ANSWER OF JUNIUS TO THE TWENTY-THIRD PROPOSITION
We affirm, on the contrary, that, according to this theory, there is a just copula of the decrees which mutually cohere. For it is necessary that any transition from one decree to the other must be in harmony with its own execution. But the transition has not reference properly and per se to the necessity of that decree, but it pertains to contingency. As in the predestination of the saints, the decree is two-fold, first, that of election and the preparation of grace, secondly, that of glory; and the transition of the former to the latter, is by death which is contingent, as the wages of sin, so also in the predestination of the reprobate is contained a two-fold decree, first, that of non-election, or preterition, or reprobation and alienation from grace, secondly, that of damnation; and the transition from the former to the latter, is by sin and death, the consectary of sin, between which God graciously leaves a space that there may be even in sinners and the reprobate themselves, a proof of the divine forbearance, calling them to repentance. In this case, then, the copula should have been stated to be not necessary, but contingent. For everywhere in the Scriptures God disavows sin, and the saints commit it, "for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; His countenance doth behold the upright." (Psalm xi.7.)
We concede that "from the decree of preterition sin results of necessity," that is, certainly; since the inference from that which is true is necessarily true? But we most firmly deny that sin is, universally or in part, of necessity, in an efficient sense, the result of that decree, by the necessity of the consequent or the conclusion. We by no means deny that sin is the consequent of that decree, though not as caused by it, or as its necessary effect.
A syllogistic argument is added for the proof of assertion, but we can not absolutely or simply approve the Minor. We deny that "preterition and sin necessarily cohere," per se, for if they necessarily cohere, it would be as true that all are passed by who have sinned, as that some are passed by who have sinned; that is, all sinners would be passed by as all the passed by are sinners. But the consequent is false, therefore, the antecedent is also false. It is not necessary, indeed, that there should be a reciprocal coherence between those things, which differ in mode, one being necessary and the other contingent; if it were so, nothing would be contingent. There are many things which are necessary; yet without a cohering contingency. But on the contrary, nothing is so contingent, as not to have, with it, something of a necessary character. Such is the connection of preterition and sin, in relation to themselves. But, in relation to man, in the case of those who are descended from Adam, and involved in his corruption and fall, and who are passed by of God, we confess that preterition and sin cohere necessarily, that is immutably, since, though it is committed contingently, yet that necessity of the connection of sin with preterition and reprobation becomes absolute and immutable, as he who contracts a debt, if he is not able to pay, necessarily remains a debtor. The other points have been previously discussed.
THE REPLY OF ARMINIUS TO THE ANSWER TO THE TWENTY THIRD
Those decrees, neither of which can exist or not exist without the other, are said to be united by a necessary copula. By this copula the decree of the preparation of grace should be connected with the decree of the preparation of glory. For neither exists without the other, and neither can exist without the other. If preterition and predamnation are to be connected by the same copula, I have already obtained what I desired. But the transition by which one passes from grace to glory is not the copula by which one decree is united to the other, but that copula is the will of God, which wills to bestow, upon no person, one without the other, and which wills to bestow both where it wills to bestow either. The transition to glory is death; to which sin does not hold a corresponding relation in the decree of preterition and predamnation. For predamnation is on account of sin; glory is not account of death. With reference to sin and its merit, God determined to damn some, for sin alone is the meritorious cause on account of which God can damn a person. Death has no such relation to glory, which, after death, follows of the divine predestination and grace. That death is not the copula is apparent from the fact that it is the transition both from grace to glory, and from non-grace to damnation or punishment by the intervention of sin. For the copula of those opposite decrees can not be the same, and without any modification.
I accede to what is said concerning death and transition, and I wish that the consequence may be considered. If death is the transition from the decree of the preparation of grace to glory, it follows that the decree of preparation of grace and glory has reference to sinners. For death can not be the transition from one decree to another, or from execution to execution, apart from the relation of sin, as a condition requisite in the object. I concede that death, as a transition, depends not, per se and properly, on the necessity of the decree, by which God determined to bestow grace and glory on any creature. It does, however, depend on the necessity of that decree by which God ordained to lead man to glory only by the intervention of death. This decree supposes sin. It has been proved that sin necessarily results from the decree of preterition, that is, of preterition, defined according your Theses.
In the Minor of my syllogism there was a verbal mistake, and the word reprobation should be substituted for the word sin, and the syllogism should be read with this correction. Preterition and reprobation (the latter referring to preparation of punishment,) necessarily cohere, as is apparent from the previous statement, in which I said that "it unites the decree in reference to leaving some in their natural state, with the decree of reprobation by the mode of the foresight of sin, &c." The Minor, thus corrected, is true, and, when I wrote it, I satisfied myself of its truth by that very argument, which you use. For all the passed-by are predamned (to substitute that word according to the view which you have set forth in this answer,) and all the predamned are passed by. Therefore, the decree concerning the passing-by of some must be connected, by a necessary copula, with the decree concerning the damnation of some. But, in this case, they are united, not by a necessary, but by a contingent copula; for they are connected by the mode of the prevision of sin, which is made contingent. But preterition and predamnation have a necessary mutual coherence; preterition and sin also necessarily cohere. For predamnation is decreed only on account of sin.
Let us now consider your answer to my Minor as it was erroneously stated by me. You "deny that preterition and sin necessarily cohere," as asserted in my Minor. Your reason for denying it, is that "all sinners would be passed by, as all the passed-by are sinners," and this is not true, for all the passed-by are indeed sinners, but not all sinners are passed-by. I concede the antecedent, and yet deny the consequent. It is not, of necessity, true that every case in which a copula is necessary, that it should be so in a reciprocal sense. Sin and preterition can cohere by a necessary copula, even if this is not reciprocally true. Man and animal are connected by a necessary copula, but this is not reciprocally true. We may say that every man is necessarily an animal, but we may not say, reciprocally, that every animal is a man. Here let us consider the reason on account of which it can be truly said that all the passed-by are sinners, but it cannot be truly said that all sinners are passed by. It is not this, that sin is a wider term than preterition, and sinners a wider term than the passed-by, whence also it seems to me to be a very probable conclusion that sin was prior to preterition, since things, which are generic in their character, are naturally prior to those which are specific. It also seems to me to be deducible from this reciprocation and inversion, (namely, all the passed-by are damned, and all the damned are passed by, and all the passed-by and damned are sinners, and, indeed, only sinners are passed by and damned), that, consequently, preterition and predamnation pertain to sinners, and, therefore, to men considered in their sins, which I designed to argue, and have especially undertaken to prove. In this way also, sin precedes both preterition and predamnation, and if its natural efficiency is considered, all sinners, not some merely, will be passed by and damned. But since the natural efficiency of sin is hindered in some, by the force of a superior cause, which is the will of God, it hence occurs that those sinners are passed by and damned on whom God has determined not to have mercy, those are not passed by or predamned, on whom He has determined to have mercy.
Your observations concerning the mode of coherence between the necessary and the contingent, are not opposed to my view, even if they are true, which I do not think to be beyond controversy. The necessary and the contingent differ in their entire essence, so that no thing, whatever it may be, can be said, at the same time, to be necessary and contingent, that is, (to preserve the phraseology,) to be done necessarily and contingently. Yet I think that it can not, without an exception necessary to be considered in this place, be said that he necessarily remains a debtor, who has contracted a debt, and is not able to pay it. There should have been the addition of the exception "unless a remission of the debt is granted by the creditor," for without that exception, there would be a reciprocal relation between sin and damnation, so that all sinners would be damned, and all the damned would be sinners. For sin is a debt in which all sinners are involved, and not only does it deserve punishment, but it will also be certainly punished, unless it shall be pardoned and remitted.
From what you here say, I think that it is possible to deduce an argument in favour of my theory. For you make an analogy between the contingent act of sin and the contraction of debt; also between the being necessarily a sinner, the being necessarily passed by, and the remaining necessarily in debt, unless there is ability to pay. There is between the first terms in each, an analogy, and also, between the second terms, such a relation that in each case the former naturally precedes the latter; hence sin was committed contingently by man before he was necessarily constituted a sinner, also, before he was passed by of God. And who does not know that man, since he freely sinned, made himself the bond-slave of sin, and, therefore, is necessarily subject to sin, until his deliverance is effected through Christ, the Mediator, according to the words of Scripture, "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John viii.34-36.)