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De Moor VII:10: God's Independence in Predestination

What was expounded and enlarged in Chapter VI, § 9, even the Independence of the Divine Decree in general, that no less than other Attributes of the Decrees comes also to be applied to this eminent Decree of Predestination: hence we say that Predestination is Independent of every Cause and Condition that is posited in the will of man and anterior to the Decree; thus far we profess Predestination to be Absolute: although we do not at all call it Absolute with respect to the subsequent Means, which God most freely ordained, together with the End, agreeably with His own Virtues, and which individually in their own way ought to be held as the prerequisite Cause or Condition in the execution of the destined Salvation and Damnation: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter I, articles 9,[1] 10.[2]

Synod of Dort

It is demonstrated from this, α. That Scripture urges here the free Good Pleasure of God as the sole and ultimate reason, Matthew 11:25, 26; Luke 12:32; Romans 8:28; 9:11, 15, 18; 11:5; Ephesians 1:5, 9, 11; 2 Timothy 1:9, in which Passages to the Good Pleasure, Purpose, and gratuitous Mercy of God alone, Electing and Foreordaining, are assigned the blessings both of destined Glory, and of all Grace leading to that: as, on the other hand, in these Passages we learn to ascend from Saving Wisdom in the case of the true way of Salvation hidden from others, and similarly the opposite Hardening of the same, to the mere and Most Free Good Pleasure of God.

If we diligently attend to the argument of these texts, the hypothesis of the Remonstrants also falls, as if the Good Pleasure of God, of which the Scripture speaks in the matter of Election, were only that whereby out of many possible Conditions He decided to choose and to accept faith alone as the condition for communicating Salvation: since, 1. from the Passages cited it is evident that the Decree of Predestination is conversant with certain persons, and is the Purpose of God concerning the determinate granting or denying of saving Grace to them: and, 2. although we acknowledge that there is a tie decreed by God between Faith and Salvation; we deny that some indefinite Decree concerning the salvation of believers is the whole Good Pleasure of the predestinating God, or that Faith as a foreseen Condition in man precedes the destination of individual persons to Salvation: but, since it was the Good Pleasure of God to destine these and those individual persons for Salvation, together with the substitution of the Surety in their place, He also destined Faith for them as a means, whereby they may be made partakers of the merits of the Surety and of the Salvation destined and acquired through Him: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter 1, Rejection of Errors, § 3;[3] MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 489, 490, on Volkelius’ book V, de Vera Religione,[4] chapter XVII, page 526.

β. That the same Scripture bears away all Distinguishing among men of themselves, all equally incapable of God, in such a way that no man might hence be able to feign a certain appearance of Injustice in God. 1. For, either God distinguishes a man by His own gift, or a man distinguishes himself by his own Free Will; no mediating position is granted: but here the Apostle concludes for God distinguishing, 1 Corinthians 4:7, which is also clear from every man’s total Impotence with respect to spiritual Good, 2 Corinthians 3:5. But, if the actual Distinguishing of a man in time is competent to God, the same is to be asserted concerning the eternal Distinguishing of the same in the Decree of God. 2. If man distinguishes himself, and Predestination is consequently from things foreseen; then God does not choose man, but man chooses God; the first cuase would become a second case, and God would depend upon man: which the thing itself teaches to be absurd; hence the Lord also expressly inculcates the contrary, John 15:16; 1 John 4:10. For, not because we believed, says AUGUSTINE, but so that we might believe, He has chosen us, so that we might not be said to have chosen Him first. 3. If Election were according to Faith and good Works, to be furnished by one more than another, a man could not here feign the appearance of Injustice in God, in the Pauline objection, Romans 9:14. And, if anyone should notwithstanding move this objection, nothing would have been easier for the Apostle, than to show that perfectly Just reasons for this divine Decree with respect to each one are in readiness; since God chooses some on account of their own Faith and good Works, and reprobates others because of their Unbelief and Sins. But now corrupt and proud man feigns for himself an appearance of Injustice in this, because God chooses some rather than others, who are no worse, and reprobates some rather than others, who are no better: for the refutation of this calumny the Apostle does not appeal to the diverse conditions or merits of the men themselves; but he teaches that there is to be a reverent acquiescence in the supreme Good Pleasure of God, with a bar placed in the way of our curiosity and audacity, from a consideration of God and the supreme and altogether free Lord, verses 15, 18-21.

γ. Moreover, that Scripture excludes all Foreseen Good in man, Romans 9:11, 12, 16; 2 Timothy 1:9. In which passages, to all man’s own excluded Works is set in opposition God’s Purpose alone, and Grace with respect to the Elect. Neither is anything more express able to be desired, than that Pauline discourse in Romans 9, where, 1. in verse 11 he speaks of Twins, who had done nothing good or bad, whereby a distinction might be drawn between them. 2. Yet a disparity of the condition between them is argued from the Purpose of God according to Election: the Cause of which is not found in their diverse Works foreseen; but, with the exclusion of all these, only in God, who Calls, in the same place. 3. And, if you seek the Reason why that Calling God proposed to Himself thus to act, according to God’s Good Pleasure alone, Gracious with respect to the Elect, the Apostle dismisses us, in such a way that believers have nothing to be assigned to their own will or pursuit, verses 15, 16: but, if God were showing mercy on account of man’s foreseen Faith, it would certainly also be of him that willeth and runneth, not of God alone showing mercy: compare CALVIN’S Institutes of the Christian Religion, book II, chapter V, § 17, book III, chapter XXIV, § 1; and ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, pages 633-635, where he frees the text of Romans 9:16 from the παρερμηνείᾳ/ misinterpretation of the Catecheseos Racovianæ, chapter X de munere Christi Prophetico, questions 25, 26, pages 264-266.

Exception a: The words of Paul are not to be understood of Jacob and Esau in their persons; but of the posterity of both and the corporal lot of the same: thus with the Remonstrants Eckhard takes exception, in his Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter XV, question 2, pages 308-311. I Respond: Although the Election of Jacob and the Rejection of Esau also consequently and secondarily extend themselves to the posterity of both and temporal benefits granted to them; it has regard primarily, no less than those things that are said of Isaac in verse 7, to the persons of Jacob and Esau, an example of which Paul sets forth, so that the might show that the cause of the distinction between the sons of the flesh and of the promise, set forth in verses 6-8, is not to be sought in the works of a man himself, but in the altogether free Intention of God.

Exception b: The Decree of the Justification of believers by Faith is treated; with those rejected that pursue the righteousness of the Law. Responses: 1. The Scope of Paul is to assert that the Promises of God, with the Unbelief of a great many Jews not withstanding, have not failed, but are always established in the sons of the promise: now, who then are such, this rests on divine Predestination. 2. If Paul treats of the Justifying of believers, as in what precedes, he would set Works in opposition to Faith: but now, while he treats of Election and Vocation, which precede Faith and Justification, he excluse all things, not only Works, but even Faith itself; and he sets God’s Mercy and benevolent Will in opposition to all.

They Reply, that in verse 30 and following the Righteousness of faith, which the Gentiles pursued, is treated. I Respond: This does not prove that Paul in the whole chapter treated of the Justification of Faith: but it is a conclusion elicited from what precedes; namely, that from this gratuitous Election and Vocation the Gentiles obtained, that they might be made partakers of Righteousness by Faith, as the means of salvation, not as the cause of Election: but that the Jews, for the most part pursuing Righteousness by the works of the Law, by the just judgment of God fell short of gratuitous Justification and Salvation. On occasion of speaking concerning the sense of this pericope will recur below, § 16, concerning which see also ARNOLDI discoursing in Scopis dissolutis Eckhardi, chapter XV, question 2, § 13-31, pages 257-267.

δ. Finally, that Scripture from Predestination traces everything, as a Consequent:

1. Both the Good of Faith, Holiness, and Perseverance. Now, what is the consequent fruit and effect of Predestination is not able to be its Cause or foreseen Condition: for it is absurd that one and the same thing is at the same time the cause and the effect in the same respect, to be chose on account of Faith, and to be chosen to Faith: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter I, § 6;[5] SPANHEIM, Decadumtheologicarum VII, § 5, opera, tome 3, column 1236.

Now, that Faith is the fruit of Election, is evident from John 6:37, where the Father’s Giving to the Mediator Son precedes, and the coming to Christ by Faith follows, in comparison with verse 35.

Thus in Titus 1:1, Paul makes mention of the πίστιν ἐκλεκτῶν Θεοῦ, faith of God’s elect, because not all have faith, 2 Thessalonians 3:2, as the peculiar property of the Elect, upon whom alone God bestows this. It is not called the Faith of God’s Elect, because it is in the Elect antecedently, such that without regard to it no one would be chosen; but because it is in them consequently, such that no one is able to have Faith except by Election: compare below, Chapter XXII, §11.

Thus we also have Acts 13:48, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν, ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. In which:

a. With NORTON KNATCHBULL[6] it is not fitting to construe εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, in eternal life, with ἐπίστευσαν, they believed, so that the sense might be, as many as were τεταγμένοι/ ordained, believed in eternal life as a principal article of the Faith. For, a. thus without necessity the words εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, in eternal life, are torn from the participle τεταγμένοι/ordained, with which they are immediately joined: but, when the sense is agreeable, and no other weighty reason hinders, the immediate connection is to be preferred to all transposition. b. If Luke had wished to say, that these τεταγμένοι/ ordained were receiving by Faith eternal Life as a principal article of the faith, he would have said ἐπίστευσαν ζωὴν αἰώνιον, they believed eternal life, or in some other manner, not εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, in eternal life. c. While the verb ἐπίστευσαν, they believed, is well-enough able to stand by itself; on the other hand, the participle τεταγμένοι/ordained almost necessarily requires a supplement of a preposition and pronoun, εἰς αὐτὴν or ταύτην, unto this, or τοῦτο/that; if you should believe that εἰς ζωὴν, unto life, is here to be referred to Faith, and indicates its object, end, or terminus: nevertheless, again, this sort of supplement is not to be made without necessity. And indeed,

b. Ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι, as many as were ordained, with the same KNATCHBULL is not to be translated, as many as had come together, as if τεταγμένοι/ordained were put in the place of συνηγμένοι, coming together, by comparison with verse 44, πᾶσα ἡ πόλις συνήχθη, the whole city came together; or, as many as were set in order, namely, to hear the Word of God; or, as many as were instructed, that is, who heard what the Apostle taught. a. That notion of the verb τάσσομαι for to come together is less successfully proven out of Exodus 29:43, where, in the place of וְנֹעַדְתִּ֥י שָׁ֖מָּה לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל, and there I will meet with the children of Israel,[7] the Septuagint has, καὶ τάξομαι ἐκεῖ τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραὴλ, and I will be appointed there for the children of Israel. For thus the Septuagint translators appear to make use of the word τάσσομαι in the notion of prescribing, as the Vulgate also has it, and there I will prescribe to the children of Israel: also, in the immediately preceding verse 42, the same word in the same construction they do not translate by to come together; but in the place of אֲשֶׁ֙ר אִוָּעֵ֤ד לָכֶם֙ שָׁ֔מָּה, where I will meet with you, they have, ἐν οἷς γνωσθήσομαί σοι ἐκεῖ or ἐκεῖθεν, in which I will be known to thee there, perhaps from a less accurate reading of the original text. b. It is rashly supposed that in these words Luke still determinately speaks of that coming together mentioned in Acts 13:44. c. Moreover, if τεταγμένοι is translated, assembled in order, it is supposed no less rashly that, in the coming together of almost the whole city, all and each was assembled in so orderly a manner; and that all that had come together in such a crowd truly had Faith upon the hearing of the Gospel from Paul, which is not at all likely. d. This is nevertheless likewise supposed, when the words are rendered, as many as were instructed, that is, heard the sermon of Paul, for which signification no example is offered. The text rather appears to make an exception of certain ones believing in the midst of those that heard the Gospel-preaching of Paul, distinguishing them from others not believing.

c. Neither does that ἦσαν τεταγμένοι, they were ordained, come to be taken of a man’s own internal Disposition and preparation for eternal Life, such that ἦσαν τεταγμένοι would be the same as ἔταξαν ἑαυτοὺς, they set themselves in order, and the passive form would be in the place of the reciprocal; just as in verse 46 στρεφόμεθα denotes we turn ourselves; and in Acts 20:13, οὕτω γὰρ ἦν διατεταγμένος, for so he had instructed, had ordained, so he had decided with himself. Thus the Socinians, for example, in their Catechesi Racoviana, chapter X de munere Christi Prophetico, questions 25, 28, pages 264, 267, 268, and the Remonstrants in our AUTHOR in the Exercitation on this passage, § 5, 6, 8, say of those appointed to eternal Life here, that they had prepared themselves internally for eternal Life. Who, according to Socinus in our AUTHOR, in the same place, § 6, to a certain extent are able to be said to have been appointed by God also unto Life, because something is able to be said to be done by God, when that which is agreeable to the Will of God is presented. The Remonstrants, also in the Exercitation cited, § 5, page 805, speak of the Assistance of that Grace, which they had received from God, whereby they had appointed/disposed themselves to take hold of Life upon whatever condition proposed by God. But, with the manner set forth out of Socinus, only to acknowledge here the finger of God, so that it might be attributed to God as author, of which He is only the approver and promoter, uncertain and ineffectual in a great many; it is only to make sport in a serious matter. Now, the Remonstrants, Apologia, chapter XVIII, page 195, speaking in the words just now related concerning the Assistance of divine Grace, give good words, the force of which they deny. For, they do not acknowledge particular Grace, changing the heart; but by Grace they understand only the granting of the preaching of the Gospel, and moral suasion to receive that, common to all those called: with which posited, the Faith of those called remains ever uncertain, and left to human choice, lest the indifferent choice of the Will be injured. But, if man, only with the Assistance of this more common sort of Grace, disposes/ ordains himself to eternal Life, the Glory of Salvation is due to man himself; and the good Dispositions and qualities in him, prerequisite for eternal Life, have man himself preeminently as author, and they ought not to be ascribed to the Grace of God as the first and efficacious cause. But, in addition, a. The Verb τάσσειν, to ordain, and τάσσεσθαι, to be ordained, is not so used of an internal quality and aptitude of this sort in Scripture. b. Without necessity urging, the Passive form of the verb τάσσεσθαι, to be ordained, is not to be abandoned in signification, so that the reflexive notion might be adopted, which is more proper to the Middle form of verbs. c. It is not spoken of preparation to eternal Life through Faith and Holiness; but of an Ordaining that precedes Faith: but that Disposition would then be called a disposition to Faith, rather than to Life; while a man, before Faith and without Faith, is not able to be said to be disposed, suited, or prepared for eternal Life. d. Scripture teaches that no proper Disposition, aptitude, or preparation, is able to be ascribed to the unbelieving sinner, on account of which in turn Faith and Life might be granted to this one rather than to that one; or which might lead him to Faith with the help of a more common, and operating only morally, Grace. e. Indeed, according to Sacred Scripture, those that could seem less disposed to it externally and in themselves in comparison with others, before others are by divine Grace gifted with Faith, with those passed over that seemed more εὔτακτοι, well disposed, of themselves to admit Faith, Matthew 21:28-32. If Faith follows man’s antecedent good Disposition, how did it happen that those γυναῖκες σεβόμεναι καὶ εὐσχήμονες, devout and honorable women, Acts 13:50, did not believe, but rather raised persecution against Paul?

It is not to be Excepted, 1. that in Luke 9:62 one εὔθετός ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, fit for the kingdom of God, is mentioned. Response: a. There another Greek word occurs, than the one in our text. b. And because of the exact promptitude and constancy in a follower of Christ, regard is had more to the aptitude that follows Faith, than to tht which precedes it.

2. It has no strength, that out of verse 46, where the blame of rejecting eternal Life through Unbelief is attributed to the Jews themselves, they conclude that now the Gentiles are praised, as if these better disposed themselves to acquire eternal Life. For, a. with due Right is attributed to man, and not to God, the blame of Unbelief and the evil which he commits; on the other hand, to God, and not to Fallen man, belongs the honor of all Spirit Good, which He furnishes. Neither, b. to that rejection of eternal Life through Unbelief is opposed the Ordination to eternal Life; but rather Faith itself, flowing from this Ordination.

d. It would undoubtedly agree more with the analogy of faith, by τεταγμένους εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, those ordained to eternal life, to understand such that were prepared, disposed, and internally ordered, to Life by God Himself through the Spirit and His disposing Grace within, in a manner agreeable to the honor of divine Grace, and to the efficacious operation of the Spirit, so that He might convince a man of faith and repentance, 2 Corinthians 5:5. But thus the difficult already previously moved returns; that whatever Disposition, before actual Faith in Christ, whether in many or in some manner in all, is discovered through divine Grace alone, that should be denominated from Faith as an immediate effect, rather than from Life following Father; nor, before the addition of faith, does it deserve to be called a Disposition unto eternal Life: while the Ordination here is manifestly posited, not through Faith or at the same time with Faith, but before Faith: hence PRICÆUS[8] does not rightly found his reasons, to whom τάττειν εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον in this place is to put in that state, which was making them fit for that Life, namely, by giving faith; whence this sense emerges, as many as believed, or received Faith, believed.

e. Since we observed above, that the verb τάσσεσθαι, to be ordained, is not wont so much to be used of an internal quality, preparation, or aptitude; and that natural man is not able in any way to order, prepare, or dispose himself to eternal Life: we conclude, that it is not man, but God, to whom this Ordination to eternal Life of those that were not yet believing comes to be ascribed; that not any internal action in man is here noted, but Ordination through Predestination unto Life, from which in its own time Faith as a means of achieving the divine Counsel was following: a. Because this exegesis best agrees with the signification of the verb τάσσειν, to ordain, everywhere in the New Testament, where again and again it denotes a determination and decision made through the Will, whether the speech be made of the human Will, or the divine, Acts 15:2;[9] 28:23;[10] 1 Corinthians 16:15;[11] Matthew 28:16;[12] Acts 22:10;[13] Romans 13:1,[14] which same use of this term obtain in composition, as προτεταγμένοι καιροὶ, times before appointed, are mentioned, Acts 17:26. b. It best satisfies the preterite tense, both of the participle, and of the added verb; since we read, not τασσόμενοι, being ordained, but τεταγμένοι, having been ordained; not ἐτάσσοντο, they were being ordained, or τεταγμένοι εἰσὶ, they were ordained, but τεταγμένοι ἦσαν, they had been ordained: which according to the nature of the matter argues that the Ordination was accomplished and completely perfected before Faith, and is best compared with the invariable Eternity of the Decrees wont to be expressed in the preterite tense. c. A ready agreement is discovered between this expression, ἦσαν τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, they were ordained to eternal life, and a number of others that were wont to be used in the Sacred books concerning eternal Predestination to Life: as you read of names written in heaven, Luke 10:20, the firstborn ἀπογεγραμμένοις/written in heaven, Hebrews 12:23; of names written in the book of Life of the Lamb, etc., Revelation 13:8; of those predestinated to conformity with the image of the Son of God, Romans 8:29; of election, foreordination to holiness, adoption, Ephesians 1:4, 5; of placement to wrath or to the acquisition of salvation, 1 Thessalonians 5:9. The same matter as in our text shall thus be denoted by various phrases; not in passages in which mention is made of the Writing of Names in heaven, in the book of Life, more than in our text, is it added, that this writing was done by God, which nevertheless is evident of itself. And also the Writing and Placement in the passages cited is mentioned no more simply than here in the term τάσσομαι, to be ordained, with the prepositionπρὸ/before added: which nevertheless, if it be present, is able by adversaries to be referred, not to eternity, but to some antecedent moment of time. But, if the textual phrase is to be distinguished in some measure from the others just now mentioned, perhaps the language of ordaining more fully expresses the most wise disposition of the divine Counsel concerning persons, means, and the outcome; or the martial discipline, which is undergone by the Counsel of God before eternal Life, in comparison with Luke 13:24; 1 Timothy 6:12. The Celebrated WESSELIUS, Dissertationibus Leidensibus VII, § 11, explains τεταγμένους in this passage of things written in an orderly manner, writing: “Τάσσειν appears to be used of the ordering of words consigned to writing in a fixed, regulated manner; in that illustrious passage in Acts 13:48, I think that the Eternal Decree of God is indeed indicated, but in a figurative manner of speaking. More specifically, I think that τάττεσθαι there denotes in an orderly manner to be written, to be enrolled, and that it can aptly be translated: They believed, as many as had been in an orderly manner written, had been enrolled, to eternal Life: in such a way that this passage agrees, not only in sense, but also in ends, with quite a few others, in which with respect to divine Predestination there is a treatment of those Written unto Life in Jerusalem, Isaiah 4:3, names written in heaven, etc., Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 13:8.” d. And, just as here Faith occurs as a consequence of Ordination to Life; so elsewhere also Faith is mentioned as the fruit of Election. But, since it is now brought to pass that that ordination ought to be understood of Election, our AUTHOR rightly proves from this Passage also, that Faith is the fruit of Election.

For, they trifle, who either study to suspend this Ordination upon doubt, or contrive a foreseen condition for it. For, in the former manner, which is not applicable to an independent God, this Ordination would not be of some, but of all, or rather of none, but of the condition alone: and in the latter manner, which the dependent and corrupt state of man clearly does not allow, divine Foreknowledge would put in the place of the Ordination of God.

Johann a Marck

Neither is it to be Objected with Socinus and the Remonstrants, as you may see it done in our AUTHOR’S Exercitation cited on this passage, § 8, that this Ordination is not able to be understood of eternal Predestination; 1. Because it has no plausibility, that all that had been predestinated to Life by God at Antioch and in the surrounding region would embrace the Face at one and the same day and time, even indeed immediately, when the Gospel first began to be preached there. But, a. nowhere does Luke affirm this, who joins that ἐπίστευσαν ὅσοι ἦσαν τεταγμένοι, etc., they believed, as many as were ordained, etc., with the preceding by a simple καὶ/and; and he makes mention of the Faith of these τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, ordained to eternal life, without a determination of the time or other circumstances, saying only, ἐπίστευσαν, they believed, which is able to be taken with some latitude and succession, equally with what follows next in verse 49, διεφέρετο δὲ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου δι᾽ ὅλης τῆς χώρας, and the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. The sense of the words is able to be, that whoever had been ordained to Life believed, successively one after another, moved by the repeated addresses of Paul and Barnabas, and the pious meditations following upon the same. b. But if we refer this assertion of Luke to verse 44, τῷ δὲ ἐρχομένῳ σαββάτῳ σχεδὸν πᾶσα ἡ πόλις συνήχθη ἀκοῦσαι τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ, and the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God, there will be no absurdity in it, if Luke should wish to signify, that out of Paul’s present Antiochian hearers, at one or the other sermon, all and each that had been chosen among them believed at the same time: that God was certainly no less able, according to the most free grace of His Spirit, to bring this to pass at any time, than at another time to draw elect men of the same nation and speech to Himself successively, is not able to be denied; and that it was as altogether worthy to be noted to the praise of the omnipotent and most free Grace of God, as that concering the three and five thousands converted, Acts 2:41; 4:4, is not able to be doubted.

They Object, 2. If the words of Luke are to be understood of the Faith of those predestined by God to Life through eternal and independent Election, it is necessary that it was revealed to Luke, which individual persons had true Faith, and were chosen to Life by God by name: but this is absurd. But, a. which of us will penetrate into those sublime revelations of secret things, granted to the Apostles and Evangelists at that time for the use of the Church? b. But neither is that which our adversaries extort from there able to be inferred from the words of Luke taken in accordance with our opinion. Luke does not signify that all those persons, who were sincerely believing and ordained to Life, were known individually either to himself or to Paul: but by divine revelation he testifies in general, that all and only those ordained to Life truly believed; while the others either impudently rejected the Gospel, or were receiving it only in pretense; but whom God alone knew certainly and infallibly to distinguish from true believers. Now, this contains no absurdity in it; but, on the other hand, the revelation of this matter was tending, a. to the Glory of God, since He certainly puts His Intention into execution, and He alone bestows all Grace necessary for Salvation. b. It at the same time warns everyone carefully to avoid the sin of unbelief; and it makes for the enlargement of the joy of faith in believers and of the πληροφορίαν, full assurance, of their Ordination to life. c. By equal right we are able to ask the Socinians and the Remonstrants, whence it was certainly known to Luke concerning the internal εὐταξίᾳ/orderliness and good Disposition to Life of all those and only those of the Antiochians that were not believing, and concerning the Faith of the heart following from this; while these things of themselves or by infallible indications were not search out and known by other men, but truly by God alone. Consult on this text, besides our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales XXXVIII, Part III, JAKOB ELSNER,[15] Dissertatione on Acts 13:48 in HASE’S[16] and IKEN’S[17] Thesauro Novo Dissertationum in Novum Testamentum, pages 620-625; BECMANN’S[18] Exercitationes Theologicas, II, pages 28, 29; ARNOLDI’S Refutationem Catecheseos Racovianæ, on this passage as cited above, pages 633, 638, 639; MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 492-496, on Volkelius’ book V, de Vera Religione, chapter XVII, pages 527, 528; WENDELIN’S Exercitationes theologicas, part II, Exercitation CXVII, pages 10-39, where he vindicates the response to the Question, Why would any believe such a thing?, against the Lutherans.

That Holiness is the fruit of Election, is similarly evident from Romans 8:29, where Conformity with Christ in bearing the Cross, and introduction into glory through sufferings, is not excluded: but regard is principally had to that which Vocation works, namely, true Faith and Holiness, of which the Cross is wont to be the companion, so that the sincerity of the Faith and Holiness of the pious might be searched and proven. Indeed, Vocation here occurs as a means, whereby God wills to put His Foreordination into execution, and this, posited absolutely in this context, has, not so properly or principally the Cross, as Faith and Holiness as its end and fruit. Neither is it able to be Excepted that only a conditioned Predestination is treated, that is, if men choose to follow the electing God: since is expressly understood such a Predestination that has a certain tie, not only with Vocation, but aslo with Justification and Glorification: see TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XXVIII, page 390, compared with Apologia Remonstrantium, page 175a. Unless we wish to state with WESSELIUS, Nestorianismo et Adoptianismo redivivo confutato, chapter XIII, § 163-169, that here it is directly taught, that Adoption is the fruit of Predestination, so that προώρισε συμμόρφους τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, He did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, is the same thing as προώρισαν εἰς υἱοθεσίαν, He predestinated to adoption, Ephesians 1:5, because in Adoption is the imitation of nature, and the Image of the natural Son of God. Thus to be conformed to the Image of God’s Proper Son will signify the reception of the very form and matter of this Image, or being made the Very Image Itself, that is, an Adoptive Son of God. SPANHEIM, DecadumTheologicarum VII, § 6, opera, tome 3, column 1237, has: “We do not deny Election κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, according to foreknowledge…Romans 8:29…but understood according to the mind of the Holy Spirit, so that προγινώσκειν, to foreknow, signifies more than προιδεῖν, to foresee, not a theoretical cognition only, but practical, not an act of the intellect only, but also of the will, not bare foresight, but fore-love…. And the Scriptures teach that πρόγνωσιν/ foreknowledge is thus to be taken…. 3. The Analogy of Scripture, in which the same election is κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, according to foreknowledge, and κατὰ πρόθεσιν, according to purpose, Romans 9:11, thus to foreknow and to predestinate to excellent benefits, to adoption, Ephesians 1:5, to conformity with Christ, Romans 8:29, both internal, by faith and holiness, and external, and this both antecedently in the cross and its patience, and consequently in blessedness, and the victory of the cross.” The Catechesis Racoviana, chapter X de munere Christi Prophetico, question 17, pages 258, 259, when it had asked of those thinking in an orthodox manner, how they defend their opinion concerning Predestination; responds: “They attempt to build it upon certain testimonies of Scripture, among which the principal is that of the Apostle in Romans 8:28:30:” on which occasion ARNOLDI in his Refutatione, § 11, page 624, notes: “In this passage, which our adversary has alleged, the Apostle comforts those that suffer like things with Christ, so that they might rouse themselves by the decree of divine Predestination; that He who predestinated them to glory also predestinated the same to the means, both active and passive, and willed them to be conformed to His Son, not only in doing, but also in suffering; and so, because of that immutable decree, all things are happening for the good to believers:” and while the Catechesis Racoviana, in the same place, questions 22, 23, pages 261-263, no matter how it attempts to enervate our argument from Romans 8:28-30, firmly establishes the same.

Likewise out of Ephesians 1:4, where Holiness, begun and sincere, and consummated and perfected, are able to be understood at the same time. Let no Exception be taken that Believers are able also to be chosen to Holiness. For, a. by this very thing that believers are, they are already also supposed to be holy inchoatively, since Faith purifies the heart, Acts 15:9. b. Among all those spiritual Blessings, which by Election descend to us according to verses 3 and 4, Faith also comes to be numbered, Ephesians 2:8, which thus follows Election, and does not precede it: see Censuram Confessionis Remonstrantium, chapter XVIII, page 247; Apologiam Remonstrantium, in the same place, page 199; TRIGLAND’S Antapologiam, chapter XXXV, pages 481-483.

Perseverence is likewise to be regarded among the fruits of Election, as it is evident from Matthew 24:24, on which passage see this Chapter, § 13; likewise from 2 Timothy 2:19, ὁ μέντοι στερεὸς θεμέλιος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἕστηκεν, etc., nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, etc. These things are set forth as consolation for those truly believing against the Apostasy of others. Christ, the Foundation of God, stands unmoved, and hence the superstructure built upon this foundation also stands sure, Matthew 16:18. And this inscription makes for the adornment of this Foundation, the Lord Jesus knoweth them that are His, equally by the eternal gift of the Father, as by redemption and reclaiming in time, and His voluntary subjection; He knoweth, not only with theoretical knowledge, but principally practical knowledge, with which He most tenderly loves, most kindly takes care of, and most powerfully protects, them; which knowledge flows from eternal Foreknowledge, and finally discharges into Glorification; it does not allow believers to doubt of their Perseverence: see more things on this passage in § 13.

Indeed, whatever Good is here present in man, Philippians 2:13, compared with Acts 15:18 and Ephesians 1:11. ARNOLDI, Refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, on chapter X de Prophetico Christi munere, question 13, § VI, page 611: “Fourth, we say, that that Election was not made with regard to faith or good works, as if God had been moved either by faith, or by works, or by the latter and the former, to choose them; since He could not foresee faith or works independent of Himself in anyone, unless He had decreed at the same time to effect the same. So that, as many as state that God chose based on foreseen faith or works, they state that God antecedently to His Decree foresaw something good in man that did not proceed from Himself, but was independent of Him. For, if you should ask, why God foresaw faith and good works in these, but not in those, one or the other would have to be given in response: either, these were going to dispose themselves by their own will to faith and obedience, but the other were not; or, God decreed to effect that faith in these, but not in the others. If the former, you will by no means escape the absurdity, so as to prevent the admission that there is some good that does not depend upon God, that is not the effect of God, that does not owe its origin to God, that is an independent being, and so is God. If the latter, I proceed to ask: why did not God decree faith and obedience in both these and those? But at this point you will not be able to loose yourself, unless you take refuge in the Good Pleasure of God, which we say to be the only impulsive cause of election, that is, that whereby God was moved to choose these.”

2. Moreover, similarly Scripture fetches all the Evil of Unbelief and Impenitence as a Consequence of Predestination; which, nevertheless, does not simply follow upon the Decree, is not effected by it: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter I, article 5.[19]

John 10:26: compare MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 496-501, on Volkelius’ book V de Vera Religione, chapter XVII, pages 528, 529.

1 Peter 2:8: εἰς ὃ καὶ ἐτέθησαν, whereunto also they were appointed, does not speak of an internal disposition, but the external ordination of God, as in 1 Thessalonians 5:9: MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 491, 492, on Volkelius’ book V de Vera Religione, chapter XVII, pages 526, 527.

From these demonstrations the general Exceptions of certain ones fall of themselves:

α. Concerning gratuitous Predestination to Grace, not to Glory; which is the opinion of certain Jesuits, as of Stapleton,[20] Becanus,[21] and Petavius, Dogmatibus theologicis, book X, chapters I, II, tome I; whoe believe men to be freely elected to the first Grace, but to Glory only because of foreseen future Merits. But, that Faith and Holiness are not things foreseen by God in man, but things destined for man, Gratuitous gifts to be referred completely to God, and of His nature in the Elect, so that they are able to merit absolutely nothing by them; partly we have now seen; partly we will see in multiple places in what follows, Chapter XXII, § 12, Chapter XXIII, § 7-9, Chapter XXIV, § 12, 14, 15.

β. Concerning the absolute Predestination of certain people, as of the Apostles and Mary: these are nowhere exempted from the common rule; and, if by Absolute Predestination you understand that which is free from the foreseen Conditions of Faith and Perseverence, this Absolute Predestination is common to all: but if absolute Predestination signifies that which is free from the Consequent Means of Faith, Holiness, etc., no one has been predestinated absolutely; and Mary and the Apostles no more than any others were able to obtain Life without these means.

γ. Concerning Merit only Excluded: while, nevertheless, in the passages cited above, all Works, indeed faith itself also, are excluded.

δ. Concerning the Consequence of Faith and Unbelief, not upon Predestination, but upon Foresight: contrary to Paul in Romans 8:29, 30; and no Foresight is able to be admitted here, except Practical Foresight, resting upon the Decree.

Consult on § 10 CALVIN’S Institutes of the Christian Religion, book III, chapter XXII; SPANHEIM’S Disputationem inauguralem de Quinquarticulanis Controversiis, § 4-13, opera, tome 3, columns 1167-1171; TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 2, pages 80-99, where he shows, that Predestination is able to be considered and explained in diverse ways, either à priori, descending from Predestination to Grace conveyed in time; or àposteriori, ascending from Grace bestowed in time to Predestination as its fount, without prejudice to the truth and agreement in it; and at the same time he defends the Helvetic Confession and that of Strasbourg against the Remonstrants: add part V, pages 1138b, 1139.

[1] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 9: “This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality or disposition in man, as the prerequisite, cause or condition on which it depended; but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holi­ness, etc.; therefore election is the fountain of every saving good, from which proceeds faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle: ‘He hath chosen us [not because we were but] that we should be holy, and without blame, before Him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4).” [2] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 10: “The good pleasure of God is the sole cause of this gracious election, which doth not consist herein, that out of all possible qualities and actions of men God has chosen some as a condition of salvation; but that He was pleased out of the common mass of sinners to adopt some certain persons as a peculiar people to Himself, as it is written, ‘For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil,’ etc., it was said (namely to Rebecca): ‘The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated’ (Romans 9:11-13). ‘And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed’ (Acts 13:48).” [3] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, Rejection 3: “That the good pleasure and purpose of God, of which Scripture makes mention in the doctrine of election, does not consist in this, that God chose certain persons rather than others, but in this, that He chose out of all possible conditions (among which are also the works of the law), or out of the whole order of things, the act of faith which from its very nature is undeserving, as well as its incomplete obedience, as a condition of salvation, and that He would graciously consider this in itself as a complete obedience and count it worthy of the reward of eternal life. For by this injurious error the pleasure of God and the merits of Christ are made of none effect, and men are drawn away by useless questions from the truth of gracious justification and from the simplicity of Scripture, and this declaration of the apostle is charged as untrue: ‘Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began’ (2 Timothy 1:9).” [4] Johanns Völkel (c. 1565-1616) was a German Socinian. His De vera religione was the first major systematic presentation of Socinian doctrine published at the Racovian Academy. [5] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 6: “That some receive the gift of faith from God and others do not receive it proceeds from God’s eternal decree, for ‘known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world’ (Acts 15:18). ‘Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will’ (Ephesians 1:11). According to which decree, He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however obstinate, and inclines them to believe, while He leaves the non-elect in His just judgment to their own wickedness and obduracy. And herein is especially displayed the profound, the merciful, and at the same time the righteous discrimination between men, equally involved in ruin; or that decree of election and reprobation revealed in the Word of God, which though men of perverse, impure and unstable minds wrest to their own destruction, yet to holy and pious souls affords unspeakable consolation.” [6] Norton Knatchbull (1602-1685) was an English scholar; he served in Parliament for the county of Kent and the port of New Romney. He wrote Animadversiones in Libros Novi Testamenti, and in its fourth edition it appeared in English, Annotations upon Some Difficult Texts in All the Books of the New Testament. [7] In the Qal, יָעַד means to appoint; in the Niphal, to meet or gather. [8] John Price (1600-1676) was born in London and educated at Westminster School. He was converted to Roman Catholicism and served as Superintendant of the Museum at Florence, and then Professor of Greek at Pisa. He retired to St. Augustine’s Convent in Rome. He wrote Annotata ad Psalmos, Matthæum, Lucam, Joannem 10-11, Acta, 1 Corinthios 12, Timotheum, Titum, Philemonem, Jacobum, Johannis, Judam, Apocalypsin. [9] Acts 15:2: “When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined (ἔταξαν) that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.” [10] Acts 28:23: “And when they had appointed (ταξάμενοι) him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” [11] 1 Corinthians 16:15: “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted [ἔταξαν] themselves to the ministry of the saints,)…” [12] Matthew 28:16: “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed (ἐτάξατο) them.” [13] Acts 22:10: “And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed (τέτακταί) for thee to do.” [14] Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained (τεταγμέναι εἰσίν) of God.” [15] Jakob Elsner (1692-1750) was a German Lutheran theologian. [16] Theodor Hase (1682-1731) was a Reformed theologian and philologist. He served as Professor of Theology at Bremen from 1708 to 1731. [17] Conrad Iken (1689-1753) was a Reformed theologian and philologist. He served as Professor of Theology at Bremen from 1723 to 1753. [18]Christian Becmann (1580-1648) was a German Reformed theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Zerbst (1627-1648). [19] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 5: “The cause or guilt of this unbelief, as well as of all other sins, is no wise in God, but in man himself; whereas faith in Jesus Christ and salvation through Him is the free gift of God, as it is written: ‘For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God’ (Ephesians 2:8). ‘For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him,’ etc. (Philippians 1:29).” [20] Thomas Stapleton (1535-1598) was an English Catholic controversialist. He was instrumental in the establishment of the English College at Douai. [21] Martinus Becanus (1563-1624) was a Flemish Jesuit priest and controversialist. He taught theology at Würzburg, Mainz, and Vienna.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Sep 17, 2022
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