel of his sovereign will; while, in the decree of reprobation, he judicially, that is, in accordance with the requirement of his justice, ordains men to punishment because of their self-elected disobedience. 

The Calvinistic doctrine having thus been cleared of mis-conception and mis-statement, we are prepared for the real state of the question. It is this: Was God just in eternally decreeing to punish transgressors of his law for their wilful violation of it? This being the real question, what answer but one can be given? Has not God, the righteous Governor of the world, a right to exercise his justice upon voluntary sinners? And if he has, was he unrighteous in eternally decreeing to exercise his justice upon them? The argument is not with those who deny the existence of retributive justice in God, but with those who admit it, and justify its exercise upon the wicked. How, then, can they pronounce a doctrine inconsistent with the divine justice, which affirms that God decreed to reprobate men for their sin? We may well ask with Paul, "Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?" Is the Judge of all the earth unjust in inflicting punishment upon reckless and inexcusable revolters against his government and violators of his law? It is evident that this cannot be the doctrine against which the objection under consideration is urged. It cannot be consistently advanced against this doctrine by the Arminian, for with the Calvinist he admits the justice of God in punishing wilful sinners. The doctrine against which it is directed is, that God so decreed the sin of man that it became in consequence of his decree necessary and unavoidable, and then decreed to punish man for what he could not avoid. But, as has been shown, that is not the doctrine which is held by the great body of Calvinists or stated in the Calvinistic symbols. 

A special form of the objection drawn from the divine justice against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation is, that they ascribe partiality to God, in that he is represented as discriminating between those who are in the same case, by decreeing to save some and to reprobate others. The objection in this form is at least relevant, for the discrimination which is charged the Calvinist admits; but he denies that the discrimination involves partiality, in the sense of injustice. If there be injustice, it must either be to the divine government, or to the elect, or to the reprobate. It cannot be to the divine government, for the elect are saved through the merit of Christ, their glorious Substitute, who in their room rendered perfect satisfaction to the divine justice for their sins. It cannot be to the elect, for salvation cannot possibly inflict injustice upon them. It cannot be to the reprobate, for they had no sort of claim to the divine favor which was refused. They possessed no right of which they were defrauded. The only desert they had was of punishment for their sins. Where then is the injustice which was inflicted upon them? Discrimination there was, but it was between those who were all equally ill-deserving; and surely God had the right to release some from merited punishment, and to continue others under its infliction. Surely he had the right to exercise his mercy toward some and his justice upon others. 

It might, with some color of plausibility, be said that God was not good in saving some and leaving others to perish, but how it can be pleaded that he was unjust passes comprehension. Let it be clearly perceived that none had any, the least, claim upon the divine regard, and the objection of unjust partiality at once vanishes. Let it be seen that all had brought themselves into sin and condemnation by their own free and unnecessitated decision, and it must be granted that the glorification of his mercy in the salvation of some, and of his justice in the punishment of others, were ends which were worthy of God. They were all, as criminals, prisoners in the hands of justice. God, as the supreme Sovereign pleases to exercise clemency towards some of them, and, as supreme judge, continues to exercise justice upon others, for the purpose of glorifying both his grace and his justice in the eyes of the universe. The execution of justice upon criminals is always dreadful; it can never he unjust. No temper but that of squeamish sentimentality, or of captious insubordination to the righteous measures of government, can detect injustice in such a procedure. One would suppose that instead of objecting to the justice of God in the punishment of his fellow-criminals, he who has been discharged by unmerited favor from his deserved share in their doom would spend time and eternity in thankful acknowledgments of that grace. That wicked men object to the justice of their own punishment is no matter of wonder; that pious men object to the justice of God in punishing the wicked, even though he might save them, is a fact which can only be accounted for on the ground that there is a wrong application of a true principle, as a standard of judgment in the case. Arminians and other Anti-Calvinists object to the Calvinist doctrine of reprobation because, as they contend, it involves this monstrous assumption: that God judicially condemns to everlasting punishment those whose sin was unavoidable and was therefore no fault of their own. God is represented as magnifying his justice in the punishment of the innocent. How do they support this objection? 

They lay it down as a fundamental principle, that ability is always the condition and measure of obligation. No one can justly be required, under any circumstances, to do what he is unable to do. Ability to do must be equal to the commanded duty. This principle, in itself true, is universally applied, and consequently in some cases wrongly applied. It is applied to man in his present fallen and sinful condition as well as to man in his original and unfallen and sinless estate. The Calvinist maintains that men are now, in consequence of the Fall, and as unregenerate, in a condition of spiritual inability. They are not able to furnish acceptable obedience to the moral law, and they are likewise unable to comply with the requirements of the gospel. Now in what way did they come to be thus disabled? If by their own fault, their inability is the fruit of avoidable sin, and is therefore itself a sin. But, contends the Arminian, the Calvinist holds that they were born thus disabled; and if so, the inability was contracted by no fault of their own. It is congenital and constitutional. To condemn them for not doing what an inability so derived disqualifies them for doing is plainly unjust. It is like striking a corpse for a death which the living man could not avoid. This is the cardinal point in the question now at issue, and to it especial attention must be devoted. 

1. The Sublapsarian Calvinist - and he is the true Calvinist - is not committed to the support of either party in the contest between the Arminian and the Supralapsarian. He is an interested spectator, except when his own position is endangered by assault. As the battle advances he cries, Strike on, Arminian! Wield the mighty principle that God is not the author of sin: that, in the first instance - the instance of man in innocence - ability is the condition and measure of obligation. Again he shouts, Strike on, Supralapsarian! Wield the mighty principle that in the second instance - the instance of man in his present fallen state - ability is not the condition and measure of obligation: that man's present inability is his own sin and crime, for which God justly condemns him to punishment. That, at the origin of the human race in innocence, ability conditioned and measured obligation, is not a distinctive tenet of Arminianism; it is the doctrine of the true Church Universal. That, in the present fallen condition of the race, inability cannot and does not discharge men from their obligation, as subjects of God's government, to render obedience to all his requirements, whether legal or evangelical, - this is not a peculiar tenet of Supralapsarianism; it also is the doctrine of the true Church Universal. The Arminian adheres to the faith of that Church, so far as man in innocence is concerned, and breaks with it, so far as man in his fallen, unregenerate state is concerned. The Supralapsarian departs from it as to man in innocence and cleaves to it as to fallen, unregenerate man. Both are right and both are wrong. The Calvinist holds the faith of the true Church in its integrity. 

2. The difficulty of reconciling congenital inability with the justice of God in condemning men to punishment presses upon the Evangelical Arminian as well as upon the Calvinist. The former holds that men are born under guilt and in depravity. Consequently he must hold, and in fact does hold, that they are born in a condition of spiritual inability.4 It is true that Dr. Pope speaks of an "unindividualized" human nature which before the birth of individuals is, through the virtue of Christ's atonement, freed from the guilt of Adam's sin and endued with a measure of spiritual life, and implies that were it not for this redemptive provision individuals would be born in spiritual death. But at other times he talks in the same dialect as his brethren, and admits the Evangelical doctrine that men are born in that condition. The question then is, how the Arminian harmonizes this fact with his fundamental principle that ability conditions obligation and the justice of God in punishing men for disobedience to his requirements. In this way: he holds that along with the decree to permit the Fall, there was, conditioned by the divine foreknowledge that it would occur, the decree to provide redemption from its consequences for all mankind. Accordingly, the merit of the universal atonement offered by Christ secured for all men the removal in infancy of the guilt of Adam's sin. And, further, he holds that a degree of spiritual life is imparted to every man, or, as it is sometimes expressed, a part of spiritual death is removed, and thus a measure of free will is restored. The original inability thus ceases to be total: men are endowed with a sufficient ability to comply with the divine requirements. 

(1.) The first of these positions - namely, that Adam's guilt is by virtue of the atonement removed from every infant, is opposed by insuperable difficulties. 

First, the fundamental assumption, that the atonement was offered for every individual man, cannot be proved from the Scriptures. They teach that Christ died for those of all nations and classes who were, in the eternal covenant, given to him by the Father to he redeemed. But as no value will be attached by the Arminian to this assertion, let it, for the sake of argument, be supposed that by virtue of the atonement the guilt of Adam's sin is removed from every infant. What follows? As an infant, he has, ex hypothesi; no guilt derived from Adam. That is removed. In that respect, therefore, he is innocent. But as an infant cannot contract guilt by conscious transgression, he is also in that respect innocent. There being no other source of guilt, he is entirely innocent. Is the Evangelical Arminian prepared to take the Pelagian ground that infants are altogether innocent? Further, he holds that infants are totally depraved in consequence of original sin residing in them as a principle. That he does not declare to have been removed by virtue of the atonement. We have then a being totally innocent and totally depraved, at one and the same time. Will the Evangelical Arminian defend that paradox? Further still, if it be said that total depravity is the result of development, and is consequently predicable only of the adult, the question arises, how a partial depravity, which is the principle of the development, can consist with entire innocence. The difficulty differs from the other merely in degree. If it be contended that the infant is both entirely innocent and entirely undepraved, the difficulty is avoided, but others equally great are substituted for it. For such a position would contradict the express teachings of his system and reduce his doctrine to bald Pelagianism. And, moreover, it would be impossible to account for the origin, the initial point of the development of depravity. There being no guilt and no depravity in the infant, he begins life both innocent and pure. How then does his depravity begin? Does each individual fall as Adam did? And are there as many falls as there are individuals? Would these absurdities be admitted? "We do not," says Dr. Pope, "assume a second personal fall in the case of each individual reaching the crisis of responsibility."5 Well, then, each individual must begin existence depraved, and therefore cannot be innocent. But if he has guilt it must be Adam's guilt imputed, for he cannot contract, as an infant, the guilt of personal, conscious transgression. 

There are two methods by which the Arminian may be conceived to evade the force of this difficulty. He may deny that depravity is sin. He may say, I admit the connate depravity of the infant, but as I do not concede that depravity is of the nature of sin, I am not exposed to the pressure of this difficulty. Innocence may not consist with sin, but it may with depravity. Lest it be supposed that this extraordinary hypothesis has been conjured up for the sake of an ideal completeness of the argument, let us hear a recent writer, Dr. C. W. Miller. Expressly following Limborch in his discussion of Original Sin, he says: "It is shown that the 'inclination to sin' which is a part of the fearful heritage received front Adam 'is not sin properly so called.' This is an important point." "The fundamental truth is here affirmed 'that there is no corruption in children which is truly and properly sin.' This cuts the tap-root of Augustinianism, whose main postulate is that infants inherit a moral corruption from Adam which is of the nature of sin, and deserves eternal death." Speaking purely for himself he further says: "The confusion of thought in Augustinianism consists in confounding sin and depravity. They are not the same, neither do they have any necessary connection." "It is true that man 'as born after the Fall possesses, even before any volitional act of his own, a fallen nature.' But that this 'fallen nature' is a 'sinful state' 'unrighteous evil, moral evil, sin, sinfulness,' [the quoted language being taken from Whedon on the Will] is all utter absurdity. A 'sinful nature or state' can be produced only by actual sin."6 

In the first place, this hypothesis is extravagantly paradoxical. It violates the meaning of the terms and the usus loquendi of Christendom, including the Evangelical Arminian bodies themselves. In the second place, it strips a confessed inclination to sin of all sinful quality. In the third place, it denies sinfulness of the intense selfishness which manifests itself in children before they can intelligently appreciate their relation to the moral law. In the fourth place, it places every infant in the sinless condition of Adam before he fell, and to that extent is palpably Pelagian; and in the fifth place, it makes the universal allusion of theology and the Church to the Fall a wretched solecism, since there would be as many separate falls from sinlessness into sin as there have been, are and will be, human beings on earth. One may well pause here and notice, in this conspicuous instance, the trend of contemporary Arminian speculation to the Semi-Pelagianism of Cassian and Limborch. Indeed, Dr. Miller has no hesitation in avowing himself a theologian of that school. It requires no argument to show that if Evangelical Arminianism should take on that theological type it will have renounced the leadership of Wesley, Fletcher and Watson; notwithstanding Dr. Miller's labored attempt to evince the contrary. 

There is another and apparently more promising method by which an attempt may be made to meet the difficulty created by the alleged co-existence in the infant of corruption with entire innocence. It will be urged that the same difficulty obtains in the case of the adult who is actually justified by faith. His whole guilt is removed by the justifying act, but yet the principle of corruption remains, and it will no doubt be said that upon this fact the Calvinist lays especial emphasis. But -

The removal of guilt and regeneration are inseparably related to each other. If one takes place so must the other. This is admitted by the Arminian himself. No question is here raised in regard to the order in which they occur - that is, whether regeneration precedes justification, or the opposite. Nor is it here made a question whether they occur synchronously, or may be separated by an interval of time. What is urged is, that where one of these great changes takes place the other will at some time assuredly occur. In the divine plan of salvation they are never disjoined. As the Calvinist would say, he who has been regenerated will be justified, and as the Arminian would put it, he who has been justified will be regenerated. No adult is held, by either, to be merely regenerated or merely justified, merely renewed or merely absolved from guilt. There is not in the case of the justified believer the simple co-existence of depravity with the removal of guilt. This inseparable relation of justification and regeneration the Arminian concedes with reference to infants dying in infancy. No human being can be admitted into heaven guilty and unregenerate. But the weight of the difficulty lies upon the case of the unregenerate infant who lives to adult age. He, according to the supposition, is absolved from Adam's guilt and yet is not regenerate. There is the simple, unmodified co-existence of innocence and depravity in his case, and consequently the analogy between it and that of the justified believer fails. 

If to meet this special difficulty, it be said that not only are all infants justified from the guilt of Adam's sin, but that all infants are regenerated, the rejoinder is, that the Arminian doctrine, so far from teaching the regeneration of all infants, teaches the contrary; and further, it cannot be true that every heathen man has been regenerated in infancy. 

It deserves also to be noticed that while depravity continues to exist in the justified believer, its operation is, in two respects, very seriously modified. (1.) It no longer reigns. It is not the dominant principle. Grace reigns. But in the infant unregenerated and incapable of consciously exercising faith in Christ, depravity is the reigning principle, and in the event of his growing to maturity will develop as such until regeneration takes place and faith is exercised for justification. (2.) In the justified believer depravity is checked, its development hindered, by the principle of holiness; and this principle, as it increases in energy, contributes more and more to the destruction of corruption. As this cannot be true of the unregenerate infant, it is obvious that the cases are not analogous. 

Another specific difference between the two cases lies in the fact that, previously to justification, every believer has committed conscious sins, and developed, by his voluntary agency, the principle of depravity. While he is absolved from guilt, so far as the rectoral justice of God is concerned, and the retributive consequences of sill are involved, it is consistent with fatherly justice that the principle of corruption, restrained by grace, should remain within him. Intrinsically, that is, considered not as in Christ, but in himself, he deserves to eat some of the fruits of his own doing, and experimentally to feel the bitterness of sin. This vindication of the co-existence of depravity with justification will not apply to the circumstances of an infant, who, according to the supposition, has been justified from guilt without having committed any conscious sin. 

Moreover, it ought not to escape observation that the depravity which continues in the justified believer is so overruled by God's government of grace as to secure the ends of a wholesome discipline. Now, it may be doubted whether any infant is, as such, susceptible of disciplinary rule; but, even if that hypothesis were admissible in relation to infants dying in infancy, it cannot be shown that depravity is overruled so as to further the ends of a salutary discipline in the cases of infants who do not die in infancy, but live to adult age and palpably die in their sins. 

These considerations are sufficient to show that the objection pressed against the Arminian doctrine of the absolution of every infant from the guilt of Adam's sin, that it involves the co-existence of entire innocence and depravity, cannot be met by an appeal to the case of the justified believer. 

Secondly, the view that Adam's guilt has been removed from every infant cannot be harmonizd with the existence of depravity, whether regarded from the point of view of its origin, or of its results. Wesley and Watson admit that it is penal in its origin. But if so, as the guilt of Adam's sin is removed from the infant by virtue of the atonement, the depravity which is one of its penal consequences must also be removed. It is, however, inconsistently maintained that while the cause is destroyed the effect remains. Let depravity be contemplated with reference to its results. It must be admitted that they are penal. Whoever commits sin is worthy of punishment. This desert of punishment must be checked by the provision of vicarious atonement, or penal infliction must follow as its consequence. In the case of the infant, who lives to maturity, depravity, it is conceded, issues in conscious acts of sin. Before he is justified by faith these sins merit punishment. Notwithstanding then the alleged removal of Adam's guilt from the infant, he incurs condemnation when he commits personal sins; and this is the natural result of the existence in him of the principle of corruption. How is this exposure to incur punishment reconcilable with the removal of Adam's guilt? Only in one conceivable way: by his falling into sin through his own avoidable act. But such a fall is denied in regard to each individual, as we have seen in a citation from Dr. Pope. And such a fall as Adam's was when he first contracted guilt would be out of the question, since our first father had, previously to his first act of sin, no principle of depravity, and the infant confessedly has. If it be urged that sufficient grace is given to make the first sinful act and its consequent fall avoidable, it would follow that each individual falls as Adam did; and that is denied. It is evident that the presence of the principle of corruption in the unregenerated infant, who is held to be exempted from the penal consequences of Adam's sin and yet is not guilty of conscious transgression, is a fact which must prove troublesome to the Evangelical Arminian.7

Thirdly, if Adam's guilt is removed from every infant, the Arminian has to account for spiritual death as remaining in him. Spiritual death is held by him to be a consequence of Adam's guilt entailed upon his posterity. Now if the cause be removed the effect must go with it. But, confessedly, the effect does not go. It must therefore be inferred that the cause still operates to produce it. If then all infants are in a condition of spiritual death, it cannot be true that Adam's guilt has been removed from them. It will not do to say in reply to this that a degree of spiritual life is imparted to them. For, on that supposition, some degree of spiritual death remains, as is evident from the form in which Wesley's statement is presented by Watson - namely, a portion of spiritual death is removed. The portion, then, which is not removed remains. But the part continuing must be accounted for; and it could only be accounted for on the ground that a part at least of Adam's guilt, which is its cause, continues. 

Fourthly, actual justification is split in two by this hypothesis, both as to the thing itself, and as to the time at which it occurs. For every infant is said to be justified, so far as Adam's guilt is concerned. When he has arrived at adult age he is exhorted to seek justification by faith. If he receive it, it is only in part. For as in infancy he was actually justified from Adam's guilt, he can, as an adult, be justified only from the guilt of his own conscious sins. But the Scriptures make no such division. They teach that actual justification is one, having reference as well to the guilt derived from Adam as to that contracted by personal transgressions. 

Fifthly, the Evangelical Arminian theology is inconsistent with itself in regard to the analogy which it affirms between the effects of Adam's sin and Christ's righteousness. In the first place, it admits that Adam's sin entailed spiritual death upon his descendants. But as it contends that Adam's guilt is entirely removed from his posterity by virtue of the atonement, it should, to be consistent, hold that the entire effect of that guilt is removed. That would involve the total removal of spiritual death. On the contrary, it only concedes the removal of a portion of spiritual death. The benefit of the Atonement does not match the injury of the Fall. The life conferred is not equal to the death inflicted. The analogy breaks down. In the second place, it admits that the condemnation entailed by Adam's sin upon the whole race was actual, not possible. As it contends for an analogous effect, mutatis mutandis, of Christ's righteousness upon the whole race, the justification of the whole race ought to be actual, not possible. But only in part is it said to be actual: only infants experience an actual justification, and that from Adam's guilt. The justification of the infant who lives to adult age is merely possible. It is conditioned upon a faith which may never be exercised. The justification bestowed by Christ does not match the condemnation entailed by Adam. In the third place, it admits that the ruin resulting from Adam's sin was an actual, not a possible, ruin. The race is "lost and ruined by the Fall." So the salvation resulting from Christ's righteousness should be an actual, not possible, salvation. But the analogy fails. The possible salvation said to have been won by Christ does not match the actual ruin inflicted by Adam: in Adam all do die; in Christ all may live. Myriads do not actually live. For to restrict the term life to the resurrection of the body, and to say that the wicked will be raised to life in Christ, is to misinterpret the glorious words of Paul, and destroy their grand significance. 

(2.) The position must next be considered, that, by virtue of Christ's atonement, God has given to every man a degree of spiritual life involving the restoration of a measure of free-will, so that every man is endued with sufficient ability to comply with the divine requirements. Now, either it is contended that this infusion of a degree of spiritual life is regeneration, or that it is not. 

If it be contended that it is regeneration, the reply is obvious. It is true that Arminian writers do not make this supposition, and therefore it would seem to be unnecessarily considered here. But if there be an impartation of spiritual life to those who are admitted to be spiritually dead, it must be regeneration, even though it is by Arminians denied to be. The consideration of the hypothesis is therefore, from the necessity of the case, required. Now - 

In the first place, Arminians are inconsistent with themselves in regard to this subject. If every man who by nature is spiritually dead is by grace made spiritually alive, it is perfectly manifest that every man is in infancy born again; for the new birth is precisely the change in which a principle of spiritual life is supernaturally introduced into the soul of the sinner. To take any other ground is to gainsay the Scriptures. They represent the change as one in which the spiritually dead sinner is quickened, and if the infusion of a degree of spiritual life does not quicken the soul, language has no meaning. Every man then is in infancy born again. But Evangelical Arminians and Evangelical Arminian preachers enforce upon adults the necessity of being born again. Why preach the need of the new birth to those who are already born again? How with consistency can it be said, You are regenerated, but you must be regenerated? 

In the second place, if the impartation of a degree of spiritual life be regeneration, as the purpose of its bestowal, according to the Arminian theology, is that the will of the sinner may be assisted in determining the question of conversion, the regenerating grace of the Holy Ghost is reduced into subordination to the natural will: it is made a minister to incite that will to take saving action. Surely that cannot be true. If it be replied that it is the regenerating grace that determines the will, one of the differentiating elements of the Arminian system is given up, and, to that extent, the Calvinistic adopted. 

In the third place, either it is maintained that this degree of spiritual life continues, or that it does not continue, with the sinner until the moment of his believing in Christ. If it continue with him through all changes until he believes, it may be long after he has reached adult age, how comes it to pass that it does not prove more successful as an assistant of the will? Could anything more clearly show the inferiority and subserviency to the natural will of the regenerating grace of God, than such an hypothesis? If it does not continue till the act of believing in Christ, but may be lost through the obstinate resistance of the sinner's will, is it again imparted, and again, and again? Is the series of infusions kept up until final impenitency ensues and the failure of its mission stands confessed; or until the sovereign will of the sinner vouchsafes compliance with its solicitations? And is the sinner, before he believes in Christ, born again an indefinite number of times? Are there many spiritual births before that second birth for which the unconverted sinner is exhorted to pray and strive? 

If it be contended - and it is by Arminian writers contended - that the infusion of a degree of spiritual life into every man is not regeneration, the answer is: from the nature of the case it must be. That which is dead has no degree of life; that which has a degree of life is not dead. The supposition of the least degree of life destroys the supposition of death. If then the least degree of spiritual life be infused into every man, it follows that every man is spiritually alive. To deny this is to affirm that a man may be spiritually dead and spiritually alive at one and the same time. But if, in consequence of the infusion of a degree of spiritual life into every man, every man is spiritually alive, every man is regenerated. Every heathen is, in infancy, regenerated. For, it is the very office of regeneration to impart spiritual life to the spiritually dead sinner. It is admitted by all evangelical theologians, including Arminians, that regeneration, strictly speaking, is God's act in consequence of which a sinner is born again. If then he cannot be spiritually alive before he is spiritually born, or, what is the same, born again, be cannot be spiritually alive before he is regenerated; as he cannot begin to live spiritually before his new birth, he cannot begin to live spiritually before his regeneration. Upon this point we want no clearer proof than is furnished by Wesley himself. "Before" he says, "a child is born into the world, he has eyes, but sees not: he has ears, but does not hear. He has a very imperfect use of any other sense. He has no knowledge of any of the things of the world, or any natural understanding. To that manner of existence which he then has we do not even give the name of life. It is then only when a man is born that we say he begins to live." 

He then applies the felicitous illustration to the case of a man "in a mere natural state, before he is born of God."8 This witness is true. To be spiritually alive is to be born again. But as to be born again is to be regenerated, to be spiritually alive is to be regenerated. One, therefore, fails to see how the Evangelical Arminian, can consistently deny that, according to his doctrine, every man is in infancy regenerated. There is but one conceivable mode in which this difficulty may be sought to be avoided. He may deny that one who has a degree of spiritual life is spiritually alive; and it is enough to say of such a position that its statement is its refutation. But if it comes to this, that every man is affirmed to be regenerated in infancy, the doctrine would surpass in extravagance that of baptismal regeneration; and yet, by a happy inconsistency, the Evangelical Arminian utterly rejects that doctrine. Wonders never cease. 

One might go on accumulating obstacles in the path of this remarkable tenet, that God gives a degree or seed of spiritual life to every man; but more will not now be said in regard to it, as it is the same with the doctrine of "sufficient grace" which has already been partially considered, and will be still more particularly examined when the objection to the Calvinistic doctrine from the divine goodness shall come to be discussed. It has been shown that the Arminian attempt is vain to escape the difficulty which was alleged to rest upon him as well as upon the Calvinist - namely, the reconciliation of the spiritual inability in which men are born with the justice of God in punishing them for sin. 

3. The Calvinistic solution of this great difficulty, from the days of Augustin to the present time, is, that men's spiritual inability is not original, but penal. It is not original, for God conferred upon man at the creation ample ability to comply with all his requirements. There was not inserted into his nature any evil principle from which sin could be developed, nor any weakness or imperfection which, in the absence of determining grace, necessitated a fall. He was, it is true, liable to fall in consequence of mutability of will, but he was at the same time able to stand. When, therefore, he sinned, the fault was altogether his own. He could not lay the blame upon his natural constitution, and so, by implication, upon its divine author. He unnecessarily and inexcusably revolted against the paternal and beneficent rule of God, and consequently subjected himself to the just sentence of a violated law. When he sinned, he wantonly, deliberately, wilfully threw away that spiritual ability with which he had been richly endowed. He disabled himself by his own act. His subsequent inability to love God and obey his law was a necessary part of his punishment. For, the judicial curse of the divine government, and the rupture of the spiritual bond which united him to God as the source of holiness and strength, certainly involved the withdrawal of grace, and the loss of ability. Original righteousness was forfeited. In a word, his inability was penal. 

Now, when our first father sinned, he acted not for himself alone but also for his posterity. He was appointed by God their federal head and representative. Consequently, while his act of sin was not theirs consciously and subjectively, for at the time of its commission they had no conscious existence, it was theirs federally, legally, representatively. The judicial consequences of his first sin were likewise entailed upon them. "They sinned in him and fell with him in his first transgression;" they were condemned in his condemnation; and they lost their spiritual ability in him. The spiritual inability which was a part of his punishment is a part of theirs. As the inability which he brought upon himself did not, and could not, discharge him from the obligation to obey God, so neither does theirs relieve them of the same obligation. The spiritual inability of the race, as it was self-contracted by an avoidable act of rebellion against God, cannot exempt them from the punishment which is justly due to their sin. And if it be just for God to punish them in time, it was just for him to decree the punishment in eternity. That is to say, the decree of reprobation is consistent with justice. 

4. We have now reached the last point in this regression. We have got back to Adam, and the responsibility of the race for his first sin. Here the difference between the Calvinistic and Arminian doctrines seems to be lessened, and they appear to approximate each other. For they agree in affirming the accountability of mankind for the first sin of the first man, although they differ as to the mode in which that accountability is realized; the Arminian contenting himself with holding the parental relation as grounding it, the Calvinist contending that over and beyond the parental there was the strictly legal and representative relation from which the responsibility of the race is derived. To both parties the question springs up just here - and it is one of profoundest interest and importance - Was it just that the human race should be held responsible for the first sin of Adam, their progenitor, so that the judicial consequences of that sin are entailed upon them? 

It is not necessary here to discuss the question, as one of fact, whether God entered into a covenant with Adam which implicated his posterity in his responsibility. The fact of such a covenant, the fact that there was some sort of federal constitution in relation to Adam and his posterity, is admitted by Evangelical Arminians. They admit that the account given in Genesis of the transactions in the garden of Eden is not allegorical but literal, not mythical but historical. They hold that the universality of bodily suffering and death, and of sin working with the force of an all-pervading law from the moment that the human faculties begin to expand, proves conclusively that in some way guilt and depravity are inherited from the primitive ancestor of the race, and are not originated by the conscious acts of each individual. Every man at birth is the heir of guilt and corruption. As then the fact of a federal constitution of some kind, and of the accountability, in some sense, of all men as parties to it in their first parent, is maintained by Evangelical Arminians along with almost the whole nominal Church, it is not requisite to enforce the proofs of it which are challenged by Pelagius and Socinians, Rationalists and Sceptics. It will be assumed. 

But the questions, what the nature of the covenant was, in what sense Adam was the head and representative of his posterity, how the federal constitution affects our conceptions of the justice of God in his dealings with the human race, - these questions it is vital to the argument to consider. The Evangelical Arminian charges the Calvinistic doctrine with attributing injustice to God. But as he, with the Calvinist, concedes the hereditary guilt and corruption of mankind, in consequence of which, notwithstanding the aids of grace which he alleges are furnished them, innumerable multitudes actually perish, it is incumbent upon him as well as upon the Calvinist to vindicate the divine justice in view of these mysterious but undeniable facts. This he endeavors to accomplish in two ways: 

(1.) The first is this: God, along with the decree to permit the fall of the first man and of his posterity as implicated in his responsibility, and his foreknowledge that the fall thus permitted would take place, also decreed to provide a redemption which would match the foreseen evil in all its extent. It is pleaded that the apparent injustice in holding the race involved in the consequences of their first father's sin and fall is relieved by the redemptive provision. The alleged bearing of this provided redemption upon the race, in absolving every man from the imputation of Adamic guilt, and restoring to each a seed of spiritual life and a competent measure of free will, thus affording to all a fair probation, removing from them spiritual inability, and rendering it possible for them to avail themselves of the salvation procured by Christ, - this has been already discussed. The point now to be considered is, the allegation of the Evangelical Arminian theology that without such a decreed provision of redemption, accompanying the fall of the race in Adam and intended to counteract its disastrous results, the justice of God could not be vindicated; but that, on the other hand, the fact of that provision supplies the desired vindication. 

It is difficult, if not impracticable, to ascertain the catholic doctrines of the Evangelical Arminian system. One theologian teaches a doctrine which another either denies or modifies; and there is no common, recognized standard by which these differences could be judged. In regard to the positions just mentioned, for example, some hold that the purpose to permit the Fall with the entailment of its consequences upon all mankind, and the purpose to provide redemption as an antidote, were concurrent. Neither was the redeeming purpose conditioned by the purpose to permit the Fall, nor was it pre-supposed by the purpose touching the Fall. They must be conceived as concurrent, neither pre-supposing the other. With reference to this view it is sufficient to say that it is neither conceivable nor credible. We are obliged to think one purpose as pre-supposing another, not in the order of time - for that order is inapplicable to God's eternal purposes - but in the order of nature or of thought. How could the conception of redemption exist without the pre-supposition of beings to be redeemed? And how could the conception of such beings obtain without the pre-supposition of a fall into sin and misery? 

Again, it has, with more ground in reason, been maintained that the purpose of redemption, in the order of thought, preceded and conditioned the purpose to permit the Fall and, indeed, all other purposes, even that to create. But-

In the first place, this view is inconsistent with the usual statement in the Arminian scheme of the order of the divine purposes, - namely the purpose to create; the purpose to permit the Fall; the purpose to redeem; the purpose to call; the purpose to elect. 

In the second place, it has no clear support from Scripture. It has been supposed to be required by such passages as Colossians i. 16, where it is stated that all things were created, not only by Christ, but for him. This statement, however, does not necessarily imply that all things were created by the Son of God and for him, as he is Redeemer. And unless that could be proved to be the meaning of the passage, the view under consideration is not substantiated by it. No doubt the world was made for the glory of the eternal Son of God, but, for aught that appears to the contrary, that end might have been secured had sin not taken place, and had there consequently been no redemption. It is right to say that creation has by divine decree become a magnificent theatre for the display of the transcendent glory of redemption; but that is very different from saying that creation was decreed in order to be the theatre of redemption. 

In the third place, this scheme of the divine decrees is liable to some of the difficulties, metaphysical and moral, to which that of the Supralapsarian is exposed. A decree to redeem merely creatable beings, or even created but unfallen beings, is inconceivable, if not self-contradictory; and if the decree of redemption, in the order of thought, preceded the decrees to create and to permit the Fall, creation and the Fall were means necessary to the accomplishment of the redemptive end. That would run athwart the doctrine of a simple permission of the Fall; and, further, since a large section of the human race, according to the admission of Arminians, are not actually saved, the end contemplated by the decree of redemption would, to that extent, fail to be accomplished and the divine will be defeated. 

This view has also difficulties peculiar to itself. For, as the foreknowledge of a permitted fall could not, in the order of thought, have preceded the decree to create, since merely possible beings could not be permitted actually to fall, and it is impossible to see how the certainty that such beings would actually fall could be foreknown, the decree to redeem would have had no redeemable objects upon which to terminate, and therefore is inconceivable. And still further, if it be contended that such a decree was possible, it follows that as it fails, in its execution, to secure the final redemption of all, and actually issues in that only of some, of the human race, it would be subject to the very objection which Arminians urge against the Calvinistic decree of election. 

But, whatever be the relation which Evangelical Arminians predicate of the purpose to permit the Fall and the purpose to redeem, whether the one precedes the other, or they are absolutely concurrent, the difficulty which they seek to avoid by making the decree to redeem complementary to the decree to permit the Fall still presses upon them. They do not, by this means, vindicate the justice of God in implicating the race in the responsibilities attending Adam's sin. It is held, let it be remembered, that it would have been unjust in God to treat the race as responsible for Adam's sin, had he not purposed to provide redemption from its consequences. 

First, It deserves to be remarked that Evangelical Arminians are accustomed to enforce the analogy between the sufferings of men for the sin of Adam and the sufferings of children for the sins of their parents. Now, either it is just that children should suffer for the sins of their parents, or it is unjust. If it be said to be just, then, if the analogy hold, it is just that Adam's children should suffer for his sin. If it be said to be unjust, God's ordinary providence is charged with injustice; for it is a fact that children do suffer for the sins of their parents. Either alternative is damaging to the Arminian view. Let it be observed, that this argument is addressed to the concessions of Arminians. The analogy which they plead I regard as deceptive, and the argument based upon it as inconclusive. 

Secondly, If the implication of the race in the consequences of Adam's sin would have been unjust apart from the purpose of redemption, it would follow that the prevention of the injustice must be conceived as having been the demand of justice and not a free dictate of grace. A measure by which injustice is prevented or removed cannot, without an abuse of language, be denominated a fruit of grace. It is a product of justice. And so the grace of God is no more grace. The redemption of sinners from the consequences of the Fall is required by justice. The sinner, therefore, instead of extolling divine grace should celebrate divine justice; instead of shouting, Grace! grace! he should shout, justice! justice! The truth is, that a constitution of things by which the interposition of divine justice is required to prevent or remove the effects of divine injustice is, from the nature of the case, as inconceivable as it is impossible. The only relief to the Arminian from the pressure of this difficulty would lie in denying that men, in any sense, suffer on account of Adam's sin, and that would throw him into collision with the doctrine of Scripture, the facts of experience and the results of observation. 

Thirdly, If, apart from the provision of redemption, the constitution by which the race was involved in the consequences of Adam's sin would have been intrinsically unjust, the redemptive provision accompanying it could not possibly relieve that intrinsic injustice. It would inhere in the very nature of such a constitution. The redemption provided might deliver men from its evil results, but it could not deliver God from the charge of having instituted an arrangement in itself unjust. It would relieve the disaster, but leave the original wrong untouched. The consequence of the injustice would be removed, but the injustice would abide. No fact can be undone. To state the case differently: if a federal constitution by which Adam's descendants became responsible for his sin would have been in itself unjust, the co-ordination with it of a redeeming purpose could not cancel the injustice, for that purpose could only take effect after the wrong had been inflicted. Men must have suffered before they could be actually redeemed. If not, from what would they be redeemed? The suffering, consequently, must while it lasts be conceived as having been unjustly imposed. 

Fourthly, If it was intended, in order to avoid injustice, that the provision of redemption should deliver men from the sufferings entailed upon them by Adam's fall, then it was necessary, in order to the attainment of the end contemplated, that all those sufferings should be removed. For, if any part of them remained, to that extent the injustice would not be repaired. And this difficulty weighs especially upon those who hold that those sufferings are penal. If it be replied, as replied it must be, that the redemptive provision was not designed to operate ipso facto in the removal of suffering, but that such removal is conditioned upon the acceptance of the offer of redemption, and that ability is given to men to accept the offer, the difficulty is not discharged. For, in the first place, infants can neither understand nor accept the offer; yet they suffer. The injustice is not removed from them. It would be idle to say that they suffer disciplinarily, for, as infants, they are unsusceptible of discipline. They cannot perceive the ends of suffering. And further, disciplinary suffering pre-supposes penal. It cannot be justly imposed upon beings who were not, in the first instance, either consciously or putatively guilty. In the second place, the removal of injustice inflicted upon adults cannot, consistently with justice, be conditioned upon their voluntary acceptance of an offer to remove it. Justice requires the unconditional undoing of injustice which has been done. This difficulty becomes all the more aggravated when it is considered that the acceptance of the redeeming provision is opposed by the corrupt nature derived from the Fall. Either God can remove the consequences of the Fall, or he cannot. If he can and does not, he perpetuates the injustice which he is supposed to have inflicted. If he cannot, how did the provision of redemption come to be conceived in his mind as calculated to relieve the intrinsic injustice of the federal constitution? He would in devising it have known that he could not make it effectual to relieve that injustice. If it be said, that he cannot, in accordance with the nature he bestowed upon man, act inconsistently with man's free will, the answer is, that when he determined to provide redemption he must have foreseen that limitation upon its applicability as a remedy, and therefore his inability fully to remove the inherent injustice of the federal constitution. In the third place, even the offer of redemption is not made actually to every man. Some have not the opportunity furnished them of accepting it. Myriads of the heathen never heard of it. How then does the provision of redemption remove the injustice involved in the sufferings induced upon them by the Fall? If it be urged, that the atonement of Christ indirectly benefits them, without their knowledge of it, the reply is obvious, that their sufferings continue. They are not benefited to the extent of their removal. Nor can it be pleaded that like adults in Christian lands they bind their sufferings upon themselves by rejecting the tendered remedy. For how can they reject a remedy which was never proffered them? To say that they have some knowledge of the gospel through tradition from the patriarchal, or any other, era, is but to trifle with a solemn subject. If finally it be said, that the heathen in relation to the gospel scheme are in a condition similar to that of infants, that will not answer, for we have seen that the sufferings of infants cannot be adjusted to the theory that the provision of redemption checked the intrinsic injustice of the Adamic constitution. 

Under the conviction that it is one of the key positions of the Evangelical Arminian scheme, I have thus criticised with some minuteness the view, that the divine purpose to provide redemption for mankind, which was co-ordinate with the constitution implicating them in the judicial consequences of their first father's sin, prevented the injustice otherwise chargeable upon that constitution. 

(2.) The second way, in which Evangelical Arminians attempt to vindicate the justice of God in view of the hereditary guilt and corruption of all men, is to be found in their doctrine concerning the nature of the relation sustained by the first man to the race. That doctrine is: that God made a covenant with Adam as a parental head representing his posterity, by virtue of which they, having been in his loins, are justly subjected to the consequences of his sin. They were in him as children are in a father; one with him because of, and simply because of, the parental and filial relation. As they were thus - to use Wesley's words - "contained in Adam," it followed that when he sinned the consequences of his fatal act were deserved by them. In support of this view they appeal to the analogy of providence. Children, without their conscious agency, are involved in the disastrous consequences of their parents' sins. They suffer because their fathers were criminals; and to object, on the ground of injustice, to the primal constitution through which all men experience the injurious results of their first father's fall into sin is to impeach the justice of God in his ordinary and acknowledged dealings with men. 

It is true that some Arminian theologians affirm that Adam was "a public person and a legal representative;"9 and that this language taken by itself would imply that they do not regard him as having been simply a parental head. But, two considerations clearly show that notwithstanding these terms by which they appear to qualify the merely parental headship of the first man, merely parental headship is what they really hold. The first is their unwillingness to admit that the race had a proper probation in Adam which was closed by his fall into sin. The second is their denial that the posterity of Adam in any sense committed his first sin and are on that account chargeable with its guilt. These facts prove that they do not maintain, but on the contrary deny, the strictly representative character of the first man. For, if he had been not only a parental head and trustee, but over and beyond that a legal representative, of the race, they would have had their probation in him, and must, in accordance with the essential principle of representation, be considered as having legally and constructively performed his act in committing the first sin and as being therefore chargeable with its guilt. We shall get a precise conception of the Evangelical Arminian doctrine concerning the headship of Adam by comparing it with the Calvinistic. The Evangelical Arminian holds that when God created Adam a parental head, he in the same act and by virtue of it created him a federal head. In becoming the first father, Adam, of necessity, became the representative, of mankind. Only as he was, and because he was, father was he representative. The Calvinist holds that after God had created Adam a parental head he, by a free determination of his will, appointed him a federal head and legal representative, and then entered into a covenant of life with him, suspending justification for himself and his posterity as his constituents upon his perfect obedience during a limited time of trial. In the one case he was created a federal head because he was created a parental head, the representative relation being no more than is involved in the parental. In the other, he was not created a federal head and representative, but, by a free act from which his Maker might have abstained, was appointed and constituted the bearer of that transcendently responsible office. It is plain that, according to the Evangelical Arminian theology, Adam was in no other sense a federal head and legal representative than as he was the parental head of the human race. The relation he sustained was that of mere parental headship with such responsibilities and consequences as it naturally involves. Accordingly. I shall endeavor to show that such a relation will not bear the strain that is put upon it. 

First, Evangelical Arminian theologians themselves, as we have seen, explicitly acknowledge the fact that the visitation upon the race of the bitter consequences of Adam's sin, merely in virtue of their relation to him as a parental head, cannot be reconciled with our conceptions of the divine justice. In itself considered, such a constitution would have been unjust. In order to its having been adopted as a part of the divine scheme of government it was necessary that its intrinsic injustice should be destroyed by an extrinsic connection with a purpose of redemption in consequence of which the damage done by the Fall should be amply repaired. Taken by itself, then, the parental headship of Adam, as foreknown to issue in the fall of the race, is confessed by Evangelical Arminians themselves to be incapable of being harmonized with justice. But it has in these remarks been already shown that its connection with a redeeming purpose does not relieve this difficulty. It is not vindicated from the charge of inherent injustice by its association with the purpose of God to provide redemption. If, therefore, according to the admission of its advocates, the constitution by which Adam was made the parental head of the race was intrinsically unjust, it is impossible by an appeal to it to establish the justice of God in inflicting the results of his sin upon them. The difficulty raised by our intuition of justice instead of being met is aggravated. A procedure confessed to have been unjust is vindicated by an unjust constitution in which it originated! Arminians themselves being judges, the mere parental headship of Adam will not carry the weight imposed upon it. 

Secondly, It is one of the curious inconsistencies of Evangelical Arminian divines that, having acknowledged the injustice of the constitution involving the race in responsibility for the sin of Adam their parental head conceived apart from the purpose of God to redeem them, they proceed to illustrate the justice of that constitution by citing the analogous case of the ordinary parental relation and its consequences upon children. They affirm that it is at one and the same time intrinsically unjust and intrinsically just. The soundest exponents of the Evangelical Arminian system maintain that the sufferings entailed upon Adam's posterity by his sin are in their nature penal. They are not mere calamities; they are punishments. Temporal death, spiritual death, liability to eternal death, - these, they justly contend, are not to be regarded as simply our misfortune. They are in some sense the results of our own fault - we have, in some way, deserved them. The Pelagianizing utterances of such writers as Miner Raynond, who scouts this view, cannot by a candid critic be considered as representative of Evangelical Arminianism even in its present attitude. If they are, it is not the system of Wesley, Fletcher and Watson: it is far gone from that system. 

Now, it is a fundamental principle of God's moral government that none but the guilty are held liable to punishment. Before one can be justly punished it must be proved that he did some wrong act, or is the culpable author of some wrong disposition inherent in him. Before he can share another's punishment, he must have shared the other's fault: he must, in some sense, be justly held as particeps criminis. This is a principle of human law, and in that regard it reflects the divine. In what sense, then, are children now the sharers of their parents' acts? They are different persons from them, and therefore their personality cannot be considered as merged into that of their parents. The acts on account of which they suffer may have been committed before they were born. They could not therefore have consciously joined in their performance. Their parents are not, strictly speaking, their legal representatives, so that their acts, although not consciously and subjectively, would yet be legally, representatively, putatively, the acts of their children. These suppositions exhaust the possibilities in the case, and as neither of them is true, it follows that children do not share the guilt of their parents, and therefore cannot be justly punished for it. They suffer on account of the evil deeds of their parents. That fact is announced in the Decalogue, and abundantly established by the ordinary course of providence; and in view of it the responsibilities of parents are seen to be nothing less than tremendous. But these sufferings are not punishments; they are calamities, except in cases in which the children imitate the wickedness of their parents, and so by their own conscious and voluntary acts make their parents' guilt their own. When they incur the guilt they deserve the punishment. Until then their sufferings are not penal. The sufferings of an infant in its cradle cannot be regarded as penal inflictions for the sins of its immediate parents. 

This important distinction between punishment and calamity is distinctly asserted by God himself in his Word. He commanded Moses to embody this provision in his code: "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children; neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin."10 Accordingly, we are told that when Amaziah, the son of Joash, king of Judah ascended the throne, he put to death the men who had murdered his father, but remembering the divine law he did not inflict the same doom upon their children. The record is as follows: "And it came to pass, as soon as the kingdom was confirmed in his hand, that he slew his servants which had slain the king his father. But the children of the murderers he slew not: according to that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers: but every man shall be put to death for his own sin."11 The same principle of procedure is affirmed in the eighteenth chapter of Ezekiel: "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." If a righteous man, continues the Lord by the mouth of the prophet, beget a son who doeth wickedly, the son shall bear his own iniquity; he shall surely die. If a wicked man have a son who doeth righteously, he shall not bear the iniquity of his father; he shall surely live. "Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel: Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?" Here the equity of the divine administration is asserted because it proceeds upon the principle that every man is rewarded or punished for his own conduct. No one suffers penally because of his father's sins. His teeth are not set on edge because his father ate sour grapes, but they are set on edge because he himself has eaten sour grapes. 

The conclusion from this argument is that, if it be a principle of the divine government that children are not dealt with retributively and punitively for the sins of their parents, it follows that Adam's children could not be justly punished for his sin, on the supposition that he was merely their parental head. Either, then, we must give up the alleged analogy between Adam's relation to his posterity and that of ordinary parents to their children, or, maintaining that analogy, we must charge God with an unjust deviation from the principles of his moral government in punishing Adam's children, for the sin of one who was simply a parental head. No one who fears God can hesitate as to the choice between these alternatives. He is shut up to the conclusion that as Adam's children are punished for his sin, he could not have been merely a parental head. He must have sustained to them another and different relation. Of course this argument will have no force with one who adheres to the analogy and at the same time denies the penal character of men's inherited sufferings. But as the Evangelical Arminian of the old school is not a Pelagian, it has a powerful bearing upon his position. 

Let it be distinctly understood that in contending against the view that children are punitively dealt with for the sins of their parents, it is not intended to say that their sufferings are in no sense penal: It is not conceivable that under a perfectly just government any moral agent could suffer unless his suffering be in the first instance, in some sense, penal. Men are not punished for the sins of their immediate parents, how much soever they may suffer for them; but they are punished for the sin of Adam, and hence the conclusion is that he must have been more than a father. As to those Arminian writers who boldly take the infidel position that no man is punished for the sin of Adam, it is enough to press the question, How, then, under the government of a just God are men born to suffering at all? How is it that infants suffer? Even if the ground be taken that those infants who are regenerated and die in infancy are in some inexplicable way disciplined through suffering for glory, what becomes of the case of those who live to adult age, and die unregenerate, who suffer in infancy, suffer in mature age and suffer in hell forever? Were their sufferings in infancy disciplinary? To say that suffering is natural, that is, that it is the legitimate result of an original, natural constitution, is to impeach alike the justice and the benevolence of God. The sufferings of all men partake of a penal character until they are by grace made spiritual children of God and justified through the merits of the sinner's atoning Substitute. Punishment then is changed into discipline - the judge gives way to the Father. But as the argument is not with Pelagiaus and skeptics, but with those who profess to be evangelical, no more needs to be said upon this particular point. 

Thirdly, The theory that Adam was simply a parental head of mankind, only responsible for such consequences in regard to them as that relation carries with it, makes it necessary to hold that guilt and corruption were derived from him to them by propagation through the generative channel. The principle of derivation is that like begets like. There are insuperable difficulties in the way of that doctrine. In the first place, it is impossible to prove that legal guilt and moral qualities are transmitted by propagation from father to son. The theory involves a doctrine which is unsusceptible of proof. It is consequently an inadequate account of the relation between the legal guiltiness and moral state of Adam's descendants on the one hand and his sinful act on the other. In the second place, if the supposition of propagation be admitted, no proof of its justice can be furnished. How was it grounded? Why did Adam propagate a guilty and corrupt progeny? Are his children's teeth set on edge, because he as their father ate sour grapes? The soul that sinneth, it shall die. But, according to Arminians, infants could not have committed Adam's sinful act, and they cannot consciously sin. Still, they are admitted to be at birth, by virtue of their relation to their first father, guilty and depraved, and they actually suffer and die. Their teeth are set on edge, but they did not eat sour grapes. In the third place, if the theory of propagation be true, how comes it to pass that all Adam's sins have not entailed their baleful consequences upon his posterity? It is admitted that they are affected by only his first sin. How is this limitation to be accounted for? Will it, with Thomas Aquinas, be said that only the first sin corrupts the nature, and on the contrary all subsequent sins of Adam and of all his posterity only the person?12 This would be an appeal to the theory of Numerical Identity of nature in Adam and his descendants, and that theory the Evangelical Arminian rejects; and besides he concedes the personal responsibility of men for Adam's fall. That explanation, therefore, will not answer. Will it be said, that, although the fallen nature is propagated and without special divine action would carry with it the consequences of other sins of Adam than the first, it pleased God to limit the imputation of guilt to the first sin? The reply would be, that the supposition, upon the mere theory of propagation, is inadmissible. For, wherever there is sin, it involves guilt, and the non-imputation of the guilt would, under a just government, be impossible, without atonement made for it after it had been incurred. Upon this theory, it would be as illegitimate to suppose the non-imputation of the guilt of other sins than the first to the propagated guilty and corrupt nature, as to suppose the non-imputation of the guilt of other sins than his first to Adam personally. Will it be said, that the limitation of imputed guilt to the first sin is to be referred to the federal constitution? The answer would be, that the explanation would be borrowed from a theory of strictly legal representation, different from and superadded to parental representation, which is rejected by the Evangelical Arminian. This appeal would therefore be to him incompetent. In the fourth place, if the theory of propagation were true it would follow that Adam when regenerated would have begotten regenerate children. But such a position is not maintained even by its advocates. If in order to remove this difficulty the ground be taken that the nature is propagated according to the original type and that is sinful, the reply is, as Dr. Thornwell has suggested, that the original type, that is, in the first instance, was holy, and a holy nature ought therefore to be propagated. 

Fourthly, The theory of the mere parental headship of Adam cannot be adjusted to the analogy, clearly taught in Scripture, between the first Adam and the second. The first is declared to have been a figure or type of the second; "not that he was," as John Owen profoundly observes, "an instituted type, ordained for that only end and purpose, but only that in what he was, and what he did, with what followed thereupon, there was a resemblance between him and Jesus Christ."13 The meaning is that the principle upon which the first Adam stood related to his posterity is the same with that which grounded the relation of the second to his seed, - they both acted in accordance with the principle of representation. As condemnation passed upon Adam's posterity on account of his disobedience, so justification passed upon Christ's posterity on account of his obedience. This is clear, and it is admitted by both parties to this question. Now, if condemnation came upon Adam's seed because he as their father sinned, it would follow that justification comes upon Christ's seed because he as their father obeyed. The principle must be the same in both cases, or the analogy is destroyed. Was it parental headship which in Adam's case grounded the justice of condemnation? So must it be parental headship which in Christ's case grounds the justice of justification. But neither Calvinist nor Arminian takes that view of justification. Both hold that while it is true that Christ's people are born of him by his Spirit, and so holiness is communicated to them, it is also true that justification is derived from him in another way. He did not as a merely parental head secure justification, but as a representative and substitute in law. But if Christ was, strictly speaking, a legal representative and not merely a parental head, so must Adam have been, or the analogy between them breaks down. 

Further, if it be contended - as it is by Watson - that as Adam was a parental head, so Christ is a spiritual head - as the former was a natural parent, so the latter is a spiritual parent, it would follow from the analogy that justification can only flow from Christ to his spiritual children. And as Evangelical Arminians do not hold that all men are regenerate and therefore Christ's spiritual children, justification could not have been secured for all men. They are thus reduced to self-contradiction. If they deny that all men are the spiritual children of Christ, they deny that justification was secured for all men, and thus admit the Calvinistic doctrine of particular atonement. If they affirm that all men are the spiritual children of Christ, just as all men are naturally the children of Adam, they deny their own doctrine of the necessity of the new birth, their own admission that all men are not actually born again, and the indubitable testimony of Scripture. To say that the heathen are all regenerate is to gainsay the Bible and fact alike. It is clear that the Arminian doctrine of the parental headship of Adam will not square with the facts of Christ's case, and therefore cannot be adjusted to the scriptural account of the analogy between the first and the second Adam. 

Fifthly, A decisive consideration is, that upon the Evangelical Arminian theory neither Adam nor his descendants could ever have been justified. It is not here intended to deny that if God had been pleased to enter into a covenant with Adam as an individual, apart from a representative relation to his posterity, in which he promised him life upon condition of perfect obedience for a limited time of trial, he might have attained to justification. Nor is it impossible to suppose that God may, had he pleased, have entered into a similar covenant with each individual of his posterity, in which case each would have stood upon his own foot and have had the opportunity of securing justification. On either of these suppositions, the principle of representation would have been excluded, and that of individual probation employed. God was not pleased to adopt this mode of dealing with Adam or his descendants. He collected all the individuals of the race into unity upon the first man appointed as their federal head and legal representative, embraced them with him in a common probation, and promised to him and to them in him justification upon condition of his perfect obedience for a specified and definite period. If it be supposed that neither of these methods of procedure was employed in relation to the first man and his descendants, the impossibility of justification would be conceded. If a special covenant arrangement did not limit the time of obedience, the naked, unmodified demand of mere law would have been in force. The consequence would necessarily have resulted, that no point in the endless existence of the subject of law could have been reached at which he could have appeared before God saying, I have finished the obedience assigned me and ask for my reward. The answer to such a claim, were it supposable, would inevitably be, Thou hast an immortality of obedience yet before thee, with the possibility of a fall. No justification, in the proper, scriptural sense of the term, can be conceived as possible except upon the ground of a completed obedience; and as no obedience can be completed unless there be a definite limitation of the time in which it is to be offered, a theory which throws out of account such limitation fails to provide for the possibility of justification. Now the Evangelical Arminian theory is open to this fatal objection. It makes no mention of a limitation of the time of obedience even in regard to Adam personally considered, and it denies that his descendants had a strict, legal probation in him. Suppose then - and the supposition is legitimated by the doctrine of a mere permission of the Fall - that Adam had stood in integrity and were standing in integrity now, how could he have been justified? Perpetual obedience with its accompanying contingency of fall would be his duty still as it was his duty at first. Of course, too, there would be no justification of his posterity in an unjustified head. To say that his righteousness, although incomplete and defectible, might be imputed to them, or accrue to their benefit, would be very far from saying that they would be justified on its account. As it could not ground his justification, it could not theirs. 

This consideration is specially illuminated in the light of the scriptural analogy between Christ and Adam. The time of Christ's obedience was limited. He declared that he had twelve hours in which to walk and that he must work the works of him that sent him while it was day: the night was coming in which no man could work. Accordingly when he had completed his obedience, he triumphantly exclaimed amidst his dying agonies, "It is finished." Not only, therefore, was he justified from the voluntarily assumed and imputed guilt of his people's iniquities which were laid upon him, but his finished righteousness was capable of being imputed to his seed and of constituting the ground of their justification. It is too obvious to need pressing that if Adam's case was parallel to that of Christ, the time of his probationary obedience must have been limited to condition the possibility of his justification and that of his seed. The Evangelical Arminian theory contains no such element and therefore signally breaks down. 

The ways, in which Evangelical Arminian theologians endeavor to vindicate God's justice in the constitution by virtue of which the consequences of Adam's first sin are entailed upon his race, have thus been subjected to examination and their insufficiency has been exhibited. 

The question now is, What, according to the Calvinistic conception, is the scriptural method of reconciling the implication of the race in the consequences of Adam's first sin with the justice of God? And let it be borne in mind that this question is subordinate to the ultimate one which is under consideration namely, whether the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation are, as charged, inconsistent with the divine justice. 

Both parties to the question in hand admit the existence of an Adamic covenant: a federal transaction of some sort is conceded. The Calvinistic doctrine involves these elements: That, under the Covenant of Works, God appointed Adam a legal representative of his posterity; that he and they were one in law; that his acts were legally and representatively their acts, on the principle that what one does by a representative he himself does; that justification, that is, confirmation in holiness and happiness, was promised to Adam and his posterity on condition of his perfect obedience for a limited time, and death was threatened in the event of disobedience; and that as a consequence of all this mankind had their legal probation in Adam, so that had he stood and been justified they would in him have stood and been justified, and as he fell and was condemned they in him fell and were condemned. In support of this doctrine the following considerations are submitted: 

First, The fact being admitted by Evangelical Arminians of a covenant with Adam which included his posterity, so that they are involved in the consequences pertaining to his first sin, it follows that if, as has been shown, parental headship implying only such federal responsibilities as it is conceived to carry with it naturally and necessarily was not, and could not consistently with justice have been, the relation between the first man and his descendants which grounded their judicial condemnation and penal sufferings, that relation must have been one subsisting between him as a strictly legal representative and them as his legal constituents. This is the only other alternative which is admissible. The conceded federal principle rules out the theory of a numerical identity between Adam and his posterity. Upon that theory a federal relation would have been a superfluity. As each man came into individual existence he would be chargeable not with Adam's sin imputed to him, but with a sin subjectively and therefore strictly and properly his own. This would be to upset the parallelism asserted by Paul between Adam and Christ. As numerical identity is grounded in nature, the analogy would require the identity of all men with Christ, as well as with Adam. Human nature obeyed in Christ as it disobeyed in Adam. As the sin of the nature is imputed to it on the one hand, so on the other would be its righteousness. As all men are thus justly condemned, all men would thus with equal justice be justified. But it is absurd to say that human nature, that is, all men, subjectively wrought righteousness in Christ; and it would be almost as absurd to say that his seed subjectively obeyed in him. It is plain that the righteousness of Christ is imputed upon a totally different principle. So, the analogy holding, must the sin of Adam. It is evident that the theory of numerical identity is inconsistent with the federal principle. The same is true of the hypothesis of an ante-mundane existence in which every human being fell from an estate of holiness by his own individual sin. If we adopt the supposition of a covenant between God and Adam, we would seem to be shut up to an election between the doctrine of parental headship and that of strict legal representation. 

Secondly, The analogy between Christ and Adam proves that our first parent must have been the legal representative of his seed. The relation which he sustained to his posterity, grounding their implication in his act, must, as to the principle involved, have been like that which Christ bears to his seed; otherwise the analogy would be destroyed. Now, was Christ a legal representative of his people? 

The animals which were sacrificed under the old dispensation were legal substitutes for the guilty persons for whom they were offered, that is, they legally represented the worshippers who presented them. They typified Christ the Lamb of God who was offered a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice for sinners. It is certainly the representative and not the parental relation which here comes into view. In Galatians Paul declares: "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us."14 In 2 Corinthians he enouuces the same great truth of legal substitution: "He hath made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."15 Peter clearly sets forth the same fact: "He bore our sins in his own body on the tree." It is needless to urge the consideration that these apostolic statements could not have been true of Christ as a parental head, but are true of him as a legal representative. It is indeed admitted that they hold good of him as a legal substitute; but there is no difference in principle between a substitute and a representative. In Galatians Paul says: "I am crucified with Christ."16 The chief sense in which these words are to be taken is the representative. He discusses, in that passage, the doctrine of justification and not of sanctification. Hence he could not have only meant to say, I deny myself with Christ. It is true that he who has died federally and representatively with Christ to the guilt of sin will so live with him as to die more and more to its power, and Paul asserts that truth; but in the words cited, if regard be had to the connection in which they are used, primary reference is made by the apostle to the representative relation. In 2 Corinthians the same apostle says: "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died;"17 for that is the true and now the generally admittted rendering of the words translated, "then were all dead." How could all die in one except representatively? Myriads of believers died before, and myriads were not born until after, Christ died. The great fact is here affirmed that the death of a representative is legally and constructively the death of those whom he represented. Those, therefore, who thus died with Christ died under the sentence of a condemning law, that is, died penally, and so cannot justly die again in that way; and having so died, the legal difficulties which lay in the path of acceptable obedience to God are removed, and the motives to a life of holiness are impressively enforced. Paul says again: "If ye be risen with Christ."18 If believers died representatively with Christ, they rose representatively with him. There is also a spiritual resurrection, but there was a federal, as there will be a bodily. And if they died and rose representatively with him, they were representatively justified with him, when God the Father having raised him from the dead, on the ground of distributive justice, acquitted him of all imputed guilt, formally approved his righteousness, and published to the universe his desert of the reward stipulated by the covenant - the everlasting life of his seed. 

But if Christ was the legal representative of his seed, so must Adam have been of his. The passage which settles that is the one in the fifth chapter of Romans, from the twelfth verse to the end. There the relation of the disobedience of Adam to the condemnation and death of his posterity is declared to be analogous to that of the obedience of Christ to the justification and life of his seed. But Christ in rendering obedience to the divine law acted as a legal representative; so consequently must Adam in committing his act of disobedience. It follows, that, if Adam had stood during his time of trial and been justified, all his posterity would have been representatively justified in him - that is, they would by the divine sentence have been adjudged to confirmation in holiness and happiness. In that case his righteousness, would have been imputed to his descendants, just as Christ's righteousness is now imputed to his people. Natural birth would have designated the parties upon whom his merit would have terminated, as now spiritual birth indicates the parties upon whom the merit of Christ takes effect. But Adam fell, and his guilt is imputed to his seed. Instead of attaining justification in him, they fell with him into condemnation. In these respects the cases of the first and second Adam are parallel. It is the principle of strict federal representation which stamps the character of each case. 

Thirdly, If we are at all warranted, touching this matter, in appealing to the ordinary course of providence and the general judgment of men, we must resort not to the parental, but the representative, relation. We never judge that a child is, strictly speaking, well-deserving or ill-deserving on account of his parents' acts. If his father has perpetrated a crime, while we may feel that his child justly suffers in consequence of it, we do not pronounce him culpable. As in no sense he did the act, he is in no sense blameworthy. If one have committed murder, shame and obloquy attach to his child, but who would say that he was guilty of his father's crime? If he were he would deserve to be hanged. Such, however, is neither the judgment nor the custom of mankind. But if one be the representative, the attorney, the agent, of another, the case is different. There is a legal identity between the two, so that the acts of one are in law the acts of the other. Such is the general judgment of men. If there be any force in these considerations, they would go to show that Adam's children are not culpable because as their father he sinned; but if he were their legal agent and representative they must be regarded as blame-worthy for his sin. They did the act in him, not consciously and subjectively, but federally, legally, representatively. 

It may be objected to this representation of the great and critically important doctrine of inherited sin, that the parental relation is thrown out of account and treated as if possessed of no significance. To this it is replied: In the first place, it is admitted that the parental relation as involving, the natural union between Adam and his descendants grounds the propagation of the race as a species, with all its essential and inseparable qualities. The question, however, is a different one whether the transmission of non-essential and separable qualities can be accounted for in accordance with this law. What is contended for is that even if that were conceded, the propagation of those qualities - that of sin, for example - would demand an antecedent solution in the principle of justice. Why sin should be transmitted from parent to child, entailing penal consequences, is a question which cannot be legitimately answered by appealing to a merely natural constitution. The deformity would be a misfortune and not a crime. The naturalness of sin would as much destroy its punishable feature as that of a misshapen body. The representative relation must be invoked to account for the legal character of propagation, even if it be admitted that propagation is the channel of the transmission of sin. The whole difficulty is avoided by referring the hereditary character of sin to the great law of federal representation. In the second place, it is admitted that the parental relation grounded the propriety of the superadded representative relation. It was fit that he who was appointed the federal trustee and legal representative of mankind, attended by the immeasurable responsibilities embraced in that office, should be their first father, possessed of all the tender affections which such a relation supposed. And it was fit that Adam as father should be the representative, inasmuch as the tie of blood, the bond of race, supplied the principle upon which he and all his individual offspring could be collected into legal unity. The statement of the case which is in this discussion maintained is precisely this: the parental grounded the propriety of the representative relation, and the representative relation grounded the imputation of guilt. 

It may also be objected that the doctrine here affirmed is eccentric, for the reason that the term representative and its cognates are not found either in the Scriptures or in the Westminster Standards. This objection cannot be offered by those divines of the Evangelical Arminian school who themselves employ the phraseology which is disputed. If it be presented by others of that school, the answer is, that there are terms of articulate importance used by themselves which are not found in the Scriptures; for example the Trinity, Sufficient Grace, Prevenient Grace, and Universal Atonement. The objection, therefore, as an argument would prove too much and be consequently invalid. If the objection were urged by one belonging to the school of Calvinism, the reply would be: In the first place, there are terms employed by Calvinists which are not to be found in the Scriptures; for instance, Satisfaction to divine justice, the Righteousness of Christ, the Imputed Righteousness of Christ, the Vicarious Obedience of Christ, Particular, or Definite, or Limited Atonement, Effectual Calling and the Perseverance of the Saints. Are the doctrines signified by these terms not to be found in the Scriptures? If so, Calvinism would be blown to the winds. In the second place, the fact that the term representative, as applied to Adam, is not found in the Westminster Standards by no means proves that the doctrine of his representative character is not contained in them. He is expressly declared to have been a "public person" in the same sense in which Christ is said to be a "public person." Says the Larger Catechism: "The covenant being made with Adam as a public person, not for himself only, but for his posterity, all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him and fell with him in that first transgression."19 Speaking of Christ the same formulary says: "All which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for their justification."20 Does this meau that Christ was a representative? What Calvinist would deny? In the same way it must be admitted that the Westminster divines held Adam to have been a representative. To this it must be added that the terms Particular Atonement and their synonyms are not found in the Westminster Standards. Is the doctrine not there? And it deserves to be remarked that the term representative was not in common use at the time when the Assembly was in session, and hence probably its absence from the formnlaries composed by it. But it was sufficiently used by divines of the period to show that they regarded Adam as a representative. "The sin of Adam," observes Dr. John Owen, "was and is imputed unto all his posterity . . . And the ground hereof is, that we stood all in the same covenant with him who was our head and representative therein."21 "Adam," says Thomas Watson, "being a representative person, he standing, we stood; and he falling, we fell."22 

We come now, at last, to the question, Was the federal constitution, involving the application of the principle of legal representation to Adam and his posterity and implicating them in the judicial consequences of his first sin, inconsistent with the justice of God? 

The questions may be asked, Why, if the doctrines of election and reprobation have been proved to be revealed in the Scriptures, should the inquiry be considered in regard to their consistency or inconsistency with the perfections of God? And why, if the doctrine of federal representation is also delivered to us by the same sacred authority, should the attempt be made to show that it is not inconsistent with the divine justice. Everything that God, in his holy Word, declares he has done or will do must, of necessity, be consistent with his character; consequently these reasonings are gratuitous and suited to do more harm than good. We have the weighty opinion of Haldane, in his admirable commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, against this sort of argument in relation to the subject now in hand. This, it is cheerfully admitted, is eminently true and wise, on the supposition that a doctrine has been proved beyond reasonable doubt to be revealed in the Scriptures. The position of the Dogmatic Rationalist of the Wolfian type is utterly untenable, that doctrines conceded to be part of a supernatural revelation need to be fortified by rational demonstration. It is enough that they are introduced with the indisputable authority of the preface, "Thus saith the Lord." But it merits consideration that the real question often is, as it is in this particular instance, whether the doctrines alleged to be revealed in the Scriptures are actually so revealed. There being a difference between pious and reverent men in their interpretation of the passages adduced as proofs, moral and rational considerations, drawn from the teachings of Scripture and the fundamental laws of belief of the human mind, are thrown in on one side or the other to strengthen or weaken, not the divine statements, but the alleged evidence that the doctrines in question are derived from the word of inspiration. It is for this reason the present discussion has been allowed the range which it has taken; and if relief, however little, shall be given to any pious mind from doubt as to the divine authority of the doctrines it defends from attack, it will not be wholly vain. 

(1.) If God established the federal constitution by which Adam was appointed the legal representative of the race, it must be regarded as just; for whatever God does is necessarily just. This principle was affirmed by the illustrious patriarch when pleading for Sodom: "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" The same great principle is asserted by Paul in the third chapter of Romans when replying to objections against gratuitous justification, and in the ninth chapter when answering cavils against sovereign predestination. But the Scriptures reveal the fact of the federal constitution as one of divine appointment. It was therefore not inconsistent with the justice of God. 

(2.) It is not difficult to prove that the federal constitution involving the principle of legal representation was benevolent. The limitations assigned by a free determination of the divine will to a merely legal probation, - the limitation of the probation of all to that of one who was amply and richly furnished to stand the trial, one who from the nature of the case was susceptible of responsibilities which in their fulness could attach to no other; the limitation of the time of obedience which conditioned the easy attainment of immortal holiness and bliss for every individual of the race; and perhaps the limitation of the field of temptation, - these limitations upon the trial of mankind, which otherwise under a naked economy of law would have been perpetual for every individual and shadowed forever by the dread contingency of a fall, were certainly the products of benevolence. But such a constitution would not have been benevolent had it been unjust. Injustice done to the creatures of his power could not have consisted with the goodness of their Creator. It is not warrantable to affirm that at one and the same time he acted towards the human race benevolently and inconsistently with justice. On the other hand, if the representative arrangement had been inconsistent with justice it could not have been consistent with benevolence. Of necessity the attributes of God must be perfectly harmonious with each other both in their intrinsic nature and in their actual exercise. If then the federal economy was benevolent, it could not have been inconsistent with justice. 

(3.) It may be urged that it was arbitrary and therefore was not grounded in justice. To this it is replied, that if it can be shown to have been dictated by wisdom and benevolence it cannot be proved to have been arbitrary; for that is arbitrary which is wanton and is founded upon no sufficient reason. It cannot be evinced that the federal ordination was the result of God's naked will proceeding without any regard to rational considerations. It cannot, therefore, be proved to have been inconsistent with justice because it was arbitrary. 

(4.) The attempt has been made to convict it of incompatibility with justice, because mankind, who, it is alleged, were represented in Adam and bound by his act, had no voice, no suffrage, in the adoption of that measure of government by which the principle of representation was applied to their case: it was imposed upon them without their choice, and yet their everlasting destinies might have been decided by it. But-

First, It cannot be proved, though this be true, that the application of the principle of representation to the race by their divine Maker and Ruler was intrinsically unjust. We are incompetent judges of the whole case. God is infinitely wiser than we. It would be supremely rash and arrogant in us to undertake to decide upon what principles he should choose to conduct his moral government. It is at least supposable that he saw that it would be as fair to men to deal with them collected into moral unity in the person of a fully qualified representative, as to treat each individual as responsible only for his own subjective and conscious agency. It does not matter to say that when God constituted the first man a representative of his race he foreknew that he would fall and drag down his descendants with him into a common ruin; for had this measure not been adopted, God might have foreseen that every individual of the race would fall for himself, and in that case the advantages of the representative relation would be absent. So that at last it comes to this: Why did God create man at all if he foreknew that he would sin? And to that question as the limited human intelligence has never yet furnished a satisfactory answer, so it is likely that in the present sphere of thought it never will. It is enough to know that it is God who has done it. Whatever he does must be just and wise and right. 

Secondly, God is infinitely benevolent. The application to the race of the principle of representation was therefore consistent with benevolence. It was applied to man while in innocence. It was no judicial infliction. There was no reason growing out of man's relation to God which could have occasioned harshness or rigor on his Maker's part. If he loved man at his creation, it is impossible to conceive that he would have chosen any mode of procedure which would have prejudiced his interests or borne hardly upon his destiny. Indeed it is impossible to say, without blasphemy, that God can treat any of his creatures inequitably. 

Thirdly, To take the ground that the application to the race of the representative principle would have been unjust because they had no suffrage in its adoption, is to maintain that the subjects of God's government have a right to take part in its administration. This is absurdly to press the analogy of human government. The people are not sovereign in the divine administration. They are in no sense factors in the government. They do not elect the ruler. If they did, they would be supposed to elect God, before he could have the right to rule them. The right of God to rule is absolute and resides in himself. He creates the subjects of his government, and is therefore as to their very persons as well as their interests proprietary governor. He owns them. He is a pure autocrat. And a government by a single will must be the very, best government, if that will be perfect - if it be absolutely free from every element of error, injustice and wrong. The race therefore could, from the nature of the case, have no right to exercise suffrage with reference to any feature of the divine government, unless God himself were pleased in infinite condescension to confer that right. Whether that were possible, will not now be considered. It certainly was not a fact, and that consideration is sufficient to determine the question in hand. The race could have possessed no right of suffrage, and consequently there could have been no infringement of their rights by an application to them of the representative principle. 

Fourthly, The same course of reasoning is pertinent to the objection, that the race had no suffrage in the selection of the person to represent them - that they had no voice in the appointment of Adam to that responsible office. But the following considerations may be added upon this point: 

In the first place, God was better qualified to judge of the question who should be the representative than the whole human race could have been, on the supposition that by the anticipation of their actual existence, through the almighty power of God, they had been assembled in a great mass-meeting at the garden of Eden. He is infinitely wise and infinitely benevolent. 

In the second place, it is plain that upon the supposition of the application of the representative principle, Adam was suited to be the representative. He was created in the full maturity of his powers both in body and soul. Had any other man been appointed a future representative, he must have been appointed to act either in his childhood or in adult age. If in childhood, the folly of the appointment would have been transparent. If in adult age, what guarantee would have existed that lie would not sin before arriving at maturity? The folly of such an appointment would have been equally manifest. 

Further, Adam was the first man, the parent of the whole race. Who then could have been so fit as he to be the trustee of the whole race? The parental relation which he sustained to every man grounded the propriety of his federal and representative relation to every man. How could any man in the line of descent have represented those who preceded him? Unless, indeed, we suppose that election terminated on man in innocence. But it did not. This last supposition is mentioned for the reason that for aught we know the elect angels were in some sense represented by Christ. In that case, as their existence would have ante-dated his incarnation, his merits would have been reflected back upon their standing; or rather their standing would have been grounded in his future obedience. So, we know, it actually was with the Old Testament saints. 

It deserves moreover to be considered, that the responsibilities which weighed upon the first man, on the supposition that he was a representative, must of necessity have been greater than those which could have been gathered upon any one of his descendants. To no other man could the whole race have sustained the relation of posterity. He alone could feel that all mankind were destined to be his offspring. The responsibilities of the father of the whole race could alone rest upon him; and if he could not fitly discharge the functions of a representative under so accumulated a load of responsibilities, it is certain that none of his descendants could. 

(5.) If the principle of representation be discarded on the alleged ground of its injustice, it follows that under no circumstances can it be admitted. Unjust in one instance, it would be unjust in all. The representation of sinners by Christ must consequently be rejected as unjust. And then upon the supposition of the sin of the whole race of individuals, the remotest hope of their salvation would be shut out. For it is evident that no transgressor of the divine law could deliver himself from its penalty; and it is equally clear that no one laboring under the spiritual disabilities incurred by sin could recover himself from their influence. But if it would be impossible for the sinner to extricate himself from the disastrous consequences of his sin, and the principle of representation, involving substitution, would be inadmissible, every sinner must lie down hopelessly under the pressure of his doom. There are only two suppositions which could furnish a ray of hope - either that the sinner might deliver himself, or that lie might be delivered by a substitute-and both are excluded. The Pelagian hypothesis is here thrown out of account, as having not the shadow of support either from the Scriptures or from the principles of reason. "With out shedding of blood is no remission." Atonement or eternal death: these are the only alternatives to the transgressors of an infinite law. To this reasoning sundry objections may be offered. 

First, It may be objected that representation which God foreknew would issue in a fall into sin, and representation intended to recover men from the disastrous effects of a fall, stand on a different foot in relation to justice, and to benevolence as well. But it is forgotten by those who urge this objection that mail at creation was endowed with freedom of will and with amply sufficient strength to refrain from sin and stand in holiness. The objection might be relevant if the nature of man as it issued from the creative hand of God implicated the necessity of a fall. But this is contrary to fact. If, then, the representative had maintained his standing, his posterity would have cheaply won confirmation in holiness and happiness. 

These objections also overlook the important consideration that the confirmed holiness and happiness of the race were suspended upon an obedience of their representative which was limited as to time. Had he kept his integrity for the specified period designated in God's covenant, these priceless blessings would have been secured for himself and his posterity. 

On the other hand, had there been no super-addition of a covenant to the naked dispensation of law, there could, from the nature of the case, have been no possible justification either for himself or for any member of his race. The demand of law unmodified by a covenant arrangement would have been for perpetual obedience as the condition of continued life. The requirement would have been, Obey, and as long as you obey you shall live; disobey, and you shall die. The period never could have been reached when the subject could upon a plea of finished obedience have been entitled to expect the confirmation of his relations to God. The contingency of a fall would have gone on parallel with his immortal existence. 

It may be contended that while this is true in regard to the necessity of a covenant in order to justification, it was not necessary that the feature of representation should have been incorporated into the federal constitution. It might have pleased God to have entered into a separate covenant with each individual involving such a limitation upon the time of obedience as would have rendered possible the justification of every man. But whatever may be thought of the possibility of such an arrangement there are two things which clearly show that it was not a fact, and therefore it is idle to raise the question. In the first place, the universality of original sin proves that every member of the race was implicated in the responsibility of Adam's first sin, and that the complexion of his moral history was derived from it. There could have been no separate covenant with each individual. In the second place, the Epistle to the Romans settles the question. It teaches that the representative character of Adam was analogous to that of Christ. 

It is evident from what has been said that mankind had in their first progenitor and legal representative a fair chance of attaining upon easy conditions a confirmed life of holiness and bliss which would have forever placed them beyond the possibility of falling. 

Secondly, It may be objected that had the principle of representation not been adopted, and each individual of the race had been placed upon his own foot in relation to the divine law, many might have stood - more, it may be, than are actually saved through the atonement of Christ. It is not difficult to show that this is a wild supposition. 

In the first place, the precedent of the fallen angels is against it. We have reason to believe that the principle of representation did not apply in their case. Each stood on the foot of individual obedience. But all of them fell. If angels, why not men? And it merits serious reflection that having fallen they remain so. The principle upon which they originally stood related to God appears to have been retained by him in application to their ease. No federal head and representative, so far as we know, has been appointed for them in their fallen and ruined condition. We know not the whole case, but these facts are suggestive. 

In the second place, the precedent of Adam is against the supposition. With all his measureless responsibilities thronging upon him, he fell. In all the maturity of his glorious faculties and endowments, he fell. What shadow of probability is there that mere children would have been able to resist the assaults of that master of temptation who so promptly seduced him? For Adam's descendants would not have been born as he was created. It is more than probable that had each man been placed on his own individual footing each one would have fallen. 

In the third place, each descendant of Adam would have had the influence of his evil example exerted upon him. The principle of imitation is strong, and would have seconded the temptations of the Devil. Added to this influence of the first man would have been that of every succeeding fall into sin, an influence gathering fresh accretion and augmented strength as the generations of men multiplied in number. 

(6.) It may be objected that while it is consistent with justice that another's righteousness should be imputed, it is not consistent with that attribute that another's guilt should be imputed: justice requires that only the guilt of one's own conscious sin should be imputed to him. If this be true, it would follow that the guilt of Adam's first sin could not, consistently with justice, be imputed to his posterity. 

We have here the assertion of a general principle or law - that of the impossibility under a just government of the imputation of another's guilt to one consciously and subjectively innocent. One clear instance to the contrary would destroy this pretended generalization, by negativing the assurned impossibility. Such an instance, and it is an illustrious one, we have in Christ. It is of course admitted on all hands that he was subjectively and consciously sinless. He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. It is a fact, however, that he suffered and suffered unto death, even the accursed death of the cross. Now there are only three conceivable suppositions in the case: either that he suffered without the imputation to him of any guilt; or that he suffered in consequence of the imputation to him of his own guilt; or that he suffered in consequence of the imputation to him of others' guilt. To say that he suffered without the imputation to him of any guilt is to impeach the justice of the divine government; for if there be any principle of government which is axiomatic it is that no suffering can be justly inflicted upon a person entirely innocent. To say that he suffered in consequence of the imputation to him of his own guilt is alike to blaspheme, and to subvert the grounds of human salvation. It remains that he must have suffered in consequence of the imputation to him of the guilt of others. 

It is admitted by the parties to this controversy that the sufferings of Christ were penal. As he could not have been punished for nothing, or for his own guilt, it follows necessarily that he was punished for the guilt of others imputed to him. 

This fact so vital to the pardon and salvation of sinners is explicitly affirmed in the Scriptures. They declare that human guilt was imputed to Christ. "And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin-offering: But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scape-goat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go as a scapegoat into the wilderness. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness." "My sins [guiltiness: marg.] are not hid from thee." "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." "Who his ownself bare our sins in his own body on the tree." 

But let it be conceded that the Scriptures teach the imputation of his people's guilt to Christ, and it will be urged that he consented to this imputation, whereas the descendants of Adam did not consent to the imputation of his guilt to them. The presence of consent in the one case, and its absence in the other, makes them so different as to destroy the analogy between them. To this it may be replied: 

First, If it be a principle of all moral government, including the divine, that guilt cannot be imputed where there has been no conscious sin, it would be unsupposable that the infinitely just God, representing the Trinity, could have infringed that principle by imputing guilt to his sinless Son. It is inconceivable that either the Father or the Son could have consented to a measure involving the sacrifice of a principle affirmed to be fundamental to a righteous government. That consent to so transcendently wonderful and awful a procedure as the imputation of the guilt of others to the Son of God, viewed as incarnate, can only be conceived by us as possible on the ground that it was consistent with the divine perfections, and was justified by the infinitely glorious ends which were designed to be secured. 

Secondly, It is hard to avoid the impression that those who urge the view under consideration, confound two things which are entirely distinct. It is one thing to impute the guilt of conscious sin, when no conscious sin has been committed, and quite another thing to impute the guilt of another’s conscious sin. In the former case the principle of justice would be flagrantly violated, for the imputation would not be in accordance with fact. It would be untrue and therefore unjust. But the same difficulty does not exist in the latter case. To impute to one the guilt of another's conscious sin does not necessarily involve an inconsistency with fact, and therefore does not necessarily conflict with truth. While then it would have been impossible for God the Father to impute to his incarnate Son the guilt of conscious, subjective sin, seeing he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and equally impossible for God to impute the guilt of conscious, subjective sin to Adam's descendants for implication in his fall, seeing that when he fell they were not in conscious existence, it is neither impossible nor incredible that God the Father should have determined to introduce into his moral government a principle of representation in accordance with which, in order to the divine glory and the salvation of sinners, he called his Son to assume the guilt of fallen man, nor is it impossible or incredible that in dealing with the human race God, proceeding upon the same principle in appointing Adam as their federal head, should have ordained the imputation to them of his righteousness if he stood, and of his guilt if he fell. In either case, that of Christ or the posterity of Adam, the imputation is not of conscious and subjective, but of constructive, legal, representative guilt. 

Thirdly, The distinction must not be overlooked between the consent of one to be the representative of others and the consent of constituents to be represented. The former was the case of Christ. His free consent to the appointment of the Father by which he became the representative of sinners, involving the imputation of their guilt to him, is supposed in the formation of the covenant of redemption. The same thing holds good in part of the case of Adam. He was by a free act of God's will appointed the representative of his posterity. It is true that this appointmeut could not have been declined by Adam, but it is also true that as he was graciously admitted to be a party to a covenant with God, his free and spontaneous consent to the divine ordination was supposed. If then it be granted that the cordial consent of a representative to the constitution under which he is appointed is supposed, it will not follow that the free, conscious consent of the constituents is to be equally supposed. Such was not the fact in regard to Christ's constituents. They did not, could not, consent in the first instance to his appointment as their representative. The same is true of Adam's constituents, who, in the first instance, did not and could not consciously consent to his appointment as their representative. The analogy then might be regarded as in some degree holding between Christ as consenting to be a representative and Adam as consenting to sustain a similar relation; but for aught that appears it would not obtain between Christ as a representative and Adam's constituents as represented. 

Fourthly, Another distinction merits notice, to wit, between the derivation of responsibility upwards from constituents to a federal head and representative, on the one hand, and, on the other, the derivation of responsibility downwards from a federal head and representative to constituents. The cases are not perfectly analogous. It may, therefore, not be legitimate to say that because the Son of God consented to the imputation of the guilt of his constituents to him, it was requisite that Adam's constituents should have consented to the imputation of his guilt to them. If consent were necessary in the one case, it would not, in consequence of that fact, be proved that it was necessary in the other. 

It deserves consideration that, on the supposition of the appointment of the Son of God as the federal head and representative of a sinful constituency, it was in the nature of things necessary for him to assume their guilt, and for God the Father judicially to impute it to him. Their guilt was not contemplated in the counsels of the Godhead as in any sense contingent, but as a fact; that is to say, it was not in any sense. contingent whether they would be guilty or not. They were viewed as fallen. But the case was, in some degree, different in regard to the relation between Adam and his posterity. There was, antecedently to his fall, no intrinsic necessity that his guilt should be imputed to them, because there was no such necessity that he should sin and contract guilt. He might have stood, and then his righteousness would have been imputed to them; on which supposition, their consent, according to the admission of the objectors, would not have been necessary. For it is conceded that a vicarious righteousness may be imputed, at least is imputable, without the previous consent of those upon whom such imputation is designed to take effect. 

It will be said in reply that, granted there was no intrinsic necessity that Adam should fall and that his guilt should be imputed, yet God foreknew that such would be the actual result of a covenant with him; consequently, the difficulty is not removed. I rejoin, that had no federal and representative arrangement been adopted, and all men had been dealt with severally, each on his own foot, God might have foreknown that like the fallen angels all would have lapsed from holiness. Will it be demanded that before such an arrangement could have been justified the consent to it of every human being should have been secured? Who would take that ground? Why, then, might not the federal constitution have been adopted, without the consent of mankind, even though it was divinely foreseen that it would actually issue in the Fall? Looking at the matter from the low view of consequences, we must admit that no more injury has accrued from the application of the representative principle without the consent of mankind, than would have resulted if it had not been introduced and men without their consent had been treated as individually responsible. 

It must also be again observed that had not the representative economy been adopted, and each member of the race had fallen through his own conscious sin, the ruin of all would have been irretrievable. For it is certain that no fallen human being could have saved himself. And if it be said that at least the justice of God in punishing every man only for his own conscious sin would have been apparent, it is easy to answer that the exercise of mercy in saving men would also have been debarred. Whether it would have been better that justice should be manifestcd in damning all, or mercy in saving some, it may he left to the objectors themselves to determine. 

Fifthly, There is still another distinction which must be emphasized. It is that which exists between the infinite Son of God, as in essence identical and in power and glory equal with the eternal Father, on the one hand, and the finite, human subjects of the divine government, on the other. Antecedently to his own free act, by which he subordinated himself as Mediator to the will of his Father, the Son of God was not a subject of law; he was no creature, bound by the very conditions of the creaturely relation to comply with the requirements of the divine government. He was, with the Father, the source and administrator of the divine rule. Hence it is obvious that, in order to his becoming the representative and sponsor of sinful beings (amazing fact!) with the end in view of securing their pardon and salvation, his own free consent to such a procedure should exist. Without it, it is not conceivable that the mysterious economy by which he became the suffering and dying vicar, the priestly substitute, of sinners should have been carried into execution. He must have voluntarily consented to assume the guilt of sinners, and to be regarded and treated as putatively guilty, in order to the judicial imputation of guilt to him by God the Father as the representative of the Godhead in the solemn transaction. This has been clearly enough shown by such writers as Dr. John Owen, Bishop Horsley, Robert Hall and James Thornwell. But it would be extravagant to use the case of the Son of God as an analogue to that of mere creatures of the divine power and subjects of the divine law. What is and must be true of him is by no means necessarily predicable of them. If his consent to the employment of the representative principle, in such an application to him as to involve the imputation of the guilt of others to him, was indispensable, it does not follow that the application of the same principle of government to lnere creatures and subjects, resulting in their implication in another's guilt, must have been conditioned only upon their free, conscious concurrence. It would amount to this: that it would have been impossible, because unjust, for God ever to have introduced the representative feature into his moral government, so far as the appointment of a creature as representative is concerned. The reason is plain. The appointment of such a representative, being necessarily founded in the eternal purpose of God, must from the nature of the case be prospective in its character - must anticipate the conscious existence of those for whom the representative is intended to act, and must therefore, if made at all, be made without their conscious consent. Will those who urge the objection under consideration maintain the view, that the infinite God was estopped from employing the principle of representation in the moral government of his creatures? 

This objection, the gravity of which is not denied, has thus been subjected to a fair examination, and the reasons advanced against its relevancy, it may without arrogance be claimed, are at least sufficient to show, that the difficulties which it creates are ntore formidable than those inhering in the doctrine against which it is directed. 

(7.) In an issue between the plain statements of Scripture and an alleged fundamental intuition, the proof of the reality of that intuition and of the legitimacy of its application to the case in hand must be such as to place it beyond suspicion. It must not be doubtful. It is admitted that our fundamental laws of belief and our fundamental principles of rectitude are standards to which, in some measure, the claims of a professed revelation from God are to be brought and by which they are to be tested. In some measure, I say, for they are far from being the only standards of adjudication. They enter as only one element into the criteria of judgment. But it must not be a spurious or even a doubtful law, which is thus erected into a standard by which an alleged supernatural revelation is to be tried. Let now this rule be applied to the supposed intuition of justice, which is appealed to in opposition to the doctrine of federal representation as delivered in the Scriptures. The foregoing argument, even if it be regarded as defective in conclusiveness, at least avails to show, that the alleged intuition of justice, in its application as a standard of judgment to that doctrine of federal representation as employed in the history of our race, is not beyond impeachment. It is itself on trial and therefore fails to be an unequivocal standard. It certainly is not sufficiently clear to ground the rejection of the Scriptures as the professed testimony of God. 

Let us now briefly review the argument. The Calvinist maintains that God was just in decreeing to reprobate those who, by their own unnecessitated sin, had brought themselves into a condition of guilt and condemnation. To this it is objected, that they are born in a state of sin and spiritual inability. As they; are born sinners, it cannot be shown that they are punishable for their sin. It is congenital and constitutional. As they are born disabled by sin from obeying God's requirements, either legal or evangelical, they are not punishable for disobedience, inasmuch as ability conditions obligation. As this difficulty presses equally upon the Arminian and the Calvinist, each meets it in his own way. The Arminian contends that men are accountable for original, or birth, sin, because they were seminally contained in Adam as their first father, who differed from other fathers only in this, that he sustained a public relation to the whole race, which was possible to no other parent; and because this relation of parental headship, foreseen as issuing in sin and a fall, was modified by a purpose of redemption which was co-ordinated with it. Further by virtue of all universal atonement, the guilt of Adam's sin is not imputed, and by grace inability is removed. In this way the Arminian endeavors to vindicate the divine justice, in connection with a constitution which involved the race in congenital sin and inability. I have endeavored to show that this mode of meeting the gigantic difficulty, is insufficient and unsatisfactory, whether tested by Scripture or reason. 

The Calvinist meets the difficulty by showing, that upon the relation of parental headship sustained by Adam to his race, the grace of God superinduced that of federal and legal representation. The race had their first probation in him. They were legally and representatively one with him, so that his act of sin was, considered not consciously and subjectively, but legally and representatively, their sin, and in that sense, their sin really, actually, personally, individually. In him they sinned. Consequently the guilt of that sin was justly imputable to them as their own guilt. It was another's guilt, inasmuch as they did not contract it consciously and subjectively. In this sense, it was the guilt of another's sin peccatum alienum, and became theirs by imputation only, just as, in this sense, the merit of Christ's righteousness is the merit of another's righteousuess - justitia aliena, and becomes his people's only by imputation. But as they did contract Adam's guilt by acting legally and representatively in him, in that sense, the guilt was self-contracted, and the great maxim, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," is not infringed. That Adam's descendants should be born, if born at all, in sin and spiritual inability, so far from being debarred, is required, by justice. In him they contracted guilt, and by their act despoiled themselves of that spiritual ability which was their concreated endowment. The fact, and the justice, of the federal constitution, involving the application of the principle of legal representation to the race in Adam, having been proved, the conclusion follows, that as mankind brought themselves into a condition of condemnation by their own fault, God is just in continuing upon some of them that doom which they had justly contracted. 

I have dwelt at some length upon these views, because I am compelled to regard the great principle of Federal Representation, through which the sovereign grace of God dealt at first with man and deals with him now, as one of the key-principles of the Calvinistic system. If that principle be torn out of it, the system is disintegrated. Believing that it is impressed upon the whole Word of God, and illustrated in part by every scheme of free, representative government among men, I feel satisfied that its importance cannot be exaggerated. 

It will be asked, What is the bearing of the Calvinistic doctrine, touching the decree of election and reprobation, upon the case of infants dying in infancy? I reluctantly answer the question, because it has so often been made a theme for furious declamation rather than for sober inquiry. To those who are willing to argue and not to denounce, we are ready to give an answer. There have been very few Calvinists who have taken the ground that any infants dying in infancy are excluded from salvation, so few as to exercise no influence upon the Calvinistic system. The great majority are divided into two classes: those who affirm the salvation of all infants dying in infancy - and at the present day this is probably the more numerous class; and those who affirm the certain salvation of all infants dying in infancy, who are children of believing parents, and content themselves with maintaining, in reference to other infants dying in infancy, the strong probability of their salvation. The former class, consequently, affirm the election to salvation of all infants dying in infancy, the reprobation of none; the latter class affirm the certain election of all infants dying in infancy, who are children of believing parents, and maintain the probable election of others dying in infancy. No class affirm the certain or probable reprobation of any infants dying in infancy. The question, therefore, of the justice of their reprobation is groundless, since neither the certainty nor the probability of their reprobation is asserted by any class of Calvinists. 

But does not the Westminster Confession say that only elect infants are saved? No, it does not. The qualifying term only is not used. These are the words: "Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit who worketh when and where and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word." The framers of the Confession evidently meant to imply that, as no human beings can be saved except in consequence of election, no infants, dying in infancy, can be saved, except in consequence of election. If all infants dying in infancy be saved, then they are all elect, and to this no Evangelical Arminian can consistently object, since he holds that all who are saved are elect. But the question whether all infants, dying in infancy, are elect, and therefore are saved, is one which the Confession did not undertake to decide. As it is not a matter concerning which the Scriptures speak definitely, it was wisely left where they put it. 

If the ground be taken that justice requires the salvation of all infants dying in infancy, Calvinists unanimously deny. For the salvation of no sinner can be required by justice, and infants are sinners. If it be maintained, that all infants, dying in infancy, are saved through the mercy of God, applying to them the justifying blood of Christ and communicating the regenerating grace of the Spirit, speaking for myself, I do not deny. I think it probable and hope it may be so. But I am not prepared to go further, and dogmatically affirm what the Scriptures do not clearly reveal. The Word of God, and not human sentiment, is our rule of faith. When that speaks, let us speak; when it is silent, let us hold our peace. 

It may be objected to the foregoing views, that the chief weight of the divine condemnation of sinners is represented as imposed upon them in consequence of their fall in Adam, and their possession of the principle of original sin; whereas the indictments of Scripture are mainly directed against actual transgressions. It is conceded that God's rebukes, expostulations and warnings have reference principally to the actual dispositions and transgressions of the wicked, but it cannot be overlooked that these actual wickednesses have their root in the principle of sin which is congenital with men. They develop and express it. We are, therefore, compelled, in the last analysis, to refer the ground of blameworthiness and condemnation to original sin. If that were not blameworthy and condemnable, but were a part of man's original constitution for the existence of which he is not accountable, it would be vain to seek in actual dispositions and sins, expressing a nature which he had no hand in producing but simply received, a legitimate ground of reprobation. Men consciously and spontaneously commit actual sins, and the divine condemnation of those sins is enforced by the decisions of conscience, but the root is the innate deprivation of original righteousness, and the innate principle of ungodliness; and this condition of the race at birth cannot be adjusted to our conceptions of justice, except upon the supposition of ante-natal guilt. This supposition the Scriptures confirm. The ultimate solution of the question urged by the intuition of justice is, therefore, to be found in the legal representation of the race by their primitive progenitor under the covenant of works. The case is not helped by the Arminian hypothesis of a gracious restoration of ability to the whole race. For either that supposed restoration of ability implies the regeneration of the whole race, or it does not. If it do, the supposition is exploded by facts: the whole race are not regenerated. If it do not, the ability imparted is not sufficient to overcome the principle of original sin, and the difficulty returns in all its force. Back to Eden - back to Eden, we must inevitably go. 

If any one should still object to the decrees of election and reprobation as unjust, we return to him the answer of the inspired apostle: "Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?" Has not God the right to deal with sinners as he pleases? Has he not the right to glorify his grace in the salvation of some out of the ill-deserving mass, and to glorify his justice in the destruction of others? Who is this potsherd of earth that quarrels with infinite sovereignty and justice? Let Him quarrel with those who are like him - the potsherds of earth.


2. OBJECTION FROM DIVINE GOODNESS.

The next objection to the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation, which will be considered, is derived from the divine goodness. It is urged that God's love is extended to every man,23 that his tender mercies are over all his works; that it would be an impeachment of his goodness to say, that he elected some of mankind to be saved and ordained others to perish; that, knowing his efficacious grace to be necessary to the salvation of any, he decreed to impart it to some, and to withhold it from others no worse than they. 

Some Calvinistic writers, in answering this objection, resort to the distinction between God's love of benevolence and his love of complacency. They admit, what the Scriptures plainly teach, that God exercises a love of benevolence towards all men, whatever their moral character may be. The common gifts of his providence, which are conferred without distinction upon the righteous and the wicked, are sufficient to evince this fact. "But I say unto you," is the inculcation of Christ in his Sermon on the Mount, "Love your enemies, bless them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefitlly use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."24 But this undeniable love of benevolence which God exercises towards all men is not to be confounded with the love of complacency with which he regards his elect people - a peculiar love which is it, dicated in such passages as this: "The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."25 Did God, it is argued, love all mankind with the love of complacency, his refusal to save all would present a difficulty which could not be explained. But the fact that he regards some with the mere love of benevolence is attended with no such difficulty. The infliction of the punishments, required by justice, upon the objects on whom the love of benevolence terminates is a fact abundantly asserted in Scripture and constantly illustrated by experience and observation. The conclusion is that the decree of reprobation is not inconsistent with the love of God to men, or, what is the same thing, with the divine goodness. 

I confess my inability to avail myself of this Scriptural distinction, and of the argument based upon it answering the objection under consideration. The human race having been conceived in the eternal mind - so we must phrase it in our human dialect - as fallen by their own fault into sin, justice demanded the punishment of the whole race. It could require no less. On the other hand, mercy, which is but the benevolence of God contemplating the case of the ill-deserving and miserable, sought the salvation of the race; and being au infinite attribute, sought, we may well suppose, the salvation of the whole race. Existing together in the divine being, these infinite attributes, though differing in their intrinsic nature, are perfectly harmonious. But we are obliged to conceive that the exercise of one may check the exercise of the other. Did mercy not check the exercise of justice, the whole human race would be in the case of the fallen angels. None would be saved. Did justice not check the exercise of mercy, the whole human race would be saved. None would be lost. So probably was it in the divine settlement of the question as to the salvation of a guilty world. It pleased God in the exercise of his sovereign will, so far to yield to the plea of mercy as to determine, upon the ground of a competent mediation and substitution, to save some of the fallen race, and so far to accede to the claim of justice as to determine to leave others in its hands. But, in contemplating the sinful mass, God could have perceived in none of them any relations or qualities suited to elicit the love of complacency. The Westminster standards say that "out of his mere love" he determined to save some; but from the nature of the case that love could not have been at first the love of complacency. It must have been the love of benevolence. Having, by an act of sovereign will, decreed to elect some of the race to salvation, and having, consequently, appointed for them a Redeemer, he loved them with the peculiar love of complacency. The love of complacency was not the motive, but the fruit, of the electing decree. This, I take it, was the doctrine of those theologians, De Moor for instance, who held that Christ was not "the foundation of election." 

If these views be correct, it will be seen, that in considering the relation of the decrees of election and reprobation to the goodness of God, the question is simply in regard to the love of benevolence. Is it to represent God as having acted inconsistently with his love of benevolence to the whole human race, to say, that, conceiving them as being all in precisely the same condition, he decreed to save some and to impart to them efficacious grace to that end, and to punish others, and therefore to withhold such grace from them? This being regarded as the state of the question, the negative will now be maintained. But it must be noticed that the Calvinist is not bound to show that the decree to reprobate the wicked was the product of benevolence. It is enough to prove that it is not inconsistent with benevolence. It is not the Calvinist, it is the Moral Influence School, that is responsible for the wonderful discovery that all suffering is the fruit of love. It is not the Calvinist who gallantly contends that it is love which breaks the criminal's neck on earth and sends him to further punishment in hell. He refers penal suffering not to love but justice, and all that is incumbent on him, in connection with this matter, is to show that the measures of justice are not inconsistent with the requirements of benevolence. 

(1.) In the foregoing remarks, besides the adduction of evidence that the Calvinistic doctrines under treatment are set forth in Scripture, the attempt was made to show that they are not only not inconsistent, but positively consistent, with the divine justice, in answer to the objection that they cannot be reconciled with that attribute. If that argument was conclusive, it must exert a controlling influence upon the present question. It has been already observed that the acting of one divine attribute may check and modify that of another. In such a case, the divine wisdom decides to what extent the exercise of one should limit that of another. But supposing that one attribute has been actually exercised, it is impossible to conceive that such an exercise can be inconsistent with the nature of any other attribute. The forth-putting of the divine energies must be self-consistent, and consistent with every divine perfection. If, then, the reprobation of a part of the sinful race of man was just, it could not have been inconsistent with the divine goodness. Otherwise one attribute would have been exercised at the expense of another, and there would be a clash between the infinite perfections of God; and that is an impossible supposition. 

For aught we know, the divine goodness may have suggested the salvation of the fallen angels, of some, or of all, of them. But on the supposition that such was the case, the determination to hold them under punishment, and the actual execution of that purpose, were certainly consistent with the goodness of God. But whether goodness suggested or not their salvation, it is a fact that their reprobation was decreed, and has been carried into execution. Was this procedure inconsistent with the divine goodness? Would any one who reverences God take that ground? But if not, why should the reprobation of human beings, who by their own fault fell into sin, be deemed inconsistent with goodness? If the reprobation of all the fallen angels was consistent with goodness, why not the reprobation of some fallen men? 

It may be said that these two classes of beings were so differently circumstanced that to argue from the case of the one to that of the other is illegitimate. But all that it is necessary to show, in order to bring the two cases within the scope of this argument, is that both classes of beings fell by their own fault, and that, therefore, their punishment was just. This the Arminian, at least, cannot deny; and the assertion of other Anti-Calvinists to the contrary has been met and disproved by the preceding argument. 

It may be urged that it is possible that goodness did not effect the salvation of the fallen angels, because it could not, consistently with justice; but that as it is a fact that goodness did propose, consistently with justice, the salvation of some human beings, it could not refrain from conferring the same boon upon all. For the Calvinist admits that the satisfaction rendered by Christ to justice furnished a sufficient basis for the salvation of all men without the compromise of that attribute. To this it may be replied: first, what goodness could or could not have effected consistently with justice in regard to the salvation of the fallen angels, we have no means of determining. We argue about the matter from ignorance. Our premises must be hypotheses, and the whole argument hypothetical. It is consequently nothing worth. Secondly, it is admitted that God's goodness, for aught we know, might, consistently with justice, have accomplished the salvation of all men. But if his determination not to save all men was consistent with justice, as has been shown, then that determination was not inconsistent with goodness. Here the Arminian will object that there was no divine determination not to save all men, but that the divine goodness contemplated the salvation of all. Let us see. Either he must hold that God's goodness could have effected the salvation of all men, or that it could not. If he hold that it could, as he admits that all men are not saved, he must also admit that God did not save all men although he could have done it. And then the difficulty of reconciling the destruction of some with the divine goodness bears upon him equally with the Calvinist. If he hold that the divine goodness could not effect the salvation of all men, he is confronted by these difficulties: - the difficulty that the will of man effects what the goodness of God could not; for, if the divine goodness could not effect the salvation of all men, for the same reason, whatever it may be, it could not effect the salvation of any. But some are saved. It follows that they accomplish for themselves what God's goodness could not do for them! Another difficulty is, that God permitted man to fall into sin with the foreknowledge that his goodness could not effect his salvation, and that some men would not will to save themselves, but would finally perish. How could the permission of the Fall be reconciled with the divine goodness by the Arminian? He might, it is conceivable, attempt to reconcile it with justice on the ground of the foreknowledge that the salvability of all men would be secured, and salvation would be offered to all. But he could not, on his principles, harmonize it with goodness. Another difficulty is, that those who, conscious through the force of sin of their inability to accept the offered salvation, pray to God to enable them to do it, would pray uselessly and hopelessly, for if the prayer were answered and God would grant the desired help, that would contradict the supposition that God's goodness cannot save men. And so as neither God could save them, nor they save themselves, they are necessarily lost. And this God must have foreknown. What becomes of the Arminian conception of the divine goodness? But enough in regard to this fatal dilemma, though it might be pressed further. If the Arminian contend that God can save men and will not save some, then as to the difficulty suggested by goodness he is in the same boat with the Calvinist. If he contend that God cannot save men, he is plunged into a wilderness of absurdities and self-contradictions. 

(2.) The finiteness of our being, and the consequent limitation of our faculties, the fact that we are sinful worms of the dust born yesterday and crushed before the moth, should lead us to be modest and cautious in pronouncing upon the question, what is required by the infinite perfections of God and the boundless interests of the universe. Occupying, as we do, so small a place in that vast scheme of moral government which embraces in its scope all orders of being, in the whole immortality of their development, what can we know of the exigencies of such a system, except as the all-wise and almighty Ruler shall vouchsafe to inform us in the communications of his will? Now, we know, because he has ascertained us of the fact, that the angels who kept not their first estate but revolted against his government have not been saved from the retributive consequences of their fall. The case is profoundly mvsterious to us, in view of the fact that redemption has been provided for fallen human beings. But mysterious as it is, it is a revealed fact. What man is there, then, professing reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the universe, who will venture to sit in judgment on the case, and affirm that the measure which consigned the whole fallen race of angels to hell was inconsistent with the divine goodness? Will he not cover his mouth with his hand, lay his mouth in the dust before the Majesty on high, and humbly confess that in this awful procedure lie acted alike in consistency with his justice and his goodness? What other, course could such a man take? How could he pronounce an adverse judgment? What grounds could exist for it? Has he the consciousness of God that he call determine what his infinite perfections demand - his infinite justice which will not compound with the violators of his law, his infinite holiness which will not tolerate the least degree of sin, but, blazing with insufferable brightness before cherubim and seraphim, abasltes them into prostrate adoration? Has he the omniscience of God, that he can grasp the far-reaching and all-comprehending principles of his moral government, and say how they should or should not be applied? Has he the love of God for all the creatures of his hand and the subjects of his illimitable sway, that he call judge what measures are necessary or suitable to promote their interests? No; all the pious, while they adore the justice of God in the reprobation of guilty angels, confess also the consistency of that awful fact with the goodness of God. 

The same considerations should lead us to refrain from questioning the goodness of God in reprobating guilty men. We are ignorant of the case as a whole, and our attitude should be one of adoring submission. What essential difference is there between the case of fallen angels and that of fallen men? There is none, if it be a fact that both classes of beings fell by their own fault. A provision made for the salvation of some of the fallen race of men and effectually applied to that end, while others are left in the hands of justice, cannot constitute such a difference. Had not God the right to show his mercy towards some, and to continue the operation of his justice upon others? And if it be a fact that he has done this, why should his reprobation of some guilty men be deemed more inconsistent with goodness than his reprobation of all guilty angels? 

It may be said that there is a difference between the two cases, created by the different modes in which the two classes of beings came to sin; for each angel, being on his own foot, fell by his own conscious sin, whereas men are held accountable for the sin of a federal head. But, in the first place, we know too little of the genesis of angelic sin to dogmatize about it. In the second place, we do know that both angels and men were probationers, that they were endowed with sufficient ability to obey the divine law, and that their disobedience and fall were inexcusable and condemnable. And in the third place, this exception to the community between the two cases is incompetent to the Arminian, who admits the accountability of the human race for the sin of their head. 

It will be also said, that all men might have been saved consistently with justice, since perfect satisfaction was rendered by Christ to justice. As justice opposed no obstacle to the salvation of all, why did not goodness effect it? How can the refusal to accomplish it, under such conditions, be reconciled to goodness? Again we are obliged, if reverent and sober, to remember our ignorance. How can we be perfectly sure that the perfections of God and the interests of his moral government did not require, notwithstanding the discharge of some of the original transgressors of law through a commutation of parties and the substitution of Christ in their place, that some of them should be left under the operation of justice? How can we determine that this was not as well a beneficent as a righteous measure to deter, by so fearful an example, other subjects of the divine government from yielding to the temptation to revolt in the hope of experiencing easy pardon through vicarious interposition? I venture not to assert that these things are so, but if they are possible, that consideration is sufficient to prevent our filing an objection to God's reprobation of some human sinners, because we judge that if his goodness saves some of mankind consistently with justice, it ought to save all. 

It deserves to be noticed, that in the case of the fallen angels we behold the severity of God untempered by goodness to them, but in that of men we behold his goodness and severity; to them who are saved goodness, but to them who are lost severity. There is, also, in the angelic case, the direct exercise of justice consistently with goodness, and in the ]inman case, the direct exercise of goodness consistently with justice. In the former, all are punished by justice, goodness concurring; in the latter only some are punished by justice, goodness concurring, while some are postively saved by goodness, justice concurring. Manifestly, while there is equal justice in both cases, there is more of goodness in the human; and were we foreigners to the human race as we are to the angelic, and looked upon both cases as we look upon that of the fallen angels, such, no doubt, would be our impartial judgment. 

(3.) The Arminian, who objects to the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation on the ground of their inconsistency with divine goodness, should reflect that his own doctrine needs to be defended against the same objection. His doctrine is that God provided redemption for the whole human race, that Christ as its substitute offered atonement for every individual member of it, and that the effect of this redeeming provision operating through an universal atonement has been to secure, not the certain salvation of any man, but the possible salvation - the salvability - of every man. It is not now intended to discuss the correctness of this doctrine, but to raise the question, whether it can be shown to be consistent with divine goodness; whether it be free from the charge of inconsistency with that attribute which its advocates press upon the Calvinistic doctrine. 

First, it has already been evinced that Arminian theologians admit, that the constitution by which the race was held accountable for the sin of Adam, considered in itself, apart from a purpose of redemption which accompanied it, would have been unjust. It does not require formal argument to prove that they are under the necessity of also admitting that for similar reasons that constitution, regarded in itself, separately from a purpose of redemption which attended it, would have been unkind. But if, as has also been clearly shown, a provision of redemption which was intended to deliver men from the disastrous results foreknown to accrue from that constitution could not relieve it from the charge of intrinsic injustice, so neither could it rid it of the imputation of intrinsic unkindness. Now, this would necessarily have been true, even if the redeeming provision had made the salvation of every man absolutely certain. The Arminian scheme is loaded with this difficulty at its very start. But this is not all; the difficulty is greatly enhanced by the position that the provision of redemption was not intended to secure the certain salvation of every man from the consequences of the Fall. It was only designed to make it possible. It secured the possibility of deliverance from the effects of the unkindness done ltim in the Adamic constitution. But it is urged that it is men's own fault if they avail not themselves of the deliverance tendered them. Yes, but until the tender is actually made them, they suffer from the unkindness done them. And more than this: their refusal of the tendered salvation - and many refuse it - is instigated by the corrupt principle which through unkindness they derived from a connection with Adam to which "they were not consenting." Is it not, in view of these considerations, evident that the Arminian has a hard task when he undertakes to exhibit the consistency of his doctrine with divine goodness - hard enough, at least, to make him less forward in urging against the Calvinistic doctrine the charge of inconsistency with the benevolence of God. 

Secondly, the case of the heathen is a stumblingstone to the Arminian scheme. According to that scheme, the provision of redemption was made for all mankind, the atoning death of Christ was intended to confer saving benefits upon all without distinction. Discrimination between individuals would not be consistent with divine goodness. The love of God was catholic, it terminated upon every soul of man. Hence Christ died for every individual of the race - that is, he died for every man to make the salvation of every man possible. Consequently, the offer of salvation is to be extended to every man, so as to give him the opportunity of accepting it; his own free acceptance of it being the divinely appointed condition of his possible salvation becoming to him an actual salvation. To this end, the grace of the Holy Spirit, acquired for the whole race by the merits of Christ, is given to every man to assist him to accept the offer, to incline his will to avail itself of it and so determine the question of his salvation. 

At first view it would appear as if the benevolence of God were highly exemplified in this scheme, which includes within its ample and generous scope every individual of our fallen and hapless race; especially when it is contrasted with the narrower and more contracted scheme of the Calvinist, which, although it asserts not a merely possible but a certain salvation, confines its benefits to the elect. But a formidable difficulty at once springs up and opposes this judgment. The HEATHEN, - what of them? Their salvation was made possible by the redemptive provision. Christ died to make their salvation possible. The blessings he purchased by his blood were intended for every soul of man, and, therefore, intended for them. Now, how comes it to pass that goodness so extraordinarily manifested in making this provision for their salvation, does not inform them that it was made? It is possible for them now to partake of it and be saved - to eat of the abundant bread, to drink of the living water and quaff the refreshing wine. But the heathen know nothing of this. It is their designation - their definition, that they are ignorant of the gospel. None who know the gospel, however imperfectly, can properly be denominated heathen. But there are millions of heathen, strictly so called; human beings who have no knowledge whatsoever of the gospel and the scheme of redemption it reveals. The question must be answered, Where, so far as they are concerned, is the goodness in making the redeeming provision? But it was made for them. Well, of what avail is it to them unless they know that fact? Where is the goodness in concealing from some of the beneficiaries of the redemptive provision the fact that it was made for them? The provision was made for all, but only a few comparatively know of it. Why does not the goodness that filled the storehouse and threw open its doors invite all the starving to come and partake? Why are the invitations extended only to some? Surely, it is difficult to reconcile this amazing fact with goodness. 

It is in vain to reply that the invitation is extended to all. How, we ask, is it extended? If the answer be, In the Bible; Yes, we rejoin, but the heathen know nothing of the Bible. The invitation is on the card, but the card is not sent to the heathen. If it have been already extended, why send foreign missionaries, at great sacrifice to themselves and heavy expense to the church, to convey it to them? Do they not make the first offer of the gospel to the contemporary heathen? No, the invitation has not been extended to all of them, although the provision is affirmed to have been made for all. The question is repeated, How is this reconcilable with goodness? Were one disposed to imitate the example of some Arminian objectors to the Calvinistic scheme, it would be easy to paint harrowing rhetorical pictures, in order to aggravate the force of this difficulty. But the purpose is to argue and not declaim. 

It would be equally vain to say, that the heathen may know of the redemptive provision made for them, if they would. For the question is, how they could will to know of it. If they have no information of its existence, how could they desire its knowledge? Will it be said, that the means of intercommunication between the different parts of the world are so great, that the knowledge of the gospel scheme is accessible to them? The ready answer is, How would that affect the heathen who lived in past centuries of the Christian era, not to speak of the unnumbered myriads who preceded it in time? They had not the benefit of this modern intercommunication between races. But take the case of contemporary heathen, and it cannot be forgotten that if the knowledge of the gospel plan be accessible to them, on the supposition that they would put forth efforts to acquire it, they have no disposition to seek it. It is one of the results of acquaintance with the gospel that the disposition to know it is engendered. Even when it is made known, vast numbers of the heathen actually reject it. What room, then, is there for holding that they might know of the provision of redemption made for them, if they would? Their corrupt natures preclude their being willing to acquire the knowledge. The gospel must be sent to them, else they will not hear it; they must hear, else they will not believe; they must believe, else they perish. Such is Paul's argument.26 How then can the providence which fails to acquaint the heathen with the redeeming provision made for them be, on the Arminian scheme, harmonized with goodness? 

Further, it is a cardinal element of the Arminian system that the actual experience of salvation is suspended upon the voluntary acceptance of it. Men must not be constrained by efficacious grace to accept it. Grace cannot make them willing. Their power of otherwise determining is inalienable. Did they not possess the power of self-determination in reference to the question of accepting the offer of salvation, they would cease to be men. If converted by efficacious grace, they would not be converted men, but converted machines. Men, however assisted by grace, must, at last, by a choice of their own wills, which might reject it, accept the offer of salvation. If this be not conceded to be an element of the Arminian system, its chief differentiating feature is denied. Without it, its distinctive existence, as a coherent system, would cease. 

This being the case, how does it consist with goodness, that the opportunity to fulfil the condition upon which the experience of salvation is suspended, is not given to some of those for whom redemption was provided? It being necessary to their participation of its blessings that they should, in the free exercise of their own wills, accept the offer of them, how does it consist with goodness that the offer is not extended to them? If it be not extended to them, they cannot accept it; if they do not accept it, they cannot be saved. But it is an undeniable fact, that the offer has not in the past, and is not now, extended to myriads of the heathen world. The difficulty is insuperable. 

To avoid this difficulty, it may be said that the heathen who know not the gospel may be saved through the benefits of the atonement indirectly applied to them. But this supposition is in flat contradiction to the fundamental element of the Arminian scheme just signalized - namely, that men must freely accept the offer of salvation in order to experience its benefits. Both cannot be true. Which alternative will be elected? If the former, the integrity of the Arminian system is sacrificed; if the latter, the salvation of the heathen is pronounced impossible; and the difficulty suggested by goodness re-appears and asserts itself in all its formidable force. 

Again, this indirect application of the redeeming provision to the heathen must be held to be either not saving, or saving. If it be held to be not saving, of what use is it? What real benefit does it confer? It could not be a measure of goodness, certainly not of saving goodness. If it be held to be saving, the question must be met, How is it saving? That which leads to salvation must lead to holiness. Will it be contended that this indirect application of the benefits of redemption contributes to the holiness of the heathen? Facts contradict so wild an hypothesis. What is accomplished? Not faith in Christ, not repentance for sin, not godly living. What, then? Are the heathen taken to heaven and made partakers of its holy fellowship and employments without any spiritual preparation for such a change? Surely not. It would seem then that no saving benefit is conferred upon them by this fancied application of redemption indirectly to their case. The truth is, the supposition is too extravagant to be gravely supported, or to deserve serious refutation. We have not yet discovered the goodness which is manifested to the heathen through the provision of redemption. But let us pursue the quest. 

It may be said that as infants may unconsciously receive the benefits of atonement and the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they being incapable of understanding the truth or apprehending the gospel offer, so may it be with the heathen. But, let us know what heathen are meant. Is it heathen infants dying in infancy? That is not denied. But that is not the question. The question is in regard to adult heathen. If they be put into the category of saved infants, then they must be dealt with as saved infants are dealt with. They must be purged from the guilt of original sin and regenerated by the grace of the Spirit, and that must be accomplished for them without their consciousness of the influences exerted upou them, or the change of state and character effected, and without their active concurrence with the work of the Spirit. Is it thus that God deals with adult sinners, with fully developed and atrociously wicked sinners? Is it thus that he sovereignly saves them without any action of their own wills? Is it thus that Arminians glorify sovereign grace? Verily those who would take this ground would out-Calvin Calvin in their maintenance of unconditional salvation. Nor is this the worst of it. These people who like infant sinners are justified and regenerated, live on as adult sinners, perpetrating crimes which are the climax of wickedness, substituting idols in the place of the living God, unconscious that they had been born again into the kingdom of grace and justified by the blood of Christ, or that they had lapsed from the possession of these inestimable blessings! And these are the people to whom as to infants dying in infancy the provision of redemption is indirectly applied! 

To meet this formidable difficulty growing out of the consideration that the goodness which made a provision of redemption for all men has not published the fact to all, it has been maintained that the heathen really have access to some knowledge of the gospel; for, they live under the patriarchal dispensation and have some traditional acquaintance with the first promise of redemption for man. which was its characteristic element. Had this view not been seriously advocated by a distinguished theologian,27 it might be deemed a shadow conjured up merely for the sake of argument. A few remarks will be made with reference to it: 

In the first place, every dispensation of the gospel, except the final, is, from the nature of the case, bounded by definite limits. When, in the development of the divine plan, it has accomplished its end, it expires by its own limitation. It gives place to another, for which it has prepared the way; another, in a measure evolved out of it by an expansion of its principles, but also specifically marked off from it by new supernatural revelations and new facts and elements. When the new begins, the old vanishes - it ceases, as a dispensation, to exist. Each dispensation of the gospel must be regarded as a special form of administration of the covenant of grace. There is an essence which is common to all the dispensations. It is the saving provisions of the covenant. This essential feature passes from one dispensation to another. It is a fixed and invariable quantity. But there are also specific features which as peculiar to each dispensation are accidental and temporary. It is these which give to each its cast. When they cease, the dispensation as such ceases. Its distinctive law is no more operative. The covenant, as to its essential provisions, is permanent, but the special form of its administration is abrogated, and another is substituted in its room. This is the argument of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in the seventh and eighth chapters: "If, therefore, perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." "For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. . . . In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." The meaning could not be that the covenant of grace as to its essential features was about to vanish away, but the special form in which it had last been administered the Mosaic dispensation. That was decaying and waxing old, and was ready to vanish away. 

If the Jew should now claim, because he has the knowledge of the Mosaic dispensation, that he is living under it as one in present operation, the Christian would reply that he makes a grievous mistake: that dispensation, having discharged its typical and temporary office, has passed away and given place to the Christian dispensation. The argument is a fortiori in respect to the Patriarchal dispensation. That, thousands of years ago, gave way to the Mosaic, as the Mosaic has now made room for the Christian. Between the time of its abrogation and the present, one whole dispensation and part of the history of another have intervened. It died, as a dispensation, ages ago. To say then that the heathen live under it, is to affirm, in the face of facts and inspired testimony alike, its present existence and operation. 

But it may be contended that a knowledge of the first promise may survive the dispensation which contained it. If by this is meant a knowledge that there was such a promise, who would deny the proposition? Christians know that such a promise once existed, but they also know that the dispensation which contained it once existed. Of what value is such historical knowledge to the heathen, even if it be supposed that they have it? Can it contribute to their salvation? But the promise, as such, no longer exists. It has been fulfilled, and therefore it necessarily expired. How can there be a promise of what has been? To say, then, that the heathen may be saved through a knowledge of the first promise, is to say that they may be saved through a knowledge of nothing. If they believe that the promise still exists, they believe a delusion. Can that save them? 

So was it with animal sacrifices. They were typical promises of the atoning death of Christ. That having been accomplished, they necessarily ceased. To maintain them still is to deny the past fact of Christ's death, and that would be anti-Christian. To maintain them in ignorance of the testimony that Christ has died, is to maintain senseless and empty rites, which can no longer be types, and therefore have no right to exist. The heathen consequently cannot be led through animal sacrifices to a saving knowledge of redemption. No knowledge of the Patriarchal dispensation and the first promise announced by it, which the heathen may be imagined to possess, could be to them a medium of salvation. 

In the second place, it is unsupposable that they retain such knowledge in sufficient degree to make it saving. Multitudes of the heathen received a knowledge of the gospel through the preaching of the apostles, of their contemporary fellow-laborers and of the evangelists who succeeded them. But they have lost it. What reason is there for supposing that they retain a knowledge of the indistinct elements of the Patriarchal dispensation, when they have forgotten the clearer provisions and the glorious facts of the Christian? Is it at all likely that traditions coming down from a period hoary with age would survive those descending from one more recent? 

But why argue this question? One cannot avoid the consciousness that in discussing it he is acting uselessly and preposterously. Facts prove that the heathen have no such knowledge of the first gospel promise as is alleged. No missionary encounters it. It is a mere dream that it exists. And the conviction that it does not, furnishes a ground for those missionary labors which Arminian bodies are prosecuting, at so great an expenditure of men and means, among the heathen tribes of earth. To say that these noble efforts find a sufficient reason in the need which the heathen have of clearer light than they already possess would be to threaten them with extinction. We may safely oppose the practical work of Foreign Missions to all hypotheses which assume for the heathen any knowledge whatsoever of the provisions of the gospel. 

To conclude this particular argument: if the heathen have not been informed of that provision of redemption which, it is contended, was made for all mankind and consequently for them, how is that amazing fact to be reconciled with divine goodness? The Arminian, who has this gigantic difficulty to meet, may well refrain from objecting to the Calvinistic doctrine that it is inconsistent with the goodness of God. His own hands are full. 

Thirdly, it is impossible to prove, that a scheme which provides for the possible salvation of all men more conspicuously displays the divine goodness than one which secures the certain salvation of some men. The words, atonement offered for all men, universal atonement, Christ died to save all men, Christ died for every soul of man, - these words are very attractive. They seem to breathe a philanthropy which is worthy of God. But let us not be imposed upon by the beauty or pomp of mere phrases. What is the exact meaning of the language? It is elliptical, and, to be understood, must be filled out. The meaning is, that atonement was offered for all men, that Christ died for all men, merely to make the salvation of all men possible: therefore the meaning is not what the language appears to imply - namely, that atonement was offered for all men to secure their salvation; that Christ died to save all men. That is explicitly denied. It is the heresy of Universalism. Let it be noticed - attention is challenged to it - that, upon the Arminian scheme, the whole result of the atonement, of the death of Christ, of the mission of the Holy Ghost, is the salvability of all men - the possible salvation of all. Dispel the glamor from these charming words, and that is absolutely all that they mean. 

But let us go on. What precisely is meant by the possible salvation of all men? It cannot mean the probable salvation of all men. If it did, the word probable would have been used; but facts would have contradicted the theory. Not even the Arminian would assert the probable salvation of all men, in consequence of the atonement. It is then only a possible salvation that is intended. Now what makes the salvation of all possible? It is granted, that all obstacles in the way of any sinner's return to God are, on God's side, removed. The Calvinist admits that, equally with the Arminian. Where then lies the difference? What does the Arminian mean by a salvation possible to all? He means a salvation that may be secured, if the human will consent to receive it. To give this consent it is persuaded by grace. But it is not constrained by grace to give it. It holds the decision of the question in its power. It may accept the offered salvation; it may not. The whole thing is contingent upon the action of the sinner's will. This is what makes the salvation of all men merely possible; and it inevitably follows that the destruction of all men is also possible. 

I shall, with divine help, presently prove that a possible salvation, contingent upon the action of a sinner's will, is really an impossible salvation. But conceding now, for argument's sake, that there is such a thing as a merely possible salvation of all men, it is repeated, that it cannot be shown to exhibit the beneficence of God one whit more clearly than does the certain salvation of some men. Upon the Calvinistic scheme, the absolute certainty of the salvation of countless multitudes of the race is provided for; on the Arminian, the certainty of the salvation of not one human being is provided for. But let it be admitted that although not provided for, yet in some way, the final result will in fact prove to be the certain salvation of countless multitudes. How can the Arminian show that these multitudes will exceed in number those which are saved upon the Calvinistic scheme? He can not. The human faculties have no data upon which they can institute such an equation. But until that is shown, it is impossible to see how his scheme more signally displays the saving goodness of God than the Calvinist's. One thing is clear: according to the Calvinistic doctrine, those who are saved will praise God's goodness for having saved them; and, according to the Arminian, they will praise his goodness for having made it possible for them to be saved. Which would be the directer tribute to the divine benevolence, it may be left to common sense to judge. 

The Arminian, however, if he should candidly admit that his scheme labors under the difficulties which have been mentioned, will still reply, that it has, in regard to goodness, this advantage over the Calvinistic: that it makes possible the salvation of those whose salvation the Calvinistic scheme makes impossible. He charges, that while the Calvinistic scheme makes the salvation of some certain, it makes the destruction of some equally certain. The one scheme opens the door of hope to all; the other closes it against some. This, it is contended, cannot be shown to consist with the goodness of God. It is not intended to deny that this is a difficulty which the Calvinistic scheme has to carry. Its adherents are sufficiently aware of the awful mystery which hangs round this subject, and of the limitations upon their faculties, to deter them from arrogantly claiming to understand the whole case. The difficulty is this: If God can, on the ground of the all-sufficient merit of Christ, save those who actually perish, why does not his goodness lead him to save them? Why, if he know that, without his efficacious grace, they will certainly perish, does he withhold from them that grace, and so seal the certainty of their destruction? These solemn questions the Calvinist professes his ability to answer only in the words of our blessed Lord: "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." 

But should the Armiuian, professing to decide how the Deity should proceed in relation to sinners, use this conceded difficulty for the purpose of showing that the Calvinist imputes malignity to God, it is fair, it is requisite, to prove that he has no right to press this objection - that it is incumbent on him to look to his own defences. What if it should turn out that he is oppressed by a still greater difficulty? 

In the first place, the Evangelical Arminian admits that God perfectly foreknew all that will ever come to pass. Consequently, he admits that God foreknew what, and how many, human beings will finally perish. He must also admit that God foreknows that he will judge them at the last day, and that what God foreknows he will do on that day, he must have eternally purposed to do. The final condemnation, therefore, of a definite number of men is absolutely certain. The question is not now whether God makes it certain. Let us not leave the track. What it is asserted the Arminian must admit is, that it is certain. Now this is very different from saying that God eternally knew that all men would perish, unless he should interpose to save them. For he foreknew his purpose to make such an interposition in behalf of some of the race, and so foreknew the absolute certainty of their final salvation. The case before us is, not that God knew that those who will actually perish would perish unless he interposed to save them. It is, that he foreknew that they will finally perish. But if this must be admitted - that God foreknew with certainty that some human beings will be, at the last day, adjudged by him to destruction, then their destruction is certain. Now we crave to know how a provision of redemption which made their salvation possible can exercise any effect upon their destiny. Their destruction is to God's knowledge certain. How can the possibility of their salvation change that certainty? It cannot. Where, then, is the goodness to them of the redeeming provision? It is impossible to see. 

Further, how can salvation be possible to those who are certain to be lost? How can their salvation be possible, if their destruction be certain? There is but one conceivable answer: it is, that although God foreknew that they would be lost, he also foreknew that they might be saved. That is to say, there was an extrinsic impossibility of their salvation created by God's certain foreknowledge, but an intrinsic possibility of their salvation growing out of their ability to avail themselves of the provision of redemption. It may be pleaded that their case is like that of Adam in innocence. God knew that he would fall, but he also knew that he might stand. This brings us to the next point, and that will take us down to one of the fundamental difficulties of the Arminian scheme. 

In the second place, a possible salvation would be to a sinner an impossible salvation. Mere salvability would be to him inevitable destruction. It will be admitted, without argument, that a possible salvation is not, in itself, an actual salvation. That which may be is not that which is. Before a possible can become an actual salvation something needs to be done - a condition must be performed upon which is suspended its passage from possibility to actuality. The question is, What is this thing which needs to be done - what is this condition which must be fulfilled before salvation can become a fact to the sinner? The Arminian answer is: Repentance and faith on the sinner's part. He must consent to turn from his iniquities and accept Christ as his Saviour. The further question presses, By what agency does the sinner perform this condition - by what power does he repent, believe, and so accept salvation? The answer to this question, whatever it may be, must indicate the agency, the power, which determines the sinner's repenting, believing and so accepting salvation. It is not enough to point out an agency, a power, which is, however potent, merely an auxiliary to the determining cause. It is the determining cause itself that must be given as the answer to the question. It must be a factor which renders, by virtue of its own energy, the final decision - an efficient cause which, by its own inherent causality, makes a possible salvation an actual and experimental fact. What is this causal agent which is the sovereign arbiter of human destiny? The Arminian answer to this last question of the series is, The sinner's will.28 It is the sinner's will which, in the last resort, determines the question whether a possible, shall become an actual, salvation. This has already been sufficiently evinced in the foregoing remarks. But what need is there of argument to prove what any one, even slightly acquainted with Arminian theology, knows that it maintains? Indeed, it is one of the distinctive and vital features of that theology, contra-distinguishing it to the Calvinistic. The Calvinist holds that the efficacious and irresistible grace of God applies salvation to the sinner; the Arminian, that the grace of God although communicated to every man is inefficacious and resistible, and that the sinner's will uses it as merely an assisting influence in determining the final result of accepting a possible salvation and so making it actual. Grace does not determine the will; the will "improves" the grace and determines itself. Grace is the handmaid, the sinner's will the mistress. Let us suppose that in regard to the question whether salvation shall be accepted, there is a perfect equipoise between the motions of grace and the contrary inclinations of the sinner's will. A very slight added influence will destroy the equilibrium. Shall it be from grace or from the sinner's will? If from the former, grace determines the question, and the Calvinistic doctrine is admitted. But that the Arminian denies. It must then be from the sinner's will; and however slight and inconsiderable this added influence of the will may be, it determines the issue. It is like the feather that alights upon one of two evenly balanced scales and turns the beam. 

Moreover, this will of the sinner which discharges the momentous office of determining the question of salvation is his natural will. It cannot be a gracious will, that is, a will renewed by grace; for if it were, the sinner would be already in a saved condition. But the very question is, Will he consent to be saved? Now if it be not the will of a man already in a saved condition, it is the will of a man yet in an unsaved condition. It is the will of an unbelieving and unconverted man, that is, a natural man, and consequently must be a natural will. It is this natural will, then, which finally determines the question whether a possible salvation shall become an actual. It is its high office to settle the matter of practical salvation. In this solemn business, as in all others, it has an irrefragable autonomy. Not even in the critical transition from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son, can it be refused the exercise of its sacred and inalienable prerogative of contrary choice. At the supreme moment of the final determination of the soul "for Christ to live and die," the determination might be otherwise. The will may be illuminated, moved, assisted by grace, but not controlled and determined by it. To the last it has the power of resisting grace and of successfully resisting it. To it - I use the language reluctantly - the blessed Spirit of God is represented as sustaining the attitude of the persuasive orator of grace. He argues, he pleads, he expostulates, he warns, he beseeches the sinner's will in the melting accents of Calvary and alarms it with the thunders of judgment - but that is all. He cannot without trespassing upon its sovereignty renew and re-create and determine his will. This is no misrepresentation, no exaggeration, of the Arminian's position. It is what he contends for. It is what he must contend for. It is one of the hinges on which his system turns. Take it away, and the system swings loosely and gravitates to an inevitable fall. 

Now this is so palpably opposed to Scripture and the facts of experience, that Evangelical Arminians endeavor to modify it, so as to relieve it of the charge of being downright Pelagianism. That the attempt is hopeless, has already been shown. It is utterly vain to say, that grace gives ability to the sinner sufficient for the formation of that final volition which decides the question of personal salvation. Look at it. Do they mean, by this ability, regenerating grace? If they do, as regenerating grace unquestionably determines the sinner's will, they give up their. position and adopt the Calvinistic. No; they affirm that they do not, because the Calvinistic position is liable to two insuperable objections: first, that it limits efficacious grace to the elect, denying it to others; secondly, that efficacious and determining, grace would contradict the laws by which the human will is governed. It comes back to this, then: that notwithstanding this imparted ability, the natural will is the factor which determines the actual relation of the soul to salvation. The admission of a gracious ability, therefore, does not relieve the difficulty. It is not an efficacious and determining influence; it is simply suasion. The natural will may yield to it or resist it. It is a vincible influence. 

Now this being the real state of the case, according to the Arminian scheme, it is perfectly manifest that no sinner could be saved. There is no need of argument. It is simply out of the question, that the sinner in the exercise of his natural will can repent, believe in Christ, and so make a possible salvation actual. Let it be clearly seen that, in the final settlement of the question of personal religion, the Arminian doctrine is, that the will does not decide as determined by the grace of God, but by its own inherent self-determining power, and the inference, if any credit is attached to the statements of Scripture, is forced upon us, that it makes the salvation of the sinner impossible. A salvation, the appropriation of which is dependent upon the sinner's natural will, is no salvation; and the Arminian position is that the appropriation of salvation is dependent upon the natural will of the sinner. The stupendous paradox is thus shown to be true - that a merely possible salvation is an impossible salvation. 

If in reply to this argument the Arminian should say, that he does not hold that the merely natural will which is corrupt is the final determining agent, but that the will makes the final decision by reason of some virtue characterizing it, the rejoinder is obvious: first, this virtue must either be inherent in the natural will of the sinner, or be communicated by grace. If it be inherent in the natural will, it is admitted that it is the natural will itself, through a power resident in it, which determines to improve communicated grace and appropriate salvation; and that would confirm the charge that the Arminian makes the final decision to accept salvation depend upon the natural will, which would be to render salvation impossible. If this virtue in the will which determines it to make the final decision be communicated by grace, it is a part of the gracious ability imparted to the sinner; and then we would have a part of this communicated gracious ability improving another part - that is, gracious ability improving gracious ability. Now this would be absurd on any other supposition than that grace is the determining agent, and that supposition the Arminian rejects. To state the case briefly: either this virtue in the will which is the controlling element is grace or it is not. If it be grace, then grace is the determining element, and the Calvinistic doctrine is admitted. If it be not grace, then the will by its natural power is the determining element, and that is impossible, - it is impossible for the natural will, which is itself sinful and needs to be renewed, to determine the question of practical salvation. 

Let us put the matter in a different light. There must be some virtue in the natural man to lead him to improve grace - to use gracious ability. Now whence is this virtue? It must be either from God, or from himself. If it be from God, then the cause which determines the question of accepting salvation is from God, and the Calvinistic doctrine is admitted. If it be from himself, then it is the natural will which uses the gracious ability, and determines the appropriation of salvation; and that is impossible. 

Further, the Arminian must admit either that the will makes the final decision in consequence of some virtue in it, or that it makes it without all virtue. If in consequence of some virtue, then as that virtue is distinguished from the grace it uses, it is merely natural, and the natural will is affirmed to be virtuous enough to decide the all-important question of salvation; which is contrary to the doctrine, maintained by Evangelical Arminians, that the natural man is depraved, and destitute of saving virtue. If the will makes the final decision without all virtue, then the natural will, as sinful, improves grace to the salvation of the soul, which is absurd and impossible. The Arminian is shut up to admit that it is the natural will of the sinner which improves grace and determines the question of personal salvation; and it is submitted, that such a position makes salvation impossible. 

There is another mode of showing that, according to the distinctive principles of the Arminian system, salvation is impossible. The Scriptures unquestionably teach that salvation is by grace: "By grace ye are saved."29 Not only so, but with equal clearness they teach that none can be saved except by grace; that no sinner can save himself: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."30 There is no need to argue this point, since it is admitted by Evangelical Arminians as well as by Calvinists. Their common doctrine is that no sinner can save himself. If his salvation depended upon his saving himself it would be impossible. But the distinctive doctrines of Arminianism - the doctrines which distinguish it from Calvinism - necessitate the inference that the sinner saves himself. This inference is illegitimate, the Arminian contends, because he holds that had not Christ died to make salvation possible and were not the Holy Spirit imparted to induce the sinner to embrace it, no man could be saved. This, however, is no proof of the illegitimacy of the inference from his doctrine that the sinner is after all his own saviour. The proof of the legitimacy of the inference is established in this way: According to Arminianism, sufficient grace is imparted to all men. Every man has, consequently, sufficient ability to repent, believe and embrace salvation. This sufficient grace or ability, therefore, is common to all men. But that it does not determine all men to be saved is proved by the fact that some are not saved. Thisthe Arminian holds. Now, what makes the difference between the saved and the unsaved? Why is one man saved and another not saved? The answer to these questions is of critical importance and it must be rendered. What answer does the Arminian return? This: The reason is, that one man determines to improve the common grace and another does not. He cannot hold that grace makes the difference, for grace is the common possession of both. The specific difference of their cases is the respective determinations of their own wills, undetermined by grace. He therefore who determines to use the common gift cannot be saved by it, but by his determination to use it. If it be not that which saves him, but the grace itself, then all who have the grace would be saved by it equally with him. No, it is not grace which saves him, but his use of grace. And as he might have determined not to use it, it is manifest that he is saved by the exercise of his own will; in other words that he saves himself. The saving factor is his will; he is his own saviour. This is made still plainer by asking the question, Why is another not saved, but ruined? He had the same sufficient grace with him who is saved. His own determination not to use it, it will be said, is the cause of his ruin - he therefore ruins himself. In the same way precisely the determination of the saved man to use it is the cause of his salvation - he, therefore, saves himself. Granted, that he could not be saved without grace; still, grace only makes his salvation possible. He must make it a fact; and beyond controversy, he who makes his salvation a fact accomplishes his salvation. He saves himself. 

This reasoning conclusively evinces it to be a necessary consequence from the distinctive doctrines of Arminianism, that sinners are not saved by grace but by themselves in the use of grace; and as that position contradicts the plainest teachings of Scripture, the system which necessitates it makes salvation impossible. 

To all this it will be replied, that the ability conferred by grace pervades the will itself, and enables, although it does not determine, it to make the final and saving decision. But this by no means mends the matter. Let it be admitted that the will is enabled by grace to decide; if it is not determined by it to the decision, then it follows that there is something in the will different from the gracious ability, which uses that ability in determining the result. What is that different element? It cannot be a gracious power. To admit that would be to contradict the supposition and to give up the question; for in that case it would be grace which determines the decision. What can that be which differs from the gracious ability conferred and uses it, but the natural power of the sinner's will? But his will, apart from grace, is sinful and therefore disabled. So the Arminian admits. How, then, can a disabled thing use enabling grace? How can it determine to use that grace? Over and beyond the enabling power there is postulated a determining power. The enabling power is grace; over and beyond it is the determining power of the sinful will. The thing is inconceivable. Sin cannot use grace; inability cannot use ability; the dead cannot determine to use life. To say then that grace is infused into the will itself to enable it to form the final volition, which makes a possible salvation actual, does not remove the difficulty. If it does not determine the will, the will determines itself. The very essence of that self-determination is to use or not to use the enabling grace, and therefore must be something different from that grace. The determination is not from grace, but from nature. Again the impossibility of salvation is reached. A doctrine which assigns to grace a merely enabling influence, and denies it a determining power, makes the salvation of a sinner impossible. To say to a sinner, Use the natural strength of your will in determining to avail yourself of grace, would be to say to him, You cannot be saved. For if he answered from the depths of his consciousness, he would groan out the response, Alas, I have no such strength! 

The truth is, that a thorough examination of the anthropology of the Arminian discloses the fact that, in the last analysis, it is not essentially different from that of the Socinian and Pelagian. It is cheerfully conceded that the Arminian soteriology is different from the Socinian and Pelagian. For the former professedly holds that the atonement of Christ was vicarious and that it rendered a perfect satisfaction to the retributive justice of God. But, according to it, the atonement did not secure salvation as a certain result to any human beings; and when it comes to the question how the sinner practically avails himself of the salvation made only possible to all, the Arntinian answers it by saying, that the sinner in the exercise of his own self-determining power, which from its nature is contingent in its exercise, makes salvation his own. The connection between his soul and redemption is effected by his own decision, in the formation of which he is conscious that he might act otherwise - that he might make a contrary choice. There is no real difference between this position and that of the Socinian and Pelagian. The Arminian professes to attach more importance than they to the influence of supernatural grace, but, in the last resort, like them he makes the natural power of the sinner’s will the determining cause of personal salvation. Every consideration, therefore, which serves to show the impossibility of salvation upon the anthropological scheme of Socinianism and Pelagianism leads to the conclusion that the same consequence is enforced by that of Arminianism. In both schemes it is nature, and not grace, which actually saves. 

Still further, the distinctive doctrines of Arminianism not only make salvation impossible by denying that it is by grace, but also by implying that it is by works. Not that it is intended to say that Arminians in so many words affirm this. On the contrary, they endeavor to show that their system is not liable to this charge. We have, however, to deal with their system and the logical consequences which it involves. The question is, Do the peculiar tenets of the Arminian scheme necessitate the inference that salvation is by works? I shall attempt to prove that they do. 

It must be admitted that a system, one of the distinctive doctrines of which is that sinners are in a state of legal probation, affirms salvation by works. The essence of a legal probation is that the subject of moral government is required to render personal obedience to law in order to his being justified. It is conceded on all hands that Adam's probation was of such a character. He was required to produce a legal obedience. Had it been produced it would have been his own obedience. It makes no difference that he was empowered to render it by sufficient grace. A righteousness does not receive its denomination from the source in which it originates, but from its nature and the end which it contemplates. Had Adam stood, he would have been enabled by grace to produce obedience, but it would have been his own obedience, and it would have secured justification on its own account. 

Now it will not be denied that Arminian divines assert that men are now in a state of probation. It would be unnecessary to adduce proof of this. They contend that, in consequence of the atonement offered by Christ for the race, all men become probationers. A chance is given them to secure salvation. The only question is, whether the probation which Arminians affirm for sinners be a legal probation. That it is, may be proved by their own statements. If they take the ground that the obedience to divine requirements may be rendered through the ability conferred by grace, and therefore the probation is not legal, the answer is obvious: the obedience exacted of Adam he was enabled by grace to render; but notwithstanding that fact, his probation was legal. That men now have grace enabling them to render obedience cannot disprove the legal character of their probation. 

The argument has ramified into details, but it has not wandered from the thing to be proved, to wit, that a possible salvation is an impossible salvation. All the consequences which have been portrayed as damaging to the Arminian theory of a merely possible salvation flow logically from the fundamental position that sufficient ability is given to every man to make such a merely possible salvation actual to himself. One more consideration will be presented, and it goes to the root of the matter. It is, that this ability which is affirmed to be sufficient to enable every man to make a possible salvation actual is, according to Arminian showing, itself a sheer impossibility. This may be regarded as an extraordinary assertion, but it is susceptible of proof as speedy as it is clear. The Evangelical Arminian not only admits the fact, but contends for it, that every man in his natural, fallen condition is spiritually dead - is dead in trespasses and sins. The problem for him to solve is, How can this spiritually dead man make his possible salvation an actual salvation? It must not be done by the impartation to him of efficacious and determiuing grace, for to admit that would be to give up the doctrine of a possible salvation and accept that of a decreed and certain salvation. Nor must it be done by regenerating grace, for two difficulties oppose that supposition: first, this regenerating grace would necessarily be efficacious and determining grace; and secondly, it could not with truth be maintained that every man is regenerated. A degree of grace, therefore, which is short of regenerating grace, must be conferred upon every man. What is that? Sufficient grace - that is to say, a degree of grace imparting ability sufficient to enable every man to make a possible salvation actually his own. Now, the argument is short: a degree of grace which does not regenerate, would be a degree of grace which would not bestow life upon, the spiritually dead sinner. If it did infuse spiritual life it would of course be regenerating grace; but it is denied to be regenerating grace. No other grace would be sufficient for the dead sinner but regenerating or life-giving grace. How could grace enable the dead sinner to perform living functions - to repent, to believe in Christ, to embrace salvation - without first giving him life? In a word, sufficient grace which is not regenerating grace is a palpable impossibility. An ability sufficient to enable the dead sinner to discharge living functions but not sufficient to make him live, is an impossibility. The Arminian is therefore shut up to a choice between two alternatives: either, he must confess sufficient grace to be regenerating grace, and then he abandons his doctrine; or, he must maintain that grace is sufficient for a dead sinner which does not make him live, and then he asserts an impossibility. 

If to this the Arminian reply, that the functions which sufficient grace enables the sinner to perform are not functions of spiritual life, it follows: first, that he contradicts his own position that grace imparts a degree of spiritual life to every man; and, secondly, that he maintains that a spiritually dead man discharges functions which cause him to live, which is infinitely absurd. 

If, finally, he reply, that sufficient grace is life-giving and therefore regenerating grace, but that it is not efficacious, and does not determine the fact of the sinner's salvation, the rejoinder is obvious: No spiritually dead sinner call possibly be restored to life except by union with Jesus Christ, the source of spiritual life. To deny that position is to deny Christianity. But if that must be admitted, as union with Christ determines the present salvation of the sinner, sufficient grace which gives life determines the question of present salvation. Sufficient grace gives life by uniting the sinner to Christ, and union with Christ is salvation. Sufficient grace which is conceded to be regenerating, is therefore necessarily efficacious and determining, grace. 

We are now prepared to estimate the force of the analogy which, under a preceding head, it was supposed that the Arminian may plead between the case of the sinner and that of Adam. Our first father had sufficient grace, but it was not efficacious grace. It did not determine his standing. It rendered it possible for him to stand, but it did not destroy the possibility of his falling. He had sufficient ability to perform holy acts; nevertheless, it was possible for him to sin. In like manner, it may be said, the sinner, in his natural condition, has sufficient grace, but not efficacious grace. It renders it possible for him to accept salvation, but it does not destroy the possibility of his rejecting it. He has sufficient ability to repent and believe; yet, notwithstanding this, he may continue impenitent and unbelieving. 

I admit the fact that Adam had sufficient grace to enable him to stand in holiness, and that it was possible for him either to stand or fall; but I deny that there is any real analogy between his case and that of the unregenerate sinner. It breaks down at a point of the most vital consequence. That point is the presence or absence of spiritual life. Adam, in innocence, was possessed of spiritual life - he was, spiritually considered, wholly alive. There was not imparted to him - to use an Arminian phrase - "a degree of spiritual life." Life reigned in all his faculties. There was no element of spiritual death in his being which was to be resisted and which in turn opposed the motions of spiritual life. Now let it even be supposed, with the Arminian, that a degree of spiritual life is given to the spiritually dead sinner, and it would necessarily follow that there is a degree of spiritual death which still remains in him. What conceivable analogy could exist between a being wholly alive spiritually and one partly alive and partly dead spiritually? What common relation to grace could be predicated of them? How is it possible to conceive that grace which would be sufficient for a wholly living man would also be sufficient for a partly dead man? Take then the Arminian conception of the case of the sinner in his natural condition, and it is obvious that there is no real analogy between it and that of Adam in innocence. 

But it has already been shown that the impartation by grace of a degree of spiritual life to the sinner which does not involve his regeneration is impossible. Whatever grace and ability the Arminian may claim for the sinner, if it fall short of regenerating grace, if it does not quicken him in Christ Jesus, no life is communicated by it. The sinner is still dead in trespasses and sins. The communicated grace may instruct him, but it does not raise him from the dead - it is didactic, but not life-giving. It is the suasion of oratory, not the energy of life. It operates upon the natural faculties and becomes a motive to the natural will. But it is precisely the natural will, pervaded by spiritual death, which must decide whether or not it will appropriate the spiritual inducements and make them its own. In a word, a dead man must determine whether he will yield to the persuasion to live or not. 

The Arminian theory defies comprehension. To hold that sinners are not spiritually dead is to accept the Pelagian and Socinian heresy that the natural man is able to do saving works. This the Evangelical Arminian denies. He admits that the sinner is spiritually dead, and that in his own strength he can do no saving work. What then does grace accomplish for the sinner, for every sinner? The hypothesis put forth in answer to this question is a plait of riddles which no ingenuity can disentangle. First, the sinner is spiritually dead. Then, "a degree of spiritual life" is imparted to him enabling him to discharge spiritually living functions. Well then - one would of course infer - the sinner is now spiritually alive: he is regenerated, he is born again. No, says the Arminian, only "a portion of spiritual death is removed from him:"31 he is not yet regenerated. What then can sufficient grace be but the degree of spiritual life which is communicated to the sinner? But this grace - this degree of spiritual life he is to improve. He may do so or he may refuse to do so. If he improve it, it follows that as spiritually dead he improves spiritual life, and what contradiction can be greater than that? If that is denied, it must be supposed, that as spiritually alive he improves this grace - this spiritual life, and then it would follow that as he may resist it, he would, as spiritually alive resist spiritual life, which is absurd. What other supposition can be conceived, unless it be this: that he acts at the same time as equally dead and alive - that death and life co-operate in producing saving results, or in declining to produce them? But that is so absurd that no intelligent mind would tolerate it. Will it be said, that if he improve spiritual life he does it as spiritually alive, and if he resist it, he does it as spiritually dead? That would suppose that, in the case of successful resistance, spiritual death is too strong for spiritual life and overcomes it. How then could the vanquished life be said to be sufficient, or the insufficient grace to be sufficient grace? The spiritual life imparted is unable to overcome the spiritual death still existing, and yet it confers sufficient ability upon the sinner. The Arminian hypothesis is susceptible of no other fair construction than this: that the sinner, as spiritually dead, improves the degree of life given him by grace; that, as impenitent and unbelieving, he, by the exercise of his natural will, uses the imparted ability to repent and believe. Such ability is just no ability at all; for there is no power that could use it. It is like giving a crutch to a man lying on his back with the dead palsy, or like putting a bottle of aqua vita, in the coffin with a corpse. 

Let us put the case in another form: The Arminian holds that the sinner is spiritually dead and consequently unable to do anything to save himself. But a degree of spiritual life is imparted to him to enable him to embrace salvation offered to him. It follows that now the sinner is neither wholly dead nor wholly alive: he is partly dead and partly alive. Now, either, first, his dead part uses his living part; or, secondly, his living part uses his dead part; or, thirdly, his living part uses itself and his dead part uses itself; or, fourthly, his living part uses both the living and dead part; or, fifthly, the living and dead part co-operate. The first supposition is inconceivable; for death cannot use life. The second supposition violates the Arminian doctrine that it is life which is to be used, not life which uses death; and further, how is it possible for life to use death in performing saving functions? The third supposition involves the concurrent but contradictory acting of life and death, neither being dominant, so that the sinner ever remains partly alive and partly dead. No salvation is reached. The fourth supposition involves the causal and determining influence of the life imparted by grace, and, therefore, the abandonment of the Arminian and the adoption of the Calvinistic doctrine; for the whole man would be ruled by the life-giving grace. The fifth supposition is impossible; for it is impossible that life and death can co-operate to secure salvation. 

Let the Arminian account of the unconverted sinner's condition be viewed in every conceivable way, and it is evident that there is no analogy between it and that of Adam in innocence. The sufficient grace or ability of the two cases is entirely different. In one case, there was total spiritual life, in the other there is partial spiritual life and partial spiritual death. They cannot be reduced to unity, nor can even similarity be predicated of them. Justification was possible to Adam, for, as a being totally alive, he had sufficient ability to secure it; but salvation, according to the Arminian supposition, is impossible to the sinner, for as a being partly dead, he has no sufficient ability to embrace it. It has already been conclusively shown that grace, to confer ability upon the spiritually dead, cannot be anything less than regenerating grace; and the bestowal of that upon the sinner, previously to his repentance and faith, the Arminian denies. An appeal to Adam's ability, in order to support the hypothesis of the sufficient ability of the unregenerate sinner, cannot avail to redeem that hypothesis from the charge of making a merely possible salvation impossible. 

Let us now return for a moment to the argument employed under the preceding head. It was argued that God's foreknowledge, as conceded by the Arminian, that a definite number of human beings will be condemned at the last day, involves the absolute certainty of their condemnation, and that what God will do on that day he must have eternally purposed to do. How, it was asked, can the Arminian show that this certainty of the destruction of some men is consistent with the possibility of their salvation? It was supposed that in his attempt to show this, he might contend that although the divine foreknowledge created an extrinsic impossibility of their salvation - that is, an impossibility apprehended in the divine mind, yet there is an intrinsic possibility of their salvation - that is, a possibility growing out of their own relations to the schecne of redemption, and their ability to avail themselves of them. In short, he might contend that although God foreknows that some men will be lost, he also foreknows that these same men might be saved; and to fortify that view, he might appeal to the analogy of the case of Adam, the certainty of whose fall God foreknew, but the possibility of whose standing, so far as his intrinsic ability was concerned, he also foreknew. It has now been proved that there is no analogy between Adam's sufficient ability and that which the Arminian vainly arrogates for the unregenerate sinner; and that on the contrary, on the Arminian's own principles, the unregenerate sinner is endowed with no sufficient ability to appropriate a merely possible salvation. Upon those principles, therefore, at the same time that God foreknows the certainty of some men's destruction, he also foreknows the intrinsic impossibility of their salvation. The Arminian, consequently, has the case of the finally lost to harmonize with divine goodness, as well as the Calvinist, and is logically restrained from attacking the Calvinistic doctrine because of its alleged inconsistency with that attribute. The charge recoils, indeed, with redoubled force upon himself, for while the Calvinistic doctrine provides for the certain salvation of some men, his doctrine makes the salvation of any man impossible. A scheme which professes to make the salvation of every man possible, but really makes the salvation of any man impossible, is not one which can glory in being peculiarly consistent with the goodness of God. 

The Arminian impeaches the doctrine of unconditional election for representing God as worse than the devil, more false, more cruel, more unjust.32 No recourse has been had to declamatory recrimination; but it has been proved by cold-blooded argument that the distinctive principles of Arminianism, in making the application of redemption to depend upon the self-determining power of a dead man's will, make the actual salvation of any sinner a sheer impossibility. How such a scheme magnifies the goodness of God can only be conceived by those who are able to comprehend how a dead man can use the means of life. The love of the Father in giving his Son, the love of the Son in obeying, suffering, dying for the salvation of sinners, the mission of the eternal Spirit to apply a salvation purchased by blood, - all this infinite wealth of means depends for efficacy upon the decision of a sinner's will, a decision which, without regenerating and determining grace, must, in accordance with the law of sin and death, be inevitably rendered against its employment. 

The proposition will no doubt have been regarded as extraordinary, but it is now repeated as a conclusion established by argument, that a merely possible salvation such as the Arminian scheme enounces is to a sinner an impossible salvation. When the argument has been convicted of inconclusiveness, it may be time to resort to the weapons of the vanquished - strong and weighty words. 

The objection against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation that they are inconsistent with the goodness of God has now been examined, and it has been shown, first, that it is inapplicable, and secondly, that the Arminian is not the man to render it.


3. OBJECTION FROM DIVINE WISDOM.

The next objection which will be considered is derived from the wisdom of God. It may be stated in the words of Richard Watson: "The doctrine of the election to eternal life only of a certain determinate number of men, involving, as it necessarily does, the doctrine of the absolute and unconditional reprobation of all the rest of mankind, cannot, we may confidently affirm, be reconciled . . . to the wisdom of God; for the bringing into being a vast number of intelligent creatures under a necessity of sinning, and of being eternally lost, teaches no moral lesson to the world; and contradicts all those notions of wisdom in the ends and processes of government which we are taught to look for, not only from (sic) natural reason, but from the Scriptures."33 

After what has been said in exposition of the Calvinistic doctrine, it cannot fail to be observed that there is here a positive misrepresentation of that doctrine; and that in two respects. In the first place, when the decree of reprobation is represented as "absolute and unconditional," it is meant to imply that it just as efficaciously determines the sin and destruction of some men as the decree of election does the holiness and salvation of others. It has already been shown that even the Supralapsarians do not profess to hold such a view, and that it is expressly denied in the Calvinistic Confessions, and by the Sublapsarians, who constitute the vast majority of the Calvinistic body. In the second place, the statement is incorrect that the Calvinistic doctrine maintains that God brought into being a vast number of intelligent creatures under the necessity of sinning and of being eternally lost. The common teaching of the Calvinistic Churches, as embodied in their Confessions and Catechisms, is that Adam might have stood in innocence and secured justification for himself and his posterity, who were represented by him under the covenant of works. And although some Calvinistic theologians have advocated Necessitariauism, it would be impossible to show that it has been taught in the Calvinistic Symbols. Nor have the body of Calvinistic divines affirmed the view that, in the first instance, man was under any necessity of sinning. The doctrine which, in the foregoing quotation, is pronounced inconsistent with the divine wisdom is not the Calvinistic doctrine, and therefore I do not feel called upon to vindicate it from exceptions. Leaving the Necessitarian to answer for his own position, I propose briefly to show, first, that the Calvinistic doctrine is not inconsistent with the wisdom of God, and, secondly, that the Arminian doctrine is. 

The wisdom of God is that attribute by which he selects ends and adopts the fittest and most effectual means to secure them. Now according to the Calvinistic doctrine, God in dealing with the race of human sinners proposed to himself these ends: the glorification of his grace in the salvation of some, and the glorification of his justice in the punishment of others. In order to secure the first of these ends, he determined to elect some of the mass of fallen, corrupt and hell-deserving men to be everlastingly saved, and in pursuance of that purpose, gave his Son to obey his violated law in his life and death as their substitute and so to render perfect satisfaction to justice for their sins, and then imparts to them his Spirit to unite them to their federal Head, to determine them to holy obedience, and to cause them to persevere to the attainment of heavenly felicity. What fitter and more effectual means can be imagined than these to secure the proposed end - namely, the glorification of divine grace in the salvation of sinners? There is a precise adaptation of the means to the end, and no possible contingency in regard to the result. Where is the inconsistency with divine wisdom in this procedure? Does it not illustrate that attribute? 

In order to secure the second of these ends, to wit, the glorification of his justice in the punishment of sinners, God determined to leave some of the fallen, corrupt and hell-deserving mass under the just sentence of his violated law, and ordained them to continue under the condemnation which they had merited by their sin. The question is not now whether that end were worthy of God. That question has already been discussed. But assuming that he did propose to himself such an end, it cannot be denied that the means were exactly suited to secure it. So far from there being a want of wisdom in this procedure, a clear exemplification of it is furnished. 

But let us take Mr. Watson's conception of the divine wisdom. The office which he signalizes as discharged by it is to teach moral lessons to the world. The operation of the decrees which Calvinists ascribe to God is inconsistent with wisdom, he contends, because it teaches no moral lesson to the world. Surely the bestowal of the unmerited and transcendent blessing of eternal life upon some sinners of the human race, while others are left to perish, is suited to impress upon its recipients a lesson of gratitude which they will never forget through the everlasting ages. The determination to inflict condign punishment upon some members of the guilty race is adapted to teach the world the dreadful evil of sin and the fearfulness of falling into the hands of the living God. Is not the retention of some sinners in the hands of vindicatory justice, while others are discharged through the obedience of a substitute, also fitted to deter all intelligent beings from tampering with the temptation to revolt against the government of God? If the consistency with wisdom of any measures is to be collected from their fitness to impart valuable moral lessons, the decrees of election and reprobation, as represented by Calvinists, must be pronounced eminently consistent with that attribute. 

In the passage which has been cited it is also declared that the decrees of election and reprobation, as conceived by Calvinists, would, in their execution, contradict the ends of a wise government, so far as they can be ascertained from reason and Scripture. Let us test the allegation. The ends which it is usual to ascribe to a wise government are: first, the vindication of justice; secondly, the prevention of crime and the consequent protection of society; and thirdly, the reformation of offenders. The execution of the decree of reprobation upon the inexcusable violators of the divine law certainly vindicates the justice of God. It, therefore, is adapted to secure the first end of a wise government. The execution of the decrees of election and reprobation tends to the prevention of sin, - that of election by engendering and maintaining in its objects the love of holiness and the hatred of wickedness; that of reprobation by infusing the dread of sin into all beholders of its deserved and terrible punishment. The execution of these decrees is, consequently, adapted to promote the second end of a wise government. 

It would be folly to assert that the third end - namely, the reformation of offenders, is always sought by a wise government. In some cases it is, in others it is not. The swift execution of a murderer cannot be regarded as a measure looking to his reformation, unless destroying his life may be considered as a means of his living better; and sending him out of the world may be contemplated as qualifying him to discharge his duties in the world. The decree of election proposes the reformation of offenders and secures it, and therefore promotes the third end of a wise government. The decree of reprobation no more contemplates this end than does the sentence of human law which adjudges a flagrant criminal to summary execution. And it deserves to be solemnly considered that every sin against God deserves the prompt execution of soul and body. Who among the orthodox would take the ground that the incarceration of the fallen angels in hell was a reformatory measure? If, then, God inflict the same doom upon some human sinners, it is obvious that he could not contemplate their reformation as an end. Enough has been said to evince the unjustifiableness of the allegation, that the execution of the decrees of election and reprobation, as conceived by Calvinists, would contradict the ends which a wise government proposes to attain. 

Let us next inquire whether the Arminian conception of the plan of salvation be not inconsistent with wisdom. On account of the inexact and confused phraseology of the Arminian theology in its statements concerning the plan of redemption, we are obliged in order to a thorough discussion of the question in hand to make two suppositions. Either, it is the Arminian doctrine that God proposed as an end the salvation of the whole race, or it is that he proposed as an end the salvability of the whole race. 

Let us take the first supposition - namely, that the end which God proposed to secure was the salvation of the whole race. We are justified in making this supposition, because Arminians constantly and vehemently affirm that Christ died to save all men, and because they denounce any other doctrine as utterly unscriptural and as dishonoring the character of the blessed God. It must be admitted that if the end proposed to be accomplished had been the salvation of all men, it would have been one characterized by infinite wisdom. No objection is now urged against the possible consistency of such an end with the divine wisdom. But assuming, according to the first supposition, that such was the end selected, the question necessarily arises, Are the means, which the Arminian holds to have been adopted, fitted to secure its accomplishment? If not, the wisdom of the plan breaks down in the selection of the means. What, then, are the means which, according to the Arminian statement, were selected to achieve the end? The atonement of Christ offered for the sins of every man, the grace of the Holy Ghost imparted to every man to enable him to avail himself of the merit of Christ, and the undetermined and self-determining action of the sinner's will in improving the ability conferred by grace and embracing the offered salvation. Now, according to the Arminian doctrine, the attainment of the end, to wit, the salvation of all men is, from the nature of the case, contingent - that is, it may or may not take place; for, it is conditioned upon the undetermined and contingent action of every man's will. It must, therefore, be granted by the Arminian himself that there could be, from the very nature of the means employed, no certainty as to the attainment of the proposed end. And facts abundantly prove this to be true; for all men are not actually saved. The Arminian is not a Universalist, but admits this fact - that some men are lost. The question is, how can he vindicate the wisdom employed in the selection of means which fail to accomplish the proposed end? The end is the salvation of the race. That fails. Why? Because the means adopted are inadequate to secure it. There could therefore be no wisdom in the selection of the means. 

Let us take the second supposition. The Arminian may contend that he does not represent the end to be the actual salvation of all men, but their possible salvation - not their salvation, but their salvability. We are then entitled to say to him: If that be your view, in the name of consistency, you are required to change your phraseology. Instead of saying what you do not mean - namely, that Christ died for the salvation of all men, say what you do mean - namely, that Christ died for the salvability of all men. Instead of saying what you do not mean - that men are saved by grace, say what you do mean - that men save themselves by improving grace. Instead of saying what you do not mean - that men by believing in Christ enjoy salvation in the present life, say what you do mean - that men enjoy salvability in the present life, and may enjoy salvation in the future life. Square your terms with your doctrine, that men may understand precisely what it is, and may no longer be deceived by the "imposture of words." 

But let it be supposed that the end which the Arminian attributes to God is the possible salvation of all men; and the doctrine is impeachable because it ascribes to the divine scheme of redemption no element of wisdom. There would be no wisdom in the selection of the end; for a possible salvation is no salvation, can be no salvation. Unless God make the salvation of the dead certain, they must forever lie dead. A possible salvation of the dead apart from their actual salvation by the power of God immediately and miraculously exerted upon them is an impossible salvation. Is the possible salvation of the spiritually dead an end to be ascribed to divine wisdom? There could be no wisdom in the selection of the means. There is no wisdom in the adoption of means to secure an impossible end. Worse than this, there can be no wisdom in the selection of means which are themselves impossible to be employed. In the last resort, the means by which, according to the Arminian, a possible salvation becomes actual is the self-determination of a will unregenerated by the grace of God - that is to say, the means by which a dead man is to be saved from death is the self-determined exercise of the dead man's will. In short, there can be no wisdom in the selection of an end impossible of attainment, and the adoption of means impossible of employment. Such is the scheme of salvability which under the fair name of a scheme of salvation the Arminian theology eloquently describes as the fruit of infinite wisdom! The proof that a merely possible salvation is an impossible salvation has, in part, been furnished in the foregoing remarks: a further presentation of it may be made at a subsequent stage of the discussion.


4. OBJECTION FROM DIVINE VERACITY.

The next objection which requires consideration is, that the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation are inconsistent with the veracity of God. 

This objection is presented in several forms: 

First, that these doctrines are inconsistent with those passages of Scripture which declare God's love for all mankind, and the consequence of that love, a universal atonement. 

Secondly, that they are inconsistent with the scriptural affirmation that God wills that all men shall be saved. 

Thirdly, that they are inconsistent with the command of God that all men should repent and believe the gospel, and with the universal offer of salvation. 

The first and the second of these special forms of the objection will not be considered in this place. The question of the Extent of the Atonement or the question, For whom did Christ die? it is usual to consider under a special head. It constituted one of the points debated between the Remonstrants and the defenders of the Synod of Dort. The question of the will of God touching the salvation of all men is cognate to that just noticed, and properly falls to be examiued, in part at least, in connection with it. But it may here be remarked that if the doctrine of election has, in the preceding part of this discussion, been proved to be scriptural, it has been also proved that Christ died for the salvation only of the elect; and that God efficaciously wills only their salvation. These doctrines stand or fall together. Assuming, then, the doctrine of election and its necessary consequent, particular atonement, the Calvinist is bound to meet the objection that they are inconsistent with the sincerity of God in commanding all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, and in extending a universal offer of salvation. This form of the objection it is now proposed to examine. 

There are two questions involved in it which, although related to each other, are sufficiently distinct to justify their separate consideration. 

The first is, How can the doctrines of election and reprobation be reconciled with the command of God to all men to repent and believe the gospel? Is not God represented as insincere in commanding those to repent and believe whom he did not elect to be saved and from whom he withholds his saving grace? In short, how can the sincerity of God be vindicated in view of the allegation that he commands those to repent and believe whom he has decreed to reprobate, and who, he therefore foreknows, cannot obey the command? This question the Calvinist must face. But let us clear away irrelevant matter, so that the precise issue may be distinctly apprehended. The Arminian puts the difficulty in this way: God, according to the Calvinist, foreordained and necessitated the sin and spiritual inability of men: he gives them no grace to relieve them of their inability; and yet commands them to do what they cannot do, in consequence of his own agency exerted upon them. How, then, can God's sincerity be vindicated? But this is not the true state of the question. It would be, if Calvinism were Necessitarianism; and how the Necessitarian can successfully meet the difficulty, I confess that I have never been able to see. But Calvinism, as it has already been shown, is not Necessitarianism. While it maintains the position that men in their present condition are spiritually disabled, and, apart from the regenerating grace of God, are under a fatal necessity of sinning - not of committing this or that particular sin34 - but of sinning, it does not hold that, in the first instance, that necessity existed. On the contrary it teaches that the will of man was "neither forced, nor by any absolute necessity of nature determined to good or evil;" that while man in innocence was liable to fall on account of the mutability of his will, he was also able to stand, and might by complying with the condition of the covenant of works have secured justification. According to Calvinism, then, God did not either originate or necessitate man's sin and consequent inability. The form in which the Arminian usually presses the objection is consequently irrelevant and unjustifiable. The Calvinist, therefore, is not called upon to meet it. It is not applicable to him. He is no knight-errant who gallantly undertakes to fight other people's battles, but is satisfied with the scope afforded to his valor and his arms in defending his own position. The objection which he is fairly enjoined to meet is that which has been stated: Does he represent the God of truth as insincere, in commanding those to repent and believe whom he decreed to reprobate for their own, unnecessitated sin, and who, he foreknows, cannot obey the command? 

It is admitted that God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, with this limitation, however: that all men who are commanded are those who have the Word of God. For how could men be commanded, if they have no knowledge of the command? Let us now endeavor to understand exactly what the Arminian means by this objection. Does he mean to take the ground that whatsoever God commands men to do, he efficiently decreed that they should do? One would suppose that this is his meaning, from the fact that he so vehemently contends that God wills the salvation of all men. What else can be meant by this position, but that God decretively wills the salvation of all men? If this be his meaning, he is compelled to hold that God's decretive will is defeated in innumerable instances, since he admits the fact that many men refuse to obey the command to repent and believe. He is, consequently, shut up to the concession that there is a discrepancy between the command of God and his decretive will, as efficacious, and is debarred, by consistency, from pressing that difficulty upon the Calvinist as one peculiar to him. 

If he mean by God's will that all men should be saved, a will that the means and opportunities for securing salvation should be enjoyed by all men, the same result follows, for he is forced to admit the fact that those means and opportunities are not possessed by all men. This has been proved in the foregoing remarks. Upon this supposition, also, he is confronted with a want of agreement between the command and the efficient will of God, and is deterred from urging his own difficulty upon the Calvinist. 

If he mean, that God wills to give ability to all men to attain salvation, without the knowledge of the gospel, he contradicts his own definite doctrine, that in order to be saved men must believe the gospel and accept the salvation which it tenders. To say that the Spirit, by immediate revelation and apart from the written Word, ordinarily communicates the knowledge of salvation, is to contravene alike the testimony of the Scriptures themselves and the facts of observation. On this supposition, also, it must be allowed that there would be a want of concurrence between the command of God and his efficacious will that all men should be saved; and again the Arminian is estopped from pressing the objection under consideration. 

If he mean, that the will of God that all men should be saved is not a decretive and efficacious will, but a desire that all men should be saved, as he admits the fact that all men are not actually saved, he must also admit a disappointment in myriads of instances of the divine desire, and a corresponding diminution of the divine happiness; and there would also emerge a want of harmony between the command of God and his will, in the form of desire, that all men should be saved. On this supposition, the difficulty objected against the Calvinistic doctrine lies with equal weight upon the Arminian. 

The difficulty created by any one, or all, of these suppositions is not removed, if the Arminian say that in this sense at least God efficaciously willed the salvation of all men - namely, that he willed by virtue of Christ's atonement that the disabling guilt of Adam's sin should be removed from all men. For, the question returns, How such a will could be a will that all men should be saved? Conscious depravity would still remain, with the guilt and curse which it entails, and unless that depravity and its judicial consequences are removed from all men by the will of God, there could not be affirmed to be a will of God that all men should be saved. 

If, finally, the Arminian say, that he means by the will of God that all men should be saved, only a permissive will, what more would he affirm than the Calvinist? For a will to permit all men to be saved would amount to no more than this: that God willed not to prevent the salvation of any man by a positive divine influence exerted upon him, and that the Calvinist admits as well as the Arminian. 

If in answer to this it be said, that the Calvinist holds that the judicial curse of God exerts a disabling influence upon the sinner, and that God willed to allow that disabling influence to remain upon some of mankind, the case of conscious sin and the condemnation which it deserves confronts the Arminian. All actual transgressions merit the judicial curse of God, and the Arminian holds that men commit actual transgressions, and that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." Here then is a disabling curse which must be removed ere men can be saved. Does God will to remove it from all men as, according to the Arminian, he willed to remove the condemnation for Adam's sin from all men? If so, all men are actually delivered both from the curse pronounced upon them for Adam's sin, and that inflicted upon them for their own conscious sins; and that involves the actual salvation of all men - a position maintained only by the Universalist. The Arminian must hold, therefore, that God willed to permit the disabling influence of his judicial curse to remain upon some men. Consequently, should he maintain the view that God's will that all men should be saved is simply a permissive will, he would be in the same relation to the question of the sincerity of God in commanding all men to repent as that sustained by the Calvinist. 

It has thus been evinced, that the objection grounded in the sincerity of God is one which the Arminian as well as the Calvinist is required to meet. But let us proceed to a more particular examination of the objection itself. 

There are evidently two fallacious hypotheses upon which the Arminian founds the objection, in the special form under treatment. The first is, that there can be no inconsistency between the decretive will and the preceptive will of God - between God's purpose and his command. The second is, that God cannot sincerely command obedience from those who are not able to render it - in other words, that in every possible case ability is the condition and measure of duty. Let us consider the first. 

It is strenuously contended by the Arminian that it is necessary to suppose that when God commands anything to be done, he also decretively wills that it should be done. Otherwise, an inconsistency is ascribed to the divine will - God wills to be done what he does not will shall be done. A contradiction emerges. Now, this would be true only in those cases in which the will of God is spoken of in the same sense. To say that God decretively wills that a thing be done and that he does not decretively will that the same thing be done, or that he preceptively wills to be done what he preceptively wills not to be done, - that would involve a contradiction. But to say that God preceptively wills a thing to be done and that he does not decretively will that it be done, - that involves no contradiction, for the reason that the divine will is regarded in different senses. This the Arminian himself must admit, or maintain a position inconsistent with his own doctrine as to the immutability of God, with the plain teachings of Scripture, and with the most obtrusive facts. He contends that God commands all men to repent and believe. Here is God's preceptive will. There can be no dispute about it. But all men do not repent and believe. Neither can there be any dispute about that fact. The question then is, Did God decretively will that all men should repent and believe? This must be answered in the affirmative, upon the Arminian ground that there can be no inconsistency between the preceptive and the decretive will of God. It must be admitted then that in this matter of the repentance and faith of all men, the decretive will of God has failed of execution - he has not accomplished what he decreed to accomplish. What becomes of the immutability of God, not to speak of his wisdom and his power? But the Arminian holds the immutability of God. He is therefore palpably inconsistent with himself. He is obliged, if he maintain the infinite perfectious of God, to admit that the preceptive and the decretive will of God do not coincide in regard to the repentance and faith of all men. Will he then, in spite of this necessitated admission, charge the Calvinist with unwarrantably affirming an inconsistency between the command of God that all men should repent and believe and the absence of his decree that all should obey that command? 

But let us look at the matter in the light of revealed facts. God, through Moses, commanded Pharaoh to let his people go. Here was his preceptive will, unmistakably delivered, and enforced by tremendous sanctions. Did God decretively will that the obstinate monarch should consent to let his people go? If so, his decretive will signally failed of accomplishment. For although Pharaoh under the pressure of judgment temporarily consented, he ultimately persisted in his refusal and was destroyed. As that cannot without blasphemy be affirmed, it must be conceded that in the case of Pharaoh the command of God was not concurrent with his decree. Was God insincere, therefore, in commanding the Egyptian king to release the Israelites from bondage ? 

God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Here was the preceptive will of God, which the illustrious patriarch unhesitatingly prepared to obey. But the event proved that God had not decretively willed that Isaac should be sacrificed. Here was another instance of a want of coincidence between the preceptive and the decretive will of God. Was God, then, insincere in commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son? 

God commanded the Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah and to believe in him. Here was his preceptive will. Did he also decretively will that all of them should accept him and believe in him? Surely not, else his decree was balked in its execution. Again we have a most striking instance of the fact that the command of God does not always tally with his decretive will. Who would take the ground that God was insincere in commanding all the Jews to accept Jesus as their Messiah and believe in him? 

With these scriptural facts the course of God's ordinary providence not unfrequently concurs. How often does he call his people to the performance of functions which he does not intend that they shall discharge! A young man, for example, is pressed by conscientious convictions that it is his duty to preach the Gospel. He sedulously prepares for the great office. His preparations completed, the church which is edified by his ministrations calls him to preach. The ecclesiastical authorities confirm the call. There is every evidence which can be furnished by piety, gifts, and the sustaining judgment of his brethren, that he is called to preach. And yet just as soon as he steps upon the threshold of the sacred office he receives the summons of his Master to leave his earthly work. He dies. In this case God's command and his decree do not coincide. He calls his servant to do a work which he did not intend that he should perform. As in the instance of Abraham, he tests the spirit of obedience, and stops the actual sacrifice. Yet who would say that God is insincere in extending a call to duty which he did not decretively will should be actually discharged? 

When, therefore, the Calvinist teaches that God commands all men to repent and believe, but that he does not decretively will that all men should repent and believe, he is not liable to the censure that he charges God with insincerity. He is supported in this position by the Word of God and the facts of providence. 

But the Calvinist contends that he is warranted in going further, and affirming that not only is it true that, in certain cases, God does not decretively will to be done what he commands to be done, but that, in certain cases also, God decretively wills that what he commands to be done should not be done. That was true in Abraham's case. God himself arrested his performance of the commanded duty. When his obedient servant was in the act of performing it, he stopped him by the command, "Lay not thy hand upon the lad." It is plain that God had decretively willed that, so far as the consummation of the duty was concerned, he should not execute his preceptive will. 

Not only does this hold true of the obedience of God's servants, but also of the disobedience of his enemies. God commanded Pharaoh to liberate Israel. He hardened the heart of the incorrigibly wicked monarch so that he should not obey the command. This is the express language of Scripture, and they who quarrel with it quarrel with God. Not that God made Pharaoh the wicked sinner that he was. His wickedness was his own, produced by and chargeable upon himself. God did not insert it into him, nor did he necessitate its existence. But finding him as he was, furiously bent on wickedness, he determined his sinful principle into a special and definite channel, in order to achieve the redemption of his afflicted people. He withdrew from him his Spirit, left him to the full scope of his evil passions, and shut him up to a refusal to comply with the divine command. In a word, God judicially punished him by continuing him under the necessity of expressing his own execrable wickedness. The destruction of Israel's enemies and their own glorious liberation were, in the divine purpose, conditioned upon Pharaoh's obstinacy. His obstinate resistance of the preceptive will of God was, therefore, ordained by the decretive will of God. To deny this is to deny the explicit statements of Scripture. 

God, by the testimony of John the Baptist, by voices speaking from the heavens, and by unimpeachable miracles, commanded the Jews who were coutemporary with Jesus to "hear him" and to believe on him. But he decretively willed that some of them should be the agents in producing his death. The apostle Peter in his great sermon on the day of Pentecost enounced this fact when he said: "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." The apostles, said in a prayer: "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Assuredly the death of Christ and the form in which it was inflicted were pre-determined. Consequently, the means and agencies involved must likewise have been foreordained. The sinful principle of which the atrocious act of the crucifixion was the expression was not produced by the divine efficiency. God is not the author of sin. The sinner is himself the author of it. The Scribes and Pharisees, the priests and rulers, and the contemporary generation of their countrymen were not made the malicious and incorrigible sinners they were by the divine causality; but being what they were by virtue of their own election, God determined to shut them up to the specific expression of wickedness which resulted in the crucifixion of Christ. They were not, by the divine decree, obliged to be sinners or to sin, but they were, by it, obliged to vent their own wickedness in such a way as to fulfil the eternal counsel of God touching that event which is the pivot upon which the whole scheme of redemption turns. In a word they with wicked hands crucified and slew the Saviour, but God decretively willed that they should crucify and slay him. The act was alike forbidden and decreed - commanded not to be done, and decreed to be done. It is but putting the same thing in different words to say that God commanded all the Jews to believe in Jesus, and decreed that some of them in consequence of unbelief should slay him. The bearing of these scriptural facts upon the question in hand is obvious and striking. The Arminian denies that there can be any incompatibility between the preceptive and the decretive will of God, and denounces the distinction between them, which the Calvinist affirms, as dishonoring to the divine perfections. Consequently, he holds that as God has expressed his preceptive will in the form of a command that all men should repent and believe the gospel, his decretive will must consist with it - that in point of fact he wills that all men should repent and believe; otherwise God would be insincere in issuing such a command. We meet this position by showing from the indisputable testimony of Scripture that, in the case of Abraham, of Pharaoh, and of some of the Jews in the matter of our Lord's crucifixion, God commanded to be done what he did not decretively will should be done; and further, that, in each of these cases, he commanded to be done what he decreed should not be done. Especially is the instance of the crucifiers of Christ a pertinent one. The Arminian says that as God commands all men to repent and believe, he decretively wills that all men should repent and believe. The Calvinist says that God commands all men to repent and believe, but that he has decretively willed to reprobate some men - that is to say, to pass them by, to withhold from them the saving grace which he imparts to others, and to shut them up in impenitency to their final doom. The Scriptures, in the instance designated, clearly illustrate the same distinction, enforced upon a more restricted theatre. God commanded all the Jews who were contemporary with Jesus to repent and believe in him, but he decretively willed concerning some of them to pass them by, to withhold from them his saving grace, and to shut them up in impenitency to their final doom. Does any one dispute the applicability of this language to the Jewish rejectors of Christ? Let him consider the awful words of the Lord Jesus, as found in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, and especially these, recorded in the eleventh chapter of Romans: "Wot ye not what the Scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded (according as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumbling-block, and a recompence unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway." 

These arguments derived immediately from Scripture are sufficient to refute the hypothesis of the Arminian that there can be no inconsistency between the preceptive will and the decretive will of God between the divine command and the divine purpose. Consequently, the objection against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation that they impute insincerity to God, so far as it is grounded in that hypothesis, is proved to be destitute of scriptural foundation. No insincerity is ascribed to God when it is maintained that, although he has decreed to reprobate some men for their sin, he commands all men to repent and believe the gospel. Man's duty is one thing, God's decree another. The preceptive will of God is plainly revealed in Scripture as a rule of action which all men are required to obey. The decretive will of God, concerning the salvation of this or that individual, no one has a right to inquire into until he has complied with the divine command to believe in Christ. When he has believed, it is his privilege to be assured of his election, testified to him by the witness of the Holy Spirit concurring with that of his own spirit. The apostle Paul says to the Thessalonian believers: "Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God." What Paul knew of them, they might know of themselves. Writing to the Roman Christians, he says: "Salute Rufus, chosen (elect) in the Lord." "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him," but, from the nature of the case, it is incognizable by the ungodly. 

The second fallacious hypothesis upon which the Arminian founds his objection against the Calvinistic doctrine touching the matter in hand is, that in every possible case ability is the condition and measure of obligation, and that, consequently, God could not sincerely command obedience from those who are not able to render it. The Calvinist holds that without regenerating and determining grace no man can obey the command of God to repent and believe the gospel; and that God has decreed to withhold that grace from those who are not included in his electing purpose. As, therefore, they are not able to repent and believe, the Calvinist represents God as insincere in commanding them to repent and believe. 

The hypothesis that in every possible case ability conditions and measures duty has been considered in a preceding part of this discussion. There it was admitted that, in the first instance, in which the requirements of law are laid upon its subject, his ability to obey is pre-supposed. It was conceded that the first man and the race represented by him were possessed of original ability to obey the divine law. But it was shown that when the original ability with which the subject of government is endowed has by wilful and unnecessitated sin been sacrificed, a penal inability supervenes, which cannot possibly discharge him from the obligation to render obedience to the divine requirements. So when Adam and the race in him by their own inexcusable act forfeited their concreated ability to obey God, the penal inability which followed as a judicial consequence could not release them from the duty to obey the divine commands. It may be affirmed as an indubitable principle, that God's right to command and man's duty to obey cannot be impaired by sin and the inability which it necessarily entails upon its perpetrators. The wilful transgressor of the divine law continues to be subject to the obligation which originally rested upon him. Although disabled by guilt and corruption, he is bound to perform the duties to which he was competent in innocence. The fallen angels are not released from the obligation to obey God by the fact of their inability to obey him. They are as much bound to render obedience to him in hell, as they originally were in heaven. So is it with men. The only question concerning which any doubt is possible is in regard to the justice of their implication in the sin of Adam and its penal results. That question has been already discussed. If the justice of that procedure be admitted, it must be granted that God's right to command obedience from men and their duty to render it are not qualified by the fact of their penal inability. Consequently, God without any breach of sincerity may command those to repent and believe the gospel whose guilt and depravity disable them for complying with the requirement. 

It will not be denied that repentance is a duty which nature itself requires of the sinner. It would be a duty, although there were no specific command which imposed it. It cannot, therefore, be disputed that God may rightfully and sincerely exact by special command the performance of a duty which is bound upon the sinner by his natural conscience. Nor does it affect the case to say that the sinner cannot comply with this requirement. It is his duty to repair the wrong which he has done, notwithstanding the fact that he has disabled himself for making the reparation. Repentance is, in one sense, clearly a legal duty; and the sinner's incapacity to perform it cannot release him from the obligation to discharge it, nor impair God's right to impose it by special command. 

But while this may be acknowledged, it may be urged that the duty to believe in Christ for salvation stands on a different foot - that faith is not required by a legal, but by an evangelical, command. Hence it may be argued that as faith, unlike repentance, stands related not to the authority of law, but to the provisions of a redemptive scheme which is the free product of God's gracious will, it cannot with sincerity be demanded of the sinner, unless at the same time sufficient ability to exercise it be communicated to him. In a word, faith may be said to lie outside of that class of legal duties which no self-contracted disability can excuse men from performing. As it is not obedience to law, but to the gospel of God's grace, the right to demand it supposes the supernatural impartation of ability to yield it. But this, it may be replied, is an erroneous statement of the case. It is cheerfully conceded that faith, although characterized as obedience, is not legal righteousness. Its matter is not the works of the law, nor is its end justification on the ground of personal obedience. It obeys by not obeying. That is to say, the very essence of the obedience which it involves is the renunciation of legal righteousuess as a complement of personal works, and reliance upon the righteousness of another, even the righteousness of Christ as the substitute of the guilty. But while this is true, faith is nevertheless obedience to law. The gospel is not the product of law, but of grace. But the gospel as the fruit of grace being in existence, God as Lawgiver and Ruler commands men to receive it and to believe in the Saviour whom it reveals. If the question be asked, Why should men believe in Christ? with reference to the end comtemplated, the answer is, In order to their being freely justified by grace on the ground of the vicarious obedience of Christ. If the same question be asked, with reference to the ground of the obligation to believe in Christ, the answer is, Because God has commanded them to do it. The authoritative will of God or, in other words, his law, expressed in the form of a specific command requiring faith in Christ, obliges those who hear the gospel to exercise that faith. He, therefore, who believes, obeys God's law as well as trusts in his mercy, and he who refuses to believe is alike a violator of the divine law and a despiser of divine grace. 

If this view be correct - and it is difficult to perceive how it can be gainsaid - the principle that a self-originated inability to obey the law cannot impair God's right to command obedience, nor man's duty to render it, applies as well to faith in Christ as to those purely legal works which are required by natural religion. Consequently no insincerity can be imputed to God in commanding those to believe in Christ who have no power to comply with the requirement. 

The mode in which the Arminian attempts to avoid the difficulty which he urges against the Calvinist is utterly, unsatisfactory. For, in the first place, if he take the extraordinary ground that the command to repent and believe is imposed literally upon all men - that is, upon every individual of the race - he cannot prove that such an ability to obey it as he contends for is imparted to the millions of the strictly heathen world. In the second place, it has already been shown by conclusive arguments, and, if God permit, may still further be evinced, that the ability which he claims for those who live under the gospel scheme is wholly insufficient to enable the unregenerate sinner to repent and believe in Christ. He professes to meet the difficulty growing out of the divine sincerity, but in reality fails to remove it. It presses upon his system as well as upon the Calvinistic. 

Let us now pass on to consider the second form of this objection - namely, that, upon the Calvinistic scheme, the universal offer of salvation through the invitations of the gospel is inconsistent with the sincerity of God. The difficulty is thus put by Richard Watson; "Equally impossible is it to reconcile this notion to the sincerity of God in offering salvation to all who hear the gospel, of whom this scheme supposes the majority, or at least great numbers, to be among the reprobate. The gospel, as we have seen, is commanded to be preached to 'every creature;' which publication of 'good news to every creature' is an offer of salvation 'to every creature,' accompanied with earnest invitations to embrace it, and admonitory comminations lest any should neglect and despise it. But does it not involve a serious reflection upon the truth and sincerity of God which men ought to shudder at, to assume, at the very time the gospel is thus preached, that no part of this good news was ever designed to benefit the majority, or any great part, of those to whom it is addressed? that they to whom the love of God in Christ is proclaimed were never loved by God? that he has decreed that many to whom he offers salvation, and whom he invites to receive it, shall never be saved? and that he will consider their sins aggravated by rejecting that which they never could receive, and which he never designed them to receive?"35 

There are two chief difficulties with which, to my mind, the Calvinistic scheme has to cope. The first is that which attends the attempt to reconcile with the justice and goodness of God the implication of all men in the sin of Adam and its judicial results. This difficulty has already been carefully considered, and it has been shown that it bears more heavily upon the Arminian than upon the Calvinistic system. But admitting the justice and benevolence of the constitution under which the first man and his posterity were collected into unity upon the principle of legal representation, and that in this way the guilt and spiritual inability of the race were self-contracted and justly imputable, the Calvinist is able to justify the decrees of unconditional election and of reprobation, and to affirm God's right to command and man's obligation to obey, notwithstanding the fact that men are in themselves unable to render the required obedience. 

The second difficulty - the gravity of which it would be idle to deny - is that which grows out of the necessity of adjusting to our conceptions of God's sincerity the universal offer of the gospel: the difficulty which it is now proposed to examine. The pinch of it is in this circumstance: that God not only commands men to repent and, believe as a duty which they owe to him, but invites and urges them to accept salvation as a benefit which he tenders them. They are not only addressed as the subjects of government, but as the objects of mercy. That God should offer them the blessings of salvation, without having designed those blessings for all and without conferring upon all the ability to accept them, seems to involve a mockery of human wretchedness, and a deviation from sincerity. 

The doctrine upon this point of the Calvinistic system is thus set forth by the Synod of Dort: "This death of the Son of God is a single and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sins, of infinite value and price, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world."36 The promise of the gospel is, that whosoever believeth in Christ crucified shall not perish, but have eternal life: which promise ought to be announced and proposed promiscuously and indiscriminately to all nations and men to whom God, in his good pleasure, hath sent the gospel, with the command to repent and believe."37 "But because many who are called by the gospel do not repent nor believe in Christ, but perish in unbelief; this doth not arise from defect or insufficiency of the sacrifice offered by Christ upon the cross, but from their own fault."38 "Sincerely and most truly God shows 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."39 

The following are the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith: "Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved."40 The Larger Catechism thus puts the case: "All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit, who, for their wilful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ."41 

It deserves to be noticed, that the sufficiency of the atonement to ground the salvation of all men is fully admitted. The limitation which the Calvinist affirms is not upon the intrinsic value of the atonement, but in relation to the design of God touching the persons for whom it was to be offered as a ransom-price, and its application to them in order to make their salvation certain. The infinite dignity of the person of Christ, and the connection of his divine nature with his human, imparted infinite worth to his whole obedience in life and in death. In a word, the atoning merit of Christ was infinite. The following remarks of the great John Owen, as strict a Calvinist as ever lived, may be regarded as representative: "The first thing that we shall lay down is concerning the dignity, worth, preciousness, and infinite value of the blood and death of Jesus Christ. The maintaining and declaring of this is doubtless especially to be considered; and every opinion that doth but seemingly clash against it is exceedingly prejudiced, at least deservedly suspected, yea, presently to be rejected by Christians, if upon search it be found to do so really and indeed, as that which is injurious and derogatory to the merit and honor of Jesus Christ. The Scripture, also, to this purpose is exceeding full and frequent in setting forth the excellency and dignity of his death and sacrifice, calling his blood, by reason of the unity of his person, 'God's own blood,' Acts xx. 28; exalting it infinitely above all other sacrifices, as having for its principle 'the eternal Spirit,' and being itself 'without spot,' Heb. ix. 14; transcendently more precious than silver, or gold, or corruptible things, i Pet. i. 18; able to give justification from all things, from which by the law men could not be justified, Acts xiii. 28. Now, such as was the sacrifice and offering of Christ in itself, such was it intended by his Father it should be. It was, then, the purpose and intention of God that his Son should offer a sacrifice of infinite worth, value and dignity, sufficient in itself for the redeeming of all and every man, if it had pleased the Lord to employ it to that purpose; yea, and of other worlds also, if the Lord should freely make them, and would redeem them. Sufficient we say, then, was the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the whole world, and for the expiation of all the sins of all, and every man in the world. This sufficiency of his sacrifice hath a twofold rise: First, the dignity of the person that did offer and was offered; Secondly, the greatness of the pain he endured, by which he was able to bear, and did undergo, the whole curse of the law and wrath of God due to sin. And this sets out the innate, real, true worth and value of the blood-shedding of Jesus Christ. This is its own true internal perfection and sufficiency. That it should be applied unto any, made a price for them, and become beneficial to them, according to the worth that is in it, is external to it, doth not arise from it, but merely depends upon the intention and will of God. It was in itself of infinite value and sufficiency to have been made a Price to have bought and purchased every man in the world. That it did formally become a price for any is solely to be ascribed to the purpose of God, intending their purchase and redemption by it. The intention of the offerer and accepter that it should be for such, some or any, is that which gives the formality of a price unto it; this is external. But the value and fitness of it to be made a price ariseth from its own internal sufficiency."42 

The views so strongly expressed by the illustrious Puritan have not been modified by the utterances of more recent theologians. They are fully maintained by such men as Cunningham, Hodge and Thornwell. The truth is that the intrinsic sufficiency of the atonement cannot be exaggerated. The obedience of Christ was exhaustive of the requirements of the divine law, preceptive and penal. It was, consequently, susceptible, in itself considered, of limitless application, in all cases, at least, in which the principle of federal representation was capable of being employed. When, therefore, the terms limited atonement, definite atonement, particular atonement, are used, it must be observed that they have no reference to the intrinsic value of Christ's satisfaction, but relate entirely to the sovereign purpose of God. 

It follows from this view that, as the atonement of Christ was, in itself, sufficient, had God so pleased, to ground the salvation of all men, it is sufficient to ground the universal offer of salvation. Men are invited to stand on a platform which is broad enough to hold them all, to rest upon a foundation which is strong enough to support them all, to partake of provisions which are abundant enough to supply them all. When, therefore, God invites all men to seek salvation in Christ, he is not insincere in offering them a platform too narrow to hold them, a foundation too weak to sustain them, provisions too meagre to supply them. Were they all to accept the invitation, they would all be saved. So much for the intrinsic sufficiency of the remedy for human sin and misery. So far the Calvinist is not chargeable with representing God as insincere in the matter of the gospel offer. 

It will be urged, however, that notwithstanding his admission of the absence of limitation, as to the intrinsic sufficiency of the atonement, the difficulty remains in view of his doctrine that there is limitation, as to its extrinsic design and application. It was not rendered for all, it is not intended to be effectually applied to all; it cannot, therefore, be sincerely offered to all as a remedy for the evils under which they suffer. 

In order that the precise nature of the gospel offer should be apprehended, let us collect some of the prominent passages of Scripture in which it is expressed. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price."43 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."44 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."45 "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."46 "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."47 "Let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."48 

In these scriptural statements of the gospel offer, no man is invited to believe that Christ died for him in particular. Every man is invited to believe in Christ in order to his being saved. The plain meaning of the offer is, Believe in Christ and you shall be saved: you are a sinner; Christ died to save sinners; if you believe in him as a Saviour, you shall be saved. If the Calvinist representing the Scriptures as teaching that Christ died to save the elect, should also represent God as inviting every man to believe that Christ died for him in particular, he would be justly chargeable with imputing insincerity to the divine Being.49 But he is not guilty of this inconsistency. He regards the offer as consisting of a condition and a promise suspended upon its discharge. The condition is faith; the promise is salvation. The terms simply are: if you believe in Christ as a Saviour you shall be saved; and you are invited so to believe. Perform the condition, and the promised salvation is yours. The preachers of the gospel have no commission to proclaim to every man that Christ died to save him, and that he ought to believe that fact. That would be to exhort men to believe that they are saved, before they exercise faith in Christ. For surely to believe the proposition, Christ died for thee, and to believe in Christ as a personal Saviour, are very different things. The Calvinist, therefore, does not blasphemously ascribe a want of veracity to God by representing him as teaching, in the doctrinal statements of his Word, that Christ did not die for every man, and as declaring in the gospel offer that Christ did die for every man. He holds that, in the gospel offer, God simply announces the condition upon which men may be saved and indiscriminately invites all to fulfil it. 

This being the state of the case, I remark that the gospel offer gives to every man who hears it a divine warrant to believe in Christ and be saved. So far as God's assurance is concerned, he has a right to believe and be saved, if he will. The terms are, Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Where is the insincerity of such all offer? It could only be evinced by showing that God is the author of the sinner's will not to believe and be saved. But it has been already sufficiently manifested that no Calvinist holds that God is the cause of the sinner's unbelief. The sinner himself is the cause of it. If it be said, still God knows when he gives the warrant to all to believe and be saved, that there are some who are not able to avail themselves of it; when he furnishes the right, that there are some who cannot employ it; the answer is, that it may please him, for wise and holy purposes, by extending the offer of salvation to such men, to test their unbelief, and so to expose their perverse wickedness and vindicate his justice in their condemnation. Who are we, that we should venture to set bounds to the procedures of infinite wisdom, justice and holiness? Why may we not conceive that God is as righteous in conveying to men the free offer of salvation in order to evince to themselves and to the universe their wickedness in disbelieving the gospel, as in imposing upon men his commands in order to illustrate their wickedness in disobeying his law? Certainly, if sinners spontaneously reject the warrant and the right which God gives them to believe and be saved, they are left without excuse and will be speechless in the great day of accounts. And he would take bold ground who would hold that God has no right to place sinners in such circumstances, and in such relations to himself, as to manifest the inexcusableness of their wickedness. 

In the Epistle to the Romans, the inspired apostle clearly teaches that the light of nature, while insufficient to ground the knowledge of salvation, is sufficient to render men without excuse for their wicked apostasy from God. "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him. from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."50 To say that Paul meant that the Gentiles might have been justified by obeying this light of natural religion is to reduce his whole argument to contempt. Their relation to the instructions of nature did not make their justification possible, but proved their condemnation to be just. It might be asked, where is God's sincerity in furnishing light to those who, he knows, cannot avail themselves of it in consequence of sin? To such a questioner it might be thundered, Who art thou that repliest against God? 

The same line of remark applies to the relation of the moral law to those who have not the gospel. When God, by the requirements and admonitions of conscience, illuminated and re-enforced by the common operations of his Spirit, convinces them of the duty and the necessity resting upon them to obey it, he cannot intend by these means to assure them of the hope of salvation on the ground of a legal righteousness. He knows that by the deeds of the law they cannot be justified. To what end, then, are these instrumentalities employed, if not to leave the wicked transgressors of the law without excuse, and to vindicate the divine justice in their condemnation? "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law [that is, the law as written in the Scriptures] do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves: which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing, or else excusing, one another." And of those who, having not the written law, violate this natural law embodied in the conscience, it is expressly declared that they shall perish. "As many as have sinned without law shall perish without law." Is God insincere in addressing the instructions, expostulations and warnings of the law to those who cannot obey it in their natural strength, and to whom he has communicated no knowledge of that redemptive scheme through the provisions of which alone they can escape condemnation, and present to him acceptable obedience? 

Is God insincere in pressing the demands of his law upon any man, unevangelized or evangelized, although he knows that the result will be the excitement of contradictoriness and opposition instead of obedience to those requirements, and although he knows that that result cannot be avoided except in consequence of the impartation of his saving grace? 

These considerations go to show that God, in innumerable instances, pours the light of nature and of the moral law upon ungodly men for the purpose of convicting them of sin and of rendering them inexcusable. And, if he is pleased to adopt this course. towards the despisers of his law, why should one be censured for attributing insincerity to him in pursuing a similar course towards the despisers of his grace? In neither case is he bound to restore that ability to obey him which men have forfeited by their own sin; and if it be one of the ends of that moral government which he is now conducting to furnish a thoroughgoing and exhaustive exposition of the desperate evil of sin, one, basing his judgment upon merely rational grounds, might without rashness conclude that such an end would be most effectually compassed by permitting the wicked to exhibit malignant enmity to his gospel as well as to his law. That could only be done by bringing them into contact with the gospel offer. If they reject that offer, made to every man who is willing to receive it, the native opposition of their hearts to God is most clearly brought to the surface and exposed. To the contemners of the rich and unmerited blessings freely and graciously offered in the gospel, God may righteously utter the awful words: "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish." It is very certain that God could, if he pleased, constrain every man who hears the gospel offer to accept it. The fact that he does not, whatever other inferences it may warrant, legitimates this: that it is his purpose to uncover and bring into light the malignant and inexcusable character of sin. Unbelief in Christ is the climax of wickedness. In the great day, every mouth will be stopped; but especially will they be struck dumb who have despised alike the grace of the gospel, and the justice of the law. 

If, therefore, God gives to every man who hears the gospel a warrant and right to embrace the salvation it offers, he is sincere in extending the offer to all, notwithstanding the fact that he does not confer upon all the grace which effectuates its reception. Those who reject it will not be able to excuse themselves by the plea of God's insincerity. 

It deserves also to be noticed, as some divines have shown, that faith is required, on grounds of justice, as the first duty of the sinner in order that he make reparation for the injury done to the divine veracity in the first instance of man's transgression. God distinctly testified to man in innocence, "In the day thou eatest thereof" (that is, of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) "thou shalt surely die." That divine testimony the Devil as distinctly denied. Man believed the Devil and disbelieved God. The divine word was discredited by unbelief. On the supposition, therefore, that man is to be restored to the favor of God, it is righteous, it is meet and proper, that a naked faith in the simple testimony of God should be exacted from him as the first step to his recovery. The requirement of faith from the sinner is, consequently, not merely a measure of mercy to him, but of justice to God. The atonement of Christ, proposed to the sinner's acceptance as the means of his reconciliation to God; is the free product of grace, and it is exuberant grace that, in the first instance, nothing but faith in the provision of redemption should be demanded of the sinner; but there is a reason for the exaction of faith in the divine testimony to this plan of recovery, which is deeply seated in justice and law. The salvation of the guilty springs from the free and unmerited mercy of God, but it is effected in such a way, even in regard to its experimental application, as to consist with the divine perfections of justice and truth, and to honor, vindicate and establish the principles of God's moral government. The Fall began in unbelief, and the sinner's restoration fitly begins with faith. The insult offered to the divine word must be obliterated by a simple and unquestioning reliance upon it. From God's side, the requirement of faith on the part of the sinner in order to his salvation is a demand of justice, and in that aspect of it may as fairly be laid upon the spiritually disabled sinner as any precept to obey the moral law. In this view of the case, it is clear, that it no more involves a departure from sincerity for God to require faith in Christ from the sinner because he cannot, in his own strength, exercise it, than for God to demand obedience to his law from the sinner, because he cannot, in his own strength, perform it. God sincerely requires obedience to his law from the sinner, although he knows that without his efficacious grace that obedience cannot be rendered, and although he has not purposed to impart that grace to determine him to its performance. In the same manner, God sincerely requires from the sinner faith in the gospel, although he knows that without his efficacious grace he cannot exercise it, and although he has not purposed to bestow that grace to determine him to its exercise. 

Men argue as if the exhortation to the sinner to believe in Christ were simply an invitation to him to partake of blessings freely tendered by mercy. That it certainly is, but only that it certainly is not. It is forgotten that it imposes an obligation to the discharge of an imperative duty. The whole race lies under the fearful guilt of having believed the Devil and given God the lie. Those who live under the gospel are bound to wipe out this foul dishonor done to the divine veracity. The Calvinist could only be convicted of representing God as insincere in requiring this reparation to his injured honor, by its being shown to be his doctrine that God himself influenced men to prefer the testimony of Satan to his own; and that the Calvinist denies. 

Let it be borne in mind, also, that while, as we have seen, God, in extending the offer of the gospel to all men, furnishes an ample warrant to all to believe in Christ and to be saved, he is not bound by any of his perfections to give to all the disposition to avail themselves of the warrant. They have no claim upon him. They brought themselves into their condition of sin and inability, and, consequently, they can have no ground for complaining against God for not removing their indisposition to comply with his command and invitation to believe in Christ. 

But while it is true that God is not bound to give to all who hear the gospel a disposition to accept its invitations, it is also true that he debars no man from availing himself of them and receiving salvation through Christ. So far as he is concerned, all legal obstacles have been removed which barred the access of sinners to his pardoning mercy. The road has been opened to his favor, by means of the finished work of an atoning Saviour. All who will to come may come. No one who comes is thrust back. The only barriers between sinners and salvation are those which are raised by themselves. God erects none. His decree, executed by his efficacious grace, constrains some to come; but his decree prevents none from coming. He decrees to condemn men for not coming, not to debar them from coming. He is therfore sincere in opening the door of mercy to all who please to enter it. 

It must further be observed that God exercises no positive influence upon the minds of any sinners to deter them from coming to Christ for salvation. He creates no indisposition in them to come. If he did, there would be some color of truth in the charge that he deals insincerely with them in making the offer of salvation. It is common to represent the Calvinist as holding that God chains the sinner to a stake, and then invites him to come to provisions which are placed beyond his reach. The Calvinist teaches no such doctrine. He contends that the sinner chains himself, and that he prefers his chains to the provisions of redemption which are tendered him. He forges his own chain and then hugs it. The true doctrine is that the bread and the water of life are offered to all. None, by nature, hunger for the bread; none thirst for the water. To some God pleases to impart the hunger and the thirst which impel them to come and partake. Others he leaves under the influence of a distaste for these provisions of salvation - a distaste not implanted by him, but engendered by their own voluntary sin. He infuses into none a disrelish for the bread and water of life. If they desired to partake of them they might; for God invites them, and therefore authorizes them, to come and enjoy them. Is God insincere in this procedure because they exclude themselves from these blessings? It is shifting the ground of the objection to say, that God knows, when he extends the invitation, that they are, without his grace, unable to accept it. That difficulty has already been met. What is now insisted upon is, that God does not infuse the inability. It is self-engendered. In the parable of the Great Supper our Lord illustrates the invitation which God extends to all who hear the gospel to come and partake of its saving provisions. All who were invited to the Supper refused to come. The Master of the feast constrained some to come. Did this discrimination prove him insincere in inviting the others? Certainly not. Their own unwillingness was the cause of their refusal. He could only have been insincere on the supposition that he so influenced them as to render them unwilling. In like manner, the refusal of sinners to accept the gospel offer is caused by their own unwillingness; nor can God be charged with insincerity, except upon the supposition that their unwillingness is produced by his agency. That supposition forms no part of the Calvinistic doctrine. Any statement to the contrary is a misrepresentation. 

But it will be urged: Where, after all, is the sincerity of invitations addressed to the dead; of lighting up a charnel-house as a banqueting hall, spreading in it a feast of viands, and exhorting the mouldering corpses to rise and partake of the sumptuous repast? Unless life be infused into them it is a grim and solemn mockery to exhort them to attempt the functions of the living. Besides the answer which has already been furnished to this objection, the following considerations are submitted:

First, sinners are not in such a sense dead as to be wholly beyond the reach of the gospel offer. The effect of the fall was the total destruction of spiritual life. That was totally eliminated from every faculty of the soul. Holiness was not an essential element, but a separable quality, of man's original constitution. It is a sufficient proof of that position that all evangelical theologians admit the possibility of its restoration after having been lost. The faculties which were essential to the very make and constitution of man survived the disaster of the fall; otherwise his being would have been extinguished. Although, therefore, the principle of spiritual life no longer exists until restored by supernatural grace, the intellect, the feelings, the will, considered as to its sporrtaneity at least, and the conscience as a moral faculty, still continue their functions in the natural sphere. In contact with these powers God brings the instructions, invitations and threatenings of the gospel. The gospel does not speak to stocks and stones; it addresses beings who are intelligent, emotional, voluntary and moral. They are capable of apprehending its statement that they are spiritually dead, and its gracious offer to them of the boon of everlasting life. They can understand the proposition that God has through Christ provided redemption for sinners, and that they are freely invited to accept it. They are susceptible of some feeling of desire to obtain it, and of some sense of obligation to seek it. 

Secondly, with the operation of these natural faculties in the moral sphere the Holy Spirit concurs, in the discharge of what has been called his law-work. He illuminates the understanding, stimulates the affections, presses upon the conscience the sanctions of the moral law, and directs the attention of the sinner to the provisions of redeeming mercy which are proposed to his acceptance in the gospel. 

Thirdly, is there anything which the unconverted sinner can will to do? This is an important question. It is very certain that he can do nothing in the spiritual sphere, for the reason that he is spiritually dead. He cannot convert himself, for how can a dead man restore himself to life? He cannot repent, he cannot believe in Christ, for repentance and faith suppose the possession of spiritual life. This spiritual inability is itself sin, and as has been already shown cannot be held to absolve the sinner from the obligation to obey God's requirements either purely legal or evangelical, unless the preposterous ground is assumed that sin can excuse sin. The spiritual inability of the sinner is no reason why God may not consistently either with justice or goodness or veracity command and invite him to repent and believe. The gravity of the distinction between original and penal inability can scarcely be overestimated, although it is one which is but too seldom emphasized. It was maintained both by Augustin and Calvin. The latter says: "For since he [Augustin] had said 'that no ground of blameworthiness could be discovered when nature or necessity governs' he cautions us that this does not hold except in regard to a nature sound and in its integrity; that men are not subject to necessity but as the first man contracted it for them by his voluntary fault. 'To us,' says he, 'nature is made a punishment, and what was the just punishment of the first man is nature to us. Since, therefore, necessity is the punishment of sin, the sins which thence arise are justly censured, and the blame of them is deservedly imputed to men, because the origin is voluntary.'"51 

Dr. Thornwell enforces the distinction in these impressive words: "We must distinguish between inability as original and inability as penal. Moral power is nothing more nor less than holy habitudes and dispositions; it is the perception of the beauty, and the response of the heart to the excellence and glory, of God, and the consequent subjection of the will to the law of holy love: Spiritual perception, spiritual delight, spiritual choice, these and these alone constitute ability to good. Now, if we could conceive that God had made a creature destitute of these habits, if we could conceive that he came from the hands of the Creator in the same moral condition in which our race is now born, it is impossible to vindicate the obligation of such a creature to holiness upon any principle of justice. It is idle to say that his inability is but the intensity of his sin, and the more helpless the more wicked. His inability is the result of his constitution; it belongs to his very nature as a creature, and he is no more responsible for such defects than a lame man is responsible for his hobbling gait, or a blind man for his incompetency to distinguish colors. He is what God made him; he answers to the idea of his being, and is no more blameworthy for the deformed condition of his soul than a camel for the deformity of its back. The principle is intuitively evident that no creature can be required to transcend its powers. Ability conditions responsibility. An original inability, natural in the sense that it enters into the notion of the creature as such, completely obliterates all moral distinctions with reference to the acts and habits embraced within its sphere. . . . 

"But there is another, a penal inability. It is that which man has superinduced by his own voluntary transgression. He was naturally able - that is, created with all the habitudes and dispositions which were involved in the loving choice of the good. Rectitude was infused into his nature; it entered into the idea of his being; he was fully competent for every exaction of the law. He chooses sin, and by that very act of choice impregnates his nature with contrary habits and dispositions. His moral agency continues unimpaired through all his subsequent existence. He becomes a slave to sin, but his impotence, hopeless and ruinous as it is, results from his own free choice. In the loss of habits he loses all real power for good; he becomes competent for nothing but sin; but he is held responsible for the nature which God gave him, and the law which constitutes its eternal norm according to the divine idea and the spontaneous dictates of his own reason can never cease to be the standard of his being and life. All his descendants were in him when he sinned and fell. His act was legally theirs, and that depravity which he infused into his own nature in the place of original righteousuess has become their inheritance. They stand, therefore, from the first moment of their being in the same relation to the law which he occupied at his fall. Their impotence is properly their own. Here is not the place to show how this can be. I am only showing that there is a marked distinction between the inability which begins with the nature of a being and the inability which it brings upon itself by sin; that in the one case responsibility is measured by the extent of the actual power possessed, in the other, by the extent of the power originally imparted. No subject by becoming a traitor can forfeit the obligation to allegiance; no man can escape from the law by voluntary opposition to law. The more helpless a creature becomes in this aspect of the case, the more wicked; the more he recedes from the divine idea, from the true norm of his being, the more guilty and the more miserable. To creatures in a state of apostasy actual ability is not, therefore, the measure of obligation. They cannot excuse themselves under the plea of impotency when that very impotence is the thing charged upon them."52 

This subject has been again adverted to for the purpose, in the first place, of showing that as the spiritual inability of the sinner cannot absolve him from the obligation to pay obedience to any requirement God may please to make, there is no insincerity involved in the extension of the gospel offer occasioned by the divine knowledge of the sinner's incompetency to embrace it; and, in the second place, of guarding against any misconception of the views about to be presented in regard to that measure of ability which the unregenerate sinner possesses in the merely natural sphere. 

The question recurring, Can the unconverted sinner will to do anything in regard to the offer of salvation conveyed in the gospel, I answer: 

He call will, or not will, to place his understanding in such relation to the evidence which God proposes for his consideration, to the facts and teachings, the invitations, remonstrances and warnings of the gospel, as is suited to impress it with the duty, the policy, the importance of paying attention to the great concern of personal salvation. 

He can will, or not will, to attend upon the ordinances of God's house, and listen to the preaching of the divine Word, and thus place himself in the way along which Jesus as a Saviour is passing. 

He can will, or not will, to read the Scriptures, and so subject his mind to the influences which they are suited to exert. 

What hinders the unregenerate man from doing these things? What hinders him from hearing the preacher of the gospel any more than listening to any public speaker? What hinders him from repairing to the sanctuary any more than going to any other building? What hinders him from reading the Bible any more than perusing any other book? To do these things he is not dependent upon supernatural grace. He may do them in the exercise of his natural will. Now, on the supposition that he avails himself, as he is competent to do, of these means which God furnishes him in the natural sphere, it is perfectly possible for him to be impressed with the statements of the gospel concerning his lost and ruined condition as a sinner, and the redemption effected by Christ, and the expediency and necessity of complying with the calls of mercy. It is also conceivable that he should be convinced of his utter inability to accept the offer of the gospel and rely upon Christ for salvation.53

In this condition of mind, he can will, or not will, to cry to God for help. What would hinder him from determining, in view of his inability to meet the exigency, to pray that God would enable him to come to Christ and accept the offered salvation? Men sincerely appeal for help only when they cannot help themselves. The very conviction of impotence would be the strongest motive to prayer. Now, the throne of grace is accessible to all. God debars no sincere suppliant from approaching it. He invites the distressed to call upon him and promises that he will answer their cry. 

These things, then, the unconverted sinner call do in the natural sphere: he can hear the preaching of the gospel, he can read the Scriptures, he can call on God for delivering grace. In that charnel-house in which the objector paints the gospel feast as spread - yea, in the sepulchre in which his spiritual corpse is lying, he can, in the exercise of his natural powers, apprehend the invitation to partake of the blessings of redemption and cry to God for ability to etnbrace it. His prayers would have no merit: they would, on the contrary, be the expression of impotence, of self-despair and of utter dependence on God. 

If, therefore, the unregenerate sinner may do these things, what ground is there for imputing insincerity to God in extending to him the gospel offer and urging him to accept it? If he will not do what he is able to do, with what face can he find fault with God for not doing for him what he is not able to do? What excuse will he render in the day of final accounts for his wilful neglect of the means which were placed in his power? Should the Judge ask him, in that day: Didst thou attend the sanctuary and hearken to the preaching of the gospel? Didst thou seriously read the Scriptures? Didst thou call on God to save thee? Didst thou not know that thou couldst have done these things? he will be speechless; for his inner consciousness will attest the justice of the awful interrogatories, and close his lips to self-justification.54 

There is but one other consideration which I will submit with reference to the special aspect of the subject before us. Men assert for themselves the power of free-will. They claim the ability to decide the question of accepting the offer of salvation by the determination of their own wills. This they arrogate for themselves in the face of the clear and unmistakable testimony of God's Word to the contrary. The Scriptures inform them that they are dead in trespasses and sins, and that they can see the kingdom of God only by virtue of a new and supernatural birth, involving the infusion of spiritual life, the renewal of their wills, and ability to embrace Christ as he is offered in the gospel. This they presumptuously deny, and boldly take the ground that God himself cannot determine the human will by his efficacious grace, without invading the rights and prerogatives which belong to its essential constitution. They must themselves decide the question of embracing the offer of salvation by the undetermined election of their own wills. Assisted by grace they may be, but controlled by grace they cannot and must not be. The sovereignty of man's free will must be preserved. 

When, accordingly, God makes to them a tender of salvation and calls upon them to accept it, without imparting to them the efficacious, determining, constraining grace which they deliberately declare their unwillingness to receive, what does he but meet them on their own ground? Did he not offer them salvation he would, according to their own view, deal with them unjustly. Did he bestow upon them constraining grace, he would, according to their own view, contradict the constitution he imparted to them. Very well; God treats them precisely as they demand he should. He offers salvation to their acceptance; he does not confer upon them constraining grace. It is just what they would have. Where, then, is the reasonableness of the complaint that God is insincere, if the case be regarded from their own point of view? 

It is no answer to this statement of the matter that the Calvinist says, God knows that the claim of the unconverted sinner to the possession of free-will in spiritual things is false. God not only knows that fact, but faithfully ascertains the sinner of it, urges it upon his attention and exhorts him to relinquish all dependence upon himself and throw himself upon unmerited and sovereign mercy. This faithful and kindly dealing with his soul the sinner flouts. Is not God right in permitting him to walk in the light of the sparks which he has kindled and to eat the fruit of his own doings? Is not God right in saying to him, in effect, You claim the power to decide the question of salvation for yourself: have your own way: I offer you salvation, I will not invincibly determine your will: test the question in the way you elect, and let the issue prove whether you or your God be right. It would be bold and arrogant to assign reasons for God's procedures, save in those cases in which he is pleased to reveal them; but if it be a part of his plan to furnish a complete exposition of the principles of sin and grace operating in connection with each other, it would seem to be necessary to test the claim of an unregenerate sinner to the possession of free will and ability in relation to spiritual things and those which concern the salvation of the soul. This is effectually done by freely offering salvation to the sinner, and opposing no obstacle to his receiving it; and also by taking him at his own word, dealing with him on his own terms, and leaving him to the decision of his own will undetermined by an irresistible influence of grace. This is exactly what the sinner claims to be fair, and what the Arminian theology formally demands for him. The conditions exacted on the human side are fairly supplied on the divine side. The issue is joined, and the question awaits settlement whether the will of a fallen being possesses elective ability in the spiritual sphere. And little is risked, when the opinion is adventured, that the final result, illuminated by the light of the great, judicial day, will be that the claim of a fallen and unregenerate being to possess free will in spiritual things will be exploded in the eyes of the on-looking universe. The actual trial, which will have been had, will forever settle the case. 

Having vindicated the Calvinistic doctrine from the charge of inconsistency with the sincerity of God, I proceed to show that it is difficult for the Arminian to redeem his own doctrine from the same reproach. 

First, One fails to see how all offer of the gospel when not actually made can be said to be sincerely made. There are large sections of the world which are designated as heathen for the very reason that they have no knowledge of the gospel. To them the tender of the blessings of redemption is not communicated. But the Arminian insists that as the atonement of Christ was made for every individual of the race, there is a corresponding offer of its benefits to "every soul of man." And as God imparts to every man sufficient ability to embrace the offer, he is sincere in extending it to all. But the fact has to be met that the offer of the gospel is not actually communicated to all of those for whom it is alleged that redemption was purchased. Myriads of heathen people neither know that redemption has been effected, nor that its benefits are offered to them. There is no offer of the gospel actually made to masses of the heathen. To them it is zero; and of zero nothing can be predicated. To say that an offer which is not made is sincerely made is absurd. A sincere offer which is not made is a sincere nothing. 

If it be said that the offer as contained in the Bible is couched in universal terms, it is again replied as before that the heathen have not the Bible, and therefore know nothing of the offer in whatsoever terms it may be conveyed. If a feast were spread in a city, and cards of invitation were issued in which all its inhabitants were invited, and yet the cards were sent only to some and the rest remained in ignorance of the fact that they were included, how could it be said that the invitation was sincerely extended to all? In regard to such an invitation to all, the question of sincerity could not be raised. The only question would be as to the existence of the invitation. 

The difficulty reaches farther back than this. It may be fairly asked, how it can be shown that God was sincere in making a redemptive provision for those to whom he did not intend by his providence to extend the offer of participation in its benefits. For it will be admitted that God could, if he pleased, convey the gospel offer to every individual of the race. This he does not please to do. The inconsistency has to be accounted for between the allegation that God in his Word declares that the provision of redemption is designed for every man, and the fact that in his providence he does not extend the offer of its blessings to every man. And the question must be pressed, how, in view of this inconsistency, God's sincerity can be vindicated. One can conjecture no relief from this difficulty except upon the ground that Christ has bound upon the Church the obligation to communicate the gospel offer to all mankind. This is not true of the Old Testament Church, and while it is true of the New Testament Church, still the ability and the willingness of the Church to comply with this obligation are conferred alone by the grace of God. Assuredly, the merely natural inclinations of Christians would not impel them to convey to the heathen the knowledge of the gospel. God's decretive will, as indicated in the measures of his providence, must, therefore, be regarded as implicated in the fact that the gospel is not actually communicated to every individual of the race. 

It does not relieve the difficulty to say, that God communicates sufficient grace to the church to enable her to obey the command of her Head to preach the gospel to every creature, and leaves it to her by the free election of her self-determining will to carry the command into execution. For, in that case, it must be confessed that God foreknew that the church would fail, to a great extent, in yielding obedience to the command, and so conditioned upon her disobedience the fate of the heathen world. He designed no other means for the communication of the gospel to the heathen than the agency of the church, and he knew that that instrumentality would not be adequately employed to accomplish the contemplated end. The Arminian cannot escape the difficulty of adjusting, upon his principles, the non-extension of the gospel offer to large sections of the race to the sincerity of God. The Calvinist is not burdened with this difficulty, because, in the first place, he does not hold that the atonement of Christ was offered for every individual of mankind; and because, in the second place, he holds that the invitation to partake of the benefits of the atonement is extended to all those who hear the gospel. 

Secondly, The Arminian is confronted with the difficulty that, according to his doctrine, ability to accept the gospel offer is imparted to those to whom that offer is never actually made. He teaches that God has given to every man sufficient grace, - that is to say, sufficient grace to enable him to embrace the salvation purchased for him by Christ. The Evangelical Arminian, as has already been shown, holds that God has, through the merit of Christ, removed the guilt of Adam's sin from the race, and that he has imparted a degree of spiritual life to every soul of man, or, as it is otherwise expressed, removed a degree of spiritual death from every soul of man. The result is, that every man of the race is furnished by supernatural grace with ability to embrace the gospel offer whenever it is tendered to him. He is thus prepared for its reception. This divinely imparted ability to receive it must be regarded as a prophecy and a pledge that it will be brought in contact with him; just as the divinely given ability of the child to receive food is a promise registered in its very make that the needed nourishment will be provided for it. Why the receptive ability, in either case, if the thing to be received were never intended to be brought into relation to it? There would be a contradiction of a divine pledge implicitly but really stamped upon the nature of man - one-half of a divine arrangement, which supposes and guarantees another half as its complement; another half which, however, is wanting. The heathen are furnished with ample ability to embrace the gospel offer, but it is never brought into relation to countless multitudes of them. It is fair to ask, Where, upon such a supposition, is the divine sincerity? It matters not that the heathen may be unconscious of this divine gift of gracious ability to receive the gospel. That would only show that he is not conscious of God's infraction of the pledge inlaid in his being. The inconsistency is in the Arminian doctrine. That is all to which attention is called. God is represented as not fulfilling an implied, but real, pledge and guarantee. 

In one or other of the following ways it is conceivable that the Arminian may attempt to set aside this argument: 

In the first place, he may contend that evangelization by Christian missionaries is not the only method by which the heathen acquire a knowledge of the gospel scheme, but that they possess, apart from that method, a sufficient acquaintance with the promise of redemption to condition their salvation. When the objection to the Calvinistic doctrine of its inconsistency with the divine goodness was under consideration, this hypothesis was discussed and refuted. Something more in regard to it may now, however, be added. 

It may be said that it is impossible to assign a limit of time beyond which the world in general ceased to have any saving acquaintance with the provisions of the gospel; and that such instances as those of Job and Melchisedec would appear to show that a knowledge of the gospel sufficient to save might be derived from the traditions of the Patriarchal dispensation, or by immediate revelation. 

The cases which are appealed to were those of persons who lived in the Patriarchal period; and it is certainly unwarrantable to make them analogous to the case of the heathen who have lived after the expiration of the Jewish dispensation and the beginning of the Christian. Besides, they are entirely too extraordinary and exceptional to be pleaded as illustrating the condition of the masses of the heathen world. We are too ignorant concerning the question, who Melchisedec was, to employ his case as an element in this argument; and it may well be asked, What cases, since the commencement of the Christian dispensation, have ever been discovered among the heathen which bore any resemblance to that of Job and his contemporaries? As Cornelius the Centurion lived in contact with the Jews, it is obvious that he derived his knowledge of the gospel from them: indeed, that fact is expressly mentioned in the history of his case. 

The hypothesis of an immediate revelation of the plan of redemption to the heathen is too wild and fanciful to merit serious refutation. There is one consideration which ought with those who accept the authority of the Scriptures to be decisive of this question. It is that Paul, the apostle to the heathen nations, plainly intimates in his epistles to the churches gathered out of them, that previously to the preaching of the gospel by Christian missionaries the members of those churches were destitute of any knowledge of the scheme of salvation. Who can doubt this that reads the description of the moral condition of the heathen, as given by him in the Epistle to the Romans? And in the Epistle to the Ephesians he speaks expressly on the subject. He calls upon the members of the church at Ephesus to remember the ignorant and hopeless condition in which they were before they heard the gospel at his lips. "Wherefore," says he, "remember, that ye being in the time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; that at that time ye were without Christ; being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world."55 Here he tells the Ephesian believers that when they were heathen they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, that is to say, that they had no connection with the church of God; and in consequence of that fact that they were strangers to the covenants of promise, by which he means to say that they were ignorant of the gospel. Because they were not in contact with the church they could have no knowledge of the gospel. And because they were ignorant of the gospel, they were, he goes on to argue, without Christ; plainly intimating that there can be no saving relation to Christ apart from the knowledge of the gospel. Further, because they were without Christ, he declares that they were without God. Having in their heathen condition had no saving relation to Christ they could have had no saving relation to God, and therefore they had no hope. In this passage the apostle plainly teaches that the heathen, apart from the evangelizing labors of Christian missionaries, have no saving knowledge of the gospel, and that so long as that ignorance continues their condition is hopeless. 

In the Epistle to the Romans he makes a more general statement. He declares that it is necessary to the salvation of any man, whether Jew or Greek, that he call on the name of the Lord, and that no man could call on that name who had not heard it by means of preaching. This plainly intimates that without the preaching of the gospel none can have any saving acquaintance with it. As the heathen have not the preaching of the gospel, it follows that they have no knowledge of the gospel. 

Other arguments of a similar character might be derived from Scripture, but these are sufficient, with those who respect the authority of the divine Word, to refute the supposition that apart from the preaching of Christian missionaries the heathen possess any knowledge of the gospel scheme. 

With these representations of the condition of the heathen furnished in the New Testament Scriptures the observation of modern missionaries concurs. They meet no heathen who have any knowledge whatsoever of the gospel scheme. And it is evident that the missionary efforts of Evangelical Arminian bodies are grounded in this supposition of ignorance of the gospel on the part of the heathen world. It cannot, in consistency with their admissions, be contended that they institute these efforts in order to impart to the heathen a clearer knowledge of the gospel than they are presumed already to possess. They go upon the theory that without the preaching of missionaries the heathen have no acquaintance with even the fundamental elements of the plan of redemption. 

If it be clear that without the preaching of the gospel de novo to the heathen they possess no knowledge of it, the difficulty remains that, according to the Arminian doctrine, God has given to masses of men an ability to accept the offer of salvation, and at the same time does not secure the extension of that offer to them. Consequently, the question in regard to the divine sincerity has not been answered. 

In the second place, the Arminian, in order to meet the difficulty in hand, may contend that the heathen who have no knowledge of the gospel are saved by an indirect application to them of the merits of Christ's atonement. But the essence of the theory of sufficient grace as imparted to all men is, that all are in this way enabled to embrace the offer of salvation - to repent of sin and believe in Christ. What is the office of this universally imparted ability, if the mode in which it is to be exerted, the things upon which it is designed to terminate, are completely unknown by its possessors? Even were it supposed that the mercy of God may save the heathen who know not the gospel through the indirect and therefore unconsciously experienced application to them of the benefits of the atonement, what becomes of the divinely given ability directly and consciously to receive those benefits? There is an aptitude without the object to which it is suited, a power without the end which elicits its exercise, a divine constitution to the integrity of which two complementary elements are necessary, but from which one of them is absent. It is manifest that upon this hypothesis no account can be given of a universally imparted ability to receive the gospel offer, which would harmonize it with the sincerity of God. It would be a useless and therefore deceptive endowment, a prophecy without fulfilment, a beginning without a possible end. 

In the third place, the Arminian may contend that the ability furnished by grace to the heathen who have not the gospel is designed to enable them, in consequence of the atonement, to render such an obedience to the moral law, relaxed and accommodated to their weakness, as will secure their acceptance with God. Had not this astounding theory been formally enunciated and supported, it might be deemed impossible that it should be introduced as an element into a Christian theology. But it is not a shadow which is conjured up. This doctrine, as already pointed out, is stated and maintained by no less a theologian than Richard Watson.56 Indeed, in the passage in which he treats of the ability possessed by the heathen, he does not even qualify his statement by supposing that the law is accommodated to their weak moral strength, but affirms that they are able to obey the law as "written on their hearts," that is, "the traditionary law the equity of which their consciences attested," that they are "capable of doing all the things contained in the law," "that all such Gentiles as were thus obedient should be 'justified in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to his Gospel.'" But let it be admitted that these extraordinary utterances have reference to the moral law as relaxed and accommodated to the moral strength of the heathen, and that the theory ought to be viewed as affected by the advantage which such an admission would furnish to it. 

It might easily be shown that the hypothesis of a relaxation of the moral law and its accommodation to the weak moral strength of the sinner is both unscriptural and absurd; that the possibility of the justification of any sinner, either upon the two-fold ground of the merits of Christ and his own personal obedience to law, or upon the sole ground of his own personal obedience, is contradicted alike by the explicit testimony of Scripture, the creeds of all Protestant Churches and the symbolical articles of Evangelical Arminian bodies; that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, as set forth so clearly in the Word of God, bears upon the whole race of man, upon the heathen as well as upon those who possess a written revelation, - upon all these grounds the theory under consideration could, without difficulty, be convicted of being destitute of truth. But the point which is now emphasized is, that it represents God as violating his own veracity. For, if anything is susceptible of proof it is that in his Word he declares that by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. This theory by asserting that he imparts to some flesh, namely the heathen, ability to obey the law in order to their justification, represents him as contradicting the plainest statements of his Word. No flesh, no man living, shall be justified by the deeds of the law: some flesh, some men living, may be justified by the deeds of the law - this is the flat contradiction in which this extraordinary theory involves the God of truth. The alternatives are, either he is insincere in the teachings of his Word, or he is insincere in his dealings with the heathen. 

It has thus been shown that the difficulty that ability to accept the gospel offer is imparted to some to whom that offer is not actually made, a difficulty growing directly from the doctrine of the Arminian and implicating him in the charge of representing God as insincere, is not met and removed by any of the methods by which he may seek to accomplish that end. To say that God gives ability to all the heathen to attain salvation is to say, in relation to multitudes of them, that by his grace he enables them to do what by his providence he affords them no opportunity of doing. 

Thirdly, The Arminian charges the Calvinistic doctrine as making God insincere in extending the gospel offer to non-elect men; but the Arminian doctrine is chargeable with making God insincere in extending that offer to any man. It has really the same difficulty to carry in relation to the extension of the offer to every man, which the Calvinistic doctrine has to bear with reference to its extension to some men. The objection urged against the Calvinistic doctrine is two-fold: in the first place, that God necessitated the inability of the sinner, and in the second place, that he makes to him an offer of salvation which, in consequence of that inability, he knows the sinner cannot accept. The first part of this objection is not pertinent. The Calvinistic doctrine denies that God necessitated the sinner's inability. The second part is pertinent. The Calvinist admits that God makes the offer of salvation to the sinner, knowing that he has not the ability in himself to accept it, and this difficulty he is bound to meet. The Arminian affirms that he is not confronted with that difficulty because, according to his doctrine, God bestows upon the sinner who hears the gospel offer the ability to embrace it. Now, if it can be proved that the ability which the Arminian affirms to be conferred upon the sinner is really no ability at all, it will be shown that the Arminian doctrine labors under precisely the same difficulty with the Calvinistic, aggravated, however, by the consideration that it holds with respect to the extension of the gospel to all men; whereas the Calvinistic has to meet it, only with respect to the tender of that offer to some men - namely, the non-elect. 

The proof that the ability to accept the gospel offer, which the Arminian asserts to be imparted to the sinner, is really no sufficient ability, has been furnished in the preceding part of this discussion. There the argument going to show the utter insufficiency of this alleged ability divinely conferred upon the unregenerate sinner was prosecuted with some thoroughness. It is unnecessary to repeat it here. 

If, therefore, it can be evinced that the Calvinist represents God as insincere because he extends the gospel offer to the non-elect who are unable to accept it, for the very same reason it can be proved that the Arminian represents God as insincere in communicating that offer to all men. The Arminian has no right to urge an objection against the Calvinistic doctrine which really presses with still greater weight upon his own. 

This concludes the discussion of the objections against the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation, which are grounded in their alleged inconsistency with the moral attributes of God.


Endnotes:

  1. Watson, Theo. Inst., Vol. ii. p. 326. See also Wesley, Sermon on Predestination.
  2. Comm. on Rom. ix. 11; 1 Pet. i. 20.
  3. Hist. Theol., Vol. ii. p. 430.
  4. Articles of M. E. Church, vii, viii; Wesley, Serms. on Orig. Sin, New Birth; Treatise on Orig. Sin, et passim; Watson, Theo. Inst., Vol. ii, p. 49; Pope, Comp. Chris. Theol., Vol. ii, p. 80.; Ralston, Elem. Div., p. 141; Raymond, Syst. Theol., Vol. ii, p. 83.
  5. Comp. Chris. Theol., vol. ii. p. 59.
  6. The Conflict of Centuries, pp. 115, 116, 166, 208: Nashville, South. Meth. Pub. House, 1884.
  7. It may be urged that the same reduction to absurdity applies to the Calvinistic element of the Federal Theology, that the elect are, in consequence of their virtual or representative justification in Christ their Covenant Head, absolved from their virtual or representative condemnation in Adam their head in the first Covenant. How can they be conceived to be, in infancy, at the same time, free from guilt and totally depraved? The answer is, that although they are virtually justified, they are actually condemned. There is no contradiction between virtual justification and actual condemnation. In the case of the elect who become adults, their actual condemnation in Adam continues until they exercise faith in Christ and are actually justified. Their actual condemnation and their depravity go on concurrently until then. In the case of infants, dying in infancy, regeneration implants the principle of holiness which contains the seed of faith; and it is not impossible, it is probable, that God applies to them, notwithstanding the fact that they cannot exercise faith, the blood of atonement and actually justifies them. In their case, all guilt and all depravity are alike removed by sovereign grace at death, and in heaven they will express their conscious acceptance of the plan by which they were saved. In the case of the elect, who are regenerated in infancy and may live to adult age before they exercise faith in Christ and are actually justified, three elements until then co-exist in them: actual condemnation, the principle of holiness, and the principle of depravity. There is nothing strange in this supposition, of the co-existence in them of the principles of holiness and depravity, seeing that the same co-existence remains after actual justification; the difference being that up to that change depravity reigns, and after it holiness. The Arminian theology, which knows nothing of the distinction between virtual or representative justification and actual, inasmuch as it rejects the principle of Representation, strictly considered, which necessitates that distinction, labors under all the difficulties which have been mentioned. It holds the absolution of the infant from all condemnation, in every sense, and yet maintains the presence in him of depravity - the co-existence of absolute innocence and the principle of corruption.
  8. Serm. on the New Birth.
  9. Watson, Theo. Inst., vol. ii. pp. 52, 53.
  10. Deut. xxiv. 16.
  11. 2 Kings xiv. 5, 6.
  12. Summa, ii., i. qu. 82, art. 2, as quoted by Müller, Chris. Doct. Sin, vol. ii., p. 372.
  13. Works, Goold's Ed., vol. 10, p. 353.
  14. iii. 13.
  15. v. 21.
  16. ii. 20.
  17. v. 14.
  18. Col. iii. 1.
  19. Ques. 22.
  20. Ques. 52.
  21. Works, Goold's Ed., vol. 5, On Justification, p. 169.
  22. Select Works, Robert Carter and Brothers, p. 98.
  23. Watson, Theo. Inst. Vol. ii., p. 341.
  24. Matt. v. 44, 45.
  25. Jer. xxxi. 3.
  26. Rom. x.
  27. Richard Watson.
  28. Wesley, Watson, Raymond, et al.
  29. Eph. ii. 5, 8.
  30. Tit. iii. 5-7.
  31. Watson.
  32. Wesley's sermon on Free Grace.
  33. Theo. Inst., vol. ii., p. 341.
  34. This distinction is signalized by Owen.
  35. Theo. Institutes, vol. ii., p. 343.
  36. Ch. ii. Art. 3.
  37. Ch. ii. Art. 5.
  38. Ch. ii. Art. 6.
  39. Ch. iii. Art. 9.
  40. Ch. x. Sec. iv.
  41. Ques. 68.
  42. Works, Goold's Ed., vol. x, pp. 295, 296.
  43. Isa. lv. 1.
  44. Mark xvi. 15, 16.
  45. Matt. xi. 28.
  46. John vii. 37, 38.
  47. Rom. x. 13.
  48. Rev. xxii. 17.
  49. This argument against the Calvinist is styled the Remonstrants' Achilles; but it does about as much harm to the Calvinist as the Greek hero while sulking in his tent to the Trojan.
  50. Ch. i. 19, 20.
  51. De. Servit. et Liberat. Hum. Arbitrii, Opp. ed. Amstel., vol. viii, p. 151.
  52. Coll. Writings, vol. i. pp. 395-398.
  53. Owen, Works, vol. iii. p. 229, ff. Goold's Ed.
  54. A similar line of argument, very ably presented by the Rev. S. G. Winchester, may be found in Vol. i. of the Tracts issued by the Presbyterian Board of Publication, Philadelphia.
  55. Eph. ii. 12, 13.
  56. Theo. Inst., v. ii, p. 446.