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it is no marvel, if, before the Pelagian controversy was moved, they dropped some things which were not so agreeable to the doctrines of special grace, or even to their own sentiments concerning them; since they had never been put upon the more strict examination and defence of these things, and so wrote without guard. This made Austin fay", in answer to Prosper and Hilary, who moved to have the sense of former writers concerning predestination and
in order to stop the mouths of some cavillers; “What need is chere to search into their works, who before this herefy arose, were under no necefsity of troubling themselves to folve this difficule question; which without doubt they would have done, had they been obliged to answer to such things. Hence it is that what they thought of the grace of God, they have briefly and transiently touched upon in some places of their writings, but dwelt on those things in which they disputed against other enemies of the church."
6. It is worthy of nocice, and what serves greatly to show the general sense of the Christian church concerning these doctrines, that when Pelagius first broached his notions concerning grace and free-will
, they were looked upon as new and unheard of, and were condemned by several councils;
« De Praedeft. Sanct. 1. 1. c. 14.
by one at Diofpolis in Palestine, at which were fourteen bishops ; by two at Carthage, in the last of which were fixty-seven bishops ; and by another at Milevis in Africa, which confifted of fixty bishops. And in the firft of these Pelagius recanted, and was obliged to subscribe the condemnacion of his
tenets, or elfe he had been anathematized. So that Austin was far from being the only person that rose up and opposed him. And indeed Pelagius for some time had very few, that either did or dared openly to efpouse his notions. And as for Austin, he was fo far from being alone in his sentiments, that it was well“ known that not only the Roman and African churches, but all the sons of
promise in all parts of the world, agreed with his doctrine, as in the whole of faith, fo in the confession of grace;” as Prosper obferves f.
I have only further to observe, that the testimonies produced in the following work, are taken from the writers before Auftin. I have made no use of him, nor of Prosper and Fulgentius, his two boatswains ; as Dr. Whitbys
very wittily no doubt, as he thought, calls them: Nor have I taken any cicacions upon trust from others; but what is here presented to the reader, is the fruit of my
€ Vid. Voff. Pelag. Hift. 1. 1. C. 40, 41, 42, 43.
own reading, care and diligence. I say not this in an oftentatious way, buc that the reader may more safely depend upon them. To all which I only add, that I have not attempted an elegant translation of these testimonies, but have as much as possible pursued a literal one, lest I should be thought to impofe my own sense upon an author. Great allowance must be made those writers, on account of che age in which they lived, and the stile in which they wrote: Nor can ic be expected they should write with exactness and accuracy, or express themselves as moderns do, upon points which had never been the subject of controversy. I do not pretend to reconcile all their different expressions, which may seem concradictions to themselves, and to truth: What I propose, and have in view, is to make it appear chat the Arminians have no great reason to boast of antiquity on their fide; and I hope, on the peroral of the following sheets, it will be allowed that this point is gained.
CH A P.
С НА Р. І.
HAT the doctrine of Absolute Election and Reprobation bears a contradiction to the sentiments of the antient Fathers, Dr.Whitby
says & is so evident, that Calvin, Beza, and many other patrons of it, do partly confess it; and therefore he shall content himself with three or four demonstrations of this truth. As to the confessions of Calvin and Beza, the former only observes ", that the doctrine of Election and Reprobacion, according to God's fore-knowledge, has had magnos authores, great authors or abettors in all ages ; and the latter', that Origen led most of the Greek and Latin writers into that gross error, that the foresight of works is the cause of election. But these confessions, as they are called, are so far from granting that the doctrine of Absolute Election and Reprobation contradicts the sentiments of all the ancient Fathers, that they plainly suppose that some were
Ed. 2. 534.
8 Discourse, &c. p. 96. Ed. 2. 95. Poftfcript, p. 557.
t Instit. 1. 3. c. 22. S. 1. i In Rom. xi. 35
for it. As for his three or four demonstrations, they are taken from several passages of the antients, refpecting the power of man's free-will; from their expofition of the 8th and 9th chapters of the epistle to the Romans, which wilì be considered hereafcer; and from the testimonies of Vossius and Profper. The words of Voffus, but not as the Doctor has rendred them, are these: * « The Greek Fathers always, and those of the Latin Fathers, who lived before Austin, are wont to fay, that they were predestinaced unto life, whom God foresaw would live piously and rightly; or as ochers say, whom he foresaw would believe and persevere.” The Doctor ought to have transcribed what Vossus adds, which serves to explain their sense; “Which, says he, they so interpret, shat predestination to glory may be said to be made according co prescience of faith and perseverance: But they did not mean the prescience of those things which man would do from the strength of nature, but what he would do from the strength of grace, both preventing and subsequent. So that the consent of antiquity nothing helps the Pelagians, or Sea mipelagians ; for they both believed that the cause of predestination is given on che parc of man, according to all effects. But the Catbolicks owned, that the first grace is be
* Hift. Pelag, 1. 6. Thef. 8. P. 538, 539.