By Jacobus Arminius
THE CONNECTION OF THE SEVENTH CHAPTER WITH THE SIXTH
1. The design of the Apostle in the sixth chapter.
2. A short disposition of this argument.
3. Four enunciations of it.
4. This distribution is treated in order [in the seventh chapter].
5. The two former enunciations are contained in conjunction.
6. What therefore is proved by them.
7. The third and fourth enunciations are proposed in the fifth and sixth verses.
8. In the third enunciation lies the principal part of the controversy; its deduction consists of the proposition of the enunciation and of its method of being treated.
9. The proposition of the enunciation.
10. The investigation of the proposition, consisting of a larger explanation, and the rendering of the cause.
11. A larger explanation of the seventh chapter, from the seventh verse to the fourteenth.
12. The rendering of the cause, from the fourteenth verse to the end of the seventh chapter.
13. The fourteenth verse contains the rendering of a two-fold reason.
14. The proof of this is contained in the fifteenth verse.
15. And a more ample explanation of it.
16. From which two consectaries are deduced--the first in the sixteenth verse, and the second in the seventeenth.
17. From this, the apostle returns to the rendering of the cause, in the eighteenth verse, and to the proof of it.
18. Its more ample explanation follows in the nineteenth verse, from which is deduced the second consectary in the twentieth verse.
19. The conclusion of the thing intended, in the twenty-first verse, and the proof of it is given in the twenty-second and twenty- third verses.
20. A votive exclamation for the deliverance of a man who is under the law, occurs in the twenty-fourth verse.
21. An answer or a thanksgiving reference to that exclamation, is given in the former part of the twenty-fifth verse, and the conclusion of the whole investigation, in which the state of a man who is under the law is briefly defined in the latter part of the twenty-fifth verse.
22. A brief recapitulation of the second part.
1. Having, from necessity of the thing and of order, thus premised these things, let us now proceed to treat on the question and the thesis itself. But it will be useful, briefly to place before our eyes the sum of the whole chapter, its disposition and distribution; that, after having considered the design of the apostle, and those things which conduce to that design, and which have been brought forward by the apostle as subservient to his purpose, his mind and intention, may the more plainly be made known to us. That this may the more appropriately be done, the matter must be traced a little further backward. In the 12th and 13th verses, as well as in the preceding verses of the sixth chapter of the epistle to the Romans, the apostle had exhorted all the believers at Rome to contend strenuously against sin, and not to suffer sin to domineer or rule over them, or to exercise authority in their mortal body; but to devote themselves to God, and to yield their members as the instruments of righteousness unto God; and he demonstrated and confirmed the equity of his exhortation by many arguments, especially by those which are deduced from the communion of believers with Christ. But, in order to animate them the more powerfully to this spiritual contest--the persuasion to enter on which was to be wrought not only by a demonstration of its equity, but also by a promise of its felicitous and successful issue--in the 14th verse of the same chapter, he proposed to them the certain hope of victory, declaring "sin shall not have dominion over you." For nothing can so strongly incite men to engage manfully and with spirit in this warfare, as that certain confidence of obtaining the victory which the apostle promises in these words. But he grounds his promise, in the 14th verse, on a reason drawn from it, and on the power and ability of that [grace] under the guidance and auspices of which they were about to contend against sin, or from that state in which they were then placed it, and through Christ, when he says, "For ye are not under the law but under grace," thus extolling the powers of grace at the expense of the contrary weakness of the law, as though he had said, "I employ these continual exhortations to induce you strenuously to engage in the conflict against sin; and I do this, not only because I consider it most equitable that you should enter into that warfare, while I have regard to your communion with Christ, but also because I arrive at an assured hope, while I view your present condition, that you will at length enjoy the victory over sin, through that under whose auspices you fight; and it can by no means come to pass, that sin shall have dominion over you, as it formerly had; for you are under grace, under the government and guidance of the Spirit of Christ, and no longer under the law. if you were still in that state in which you were before faith in Christ, that is, if you were yet under the law, I might indulge in despair about declaring a victory for you, as placed under the dominion of sin. Such a victory over the power of sin contending within you, you would not be able to obtain by the strength or power of the law, which knows how to command, but affords no aid for the performance of the things commanded, how great soever might be the exertions which you made to gain the battle under the auspices of the law." But this reasoning, in the first place, possessed validity to prove the necessity of the grace which was offered and to be obtained in Christ alone, in opposition to those who were the patrons of the cause of the law against the gospel, and who urged that covenant, the law of works, against the covenant of grace and the law of faith. This reasoning also contributed greatly to the design which the apostle proposed to himself in the principal part of this epistle. His design was to teach that, not the law, but "the gospel is the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth," both because by the law, and by the works of the law, no man can be justified from the sins which he has committed, and because, by the power and aid of the same law no one can oppose himself to the power of sin to shake off its yoke, and, alter having been freed from its yoke, to serve God, since he immediately falls in the conflict. But in Christ Jesus, as he is offered to us through the gospel, and apprehended by faith we can obtain both these blessings--the forgiveness of sins through faith in his blood, and the power of the Spirit of Christ, by which, being delivered from the dominion of sin, we may, through the same Spirit, be able to resist sin, to gain the victory over it, and to serve God "in newness of life." These things in the sixth chapter may be perceived at one glance when placed before the eyes in the following order: