Predestination is, as a Decree, 1. an Act of God, since He alone is eternal, most free, most wise, independent, and the immutable Lord of all; which Attributes, as in a general way we saw God to exercise them in the Decrees, Chapter VI, § 6-11; so the same will no less appear conspicuous to us in Predestination in § 7-14 of this Chapter. Even indeed an Act common to the Trinity, in comparison with John 13:18, where it is not able to be intended concerning the Election to the Apostolate, since Judas is excluded from the same, etc. Although economically it is attributed to the Father, as the first work of Grace, who set forth this counsel to the Son, Matthew 11:26; Ephesians 1:3-5.
2. To be attributed, not so much formally to the Intellect, as to the Will: more specifically, the Papists, who especially labor the Pelagian hypotheses concerning Predestination according to the foreknowledge or foresight of Faith and Works, convert this Decree almost into a bare Prescience, and hence maintain it formally to be an act of the Will alone, or of the Intellect more than the Will: see Bellarmine’s book II de Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, chapter IX, Controversiis, tome 4, columns 605, 606. Against which we hold that Predestination is by no means an Act of the divine Intellect alone, or of this principally and more formally; but of the Intellect and Will at the same time, yet especially of the Will. This follows, α. from the general nature of the Decrees; since every Decree is an act of the divine Will, according to Chapter VI, § 5. β. From the express mention of the Will made here, Ephesians 1:5, 9; Romans 9:18. γ. From the force of those terms, Predestination, Foreordination, Intention, which import the pleasure of the Will freely and certainly appointing Future Things.
They Object, that it is called Foreknowledge in the Scriptures, Romans 8:29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2. I Respond, that it is not to be understood as Theoretical, but Practical: for bare Prescience, wherewith God foreknew the faith and works of men, is not able to be understood here, 1. because by that He has foreknown also those whom He has reprobated; but in the passage, which the Papists abuse, there is a treatment of the Foreknowledge proper to the Elect. 2. Bare Prescience is not the cause of things, and does not impose a method or order upon things, but rather discovers it; as it is nevertheless the case by Predestination. 3. Nothing was able to be foreseen by God, except what God Himself previously granted, and what as an effect follows Predestination, but does not precede as a cause, as it will be soon proven in § 10.
But, as to know often denotes to choose and to approve, Psalm 1:6; Matthew 7:23; John 10:14; so πρόγνωσις/foreknowledge in this case comes also to be understood of practical Foreknowledge, which includes, 1. God’s Love and Benevolence, wherewith He pursues us: 2. Election, or the Decree itself, wherein He purposes to display His Love towards us through the communication of Salvation. But it is able to be taken, either more broadly, for both matters just not mentioned, as in Romans 8:29; 11:2; or more narrowly, for His Love and Favor, which is the fount and foundation of Election, as in 1 Peter 1:1, 2, ἐκλεκτοῖς— κατὰ πρόγνωσιν, elect…according to foreknowledge, that is, out of the fore-love of God. Now, under the name of προγνωσεως/foreknowledge God’s Love and Election is able to go, lest we should think it to be ἄλογον/ irrational, although the reasonings of His Wisdom in all their amplitude lie hidden from us: consult TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 1, pages 12b-15.