FRE,E, WILL DISCOURSE ON. Erasmus - Luther MILESTONES OF THOUGHT ERNST F. WINTER -:- Translated and edited by. Iona College

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1 MILESTONES OF THOUGHT Erasmus - Luther DISCOURSE ON FRE,E, WILL Translated and edited by ERNST F. WINTER Iona College FREDERICK UNGAR PUBLISHING CO., INC. NDW YORK.'i.ri-, jij,-ir..iijil.r\i i iltjf-1,.:1!\/. ai.. tit.:. :,( Ilr;Jf-l{:,,t i ]( rl,,. i I,,1;. 1". qi.r.r1.- 5rlg1' r1..,t; -:-

2 Part One ERASMUS THE FREE WILL

3 I A DIATRIBE OR SERMON CONCERNING FREE WILL Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam PREFACE: MAN AND TRUTH Auoro the many dificulties encountered in Holy Scripture -and there are many of them-none presents a more perplexed labyrinth than the problem of the freedom of the will. In ancient and more recent times philosophers and theologiansl have becn vexed by it to an astonishing degree, 1 Arguments criticizing the free will are easier to frnd and to present than those in its delense and explanation. Darly GreeL views were aheady varied and obscure. The Eleatics, Democtitus ar.d the Sroirr generally opposed the freedom of the will. The Pythagoreans, Sactates, Plato, Atistotle and Eti.urus attempted, various explanations in its d fense. Cf. Dom David Amand,, Fatalism et liberti dans fantiquitl gr ecque, Louvain, Socrates and Plato held that the sood, being identical with the true, imposes itself irresistably on the wiil and the intellect. once it is clearly known and qnderstood. Evil results from ignorance. Aristotl disagrees partly and appeals to expe ence. Vice is voluntary. Chance plays a role in some actions. The irresistible influence of his Prime Mover, however, males the conception of a genuine moral freedom a difficulty for him. Epicurus advocated lree will, in order to assuage man's fear caused by b li f in iresistible fate. Medieval thought developed a complex theology of the free will. Preeminent among thc thcologians ls St. Augustine ol Hi?po who taught the freedom of the will against the Manichaeans, but the necessity of grace against the Pelagians. This two-{old apologetic gave rise later to interprctation diflerences, of which the Erasmus- Luther controv ny is just one example..!1. Thomas Aquinas developed some aspects of Augustine's teachings. Will is rational appetite. Free will becomes simply th elective pow r for choosing

4 4 DISCOURSE ON F&EE WILL but, as it seems to me, rvith more exertion than success on their part. Reccntly, Carlstadt and Eck restored intercst in the problem, dcbating it, horvever, with moderation., Soon thereafter, Martin Luthcr took up the whole controvcrsy once more-and in a rather heatcd fashion with his lormal Assertion concerning the lreedom of the will.,, And diflerent forms oi desired beatitudes. How are man's future acts not necessary, despite God's infallible prevision? God does not exist in time: past and future alike arc ever prescnt. How about God's omnipotent providence? Docs it infringe on man's freedom by its pefect conirol over all happenings?'iwo schools of thought arrrong the Scholastics, both logically continuing ccrtain of Aquinas' teachings, came to the fore. This Scholasticism irritated both Erasmus and Luther. It developed the finer poinrs. often ignored by Erasmus and challenged by Luther's assertions. The Dominican or fhomist school saw God as prcnoving man iu accord with his frec naturc. Divine foreknowlcdge and God's providenrial control of the world,s history are in harmony with man,lvho is by nature and dcfinition a free cause. Animals are not. Thcy are in harmony wirh rheir naturc. adoprinq parriculur.o.rrs.s l,y nf,.$iry. Th. Jo.uir or l\to'ini,r school does not think this explains freedom of the human wi sufliciently. They conceive the relation of divine action to man,s will to be concurrent rather than prc,motive, exempting God more cl.arly from all rcspon.ibiliry tor nan. sin. Some of the complexity wirh which generations of thinkers have been grappling can be found in rhc Erasmus-Lurher debate. In a sense it is a disorganized summary of rhe classicat and medieval debates. Thercafter. beginning perhaps with Spinoza, a new rationalism enters the debatc. Of this Erasmus is somethins of a Drecur.or. exuding r.a,o' JLI,ness on ht pdrt. For an uo.r.-dale pr",nnrarion of rhf enrir^ panoram/! \ce l\{onirrer T. Ajhr. T/i? Idea ol Fteedon: A Dial., tical Exanjinarion ot Lhe ton,.pri.n or Freedom (see Biblography). " Andreas Catlnadt (l4bo-t541), a pioneer of the protestant Refomation, was askcd by Lurher to defend his Thesis of 1517 at a public disputation ("Divine grace and hunran free will,,) at the University of Leipzig (June 27, t5l9). He larer came to oppose Luther as a "compromiser." Johann Maier ron lik (t486-t513), German Carholic theotogian, challenged Carlstadt io this dcbate. He rcmained forcrrost among those working lor the overthrov/ of Luthcr. " Erasmus refers to,-{rrr/ttu ann;um articutatun D. Mart. Luth. per bulam L oni' X damnatatur, (1520) in the Wcimar edition DRASNIUS: TIIE FREE WILL 5 although mcrre than onel has answered hls Asrertion,I, too, encouraged by rny friends, am going to try to scc whetler, by thc following brief discussion, the truth might not become more visible. 1 ) Lut her's S up po s e d I nl allibility Here some will surely close their ears and exclaim, "Oh prodigyl Erasmus dares to contend with Luther, a fly with an elephant?" In order to assuage such people, I only want to state at this point, if they give me the time for it, that I have actually never sworn allegiance to the words of Luther. Nobody should therefore consider it unseemly if I should openly disagrce with him, if nothing else) as one man from another. It is therefore by no means an outrage to dispute over one of his dogmas, especially not, if one, in order to discovcr truth, confronts Luther with calm and scholarly arguments. I certainly believe that Luther will not feel hurt if somebody difiers in some instances from his opinion, because he pennits himself not only to argue against the decisions of all the doctors of the church, but of Luiher's works (henccforth referred to as ll.a., i.e., Weimarer Ausgabe),lf.A. VII, p. 9l ff. Luther himself seems to have preferred his freer cerrnan rendition, Crund und Ursache aller Artikel D. Martin Luther, so duch ri;mische Bulle unrechtlich urdammt sind, W.A. \rii, p. 309 fi. Article 36, restating the 13th Heidelberg thesis, asserts that the lree will is a mere frction. Ariicle 31 asserts that a pious man sins doing good works. Article 32 asserts that a good work is a mortal sin. Cf. chaptcr IV, footnote 5. ' Among the major tracts against Luther we find, besides EcL's Obelisci (.1518), thc following: Henry VIII, Assertio septen sacramentorum (1521\. which carned him the title Defender of the Faith; St. Thonas More, Eruditisimi aid CuI. Rossi oqus Leeans quo pulchett;nrc tetee;t dc relellit insanas Lutheri calumnias \1523), written at thc request of Henry VIII, in answer to Luther's reply to the rcyal Asiertio; St. John Fisher, The sermon ol Iohan the byishot af Rochester made agayn :,)e tererisyous doctryn ol Matt;n Lurher (1521), on which Erasmus relied heavily. Cf. chapter VI, footnotc l.

5 r 6 orscourse on FR-srE wrll also appeals against all schools, church councils and popes. Since he asserts this freely and openly, his friends must not hold it against me if I do likewise. 2) Objectiuity and Scept;cism Let no one misinterpret our battle. We are not two gladiators incited against each other. I want to argue only against one of Luther's teachings, illuminating, ij this be possible, in the subsequent clash of scriptural passagcs and argumentsr the truthr the invcstigation of which has ahvays been the most reputable activity of scholars. There rvill be no invective, and for ttvo reasons: it does not behoovc Christians so to act; and moreovcr) the truth, which by excessive quarreling is oftcn lost, is discovered with greater certainty without it. I am quite aware that I am a poor match in such a contest; I am less cxperienccd than other men, and I have always had a decp-seated aversion to fighting. Consequently I have alrvays preferred playing in the lreer 6cld of the muses, than fighting ironclad in close.combat. In addition, so great is my dislike of asscrtions that I prefer the views of the sceptics whcrever the inviolable authority of Scripture and the decision of the Church permit a Church to which at all times I willingly submit my orvn views, whcther I attain what she prescribes or not. And as a matter of fact, I prcfcr this natural inciination to one I can obsene in certain people who are so blindly addicted to one opinion that they cannot tolerate whateler diflers from it. Whatevcr they read in Holy Scripture, they distort to servc the opinion to which they have once and for all enslaved themselvcs. Their casc is likc that of the young man who loves a girl so much that he fancies hc sees her image evcryrvhere. Or to use a better comparison: they are like those who in thc heat of battle turn everything at hand, be it a pitcher or a plate, into a missilc. Are peoplc thus altected able to lorrn an objective judgment? Or is it not rather thc result of such disputations that both con- ERASMUS: TIIE IIREE.WILL testants palt spitting upon each other in contcmpt? There will always bi many such PeoPler the kind the Apostle Petcr desiribes as, "the unlearncd and the rmstable," such as "distort thc Scriptures to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3,16). 3) Huuing an OPen Mind For these reasons then, I rnust confcss that I have not yet formed a definite opinion on any of the numerous tradiiional vieuus regarding the frecclom of the r'r'ill; all I am willing to asseri is that the rvill enjoys somc powcr of freedom. My reading of Martin Luthcr's lsslrtion was qutte unprejudiced, except that I felt towards hirn a lavor such as a lawycr feels tou'ards a hard presscd defendant' Though Luther's argumcnt is dcfended with cvery means at his diiposai and prcsentcd with gleat vcrve, I must honestly confess that he has not yct convinced rne' If someone wishes to declare me slow-witled or ignorant on account of all this, I tould not want to argue the Point' providcd it is pcrrnittcd lor intellectually \{eaker -arglre lersons to rtith bctter cndo*'cd ones for the sake of learning' Mor"ou"., Luther himsclf attributed very little to erudition, but a gleat deal to the SPirit $'ho instills at timcs in the intellcciually rveak rvhat he denics to the wise This I am saying to those rvho loudly proclaim that Luther has more l"orr.,i.,g itt his little finger than Erasmus in his cntire bodl',uhici I am not now going to refute. As hostile as those people wish to be in this allair, they will have to admit that my iase shall not be $'eakcned by the judgment. of a feu foolhardy peoplc, if I conccde to Luther in this disputation that he iho"li not bc burdcned wilh the pleceding judgmcnt of doctorsr councils, scholarsr popes ancl cmpero's Evcn ii I have understcod rvhat Luthcr discusses, it is altoeether Dossiblc that I arn mistaken 'Iherefore, I merely ivant to anal-vze and not to judge. to inqttirc and not to dogmatizc. I am ready to lcarn from antone \\-ho advances ljomething more accurate or more reliable, though l would 7

6 8 DrscouRsD on FREE WILL rather persuade mediocre : on. such matters. r, il,%i*,i,.#:#il:..ffi??i:flil helps piety. 4) Difrculties in the Scripture Holy Scripture contains want us to penetrate,." cl"^tl:it Jit which God does not d.,., i."dg';;;i;,"iilil;,lj,"il]".j.;:,t:t;;? "."il.:hff i,r+;-i1",f,ff tj,::;l:x;l';:tl* i1r]*i":36::' )l"jl i:' ;tlxilt;l#-'k,1d tater Tlfi :lt, frightens then and Fit. ;;;;i;,;jr# 'j*" ;:'"lfi #,fi,j" Xiiiil'iLi,':'.:f i;.::i:; ffiffi1il Tff:,'jitl:r,1.t-.";h';"', '' 6i;;'; :1**#",xiih**;ii+."'f{"".:i*;*Ti1-;..tvt I I 33 r. and rr irh o i,r,,t Jsai.i. tor*r,iii,r."'ltt"" r,.., r.;,."",.i..ij " i:;jii';l,:! ;f:h:: IrTly f l: il: :il_1ilff :,:""ii?:11 ;3: ffi H: l'.:*"_:"ffi *\* lli-,::ff,ti'#ll3j'i;::i'ff :.ihl'r'u'.o"t"-prut. 5) Essence ol Christian piety.in my opinion the implications of the lreedom of the ;:!f i,:;! i: lll':ffi *: i:, ff,..ji :At"r"*d'..# rvhat. lies behind us; if *,e hu.," L""o,'" iljrd t;'*; ffllilj.ffjj,:tl""f::: f. :T:'..,*1 ffj*::t :; ' lomlonius Meta, Spanish ee a'":*;*: ri.ltii":rl f ";fl #;ll:jt#::*ri i# :iiixil 8:fi *,il:r"p;**"' ""' D'r,'hi.-;,;;.::,;: ;i";; ERASMUS: THE FREE WILL 9 the Lord, without which neither the human will nor its strivins is eficctive; for all evil let us consider ourselves."rpotriibl", but let us ascribe all good to Divine B nevolenie alone, for to It we owe evcn what we are; and in all things must we believe that whatever delightful or sad happens to us during life, God has caused it for our salvation, and that no injustice can come from Him who is by nature just, even if something should befall us which we deem undeserved; nobody should despair of forgiveness by a God who is by nature most merciful. In my opinion, it used to be sufficient for Christian piety to cling to these truths. 6) -ltlan's Limited Capa, ily to K nou) Men were not wont to intrllde upon these concealed, even superlluous questions with irrcligious curiosity, namely, whether God's foreknowledge i$ contingent; whether our will can contribute anything to our cternal salvation, or whether it simply undergoes the action of operative grace; whether everything we do, good or evil, is done out of mere nccessity. or whether we are rather in a state of passive acceptance. Some things God wishes to remain totally,rnknown to us. such as the day of our death and the day of the last judgment. "It is not lor you to know the times or dates which the Father has fixed by his own power" lacts I.7). Or. "But o[ the day or hour no one knows' neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father onlv" (tr4ark 13,32 ). In other instances God wishes that we investigate by venerating Him in mystic silence. Therefore Holy ScdPture contains numerous passagcs which have puzzled many, without cver anyonc succecding in completely clarifying thcm. For example, there is the question of the distinction of the persons in God; the union of the divine and human naturci in Christ; the problem of irremissiblc sin 6 Othcr thinus He wantcd us to know with the utmost " \{ark 3, 29.

7 a IO DISCOURSE ON FREE WILL clarity, as for example. lhe precepts for a morally good life. I hrs rs obvtously rhe word of God which one does nor have to fetch down from high heaven, or a distant sea, but which one rather finds near at hand, nameiy in our mouths and in our hearts.t This indeed must be leamed well bv all. Thc remaining is better committed to Cod. lt is more devout to adore the unknown than to investigate the unexplorable. Yo*-.--utry quarrels have arisen from investigations into the distinction of persons in the Holy Trinity, "the manner oi procession. oi rhe Holy Spirir. the virgin birth? Whar dlsturbances ha\e been cauqed in the world bv thc fierce contenlions concerning the concept ion oi the r iiqin mother oi Cod? What are t-he results oi rhese laborious- invesrisa_ lions excepr that wc experience a great loss oi conco,d, a-"nd Iove each other le.s, while we wi,h to know roo much? Besides, there are certain kinds of tr-uth which. even th*ough they could be Lnown. would noner,hele.s be unwisely ofiered for indiscrirninate consideration. perhaps what the sophisis used to say abour God. rhar, given his nature, he is present as much in the cavity of a beetle as in heaven, has some truth to it (I blush to reproduce their actual shameful remark).3 It would be unprofitable to discuss this matter publicly. Furthermore, the assertion that there are three gods,. even if it can be truly stated dialectically, would certainly cause great oltense, if presented to the untutored masses. Were I certain-which is not the case-that confession, as we har.e it now, was neither instituted bv Christ. nor could erer hlre been invented ht man, and,onsequently nobody could require it, and that furthermore no satisfaction is needed for offenses committed. I would nonethele(s lear ro publicize such an opinion. because, lrom w_hat I can seer most men are prone to moral turpitude. Now, obligatory confession restrains or at least moierates this propensity., There exist certain sicknesses of the body ' D"uarononry 30. I l-14 and Romans 10, 6-8. t Luther, as well as Erasmus, criticized some Scholastics as,,so-!hists.'' i.e.. those well. rrrsed in-sper.ious reasoninq and arcumfnr,. Lurner srrongly crlttcrzed conlession, ERASMUS: THE FREE WILL II which it is the lesser evil to bear than to remove, as for example, if we had to bathe in the warm blood of slaughtered children in order to remove leprosy. There are, indced, errors which it is better to ignore, than to eliminate. Paul has differcntiated betwccn the peraissibie and the expedient.lo The truth may be spoken but it does not ser-ve everyone at all times and under all circumstances. If I lvere certain that a wrong decision or definition had been reached at a synod, it vould be permissible but not expedient to speak the truth conccrning it. Wicked mcn should not thus be oltercd an occasion to disdain the authority of the Fathcrs, cspecially when they have conscientiously and scrupulously made decisions. I rvouid prefcr to say that at the tirne of thc decision thcy acted on thc evidence they had, and later practical cxigencies persuade us to modify thcir judgmcnts. 7) Unsuitableness ot' Luther's Teachings Let us assume the truth ol rvhat Wycliffe1l has taught and Luther has asscrted, namely, that everything we do happens not on account of our free will, but out of sheer neccssity. What could bc more useless than to publish this paradox to thc wolld? Secondly, let us assume that it is tnte, as Augustine has rcritten somewherej that God causes both good and evil in us," and that he rewards us for his good works rvrought in us and punishes us for the evil deeds done in us. What a loophole the publication of this opinion would open to godlessness among innumerable people? In particulir: mankind is lazy, indolent, malicious, and, in lddition, incorrigibly prone to cvery impious outrage. How many weak oncs would continue in thcir perpetual and '" 1 Corinthians 2, 1-6. Erasmus prefe$ throushout using the Latin {or "expedient," rather than the word "prudential." " lohn \\'vciifle ( lj ), onf ot the farlv inflr"nrial Enqlish r.fo"rm"rs ki"d, a. a pl,rlo"ophi,al r'31;sl lo expla;n predcstinarion and free rvill. " Erasmus was admittedly rot wctt versed in Augustinian theology and philosophy.

8 12 DISCOURSE ON FREE WILL laborious battle against tj.reir own flesh? \{hat wicked fellow would henceforth tr]/ to better his conduct? Who could love with all his heart a God rvho fires a hell with eternal pain, in order to punish there poor mankind for his own evil deeds, as if God enjoyed human distrcss? juost people would react as they are sketched above. people are universally iqnor.nt and car nal-minded. They rend rowards unbelief, wickedncss and blasphemy. Therc is no sense in pouring oil upon the fire. Thus Paul, thc prudent disburscr of the divine word, frequently consults char.ity and prcfers to pursue what serves the neighbor, rather than what is perrr-rissible. Amonq rhe marure ho speal, with thc wisdom he posrr-sse.. Bui beloro the weak he displals no orher knowledqe bur rhat of Jesus Chrirt. rhe crucified.r- Holy Scripturr- knows how to adjust its language to our human condition, In it are passages where God is angry, ericvcd, indignant, furious; where he threatens and hates. Again in other places hc has mercy, hc regrets, he changcs his intentions. This does not mean that such changes really take place in the nature of God. These are rather modes of expression, benefittins our r'r ca k minded nc.s and Jullne.s. The r.rme ur-ull"nce slrnuld. I b,.lieve. adr-,rn.rll wlro her.e raken up pruaching Lhe divine s'ord. Sorne things can bc noxious, because like wine for the feverish, they are not fitting. Hencc such mattcrs might be treatcd in discourses alnong the educated or also in theological schools, although it is not expedient even there I think unless done u'ith caution. Delinitcly. it seem$ to mp. it is not only unsuirable. hrrt rruly p"rnicious to carr) on such disputations when evcrybody can listen. In short, one should be pcrsuaded to waste ncither time nor ingenuity in such labyrinths; neither to rcfute nor to endorse Luther's teachings. Pcrhaps I deserve the reproach of having been too verbose in this prcface. But all of it appears more important than thc disputation propcr. '" 1 Corinthians II INTRODUCTION: OBJECTIVE CRITERION FOR TRUTH SrNcE Luther recognizes no authority of any author, however approved, except that of the canonical books, I gladly accept this diminution of labor. Both among the Greeks and the Latins exist innumerable thinl<ers who deal explicitly or cursorily with the freedom of the will. It would have been a formidable task to gather all the quotations for and against free will; to explain every passage as well as to refute it. This irksome exertion would have been wasted on Luthcr and his friends, particularly since they not only hold different opinions, but also contradict themselves extensively. B) Authority of the Church Fathers Nevertheless I wish to remind the reader, if he thinks we are holding the scale to Luther's, with our scriptural passages and firm reasoning, that he now visualize in addition the entire long list of most erudite men who have enjoyed the approval of many centuries up to thc prcsent day, and among whom most have distinguished themselves by an admirable knowledge of Scripturc, and commended themselves by thcir picty. Some gave thcir lives as testimony to the teachings of Christ which they had defended in their writings. Such among the Greeks are: Origen, Basil, Chrysostom, Cyril, John Darnascene and Theophylactus; among the Latins: Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, Hilary, Jerome and Augustine. I could also mention Thomas r3

9 T4 DISCOURSE ON IiREE wlll ERASMUS: THD FREE 'WILL Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Durandus of Saint-Pourgain, John Capreolus, Gabriel Biel, Giles of Rome, Gregory oi l{imini and Alexander of Hales.l 1'heir powerful and subtlc argumentation, in my opinion, nobody can completely disdain, not to speak of the authoritative decisions of many universitics, councils and popes. From Apostolic times to this day no author has hitherto compietely denied the freedom of the will, save Manichaeus and John Wycliffe alone.' Lorenzo Valla's authority, who ' Orieen 1, ) was onc of the most prolinc wriiers of the early Church. His interests in Platonism and in giving philosophy a rccognized place in the creeds of thc Church nade him a contro- \ersial figure. Erasmus was particularly influenced by his scriptural St. Ba.';L the Great (330-? 379-?), early Church Father, as was St. John Chry\ostolr (3'14?.+07). St. C,/tl (315?-386?), bishop of Jerusalem. St. John of Damascus ( ), theologian and doctor of the Eastern Church. qrinrar Sellimius Flarens Tertullianus (160?-230?), ccclesiastical writer and creator of Christian Latin literature, was one of the most original and controversial Christian writcrs. He influcnccd Erasmus. St. Cypian ( ), AfricaD bishop; Sr. Hilary (died 367), bishop of Poit;ers, Francc;,.9t. ln, brose ol M;lan (339-39i), Larin Church Father. Jr. lerone ( ) is best known for his classical translarion of the Old, and rc\isiorr of the Ncw Testarnent. known as the Vulcate Bible. St. Augustine of Hippa ( ), bishop and Church Father. Sr. Thomar Aquinas ( i1), thcologian and philosophcr, catlcd tht Angelic Doctor. Dans Saotar (1'J65?-1308?), nedieval theolo- Sian at Oxford and Colognc. Dutan.lus ol Saint-Pourgain (d. 1332), philosopher and thcologian with a vast literary production, Lnown as Doctor rcsolutissnnus. lahn Cdprcolus (d. 14,1.1), rhcologian. called Princc of Thomjsts. Cabiel Bitl (d. 1495), German scholastic philosopher, ;nllucnccd l,uther and NIclanchthon. Gilar al Ronrc (t ), Italian thcologian and philosophcr, callcd Docror fundatissimus. Alexander oj Hales (d. 1245), English phiiosopher and theojogian. ' Munichaeu.s, N{ani or lrlancs (his fol1ou'ers arc called Mazichd?ant).4as a cnost;c teachcr (d. 273), prcach;ng an ectectic crccd composed of rvild fancies and some llcbrcw, Buddhist, and Chrisrian concepts, centering around thc rcalms of ljght and darkness, good and evil. Augustine t'as for nnre years a Manichaean, p.' nr r u his con,cr,ior ro Chr.. iari,l. almost seems to agrce with them, has little weight among theologians." Manichaeus' teaching has always been sharply rejected by all the world. Yet, it is questionable whether it would not ser\-c bctter than Wyclifle's. The forrner explains good and evil by the two natures in man, but in such a way that rve owe thc good acts to God on account of his creation, and bccausc we can, despite the power of darkness, implore the creator for help. This can help us to sin less and to do good more readily. If everything reduces itself to pure necessity, where does Wycliffe leave us any room for prayer or our own striving? To return to $'hat I havc been savine before. Once the rcader oi my di.pul.rion rccocnizcs thar my fi5hting eqrripment is equal to that oi the advcrsary, lct him decide for himself. whether to attribute morc to thc decisions of all the many scholars, orthodox Iaithful, saints, martyrs) theologians of ancient and rnore recent times: of all the universities, as rvell as ol the many councils, bishops and popes, or morc to the private opinions of one or two men. I don't want to make the number of voices or the rank of the speakers dccidc an issuej as is customary in human assemblies. I know it happens frequently that the better party is voted dorvn by the majority. I knorv what the majority esteems is not always thc bcst. I knorv, when investigating truth, there is no harrrr in adding to the diligence of one's predecessors. I admit that it is right that the sole authority oi Holy Scripturc surpasses thc voices of all mortals. But rve arc not invol.,'cd in a controversy regarding Scripturc. 'fhe same Scripture is being loved and revered by both parties. Our battle concerns the sense of Scripture. If " L-r"r, Valta (4}5ltr:5?) was forcmost among Itatian Humanists. IIe, too, wrote a dialogue on free will. See Cassirer et al., The Renai.rsance Philotophy ol Man, ldjitcrs\ty of Chicago Press, 1948 pp Both Erasnus and Luther claimed him. In a sense Valla anticipated Erasmus, Ulrich von Hutten, and Luther in his philosophical, critical and excgetical worls. ( bid., p. 154). Erasmus edited Vall^'s Annotatianes in Nouum Testamentum. ctit\- cal of the Vulgate's version.

10 r r6 DISCOURSE ON FREE WILL ingenuity and erudition contribute anything to scriptural interpretation, what could be more acute and perspicacious than the Greek mind? How about wide:criprural readine? Nor have the Latins been wanting in eithel. If they wcire by nature less fruitful than the Grceks, they equaled them in industriousness and accepted their. helpiul lnheritance. If, on the olher hand, one looks ttro.e to i virtuous course of life than to erudition, it is obvious which men stand on the side of free will. Lct us set aside what the lawyers call an odious comparison. I do not wi.h to compare some heralds oi [his new gospcl with rhe o]der ones. 9) Inspiration by the Holy Spirit At this point someone may object: what is the nced of an interpreter when Scripturc itself is quite clear? If it is really so clear. why have all rhe ercelleni peopln here acred like blind men for so manv centuries. cspecially in so important a matter as my opponents hold it to bc? If nothing were dark in Scripture, r,rhrt need for prophecy was rh.ri even during apostolic times? This was Lhe eifl oi thn SDirir. Now. it is quesrionahle whcther this,haii.melic cifi has ceased. like the poucr to heal anrl lhc gifr of rongues did cease. If it did not cease, one has to ask, to whom was it transferred? If this talent and grace of prophecy have been transferred to everybody, any interpretation bccomes hiehly problomatical; i[ to nobody. we would,til] not have an assured interpretation, since even scholars are toilinc with obscuriries: if to the.uccessors of rhe Apostles. then thev will object that many of them compietely lacked the apostolic spirit. And yet, other things being cqual, we can presume with greater probability that God communicated His Spirit to those who have been ordained, iust as one con\iders il more prohable rhar qrace will fltw to the baptized, rathcr than to the non-baptized. Let us admit that the possibility actually exists for the Spirit to reveal to a sirnplc la1.man what is not revealed to many scholars, since indeed Christ thanks His Father for ERASMUS: THE FREE IVILL revcaling to little ones,a that is, thosc simple and foolish in thc eycs oi this rvorld,i u'hat lle concealed from the wise and prudent ones, that is, the scribes, pharisees, and philosophers. Dominic and Francis might havc been such fools, if they could have follon'ed their own spirit. But since St, Paul during his own lifctime, when the gift of the Spidt was alive, had already to order His verification, that is, whethel His manifcstation really came from God, what shall happen during our worldly times? How can v'e judge the Spirit? According to erudition? On both sides we find scribes. According to conduct? On both sides there are sinners. True) on one side stands the entirc choir of saints who steadlastly held to the freedom of the will. They state the truth, but they were human. Yet I am comparing men to men, instead o{ men to God. If it is objected: $'hat can large numbers contribute to an understanding of the Spirit? I answer: what can a small number of people? If thcy object: l.!'hat can a bishop's miter contribute to an understanding of Holy Scripture? I answer: what can a hood and cowl? If they say: what can philosophical understanding contribute? I answer: what can ignorance? If they say: u'hat can a congregated synod, in which perhaps noboc'ly is inspired by the Spirit, contibute to an understanding of Scripture? I answer: lchat can the private gathering of a fel,' contribute, none of whorn probably has the Spirit? l0) Miracles and Exem.plary Lile Paul exclaims, "Do you seck a proof of the Christ who speaks in me?" (2 Corinthians 13,3 ). Apostles were believed only if their doctrines were accompanicd by n.riracles. But nowadays anybody demands faith lrom others by affirming his having the evangelical spirit. 1'he apostles had to rout vipers, hcal the sick, raise the dead, confer the gift of i.ttn"- t t, zs. ' I Corinthians l, 27. " 1 Corinthians 12, 3 ; words are actually taken from I John 4, l. r7

11 r r8 DIscouRsE on aree WILL tongues by the laying on of hands. Only thus $'ere they believed and hardly even thus, since they taught paradoxes. Nowadays certain people present even greater paradoxes? to common opinion! Nonetheless, none of them has come forward who could heal just one lame horse. If at least some of them would demonsrate) not quite a miracle, but yet the sinceity and simplicity of an apostolic life, it could take the place of the missing miracle amongst us more slowwitted people. I do not want to accuse Luther, whom I don't know personally, but whose writings have made a mixed impression on me. I am addressing this to others who are better known to me and who intefupt us by saying, "They were simply men," every time we advance an intcrpretation by an orthodox elder for the purpose of understanding a controversial passage. When we ask, what are the marks of a true scriptural interpretation, since both sides are represented only by human beings, their answer is "'I'he mark of the Holy Spirit." If you ask why the Holy Spirit should have forsaken the side which is also distinguished by miracles, and be found rather amongst them, they answer as if during all thcse hundreds of ycars there had bccn no Gospel in the world. If one misses among thern a conduct of life commensuratc with the Spirit, they ansrver that thcy are saved by faith and not by works. If one misses miracles, they say these have stopped long ago and are no longer needed, since now the light of Scripture shines so wonderfully. If one contests that Scripture is clear in our case, other"wise so many excellent men would also have been blind, one has moved in a full cycle to the beginning of the argument. 1l\ Infallible Church Let us assume that he who has the Spirit is sure of the meaning of Scripture. How can I also possess the certainty which the other pretends to have? What can I do when " Luther called his 1517 theses "theoloeical oaradoxa." EILA.SMUS: TI{F, FREE WILL several persons claim dificrent interprctations, but each one swears to har,e the Spirit? Moreovcr, since the Spirit does not inspire thc same person rvith everything, some who hare the Spirit may be mi.raken on.r puinr. This then f want to reply to those rvho discard rvithout hesitation the old interprctation of sacred boolis, and instead submit their orvn, as if an oracle had proclaimed it. Finally, cven though Christ's Spirit might permit His people ro De ln error ln an unlmportant question on u,hich man,s salvation does not depcnd, no onc could believe that this Spirit has dcliberately overlooked error in His Church for 1300 ycars, and that He did not deem onc of all the pious and saintly Church Fathers worthy enough to be inspired, with *}to,, they contcnd, is the very essenie of all evangeli_ cal teaching. 12) Plea lor Gentle Listening But now, in order finally to conclude, lct the others decide what they ruish to assume for thcmselvcs. I for my part do not auogate to myself doctrine, nor sanctity, nor do I depcnd on my intellcct. I simply want to offer with carnestness what moves my soul. If someonc undertakes to teach me, f rvould not consciousiy oppose truth. If my opponcntsj houevcr, prelcr to slandcr me, although I dispute truthlullv and tvitliout slandcr, rather than quanel, then everyonc will miss the Spirit of the Gospels amon! thosc u'ho continuously speak oi it. paul cxhorts,,,tsut him who is weak in faith, rcceive,, (Romans 14,1 ). Christ will not extinglrish a smohing rvick.3 The Apostlc petcr says,,,be ready alrvays \rith an ansuer to c! cryonc who asks a'reason for the hope that is in you. Yet, do so rvith gladness and Iear-.I Pcrer l.li-1b.. Ii my opponent. r..pond...trasmus is iile rn ol.l r'irrn-.kin un:,b1" to h.ld thc ncrv ninc rrhich they offer to thc world," and if their sclf-confidence is so greatj they at lcast ouqht to consider us as Christ did a ' l,iatthew 12, 20. Mattherv 9, 17. I9

12 20 DISCOURSE ON FREE WILL Nicodemus,lo and as the Apostles did Gamaliel.r l'he Lord did not repcl the former, who, though ignorant, was dcsirous oi lcaining. Nor did thc Apostles spurn Gamaliel rvho desired to suspend his jrrdgment until the nature of the matter $'ould show by that spirit it was being lcd III 1.3) Definition ol Free WilL I have completcd half of this work. 'l'o those ruhorn I haye convinced, as I intended, that it rvere better not to cavil and quibble about such questions, especially not beforc the common peoplc, I will not havc to present the furthc-r proof to whicl I shall norv procced, hoping that truth will prevail evcrywhere, l'hich r,vill perhaps sparklc Irom a compa.ison of scriptur:rl passages likc fire struck from flint' Nobody can deny that Sacred Scripture contalns many passagcstating the obvior.rs freedom of the hunran rvill On ih" othe. hund, thcrc are some passages n'hich scem to deny the fonner. Yct, it is certatin that ScriPture cannot contradict il' lf. \inr'o all p.q5.rl'cs are irr.pirc,j 1,1 thu "rm' S1'rrir' Ther, [ore, ne rlr.-rll fitst examine lho5e pj\sjrc\ \ hrch conlinn our view and then we shall try to dispose oi tliose that seem to be opposed. By freeclom of the wili we understand in this connectlon the power of the human rvijl whereby man can apply to or turn arvay from that which lcads unto etcrnal salvation' '" John " 3. Acts 5, 34. OLD TESTAMENT PROOFS SUPPORTING THE FREE WILL 14) Ecclesiasticus l5: Choose Good or Euil -fhose who take a lrce will for granted usually quote Ecclesiasticus 15, 14-18: 9'd.na4i non ltnm the beginning. and lplt him in the hand ol ht" ot n roun"rl. Ilr added hi, rommandncnt and prccepts. ll th.ou u;k keep the camman(lments anil per_ l-arm. aceftable fdelity loreuer, they shall preserue thee. He hath rtt.u.atcr and lire be/ore thee; nr;fth larth thy hand to which thou wilt, Belore man is lile and d.eati, good and euil, that uhich he shall choose shatt be giuei I do nor cxpecl rhar anlbody uili que.tion rhe authorirv o[ this book becau.c ir rvas o[ old not conreinqd in thi Hebraic canon, as Jerorne indicates. The Church of Christ has reccived it into her canon with great unanimity. Incidentalll. I do nor quir,r,e,, wh1 rlr" Hebrerus de.ided to exclltle ir [rom tlrlir canon. rvhile Jr rhe \irme rimc includ_ ing Solomon's Provcrbs and the Canticle of Canticles. Who_ ever has read al' n(i\el) crn r,.,rcliir trcs. wlrv the lcws crcludetl fiom their can,'n rire lr*r ruo lr.,oks oi E.iras, the story of Susanna and of the dragon Bel, attached to the book of Daniel, as r.cll as thc bool<s.fudirh and Esthcr and a few oihcrs. They numbcred thesc among the apocr1,pha.1 But in Ecclesiaslicus certainly nothing disturbs the reader. ' Apacljpha, a rerm used to dcs.ribc that bocly of rcligious literature closcly associated with thc Old and N.*-f*t"-J"t, U"t-."_ garded as noncanonical Je!,ish or Christian scriptures.

13 36 FREE WILL quotations, since Scripture abounds in them. It is lilie looking for water in the ocean. Consequently, as already stated, a large part of Scripture would obviously be ineffectual if one accepts the last two of the above-mentioned three opinions [against the freedom of the will].'1 Finally, there are several places in Scripture which obviously ascribe contingency to God, yes, even a certain mutability. For example in Jeremias 1B,B and 10: Il that ndtion against uhich I haue spoken, shall repent ol their eail,i also uill repent ol the euil that I ha"-e thought to do to them... Il it shall do eril in my sight, that it obey not my t,oice, I uill repent ol the goal that I haue spoken to do unto it, Now we know very well that ScriPture in this instance, as in many others, speaks in human terms. God is not confused by mutability, Actually, one only says of God that he has abandoned his anger and has become mcrciful after we have bcttered ourselves and he deigns us rvorthy of his grace; conversely, that he has deprived us of grace and has become angry whenever we have changed for the lvorse and he punishes and humbles us. The prophet Isaias spoke to Ezechias in 4 Kings 20,1: "Thou shalt die and not live." But soon after much weeping the same prophet assures with his message: "I have heard thy prayer, and I have seen thy tears, and behold I havc healed thce," etc. And again in 2 Kings 12'10 Nathan tells David: "The sword shall neler depart from thy house" etc. But no sooner has David said: "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan says to David: "The Lord also hath taken away thy sinl thou shalt not die." As in these, so in other passages, it is improper to think of a changeable God. Yet, we cannot but realize that there dwells a flcxible will in us. If necessity guides it towards evil, how can sin be attributed to it? Or if it is guided by necessity towards eood. why doer God change ftom aneer (o mtrc). since we deserue also in this case no requital? ' lf"""i"o the views of Carlstadt and Luther. C{. Section 21. IV NEW TESTAMENT PROOFS SUPPORTING THIi FREE WILL Trrus far the discussion has centered on proojs taken from,-h. Old T".,t-"n1. Some PeoPIe could di'pute thcsc' had lil:;; ;iil;";i ir.'" ui'a ''t those that were not aboliiria^ i"il"""it"a more probatory strength through- the -turn A;;;";. L;.t. th","fore to the books of the New Tcstament. In the New Testanent we meet first of all the place *h;;"'al;t, weeps over the destruction of Jerusalem'' I:';::':#;,!::;:':r',I!",ii,l:,ril:;'"'ti:" :l "i"iir"ri'tni atita'"n together' as a hen gathets her young 'under her wings, but thou tt)oullltt not! If all had happened me)cly ttrrough necessity' could Jemsalem not lrave bpcn jrrsrified in answering the weeptng l.^rrl "Whv do vou totrnent youlself with uselcss weeping? iiit-*,- r.1,. *;if rlrat we 'hould not listen lo the prophets' ;;; ;il i,;; send rhem' Whl do vou blame us lor what y ou wij lcd. whi le we n"": ":''0,, i::"'lill,,i',f,1'i"],'il; You wished to collect usr but Yo "i1.,1".-l"*a us not to,^ish it '' IIn realitl-l howerer' if.r" t".a,.f the Lord do not blame a ncr essity in tlre Jews' i",'tt,ft"t,ft"it wicled and obstinate will: I wanted to q,ather yorr. but 1ou dirl nol wanl ir' i-itu-uttt'"*:g, al 37

14 38 DrscouRsE on FREE wrll 24 1 Commandments and Exhortations; Reward and. Punishment Again: "If thou wilt enter into lifc, kcep the commandmcnts" (Matth. 19,17). How could onc ask somebody "if thou wilt be perfect, co, scll what thou hast" (Matth. 19,21). "If anyone wishes to come aftcr me, let hirn dcny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follorv mc" (Luke 9,23). Although this is a very diflicult commandmcnt, neverthcless the appeal is to thc rvill. Subscqucntly, "For he who would save his lifc rvill lose it" (Luke 9,24). \{ouldn't even the clearest commandment of Christ be senseless, if lve could expect nothing from thc hurnan rvill? "Amen. amcn I say to you" and again "Amcn I say to you" (Matth. 5,22 and 2B). "II you love rnc, keep my commandments" (John 14,15). FIou' olten does John alonc impress this upon usl The rvord "if" does not at all imply neccssity, as, Ior example, "If you abide in me, and if my u'ords abide in you" (John 15,7), as uell as, "If thou rvilt bc pcrfect" (Matth. 19,21). lvhen Scripture talks oi good and bad works, as \rell as of reward, I don't understand how necessity fits in. Neither naturer nor necessity can earn merit. Our Lord Jesus says moreover, "llcjoice and cxult, because your rervard is great in heavcn" (Matth. 5,12). What does thc parable of the laborers in thc vineyard tell us? Are thcrc workers.rvho dorr't work? Each one received contractually one denarius as a kind of rernuncration for his u'ork. Onc hears this objection: a rervard is something God owes us, because he has pledged his will to us, in case.rve believe in his promise. Ilolvever, faith itself is a rvork and the free rvill parricipatcs to a considerablc measure in it by turning to or away frorn faith. Why was the servant praised who had increased thc fortune oi his rnaster by his diligence, and rvhy rvas the idlc one damned, ii man in such a case \sas not rcsponsiblc?, And Flututrn"ru 2., l+ go. ERASMUS: TIIE FRIIE WILL 39 again in Matthew 25,35 Christ mcntions not necessity, but the good n'orks of men, when hc invites zrll to participate in his eternal kingdom. You gave mc to eat, you gave me to drink, you took me in, you clothed me and so on. Again those on his left hand hc does not reproach with necessity, but rvith the rvilling omission of rvorks: you have seen me hungry, here was an opportunity for a good rvork, but you did not give mc to eatr etc. The cntire Gospel is filled with cxhortations. "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdcned" (NIatth 11,2B), "rvatch" (\,Iatth. "pray" "ask 2'1,42), (Matth. 5,44),... scek knock" (\{anh. 7.7). "take heed bewate" (Mark 8,15). \{hat is the meaning of thesc many parables conccrning thc word of God which "rve should prcserve" (N4atth. 13,1-B)? Concerning the bridegroom u4rom we should hasten to mcct (\{atth. 25,1-13); conccrning the thicl coming at night, digging lor trcasures (Matth. 24,43; 1 Thessalonians 5,2); concerning the house rvhich must be built on rock (Matth. 7,2't). OI coursc, these parablcs are to splrr us to cxertion, diligcnce and zeztlj and not to our ruin by bt:ing indillclent towards thc grace of God. 'lhese &'ords would be supcrlluous ald powcrlcssj if evcrything could bc reduced to necessity. The sarnc can be said o{ cvangelical thrcats: "But woe to you, Scribcs and Pharisees, h,vpocrites" (I{atth. 23,13), "Woe to thc Corozaim!" (\'Iatth 11,21 ). Futile would also be reproaches likc, "O unbclieling gcncration, horv krng shall I be rvith you? Horv long shall I put up with you?" (lr'izrrk 9,18). "Scrpents, brood of vipers, how arc you to escapc the juclgment of hell?" (Mzrtth 23,33). The Lord spcaks, "'I'[tercfore, b,v thcir lruits yolr rvill know thcm" (\Iatth. 7,20). "l'ruits" rncan to hirn works, and thcsc he designalcd to bc ours. Rut they could not be ours, ii all happencd of neccssity. Hc Plavs on thc cross, "Fathcr, forgile thi:rn, for thcv do not know rvhat thcy are doing" (Luke 23,3'l). Horv rrtuch corrcctcr lvould it have been to justily tlrcm, that tlrt:y had no frec rvill, and rvere incapable oi acting dilterent),v, cven if tltey had rvished to do so.

15 4O DISCOURSE ON TREE WILL Again John says, "He gavc the power of becoming sons of God to those bclieving in his nir,me" (John 1,12). How could power to become cirildren of God be givcn to those who are not yet sons of God, if there is no freedom of the will? When some had taken oflense at the words of the master and had fallen away from him, he said to his cliscipies: "Do you also wish to go away?" (John 6,63). Had the former fallen away out of nccessity iather than their own impulsc, why did hc ask the others, whether they too were going to leave him? But we don't want to bore the readcr with the enumeration -l all -of such pa"saces. lrry exi.t in.uch profusion (hat they occur easily ro errrlonn b1 rhem"ehr... 25) God's Judgment Now \ae want to investigate whether also in Faul, the zealous advocate of grace, who storms the works of fthe Jewish] laws, we find sorncthing rvhich implies the freedom of the rvill. Thus rve rneet above all a passage in thc Epistle to the Romans: "Dost thou dcspise the richei of his goodness and patience and long-suffering? Dost thou not know that thc greatncss of God is meant to lead thee to rcpentance?" (Romans 2,4). How could thc disdain of a commandmcnt be imprrtccl, if therc is no lrce will? And horv could God invite us to do penance, whcn he has causc<l impenitence? And hou' could a condemnation Lrc justificd, when the judge himscll has cornpelled the lcommitting oi anl outrage? But Paul had just linished saying,,,and we know that the judqment of God is accorcling to truth against those who do such things,, (Romans 2,2). Herc he speaks of "doing," and of a judgment accor.ding to truth. Where is mere necessity? Where is the will that merr:ly suffcrs? l\{arli rvcil rvhom Paul does blame "But for evil: according to thy hardness and unrcpentcd heart, thou dost treasure up to thyself tvrath in the day of wrath, and of thc revelation of the just judgrnent of God who *.ill render to evcry man according to his u,orks,, (Romans ER{SMUS: TIIE FREE WILL 4' 2,5 ). The reference here is to a just judgment of.god and to works which deser-ve punishment. II God ascribes to us only his orvn good works which he pedorms through us. and we thus earn glory, honor and immortality, then his goodness appears plausible. Although even in such a case inc Apostle adds, "life eternal indeed he will give to those who by patience in good works seck glory and honor.and itlr-otiaiity" (Ilomans 2,7). But how could it be justified that "wrath and indignation.. tribulation and anguisli' (Romans 12,8-9) shall be visited upon the transgressor, if he is doing nothing freely, but everything through necessitv? 26) Running the Race lvould not already the Pauline parable of the runncr. the prize and the crown of victory be untcnable, if nothing *"r" utt.ib.rt"d to our striving? In 1 Corinthians 9,2't rve read: "f)o you not know that thosc who run in a racer all incleed run, but one receives the prize? So run as to obtain it." And lhe adds], "they Irun] indced to receive a perishablc crown, but rlc an imperishable one." A prize ian only be l'on by somebocly r"'ho has fought. Only one who had earned it can receive it as a presentation. Furtherrnore: "Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal" (1 Timothy 6,12). Wherever a competition takes place, u'e are cicaling rvith a voluntary striving, zrnd there cxists the dangcr that a relaxation in cncleavor rvill deprive one of the prizc. This is completely diflerent rvhere everything happens through nccessity Also: "And again, one who enters a contest is not crowned unless he has competed according to the rules" (2 'fimothy 2,5) And [two verses] before: "Conduct thysclf in work as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 'fimothy 2,3) The industrious husbandman is mentionecl (2 'l'irnothy 2.6) 'I'he competttor obtains a prizc, the soldier his rewardj llie countryman his harvcst. Thc same: "I have fought the good fight, I have linished the corrrsc,... For the rest, thcre is laid up for me a ctorvn of justice, which the Lord, thc just Judte,

16 42 D]SCOURSE ON FREE WILL will give me in thar day 2 'l imorhy 4.7,. Such words as hett. cro\4 n. jlrsr judqc. to givr-. ro fight. _ro mc sccm difficult ro be reronciled wirh merc necis.irl. whercby the will does absolutely nothing but endure. 27 ) Warding oi the I,l/ orks of Darkness But also[ the Apostle] James attributed human sin not to nfre.qil). nor to a Cod operatins rvithjn us. bur ro depra\ed concupiscencc. "Let no man say when he is tempted,_that he is tcmptcd by God.. l3ut everyone is tempted by his own passion. l'hen when passion has con_ ceived, it brings forth sin,' (James 1,13-15). The sins of man, Paul calls,.the works of thc flesh,,, and not the works of God.3 He obviously "flesh" dcsignates as what James calls concupiscence. In the Acts of the Apostles this question is put to Ananias:,,Why has Satan tempred rhy hcerr/ Acrs paul. too, aririburr., eril dr.ed. to lhe spirits of rh,.air about u. who work on llre unbelievers.a "What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?" (2 Corinthians 6,15).,,Either make thc tree good and its fruits good, or makc the tree bad and its fruits;ad,, (lvlatth. 12,33). How can some people dare to ascribe to an unsurpassably good God the worst of fruits? Although Setan can cntice hum;rn cnncupiscence by exrcrnol meei.. or- also b! rnt{rnjl ones. roored in ltuman circumsranccs, the enticement itself does not nccessitate sinning, as lonj as \\e wanr ro corrrbar it and imp)orc divine aid. Ju.t thc srrne. when Lhe Spirir oi Chri,t cxtircs us to gno; dpcds, it does not constitute a compulsion, but raticr an aid. lvith James agrees also Ecclesiasticus 15,21:,,He hath commanded no man to do wickeclly, and he hath given no rnan iicen". to sin. No!v. r r,mpxlsign i. eren -mor. liri:r i cornmandmt.nr. Even cle.rrrr is what p.rul "II. rrrites: anyonc, therefore, has cleansed himseif from thesc, he will be a vcssel for honorable use', (2 Timothy 2,1). IIow icrturiu.', s, tg. I Ephcsians 2, 2. ERASMUS: THE FRB,E WILL 43 could someone keep clcan, if hc is totally incapable oi doing anything? I inow that this is a mode of {igurative cxpression' For the rnoment I am quite satisfrcd that it contradicts those who want to ascribe evcrything to mere necessity' The "And same mode of expression is found in 1 John 3,3: everyone who has this hope in FIim rnakcs himself holy, iust as He is holy." I again admit to my opponents that ihis is a m,rde of cxpression. They also must Permit us to emplo\ otca.ionally figuratite u'jne of \\olds tsut it is imprd"ni fo. lliem ro inicrpret he m..'k''s himsclf holy' to mean "he is made holy by God, whether hc likcs it or not " "Lct us lay asidc the rvorks of darkness" (l{omans 13,12), "Strip ofi tirc old rnan with his deeds" (Colossians 3,9), exclaims Paul. I'Iow can we be commanded to lay aside something, if we are incapablc? The same: "To wish is within my powcr, but I do not find thc strength to accomplish what is good" (Rornans 7,18). Paul obviously admits irere that it is in the po\{'cr oi nan to want to do good' 28) Virtuous Endeauors Un;te uith Diu;ne Grace Norv the will to do good works is in itself a good work' Otherwisc an evil will could not be something bad. Nobody denies that already the will to kill is something evil. And again, "Thc spirits of the Prophcts are under the control oi the prophets" (1 Corinthians 1'1,32). Whoever is driven by thc Holy Spirit is influenccd by it, yet is also free to keep silcnt about it. FIow mu(rh lrcer is the volition of man! Those, to be sure, lr'ho al-e driven by a fanatical spirit can not kcep cluict, even ii they wanted toj and often don't understand thcmsehes what thcy are saying Here belongs also thc passagc admonishing Timothy: "Do 'fimothy not neglcct the grace grantcd thee" (1 4,14)' 'I'his cleclarcs that it is in orrr porver to turn away flom offered grace. I'he same in another passage: "His grace in mc has not been fruitless" (1 Corinthians 15,10). The Apostlc inlorms us that he has not left unused divine grace'

17 44 DISCOURSE o1\- FREE WILL How could he assert this, if hc had done nothing?,,do )ou according ro )our pan strive dilivenlly to,uppiy 1ou, fafth wlrh vint r (2 percr 1.i7. and so on. nnd a ii,rle lurther on: "Thc.refore. hrellrren. strive eren rnorl b1 qood r,rorls to make your calling and election,u.c!..,2'p,:r;; r.llr,. -Hele je n postle wants our virtuous cndcavor,, to unite_with divine grace, in order to reach perfection gradu_ ally through righteous decds. But I fear it could seem to some that this is an im_ moderate h"a.lring rocnlhpr of pt..aen! encounrcled ercry_ wnere rn scnprure. \\'hen plul urirc.:..aii Scripiurc is inspircd by God and useful for teaching, for rcproachinn, Ior,converrine.. -insrrrrcrine. in ju.tir-,... i f ;-.iil J. Ib,..rh.rl' nolrjd obrioujy be no r,,om lor ell rhi., ii e\erylhrnq haplrep16 on arcolrnt of purc and uneroidalrle necessity. What purpose would thc many eulogies about pious men in Ecclcsiasticus 44 serve, if human zea-l desened nothins? Wll.1r's rhe me.rning of ohedience. p.nir"d ", ".f wner". lr mjn tn hls tood.rs well as eril uorl. i. ju.r a tool of God's, likc the hatchet for the carpenter? ERASMUS: TITE!'REE wlll 45 uithout reality, because it is in no man's po&)er to plan any et'il or good. As the article ol Wyclife, condemned at Constance, correctly teaches: el)erything takes place by absolute necessity. I have delibcrately omitted many passages from the Acts [oi the Apostles] and the Apocalypse lof St. Johnl, otherwise I might be boring the reader. Sumce it to say that many passages have, not without reason, induced intelligent and pious men not to abandon free will completely. [In conclusion] it is not at all true that those who trust in their own works are driven by the spirit of Satan and delivered to damnation. 29) Luther's Assertion We all vould be such tools, if the teachings ol Wycliffe were true. Accordingly, everythins happens on account of pure neccssity, be it before or after the reception of arace: may they be good, evil or ethically inaie"."r,t iort.. Luther agrces with this. In ordcr to forestall ulryloay n.",r.- tnq mr-.of inrentinc thi.. lct nre rluote lri. orvn's.e1j, 1r1.r,,n lrom hrs.4jrarlio.. Thi.r article must be reroked.. I haz:e exprcssetl it ;mbrobtrly, uhen I said that thc lrce uill, t4or" nt tri"l"n'irolr, xs rcauy an emfty name. I should haae raid struightt'ar_ that the _lr*d\ t'ree uill is really o 1;rt;on ora i'ioiet rhn panar Rurl. l, ll,t:-!:ll:9 tl u,c" D"min?.cond.mnins qr ur nrs proposrrrons ar hpr.ricjl,june t5, Ii20l, and wror; in answfr_th^ A,,p,!io. Se chaprrr I. ioornore 3. trasmus wrore murh of hi Diotribe aeain.r rhis Arricl^ :tb or rhe A..ettio.

18 Jerome's additions and corections 6' 6c DrscouRSE on FREE WILL human? Of course, the opponent would be victorious, rvere it permissible to inter?ret Scripture according to his momentary whim, while we would not be pcrmitted to follow the interpretations of the Church Fathers, nor produce our The passage "stretch forth thy hand to which thou wilt" (Ecclesiasticus 15,17) is, of course, so clear that it needs no interpretation. It means that grace will stretch out your hand at will.ln The interpretation of the most trustworthy Doctors of the Church, on the contraryj must be a dream, if we do not want to call it the imputation of Satan, as others did. Now, the quoted passages which seem to contradict each other are easily reconciled, if we join together our will with the help of divine grace. Instead of this clear solution when mentioning the parable of the potter (Isaias 45,9), and the axe (Isaias 10,15), they attack us with words which they want to be understood literally, since this is advantageous to their cause. Yet in this other casc, they abandon unhesitatingly the words of Holy Scripture, and offer an interpretation rvhich is almost as bold as saying, "[Pope] Peter wrote," while anothcr interprets this as meaning that someone else in the house writes and not he, Peter. '" Is meant ironically, of course. This frequent type of jocundity belongs to the Humanist style just as do the Humanists' antipathies for scholastic subtleties and dialectical complexities, and their love for pagan classics, stylistic predilection, and witty disputation. VI LUTHER'S PROOFS AGAINST THE FREE WILL Ws w,\xr to examinel now how valid are Martin Luther's [arguments] with which he rvishes to topple thc freedom of the will from its throne. 42) Weakness ol Human Nature He quotes a passage from Genesis: "My spirit shall not remain in man {orever, since he is flesh" (Genesis 6,3)' Scripturc undcrstands by "flcsh" here not simply a godless purrio,-r, o, Paul sometimes uses it when commanding the mortification of the flesh,2 but rathcr the u'cakness of our naturc inclined towards sin, as Paul again implies whcn he cails the Corinthians carnal, as little childrcn in Christ, with no capacity yet for solid doctrines," Moreover Jerome remarks it his Hebraic Questionsa that the Hebrew diflers lrom our Latin text, namely, "my spirit will not judge these men in eternity, because they are Imerely] flesh." These words betray God's gentleness rather ihan setcrity. "Flesh" refers to man, by nature weak and inclined to evil. In turn God's wrath is called "spirit." ' Hcre thc reader will 6nd a strong reliance on the Bishop of Rochester, Fisher's treatment. Cf. chapter I, footnote'l " Romans B, Corinthians 3, 1fi. ' Cf. chaptcr II, footnote 1. The so-called Hebraic questions of investigations are Iound in lcrome's Du situ et nominibus hebra; corun, wh;ch is a translation of thc Onemasticon of Eusebius, with

19 O2 DISCOURSE ON FREE WILL Accordingly, God affirms he does not want to rctain man for eternal punishment, but rather out of mercy lhe wants] to punish him already here fon earth]. This utterance refers not to all mankind, but only to the mcn of those days, terribly corrupted by abominable vices. It states exp)icitly "these men." God did not just refer to all men of those days, because Noah, for example, was praised as a just man agreeable to God. 43) Inclination to Euil One can contradict in the same way [what Luther quotesl : "The inclination of man's heart is evil {rom his youth" (Genesis 8,21), and "Man's every thought and all the inclination of his heart werc only evil" (Genesis 6,5). The tendency towards evil existing in most men does not completely cancel out the freedom of the will, even rvhen one cannot overcome evil without the help of divine grace. If, horvever, a change of mind depcnds never on the human will, but everything is accomplished by God according to some necessity, why has man then been grantcd a time intenal for doing penance? "His lifetime shall be one hundred and tlventy yea6" (Genesis 6,3). According to Jerome's Ilrbralc Questions this passage rcfers not to the Iifetime of manj but to the timc of thc Great Flood. It was oltered to man, as a chance of changing their minds, if they wished to. Or if they did not wish to, to merit divine punishment as a people contemptuous of the Lord's leniency. 14) Forgit:ing Grace Furthcrmorc ILuther] quotes Isaias 40,2: "She hath receivcd of thc Lord double for all her sins." Jerome interprets this as refclring to divine punishment and not the forgiveness of sin. True, Paul says: "Where the offcnses have abounded, grace has aboundcd yet more" (Romans 5,20). It docs not follow from this that befole thc reception ERASMUS: THE FREE WILL 63 of sancti{ying grace man cannot prepare himsell with thc "an-d help of God morally good *'orks for the Iavor o{ divine n.u.e. W" read of the centuion Cornelius, who was not iet bapti'cd nor filled with the Holy Spirit: "Thy- prayen Ld tniv u1-, havc gone up and hale been remembered in the sigirt of God" (Acts 1d,4). If all works done before the re."piion of the highest grace wcre cvil, is it then evil works that must gain God's favor for us? +5) S Pirit and Fleslt From the same chapter in Isaias [Luthcr] (Isaias 40,6-B) : also quotes All fle,h is g,a.?.,tnd all gl' ty theteol as th? frau?: ol t,he 'cause fuld. fhc ptas i: utth'rcd, and th' flouer tl lallcn' De- the siirit ol the Lord has blown upon it ' ' ' But the Lotd endureth I orezter. It seems to mc that this passage has been lorced [by Lutherl to refer to grace and free will Jerome maintains that "spirit" signifies divinc wrath, and "flesh" the natural weaknc^ss of m"an, which has no power against God, and "flou'er" the vainglory resulting from good luck in material transactions. t-he Jews prided themselves in their temple' their circumcisioni theii sacrifice,s and the Greeks prided themseives in their wisdom.6 Since, however, the wrath of God has manifested itself in the Gospel, all this pride and haushtiness has come to naught. Birt man is not entirely flesh. There are, too, the soul and the spirit by rvhich we strive towards the honorable This part;i the;oul we call reason, or i1"1epovtxiv, i c, the direcii"c fac,llty. C)r sltould one presume that philosophers did not strive for the honorable, though thcy taught it to be a thousand times better to sufter death than commit an infamous action, even i{ rve could knolv beforehand that mcn would not noticc and God would forgive it? But fallen ' Romans 2, 17 fi. o 1 Corinthians 1,22.

20 64 DrscouRSE on FREE \,wll nature judges often wrongly, as the Lord says, "You do not know of what manner of spirit you are" (Luke 9, 55 ).? It rvas just such an erroneous judgment wht:n the disciplcs, desiring revenge, appealed to thc story of Elias rcquesting heavenly fire to consume trvo leadcrs with their fifty men.s Even in good men the human spirit is diflerent from God's Spirit, as Paul says: "'I'he Spirit himscl{ gives testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God" (llornans 8,16). If someone rrants to contend that even thc most distinguishcd human quality is nothing but flesh, i.c. a godless disposition, it rvould be easy to agrecj except that he first prove this assertion from Scripture. "'I-hat which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of thc Spirit is spirit" (John 3,6). John teaches that those who bclicvc the Gospeis are born of God (1 John 5,1) and bccomc children of God (John 1,12), yes, even gods (John 10,34). And Paul distinguishcs the carnal man rvho docs not understand the divine, from thc spiritual rvho judecs everything rightly.s And on another occasion he speaks again of a new creatule in Christ.l! If the cntire man, even the one reborn through faith, u,ere nothing clse but flcsh,'1 rvhere is the spirit born of Spirit, the fact of beine children of God, and the nerv creature? I rvish to be enliehtened on that! Until then I like to appcal to the authority of the Church Fathers who teach that certain germinal concepts of the ethical good are rvithin man by ' This passagc scems a good example of the Erasmian ryirit of common sense and conciliation. He wants to avoicl the extremes on either side of the controversy. He seems to bc saying: man is not all flesh; with his reason hc can strive for marly good things: but reason is dimmcd by the lallen nature of man; therclore man's reason needs the enlightenment of Cod's Spirit. This is the burden of the quotes from Luke and Paul. 3 Luke 9,54. ' I Corinthians 2, 14 fi. '" 2 Corinthians 5, 17. " This is not precisely what Luthcr would say, but a typical example oi Rcnaissance liking for cxaggeration. lhough Erasmus decries this, he, too, falls prey to it at tlmes. ERAS}IUS: TIIE FREE WILL 65 his naturc, and that he consequently recognizes and lbllows in some way the ethical good, although coarser inclinations are added, enticing him to the opposite. Finally, the will capable of turning here and there is generally called a free will, despite its more ready assent to evil than to good, because of our remaining inclination to sin. Yet no one is forced to do evil unless he consents. 46) Diuine Guidance Luther then quotes from "I Jeremiah: knorv, O Lord, that the way of a man is not his; neither is it in a man to walk, and to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10,23). This pertains to thc occurrence of happy and unhappy circlrmstances, rather than the possibility of a free will. Frequently man plungcs profoundly into misfortune, when he is very careful to avoid it. This does not eliminate the freedom of the will-neither among those hit by misfortune, bccause they did not forsce its coming, nor among those causing it, because they don't humiliate the enemy with the same intention as docs God, namcly by castigating. If one nonetheless forces these words to apply to the freedom of the will, everyone would have to admit that without the grace of God nobody can lieep the right course in life. Our daily prayer is: "Lord, my God, make smooth thy way before me" (Psalm 5,9). Nonetheless, we continue to strive with all our strength. We pray: "Incline, O God, my heart to thy precepts" (Psalm 11B,36). Whoever begs for help does not abandon his undertaking. Furthermore [Luther] quotes; "It is the part of man to prcpare the soul and of the Lord to govern the tongue" (Proverbs 16,1). [I say;] This also concerns what can happen or does not happen, without him thereby loosing eternal salvation. But how could man resolve this [freely] in his heart, when Luther firmly maintains that everything happens of necessity? In the sarne chapter it says: "Lay open thy works to the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be directed" (Proverbs 16,3): It reads "thy works" and "thy

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