Front Page Titles (by Subject) §68 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§68 - Samuel von Pufendorf, The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented 
The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented, trans. Theophilus Dorrington, ed. with an Introduction by Simone Zurbruchen (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2002).
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Of the Cause of Particularity.But in this too, does the Opinion of the Lutherans differ as widely as can be from that of the Reform’d: That when the Effect of Salvation is not produc’d upon all Men, The Reform’d refer the Cause of this Particularity ultimately to the Pleasure of God, who they say did therefore appoint only the particular Operation of the Means of Salvation. The Lutherans on the contrary acknowledge that the things which are conferr’d towards that end on the part of God are universal, but the Particularity in the Event proceeds from the Fault of Men who despise the offer’d Means. And this Opinion is favour’d both by the things already said, and also by the very Nature or Quality of the Covenant of God in Christ. For as God from the beginning made a Covenant with Adam that was universal without any Exception: So also by reason of the Violation of that was Destruction propagated to all without Exception. The Covenant with the Mediator the Son of God was made in the room of that Covenant; which we are expresly taught does reach as far as the Effect of Adam’s Fall, Rom. 5:12, 15, &c. And indeed, so that the Universality in the Grace purchas’d by Christ, should be much more favourable than the Universality of the Corruption proceeding from the Fall of Adam. But neither does there appear in that Covenant the least footstep of Particularity. For if God had design’d that it should belong only to a certain and determin’d Part of Mankind, this Part ought to have been distinguish’d from the Reprobate by certain Nations, Places, or other Marks. But nothing of this sort is found here: Go ye into all the World; Teach all Nations. When on the other side, the Saviour was pleas’d for Experiment-sake, to send his Disciples to some certain Places only, he told them to whom they ought not to go, Matth. 10:5. And so when God hath chosen us in Christ, Eph. 1:4. the cause of Damnation can be no other than not to believe in Christ, and in no wise can it be any absolute Decree. And also the Expressions in Scripture of the Universal Mercy of God, of the Extent of the Merit of Christ to all, of the Vocation and Preaching of the Gospel, from which no Man is excluded by any Divine Order or Command, Col. 1:23. Mark 16:8. are so clear and manifest, that they must be wrested and forced, if they are restrain’d to certain particular Men only. It is indeed argued, that it was not fitting or just to give a Ransom of so great Price in vain. At least it cannot be said, that Christ shed his Blood for them who were already damn’d before his Passion, and thrown into Hell, from whence there is no Redemption. But such Reasonings might take place, if the Redemption of Mankind were made by any thing which might be rated at a certain Price, or by a Price which might be divided into certain Parts. As for instance, If there were an Agreement at a certain Rate for the Redemption of Captives, it were prodigality and profuseness to pay a Price for more than are actually restor’d to liberty. But the Merit of Christ is Indivisible, and is an Universal Price of Ransom for all Mankind, which exerts it self both backwards and forwards, and from which nothing is lost altho’ upon some particular Persons, by reason of their Fault it does not take effect. And when ’tis a thing above the Strength and Riches of all Mankind, to redeem but the Soul of one, Psal. 49:7. there was need of a Price of Infinite Value for the Redeeming of all Mankind. But that which is Infinite is not capable of Division; and so it is nothing to the Merit of Christ, whether Mankind consist of an hundred or of a thousand thousand Persons. So the Virtue which was put into the Brazen Serpent by God, to which Christ resembles himself, John 3. was not vain, tho’ some should have despised to use that Remedy, and therefore should have perish’d, or if that Virtue was not to be utterly spent by being diffused to more than were actually cured by it. Therefore the Grace and Mercy of God, and the Merit of Christ, is by no means to be measur’d by the Rules of good Husbandry, which weak Mankind may govern themselves by; which will not suffer that any thing should be bought or procur’d to perish in vain, or be of no use: But it is rather to be conceiv’d of, according to the Magnificence and Abundance of the Works and Benefits of Nature. As for instance, the Light and Heat of the Sun, the Water, and the Air we breath, do so abound, that much the least Part of them is taken or consum’d by Men, or other Animals, or is apply’d to any use by them. Nor did they more sparingly dispence themselves when Mankind consisted of only two Persons, than now that they are multiplyed into many Myriads. Nor for this can it be said, that God, who is the Author of so many Benefits, is profuse therein or prodigal, Mat. 5:45. And if the Benefits procur’d for Mankind by the Covenant in Christ, are to be measur’d by such Parsimony, it were fitting and requisite that some Mark and Note should be establish’d, by which it might be known to what Individuals among Men they do belong, and to whom not, that Holy Things might not be thrown to Dogs, nor Pearls cast before Swine. Lastly, It has been necessary also to the Reform’d, that they may elude the Universal Expressions, and save their own Position, to devise the Distinctions of a secret and a reveal’d Will; of a Will of Good-pleasure, and a Will signified, a Legislatorial, and a Decretory Will. Which, however they may be speciously set off, and adorn’d, are such things as hardly any good Man can suffer should be apply’d to his Promises and Covenants. It is true indeed, they are not wanting in something to say for the mitigating their Principle of the Particularity, which is as follows: That every Man comes into the Covenant in Christ for himself, and singly, not in a whole Society or Communion with other Men. Whence the Faith by which particular Persons are saved, is this; Christ hath lov’d me, and given himself for me. I live by the Faith of the Son of God, Gal. 2:20. Altho’ he should abstract from, or not consider this Proposition, Christ hath lov’d all, and given himself for all. As also no Man builds his Faith upon that Condition. I will believe in Christ, if also all others will believe in Him, and if also all others are to be sav’d. Whence, since every Man lives and is sav’d by his Faith, it is sufficient if particular Persons are persuaded firmly that they are in the Number of the Elect, provided they have firm and unshaken Foundations of that Persuasion. But tho’ we should grant, that the Error of Particularity is not damnable in it self, if any Man sincerely holds it; that is, if he be persuaded indeed that it is the Sentence of Holy Scripture, because he may by Himself be in Covenant, and may enjoy all the Means of Salvation which are sufficient to him; Yet is the Principle of the Universality much more safe, and more useful to promote the Christian Practice, and for the affording of Comfort to the Mind of Men, than the opposite one of Particularity. Certainly, he will be less liable to Scruples and Doubts, who knows God is willing all Men should be sav’d, and the Means of Salvation are offer’d to all, and that they exert their Efficacy upon all but those who reject them by their own Fault: Then he who is persuaded that God has elected some, and those in truth the lesser part, by an absolute Will from a Company equally damnable, and has left all the others in that Misery. For those Signs by which the particular Persons are willing to presume that they are elected, that sense of Faith, and internal Testimony of the Spirit may fail, and many have fallen who seem’d to themselves to stand very sure, Col. 1:23. Also so long as the manifest Sense of Faith is felt in him, who is possess’d with the Principle of Particularity, he may comfort himself with it: But if that be interrupted by the force of Temptations, from whence then shall he derive any Consolations? And a secret Will that is contradistinct to the reveal’d One, will never suffer any Man to be secure, that the Faith which he now thinks himself to feel, does proceed from the secret Decree of God. As if a Pardon were in this manner publish’d to a Community of Rebellious Subjects: The Favour of the Prince shall be yielded to all of you, who do not obstinately reject it; There must needs arise a greater Confidence of obtaining it among the Subjects, than if the Offer were thus form’d: The Expressions of an Amnesty seem indeed to offer an Universal Pardon, but in truth the Prince has determin’d to receive but some of you into Favour, the rest shall remain under his Displeasure, nor shall there any infallible Token be given by which every one may judge whether they are in the Number of those that are to be pardon’d, or those that shall be punish’d. Lastly, How can it be, that Incredulity can be alledg’d as a Cause of Damnation, John 3:18. if by an Absolute Pleasure or Will of God, the Saviour and his Merit must not belong to the Reprobate? Certainly, no Man can deny but it is contrary to the Goodness and Clemency of the Creator, who is as a Common Father to Men, to destine the Rational Creature to inevitable Destruction by an Absolute Will; or to take some from among a Company of Fallen Men, and leave the rest in their miserable Condition, without any particular Cause, Respect or Merit of this: And notwithstanding, to invite all without Exception, to practice Repentance, and believe the Gospel, when nevertheless, where certain Persons are destin’d to a certain End, without any respect it signifies nothing to this Matter, whether they be brought to that End either by Means or without them. But to invite others, whom you absolutely reject, is a Mockery join’d with the sharpest Cruelty. It seems to me worth observing, what Jurieu confesses in his Book about Peace amongst Protestants, p. 221.45 The Ancient Reform’d Doctors, (says he,) Oecolampadius, Bullinger, Gualter, &c.46 preach’d, That the Death of Christ was a Price sufficient to the Salvation of all, and procur’d a Possibility of Salvation to all that believe; Yea, it was given for all Men, and God wills that all Men should be sav’d, and come to the Knowledge of the Truth. For this is the very Doctrine of Holy Scripture. But at present we interpret the Scriptures according to those things which the same Scriptures reveal to us concerning the Absolute Predestination. But I ask, Does not the Scripture speak much more clearly concerning the Universal Mercy of God, and the things which belong to it, than of an Absolute Decree of which there is no where an express Mention made? And do not they tread more securely, who measure the Predestination from those clear and manifest Expressions, than they who from the Predestination, by Vertue of a preconceiv’d Opinon, or from obscure and ambiguous Expressions, do in a violent manner wrest those most clear Expressions as they have deform’d them?
[46.]Heinrich Bullinger (1507–75), Johannes Oecolampadius (1482–1531), Rudolf Gualther (Walther, Gwalter) (1519–86).