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stead of the people: “yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin:
and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou
hast written." As if he had said, “I accept not the condition
offered of preserving me alive, and increasing me greatly
after the destruction of Israel: I choose rather to die an
untimely death, than that Israel should be destroyed in the
wilderness.” 2. Of a federal and ecclesiastical life, consisting
in communion with the people of God. Which is the register
not only of those internally, but of those externally in cove-
nant, mentioned Ezek. xiii. 9. “they shall not be in the as-
sembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writ-
ing of the house of Israel;” and Psal. lxxxvii. 6. “The Lord
shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was
born there.” 3. Of life eternal, mentioned Isa. iv. 3. Dan. xii.
1. Phil. iv. 3. Luke x. 20. Rev. iii. 5. xiii. 8. xx. 12. and
xxi. 27, which book signifies the register of those predestinated
to life eternal. .
VII. Further, as the book of God denotes not one and the
same thing: so the writing of persons in any of these is not
always the same. ... The writing of some is only imaginary,
consisting in a fallacious judgment concerning ourselves or
others, too easily presuming either our own, or the election
of others, such as was that of those who cried out, Jer. vii.
4. “ the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the
temple of the Lord are these;” and of the people of Sardis,
who were said to live, though they were really dead, Rev.
iii. 1. There is another inscription which is indeed true,
but it is only human, in the book of the federal life, done
either by the man himself, by a profession of the faith, sub-
scribing as with his own hand, I am the Lord's, Isa. xlv. 5, or
the guides of the church, inserting such a person in the list
% professors, % acknowledging . for *:::::: of the
church, of the visible at .# There is, in fine, a writing
of God himself, made by his eternal and immutable decree;
of which the apostle says, 2 Tim. ii. 19. the Lord knoweth them
that are his. The observation of these things throws much
light on many places of scripture, and will immediately prove
also of use to us.
VIII. This election to glory is not some general de-
cree of God about saving §. faithful and the godly, who
shall persevere in their faith and piety to the end of their
life; but a particular desi ion of certain individual per-
sons, whom God has enrolled as heirs of salvation. It is
not consistent with the perfection of God to ascribe to him
general and indeterminate decrees, which were to receive any
determination or certainty from men. We read, Acts ii. 23.
of the determinate counsel of God, but never of a general
and indeterminate decree. Neither does the scripture ever
describe election as the determination of any certain condition,
by and without, which salvation is, or is not obtained. It
is no where said that faith is chosen by God, or written
down in the book of life, or any thing like that ; but that
men, indeed, are chosen by God. Let us refer to Rom. viii.
29, 30. “for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate.
Whom he did predestinate, them he also called,” &c. It is
not said in the text, persons so qualified, that it might
be applied to the designation of any condition, but certain
f. are appointed as the objects of the acts there men-
IX. The very term, rootsity to predestinate, which the
apostle more frequently uses on this subject, does not obscure-
ly discover this truth. For, as itsely signifies to point out,
or ordain a certain person, Acts xvii. 31. by that man
whom &gid, he hath ordained, and pointed out by name; and
Acts x. 42. '• ‘wgiousvos, which was ordained of God to be the
judge ; and Rom. i. 4. gigolo, us sis, declered to be [determin-
ately marked out as] the Son of God, who was, by name, and
particularly declared to be so by God, by a public nomination;
so resogisely, as applied to the heirs of eternal life, must signify,
to enroll, or write down some certain persons as heirs in the
X. This is what Christ said to his disciples, Luke x. 20.
rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Where he
speaks to them by name, and assures them of his election,
and bids them rejoice on that account. Which is certainly
of much greater import, than if he had said in general, “re-
joice because God has established, by an eternal decree, that
he would make all believers happy in heaven, though he has
thought nothing of you by name:” for in this manner, accord-
ing to the opinion of our adversaries, these words were to
XI. What the apostle, Phil. iv. 3, expressly asserts con-
cerning Clement and his other fellow-labourers, that their
names were in the book of life, ought to be sufficient for de-
termining this enquiry : since impudence itself dares not
wrest that to a general decree of some condition. For, 1st.
The name of a person is one thing, the condition of a thing
another. He who determines to inlist none but valiant men
for soldiers, does not write down the names of some soldiers
in the roll. 2dly. The condition of salvation is but one, but
chap. Iv.] OF ELECTION. $29
the scripture always o: in the plural number of the names
written in the book of life. Therefore the writing down of the
names is one thing, the determination of some condition another.
3dly. It is certain, that the apostle, and other sacred writers,
when they say, that some men, or the names of some, are writ-
ten in the book of life, do always, by that very thing, distin-
guish them from others who are not inserted. But, according
to the opinion of our adversaries, the appointment of this con-
dition imports no actual distinction between men. Because
notwithstanding that decree, about saving believers and those
who obey it, it may be possible, according to their principles,
that none should believe, obey, or be saved. 4thly. All these
things will be more cogent, if we attend to the original of
this metaphorical expression. The similitude is taken from a
genealogical catalogue or register, especially among the people
of God; in which the names of every particular person, [.
longing to any family, was written: and, according to this ca-
talogue, at the time of the jubilee, or other solemnity, when
the paternal inheritance was restored to any family, every one
was either admitted, or rejected, according as his name was, or
was not found there. We have an example of this, Ezra ii.
61, 62. when after the Babylonish captivity, the posterity of
Habaiah, Koz, and Barzillai, not being able to prove their
descent by the genealogical registers, were put from the priest-
hood. In the same manner, the book of life contains the
names of those who belong to the family of God; in which he
who is not written, whatever he may presume, or pretend, will
be deprived of the inheritance.
XII. To conclude, I would ask our adversaries, when the
apostle says, 2 Tim. ii. 19. “ the Lord knoweth them that
are his,” and the Lord Jesus, John xiii. 18. “I know whom
I have chosen,” whether there is nothing ascribed to God or
to Christ, in these words, but what the least in the school of
Christ knows, that they who believe in, and obey Christ,
are the peculiar property of God and of Christ? Has not that
language a grander sound, and does it not intimate, that God
has the exactest account of all, in whom he will be glorified,
as his peculiar people? We yield to what our adversaries de-
clare in Compend. Socin. c. iv. § 1. “Admitting the infallible
prescience of all future contingents, Calvin's doctrine of the
predestination of some by name to life, of others to death,
cannot be refuted.” But that prescience of God has as many
witnesses, as he has constituted prophets. It follows there-
fore, that election is a designation or appointment of some
certain persons. ... ."
330 - of ELECTION. [book III.
XIII. This designation was made from ETERNITY; as were all the counsels or decrees of God in general; for, “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts xi. 18. “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,” Eph. i. 11. And all the foreknowledge of future contingencies is founded in the decree of God: consequently he determined with himself from eternity, every thing he executes in time. If we are to believe this with respect to all the decrees of God, much more with regard to that distinguishing decree, whereby he purposed to display his glory in the eternal state of men. . And I shall add what ought in the fullest manner to establish this truth, that “we are chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world,” Eph. i. 4.
*IV. And hence appears the gangrene of the Socinian heretics, who, distinguishing between predestination, which they define the general decree of God, concerning the salvation of all those who constantly obey Christ, and between election, which is of particular persons; they say, indeed, that the former is from eternity, but the latter made in time, when a person performs the condition contained in the general decree of predestination. And they make the excellence of the Lord Jesus, and a o of his divinity to consist in this, that he was foreknown by name from eternity. But as Peter writes, 1 Pet. i. 20. that Christ “was foreordained before the foundation of the world;” so we have just heard Paul testifying by the same expression, that “we were chosen before the foundation of the world.” But neither the subject, as we have just shewn, nor the apostle's words, which describe not an election of holiness, as the condition of life, but an election of some certain persons to holiness, which in virtue of that election, they had already in part obtained, and were afterwards in the Å; manner to obtain, will not suffer us to pervert this to some general decree of saving , Saints.
XV. We are here to explain what our Saviour declares he will pronounce on the last day of judgment, Matt. xxv. 34. “inherit the kingdom prepared for you &r zalaćoxi, zoos from the foundation of the world:” he does not say, “before the foundation of the world,” as is said, Eph. i. 4. If by this preparing we understand God's decree, we must say with many expositors, that this phrase from the foundation of the world, is equivalent to that other, before the foundation of the world: just as, from the beginning of the world, Acts xv. 18. and before the world, 1 Cor. ii. 7. denote the very
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char. Iv.] OF Election. 331
same thing. ... Similar expressions of eternity may be compared, Prov. viii. 23. “from everlasting; from the beginning; or ever the earth was.” Or if we would rather distinguish these, and explain that expression, from the foundation of the world, to signify, not eternity, but the remotest period of time, (as it is taken Luke xi. 50. “the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world,” that is, from the remotest antiquity, beginning with the blood of Abel, ver, 51. and Heb. iv. 3.) we shall say, that by pre
ing the kingdom, is meant the formation of heaven, which is the throne of glory; and that the Elect are invited to enter upon the inheritance of that habitation which was created at the very beginning of the world, in order to be their eternal residence. And who can doubt, but what God created in the beginning, in order to be the blessed abode of the Elect, was appointed by him from eternity for that pur
XVI. And we must not omit that illustrious passage, Rev. xiii. 8. “whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” The last of these words are so placed, that they stand in a threefold connection with the preceding. For, first, they may be joined with the immediately preceding, as to mean, that Christ was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world; that is, either from all eternity, in the decree of God, which importing a certain futurition of events, to use a scholastic term, is the reason that things future may be considered as already existing; or from the remotest antiquity of the world, not only in the members of his mystical ‘. but also in the promise of God, in the type of sacrifices, and of Abel, slain by his envious brother; and in fine, in the efficacy of his death, which
extended itself to the first of the human race. For unless the
death of Christ, which he was once to undergo in the fulness
of time, could have extended its virtue to the first men in the
world, “ Christ must often have suffered since the foundation of the world,” Heb. ix. 27. God did many things before Christ could die, which could not decently have been done unless with a view to Christ's death, which, was to ensue in its appointed time, and with respect to these, he is said to be slain from the foundation of the world. Nay, the foundation of the earth itself was not laid without a view to the death of Christ. For since the manifestation of his glorious grace in man through Christ, was the chief end of God, in creating man, we must look upon the foundation of the earth to be an habitation for the good as a mean to that end. . Nor