Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles – Article XVII (Part 1)

Article XVII.

Of Predestination and Election.

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 hath 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 Christ, 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 have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s predestination is a most dangerous downfall, 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 to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

De Prædestinatione et Electione.

PRÆDESTINATIO ad vitam, est æternum Dei propositum, quo ante jacta mundi fundamenta, suo consilio, nobis quidem occulto, constanter decrevit, eos quos in Christo elegit ex hominum genere, a maledicto et exitio liberare, atque (ut vasa in honorem efficta) per Christum, ad æternam salutem adducere. Unde qui tam præclaro Dei beneficio sunt donati, illi Spiritu ejus, opportuno tempore operante, secundum propositum ejus, vocantur, vocationi per gratiam parent, justificantur gratis, adoptantur in filios Dei, Unigeniti ejus Jesu Christi imagini efficiuntur conformes, in bonis operibus sancte ambulant, et demum ex Dei misericordia pertingunt ad sempiternam felicitatem.

Quemadmodum prædestinationis, et electionis nostræ in Christo pia consideratio, dulcis, suavis, et ineffabilis consolationis plena est, vere piis, et iis qui sentiunt in se vim Spiritus Christi, facta carnis, et membra, quæ adhuc sunt super terram, mortificantem, animumque ad cœlestia et superna rapientem: tum quia fidem nostram de æterna salute consequenda per Christum plurimum stabilit, atque confirmat, tum quia amorem nostrum in Deum vehementer accendit: ita hominibus curiosis, carnalibus, et Spiritu Christi destitutis, ob oculos perpetuo versari prædestinationis Dei sententiam, pernitiosissimum est præcipitium, unde illos diabolus protrudit, vel in desperationem, vel in æque pernitiosam impurissimæ vitæ securitatem. Deinde promissiones divinas sic amplecti oportet, ut nobis in sacris literis generaliter propositæ sunt, et Dei voluntas in nostris actionibus ea sequenda est, quam in verbo Dei habemus, diserte revelatam.

Section I. — History.

THE XVIIth Article is almost, word for word, the same as the original Article of 1552.

The questions concerning God’s eternal predestination are by no means peculiar to the Christian religion. The Essenes among the Jews, Zeno and the Stoics, and the followers of Mohammed, were all rigid predestinarians; believing that all the affairs of the world and the actions of the human race were ordered by an eternal and inexorable decree.

In the Christian Church there has never been any doubt or question, but that the Scriptures teach us concerning the election and predestination of God. All Christians believe in the doctrine of election. The question is, therefore, not whether the doctrine of election is true, but what the meaning of election is. Now on this point there is a vast variety of sentiment.

1. Calvinism. The doctrine of Calvin and the Calvinists is, that from all eternity God predestinated a certain fixed number of individuals, irrespective of anything in them, to final salvation and glory; and that all others are either predestined to damnation, or, at least, so left out of God’s decree to glory that they must in evitably perish.

2. Arminianism. The doctrine of Arminius and the Arminians is, that, from all eternity, God predestinated a certain fixed number of individuals to glory; but that this decree was not arbitrary, but in consequence of God’s foreknowledge, that those so predestinated would make a good use of the grace given; and that, as God necessarily foresees all things, so foreseeing the faith of individuals. He hath, in strict justice, ordered His decrees accordingly.

According to both these schemes, election is to life eternal: and the elect are identical with the finally saved.

3. Nationalism. The opinion of Locke and some others is, that the election, spoken of by God in Scripture, does not concern individuals at all, but applies only to nations; that, as God chose the Jews at one time to be His people, so He has since ordained certain nations to be brought into the pale of the Christian Church. Here the elect are all Christian nations.

4. Ecclesiastical Election. Others have held, that, as the Jews of old were God’s chosen people, so now is the Christian Church: that every baptized member of the Church is one of God’s elect, and that this election is from God’s irrespective and unsearchable decree. Here therefore election is to baptismal privileges, not to final glory; and the elect are identical with the baptized; and the election constitutes the Church.

5. Some have held, that there is an election to baptism of some individuals, and again an election out of the elect: so that some are elected by God’s inscrutable decree to grace, and from among these some by a like inscrutable decree to perseverance and to glory. Here the elect are, in one sense of the word, identical with the baptized; in another sense of the word, with the finally saved.

6. Lastly, some have taught, that, whereas to all Christians grace enough is given to insure salvation, if they will use it, yet to some amongst them is given, by God’s eternal decree, a yet greater degree of grace, such that by it they must certainly be saved. This is the theory which has sometimes been called Baxterian, from Richard Baxter, the distinguished nonconformist divine.

The subject of predestination naturally embraces other cognate subjects, such as original sin, free-will, final perseverance, particular redemption, and reprobation. The three former have been considered under the IXth, Xth, and XVIth Articles respectively, and much of the history of the predestinarian controversy will be found under the history of those Articles.[1]

From the classification above given it will be evident, that the mere use of the terms election or predestination by a writer will not at all determine in what sense that writer uses them, nor to which of the six classes above enumerated his doctrines may be assigned.

Among the earlier fathers, especially those of the apostolic age, the language used is mostly general, and therefore difficult to fix to a particular meaning.

Clement of Rome speaks of a sedition in the Church, “as alien and foreign from the elect of God.”[2] “Ye contended,” he writes, “day and night for the whole brotherhood, that, with compassion and a good conscience, the number of His elect might be saved.”[3] To the same Church of Corinth he speaks of God as having “made us unto Himself a part of the election. For thus it is written, When the Most High divided the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels; His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance. And in another place he saith, Behold the Lord taketh to Himself a nation from the midst of the nations, as a man taketh the first-fruits of his threshing-floor, and from that nation shall come the Holy of Holies.”[4] “In love have been perfected all the elect of God.”[5] “Now God, who seeth all things, the Father of spirits and the Lord of all flesh, who hath elected our Lord Jesus Christ, and us by Him to be His peculiar people, grant to every soul,”[6] &c.

Ignatius addresses the Church of Ephesus as “blessed through the greatness and fulness of God the Father, predestinated before the worlds continually to glory, — glory enduring, unchangeable, united, and elected in true suffering according to the will of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ our God.”[7] In the same manner he addresses “the holy Church which is in Tralles” as “beloved by God the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God.”[8]

Hermas, in the book of his Visions, constantly speaks of God’s elect: “God, who hath founded His holy Church, will remove the heavens and the mountains, the hills and the seas, . . . . all things shall be made plain to His elect,” . . . . or, “shall be filled with His elect.”[9] “Canst thou report these things to the elect?”[10] “Go ye and declare to the elect of God His mighty acts.”[11] The Apostles, bishops, and ministers are said to have ministered to the elect of God.[12]

Here we have the elect spoken of as identical with the Church. We even find language which seems to prove that Hermas considered the elect as in a state of probation in this world which might end either in their salvation or in their condemnation. “Then shall their sins be forgiven which they have committed, and the sins of all the saints, who have sinned even to this day, if they shall repent with all their hearts, and put away all doubts out of their hearts. For the Lord hath sworn by His glory concerning His elect, having determined this very time, even now, if any one shall sin, he shall not have salvation.”[13] On the other hand, in one passage he seems to speak of a mansion of glory for the elect in the world to come: “The white colour represents the age to come, in which shall dwell God’s elect; since the elect shall be pure and spotless unto eternal life.”[14]

These are the principal passages in the Apostolical Fathers concerning election and predestination. It would be a great point gained, if we could clearly ascertain their sentiments on this subject. They lived before philosophy had produced an effect on the language of theology. Now there is no question on which philosophy is likely to have produced greater effect than on the question concerning God’s eternal decrees. When, therefore, we come to the writings of such men as Justin, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, we naturally doubt, whether they speak the language of the Church in their days, or the language of their own thoughts and speculations.

In the passages above cited, there is no marked trace of any of the three schemes which have been designated respectively as Calvinism, Arminianism, or Nationalism. One passage from Clement may seem to speak the language of Nationalism; but it is only in appearance. That ancient father applies the term “nation” to the Christian Church; but it is plain that he merely means, that, as the Israelites of old were chosen to be God’s peculiar people, so now His Church is, as it were, a nation chosen out of the nations. He speaks indeed of “the number of God’s elect being saved,” as though there were a definite number of God’s elect, who should be saved in the end; language which, we shall see, is used also by Justin and Irenæus. Whether this was intended in the sense which would be affixed to it by Augustine or Calvin, must be a question. We may almost certainly say, it was not so used by Justin Martyr. There is also one passage, the last quoted from Hermas, in which the term elect seems used of those who are chosen to life eternal. All the other passages from the apostolical fathers identify the whole Church of God with the election, and therefore the elect with the baptized. It is most undesirable to put any force on language of such importance as the language of writers in the apostolic age. But on a fair review of the whole, it can hardly appear that these fathers speak of election in any sense but one of the two following: either (1) as an election of individuals to the Church and to baptism, or (2) possibly as an election first to baptism, and then a further election out of the baptized to glory. On the first sense, the passages seem clear and decided; on the second, it seems but reasonable to admit that there is great doubt.

In the history of the doctrine of free will,[15] we saw that Justin Martyr ascribed free agency to all human beings, and argued that God does not cause actions, because He foresees them.[16] On the contrary, he defends Christians against the charge that they believed in a fatal necessity. Our belief in the predictions of the prophet does not oblige us to believe that things take place according to fate. “This only,” he says, “we hold to be fated, that they who choose what is good shall obtain a reward; that they who choose what is evil shall be punished.”[17] So again soon after, he says that “we assert future events to have been foretold by the prophets, not because we say that they should so happen by fatal necessity, but because God foreknew the future actions of all men.”[18] And presently again he speaks of God deferring the punishment of the wicked, till the “foreknown number of the good and virtuous should be fulfilled.”[19] Accordingly Bishop Kaye has concluded that, if Justin Martyr speaks anywhere of predestination to life eternal, it is in the Arminian sense, or, as it has been called, ex prævisis meritis.[20] But when Justin Martyr especially speaks of God’s election, he appears clearly to intend by it an election of individuals out of the world, and the bringing them by His calling to be of His peculiar people the Church. Thus, he is speaking of the Christian Church in antithesis to the Jewish, and he says, “We are by no means a despicable people, nor a barbarous nation, like the Phrygians and the Carians; but God hath elected us, and has manifested Himself to those who asked not for Him. Behold I am God, saith He, to a nation that called not on my Name.” Then, speaking of the calling of Abraham by the grace of Christ, he continues, “By the same voice He hath called us all, and we have come out of the polity in which we lived, living evilly, after the manner of the other inhabitants of the world,”[21] &c.

It is probable therefore that, to whatever cause Justin Martyr may have assigned the final salvation of Christians, their election he considered to be a calling in from the people of the world to be members of the Church of Christ; as Abraham was called from among the Gentiles to be the founder of the chosen race.

Irenæus, like Clement of Rome and Justin Martyr, speaks of a definite number of persons who shall be saved, and holds the opinion that the world shall last till this number is perfected. Yet he does not hint that any particular individuals were predestinated, of which that number should consist.[22] As regards predestination to eternal death, he clearly speaks of that as the result of God’s foreknowledge of the wickedness of those whom He condemns, and says that the reason why God gave Pharaoh up to his unbelief was that He knew he never would believe.[23] He asserts too, that God puts no constraint on any one to believe; but that, foreknowing all things, He has prepared for all fitting habitations.[24] Thus he was evidently no believer in the doctrine since called reprobation, nor in irresistible grace, or effectual calling.

But it is probable that the meaning which he attached to the Scriptural term election was, that God chose and elected certain persons to baptism and to be members of His Church. In speaking of Esau and Jacob, as types of the Jewish and the Christian Church, he explains St. Paul’s language, in the ninth of Romans, as meaning that God, who knoweth all things, was foretelling the rejection of the Jews, and the election of the Gentile Church.[25] Explaining the parable of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, he says that God first planted the vineyard of the human race by the creation of Adam and the election of the fathers; then let it out to husbandmen, the Jews, surrounding it with a hedge, built a tower, and elected Jerusalem. But when they did not believe, He sent His Son, whom they slew. Then the tower of election being exalted and beautified, the vineyard, no longer walled round, but laid open to the world, is let to other husbandmen, who will bring forth the fruits. For the Church is everywhere illustrious; everywhere the wine-press is dug round, because those who receive the Spirit are everywhere. And soon after, he says that the same Word of God who formerly elected the patriarchs has now elected us.[26] Thus it appears that Irenæus looked on the Jews as formerly, and on the Christian Church as now, the elect people of God; and so he calls “the Church the synagogue or congregation of God, which He hath collected by Himself.”[27]

Tertullian says little or nothing to guide us to his view of the doctrine of election, except that, in arguing against certain heretics, he maintains that it is unlawful so to ascribe all things to the will of God as to take away our own responsibility and freedom of action.[28]

Clement of Alexandria appears to have used the same language as his predecessors, concerning the Church as the election, and all Christians as the elect of God. He especially defines the Church as the general assembly of the elect.[29] So he quotes Hermas as saying, that the Church is held together by that faith by which God’s elect are saved.[30] The Church, according to Clement, is the body of Christ, a holy and spiritual company; but they who belong to it, but live not uprightly, are, as it were, but the flesh of the body.[31] He holds the Church to be one, into which are collected all those who are righteous according to the purpose (κατὰ πρόθεσιν); and continues, that the Church is one, which collects together by the will of God those already ordained, whom God hath predestinated.[32]

But then when we come to the ground or cause of God’s election, we find that Clement seems to speak of it as being God’s foreknowledge. Thus, in the last passage referred to, he says, the Church embraces “all whom God hath predestinated, having foreknown that they would be righteous before the foundation of the world.”[33] So he speaks of each person as partaker of the benefit, according to his own will; for the choice and exercise of the soul constitutes the difference of the election.[34] Accordingly, Bishop Kaye thinks, “it is evident that Clement must have held the doctrine of predestination in the Arminian sense;”[35] and Mr. Faber says, that “this prescientific solution is for the first time enounced by the speculative Clement of Alexandria.”[36]

Whether Justin and Irenæus had in any degree enounced the same before, may be a fair question. The causation of sin they clearly refused to attribute to God, declaring that, where He is said to have hardened, it was because He foresaw the sinner was irreclaimable. And though Clement of Alexandria speaks more clearly than either of them, concerning God’s foreknowledge as the ground of His predestination, yet he does not differ from them in the view that the Church of God is composed of the elect people of God.

Some divines of the Roman Communion[37] have endeavoured to discover the doctrines of St. Augustine in the writings of Clement; but it is only because he ascribes the beginning, the continuance, and the perfection of religion in the soul, to the grace of God, that they have thence inferred that, as it is all of grace, so it must all be of absolute predestination. Yet every one, but slightly acquainted with the predestinarian controversy, must know, that the chief disputants on every side of this troublesome argument have all alike agreed in ascribing the whole work of religion in the soul to God’s grace and the operations of His Spirit; the question having only been, Is that grace irresistible or not? Is the freedom of the will utterly extinguished by it, or not? The passage especially referred to by Bossuet, in proof of the Austinism (so to speak) of Clement, is the prayer with which he concludes his Pædagogue, and which is simply, — that God would grant us, that following His commandments we may become fully like Him, and that He would grant, that all passing their lives in peace, and being translated into His kingdom or polity, having sailed over the waves of sin, may be borne through still waters by His Holy Spirit, and may praise God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; day and night unto the perfect day. And to this prayer he adds, that “Since the Pædagogue (i. e. the Word of God) has brought us into His Church, and joined us to Himself, it will be well for us being there to offer up thanksgiving to the Lord, in return for His gracious guidance and instruction.”[38] This passage, however, rather corresponds with what we have seen to be the general doctrine of Clement, as probably of his predecessors, namely, that God’s election brought men to baptism and to His Church, and that His grace, given to them there, enabled them, if not determined to quench the Spirit, to go on shining more and more unto the perfect day.

From this time forth, although the belief in God’s election of individuals into His Church, and a frequent identification of the Church with the elect, is observable in all the patristic writers of eminence; yet when the question concerning the final salvation of individuals was brought into contact with the question of the Divine decrees, that solution of the difficulty, since called Arminian, was generally adopted.

Origen, the pupil of Clement of Alexandria, himself the greatest speculator of early times, and the great maintainer of the freedom of the will, adopted it in its fullest and most definite form. He expressly says, that God, who foresees all things, no more causes man’s sins, nor forces his obedience, than one who looks at a person walking in a slippery place is the cause that he should stumble.[39] Such was the progress of opinion among the early Christians, and so general was the spread of the foreknowledge theory in the third and fourth centuries, that our great Bishop Andrewes considered almost all the fathers to have believed in a foreseen faith, “which,” he adds, “even Beza confesses;”[40] and Hooker, himself an illustrious disciple of St. Augustine, says that “all the ancient fathers of the Church of Christ have evermore with uniform consent agreed that reprobation presupposeth foreseen sin as a most just cause, whereupon it groundeth itself.”[41]

So much was this the case, that even St. Augustine himself, when first entering upon the question of predestination, taught that it was contingent on God’s foreknowledge of the faith or unbelief of individuals.[42] But his farther progress in the Pelagian controversy, where he had to contend against those who grievously abused the doctrine of man’s free will, led him to reconsider the questions concerning the grace of God and His predestination and purpose. Indeed he asserts, and that truly, that, before the Pelagian controversy, he had written concerning free will almost as if he had been disputing against Pelagians.[43] But his statements concerning God’s foreknowledge, as antecedent to his predestination, he absolutely retracts.[44] Thenceforth his belief appears to have been, that Adam fell freely,[45] that, all mankind being born in sin, God’s inscrutable wisdom and mercy, for good reasons, but reasons unknown to us, determined to rescue some from sin and damnation.[46] Accordingly, He prepared His Church, and predestinated some to be brought into the Church by baptism, who thereby became partakers of regenerating grace. These, and these only, could be saved.[47] Yet there was a further decree, even concerning the regenerate, namely, that some of them should die before committing actual sin, and therefore be saved; but that, of those who grew up to maturity, some should be led on by the grace of God to final perseverance, and therefore to glory: whereas others, not being gifted according to God’s eternal purpose with the grace of perseverance, would not persevere at all; or if they persevered for a time, would in the end fall away and be lost.[48] It would have been just that all should be damned; it is therefore of free mercy that some should be saved.[49] God therefore graciously frees some, but leaves others by just judgment to perdition.[50] “Of two infants, both born in sin, why one is taken and the other left; of two grown persons, why one is called so as to follow the calling, the other, either not called, or not called so as to follow the calling; these are in the inscrutable decrees of God. And of two godly men, why to one is given the grace of perseverance, but to another it is not given, this is still more in the inscrutable will of God. Of this, however, all the faithful ought to be certain, that one was predestinated, and the other not,” &c.[51] The baptized and regenerate may be called of the elect, when they believe and are baptized, and live according to God; but they are not properly and fully elect, unless it is also ordained that they shall persevere and live holily to the end.[52]

These statements of St. Augustine gave considerable uneasiness to many who agreed with him in his general views of doctrine. The members of the monastery of Adrumetum were especially troubled by these discussions.[53] In consequence, St. Augustine wrote his treatises De Gratia et Libero Arbitrio, and De Correptione et Gratia. In a short time, the clergy of Marseilles doubting the soundness of St. Augustine’s view, Prosper and Hilary[54] wrote letters to him, stating the scruples of the Gallican clergy, thanking him in general for his defence of the truth, but saying that hitherto the Catholic faith had been defended, without recourse to such a theory of predestination.[55] The Gallican clergy state, that their own belief had hitherto been that God’s predestination was founded on prevision of faith.[56]

Of these Massilians there appear to have been two parties, one infected with Semi-Pelagian errors, the other sound and catholic.[57] Both, however, agreed in being startled and displeased with the doctrines of St. Augustine, and in esteeming them new and unheard of. Among those who were thus dissatisfied, Prosper mentions Hilary of Arles,[58] a bishop of the first learning and piety of that age.

In answer to these letters Augustine wrote his two treatises, De Prædestinatione Sanctorum and De Dono Perseverantiæ. He acknowledges, as in his book of Retractations, that he now saw more clearly than formerly;[59] yet he says that he had implicitly taught the same doctrines before, but heresies bring out more clearly the truth.[60] He also says, the earlier fathers did not write much on these doctrines, because they had no Pelagius to write against.[61] Still he thinks that he can find support from passages in St. Cyprian, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Ambrose. From St. Cyprian he quotes, “We must glory in nothing, as we have nothing of our own.”[62] And again he refers to St. Cyprian’s interpretation of the petition in the Lord’s prayer, “Hallowed be thy Name,” as meaning, that we pray that His name may be sanctified in us. And this he further explains to signify that we pray that we, who have been sanctified in baptism, may persevere in that which we have begun.[63] Hence St. Augustine concludes that Cyprian held the doctrine of perseverance in the Augustinian sense of that doctrine.

From Gregory Nazianzen he cites an exhortation to confess the doctrine of the Trinity, which concludes with an expression of confident hope, that God, who first gave them to believe, would also give them to confess the faith.[64]

From Ambrose he alleges two passages. In one, St. Ambrose simply argues, that, if a man says he followed Christ because it seemed good to himself to do so, he does not deny the will of God, for man’s will is prepared by God.[65] The other passage is as follows: “Learn also, that He would not be received by those not converted in simplicity of mind. For if He would, He could from indevout have made them devout. Why they received Him not, the evangelist has himself related, saying, Because His face was as of one going to Jerusalem. For the disciples were desiring to be received into Samaria, but those whom God thinks good He calls, and whom He wills He makes religious.”[66]

These are the passages alleged by St. Augustine, in proof that more ancient fathers than himself held his view of predestination. With the exception of the last from St. Ambrose, it will appear to most people, that, if St. Augustine had not brought weightier arguments from Scripture than he did from the fathers, he would hardly have succeeded in settling his system so firmly in the minds of his followers. The language of the last passage indeed appears, at first sight, strongly to resemble the language of St. Austin. But it is by no means clear that even this passage does not accord with the views of those fathers who held the election of individuals to the Church and to baptismal grace, but believed that any farther predestination was from foreseen faith; and it is capable of proof, that such were in fact the views generally held by St. Ambrose.[67] This passage, if fairly interpreted, contains probably no contradiction of his other statements.

It is, of course, a question of no small interest, whether St. Augustine’s elders in the faith held the same doctrine with himself on the predestination of God, or whether he was the first to discover it in Scripture. That so learned a divine could find no stronger passages in any of their writings than those just mentioned, is much like a confession of the difficulty of the proof. His own opinions must have great and deserved weight; but if they were novel, we can hardly accept them as true. The passages already quoted from the earliest fathers are all we have to guide us in this question; for it seems now an admitted fact, that from Origen to St. Augustine irrespective individual election to glory was unheard of.

Soon after the correspondence with the Massilian Christians, A. D. 430, St. Augustine died, “without any equal,” says Hooker, “in the Church of Christ, from that day to this.” Prosper followed in the steps of his great master with constancy and success; but he exceeded him in the strength of his predestinarian sentiments: for, whereas Augustine held that the wicked perish from their natural sins, being passed over in God’s decree, but not actually predestinated to damnation, Prosper seems plainly to have taught the reprobation of the non-elect.[68] He drew up a book of sentences from the writings of St. Augustine;[69] and with the aid of Celestine and Leo, Bishops of Rome, was successful in opposing the Pelagian heresy.

Not long after, we read of a priest named Lucidus, who, taking up Augustine’s predestinarianism, carried it into lengths to which Augustine had never gone. Faustus, Bishop of Riez, who himself was inclined to Semi-Pelagianism, succeeded in inducing him to recant. A synod was assembled at Arles, A. D. 475, where the errors of Lucidus were condemned, and his recantation was received. Some of these errors were, that “God’s foreknowledge depresses men to hell, — that those who perished could not have been saved, — that a vessel of dishonour could never become a vessel of honour, — that Christ did not die for all men, nor wills all men to be saved.”[70]

In the year 529 was held the second Council of Orange, at which Cæsarius of Arles presided. Its canons and decrees bear the signatures of fourteen bishops, and were approved by Boniface II., Bishop of Rome. They are chiefly directed against the errors of the Semi-Pelagians. But to the twenty-five canons on this subject there are appended three declarations of doctrine. 1. That by the grace of baptism all baptized persons can, if they will, be saved. 2. That if any hold that God has predestinated any to damnation, they are to be anathematized. 3. That God begins in us all good by His grace, thereby leading men to faith and baptism, and that, after baptism, by the aid of His grace, we can do His will.[71] These propositions of the Council of Orange, coming immediately after canons against Semi-Pelagianism and exaggerated notions of free will, express as nearly as possible a belief in Ecclesiastical Election, (i. e. election to the church and to baptismal privileges,) but reject the peculiar doctrines of St. Austin.

Some mention was made of Goteschalc in the history of the Xth Article.[72] He was a Benedictine monk of the convent of Orbais in the diocese of Soissons, about A. D. 840. He was a great admirer of St, Augustine, and revived his views of predestination; though, like Lucidus, he appears to have gone much beyond his master. If we may believe the account of his doctrines given by Hincmar, he taught that there was a double predestination, of the elect to glory, and of the reprobate to death. God, of His free grace, has unchangeably predestinated the elect to life eternal; but the reprobate, who will be condemned by their own demerits, He has equally predestinated to eternal death.[73] He taught also, that Christ did not die for those who were predestinated to damnation, but only for those who were predestinated to life.[74] Rabanus Maurus, Archbishop of Mentz, opposed him with great zeal, and summoned a council at Mentz, A. D. 848, which condemned Goteschalc’s opinions, and then sent him to Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims, who assembled a synod at Quiercy, which degraded him from the priesthood, obliged him to burn the tract which he had delivered to Rabanus Maurus in justification of his doctrines, and committed him to prison, where he lay for twenty-one years, and then died.[75]

The discussions between Thomists and Scotists, among the schoolmen, have also been referred to under Art. X.[76] The former were followers of Thomas Aquinas, who himself followed St. Augustine. They appear to have held irrespective predestination to life; but to have admitted neither reprobation, partial redemption, nor final perseverance, in the sense in which the two former were held by Lucidus and Goteschalc.[77]

We saw, under Article X., how strongly Luther, in his earlier writings, spoke of the slavery of the human will, and the necessity under which it was constrained.[78] In the first edition of the Loci Theologici, Melancthon held language of the same kind. But in the second edition these expressions were all withdrawn; and, as we saw in the last Article, Luther, later in life, condemned what are called Calvinistic views of election. Archbishop Laurence has shown, by abundant and incontrovertible evidence, that after the diet of Augsburg, A. D. 1530, when the famous Lutheran Confession was presented to the Emperor, Luther and Melancthon entirely abandoned the high views of absolute predestination which they had at first adopted. Luther continually exhorted his followers to abstain from all such speculations, and to believe that because they were baptized Christians, they were God’s elect, and to rest in the general promises of God.[79] Luther expressly approved[80] of the later edition of Melancthon’s Loci Theologici, put forth A. D. 1535, in which his former views of predestination were retracted.[81] He himself speaks of the predestinarian controversies set on foot in his own time, as the work of the devil.[82] Melancthon too, in the strongest terms, condemned what he called the Stoical and Manichean rage, and urged all people to fly from such monstrous opinions.[83]

The doctrine both of Luther and Melancthon, after their first change of opinion, appears to have been very nearly that which, we have reason to conclude, was the doctrine of the earliest fathers. They clearly taught that Christ died for all men, and that God willed all to be saved. They held, that all persons brought to baptism and to the Church were to be esteemed the elect people of God, having been led to baptism by the gracious purpose of God. They taught too, that God’s purposes were to be generally considered, and His promises generally interpreted, i. e. as implying His general designs concerning Christians and the human race, and as concerning classes of persons, according to their respective characters.[84]

Zuinglius was an absolute predestinarian, ascribing all things to the purpose and decrees of God; but he materially differed from the Calvinist divines who followed him, in holding that God’s mercies in Christ, though given irrespectively, and from absolute predestination, were bestowed not only on Christians, but on infants who die without actual sin, and on heathens, who “had grace to live a virtuous life, though ignorant of the Redeemer.”[85]

In the Council of Trent, when the question of predestination was discussed, no fault was found with the Lutheran statements on this head; but several points were found for discussion in the writings of the Zuinglians. Many of the Tridentine divines took views of predestination similar to those of St. Augustine, though these were strongly opposed by the Franciscans. Catarinus propounded an opinion much like that afterwards held by Baxter, that of Christians, some were immutably elected to glory, others were so left that they might or might not be saved. All agreed to condemn the doctrine commonly called Final Perseverance.[86]

Calvin, with the love of system and logical precision which was so characteristic of him, rejected every appearance of compromise, and every attempt to soften down the severity of the high predestinarian scheme. Advancing, therefore, far beyond the principles of his great master, St. Augustine, he not only taught that all the elect are saved by immutable decree, but that the reprobate are damned by a like irreversible sentence, a sentence determined concerning them before the foundation of the world, and utterly irrespective of the foreknowledge of God.[87] Nay! God’s foreknowledge of their reprobation and damnation is the result of His having predestinated it; not His predestination the result of His foreknowledge.[88] The very fall of Adam was ordained, because God saw good that it should be so; though, why he saw good, it is not for us to say. But no doubt He so determined, partly because thereby the glory of His Name would be justly set forth.[89] Those who are thus elect to glory, and those only, are called effectually, i. e. irresistibly; whereas the non-elect, or reprobate, have only the external calls of the word and the Church.[90] Those thus effectually called, are endued with the grace of final perseverance, so that they can never wholly fall away from grace.[91]

These views, with little variation, were adopted by the different bodies of Christians which were reformed on the Calvinistic model. Sufficient account has been given under Article X. of the principal proceedings of the Synod of Dort. The Remonstrants, who agreed with Arminius, and against whom that synod directed its decrees, had adopted that theory concerning God’s predestination which had been current among the fathers from Origen to Augustine.[92] They taught that God’s predestination resulted from His foreknowledge. They ascribed all good in man to the grace of the Spirit of God; but they held, that God determined to save eternally those who, He foresaw, would persevere in His grace to the end, and that He destined to damnation those who, He knew, would persevere in their unbelief. These views were rejected and condemned by the synod, which distinctly enunciated the five points of Calvinism.[93]

The disputes on the same subject, which have prevailed in the Church of Rome since the Council of Trent, were all sufficently alluded to under Article X.[94]

The doctrine of our own Reformers on this deep question, and the meaning of the XVIIth Article, have been much debated. The Calvinistic divines of our own communion have unhesitatingly claimed the Article as their own; although the earnest desire which they showed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, to introduce the far more express language of the Lambeth Articles, shows that they were not fully satisfied with the wording of it. On the other hand, the Arminians assert that the seventeenth Article exactly expresses their own views. The Arminians agree with the Calvinists in holding that God, by his secret counsel, hath predestinated some to life eternal, others to eternal death. They differ from them in that, whereas the Calvinists attribute this predestination to God’s sovereign, irrespective, and though doubtless just, yet apparently arbitrary will, the Arminians attribute it to His eternal foreknowledge. Now the Article says nothing concerning the moving cause of predestination; and therefore speaks as much the language of Arminius as of Calvin. The latter clauses of the Article appear specially designed to guard against the dangers of the Calvinistic theory, and therefore the former cannot have been intended to propound it. Moreover the sentiments concerning election most prevalent in the Church before the Reformation were that God predestinated to life and death, not according to His absolute will, but according as He foresaw future faith or unbelief; and there being no ground for supposing that the English reformers had been mixed up with any of the predestinarian controversies of Calvin and the Swiss reformers, there is every ground, it is said, for supposing that the Article ought to be taken in the Arminian, not in the Calvinistic sense.

In what sense the English reformers really did accept the doctrine of God’s election, and in what sense the XVIIth Article is to be interpreted, is truly a question of considerable difficulty. The language of Cranmer and Ridley, and of our own Liturgy, Articles and Homilies, is remarkably unlike Calvin’s concerning effectual calling and final perseverance.[95] It is also clear, that the English Reformers held, and expressed in our formularies, with great clearness and certainty, the universality of redemption through Christ.[96] So that, in three out of five points of Calvinism, Particular Redemption, Effectual Calling, and Final Perseverance, the English reformers were at variance with Calvin.

Still, no doubt, it is possible that they may have been un-Calvinistic in all these points, and yet have agreed with St. Augustine on the general notion and causation of God’s predestination; for we have seen that Augustine’s views were materially different from Calvin’s.

It is pretty certain that Calvin’s system had not produced much influence, at the time the XVIIth Article was drawn up. It is true, the first edition of his Institutes was written early in his career; and that contains strong predestinarian statements. But the great discussion on this head at Geneva, and the publication of his book De Prædestinatione, did not take place till A. D. 1552, the very year in which the Articles were put forth.

It has moreover been clearly shown, that the earlier Articles of the Church of England were drawn up from Lutheran models, agreeing remarkably with the language of Melancthon and the Confession of Augsburg.[97] Archbishop Laurence has plainly proved that the greatest intimacy and confidence existed between Cranmer and Melancthon; that for a series of years during the reign of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. both the king and the leading reformers were most desirous of bringing Melancthon to England, and that nothing but the death of Edward VI. prevented the establishment of Melancthon in the chair of divinity at Cambridge, formerly filled by Erasmus and Bucer.[98] All this must have been pending at the very time the XVIIth Article was composed. Nay! there is even some reason to think that Cranmer was induced to draw up this Article by suggestion of Melancthon, who, when consulted by Cranmer (A. D. 1548) on the compilation of a public confession on this particular question, wrote recommending great caution and moderation, adding that at first the stoical disputations about fate were too horrible among the reformers, and injurious to good discipline; and urging that Cranmer “should think well concerning any such formula of doctrine.”[99]

From such facts it is inferred that the Lutheran, not the Calvinist reformers, had weight, and were consulted on the drawing up of this Article; and that, as Lutheran models were adopted for the former Articles, so, although there is no Article in the Confession of Augsburg on predestination, yet the views of that doctrine current among the Lutheran divines were more likely to prevail than those among the Calvinists, who had as yet had no influence in Great Britain.

The published writings of Cranmer and Ridley have remarkably little which can lead to an understanding of their own views of God’s predestination. We hear that Ridley wrote a “godly and comfortable treatise” on “the matter of God’s election;” but it has never yet come to light. In the letter wherein he speaks of having prepared some notes on the subject, he says, “In these matters I am so fearful that I dare not speak further, yea, almost none otherwise than the very text doth, as it were, lead me by the hand.”[100]

Cranmer’s writings are, even more than Ridley’s, free from statements on God’s predestination. But Archbishop Laurence has brought several passages from Latimer, Hooper, and other contemporaneous divines of the Church of England, which show that they held decidedly anti-Calvinistic sentiments, and which prove that even the Calvinism of Bradford was of the most moderate kind.[101]

If from the writings of the reformers we pass to the formularies of the Church, the Liturgy, the Catechism, and the Homilies, we shall find that they appear to view the election of God as the choosing of persons to baptism, the elect as identical with the baptized, or, what is the same thing, with the Church of Christ throughout the world. Thus, in the Catechism, every baptized child is taught to say, “God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me and all the elect people of God.” In the Baptismal Service we pray that the child “now to be baptized, may receive the fulness of God’s grace, and ever remain in the number of His faithful and elect children.” In the daily service we pray, “Endue thy ministers with righteousness, and make thy chosen people joyful. O Lord, save thy people, and bless thine inheritance.” Where God’s inheritance, the Church, is evidently the same as His “chosen” or elect “people,” whom we pray that He will bless, save, and make joyful. In the Burial Service, we pray God to “accomplish the number of His elect, and hasten His kingdom, that we, with all those departed,” &c. Where the we appears to be connected with God’s elect. In the Homily of falling from God all Christians are plainly spoken of as the “chosen” (i. e. elect) “vineyard of God,” which yet by falling away may be lost. “If we, which are the chosen vineyard of God, bring not forth good fruits, that is to say, good works . . . . He will pluck away all defence, and suffer grievous plagues . . . . to light upon us. Finally, if these serve not, He will let us lie waste, He will give us over . . . .” &c.

From all these considerations, it is more probable that an Article drawn up by Cranmer should have expounded the doctrine of ecclesiastical or baptismal election, than that it should have contained the doctrine of Calvin or Arminius. For both the other documents drawn up by himself, and the writings of his great counsellor, Melancthon, exhibit the clearest evidence of their belief in such ecclesiastical election. Add to which, the early fathers, whose writings Cranmer most diligently searched, are very full of the same mode of explaining the truth.

The question still remains, after all this historical probability, Will the wording of the Article bear this meaning? or are we absolutely constrained to give another interpretation to it? Persons but little acquainted with scholastic disputations and with the language of controversy are apt at first sight to think the XVIIth Article obviously Calvinistic, though others, somewhat better read, are aware that it will equally suit the doctrine of Arminius: but both might be inclined to suppose that it could not express the opinions of Melancthon and of the majority of the primitive fathers, and what, we have seen reason to conclude, were Cranmer’s own opinions. Let us see whether this is the case.

In the first place then, the words of the concluding paragraph in the Article have been shown to bear so remarkable a resemblance to the language of Melancthon (language particularly objected to by Calvin[102]), that it could hardly have been accidental. “Furthermore,” it runs, “we must receive God’s promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared to us in the word of God.” The word generally is in the Latin generaliter, which means not for the most part, but universally or generically, i. e. as concerning classes of persons. Now Melancthon writes, “And if other things may be nicely disputed concerning election, yet it is well for godly men to hold that the promise is general or universal. Nor ought we to judge otherwise concerning the will of God than according to the revealed word, and we ought to know what God hath commanded that we may believe,”[103] &c.

But in the beginning of the Article we read of “predestination to life,” and of God’s purpose “to deliver from curse and damnation:” expressions which may seem tied to the notion of election embraced by Augustine, Calvin, and Arminius, namely, predestination to life eternal. It is, however, to be noted, that it would quite suit the way of thinking common to those who held ecclesiastical election, to speak of election to baptism as election to life, and as deliverance from curse and damnation. For the Church of Christ is that body, which, having been purchased by the Blood of Christ, is destined to life eternal, and placed in a position of deliverance from the curse of original sin. Baptism is for the remission of sin. All baptized infants have been elected therefore to life, and delivered from curse and damnation. The election to life eternal indeed is mediate, through election to the Church, not immediate and direct. Every baptized Christian has been chosen out of the world to be placed in the Church, in order that he may be brought by Christ to everlasting salvation, as a vessel made to honour. He may forfeit the blessing afterwards, but it has been freely bestowed on him. All persons endued with such an excellent benefit of God are called according to His purpose by His Spirit. They are freely justified and made Sons of God by adoption (language specially used in the Catechism of baptized children); they be made like the image of the only-begotten, Jesus Christ, for the baptized Christian is said to be regenerate after the likeness of Christ. The next step in his course is to walk in good works; the last to attain, by God’s mercy, to everlasting felicity.

Such language then, which is the language of the Article, suits the baptismal theory as well as the Calvinistic theory; and it has been contended with great force by Archbishop Laurence and Mr. Faber, that no other sense can be properly attached to it.

On the whole, however, it seems worthy of consideration, whether the Article was not designedly drawn up in guarded and general terms, on purpose to comprehend all persons of tolerably sober views. It is hardly likely that Cranmer and his associates would have been willing to exclude from subscription those who symbolized with the truly admirable St. Augustine, or those who held the theory of prevision, so common among those fathers whose writings Cranmer had so diligently studied. Nor, again, can we imagine that anything would have been put forth markedly offensive to Melancthon, whose very thoughts and words seem embodied in one portion of this Article, as well as in so many of the preceding. Therefore, though Cranmer was strong in condemning those who made God the author of sin, by saying that He enforced the will; though he firmly maintained that Christ died to save all men, and would have all men to be saved; though he and his fellows rejected the Calvinistic tenet of final perseverance; they were yet willing to leave the field fairly open to different views of the Divine predestination, and accordingly worded the Article in strictly Scriptural language, only guarding carefully and piously against the dangers which might befal “carnal and curious persons.” After long and serious consideration, I am inclined to think this the true state of the case. I am strongly disposed to believe that Cranmer’s own opinions were certainly neither Arminian nor Calvinistic, nor probably even Augustinian; yet I can hardly think that he would have so worded this Article, had he intended to declare very decidedly against either explanation of the doctrine of election.

It seems unnecessary to do more than briefly allude to the painful controversies to which this fruitful subject gave rise in the Church of England, since the Reformation. A sufficient account was given, under Article XVI., of the disputes which led to the drawing up of the Lambeth Articles, which, though accepted by Archbishop Whitgift and a majority of the divines at Lambeth, never had any ecclesiastical authority. The first four of these were designed to express distinctly the Calvinistic doctrines of election and reprobation; though the bishops softened down a few of the expressions in Whitaker’s original draught, so as to make them a little less exclusive.[104] The Puritan party at Hampton Court wished that these “nine assertions orthodoxal” should be added to the XXXIX. Articles, and also that some of the expressions in the XXXIX. Articles which sounded most against Calvinism should be altered or modified; but their wish was not obtained.[105] There have ever since continued different views of the doctrine of predestination amongst us, and different interpretations of this XVIIth Article. It were indeed much to be wished that such differences might cease; but from the days of St. Augustine to this day, they have existed in the universal Church; and we can scarcely hope to see them utterly subside in our own portion of it.

Notes

  1. The five points of Calvinism, as they are called, are — 1. Predestination, including Predestination, or election to life eternal, and Reprobation, or Predestination to damnation. 2. Particular Redemption, i. e. That Christ died only for a chosen few. 3. Original Sin. 4. Irresistible Grace, or effectual calling, the opposite to which is Free will. 5. Final Perseverance.
  2. τῆς ἀλλοτρίας καὶ ξένης τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς τοῦ Θεοῦ μιαρᾶς καὶ ἀνοσίου στάσεως. — 1 Ep. ad Corinth. 1.
  3. εἰς τὸ σώζεσθαι μετ’ ἐλέους καὶ συνει δήσεως τὸν ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν αὐτοῦ. — 1 Ep. ad Corinth. 2.
  4. Πατέρα ἡμῶν, ὁς ἐκλογῆς μέρος ἐποίησεν ἑαυτῷ. Οὕτω γὰρ γέγραπται · Ὅτε διεμέρισεν ὁψιστος ἔθνη, ὡς δὲ ἔσπειρεν υἱοὺςδὰμ, ἔστησεν ὅρια ἐθνῶν κατὰ ἀριθμὸν ἀγγέλων · ἐγενήθη μερὶς Κυρίου λαὸς αὐτοῦ ακὼβ, σχοίνισμα κληρονομίας αὐτουσραὴλ · καὶ ἐν ἑτέρῳ τόπῳ λέγει · Ἰδοὺ Κύριος λαμβάνει ἑαυτῷ ἔθνος ἐκ μέσου ἐθνῶν, ὥσπερ λαμβάνει ἄνθρωπος τὴν ἀπαρχὴν αὐτοῦ τῆς ἅλω · καὶ ἐξελεύσεται ἐκ τοῦ ἔθνους ἐκείνου ἅγια ἁγίων. —1 Ep. ad Corinth. 29.
  5. ἐν ἀγάπῃ ἐτελειώθησαν πάντες οἱ ἐκλεκτοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ. — Ibid. 49.
  6. παντεπόπτης Θεὸς καὶ Δεσπότης τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ Κύριος πάσης σαρκὸς, ὁ ἐκλεξάμενος τὸν Κύριονησοῦν Χριστόν, καὶ ἡμᾶς δι’ αὐτοῦ εἰς λαὸν περιούσιον, δῴη, κ. τ. λ. — Ibid. 58.
  7. γνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοϕόρος, τῇ εὐλογημένῃ ἐν μεγέθει Θεοῦ Πατρὸς πληρώματι, τῇ πρωορισμένῃ πρὸ αἰώνων διὰ παντὸς εἰς δόξαν, παράμονον, ἄτρεπτον, ἠνωμένην καὶ ἐκλελεγμένην, ἐν πάθει ἀληθινῷ, ἐν θελήματι τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡμῶν, τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ τῇ ἀξιομακαρίστῳ τῇ οὔσῃ ἐνϕέσῳ τῆςσίας, κ. τ. λ. —Ignat. Ad Ephes. 1.
  8. γνάτιος, ὁ καὶ Θεοϕόρος, ἠγαπημένῃ Θεῷ Πατρὶησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἁγίᾳ, τῇ οὔσῃ ἐν Τράλλεσιν τῆςσίας, ἐκλεκτῇ καὶ ἀξιοθέῳ. — Ignat. Ad Trall. 1.
  9. “Ecce Deus virtutum qui . . . . virtute sua potenti condidit ecclesiam suam quam benedixit: ecce transferet cœlos ac montes, colles ac maria, et omnia plana (al. plena), fient electis ejus; ut reddat illis repromissionem quam repromisit,” &c. — Lib. I. Vis. I. 3.
  10. “Potes hæc electis Dei renunciare?” —Lib. I.
  11. “Vade ergo et enarra electis Dei magnalia ipsius. Et dices illis quod bestia hæc figura est pressuræ superventuræ. Si ergo præparaveritis vos, poteritis effugere illam, si cor venturum fuerit purum et sine macula. . . . . Væ dubiis iis, qui audierint verba hæc et contempserint; melius erat illis non nasci.” —Lib. I. Vis. IV. 2.
  12. “Apostoli et episcopi et doctores et ministri, qui ingressi sunt in clementia Dei, et episcopatum gesserunt, et docuerunt, et ministraverunt sancte et modeste electis Dei qui dormiverunt quique adhuc sunt.” —Lib. I. Vis. III. 5.
  13. “Tunc remittentur illis peccata, quæ jampridem peccaverunt, et omnibus sanctis qui peccaverunt usque in hodiernum diem, et si toto corde suo egerint pœnitentiam, et abstulerint a cordibus suis dubitationes. Juravit enim Dominator ille, per gloriam suam, super electos suos, præfinita ista die, etiam nunc si peccaverit aliquis, non habiturum illum salutem.” — Lib. I. Vis. II. 2. Compare with this the passage cited in note 8 of last page.
  14. “Alba autem pars superventuri est sæculi in quo habitabunt electi Dei, quoniam immaculati et puri erunt electi Dei in vitam æternam.” — Lib. I. Vis. IV. 3.
  15. Art. X. Sect. I. p. 261.
  16. Dial. p. 290.
  17. ἀλλ’ εἱμαρμένην ϕαμὲν ἀπαράβατον ταύτην εἶναι, τοῖς τὰ καλὰ ἐκλεγομένοις, τὰ ἄξια ἐπιτίμια · καὶ τοῖς ὁμοίως τὰ ἐναντία, τὰ ἄξια ἐπίχειρα. — Apol. I. p. 81.
  18. Apol. I. p. 82 a.
  19. καὶ συντελεσθῇ ὁ ἀριθμὸς τῶν προεγνωσμένων αὐτῷ ἀγαθῶν γιγνομένων καὶ ἐναρετῶν, κ. τ. λ. — Apol. I. p. 82 d.
  20. Bp. Kaye’s Justin Martyr, p. 82.
  21. Οὐκοῦν οὐκ εὐκαταϕρόνητος δῆμος ἐσμὲν, οὐδὲ βάρβαρον ϕῦλον, οὐδὲ ὁποῖα Καρῶν ἢ Φρυγῶν ἔθνη, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡμᾶς ἐξελέξατο ὁ Θεὸς, καὶ ἐμϕανὴς ἐγενήθη τοῖς μὴ ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτὸν. Ἰδοὺ Θεός εἰμι, ϕησὶ τῷ ἔθνει οἵ οὐκ ἐπεκαλέσαντο τὸ ὄνομά μου . . . . καὶ ἡμᾶς δὲ ἅπαντας δι’ ἐκείνης τῆς ϕωνῆς ἐκάλεσε, καὶ ἐξήλθομεν ἤδη ἀπὸ τῆς πολιτείας ἐν ᾗ ἐζῶμεν, κ. τ. λ. — Dial. p. 347.
  22. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πληρωθέντος τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ οὗ αὐτὸς παραὑτῷ προώρισε, πάντες οἱ ἐγγραϕέντες εἰς ζωὴν ἀναστήσονται . . . . ἵνα τὸ σύμμετρον ϕῦλον τῆς προορίσεως ἀπὸ Θεοῦ ἀνθρωπότητος ἀποτελεσθὲν τὴν ἁρμονίαν τηρήσῃ τοῦ Πατρὸς. —Adv. Hær. II. 72.
  23. “Deus his quidem qui non credunt, sed nullificant eum, infert cæcitatem. . . . Si igitur et nunc, quotquot scit non credituros Deus, cum sit omnium præcognitor tradidit eos infidelitati eorum, et avertit faciem ab hujusmodi, relinquens eos in tenebris, quas ipsi sibi elegerunt; quid mirum, si et tunc nunquam crediturum Pharaonem, cum his qui cum eo erant, tradidit eos suæ infidelitati,” &c. — Lib. IV. 48.
  24. “Nec enim lumen deficit propter eos qui semetipsos excæcaverunt, sed illo perseverante quale et est excæcati per suam culpam in caligine constituuntur. Neque lumen cum magna necessitate subjiciet sibi quemquam: neque Deus coget eum, qui nolit continere ejus artem. Qui igitur abstiterunt a paterno lumine et transgressi sunt legem libertatis, per suam abstiterunt culpam, liberi arbitrii et suæ potestatis facti. Deus autem omnia præsciens, utrisque aptas præparavit habitationes,” &c. — Lib. IV. 76; Conf. Lib. V. 27, 28.
  25. “In ea enim epistola quæ est ad Romanos, ait Apostolus: Sed et Rebecca ex uno concubitu habens Isaac patris nostri; a Verbo responsum accepit, ut secundum electionem propositum Dei permaneat, non ex operibus, sed ex vocante, dictum est ei: Duo populi in utero tuo, et duæ gentes in ventre tuo, et populus populum superabit, et major serriet minori. Ex quibus manifestum est non solum prophetationes patriarcharum, sed et partum Rebeccæ prophetiam fuisse duorum populorum: et unum quidem esse majorem, alterum vero minorem; et alterum quidem sub servitio, alterum autem liberum; unius autem et ejusdem patris. Unus et idem Deus noster et illorum; qui est absconsorum cognitor, qui scit omnia antequam fiant; et propter hoc dixit; Jacob dilexi, Esau autem odio habui.” — Lib. IV. 38.
  26. “Plantavit enim Deus vineam humani generis, primo quidem per plasmationem Adæ, et electionem patrum: tradidit autem eam colonis per eam legis dationem quæ est per Moysem; sepem autem circumdedit, id est, circumterminavit eorum culturam; et turrim ædificavit, Hierusalem elegit . . . . Non credentibus autem illis, &c. . . . . tradidit eam Dominus Deus non jam circumvallatam, sed expansam in universum mundum aliis colonis, reddentibus fructus temporibus suis, turre electionis exaltata ubique et speciosa. Ubique enim præclara est ecclesia, et ubique circumfossum torcular: ubique enim sunt qui suscipiunt Spiritum . . . . Sed quoniam et patriarchas qui elegit et nos, idem est Verbum Dei,” &c. — Lib. IV. 70.
  27. Deus stetit in synagoga, &c. De Patre et Filio et de his qui adoptionem perceperunt, dicit: hi autem sunt ecclesia. Hæc enim est synagoga Dei, quam Deus, hoc est, Filius ipse, per semetipsum collegit.” — Lib. III. 6.
  28. “Non est bonæ et solidæ fidei, sic omnia ad voluntatem Dei referre: et ita adulari unumquemque, dicendo nihil fieri sine jussione Ejus: ut non intelligamus aliquid esse in nobis ipsis. Cæterum excusabitur omne delictum, si continuerimus nihil fieri a nobis sine Dei voluntate.” — De Exhortatione Castitatis, c. 2. See Bishop Kaye’s view of Tertullian’s opinion on this subject in his account of Tertullian, p. 341.
  29. τὸ ἄθροισμα τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἐκκλησίαν καλῶ. — Stromat. VII. p. 846, Potter.
  30. τοίνυν συνέχουσα τὴν ἐκκλησίαν, ὡς ϕησὶν ὁ ποιμὴν, ἀρετὴ ἡ πίστις ἐστὶ, δι’ ἧς σώζονται οἱ ἐκλεκτοὶ τοῦ Θεοῦ. Stromat. Lib. II. p. 458, Potter.
  31. See Stromat. Lib. VII. p. 885.
  32. μίαν εἶναι τὴν ἀληθῆ ἐκκλησίαν, εἰς ἣν οἱ κατὰ πρόθεσιν δίκαιοι ἐγκαταλέγονταιμόνην εἶναι ϕάμεν τὴν ἀρχαίαν καὶ καθολικὴν ἐκκλησίαν . . . . δι’ ἑνός τοῦ Κυρίου συνάγουσαν τοὺς ἤδη κατατεταγμένους, οὓς προώρισεν ὁ Θεὸς. — Strom. VII. p. 899.
  33. οὓς προώρισεν ὁ Θεὸς, δικαίους ἐσομένους πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἐγνωκώς. — Ibid.
  34. μεταλαμβάνει δὲ τῆς εὐποιΐας ἕκαστος ἡμῶν πρὸς ὃ βούλεται · ἐπεὶ τὴν διαϕορὰν τῆς ἐκλογῆς ἀξία γενομένη ψυχῆς αἵρεσίς τε καὶ συνάσκησις πεποίηκεν. — Strom. V. sub fine. p. 734.
  35. Bp. Kaye, Clement. Alex. p. 434.
  36. Faber, Primitive Doctrine of Election, p. 269.
  37. Bossuet, Defense de la Tradition et des Saints Pères, Tom. II. Liv. XII. chap. 26; Lumper, Historia Theologico-Critica, Tom. IV. p. 285.
  38. Pædagog. Lib. III. sub fine, p. 311. The concluding words are, ἐπεὶ δὲ εἰς τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ἡμᾶς καταστήσας ὁ Παιδαγωγὸς αὐτὸς ἑαυτῷ παρακατέθετο τῷ διδασκαλικῷ καὶ πανεπισκόπῳ Λόγῳ, καλῶς ἂν ἔχοι ἡμᾶς ἐνταῦθα γενομένους, μισθὸν εὐχαριστίας δικαίας, κατάλληλον ἀστείου παιδαγωγίας ανον ἀναπέμψαι Κυρίῳ.
  39. σπερ εἴ τις ὁρῶν τινα διὰ μὲν ἀμαθίαν προπετῆ διὰ δὲ τὴν προπέτειαν ἀναλογίστως ἐπιβαίνοντα ὁδοῦ ὀλισθήρας, καὶ καταλάβοι πεπεῖσθαι ὀλισθήσαντα, οὐχὶ αἴτιος τοῦ ὀλίσθου ἐκείνῳ γίνεται · οὕτω νοητέον τὸν Θεὸν προεωρακότα ὁποῖος ἔσται ἕκαστος, καὶ τὰς αἰτίας τοῦ τοιοῦτον αὐτὸν ἔσεσθαι καθορᾷν καὶ ὅτι ἁμαρτήσεται τάδε γινώσκει, καὶ κατορθώσει τάδε · καὶ εἰ χρὴ λέγειν οὐ τὴν πρόγνωσιν αἰτίαν τῶν γινομένων · οὐ γὰρ ἐϕάπτεται τοῦ προεγνωσμένου ἁμαρτησομένου ὁ Θεὸς, ὅταν ἁμαρτάνῃ · ἀλλὰ παραδοξότερον μὲν, ἀληθὲς δὲ ἐροῦμεν, τὸ ἐσόμενον αἴτιον τοῦ τοιάνδε εἶναι τὴν περὶ αὐτοῦ πρόγνωσιν · οὐ γἁρ, ἐπεὶ ἔγνωσται, γίνεται, ἀλλ’ ἐπεὶ γίνεσθαι ἔμελλεν, ἔγνωσται. — Origen. Philocal. c. XXIII.
  40. Andrewes, Judgment of the Lambeth Articles.
  41. Answer to a letter of certain English Protestants.
  42. “Respondemus, præscientia Dei factum esse, qua novit etiam de nondum natis, qualis quisque futurus sit . . . Non ergo elegit Deus opera cujusquam in præscientia, quæ ipse daturus, sed fidem elegit in præscientia: ut quem sibi crediturum esse præscivit, ipsum elegerit cui Spiritum Sanctum daret, ut bona operando etiam vitam æternam consequeretur.” — Proposit. Ex. Epist. ad Romanos Expositio. Tom. III. pars 2, 916.
  43. Retractationum, Lib. I. cap. IX. Tom. I. p. 15.
  44. “Item disputans quid elegerit Deus in nondum nato . . . . ad hoc perduxi ratiocinationem, ut dicerem, Non ergo elegit Deus opera cujusquam in præscientia, quæ ipse daturus est; sed fidem elegit in præscientia, ut quem sibi crediturum esse præscivit, ipsum elegerit cui Spiritum Sanctum daret, ut bona operando etiam vitam æternam consequeretur: nondum diligentius quæsiveram, nec adhuc inveneram qualis sit electio gratiæ.” — Retract. Lib. I. cap. XXIII. Tom. I. p. 35.
  45. De Corrept. et Grat. 28, Tom. X. p. 763.
  46. De Dono Perseverantiæ, 31, p. 837; De Corrept. et Gratia, § 16, Tom. X. p. 758.
  47. De Dono Perseverantiæ, 23, Tom. X. p. 832.
  48. Ibid. § 1, Tom. X. pp. 821, 822; § 2, p. 823; § 21, p. 831; §§ 32, 33, p. 838.
  49. De Natura et Gratia, cap. V. Tom. X. p. 129.
  50. De Dono Perseverantiæ, § 35; Tom. X. p. 839.
  51. De Dono Perseverantiæ, § 21, Tom. X. p. 831: “De duobus autem parvulis originali peccato pariter obstrictis, cur iste assumatur, ille relinquatur; et ex duobus ætate jam grandibus, cur iste ita vocetur, ut vocantem sequatur; ille autem aut non vocetur, aut non ita vocetur inscrutabilia sunt judicia Dei. Ex duobus autem piis, cur huic donetur perseverantia usque in finem, illi non donetur inscrutabiliora sunt judicia Dei. Illud tamen fidelibus debet esse certissimum, hunc esse ex prædestinatis, illum non esse.”
  52. De Correptione et Gratia, § 16, Tom. X. p. 758.
  53. See the correspondence of Augustine with Valentinus. — August. Opp. Tom. II. pp. 791‒799.
  54. Generally supposed to be the Bishop of Arles, though the Benedictine editor gives good reasons for thinking it may have been another person of the same name.
  55. “Quid opus fuit hujuscemodi disputationis incerto tot minus intelligentium corda turbari? Neque enim minus utiliter sine hac definitione, aiunt, tot annis, a tot tractatoribus, tot præcedentibus libris et tuis et aliorum, cum contra alios, tum maxime contra Pelagianos, Catholicam fidem fuisse defensam.” — Epist. Hilar. § 8; Aug. Opp. Tom. X. p. 787. See also De Dono Persev. § 52, Tom. X. p. 850.
  56. Ibid. § 4.
  57. Epist. Prosper. § 3; Aug. Op. Tom. X. p. 779; De Prædestinat. § 2, p. 791.
  58. Epist. Prosper. § 9, p. 873.
  59. De Prædestin. § 7, Tom. X. p. 793.
  60. De Dono Persever. § 53, Tom. X. p. 851.
  61. De Prædestin. § 27, p. 808.
  62. “In nullo gloriandum, quando nostrum nihil sit.” — Cypr. Ad Quirinum, Lib. III. Cap. 4; August. De Prædest. § 7, Tom. X. p. 753; De Dono Persever. § 36, p. 841; § 48, p. 848.
  63. Cyprian, In Dominic. Orat.; August. De Dono Persever. § 4, p. 824.
  64. δώσει γάρ εὖ οἶδα ὁ τὸ πρῶτον δοὺς, καὶ τὸ δεύτερον, καὶ μάλιστα. — Greg. Nazianz. Oratio 44 in Pentecosten. “Gregorium addamus et tertium qui et credere in Deum, et quod credimus, confiteri, Dei donum esse testatur . . . . Dabit enim, certus sum; qui dedit quod primum est, dabit et quod secundum est: qui dedit credere, dabit et confiteri.” — Aug. De Dono Persever. 49, p. 849.
  65. “Quod cum dicit, non negat Deo visum: a Deo enim præparatur voluntas hominum. Ut enim Deus honorificetur a sancto, Dei gratia est.” — Ambros. Comment. in Lucam apud August. Ibid.
  66. “Simul disce, inquit, quid recipi noluit a non simplici mente conversis. Nam si voluisset, ex indevotis devotos fecisset. Cur autem non receperint eum, evangelista ipse commemoravit, dicens, Quia facies ejus erat euntis in Jerusalem. Discipuli autem recipi intra Samariam gestiebant. Sed Deus quos dignatur vocat, et quem vult religiosum faciet.” — Ambros. Comment. in Lucam, Lib. VII. apud Augustin. Ibid.
  67. See this very successfully shown by Faber, Primitive Doctrine of Election, Bk. I. ch. VIII. p. 168, &c. The following passage shows clearly, that he held the views of Clement and Origen concerning God’s prevision of faith as the ground of His predestination to glory. In discussing Matt. xx. 23, he writes: “Denique ad Patrem referens addidit: Quibus paratum est, ut ostenderet Patrem quoque non petitionibus deferre solere, sed meritis, quia Deus personarum acceptor non est. Unde et Apostolus ait, Quos præscivit, et prædestinavit. Non enim ante prædestinavit quam præsciret, sed quorum merita præscivit, eorum præmia prædestinavit.” — De Fide ad Gratianum, Lib. V. cap. 2. sub fine. Mr. Faber has clearly shown that elsewhere St. Ambrose maintains the doctrine of ecclesiastical election.
  68. Epist. ad Ruffinum, Cap. XIV.; Append. ad Op. Augustin. Tom. X. p. 168.
  69. See Appendix to Vol. X. of St. Augustine’s Works, p. 223, seq.
  70. Conc. Tom. IV. p. 1041. See also Hooker’s Works, edit. Keble, Oxford, 1836; Vol. II. Appendix, p. 736, notes.
  71. Concil. IV. 1666; Appendix to Vol. X. of St. Augustine’s Works, p. 157.
  72. See above, p. 265.
  73. Hincmar, De Prædestin. Cap. 5; Cave, Hist. Lit. Tom. I. p. 528.
  74. Hincmar, Ibid. c. 27; Cave, Ibid. Archbishop Usher wrote a history of the controversy concerning Goteschalc.
  75. See Cave, as above; and Mosheim, Cent. IX. pt. II. ch. III.
  76. See above, p. 266. See also Neander, C. H. VIII. p. 171.
  77. Archbishop Laurence, in the learned notes to his Bampton Lectures, seems to contend that none of the schoolmen believed in predestination, in the absolute and irrespective sense in which St. Augustine held it. But it seems to me that the very passages which he quotes from Aquinas prove that he did hold Augustine’s view of predestination to life, though he clearly denied reprobation, and the certainty of individual perseverance: e. g. “Deus habet præscientiam etiam de peccatis; sed prædestinatio est de bonis salutaribus.” — Aquin. Exposit. in Rom. cap. 8; Laurence, p. 353. See also the passages immediately following, and the quotations from Aquinas ap. Laurence, p. 152; where his view of perseverance seems exactly the same as that which we have seen above to have been St. Augustine’s.
  78. Above, p. 267.
  79. See Laurence, Bampton Lectures, note 6, to Serm. VII. pp. 355, seq. See especially Lutheri Opera, VI. p. 355; Laurence, pp. 356, 357.
  80. Preface to Vol. I. of his Works, Wittenb. 1545; Laurence, p. 250.
  81. See Laurence, p. 249; Serm. II. note 16. Serm. VII. note 7.
  82. Opp. Tom. V. p. 197. See under History of Article XVI.
  83. See his language largely quoted, Laurence, pp. 159, 162, 163, 241, 359, 366, 367, 370. Some of the same passages may be seen in Faber, Primitive Doctrine of Election, pp. 350, 351, 352.
  84. Luther’s sentiments on universal grace are shown by Archbishop Laurence, pp. 160, 359. On his and Melancthon’s belief in baptismal election see p. 157; e. g. “Quicquid hic factum est, id omne propter nos factum, qui in illum credimus, et in nomen ejus baptizati, et ad salutem destinati, atque electi sumus.” — Luth. Opp. Tom. VII. p. 355; Laurence, p. 157. “De effectu electionis teneamus hanc consolationem; Deum, volentem non perire totum genus humanum, semper propter Filium per misericordiam vocare, trahere et colligere Ecclesiam, et recipere assentientes, atque ita velle semper aliquam esse ecclesiam, quam adjuvat et salvat.” — Melancth. Loc. Theolog. De Prædest.; Laurence, p. 357. See other passages there to the same effect. See also Faber, Prim. Doct. of Election, p. 374, note: who brings numerous passages from Melancthon to prove that he held election to baptismal grace.
  85. “Nihil restat, quo minus inter gentes quoque Deus sibi deligat, qui observent et post fata illi jungantur; libera est enim electio ejus.” — Zuing. Oper. Tom. II. p. 371; Faber, Prim. Doct. of Election, p. 373; Laurence, Serm. V. notes 1, 2, pp. 295‒302.
  86. Sarpi, p. 197.
  87. “Aliis vita æterna, aliis damnatio æterna præordinata.” — Institut. III. xxi. 5. “Quod ergo Scriptura clare ostendit dicimus, æterno et immutabili consilio Deum semel constituisse quos olim semel assumere vellet in salutem, quos rursum exitio devovere. Hoc consilium quoad electos in gratuita ejus misericordia fundatum esse asserimus, nullo humanæ dignitatis respectu: quos vero damnationi addicit, his justo quidem et irreprehensibili, sed incomprehensibili ipsius judicio, vitæ aditum præcludi.” — Ibid. III. xxi. 7.
  88. Institut. III. xxi. 6.
  89. “Lapsus enim primus homo, quia Dominus ita expedire censuerat: cur censuerit, nos latet. Certum tamen est non aliter censuisse, nisi quia videbat nominis sui gloriam inde merito illustrari.” — Lib. III. xxiii. 8.
  90. Lib. III. xxiv. 1, seq.
  91. Lib. III. xxiv. 6, 7.
  92. Calvin himself owns that Ambrose, Origen, and Jerome, held the Arminian view of election. — Institut. III. xxii. 8.
  93. See Mosheim, Cent. XVII. Sect. II. ch. II. § 11; Heylyn, Histor. Quinquartic. Part II. ch. IV. And for the decrees of Dordrecht on Predestination, see Sylloge Confess. p. 406.
  94. Above, pp. 269, 270.
  95. Concerning effectual calling see particularly the original Xth Article, quoted p. 271; and the whole History of Article X. On Final Perseverance, see History of Art. XVI.
  96. “The offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world.” — Art. XXXI. “God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind.” — Catechism. “A full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.” — Prayer of Consecration at the Holy Communion.
  97. See Laurence’s Bampton Lectures, passim, and the historical sections to several of the foregoing Articles.
  98. See Laurence, Sermon I. note 3, p. 198.
  99. “Nimis horridæ fuerunt initio Stoicæ disputationes apud nostros de fato, et disciplinæ nocuerunt. Quare te rogo, ut de tali aliqua formula doctrinæ cogites.” — Melancth. Epist. Lib. III. Epist. 44; Laurence, p. 226.
  100. Letter to Bradford in the Library of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, Ridley’s Remains, Parker Society’s edition, p. 367.
  101. See Laurence, Sermon VIII. note 8, p. 389‒394.
  102. See Laurence, p. 180.
  103. “Et si alia subtiliter de electione disputari fortasse possunt, tamen prodest piis tenere quod promissio sit universalis. Nec debemus de voluntate Dei aliter judicare quam juxta Verbum revelatum, et scire debemus, quod Deus præceperat, ut credamus.” — Opera, IV. p. 498; Laurence, pp. 172, 362, 363.
  104. The Lambeth Articles, after revision by the bishops, were as follows: — 1. Deus, ab æterno, prædestinavit quosdam ad vitam, quosdam reprobavit ad mortem. 2. Causa movens prædestinationis ad vitam, non est prævisio fidei aut perseverantiæ, aut bonorum operum aut ullius rei quæ insit in personis prædestinatis, sed sola voluntas beneplaciti Dei. 3. Prædestinatorum definitus et certus est numerus, qui nec augeri nec minui potest. 4. Qui non sunt prædestinati ad salutem necessario propter peccata sua damnabuntur. 5. Vera, viva et justificans Fides, et Spiritus Dei justificantis non extinguitur, non excidit, non evanescit, in electis, aut finaliter aut totaliter. 6. Homo vere fidelis, i. e. fide justificante præditus, certus est, Plerophoria Fidei, de remissione peccatorum suorum, et salute sempiterna sua per Christum. 7. Gratia salutaris non tribuitur, non communicatur, non conceditur universis hominibus, qua servari possint, si voluerint. 8. Nemo potest venire ad Christum, nisi datum ei fuerit, et nisi Pater eum traxerit. Et omnes homines non trahuntur a Patre, ut veniant ad Filium. 9. Non est positum in arbitrio aut potestate uniuscujusque hominis salvari.We saw under Article XVI. the alterations introduced by the Lambeth Divines into Propositions 5 and 6, thereby materially modifying the sense. The first proposition expresses a general truth, to which all assent. In the second Whitaker had “Causa efficiens,” which the bishops altered to “movens;” for the moving cause of man’s salvation is not in himself, but in God’s mercy through Christ. So, instead of the last words in Whitaker’s second Proposition, “sed sola, et absoluta, et simplex voluntas Dei,” they put “sed sola voluntas beneplaciti Dei,” because our salvation springs from God’s good pleasure and goodness. Yet even so modified (and with such modifications all their original force was lost) the Articles did not approve themselves to the Queen or the best of our then living divines.
  105. Cardwell’s Conferences, pp. 178, seq.

 




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