Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Unition and Union

In The Method of Grace(1681), 94, John Flavel draws this distinction: 'It is the observation of the learned Camero, that there must be an Unition before there can be a Union with Christ. Unition is to be conceived efficiently as the work of God's Spirit, joyning the believer to Christ, and union is to be conceived formally the joyning it self of the persons together: we close with Christ by faith, but that faith being a vital act presupposes a principle of life communicated to us by the Spirit.'

Flavel's use of this distinction indicates that he believes the act of unition is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration - which is what this chapter in The Method of Grace is about. Edwards does not use this distinction. In Justification By Faith Alone the act of unition is faith: 'faith is the soul's active uniting with Christ, or is itself the act of unition.' Works, 19, 158.

This is just a little example of the different strands of thought within the Reformed tradition - it seems to me that very little work on Edwards is concerned with drawing out the particular influences on his work and we still operate at the level of broad generalities.


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