Front Page Titles (by Subject) §78 - The Divine Feudal Law: Or, Covenants with Mankind, Represented
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§78 - 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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Concerning the Universal Redemption by Jesus Christ; and the first Argument of Jurieu against this.We come next to the Redemption by Jesus Christ; concerning which that there were always different Opinions, no one will easily believe Jurieu. He endeavours to assert that to be Particular, altho’ he grants that it may in a certain Sense be said to be Universal, not only by Merit and Sufficiency, but also in respect of Times, as well before as after the coming of Christ, in respect of Nations and Degrees of Men, and moreover with respect to all Men in general. For Christ died he grants for Mankind Indefinitely. (p. 73.) I suspect by the word Indefinitely, is intimated Christ is not dead for all, and every one of Mankind. Yea, he open’d the Gate of Life to all Men, and procur’d a Possibility of Salvation. Now you may be apt to believe that he is willing to be of our Mind. But he quickly returns to his wonted Mockery. It is truly said the way is open for all Men to come to Christ, He is the Saviour of all Men under the Condition of Faith. For he asserts that God is not willing to give Faith to all; which yet whereever it is, is the Gift of God, and does not spring from our natural Powers. Therefore that Condition of Faith is with respect to the Reprobate Impossible. Tho’ we admit that Proposition, Christ died for all under the Condition of Faith, in no other Sense then this, That the Benefit or Fruit of his Death is applied to Men by Faith. Which also is the meaning of that noble Expression, John 3:16. God so lov’d the World, (which word no where signifies only the Elect,) that he gave his only begotten Son, even to that World. Therefore on the part of God there is an universal Love, and an universal Redemption. But because God will not snatch Men as by an Engine up into Heaven, there is requir’d their Acceptation of those Benefits which is done by Faith, and this God offers to all, Acts 17:31. And which every Man can have, provided he does not despise it, when offer’d of God. Then Jurieu forms the State of the Controversie. Whether God gave his Son for that end, with that Intention, with that Purpose, that he might make Attonement for all, and every one of Mankind, or but only for the Elect, and those that are to be sav’d and to believe? The latter is affirm’d by those who hold with the Synod of Dort. And for them Jurieu produces these Arguments. The first is taken (p. 74.) from all the Proofs of the foregoing Assertion, That God Wills that not all Men shall be sav’d. To that end, 1. The Omnipotence of God is urg’d. If God did Will the Salvation of all Men by the Will of his Good-pleasure, he would cause this to be by most efficacious Means, because no Man can resist his Will. But God does not use his Omnipotence about the Salvation of Men, which he used in Creating the World when he spake, and it was done. But he Wills to save Men in a certain Order, that there may be place for Morality. And if the Business of Redemption were to be accomplish’d by Omnipotence, what need were there of a Redeemer. (2.) He who Wills the end, Wills also the Means, and the Condition, but God does not Will the Condition, that is the Faith and Conversion of all Men: For if he did Will the Condition, he has it in his Power to change the Hearts of Men, without any Injury to his Justice and Mercy. Concerning this Argument, it is to be observ’d, That God also Wills the Means of Salvation, but he does not Will to impose them upon Men by the full Force of his Omnipotence. And any one may will an end, but yet so as not to will Promiscuously any Means, and any manner of the Application of them. And if God did concur in this Matter by meer Power, he could not, saving his Justice and Mercy, bestow the Means of obtaining Salvation on some, and refuse them to others of those who are equally Miserable and Wicked. Which yet is Jurieu’s Assertion. (3.) Because God hath not left that Condition of Faith and Conversion to be fulfill’d by Men alone, but hath taken it upon himself to meet with them, to prevent them, to call them as well inwardly as outwardly. Therefore if he did Will by a Will of Good-pleasure the Salvation of all Men, he would certainly effectually call them all. But God does indeed effectually call Men, but with such a Degree of Efficacy, as not to take away all Morality in the Business of Conversion. (4.) If God at present, and at this day did Will the Salvation of all Men, he would Will things altogether contrary; For at present, and at this day he Wills the Eternal Death of a great many from the foresight of their Final Impenitence. Therefore he would Will, properly speaking, the Life and Death of the same Persons at the same time which is absurd. But these two Wills are not Repugnant to each other; My Supper is prepar’d for all, and none of them shall tast of my Supper who shall despise it. That Good-will of God towards Mankind in general, is understood to subsist perpetually; but the Effect of it expires, or ceases as any one persists in final Incredulity. But this is what implies no Mutation, or Contradiction in God. For the Will of him who Wills, or Wills not under a certain Condition, undergoes no Change, whether the Condition does exist or not: Because his Will was from the beginning alternative, and so the Argument falls of it self. (5.) God could not from all Eternity, and before the World was made will the Salvation of all, because he is immutable. But he had chang’d, if he had some time Will’d the Salvation of the Reprobate, for that at present he Wills the contrary. There is not any one Moment in Eternity, in which we can conceive God to pass from Willing the Salvation of all, to Willing the Eternal Death of the far greater part of Men, because in God there is no succession, no Mutation. This Difficulty is taken away, if it be consider’d that there is at least an Order of Decrees in the Exercise of the Divine Mind. (p. 75.) (6.) This Argument is plainly of no force. The manner of Divine Providence, is to exert it self by Light and Darkness mingled, therefore God does not Will the Salvation of all Men. (7.) Lastly, Some places of Holy Scripture are brought in, by which it is said, a particular Will of saving Men is declar’d. Among which is put first that Expression, Gen. 3:15. But the Genuine Sense of it is very badly wrested. Immediately after the Fall, God discriminates Mankind into two parts, the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent; to the Seed of the Serpent, that is wicked Men, he threatens Ruine, and Perdition, and Death. And the Seed of the Woman shall bruise thy Head. To the Seed of the Woman, that is the Faithful, and to them only he promises Victory over the Devil; therefore to them alone he promises Salvation. Therefore God did not intend to deliver all Mankind from the Serpent; yea, on the contrary he commits part of Mankind to him, and numbers them among the Children of Satan. Hardly could any thing more perverse have been devised than this Interpretation. The Devil under the Form of a Serpent seduced Eve, it was not wicked Men that did this: Therefore God threatens Punishment to him, not to them. The Seed of the Woman here are not the Faithful, but that eminent Seed of the Woman, produced without the Concurrence of Man; compare Gal. 3:16. By him the Head of Satan is bruised, not by the Faithful, whose Power cannot reach so far. Altho’ that eminent Seed of the Woman does receive his Brethren after a manner into a Communion, or Participation of those things which are here said of him; which however is not the proper Sense of the place, but a Consequence of what is here said in some measure. Nor are Wicked Men understood here by the Seed of the Serpent, the Heads of whom it does not fall to the share of the Faithful to bruise, but rather these, ’tis manifest, are in this Life obnoxious to the Persecutions and Insults of the other. Nor is it said that the Seed of the Woman shall bruise the Head of the Serpent’s Seed, but of the Serpent himself. Nor does there appear any Foot-steps from the Scope of this Place, that God does here distinguish Mankind into two Parts, since under the Word Woman, between whom and the Serpent the Enmity is put, all Men are comprehended, who naturally spring from the Woman: But by the Seed of the Serpent, may be understood those evil spirits who fell together with Lucifer. The things built upon so bad a Foundation fall of themselves. (p. 76.) This being laid down (says Jurieu) That the Seed of the Serpent is the Company of Evil and Wicked Men, it is certain that the Messias does not belong to them, who is not promised to them. Also if the first Promise of Salvation was not universally made to all Men, but particularly to the Sons of God, (I would know where any mention is made of Sons of God in that Sentence,) Then the Will of Saving was not universal in God. And lest any Reasonings should be opposed to these things, he adds for a Sanction to them, He who argues against these things is Contentious. But what Character shall we give to him, who after this manner interprets Holy Scripture. To Acts 13:48. They believ’d as many as were Ordain’d to eternal Life. Georgius Calixtus,61 in his literal Exposition upon the Place answers. Ordain’d indeed of God, but it does not therefore follow that they were Ordain’d to this by the Absolute Will of God, which had no Consideration of Means. But rather if God had Ordain’d them to eternal Life, he had regarded that Order, which he himself has Establish’d in the bestowing of Salvation, and the Means by which he Wills that Men should come to Life. So that they who would not reject those Means, but would be obedient to them; (and this very thing also God had from all Eternity foreknown,) Therefore he ordain’d those to eternal Life. For whom he foreknew them he Predestinated, Rom. 8:29. And we are Elect according to the Foreknowledge of God the Father, 1 Pet. 1:1. That is God Wills to bestow Life upon them that believe, and Faith to them who do not neglect or repel his Word, but hear and receive it. But now he has foreknown from all Eternity what ever comes to pass in Time. And so he had foreknown that the Jews would reject his word, and judge themselves unworthy of eternal Life, as it is in 46. Ver. That the Gentiles on the other side would hear, rejoyce, and magnifie as it is, Ver. 43. According to this foreknowledge, therefore he Ordain’d these to eternal Life, but past by, or Reprobated the other. So far therefore is this Place from Establishing any Absolute Decree, that rather it is here clearly declar’d that the Order which God observes, in time of bestowing Faith and Salvation, was so appointed and setled from all Eternity. In a word, they believ’d, Not whom God had ordain’d to this, but who obey’d and complied with the Divine Order, to which not only Divine Actions, but also some things on the part of Men are requir’d. From the Expression, 1 Thess. 5:9. It does not follow that God had Ordain’d some Men to Wrath, much less that he had done this out of a certain Absolute Will and Pleasure. If I should say God has appointed us not to a Brutal Life, but to lead an honest and sociable one, it could not from thence be concluded that God had destin’d some Men to a Brutal Life. The Expression in Rom. 9:22. Georgius Calixtus,62 in his literal Exposition, thus explains. But if God willing to declare his Wrath and Power, namely, because an Occasion is given for the declaring them, has endur’d with much long suffering the Vessels of Wrath, and so hath by Accident hardned them; for that Long suffering leads wicked Men to Repentance, as is said before, Rom. 2:4. and it is used by God for that end, but Men by their Wickedness turn it into Evil, and on that Foundation lay up for themselves a Treasure of Wrath. And so the Patience of God hardens, not by its self, or from the Divine Intention, but by Accident, and by reason of the Wickedness of Men. But in this very thing, that ’tis said, God with much long-suffering bears the Vessels of Wrath, it is sufficiently shown that he is not the Author, or Cause of such; for neither is there any Necessity of Long-suffering for the bearing of that which we our selves have done, and would have to be as it is. And when ’tis added, fitted to Destruction, ’tis not added that they were by God fitted to Destruction. Beza therefore forces the Text, when he writes upon the Place. It may be said with St. Paul, that some Men are by God the maker of them created to destruction. More rightly, Theodoret upon this Place calls those the Vessels of Wrath, who become such of their own accord; or, as Theophylact speaks by themselves, and their own Propensity, add also by the Work and Instinct of the Devil. For according to Basil, a Vessel of Wrath is he who receives into himself all the Operation of the Devil as a certain Vessel, and cannot be applied to any use by reason of the ill smell which it has from Corruption. And so while he hardens, not indeed properly, and directly, or from his Intention, but altogether by Accident, by enduring the Vessels of Wrath, and giving them space for Repentance, since they abuse that Patience of his he declares to them his Wrath and Power, that this Declaration may be the end of that Patience not intended, but consequent or obtain’d. But because Contraries set together do mutually illustrate each other; therefore if you consider the Vessels of Mercy whom he indeed has prepar’d unto Glory, his End is the Declaration of his Riches, or of the Greatness of his Glory towards those Vessels, as is said, Ver. 23. For when he shows his Wrath against the Unbelievers, his Mercy towards those that believe shines the more. But the whole Sentence is to be thus understood: If a Potter without any Injustice, and without being expos’d to the Complaint of any one, and out of the same Mass of Clay which has given him no Offence, forms one Vessel to Honour, and another to Dishonour: How can God be accused of Injustice; (for this is to be understood in the Sentence, because it is suspended and incompleat) if in bearing with the Vessels of Wrath, he does without any Intention of his harden them, so that in them being already hardned, beside his Intention, by his very Goodness he may show his Wrath and Power, and the greatness of his Grace and Favour towards the Vessels of Mercy? Thus far Calixtus. Lastly, in John 16:26, &c. the Jews are truly said not to be of the Sheep of Christ, but not from the meer Pleasure of God, but by reason of their wicked Reluctancy. Whence all these Expressions may very well consist with the general Will of saving Mankind, because that Will is not Absolute. But if it should be further objected to Jurieu, (p. 77.) That God has indeed a general Will of saving Men, and therefore he has laid that universal Law, I Will that all, and every one of those who embrace Jesus Christ be sav’d by Faith: He has in readiness his distinction between his Legislatorial, and Decreeing Will; and that the Means are not prepar’d but for the Execution of the Will of his Decree, not for the Execution of the Will of the Legislatour. But that Maxim of Jurieu has no Foundation at all. Certainly Humane Legislatours do presuppose a Faculty of performing, which if they knew to be absent, and notwithstanding should Establish a Law under a Penalty, they would be thought to commit a manifest Tyranny. But God who is both a Lawgiver, and the Creatour and Disposer of all things, could not, saving his Justice and Goodness command any thing which he has not afforded the Means of performing. Therefore if he would make a Law that all must believe in Christ, but should not afford fit Means for obtaining this Faith, he would only bitterly mock Mankind, and seek an unjust Pretence to damn them. Whence ’tis false that God as Legislatour, only lays Laws, and commits the Execution and Observance of them intirely to Men: But he does also afford Strength to fulfil his Law: Not indeed such as shall operate absolutely, but in a certain Order which he has Constituted. God also when he Wills anything by a Decree, does then sweetly dispose the Means, that the thing Decreed may come to pass: But yet as the Decree is Absolute or Conditionate, so also he tempers the Efficacy of the Means, that they may sute the Nature of the Decree. When therefore, as Jurieu proceeds, (p. 78.) and says, That general Will, I Will that all Men should be sav’d, by believing is only Legislatory: The Death of Christ, and his Redemption is not order’d for the Execution of that Will, as a Means, but only so far as that the Law could have no force, unless Christ were first sent, and should die. Otherwise Christ is not dead with that end, that every Man should believe and be sav’d by Vertue of that general Law. For that Law determines nothing concerning the Salvation of Peter or James, or any Man, but only puts the Rule according to which Peter and James shall be judged. These things are very obscure and intricate, but if they are rightly disentangled, and set in order, they contain nothing of any strength against our Opinion. Our Church teaches that God would have all Men sav’d by Faith in Christ. That is, He Wills to deliver them from the Damnation contracted by the Fall, not by a bare Remission of Sins, but by a Ransom interpos’d, which Ransom he has Constituted to be paid in the Death of his Son. But he hath not Will’d that the Efficacy of that Death should exert it self in that manner, as for Instance, The Sun exerts his Vertue of Shining, which shines upon the Just, and upon the Unjust, and upon them that would not have him shine upon them, and upon them that think nothing of the Benefit: But on the part of Mankind he hath ordain’d a Mean by which that is to be receiv’d, and that is Faith which he offers to Men, but after a Moral, not a Physical or Mechanick manner, so as that at least it is in the Power of Men to reject it. And from the foresight of the Acceptance, or Rejection of this Faith, the Decrees in the Exercise of the Divine Mind are form’d concerning the saving of particular Men. Thus therefore the Death of Christ is on the part of God the universal Mean of saving Mankind, without which God would not bestow Salvation upon any. But because he will not thrust Salvation upon any against their will, that alone is not the Mean that particular Men are actually sav’d, but on the part of Men there is requir’d a Mean of accepting and applying that Benefit, which is Faith: Which since every one has not, 2 Thess. 3:2. From thence it is understood that particular Decrees are form’d concerning the saving of particular Persons. Whence we can rightly say that God has absolutely Will’d the Death of Christ as a Mean of saving Men on his part, but he has not absolutely Will’d Faith as a Mean on the part of particular Men, but has left a Power of Resisting it, that those Acts might be reckon’d among the Number of Moral ones.
[61.]See note 4.
[62.]See note 4.