De Moor VII:1: The Term "Predestination"

Among the other Decrees, PREDESTINATION is eminent, and has a special regard to us, concerning which, therefore, our AUTHOR sets up a special treatment in this Chapter.



It denotes the Destination of Men unto their certain end before their existence, even indeed before the existence of the world: it is, of course, compounded from to destine and the prepositional prefix pre-; because this Destination preceded, 1. both the existence of the Thing, or the end itself, to which Men are destined by this Decree, namely, Salvation or Damnation; 2. and the existence and birth of the Person himself, destined for Salvation or Damnation; 3. and the Creation of the World and the existence of all things outside of God.


Frequent mention is made of Predestination in the works of AUGUSTINE (concerning whose opinion on the matter of Predestination, see BUDDEUS discoursing in such a way that this is especially advantageous to the cause of the Lutherans, Institutionibus Theologiæ dogmaticæ, tome 2, book V, chapter II, § 12, 13, pages 1621, 1622, 1631, 1632), and in the works of the other Anti-Pelagian Fathers; who, with our AUTHOR advising in his Compendio, also appear to have been defamed, with their opinion twisted in the worst possible way, and with the name of the Predestined or Predestinarians. That is, by the name of Predestinarians are understood such that taught Predestination as altogether Absolute, free even from all Consequent Means, so that good works are not able to benefit the pious, if they had been predestined unto death; and evil works are not able to harm the impious, if they had been destined unto life. It is an open question, whether in the time of Augustine and a little afterwards there were those that were fostering this heresy, or it was fabricated to stir up hatred for the doctrine of Augustine and his followers. SPANHEIM, in his Historia Ecclesiastica, Century V, chapter VII, column 993, and in his Elenchum Controversiarum cum Remonstrantibus, § XVI, opera, tome 3, column 864, holds this heresy and the Synods held against it, of Arles[1] and Lyon,[2] about the year 475, as a mere invention. So also USSHER,[3] FORBES, and JOHANN JAKOB HOTTINGER;[4] and also of the Papists, MAUGIN,[5] NORIS,[6] and others. CORNELIUS JANSEN,[7] in Augustino, tome I, or de Hæresi Pelagii, book VIII, chapter XXIII, page 219, writes concerning this: “For what reason, if I might freely speak my opinion and offer it to my readers for judgment, I for my part suppose that in the nature of things there was never a Predestinarian heresy, or Predestinarian heretics: but that, on the contrary, the Catholic doctrine, which Saint Augustine and Prosper[8] had taught, was calumniously traduced under that name of that heresy by the Massilians.[9] And so those Predestinarian heretics were no other than Saint Augustine, Prosper, Hilary, and as many as were following their teaching, whom the Semi-Pelagians marked with that name, and placed among the heretics, with their names not expressed; posterity, blindly trusting them, rejected the former as certain Predestinarian heretics.” HEIDANUS[10] professes himself to be addicted to that same opinion, Wederlegginge des Remonstrantschen Catechismi, page 66. TRIGLAND[11] also, in a length treatment, destroys this Predestinarian heresy as an invention, Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 1, pages 29 and following; concerning this matter see also JOHANN GEORG WALCH’S[12]Miscellanea Sacra, book III, Exercitation VIII, § 11, pages 744-746. Nevertheless, DANÆUS,[13] in his Opusculis, ad Augustinum de Hæresibus, chapter LXXXVIII, page 1015b, and a number of others, believe that such a heresy existed around the beginning of the Fifth Century, and that hence Pelagianism, soon rising, was more easily received. With these latter BUDDEUS sides, and malignantly judges the Reformed, together with the Dominicans and the Jansenists among the Romanists, to be the genuine offspring of the ancient Predestinarians; see Buddeus’ Institutiones Theologiæ dogmaticæ, tome 2, book V, chapter II, § 12, pages 1620-1625: see also NATALIS ALEXANDER,[14]Dissertation V in Historia Ecclesiastica, Century V, tome 5, pages 235-244, who at length contends that the heresy of the Predestinarians was not imaginary, although it did not have many followers: while yet at the same time some assertions of JACQUES SIRMOND are called for examination; who, so that he might confirm that the Predestinarian heresy verily existed of old, published, not only Prædestinatum sive Prædestinatorum hæresin, conscriptam, as the title has it, ante annos MCC, which book is found in Sirmond’s Operibus variis, tome 1, columns 269-344; but also Historiam Prædestinatianam, which is extant in the same Operibus variis of Sirmond, tome 4, pages 267-292. Above others, however, AUVRÆUS[15] (who calls himself Doctor of Theology of the Sorbonne, but under which name others believe to lurk Arnauld or Blondel;[16] see WALCH, Miscellaneis Sacris, book III, Exercitation VIII, § 11, pages 744-746) set himself against Sirmond’s Prædestinato, published in French as a Censura of this Prædestinati, in qua ostenditur nullam fuisse unquam Prædestinatorum hæresin; which Censura, translated from French into Latin, together with Prædestinato, or after it, is read in the year 1645 in octavo.


Whatever the case may be in this regard, although the abstract προορισμὸς/Predestination is not extant in Holy Scripture, the Greek verb προορίζειν, which denotes to predestinate, is used a number of times in this connection in the New Testament, Ephesians 1:5;[17] Romans 8:29;[18] etc.: in the place of which Synonyms elsewhere occur, τάσσειν, to ordain, Acts 13:48,[19] concerning which passage I will have more to say in § 10; τιθέναι, to appoint, 1 Thessalonians 5:9;[20] and others.

[1] A Synod was held at Arles (Gaul) in 475, attended by thirty bishops. The Predestinarian teachings of Lucidus, a priest, were condemned. [2] This appears to be one and the same with the Synod of Arles, placed in Lyon only by Faustus, Semi-Pelagian Bishop of Riez. [3] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first calibre, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland. He is most remembered for his Annals of the World. [4] Johann Jakob Hottinger (1652-1735), son of Johann Heinrich Hottinger, served as Professor of Theology at Zurich (1698-1735). He wrote voluminously, engaging opponents of Reformed orthodoxy, including Roman Catholic theologians and Enthusiasts. [5] Gilbert Maugin (died 1674) compiled Veterum Auctorum qui IX Sæculo de Prædestinatione et Gratia scripserunt Opera et Fragmenta. [6] Enrico Noris (1631-1704) was an Italian monk of the Order of Saint Augustine, ecclesiastical historian, theologian, and churchman, rising to the rank of Cardinal. He wrote a History of Pelagianism. [7] Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638) was a Dutch Roman Catholic. He served as Bishop of Ypres in Flanders, and was responsible for an Augustinian movement, which came to be known as Jansenism. Jansen’s opposition to the Jesuits, and adherence to Augustine, brought him no closer to Protestantism. [8] Prosper of Aquitaine (403-463) was a student of Augustine, and, like his teacher, he was an opponent of Pelagianism. [9] The Massilians took their name from John Cassian of Marseilles (Massilia) (c. 360-433), a disciple of Chrysostom, a mystic, and one of the “Desert Fathers”. They were Synergists, opposed to the Augustinian doctrine of Predestination. [10] Abraham Heidanus (1597-1678) was a Dutch Reformed minister and Cocceian theologian. He served as professor of theology at Leiden from 1648 to 1676, but he was ultimately dismissed for his Cartesianism. [11] Jacobus Trigland the Elder (1583-1654) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian. He was deputed by the Synod of North Holland to the Synod of Dort; he was a member of the committee appointed to draw up the Canons of Dort. In 1633, he became Professor of Theology at Leiden. [12] Johann Georg Walch (1693-1775) was a German Lutheran theologian, serving as Professor of Rhetoric and Poetry (1719-1724), and then as Professor of Theology (1724-1775), at Jena. [13] Lambert Danæus (c. 1530-1596) was a French minister and theologian. He labored as a pastor and Professor of Divinity at Geneva, and then at Leiden. [14]Noël Alexandre (1639-1724) was a French Dominican. He taught philosophy, theology, and canon law at the Sorbonne. [15] Martin de Barcos (1600-1678), nephew of the Jansenist Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, was a French priest and theologian. He studied in Belguim under Cornelius Jansen, and served as commendatory abbot of the Abbey of Saint-Cyran. Barcos wrote a sharp critique of Sirmond’s Prædestinati. [16] David Blondel (1591-1655) was a Huguenot minister, historian, and classicist. He served as Professor of Church History at Amsterdam (1649-1655). He is remembered for his critical stance with respect to the many forged and spurious documents coming out of antiquity. [17] Ephesians 1:5: “Having predestinated (προορίσας) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will…” [18] Romans 8:29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate (καὶ προώρισε) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” [19] Acts 13:48: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained (τεταγμένοι) to eternal life believed.” [20] 1 Thessalonians 5:9: “For God hath not appointed (ἔθετο) us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…”

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