THESIS VIII: Election is the predestination of certain men to obtain eternal life in Christ by faith, only out of the good pleasure of God, to show forth the divine mercy in them.
EXPLANATION: This definition shows forth the nature of election according to its object, end, and efficient, principal and impelling: concerning which we will hereafter treat in order.
THESIS IX: The cause and adjuncts of election are to be considered.
THESIS X: The efficient of election is principal or impulsive.
THESIS XI: The principal efficient, that is, the one choosing, is God.
EXPLANATION: There is an eminent testimony, that fully sets froth the efficient cause of election and all things that pertain to the declaration of the nature of election, in Ephesians 1:3-6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundations of the world were laid, that we should be holy and without blame before Him through love: Who predestinated us, whom He would adopt as sons, through Jesus Christ, unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath freely made us acceptable to Himself in the beloved.
THESIS XII: The impulsive efficient, that is, that because of which we have been chosen, is the benevolent disposition of the will of God, or the εὐδοκία, or good pleasure, of the divine will.
EXPLANATION: I. It is a question among us, the Lutherans, and the Papists: What moved or impelled God (it is permitted to us to make use of these words, which rather agree with the decrees of men, and are accommodated to our capacity: for properly speaking no impulsive cause of the divine will is granted, as we saw above) to decree to grant eternal life to certain men?
We respond: That God was moved by no other thing to determine eternal life for certain ones, than by the benevolent disposition of His will, or His own good pleasure.
There are principally two foundations of our opinion:
(1.) Because the Scripture names this alone as the cause of election. Ephesians 1:5, He predestinated us, whom He would adopt as Sons through Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the benevolent disposition of His own will. Romans 9:16, Election is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God showing mercy. 2 Timothy 1:9, Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace. Romans 9:18, He hath mercy on whom He wills, but whom He wills He hardeneth.
Therefore, the cause, or reason, God had in Himself alone, namely, the good pleasure of His own will.
II. Most Lutherans of the present day, with their predecessors and betters, Luther, Brentius,Heerbrand,Schnepf,Heshusen, etc., contradicting them (see Exercitation 8), say that this is the reason why God chose some to eternal life: because from eternity God foresaw that they were going to believe upon Christ, and persevere in the faith.
Many Papists of the present day think the same: but to faith they also add other good works foreseen: by which, they teach, God is moved to the election of certain ones.
Briefly: the cause of election is, according to the Lutherans, the foreseen faith of certain ones; according to the Papists, foreseen faith and other good works.
To this opinion of the Lutherans and Papists we oppose the following arguments:
(1.) God has foreseen nothing of spiritual good in fallen man, unless by grace He was going to give it to him, which cannot be denied, except by one that symbolizes with Pelagius.
Therefore, He did not choose, because He foresaw that they were going to be such, or because we were such in His sight.
(2.) Therefore, God chose us, so that we might be holy and without blame before Him, Ephesians 1:4.
Therefore, He did not choose, because He foresaw that they were going to be such, or because we were such in His sight.
(3.) Faith is an effect of election, Acts 13:48, as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Which Luther also confesses, when he teaches, in his preface to the Epistle to the Romans, that it flows from election, who is obliged to believe or not to believe.
Therefore, faith is not the cause because of which we are elect, or, which moved God to choose us.
To this argument Eckhard, with other Lutherans, takes exception:
1. Related things are causes of each other mutually.
Therefore, it is possible for faith to be the cause of election, and election the cause of faith in turn.
Response: When related things are to be the causes of each other mutually, it is to be taken, not of the very subjects of the relations, but of the mutual relation of the subjects: otherwise the Maxim will be altogether absurd. But in this place it is not asked merely of the relation between election and faith: but of faith itself and election itself. Neither in this place, nor in that canon of Logic, is it able to be taken of the impulsive cause or instrumental cause. For thus it would follow: that the Creature is the efficient impulsive or instrumental cause of its creator: because the creator and creature are related. And so by cause the relation is to be understood, rather than the efficient cause properly so called. For, that the creator hangs as an effect upon the creature as as the efficient, is not able to be thought without blasphemy.
2. A twofold distinction is necessary, faith and decreed election. Faith, says Eckhard, is considered as it actually exists in the heart of man, and thus in the elect is posterior to the eternal decree of election: or as it was in the eternal knowledge of the predestinating God: and thus election depends upon faith, and so is posterior to faith.
Response: That faith, as it was in the eternal knowledge of the predestinating God, was prior in order to election, and the cause of election, is altogether false, neither it it able to be held as a truth by anyone but a Pelagian. Who is obliged to believe or not to believe, flows from election, as Luther himself testifies: who is obliged to be chosen or not to be chose, does not flow from foreseen faith: for God elected to means, because He elected to an end. God chose, says Augustine, men so that they might be believers, not because they were already such.
3. Moreover, the decree of election, says Eckhard, is considered, either with respect to men to be elected, or with respect to the ordination of means: in the former respect faith precedes in order the decree of election: in the latter respect faith follows the decree.
Response: That with respect to men to be elected faith is prior to the decree of election, is false and Pelagian, or more than Pelagian: For it would follow, that the object of election in the foresight of God was, not man as sinner and liable to eternal death, but renewed by faith in Christ, and reconciled to God. See, I say, how inept and absurd these things are. The solid consequence of our third argument was acknowledged in the midst of the darkness of the Papacy by Thomas, whose conclusion was: Nothing that is a effect of predestination is able to be posited as a reason for predestination: even if it be taken as it is in the prescience of God: for the reason of predestination is known before predestination: but the effect is included in that. Now, it is manifest that the whole blessing of God, which brings man to salvation, is the effect of divine predestination. On Romans 9.
(4.) Therefore, if God had elected us, because He had foreseen our good will, because He had foreseen our course in the race of piety; election would be of man willing and running.
But the consequent is false, Romans 9:16, election is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
(5.) If election depends upon faith foreseen, it would follow that we first chose God.
But the consequent is false: Therefore, the antecedent also.
The Minor is proven out of John 15:16. This is the argument of Augustine, in tractate 86 on John.
Eckhard takes exception, and denies the connection: he alleges this reason: If faith does not enter into the decree of predestination, because we did not choose God, but God us; neither would faith enter into the business of justification: because we do not justify God, but God us, without our merit.
Responses: 1. The rationale of our Connection is evident. If God, before He had chosen us (we speak of the priority of order), had foreseen that we were going to believe, and therefore chose us; certainly He chose us, because in His foresight we were cleaving to Him, and so we had already previously chosen Him. For, he that cleaves to God, with Satan despised, chooses God for Himself, and repudiates Satan. But he that believes in God cleaves to God; and so he that believes upon God also chooses Him.
2. The response of Eckhard is not relevant: for we do not deny that faith enters into the decree of predestination: but we deny that election depends upon faith foreseen.
3. The instance concerning justification is inept. Justification is an effect of election, and so it admits other causes; concerning which in its own place. Election is the decree of God and the first principium of our salvation, which in no way admits an instrumental cause: as we shall show hereafter.
(6.) If foreseen faith and works had impelled God to the eternal election of us, they would have also impelled Him to the temporal vocation of us.
But the consequent is false, as the Apostle testifies, 2 Timothy 1:9, He called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace.
(7.) If in the election of a man faith and holiness were foreseen, even as a certain condition requisite in the object of election, it follows that the object of election is a men already graciously renewed, justified, and set on the very threshold of eternal life.
But the falsity of the consequent all Theologians of sound mind acknowledge. Therefore, the antecedent is also false.
Note: Certain Papists, to overcome our arguments, distinguish between election unto grace and election unto glory: and they say that these arguments militate against the cause of election unto grace (which they themselves admit not to be present in man), but not against the meritorious cause of election unto glory or salvation: which they allege to be received by merits.
But Scripture nowhere sets forth to us a twofold election, of which one is gracious, and the other called forth by the foreseen merits of men, but only one, which with respect to order first concerns glory, then grace, as a means to the end: and it every commends God’s grace and mercy alone. And since this opinion of the Papists concerning the meritorious cause of predestination to glory lies as a foundation for the justification of works, it will come to be refuted hereafter in its own place.
III. The Lutherans dispute for their foreseen faith in this way:
(1.) Through whatever we are saved, through that we have also been chosen to salvation.
But we are saved through faith.
Therefore, we have also been chosen to salvation through faith: and by consequence, faith is no less the cause of election, than of salvation.
Response: I deny the Major. For the causes of salvation and of election are not the same: the rationale is characterized by diversity. For election is an eternal act of God, internal and immediately accomplished by God: whence it admits no instrumental cause. But salvation is a temporal act of God, external and mediated, which is brought to completion by many other secondary causes and means.
Or, if the causes of election and of salvation are the same, it follows that the causes of election are also the law of GOD, the Gospel, the Sacraments, and ministers of the word: for God makes use of all these means as causes to advance the salvation of men.
Note: Those that say that faith is the instrumental cause of eternal election are absurd. For not even the decrees of men are made with instruments intervening, but they proceed from the will, without the intervention of instruments. For, to determine is nothing other than to will in a certain manner. But volition is an immediate act of the will, without instruments.
(2.) Because of Christ, apprehended by true faith, we are chosen:
Therefore, Christ, apprehended by true faith, is the cause of our election to eternal life.
The Antecedent is proven, Ephesians 1:4, He hath chosen us in Him, that is, in Christ.
Response: I deny the Antecedent. The proof is inconsequent. For, it is not one and the same thing to be elect because of Christ and to be elect in Christ. For, we are said to be chosen in Christ, not because God was moved to election by the merit of Christ, but because He decreed to save us in Christ. And so Christ is not the cause of the decree of election: but the means, determined from eternity in election itself, for the execution of election. Or, He is not the cause of the decree, but of the execution of the decree, yet also taken into account in the decree itself. See Exercitation 9.
IV. The opinion of some Papists at this point is tolerable enough. They say that election is to grace or to glory. All deny that merits, or even foreseen faith, is the cause of election unto grace. Although many contend that merits and foreseen faith are the cause of election unto glory: yet there are of those that expressly deny that GOD from eternity predestinated or chose unto glory because of merits; and they additionally contend that there is to be a distinction between predestination and election. Which opinion is altogether true; even if many do not follow this opinion, yet they dare not to condemn it in Romish Doctors. See Becanus, Theologiæ scholasticæ, part 1, chapter 14, question 4, note 7. And in particular, Bellarmine, in book I de gratia et libero arbitrio, chapter 10 and following: where he expressly affirms, and proves at length, that there is no cause in us of predestination unto glory: and so he excludes from the causes of predestination, not only foreseen merits, but also foreseen faith; the former against the Pelagians, but the latter against the Semi-Pelagians. We teach the same thing. Even if the Pelagians took merit in the broader sense, for everything that has the force of an impelling cause in man: in which sense foreseen faith was also merit in them. See Rivet, Disputationibus XIII, disputation 4, § 3, 4. With Bellarmine, Toletus,Pererius,Suarez, Salmeron, and Maldonatus have rejected Pelagianism concerning predestination from the foresight of faith: by whom the doctrine of Augustine is approved: which, it may surprise you, Pope Clement VIII willed to be the heritage of the Roman Church, by public decree, which the Sorbonic Doctor, Gulielmus Gibieuf, recites in his libro de libertate Dei et creaturæ.
At the same time, let us consider the arguments of some of the Papists, contending for the foresight of works as meritorious and impulsive causes.
(1.) Because of what God gives eternal life in time, because of that He also decreed from eternity to give it.
But because of merits He gives eternal life in time: Therefore, He decreed from eternity to give it.
The Major is proven: Because otherwise there is no harmony between the decree and the execution of the decree.
The Minor is proven: Because eternal life in Scripture is called a reward, which presupposes merit.
Response: 1. The Major is denied; because the causes of the divine decree and of its execution are not the same in all things: seeing that the execution is a temporal act of God, in which many causes and means concur; but the decree is an internal and eternal act of God, which admits no means as an efficient cause.
The proof of the major is inconsequent. For harmony is evident in the decree and its execution, even if the causes of each are not the same: if only God executes what He decreed, and employs those causes in its execution that He decreed to employ: that is, He executes in the order that is is contained in the decree. As God executes the decree in time, so He decreed from eternity to execute it: yet He does not therefore keep the identical order in executing and in decreeing.
2. The Minor is false. The proof is inconsequent. Eternal life is called a reward, and is gracious, which supposes no merit: not owed, which alone supposes merit.
(2.) God predestinated those that He foreknew were going to be conformed to the image of His Son.
Therefore, predestination flowed from the foresight of merits.
The Antecedent is drawn from Paul, Romans 8:29.
Response: The Antecedent is false: God forbid that that should belong to Paul. It rather belongs to the Sophists, perverting the words of the Apostle. The Apostle’s words stand thus: whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. The sense: Whom He embraced from eternity in the knowledge/familiarity of His love, those He decreed to conform to the image of His Son. Therefore, the Apostle asserts predestination to end and to means, without which the end comes to no one.
(3.) If God predestined some to eternal life, not impelled by foreseen merits, He shall be an respecter of persons.
But the consequent is false: Therefore, the antecedent is also.
Response: I deny the Hypothetical Proposition: for, person, with respect to which one is called a προσωπολήπτης, respecter of persons, is a quality or aspect in a man, because of which he is accepted, and is preferred to another; although he ought not to be preferred because of it. But God regarded no quality of this sort in electing men: because all men, considered in themselves, were equal. Προσωποληψία, respect of persons, in the context of sin, is able to have no place, except in him, who is held in some manner to prefer one to another, not according to choice, but according to certain reasons cleaving to the persons themselves. But there are no reasons of this sort in a sinner, which were prescribing law to the choice of God.
(4.) Predestination to life is rational:
Therefore, in man it has a cause, because of which it is.
Response: I deny the Consequence: it is sufficient, if it has its cause or reason in God, which cause is His εὐδοκία, good pleasure.
(5.) If God had predestined without the foreseen merits of men, vain would be the exhortations, precepts, warnings, and similar things:
But the consequent is false: Therefore, the antecedent is also.
The rationale of the Hypothetical Proposition: because one predestinated to life without foresight of works, whatever he does, whether it be good or ill, he shall be saved.
Response: I deny the Hypothetical Proposition. Its rationale, or proof, is inconsequent. Because we have been predestined, not only to life, but to holiness also, without which no one shall see God, Hebrews 12:14. Let it be noted, that this consequent is foolish: In predestination God had no respect to works as the cause of election and discrimination between men: Therefore, He had no respect to them in any regard. As if various considerations in one and the same matter were not possible.
V. Therefore, to the one asking, whether the decree of election is absolute, or not absolute? I respond: in diverse respects it is absolute and not absolute. It is absolute, with respect to the impelling cause, existing in man, or diverse from the good pleasure of God: for there is no cause of this sort; indeed, there is not even a condition, suspending the decree, and depending upon the choice of man dead in sin. It is not absolute, with respect to the means determined for the obtaining of salvation through the decree of election itself. Among these means the first place is obtained by the merit of Christ, and by faith, whereby we apply the merit of Christ to ourselves. As by these means God saves us in time; so He decreed from eternity to save by them. Neither is the decree of predestination twofold in itself, one concerning the end, the other concerning the means: but one concerning the end and the means: because God will the end and the means together.
And so it is an heinous calumny of our adversaries, when they attribute to us an absolute decree of election unto eternal life, in such a way that there is no regard unto intervening causes of eternal life, namely, Christ and faith, in it. This never came into the mind of our Doctors. And, even if some so taught, or had taught, they would not be heard by our Churches. Eckhard, the most unfair man to our Theologians and Churches, who nevertheless reckons a great many as similar to his own, in that out of Keckermann, Martyr, and Piscator he had proven, that the decree of election is not suspended upon the condition of faith, neither is it the cause that moved God to predestinate: finally, he imputes this assertion to the Calvinists, Regard for faith does not enter the decree of Election. But it does not belong to the sincere disputant, but to the calumniator, to impute an assertion to the opposite party that that party does not recognize as its own, that it does not profess in its own writings. Or it is surely the case that Eckhard is exceedingly simple, who thinks that what is denied in a certain respect is denied absolutely in that place. We deny that faith enters the decree of election, as a condition, upon which the decree is suspended; as an impulsive cause of the decree; or as an instrumental cause of the decree. But did we thereby assert that all regard for faith is alien to, or excluded from, the decree of election? God forbid: We have just now asserted the contrary: our Doctors do assert it. See Exercitation 10.
VI. Nevertheless, let us briefly consider Eckhard’s arguments in his fasciculo, chapter 15, question 9.
(1.) We are chosen in Christ, Ephesians 1:4, 5.
Therefore, we are chosen by faith, namely, as the instrumental cause of election.
The rationale of the consequence: that no one is in Christ except by faith.
Response: I deny the Consequence. The proof is also itself inconsequent: see what things we have said a little before this.
(2.) Predestination was accomplished according to the good pleasure of the will of God, whereby He attends us unto salvation, 1 Corinthians 1:5; Ephesians 1:5.
Therefore, it includes faith.
Response: The whole is granted.
(3.) Blessing is accomplished in Christ by faith, Galatians 3:9.
Therefore, election was also accomplished by faith.
Response: If to be accomplished by faith is to be accomplished by faith as the instrument or impulsive cause, we deny the consequence: for one is the rationale of the blessing, which is accomplished in time; another is the rationale of the eternal decree of election, the consequent effect of which is blessing.
(4.) The act of grace is not able to be without consideration of faith.
Therefore, neither is predestination without consideration of faith.
Response: The whole is granted.
(5.) Υἱοθεσία/adoption comes to no one, except by faith in Christ, John 1:12; Galatians 3:26.
Therefore, neither does predestination, except by faith.
Response: The Consequence is denied. One is the rationale of υἱοθεσίας/adoption, another of predestination. The causes of each are not the same.
(6.) God chose us in faith, James 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.
Therefore, consideration of faith enters into the decree of election.
Response: 1. We admit the Consequence.
2. The Antecedent is not found in the passages alleged. James says, that the poor of the world are chosen, so that they might become rich in faith. Hence Augustine, in de prædestinatione sanctorum, chapter 17: The Apostle James says, Hath not God chosen the poor in this world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom? etc. Therefore, by choosing He makes them rich in faith, as also heirs of the kingdom. Indeed, He is rightly said to choose this in them; He chose them so that He might make it in them. Paul says that we have been chosen to obtain salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth: in such a way that faith is the cause of salvation, not of election unto salvation.
(7.) Whom and how God saves in act, those and in that manner He determined from eternity to save.
But He saves in that very act only believers and by faith. Therefore, He determined from eternity to save only believers and by faith.
The Major is proven: Because otherwise the harmony of the decree and the execution of the decree would be disturbed.
Response: We grant the whole. But whatever, considered in the decree of God, has the relation of a cause with respect to the salvation decreed, does not thereby also have the relation of a cause with respect to the decree itself. Disputing against Pelagian foresight, see of our men Moulin, in his Anatome Arminianismi, chapters 18-22, etc., and in his Enodatione, pages 259, etc.; Rivet, disputationibus 4. See Exercitation 11.
 Ephesians 2:1.  Titus 1:16.  Johannes Brenz (1499-1570) was a German Lutheran theologian and reformer. He served as Professor of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at Heidelberg (1519-1522).  Jacob Heerbrand (1521-1600) was a German Lutheran theologian and controversialist. He studied under Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon at Wittenberg. Heerbrand enjoyed a long tenure as Professor of Theology at Tubingen (1557-1599).  Dietrich Schnepf (1525-1586), son of the Reformer Erhard Schnepf, was a German Lutheran theologian and pastor. He served as Professor of Theology at Tubingen (1557-1586).  Tilemann Heshusen (1527-1588) was a Gnesio-Lutheran churchman, theologian, and controversialist. He served as Professor of Theology at Rostock, Heidelberg, Jena, and Helmstedt.  Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) entered the Order of the Jesuits in his late teens. He became one of the great theologians of his era, a Cardinal, and, after his death, a Doctor of the Church.  Francisco de Toledo (1532-1596) was a Spanish Jesuit priest, theologian, and exegete. He taught Philosophy and Scholastic Theology at the Roman College, was the first Jesuit to be made Cardinal, and superintended the production of the Clementine Vulgate. Toletus commented on Luke and Romans, and a selection of Psalms. Isaac La Peyrère (1596-1676) was born into a Huguenot family, but later converted to Romanism. He is most remembered for his Millenarian view and the Pre-Adamite hypothesis.  Alfonso Salmeron (1515-1585) was a Catholic priest, and one of the first Jesuits. He wrote sixteen volumes of New Testament commentary, including expositions on Acts and the Pauline Epistles.  John Maldonatus (1534-1583) was a learned Spanish Jesuit. Pope Gregory XIII had such confidence in his learning that he appointed him to superintend the publication of the Septuagint. In addition to his Commentariis in Præcipuos Sacræ Scripturæ Libros Veteris Testamenti, he wrote Commentarios in Quatuor Evangelistas.  Ippolito Aldobrandini (1536-1605) reigned as Pope Clement VIII rom 1592 to 1605. He is most remembered for the publication of the Clementine Vulgate, and his attempt to settle the controversy between the Dominicans and the Jesuits over grace and free will along Augustinian lines.  In 1611 and 1625.  Gulielmus Gibieuf (died 1650) was a monk, priest, and Doctor of the Sorbonne.  Romans 8:29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son (ὅτι οὓς προέγνω, καὶ προώρισε συμμόρφους τῆς εἰκόνος τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ), that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”  James 2:5: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith (οὐχ ὁ Θεὸς ἐξελέξατο τοὺς πτωχοὺς τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, πλουσίους ἐν πίστει), and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”