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De Moor VII:16: The Object of Predestination, Part 2

Not only are All predestinated, but also Individuals to a Certain End; compare the Canons of Dort, chapter I, article X.[1] This is evident,

α. From the mention made everywhere of Persons, not Qualities, when the subject matter is Predestination: Romans 8:29, not whose Faith He did foreknow, but whom He did foreknow: neither is it able to be thought here of a foreknown Faith, since from this Foreknowledge follows Foreordination unto conformity with the Image of the Son of God, and upon this Foreordination follows Calling, which is unto Faith, and together with which Faith is given by God. Therefore, whom He did foreknow, that is, whom He did forelove or choose before: compare MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 485-489, on Volkelius’ book V de Vera Religione, chapter XVII, pages 525, 526. 2 Timothy 2:19, the foundation of God has this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His. Now, we become the Lord’s, not only through our voluntary surrender and offering of ourselves; but, first of all, through the eternal Giving of the Father in Election.

β. Inasmuch as also mention is made of Predestination under this expression of distinct and certain Giving and Inscribing of names; see § 13; John 6:37, 39; 17:2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24; Luke 10:20; Revelation 13:8: this leads us to the predestination of Individual Persons.

γ. From the Examples of certain ones expressed by their own names, Philippians 4:3; Romans 9:11-13, where, that Paul speaks of the decree of Predestination as free from all conditions foreseen in man, we have already evinced in § 10, where we saw at the same time that the Persons of Jacob and Esau are properly treated here, even if from this love of Jacob blessings, both spiritual and temporal, also should redound to his posterity, whereby they were exalted above the posterity of hated Esau. That is, both the propriety of the speech, and the truth of the things expressed taken thus properly, and the consummate fittingness of the proper sense to the scope of Paul, teach us us primarily and principally to think here of the Persons of Esau and Jacob, in whom was a most illustrious Example of the altogether free divine discretion; that is, in twins, in all things equal in natural and moral condition, one of whom God nevertheless made a σκεῦος ἐλέους, vessel of mercy, and the other a σκεύη ὀργῆς, since concerning these Paul here speaks in context, verses 22, 23. And so Paul sets forth Jacob and Esau, not as an emblematic and shadowy type, but as an altogether true example of Election and of Reprobation, not an external and temporal sort, but true and eternal. Neither do the words of Moses and of Malachi, which he adduces for the sake of confirmation, stand in opposition. 1. The former words contain a declaration depending upon the eternal counsel of Predestination, and having regard to its execution. For, when Moses says in Genesis 25:23, וְרַ֖ב יַעֲבֹ֥ד צָעִֽיר׃, the greater shall serve the lesser, Paul teaches us to interpret that particularly of the Persons of Jacob and Esau; one of which is called the greater, the other the lesser, with respect to prior and latter moments of birth, so that the greater is put for the elder, the lesser for the younger. Indeed, mention of two nations and people in the womb of Rebekah precedes; but these are able to be understood in no other way than metonymically of the two Fathers of the two nations, from whom those nations will arise in succession, whence the Oracle directly ascends from these peoples to the express mention of their parents: neither does it agree with the context that the personal fates of Jacob and Esau be altogether omitted. It is simply asked, what does it signify here, that the Greater shall serve the Lesser, and subsequently the Lesser shall rule over the Greater? Does this prophecy verily receive a fulfillment in the Persons of Jacob and Esau, accommodated to the scope of Paul in his citation of it? I Respond in the Affirmative. Esau verily served Jacob, not if external servitude be understood in the strictest sense; but if you explain servitude of a lowering, deep and vile, as if servile, compared with and beneath another excelling after the likeness of a Lord: in the same sense the Lord was able to say, the great shall be less than the younger.[2] Now, that Esau was thus going to serve Jacob, a. The fact of the birth of the latter clearly portends, when with his hand he grasped Esau’s heel, Genesis 25:26. b. The very servitude of Esau compared with and beneath Jacob is openly revealed, Genesis 25:29 and following, in the sworn surrendering of his Primogeniture for a next to nothing: whereby he, who was by birth Lord of his brother, is reduced after the likeness of a servant beneath his brother, with Esau himself acknowledging it, Genesis 27:36. c. The paternal Blessing of Isaac is added, which Jacob then receives for the confirmation of the Right of primogeniture acquired by him, Genesis 27: see especially verses 29, 37. d. Refer, moreover, to the servitude of Esau under Jacob, Esau’s marriages, first with Canaanite wives,[3] then with an Ishmaelite;[4] whereby he separated himself from Abraham’s holy seed and covenanted God, and relinquished the promises of that Covenant, despised by himself, to Jacob as the greater. e. Add, that Esau relinquished the land of Canaan, promised to the seed of Abraham, to Jacob, Esau himself departing to mount Seir, Genesis 36:6-8. Which sort of abandonment of the promised Land to the use of his brother is able to be regarded as a great subjection under him. f. Since the Land itself was no less a type of the better, spiritual, and eternal inheritance of the children of God, than the family of Abraham and Isaac the principal society of the true Church, and than the Primogeniture an emblem of the greatest grace; hence it appears that, in both a spiritual and a corporeal sense, Esau is also able to be said to have served Jacob in his own person. But if that mentioned Servitude could be judged not to indicate with sufficient clarity the Election of Jacob with the Reprobation of Esau in the eternal Counsel of God; the Apostle adds, 2. the Words of the Lord in Malachi 1:2, 3, where the cause of that foretold Servitude is recounted as God’s eternal Love towards Jacob, Hatred towards Esau. Where once again regard is thus paid to the Persons of Jacob and Esau according to the propriety of the letter, so that then from these parents to their posterity a descent might be made in this Prophet, as, on the other hand, from these peoples to their first parents an ascent was made in Moses: although the elect and reprobate seed of each is able to be numbered to Jacob and Esau. Now, the love of Jacob, according to the highest emphasis of the expression and the scope of Paul in citing this text, is to be understood of God’s Benevolence, Blessing, and Beneficence, through His eternal Counsel and its opportune declaration and execution in time: which sort of sheer Love mentioned here excludes all dignity in Jacob preceding in act or foresight. Now, the truth of this expression, apart from the Oracle concerning the Great serving the Lesser, and the Primogeniture transferred to Jacob, is able to be evident to Israel from all the following work of God for the benefit of Jacob, and to Jacob consequently pious unto God. On the other hand, the Hatred of God towards Esau will denote not merely some lesser love, which perhaps elsewhere is the sense of the word concerning men: but θεοπρεπῶς, in a manner suitable for God, it will indicate a positive aversion, and its verbal declaration and actual demonstration, which follows His eternal Will in time, and exerts itself, not only with respect to one’s external state, but also his spiritual and eternal state, according to Reprobation or the will of hardening: with Theologians observing that it is not read of God ἁπλῶς/simply, that He hates anyone, whose Hatred will have turned into benevolence. And a restricted sense of to hate, for to love less, is able to have so much less place here, since the Hatred of Esau is place in opposition to the Love of Jacob, which contextually is to be understood to be Love κατ᾽ ἐκλογὴν, according to election: therefore, as that Love necessarily includes the intention of having mercy upon Jacob and saving him; so that Hatred denies it and denotes the intention of Reprobation, whereby Esau was freely passed over by God and excluded from salvation. Now, that Esau was thus held in hatred by God, was able to be evident from the whole history of Esau in the writing of Moses, and from the whole work of Jehovah against Esau and Esau’s againt God: while Paul also sets forth Esau as an example τῶν βεβήλων, of the prophane, from whose imitation it was the obligation of each and every one painstakingly to abstain, Hebrews 12:16, which could not have been asserted concerning him, unless as one truly impious and reprobate he were held by Paul and to be held by us; in which passage, verse 17, he sets forth Esau as at the same time ἀπεδοκιμασθέντα/rejected, without any repentance found, by his Father Isaac, who, being thus ignorant, carried out the divine Counsel of Esau’s Reprobation, according to which Esau as a Reprobate was obliged to be deprived of the principal Blessing, both corporeal and spiritual. And so Jacob and Esau abide here as examples of personal Predestination: compare MARESIUS’ Hydram Socinianismi expugnatam, tome 3, pages 501-513, on Volkelius’ de Vera Religione, book V, chapter XVII, pages 529-534; and especially our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Textuales IV, Part IV, pages 229-318, which is on Genesis 25:23; and the Commentary of the same on Prophetas minores on Malachi 1:2, 3, § V, VI, pages 1259-1263.

Jacobus Arminius

δ. From this, that not all, but a Certain few are called Elect, with others excluded, John 10:26; Matthew 20:16b; 22:14, πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσι κλητοί, ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί, for many are called, but few are chosen. Gratuitously does the Apologia Remonstrantium, chapter IX, page 103a, take Exception, that Election is not treated in Matthew 20:16b, because ἐκλεκτὸς, elect/chosen person, is a noun, not a participle.

Responses: 1. Scripture never makes use of this word nominally for a man select and excellent, but always for a person chosen and separated from others. 2. If it be granted that ἐκλεκτὸς is a noun, and not a participle, and the same denotes what is select and excellent; whence that excellence, except from God? But does not God separate from others by His grace those select in that excellence? In which manner the sense will return to the same thing. 3. Now, that the Remonstrants are able to supply no other suitable sense for this saying, TRIGLAND shows, Antapologia, chapter XIX, page 287, 288, at the same time demonstrating how these words in verse 16, taken according to our interpretation, neatly follow upon the preceding parable. At least the sense of these words concerning the few Chosen from eternity unto life and glory, over against the many only externally Called, and the apt connection of the same with the preceding parable, is in no way able to be doubtful, Matthew 22:14, as our AUTHOR teaches, Exercitationibus Textualibus XXVI, Part VI, § 6: how the same words, taken in the same sense, are also able best to be tied with what precedes, Matthew 20:16, our AUTHOR shows in the same place. That is, the Called, who are here said to be many, will not be those only that were here previously described in the parable as yielding to the lord of the vineyard in the sending and word furnished, and hence obtaining the promised recompense. But with these others, far greater in number, who consistently refused to enter upon the labors of the vineyard, much preferring shameful sloth or slavery to this world, whether of bodily interests or of depraved desires; although these on account of the different scope of the present parable are not here expressly mentioned. But the Elect, who are called the few, will be all those that were described in the parable as yielding the appropriate obedience to the divine Calling at distinct times of their life, or those, according to the eternal counsel of Election, effectually Called in time to Salvation and as actual partakers of this thereupon, and who hence deservedly receive this name from eternity and in time. Inasmuch as this second thesis in the latter part of verse 16 will not indeed follow from the parable set forth; but by the γάρ/for will be given as an account of the first thesis read in the former part of verse 16, namely, that therefore the last shall be first and the first last, because these were all at the same time Elect/Chosen, few enough and of a small number in comparison with the others, who hence by the exclusion of the last were ought no longer to be have been diminished by the Lord, rich enough and liberal, whose glory, on the other hand, rather demands this. Unless it should please instead, to take this saying in the text just now reviewed somewhat differently than that in Matthew 22:14; namely, in such a way as in Matthew 20:16, according to those things that our AUTHOR in the place cited, page 13, adds, “The Called were called efficaciously according to the decree of Election, and are called many, not comparatively with respect to those externally called, but both in themselves and with respect to those that are here called chosen/elect; and these Elect/Chosen, through the extraordinary favor of God, and more excellent than others in labor and recompense, the Elect of the Elect, as it were, who are exceedingly few in comparison with all others; whence the equal recompense of the called would be proven here, whether they approached earlier or later, and that by the first calling those were not chosen before the last.”

ε. Indeed, otherwise the Election would be of Men, rather than of God: for verily, with the divine and eternal Predestination of certain person removed, the ever-changing Free Will of man in time is left alone in its place: compare what things I have brought out of BURMAN’S Burmannorum Pietate at the beginning of § XIV; and the Collationem Hagiensem, pages 51-53.

This is to be held against the Socinians, Anabaptists, and Remonstrants, who state that Believers are jointly destined unto Life, Unbelievers to Death, which the Remonstrants urge to be the Whole and Entire Decree of Predestination. The Scope of all these is to uphold Free Will, Justification by Works, etc.

When the Socinians in the Catechesis Racoviana, chapter X de munere Christi Prophetico, question 18, had promised a declaration of Predestination, they give this following in question 19, pages 259, 260: “The Predestination of God in the Scriptures is nothing other than God’s decree concerning men before the foundation of the world, of this sort, That to those that would believe upon Him, and yield obedience to Him, He is going to give eternal Life: but those that refuse to believe upon Him, and to obey Him, He is going to punish with eternal damnation. Which hence appears, that Christ, the perfect interpreter of the divine will, thus published to us this Counsel and Decree of God, That he that believes upon Him is certainly going to have eternal life: but he that believes not is certainly going to be condemned:” compare ARNOLDI’S response to this, Refutatione Catecheseos Racovianæ, pages 625, 626: see also Socinus’ Prælectiones Theologicas, chapter VI, opera, tome I, page 542; Volkelius, de Vera Religione, chapter XVII, book V, pages 538, 539, compared with MARESIUS’ Hydra Socinianismi expugnata, tome 3, pages 525, 526.

Concerning the Anabaptists see Confessionem Waterlandorum, article VII; SPANHEIM’S Elenchum Controversiarum cum Enthusiastis et Anabaptistis, § VII, opera, tome 3, column 781.

The Remonstrants disclose their opinion in Actis Synodi, concerning Article I, page 48: The peremptory Will of God concerning the salvation and destruction of men, revealed in the Gospel, is the Whole and Entire Decree of Predestination. That those persevering or dying in the faith He wills to save; but He wills to leave His wrath upon the unbelieving and impenitent, is the Will of God concerning the salvation and destruction of men as revealed in the Gospel: Therefore. They set forth their opinion in a similar manner in Confessione, chapter IX, § 3, where at the same time they insolently reject and condemn an Election of individual persons by name. But Censura Confessionis, on that place, pages 135-137, admonishes that the Decree, which the Remonstrants call the Decree of Predestination unto Salvation, is nothing other than the preconception and prescription of that due duty and condition that God was going to require in those to be saved, which is no more to be called a Predestination to Salvation than that Prescript of the Law, Those doing this shall live,[5] and conversely. “Therefore (thus the Censura proceeds), it is not a Decree of Predestination of men to Salvation, with which standing it could happen that no one is saved; but only a Decree of the ordination of faith and obedience as the condition for communicating Salvation. Which indeed we are not going to deny to be set forth by the Gospel, and is altogether true in itself. …but we deny that this is alone, as the Remonstrants do indeed maintain, and the whole Decree of Predestination to Life.” Now, in the Apologia, in the same place, pages 102-105, the Remonstrants declare, when they say that this is the Whole and Sole Decree of Predestination, whereby God decreed to save believers, if they will it: that besides this Decree there is no other absolute; and hence a conditional Decree is comprehended in this syllogism, that God decreed to save believers, and Peter believes, Therefore; that this is the Sole and Whole Decree of Predestination unto salvation: compare Collationem Hagiensem, page 57; Catechismum Remonstrantium, questions XXXIX, XL; HEIDANUS’ Wederlegginge des Remonstrantschen Catechismi, pages 161 and following; TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 4, pages 553-555, 557, 561, 562, 635b; the Canons of Dort, chapter 1, Rejection of Errors, § 1.[6] Pierre Chauvin[7] appears to make common cause with the Socinians and Remonstrants at this point, de Religione naturali, part I, chapter XII, page 41.

Johannes a Marck

Our AUTHOR responds skillfully to Objections. In particular, out of John 6:40, what the Remonstrants maintain in Objection 2, is not at all able to be concluded. In verse 37, the Lord had indicated that certain ones were given to Him by the Father, and that all and only these consequently come to Him by Faith; concerning whom He promises that He is not going to cast out a single one of them. He confirms this, saying that He came down from heaven to fulfill the Will of the Father, verse 38. Which Will He goes on to declare in verses 39 and 40; it concerns, 1. the definite Salvation of all those given to Christ, as the intended end, verse 39: 2. the means determined by God for the obtaining of the end of Salvation, namely, to come to Christ, according to verse 37, which in verse 40 is called seeing the Son and believing upon Him. A definite tie of these means with the end is here taught, and at the same time the quality by which the Elect are able to render their Election βεβαίαν/sure à posteriori, namely, by true Faith in the Lord Jesus, which was destined by God for the Elect alone, and by the Grace of God is granted to all those: whence they alone and all also certainly come to Salvation: see Collationem Hagiensem, pages 64, 65.

With respect to Objection 3, the Predestination of certain Persons to Salvation or Damnation pertain to the hidden Will of Good Pleasure, which determines the Outcome of matters: but Admonitions and Rebukes have regard to the revealed Will of Sign, which prescribes to man appropriate duty. By the eternal Will of Good Pleasure, with the end of Salvation God also destined for the Elect the necessary Grace, so that they might be brought to Salvation, which, with the moments placed in His own power,[8] by the heart-turning, hyperphysical, internal virtue of His Spirit, He decreed to work irresistibly and insuperably in man: but, while man is ignorant of this thing à priori, at the same time by external moral operation, according to the same Decree, God sets forth to him the way of Salvation, which He is every way commend to him to walk; contrariwise, He recalls him from his depraved way, and undergirds these Admonitions and Rebukes with promises and threats; which method of acting is well accommodated to the nature of a rational Being, which He is wont to do neither by brute force nor coaction, but with judgment and the good pleasure of the will going before. But to that moral operation, whereby the duty and way of Salvation is externally set forth to man, in the case of the Elect God adds His blessing by granting His own saving Grace, through which the man is made able to comply with the call of God, and which God is not wont to bestow upon man apart from that external and moral Grace: while Reprobates, ignorant of his eternal Predestination, are destitute of internal saving Grace in time, which God is not bound to grant to them; and hence according to the depravity of their corrupt nature they proceed to spurn the moral operation of God in the appropriate duty set forth to them under the promise of Salvation, to their greater ἀναπολογησίαν/ inexcusability.[9]

On this § 16, consult SPANHEIM’S Disputationem inauguralem de Quinquarticulanis Controversiis, § XIV, opera, tome 3, column 1171, § XXVI, column 1175.

[1] 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).” [2] See Luke 22:26. [3] Genesis 26:34, 35. [4] Genesis 28:8, 9. [5] Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5; Galatians 3:12. [6] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, Rejection 1: “That the will of God to save those who would believe and would persevere in faith and in the obedience of faith, is the whole and entire decree of election unto salvation, and that nothing else concerning this decree has been revealed in God’s Word. For these deceive the simple and plainly contradict the Scriptures which declare that God will not only save those who will believe, but that He has also from eternity chosen certain particular persons to whom above others He in time will grant both faith in Christ and perseverance, as it is written: ‘I have manifested Thy Name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world’ (John 17:6). ‘And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed’ (Acts 13:48). And: ‘According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love’ (Ephesians 1:4).” [7] Pierre Chauvin (flourished 1685) was a Reformed Theologian. [8] See Acts 1:7. [9] See Romans 1:20.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Dec 23, 2022

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