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Predestination to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed by his counsel, secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hatb chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them, by Christ, to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour.
Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called, according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season. They, through grace, obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.
As the godly consideration of predestination, and our election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Cbrist, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things; as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation, to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to bave continually before their eyes the sentence of God's predestination, is a most dangerous downfal, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.
Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in holy Scriptựre: and in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly de clared unto us in the Word of God.
Article XVII. of the Church of Englando “Our eleccyon is by grace, and not by workes. Few are electe, or chosen. We are the electe of God the Father, thorow his good wil, before the construcyon of the world, that by the grace and merite of Christ, we should have health, (i. e. salvation,) serving al men by cbarite. The predestinate are sainctes, or holy people,
thäde lyke to the image of the Sonne of Ġod, and called, justified, and glorified, by bim. God had predestynate, before the making of the world, for to redeme us by the bloud of his Sonne, for to save, and make us bis chyldren by adopcyon, accordynge to the purpose of his wyl. The carnal and sensual people cannot comprebende the eleccyon and predestinacyon of God: because they stryve for to save themselves by their own workes and merites; whych cannot be.”
Preface to Cranmer's Bible, Our election standeth in the good pleasure of God; which is the only foundation and cause of our salvation; and is declared to us in Christ; through whom we are justified by faith, and sanctified.
The Bishops' Bible, 1568. Expos. on John xvii. 6. Predestination to life is defined, in the 17th Article, to be the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed by bis counsel, secret to us, to deliver from damnation, those whom he hath chosen in Christ, out of mankind, and to bring them, by Christ, to everlasting salvation, (as vessels made to honour.) In which definition there are these things to be observed: 1. That predestination doth presuppose a curse, or state of damnation, in which all mankind were presented to the sight of God. 2. That it (predestination to life, or the decree of election) is an act of his from everlasting ; because, from everlasting, he foresaw that misery into which wretched man would fall. 3. That be founded it, and resolved for it, in the Man and Mediator, Christ Jesus, both for the purpose and performance. 4. That it was of some special ones alone; elect, called forth, and reserved in Christ; and not generally extended unto all mankind. 5. That being thus elected in Christ, they shall be brought, by Christ, to everlasting salvation. And, 6. That this counsel is secret to us ; for though there be revealed some hopeful sigos of our election and predestination to life, yet the certainty thereof is a secret bidden in God, &c. Heylin's Life of Laud.
“ Some will say now, Why need we preachers then? God can save bis elect without preachers ? A goodly reason! God can save my life without meat or drink, need I none therefore ? God' an save me from burning, if I were in the fire, shall I run into it there.
fore? No, no. I must keep the way that God hath ordained, and use that ordinary means that God hath assigned."
Latimer--Fox's Book of Martyrs, “ God hath chosen you from the beginning. His election is sure for ever. The Lord knoweth who are his. You shall not be dem ceived with the power and subtlety of Antichrist. You shall not fall from grace. You shall not perish. This is the comfort which abideth with the faithful, wben they behold the fall of the wicked; when they see them forsake the truth and delight in fables ; when they see them return to their vomit, and wallow again in the mire. When we see these things in others, we must say, Alas! they are examples for us, and lamentable examples. Let him that standet take heed that he fall not. But God hath loved me, and hath chosen me to salvation. His mercy sball go before me, and his mercy sball follow in me. His mercy shall guide my feet, and stay me from falling. If I stay by myself, I stay by notbing; I must needs come to ground. He bath loved me; he bath chosen me; he will keep me. Neither the example nor the company of others, nor the enticing of the devil, nor my own sensual imaginations, nor sword, nor fire, is able to separate me from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. This is the confort of the faithful. Whatsoever falleth upon others, though others fall and perish, although they forsake Christ, apd follow after Antichrist, yet God hath loved you, and given bis Son for you. He hath chosen you, and prepared you unto salvation, and bath written your names in the book of life. But how may we know that God bath chosen us? How may we see this election ? or how may we feel it? The Apostle saith, Through sanctification and beljef of the truth. These are tokens of God's election. The Holy Spirit comforteth us in all temptations, and beareth witness with our spirit that we be the children of God; that God hath chosen us, and doth love us, and bath prepared us to salvation ; that we are the beirs of his glory; that God will keep us as the apple of his eye; that he will defend us, and we shall not perish. In all ages
God hath had his own mapper, after his secret and unsearchable wisdom, to use his elect, sometimes to deliver them and
to keep them safe; and sometimes to suffer them to drink of Christ's cup, i. e, to feel the smart, and to feel the whip. And though the flesh smarteth at the one, and feeleth ease at the other, is glad of the one, and sore vexed in the other; yet the Lord is all one toward them in both; and loveth them no less when be suffereth them to be beaten; yea, and to be put to bodily death, than wben he worketh wonders for their marvellous delivery. Bishop Ridley.
Mr. Gutbrie, in bis History of England, observes that Wickliff "seems to have been a strong predestinariap.” It will presently appear, that be more than seemed to have been sucb; and that Luther and Calvin themselves were not stronger predestinarians than Wickliff.
Toplady. You bave all heard of the doctrine of predestination. It has long been a settled article of our church. And there must be a sad deal of evasion and unfair handling with particular passages, to get free of the evidences which we find for it in the Bible. And independently of Scripture altogether, the denial of this doctrine brings a number of monstrous conceptions along with it. It supposes God to make a world, and not to reserve in his own hand the management of its concerns.
Dr. Chalmers. Election baving once pitched upon a man, it will find him out, and call bim home, wherever he be. It called Zaccheus out of accursed Jericho, Abraham out of idolatrous Uz of Chaldea, Nicodemus and Paul from the college of the Pharisees (Christ's sworn enemies,) Dionisius and Damaris out of superstitious Athens. In whatsoever dungbill God's jewels are hid, election will both find them out, and fetch them home.
Bishop Cowper, God made way unto the dispensation of his most holy and secret will, whereby some of his creatures might stand and keep their state, others might possibly fall, and not be restored to their estate, but yet remain in being, though under wrath and corruption; all with respect to the Mediator, which is the great mystery and perfect centre of all God's ways with his creatures, and unto which all his other works do but serve and refer,
He chose, according to his good pleasure, man to be that creature to whose nature the person of the eternal Son of God should be united; and amongst the generations of men elected a small flock, in whom, by the participation of himself, he purposed to express the riches of his glory.
Lord Bacon. We come, now, to consider the meaning of the word predestination, and how it is taken in Scripture. The verb predestinate is of Latin original; and signifies, in that tongue, to deliberate beforeband with one's self, how one shall act; and, in consequence of such deliberation, to constitute, fore-ordain, and predetermine, where, wben, how, and by whom, any thing shall be done, and to what end it shall be done. So the Greek verb, which exactly answers to the English word predestinate, and is rendered by it, signifies, to resolve before-band within one's self, what to do; and, before the thing is solved on is actually effected, to appoint it to some certain use, and direct it to some determinate end. The Hebrew verb habhdel has likewise much the same signification.
Toplady. Chosen, or elected.—The proper import of the word is, to select or make choice of, one or more out of a greater number (personally) chosen ; i. e. they were singled forth, or pitched upon by name; and chosen in Christ, or into Christ, as their head and mediator; that being in him, all the grace and glory they were chosen unto, might be rightfully theirs, and accordingly applied to them.
To ordain is the same here as to predestinate, appoint, prepare, decree, or fore-determine of things to come, which was in such manner done, that the event always has, does, and ever shall, justly, succeed, according to designment.
In this sense, men cannot be said to predestinate ; because they cannot (with any certainty) determine of things not yet in being: but all things were present with God from eternity; and his decree is the cause of their after-existence.
Elisha Cole. Such being the final cause of the creation in general, and of mankind in particular, that Sovereign Being, who has an absolute right to do what he will with his own, having determined to create man, and to leave him to the freedom of his own will, foreseeing he would