2020-02-25

T B Hoover on Adams on (irresistible) Grace


In Hoover's thesis, following a section on the nature of sin he has one on The Grace of God

As Adams believed every man to be born into an estate of sin, and the natural effects of sin to be a corruption of the whole man causing him to stand guilty before God as a transgressor of the law, so did he hold eternal death to be the ultimate effect of sin as a penalty to satisfy the divine justice of God against whom all sins are committed. It is not within the scope of this paper to discuss death as the wages of sin, but rather to see how, in the thought of Adams, there is an escape for some from it. This leads to a consideration of the grace of God seen in the effecting of his decree of election. The unconditional nature of election in the doctrine of Adams has been examined in another place in this thesis. In this connection, it is to be examined as the positive aspect of the doctrine of predestination which relates to the purpose of God respecting his moral creatures in pre-determining their final end. Under the heading of limited atonement, it has been pointed out that Adams denied salvation to be universal and thought of it as the final end for only those whom God chose out of the human race. All others, he considered as falling under God's act of reprobation as being passed by in his special grace and punished by eternal death for their sins as a manifestation of justice. Adams did not deny the non-elect to be benefactors of common grace or that they were recipients of some of the blessings God imparts indiscriminately to mankind. He affirms that both the godly and the ungodly "taste the sweets of his [God's] bounty." (II, 72.) What he does deny is the sufficiency of common grace for salvation. He would grant that by it sin is restrained, order maintained, and civil righteousness promoted. In this view, he denies the position of Arminianism which holds common grace sufficient for salvation if not restrained thus eliminating a necessity of special grace for salvation. God's special grace, as an attribute from which proceeds the whole program for the redemption of the elect among sinful men is the key-stone of Adams' soteriology which rejects the possibility of man's attaining salvation on the basis of merit or by keeping the law of God.
In emphasizing the necessity of faith alone in Christ for salvation, he says: "The law finds no works righteous." (I, 129.) In "The Creed" where he treats the remedy for sin, lie asks: "Shall we run to the law?" Then, he proceeds to show its inadequacy. "There, is, indeed, a promise of life, but, withal, a condition which we were never able to perform, 'Do this, and live; this we have not done; therefore the law condemns us." (III, 202.) Following this statement, there is a personification of Grace which is concluded with the words: Grace, do promise both to live with you during this world, and that you shall live with me in the world to come" (III, 203)
In his sermon "Heaven Gate" or "The Passage to Paradise," Adams speaks of grace as the only gate to eternal life: "no passage to glory but by grace," (II, 8l.) In "The Creed," he discusses the covenant of grace as "a promise of reconciliation made with those to whom the free mercy of God hath given faith." (III, 205). In his treatment of this subject, he interprets the Scripture "The grace of God brings salvation to all men," Titus 2:11, to mean "all sorts of men," thereby defending his contention that God's saving grace is made efficacious only to some - the cause of which he attributes to "the free mercy and good pleasure of God." "Election," he says, "hath no cause by dilection" and "the cause of all causes is the love of God."
Before proceeding to what Adams considered the instrument and foundation of God's grace as a manifestation of his love, it should be pointed out that he held, with Calvin, that this special grace of God is irresistible on the part of its objects - those chosen by God unto salvation. He affirms that "it is of God that a sinner opens his heart to God" (II, 38) and "We as good [well] have no Saviour as not to have him our Saviour and ours he cannot be unless God." (III, 208, 209.) Another statement of this nature is that where he says, "Let none be so sottish as to think the faith whereby they shall be saved was bred and born in them, for it is the fair gift of God," (III, 86,)