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De Moor VII:37: The Sublimity, Necessity, and Usefulness of the Doctrine of Predestination

The doctrine of Predestination thus expounded, however it may be traduced by our Adversaries, is nevertheless commended by our AUTHOR,

1. As Most Sublime, and not only inaccessible to natural man, but wonderful to believers themselves, Romans 11:33, 34.

Theodore Beza

Whence it ought to be handled prudently; to which it pertains, α. That we treat Predestination from Scripture alone, in which Paul goes before us by his own example in the Epistle to the Romans. β. According to the expressions of Scripture, which is the best remedy to avoid Injury to the Divine Perfections and to avert the scandal of weaker brethren. γ. That we discourse concerning it especially before the more mature,[1]and thus most of all in the Schools: but to the Christian commons we more abundantly relate that part of Predestination that is at the same time most useful for Sanctification and Consolation, namely, Election; but more sparingly Reprobation, which is easily able to be drawn into absurdity by less exercised minds. Thus carrying ourselves in a manner similar to πιστῷ οἰκονόμῳ καὶ φρονίμῳ, the faithful and wise steward, who knew how to give ἐν καιρῷ τὸ σιτομέτριον, their portion in due season, Luke 12:42. δ. Without overly particular application to these or those men: compare the words of BEZA in the see in the Actis Colloquii Montisbelligartensis, page 436.

2. As nevertheless necessary to believe; if not expressly to know, at least, where it is known, to believe: where what things we saw in Chapter III, § 9, concerning Fundamental Articles, necessary to know, to believe, or to do, Part I, are able to be compared.

Since from this Foundation all Salvation and Grace flows, according to those things that we have set forth at length through this entire Chapter.

And since hence it is abundantly set forth in Scripture: by the Lord Himself, Matthew 11; 25; Luke 10; 12; John 15; etc.; by Paul, Romans 8; 9; 11; Ephesians 1 and elsewhere; by Peter, 1 Peter 1; etc.: which certainly was done for our instruction and imitation, Romans 15:4; John 5:39; Matthew 28:19. Neither ought the abuse of this doctrine to deter us from setting it forth skillfully and vindicating it solidly, unless we ought similarly to abstain from all the weightiest Doctrines of the Faith: compare the Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 14.[2]

3. As Useful: see WALÆUS’ Responsionem ad Censuram Corvini in Molinæi Anatomen Arminianismi, chapter II, opera, tome 2, pages 89-100; that,

α. We might learn from this, 1. the Perfections of God, especially Freedom, Goodness, Power, Righteousness, Wisdom, Immutability, according to Romans 8:29, 30; 9:11-23; 11:33, 34; Ephesians 1:3-6. 2. And our Imperfections, dependence, depravity; pre-eminence also through the Grace of God, Matthew 20:15; Romans 9:11, 20, 21; 1 Peter 2:9.

β. And we might have, 1. True Consolation, Luke 12:32; 10:20; Romans 8:28, 33, 38, 39. 2. And a perpetual spur to Piety; since every one that believes himself to have been predestined unto Glory ought at the same time to be altogether convinced that he was predestined to Piety; and not without the practice of Holiness is anyone able to be made more certain of his Election, Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:1, 2; 2 Peter 1:10 in comparison with verses 5-9.

On § 37, compare SPANHEIM, Decadum Theologicarum VII, § 1, VIII, § 1, opera, tome 3, columns 1234, 1242.

[1] See 1 Corinthians 2:6. [2] Canons of Dort, chapter 1, article 14: “As the doctrine of divine election by the most wise counsel of God was declared by the prophets, by Christ Himself, and by the apostles, and is clearly revealed in the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, so it is still to be published in due time and place in the Church of God, for which it was peculiarly designed, provided it be done with reverence, in the spirit of discretion and piety, for the glory of God's most holy Name, and for enlivening and comforting His people, without vainly attempting to investigate the secret ways of the Most High. ‘For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27); ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?’ (Romans 11:33, 34); ‘For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith’ (Romans 12:3); ‘Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us’ (Hebrews 6:17, 18).”

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 13, 2023

Westminster Confession of Faith 3:8: The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,1 that men, attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election.2 So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God,3 and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation, to all that sincerely obey the Gospel.4

1 Rom. 9:20; Rom. 11:33; Deut. 29:29.

2 2 Pet. 1:10.

3 Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33.

4 Rom. 11:5,6,20; 2 Pet. 1:10; Rom. 8:33; Luke 10:20.


Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 13, 2023

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