John Gill


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The special decrees of God respecting rational creatures, commonly go under the name of "predestination"; though this sometimes is taken in a large sense, to express everything that God has predetermined; and so it takes in all that has been observed in the preceding chapter; which some call eternal providence, of which, temporary providence is the execution; for with God there is not only a provision of things future, but a provision for the certain bringing them to pass; and the counsel and will of God is the source and spring of all things, and the rule and measure according to which he works, #Eph 1:11 but predestination is usually considered as consisting of two parts, and including the two branches of election and reprobation, both with respect to angels and men; for each of these have place in both. Angels; some of them are called "elect" angels, #1Ti 5:21 others are said to be "reserved in chains", in the chains of God's purposes and providence, "unto the judgment" of the great day, #2Pe 2:4. Men; some of them are vessels of mercy, afore prepared for glory; others vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction; some are the election, or the elect persons, that obtain righteousness, life, and salvation; and others are the rest that are left in, and given up to blindness, #Ro 9:22,23 11:7. Though sometimes predestination only respects that branch of it called election, and the predestinated signify only the elect; for who else are called, justified, and glorified, enjoy adoption and the heavenly inheritance? not, surely, the non-elect, #Ro 8:29,30 Eph 1:5,11. This branch of predestination, election, must be considered first; I shall begin with,


1. The election of angels; of this the scriptures speak but sparingly, and therefore the less need to be said concerning it: that there are some angels that are elect is certain, from the proof already given: there is a similarity between their election and the election of men; though in some things there appears a little difference.


1a. The election of angels, as well as of men, is of God; he is the efficient cause of it; it is God that has chosen them, and distinguished them from others, and therefore they are called the "angels of God", #Lu 12:8,9 not merely because they are his creatures, so are the evil angels; but because they are his chosen, his favourites, and appointed to be happy with him to all eternity.


1b. Their election, as that of men, lies in a distinction and separation from the rest of their species; they are not only distinguished from them by their characters, the one being holy angels, the others the angels that sinned; but by their state and condition, the one being preserved from apostasy, and continued in their first estate; the other left to fall into sin, and from their former state, and reserved unto judgment.


1c. In their election they were considered as on an equal footing with others not elected, as men are; as men are considered, when chosen, as in the pure mass, having done neither good nor evil, so were angels; this must be out of all question, with respect to them, since the elect angels never fell, never were in any corrupt state, and could not be so considered: besides, their preservation from apostasy, and their confirmation, by grace, in the state in which they were created, are in consequence of their election; and therefore must be previous to the fall of the rest, who, with thine, must be considered in the pure mass of creatureship; wherefore the choice of the one, and the leaving of the other, must be entirely owing to the sovereign will of God.


1d. Their election, though it is not said to be made in Christ, as the election of men; nor could it be made in him, considered as Mediator; since they having never sinned against God, and offended him, they needed him not to mediate between God and them, and to make peace and reconciliation; yet they might be chosen in him, as they seem to be, as an Head of conservation; as an Head both of eminence to rule over them, protect and preserve them in their state; and of influence, to communicate grace and strength to them; to confirm them in their state in which they are; for Christ is "the head of all principality and power", #Col 2:10.


1e. Though the angels are not chosen to salvation as men are, as that signifies a deliverance from sin and misery: seeing they never sinned, and so were never in a miserable condition, and needed no Saviour and Redeemer; yet they are chosen to happiness, to communion with God now, whose face they ever behold; and to a confirmed state of holiness and impeccability, and to the enjoyment of God, and the society of elect men to all eternity. If the election of men to grace and glory, is next to be considered; and it may be proper in the first place to take some notice of the election of Christ, as man and mediator; who is God's first and chief elect; and is, by way of eminency, called his elect; "Behold, my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth", #Isa 42:1 and oftentimes the chosen of God, #Ps 89:3 Lu 23:35 1Pe 2:4. Which character not only denotes his choiceness and excellency, and the high esteem he is in with God; who, though disallowed, disesteemed, and rejected by men, is chosen of God, and precious; but either,


2a. It respects the choice of the human nature of Christ to the grace of union with him as the Son of God. God prepared a body, or an human nature for him, in his eternal purposes and decrees; in the book of which all the members thereof were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when, as yet, before there were none of them, #Heb 10:5 Ps 139:16. Among all the individuals of human nature, which rose up in the divine mind, to be brought into being by him, this was singled out from among them, and appointed to union with the second Person in the Godhead; this was sanctified, and set apart, and sent into the world; in which Joseph was a type of it, who was separated from his brethren: and hence this human nature of Christ was anointed with the Holy Ghost above his fellows, and hail the gifts and graces of the Spirit without measure; and was raised to such honour and dignity, as none of the angels ever were, or will be, #Heb 1:13.


2b. The character of elect, as given to Christ, respects the choice of him to his office as Mediator, in which he was set up, and with which he was invested, and had the glory of it before the world began. He was first chosen and set up as an Head; and then his people were chosen, as members of him; he was chosen to be the Saviour of the body, the church; as they are appointed to salvation by him, he is appointed to be the Saviour of them; this is meant by laying help on one that is mighty; and as their salvation is through his sufferings and death, he was foreordained, before the foundation of the world, to be the slain Lamb; through whose precious blood their redemption would be obtained; he was set forth, in the eternal decree and purpose of God, to be the propitiation for sin, to make atonement and satisfaction for it, and procure the pardon of it, #1Pe 1:18-20 Ro 3:25. Christ is appointed to be the judge of quick and dead; as well as a day is appointed in which God will judge the world in righteousness, by the man Christ Jesus, whom he has ordained for that purpose, #Ac 10:42 17:31. But what will now be chiefly attended to, and what the scriptures speak so largely of, is the election of men in Christ unto eternal life.


Some are of opinion that this doctrine of election, admitting it to be true, should not be published, neither preached from the pulpit, nor handled in schools and academies, nor treated of in the writings of men; the reasons they give, are because it is a secret, and secret things belong to God; and because it tends to fill mens' minds with doubts about their salvation, and to bring them into distress, and even into despair; and because some may make a bad use of it, to indulge themselves in a sinful course of life, and argue, that if they are elected they shall be saved, let them live as they may; and so it opens a door to all licentiousness: but these reasons are frivolous and groundless; the doctrine of election is no secret, it is clearly and fully revealed, and written as with a sunbeam in the sacred scriptures; it is true indeed, it cannot be said of particular persons, that such a man is elected, and such a man is reprobated; and especially when both appear to be in a state of unregeneracy; yet when men, in a judgment of charity, may be hoped to be called by grace, they may be concluded to be the elect of God, though it cannot be said with precision; and on the other hand, there may be black marks of reprobation on some men, or at least things have such a very dark aspect on them, that we are apt to say, when we hear a man cursing and swearing, and see him in all excess of wickedness with boldness and impudence, what a reprobate creature is this; though indeed no man, be he ever so vile, is out of the reach of powerful and efficacious grace; and therefore it cannot be absolutely said that he is rejected of God: and whereas there may be only the appearance of grace, and not the truth of it, in such that profess to have it; it cannot be said with certainty that such an one is an elect person, yet in charity it may be so concluded: however, a truly gracious man may know for himself his "election of God", as the apostle affirms; and that in this way, the "gospel" being "come" to him, "not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost", #1Th 1:4,5 who by means of it has begun, and will carry on and perform the work of grace in him; wherefore such persons will not be filled with doubts and fears about their salvation, nor be led into distress and despair through the doctrine of election; nor need any be distressed about it that are inquiring the way of salvation, or have any knowledge of it; for the first question to be put to a man by himself, is not, am I elected; but, am I born again? am I a new creature? am I called by the grace of God, and truly converted? If a man can arrive to satisfaction in this matter, he can have no doubt about his election; that then is a clear case and out of all question. The doctrine of regeneration, which asserts that a man must be born again, or he cannot see and enter into the kingdom of heaven, may as well be objected to, as that of election; since it is as difficult to come to satisfaction about a man's regeneration, as about his election; and when once the one is a clear case, the other must be likewise; and when it is, what thankfulness and joy does it produce! And if the apostle thought himself bound to give thanks to God for his choice of the Thessalonians to salvation; how much more reason had he to bless the God and Father of Christ for his own election, as he does #2Th 2:13 Eph 1:3,4. With what exultation and triumph may a believer in Christ take up those words of the apostle, and use them with application to himself, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" #Ro 8:33 yea our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts his disciples, rather to rejoice that their names were written in heaven, than that the spirits were subject to them, or that they were possessed of extraordinary gifts, as to cast out devils. With great truth and propriety it is expressed in the seventeenth article of the church of England, that the consideration of this doctrine is "full of sweet, pleasant" and "unspeakable comfort" to "godly" persons: and as for the charge of licentiousness, what is there but what a wicked man may abuse to encourage himself in sin? as even the patience and longsuffering of God; ungodly men may turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, and every doctrine of it; and so this, contrary to its nature, use, and tendency. Strange! that this doctrine should of itself lead to licentiousness, when the thing itself, contained in it, is the source of all holiness; men are chosen according to this doctrine to be holy; they are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, which is secured by this decree as certainly as salvation itself; wherefore those reasons are not sufficient to intimidate and deter us from receiving this doctrine, professing and publishing it; and the rather, since it is the doctrine of Christ and his apostles, frequently suggested and declared by them; what means else when our Lord speaks of the elect of God, for whose sake the days of tribulation should be shortened; and that it was impossible the elect should be deceived; and that God will avenge his own elect? #Mt 24:22,24 Lu 18:7 how clearly and fully does the apostle Paul enlarge on this doctrine of election in Romans chapter nine, eleven, Ephesians chapter one, second Thessalonians chapter two, and in other places! and since it is so plentifully declared in the Bible, and is a part of scripture given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, and is written for our learning, to teach us humility, to depress the pride of man, and to magnify the sovereign grace of God in his salvation; we need not be ashamed of it, nor ought we to conceal it; and the apostle exhorts to make our "election" as well as calling "sure", #2Pe 1:10 but how should men do this, if they are not taught the doctrine of it; led into an acquaintance with it; instructed into the truth, nature, and use of it, and the way and means whereby it is to be made sure? I proceed then,


2b1. First, To observe the phrases by which it is expressed in

scripture, whereby may be learnt what is the true meaning of

the words "election" and "elect", as used in scripture with

respect to this doctrine. It is expressed by being ordained

to eternal life, #Ac 13:48. As many as were ordained to

eternal life, believed; by which ordination is meant no

other than the predestination, choice, and appointment of

men to everlasting life and salvation by Jesus Christ; and

from whence it appears that this is of particular persons,

of some and not all, though many; that it is not to

temporary privileges and enjoyments, but to grace and glory;

and that faith is not the cause, but the sure and certain

fruit and effect of it; and that both eternal life through

Christ, and believing in him, are infallibly secured by this

act of grace. Some, in order to evade the force and evidence

of these words in favour of election, would have them

rendered, "as many as were disposed for eternal life,

believed"; but this is not agreeable to the use of the word

throughout the book of the Acts by the divine historian,

where it always signifies determination and appointment, and

not disposition; and so by our translators it is rendered

"determined" in #Ac 15:2 and "appointed" in #Ac 22:10

#Ac 28:23 and here "preordained" in the Vulgate Latin

version, and by Arias Montanus; and besides, there are no

good dispositions for eternal life in men before faith;

whatsoever is not of faith, is sin; and men, in a state of

unbelief and unregeneracy, are foolish and disobedient,

serving divers lusts and pleasures; living in malice,

hateful, and hating one another; without hope, and without

God in the world; and injurious to good men, #Ro 14:23

#Tit 3:3 Eph 2:12 1Ti 1:13 and admitting there may be what

may be called dispositions for eternal life; let a desire of it,

and seeking for it, be accounted such; this may be where

faith in Christ does not follow; as in the young man, who

asked what he must do to obtain it; and yet, when instructed

by Christ, was so far from receiving his instructions, and

believing him, that he turned his back on him, and went away

from him sorrowful, #Mt 19:16,22. Let an attentive

hearing of the word be reckoned a good disposition for

eternal life; this was found in many of Christ's hearers,

and yet they believed not the report he made, of which he

complains; and it is highly probable, that many of those

attentive hearers of him, were, in a few days, among those

that cried, Crucify him, crucify him, #Lu 19:48 23:18,21

#Isa 53:1 and after all, one would think that the Jews, who

were externally religious, and were expecting the Messiah;

and especially the devout and honourable women, were more

disposed for eternal life, than the ignorant and idolatrous

Gentiles; and yet the latter rejoiced at hearing the word,

glorified it, and believed; when the former did not, but

persecuted the preachers of it: from whence it follows, that

the faith of the believing Gentiles did not spring from

previous dispositions to eternal life; but was the fruit and

effect of divine ordination.


This act of God is also expressed by the "names" of

persons being "written in heaven", and in the "book of

life", called, "the Lamb's book of life"; because his name

stands first in it, was present at the writing of it, and is

concerned in that eternal life which it has respect unto,

#Lu 10:20 Heb 12:22 Php 4:3 Re 13:8. All which shows that it

is an act of God in heaven, and respects the happiness of

men there; is of particular persons, whose names are in a

special manner known of God, and as distinct from others;

and is sure and certain, and will abide. But the more common

phrases used concerning it, are those of being "chosen" and

"elected"; hence the objects of it are called God's elect, and

the election; that is, persons elected, #Eph 1:4 2Th 2:13

#Ro 8:33 11:7 which clearly imply, that only some, and

not all men, are the objects of it; "I speak not of you

all", says Christ; "I know whom I have chosen", #Joh 13:18

not all, but some of you; where all are taken, whether

persons or things, no choice is made; if some are chosen,

others are not, but left; and in this case the number chosen

is but few; "Many are called, but few chosen", #Mt 20:16

hence those that are chosen, are called "a remnant;

according to the election of grace"; and those that are not

chosen, the rest that are left, #Ro 11:5,7. Wherefore the

election treated of is not,


  2b1a. An election of a nation to some external privileges, as the

people of Israel, who were chosen of God to be a special

people, above all people on the face of the earth; not for

their quantity or quality, their number or their goodness;

but because such was the pleasure of God: but this choice of

them as a nation, was only to some outward benefits and

blessings; as, besides the good land of Canaan, the word,

and worship, and ordinances of God, with others, mentioned

in #Ro 9:4,5 but in the same context it is observed, that

they were not all Israel, or God's elect, redeemed and

called people, in the most special sense; nor all children

of God by adopting grace; nor were all predestinated to the

adoption of children by Christ: it was only a remnant of

them that were of this sort, which should be eternally

saved; and whom, if God had not reserved, they had been as

Sodom and Gomorrah, #Ro 9:6-8,27,29. And so this nation of

ours is selected and distinguished from many others, by

various blessings of goodness, and particularly by having

the means of grace; yet all the individuals of it cannot be

thought to be the objects of election to special grace, and

eternal glory;


2b1c. Nor of an election to offices; as the sons of the house of

Aaron were chosen to minister, in the office of priests, to

the Lord; and as Saul was chosen to be king over Israel; and

the twelve were chosen to be the apostles of Christ; for

there were many in the priestly office very bad men; and

Saul behaved so ill, as to be rejected of God from being

king, that is, from the kingdom being continued in his

family; and though Christ chose twelve to be his apostles,

one of them was a devil: so that though those were chosen to

offices, and even to the highest offices in the church and

state, yet not to eternal life.


2b1c. Nor of an election of whole bodies and communities of men,

under the character of churches, to the enjoyment of the

means of grace: #Eph 1:4 is no instance of this. It is not

certain the apostle wrote that epistle to the Ephesians, as

to a church, but to some there described, as saints and

faithful in Christ Jesus; and it is quite certain, that

those who he says were "chosen in Christ", were not the

Ephesians only, but others also; the apostle, and others,

who were not members of that church, yet shared in that

grace, and other blessings aftermentioned, and were they

that first trusted in Christ; and though the Ephesians may

be included, yet it is not said of them as a church;

besides, the phrase of being "chosen in Christ", is

sometimes used of a single person, and so is not appropriate to

communities and churches, #Ro 16:13. To all which may be

added, that those said to be chosen in Christ, are not said

to be chosen as a church, or to be one, or to

church privileges; but to holiness here, and to a blameless

state, or a state of perfection hereafter; even to grace and

glory. Nor is the character of "elect", given to the

Colossians, #Col 3:12 given to them as a church; for the

same may be observed of them as of the Ephesians, that they

are not wrote to as a church; but described by the same

epithets as they are; and if they were, this might be said

of them in a judgment of charity, since they all of them

professed faith in Christ; and the greater part of them,

doubtless, in reality were possessed of it, as a fruit and

effect, and so an evidence of their election; by which the

apostle enforces their mutual duties to one another. And in

like manner the Thessalonians are said to be chosen of God,

and to know their election of God, since the gospel was come

to them, attended with the power and Spirit of God,

#1Th 1:4,5 2Th 2:13 and all of them had made a profession of

Christ, and therefore it might be charitably hoped they were

the elect of God; not chosen merely to outward means; but,

as it is said, to salvation by Christ, and to the obtaining

of his glory. And when the apostle Peter speaks of some he

writes to as elect, according to the foreknowledge of God,

and as a chosen generation, #1Pe 1:2 2:9 he does not

write to them, and speak of them, as a church; for he writes

to strangers, scattered abroad in several countries; nor as

chosen barely to the means of grace and outward privileges,

but to grace and glory: since they are said to be chosen

"through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience, and

sprinkling of the blood of Jesus".


2b1d. Nor is this act of election under consideration, to be

understood of the effectual calling of particular persons;

though that is sometimes expressed by choosing men out of

the world; when they are separated and distinguished from

the men of it; and by choosing, that is, calling the foolish

things of the world, and by choosing the poor of it, who

become rich in faith, and appear to be heirs of the kingdom,

#Joh 15:19 1Co 1:26,27 Jas 2:5 the reason of which is,

because calling is a certain fruit and effect of election,

and is a sure and certain evidence of it; "For whom" God did

"predestinate, them he also called", #Ro 8:30. But then

election and calling differ, as the cause and the effect,

the tree and its fruit, a thing and the evidence of it. But,


2ble. This is to be understood of the choice of certain persons by God, from all eternity, to grace and glory; it is an act by which men are chosen of God's good will and pleasure, before, the world was, to holiness and happiness, to salvation by Christ, to partake of his glory, and to enjoy eternal life, as the free gift of God through him, #Eph 1:4 #2Th 2:13 Ac 13:48. And this is the first and foundation blessing; according to which all spiritual blessings are dispensed; and is, by the apostle, set at the front of them all; and is the first link in the golden chain of man's salvation, #Eph 1:3,4 Ro 8:30.


2b2. Secondly, The next thing to be considered is, by whom

election is made, and in whom it is made: it is made by God,

and it is made in Christ.


2b2a. It is made by God, as the efficient cause of it; God, who

is a sovereign Being, who does and may do whatever he

pleases in heaven and in earth, among angels and men; and

has a right to do what he will with his own; as with his own

things, temporal and spiritual blessings; so with his own

creatures. Shall he be denied that which every man thinks he

has a right unto and does? do not kings choose their own

ministers; masters their servants; and every man his own

favourites, friends, and companions? And may not God choose

whom he pleases to communion with him, both here and

hereafter; or to grace and glory? He does this, and

therefore it is called "election of God"; of which God is

the efficient cause, #1Th 1:4 and the persons chosen are

called God's elect, #Ro 8:33 Lu 18:7. This act is sometimes,

and for the most part, ascribed to God the Father, the God

and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; as he is said to bless

men with spiritual blessings, so to choose them in Christ,

before the foundation of the world, #Eph 1:3,4 and the

persons chosen are said to be "elect, according to the

foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of

the Spirit, unto obedience, and, sprinkling of the blood of

Jesus Christ", #1Pe 1:2 where the Person that chooses is not

only described as the Father, but is distinguished from the

Spirit, through whose sanctification, and from Jesus Christ,

to whose obedience, and the sprinkling of whose blood, men

are chosen by him. Sometimes it is ascribed to Christ, and

he takes it to himself, "I speak not of you all; I know whom

I have chosen", #Joh 13:18 this cannot be understood of

Christ's choosing his disciples to the office or

apostleship, for all the twelve were chosen to that; but of

his choosing them to eternal life; and this is what he could

not say of them all, for one of them was the son of

perdition; and hence the elect are called Christ's elect;

not only because chosen in him, and given to him, but

because chosen by him; He (the Son of man) "shall send his

angels and they shall gather together his elect from the

four winds", #Mt 24:30,31. Nor is the blessed Spirit to

be excluded; for since he has a place in the decree of the

means, in order that the end may be attained, and has so

much to do in the blessings, gifts, and operations of grace,

leading on to the execution of the decree; he must have a

concern with the Father and the Son in the act itself, as

the efficient cause of it. And this now being the act of

God, it is for ever; for whatever God does in a way of

special grace, it is for ever; it is unchangeable and

irrevocable; men may choose some to be their favourites and

friends for a while, and then alter their minds, and choose

others in their room; but God never acts such a part, he is

in one mind, and none can turn him; his purpose, according

to election, or with respect to that, stands sure, firm, and



2b2b. This act is made in Christ, "according as he hath chosen us

in him", #Eph 1:4. Election does not find men in Christ, but

puts them there; it gives them a being in him, and union to

him; which is the foundation of their open being in Christ

at conversion, which is the manifestation and evidence of

this; "If any man be in Christ", even in the secret way, by

electing grace, "he is a new creature", sooner or later;

which is an evidence of it; for when he becomes a new

creature, this shows him to have been in Christ before, from

whence this grace proceeds; but these two, an open and

secret being in Christ, differ in this, that the one is in

time, and but a little while ago, the other from eternity;

the one is the evidence of the other; "I knew a man in

Christ above fourteen years ago", says the apostle,

#2Co 12:2 meaning himself; who was, about that time, and not

before, called, converted, and become a believer in Christ,

and so had open being in Christ; and, in this sense, one

saint may be in Christ before another; "Salute Andronicus

and Junia who also were in Christ before me", says the same

apostle, #Ro 16:7 they being called and converted before

he was; but with respect to electing grace, one is not

before another, the whole body of the elect being chosen

together in Christ; which is the sense of the text in

Ephesians: and which is not to be understood of being chosen

for the sake of him; for though they are predestinated to be

conformed to his image, that he may be the firstborn among

many brethren, and in all things have the preeminence; and

unto salvation by him, that he may have the glory of it; and

to the obtaining of his glory, partake of it, and have

communion with him for evermore, that he may have praise

from them to all eternity: yet not his merits, his blood,

righteousness, and sacrifice, not his obedience, sufferings,

and death, are the cause of election; these are the

meritorious cause of redemption, forgiveness of sin, and

justification, and salvation; not of election: the reasons

why men are elected, are not because Christ has shed his

blood, died for them, redeemed and saved them; but Christ

has done all this for them because they are elect; "I lay

down my life for the sheep", says Christ, #Joh 10:15

sheep and elect are terms convertible, and signify the same

persons, even such before they are called and converted; as

appears from the following verse: now it is not Christ's

laying down his life for them makes them sheep, and elect;

they are so previous to that; but because they are sheep,

and chosen ones in Christ, and given him by his Father,

therefore he laid down his life for them. Christ himself is

the object of election; he is styled God's elect; and is

said to be foreordained, before the foundation of the world,

to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people, #Isa 42:1

#1Pe 1:20. Now, though as a divine Person, he is, with

his Father, the efficient cause of election; yet, as

Mediator, he is the means, by his obedience, sufferings, and

death, of executing that decree: men are chosen in him as

their Head, and they as members of him; not one before

another; he and they are chosen together in the same decree;

they are given to him in it, and he to them; they are put

into his hands, and preserved in him; and hence have a

secret being in him, and union to him; hence they partake of

all grace and spiritual blessings; they are first "of God in

Christ" by electing grace, and then he is made everything

to them; and they receive everything from him they want,

#1Co 1:30.


2b3. Thirdly, The objects of election are to be next inquired

after, who are men; for with such only is now our concern;

and these not as under such and such characters, as called,

converted, believers in Christ, holy and good men, and

persevering in faith and holiness unto the end; for they are

not elected because they are called, converted, &c. but

because they are elected they become all this; and if they

are not elected, especially until they have persevered unto

the end, I can see no need of their being elected at all;

for when they have persevered unto the end, they are

immediately in heaven, in the enjoyment of eternal life, and

can have no need to be chose to it: and all these characters

put together, only amount to such a proposition, that he

that believes, and endures to the end, shall be saved. But

God does not choose propositions, but persons; not

characters, but men, nakedly and abstractly considered; and

these not all men, but some, as the nature of election, and

the very sense of the word suggests: as in the effectual

calling, the fruit and evidence of it, men are taken out of

the world, and separated from the men among whom they have

had their conversation in times past; so in election, they

are distinguished from others; as in redemption men are

redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation;

so in election they are chosen out of the same: election and

redemption are of the same persons, and are commensurate to

each other; they are distinct from the rest of mankind;

vessels of mercy, in distinction from vessels of wrath; a

seed, a remnant, according to the election of grace; and

election itself, as distinguished from the others, called

the rest; while some are given up to believe a lie, that

they might be damned, others being beloved of God, are

chosen from the beginning to salvation by Christ; for

certain it is, that all the individuals of mankind, neither

partake of the means fixed in the decree of election,

sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth; nor

attain to the end of it, which, with respect to men, is

eternal life and happiness; for all men are not sanctified

by the Spirit of God; nor have all men faith in Christ, the

way, the truth, and the life; nor do all men enter into

life, or are eternally saved; some go into everlasting

punishment. But the number of the chosen ones is not

confined to any particular nation: for as God is the God

both of the Jews and of the Gentiles; so those whom he has

in election prepared for glory, in consequence of which he

calls them by his grace; these are not of the Jews only, but

of the Gentiles also; and who are eventually, for the most

part, the poor of this world, #Jas 2:5 men mean and

despicable in the eyes of it; and these are but few in

comparison, not only of the men of the world, but even of

those that are externally called; "Many are called, but few

are chosen", #Mt 20:16 they are but a little flock, it is

the pleasure of their heavenly Father to give the kingdom

to, prepared for them from the foundation of the world:

though considered absolutely by themselves, they are a great

multitude, which no man can number, #Lu 12:32 Re 5:9.


And here is the proper place to discuss that question,

Whether men were considered, in the mind of God, in the

decree of election, as fallen or unfallen; as in the corrupt

mass, through the fall; or in the pure mass of creatureship,

previous to it; and as to be created? There are some that

think that the latter, so considered, were the objects of

election in the divine mind; who are called supralapsarians;

though of these some are of opinion that man was considered,

as to be created, or creatable; and others, as created, but

not fallen. The former seems best; that of the vast number

of individuals that came up in the divine mind, that his

power could create, those that he meant to bring into being,

he designed to glorify himself by them in some way or

another; the decrees of election, respecting any part of

them; may be distinguished into the decree of the end, and

the decree of the means. The decree of the end, respecting

some, is either subordinate to their eternal happiness, or

ultimate; which is more properly the end, the glory of God;

and if both are put together, it is a state of everlasting

communion with God, for the glorifying the riches of his

sovereign grace and goodness, #Eph 1:5,6. The decree of

the means, includes the decree to create men, to permit them

to fall, to recover them out of it through redemption by

Christ, to sanctify them by the grace of the Spirit, and

completely save them; and which are not to be reckoned as

materially many decrees, but as making one formal decree; or

they are not to be considered as subordinate, but coordinate

means, and as making up one entire complete medium; for it

is not to be supposed that God decreed to create man, that

he might permit him to fall; nor that he decreed to permit

him to fall, that he might redeem, sanctify, and save him;

but he decreed all this that he might glorify his grace,

mercy, and justice. And in this way of considering the

decrees of God, they think they sufficiently obviate and

remove the slanderous calumny cast upon them, with respect

to the other branch of predestination, which leaves men in

the same state when others are chosen, and that for the

glory of God. Which calumny is, that according to them, God

made man to damn him; whereas, according to their real

sentiments, God decreed to make man, and made man, neither

to damn him, nor save him, but for his own glory; which end

is answered in them, some way or another. Again, they argue

that the end is first in view, before the means; and the

decree of the end is, in order of nature, before the decree

of the means; and what is first in intention, is last in

execution: now as the glory of God is the last in execution,

it must be first in intention; wherefore men must be

considered, in the decree of the end, as not yet created and

fallen; since the creation and permission of sin, belong to

the decree of the means; which, in order of nature, is after

the decree of the end: and they add to this, that if God

first decreed to create man, and suffer him to fall, and

then, out of the fall chose some to grace and glory; he must

decree to create man without an end, which is to make God to

do what no wise man would; for when a man is about to do any

thing, he proposes an end, and then contrives and fixes on

ways and means to bring about that end: and it cannot be

thought that the all-wise and only-wise God should act

otherwise; who does all his works in wisdom, and has wisely

designed them for his own glory, #Pr 16:4 they think

also that this way of conceiving and speaking of these

things, best expresses the sovereignty of God in them; as

declared in the ninth of the Romans; where he is said to

will such and such things, for no other reason but because he

wills them; and hence the objector to the sovereign decrees

of God is brought in saying, "Why does he yet find fault?

who hath resisted his will?" and the answer to it is taken

from the sovereign power of the potter over his clay; to

which is added, "What if God willing", &c. to do this or

that, who has anything to say against it? he is accountable

to none, #Ro 9:15,19,20,22. And this way of reasoning is

thought to suit better with the instance of Jacob and Esau,

the children being not yet born, and having done neither

good nor evil, that the purpose of God, according to

election, might stand, #Ro 9:11 than with supposing

persons considered in predestination, as already created,

and in the corrupt mass; and particularly it best suits with

the unformed clay of the potter, out of which he makes one

vessel to honour, and another to dishonour; on which Beza

remarks, that if the apostle had considered mankind as

corrupted, he would not have said, that some vessels were

made to honour, and some to dishonour; but rather, that

seeing all the vessels would be fit for dishonour, some were

left in that dishonour, and others translated from dishonour

to honour. They further observe, that elect angels could not

be considered in the corrupt mass, when chosen; since they

never fell, and therefore it is most reasonable, that as

they, so those angels that were not chosen, were considered

in the same pure mass of creatureship; and so in like manner

men; to which they add the human nature of Christ, which is

the object of election to a greater dignity than that of

angels and men, could not be considered in the corrupt mass,

since it fell not in Adam, nor never came into any corrupt

state; and yet it was chosen out of the people, #Ps 89:19

and consequently the people out of whom it was

chosen, must be considered as yet not fallen and corrupt;

and who also were chosen in him, and therefore not so

considered. These are hints of some of the arguments used on

this side of the question.


On the other hand, those who are called sublapsarians,

and are for men being considered as created and fallen, in

the decree of election, urge, #Joh 15:19. "I have chosen you

out of the world". Now the world is full of wickedness, it

lies in it, is under the power of the wicked one; the

inhabitants of it live in sin, and all of them corrupt and

abominable; and therefore they that are chosen out of them

must be so too: but this text is not to be understood of

eternal election, but of the effectual calling; by which men

are called and separated from the world, among whom they

have had their conversation before conversion, and according

to the course of it have lived. They further observe, that

the elect are called "vessels of mercy"; which supposes them

to have been miserable, and so sinful, and to stand in need

of mercy; and must be so considered in their election: but

though through various means the elect are brought to

happiness, which are owing to the mercy of God; such as the

mission of Christ to save them, the forgiveness of their

sins, their regeneration and salvation; and so fitly called

"vessels of mercy"; yet it follows not that they were

considered as in need of mercy in their choice to happiness.

It is also said, that men are chosen in Christ as Mediator,

Redeemer, and Saviour; which implies, that an offence is

given and taken, and reconciliation is to be made, and

redemption from sin, and the curse of the law broken, and

complete salvation to be effected by Christ; all which

supposes men to be sinful, as it does: but then men are

chosen in Christ, not as the meritorious cause of election,

but as the means, or medium, of bringing them to the

happiness they are chosen to. It is, moreover, taken notice

of, that the transitus in scripture, is not from election to

creation, but to calling, justification, adoption,

sanctification, and salvation. But, for instance, can

calling be supposed without creation? It is thought that

this way of considering men as fallen, in the decree of

election, is more mild and gentle than the other, and best

accounts for the justice of God; that since all are in the

corrupt mass, it cannot be unjust in him to choose some out

of it to undeserved happiness; and to leave others in it,

who perish justly in it for their sins; or that since all

are deserving of the wrath of God for sin, where is the

injustice of appointing some not unto the wrath they

deserve, but unto salvation by Christ, when others are

foreordained to just condemnation and wrath for their sins?

But on the other hand, what reason also can there be to

charge God with injustice, that inasmuch as all are

considered in the pure mass of creatureship, that some

should be chosen in it, and others be passed by in it; and

both for his own glory? These are some of the principal

arguments used on both sides; the difference is not so great

as may be thought at first sight; for both agree in the main

and material things in the doctrine of election; as,


2b3a. That it is personal and particular, is of persons by name,

whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.


2b3b. That it is absolute and unconditional, not depending on the

will of men, nor on anything to be done by the creature.


2b3c. That it is wholly owing to the will and pleasure of God;

and not to the faith, holiness, obedience, and good works of

men; nor to a foresight of all or any of these.


2b3d. That both elect, and non-elect, are considered alike, and

are upon an equal footing in the decree of predestination; as

those that are for the corrupt mass they suppose that they

were both considered in it equally alike, so that there was

nothing in the one that was not in the other, which was a

reason why the one should be chosen and the other left; so

those that are for the pure mass, suppose both to be

considered in the same, and as not yet born, and having done

neither good nor evil.


2b3e. That it is an eternal act in God, and not temporal; or

which commenced not in time, but from all eternity; for it

is not the opinion of the sublapsarians, that God passed the

decree of election after men were actually created and

fallen; only that they were considered in the divine mind,

from all eternity, in the decree of election, as if they

were created and fallen; wherefore, though they differ in

the consideration of the object of election, as thus and

thus diversified, yet they agree in the thing, and agree to

differ, as they should, and not charge one another with

unsoundness and heterodoxy; for which there is no reason.

Calvin was for the corrupt mass; Beza, who was co-pastor

with him in the church at Geneva, and his successor, was for

the pure mass; and yet they lived in great peace, love, and

harmony. The Contra-remonstrants in Holland, when

Arminianism first appeared among them, were not agreed in

this point; some took one side of the question, and some the

other; but they both united against the common adversary,

the Arminians. Dr. Twiss, who was as great a supralapsarian

as perhaps ever was, and carried things as high as any man

ever did, and as closely studied the point, and as well

understood it, and perhaps better than anyone did, and yet

he confesses that it was only "apex logicus", a point in

logic; and that the difference only lay in the ordering and

ranging the decrees of God: and, for my own part, l think

both may be taken in; that in the decree of the end, the

ultimate end, the glory of God, for which he does all

things, men might be considered in the divine mind as

createable, not yet created and fallen; and that in the decree

of the means, which, among other things, takes in the

mediation of Christ, redemption by him, and the

sanctification of the Spirit; they might be considered as

created, fallen, and sinful, which these things imply; nor

does this suppose separate acts and decrees in God, or any

priority and posteriority in them; which in God are but one

and together; but our finite minds are obliged to consider

them one after another, not being able to take them in

together and at once.


2b4. Fourthly, The date of election is next to be considered. And

certain it is, that it was before men were born; "The

children not being yet born--that the purpose of God,

according to election, might stand, #Ro 9:11 nor can there

be any difficulty in admitting this; for if there is none in

admitting that a person may be chosen and appointed to an

office before he is born, as there can be none, since God

has asserted it of Jeremiah; "Before I formed thee in the

belly I knew thee, and before thou camest out of the womb I

sanctified thee", or set thee apart, "and I ordained thee a

prophet unto the nations", #Jer 1:5 then there can be none

in admitting that a person so early may be chosen to grace

and glory. And this also is before the new birth, or before

calling; for calling is the fruit and effect of election;

the apostle says of the Thessalonians, "God hath from the

beginning chosen you unto salvation", #2Th 2:13 not from the

beginning of the preaching of the gospel to them, or of the

coming of that unto them; for that may come to, and be

preached among a people, but not to their profit; may be

without success, yea, be the savour of death unto death,

#Heb 4:2 2Co 2:16 and when the gospel first came to the

Thessalonians, and was preached among them, some believed,

and others did not; yea, the Bereans are preferred unto

them, for their ready reception of the word; indeed, to some

at Thessalonica, it came not in word only, but in power, and

in the Holy Ghost; and which was an evidence of their

election, and by which they might know it. But then this was

only a manifestation of their election; that itself was

previous to the gospel's coming to them, and its operation

on them; it was displayed therein, and thereby; but it

commenced before; see #Ac 17: 1-4,11 1Th 1:4,5 nor was the

choice of them from the beginning of their conversion, or

when they were effectually called by the gospel; for that,

as has been observed, is the effect and evidence of

election; election is that according to which calling is,

and therefore must be before it; "whom he did predestinate,

them he also called", #Ro 8:30 2Ti 1:9. Nor is this phrase,

from the beginning, to be understood of the beginning of

time, or of the creation; as in #Joh 8:44 1Jo 3:8 for though

election began to operate and display itself in the distinct

seeds of the woman, and of the serpent, in Abel and Cain,

the immediate posterity of the first man, and the

distinction has continued ever since; yet the thing itself

which makes this distinction, or is the ground of it, was

long before; to which may be added, that this phrase is

expressive of eternity; "I was set up from everlasting; from

the beginning; or ever the earth was", #Pr 8:23 that is,

before the world began, even from all eternity; as its being

inclosed by such phrases as express the same shows: and in

this sense is it to be taken in the text in the

Thessalonians; and it is in so many words affirmed by the

apostle, that this choice of men to holiness and happiness,

was made "in Christ before the foundation of the world",

#Eph 1:4 and elsewhere it is said, that the book of life

of the Lamb, in which the names of God's elect are set down,

and the names of others left out, was written as early,

#Re 13:8 17:8. And that this act of election is an

eternal act, or from eternity, may be concluded,


2b4a. From the foreknowledge of God, which is eternal; God from

all eternity foreknew all persons and things; there is nothing

in time but what was known to him from eternity, #Ac 15:18.

Now men are elected according to the foreknowledge

of God; and "whom he did foreknow he did predestinate",

#1Pe 1:2 Ro 8:29 wherefore, as the foreknowledge of God is

eternal, the choice he makes upon it must be so too; and

especially as this foreknowledge is not a bare prescience of

persons and things, but what has love and affection to the

objects of it joined unto it: wherefore,


2b4b. The eternity of election may be concluded from the love of

God to his people; for it is to that it is owing; "electio

praesupponit dilectionem" election presupposes love; hence

the apostle sets the character of being "beloved of the

Lord" first, to the Thessalonians being "chosen" by him to

"salvation", #2Th 2:13 it is the immediate effect of love,

and is inseparably connected with it; yea, is expressed by

it; "Jacob have I loved", #Ro 9:13. Now the love of God is

an everlasting love; not only endures to all eternity, but

was from all eternity: God loved Christ, as he affirms,

before the foundation of the world; and in the same place he

says, his Father loved his people as he loved him,

#Joh 17:23,24.


2b4c. It may be argued from the covenant of grace, which is an

everlasting covenant, from everlasting to everlasting; in

which the goings of Christ as Mediator were of old, and

promises were made before the world began; and grants of

grace were made, and blessings of grace provided as early;

and which covenant was made with the "chosen" of God; with

Christ, the chosen Head, and with his people, as chosen in

him; so that if this covenant was from everlasting, and made

with chosen ones in Christ, their representative, then the

choice of them in him must be as early, #2Sa 23:5 Tit 1:2

#2Ti 1:9 Ps 89:3 Mic 5:2 and nothing is more clear than that

he was set up as Mediator of this covenant from everlasting;

and that his people were chosen in him, their covenant Head,

before the foundation of the world, #Pr 8:22 Eph 1:4.


2b4d. This appears from the early preparation of grace and glory:

grace was given them in Christ before the world was, and

they blessed so soon with spiritual blessings in him; as

they are a people aforeprepared for glory, that is, in the

purpose of God; so glory is the kingdom prepared for them

from the foundation of the world; which is no other than a

destination, or rather a predestination of that for them,

and of them to that, #2Ti 1:9 Eph 1:3,4 Ro 9:23 Mt 25:34.


2b4e. From the nature of the decrees of God in general, it must

appear that this is eternal; for if God's decrees in general

are eternal, as has been proved from his foreknowledge of

whatever comes to pass; which is founded upon the certainty

of his decrees, that so they shall be; and from his

immutability, which could not be established if any new

thoughts and resolutions arose in him, or new decrees in

time were made by him; and therefore it may be reckoned a

sure point, that such a special decree as this, respecting

so important an affair as the salvation of all his people,

as well as his own glory, must be eternal: and, indeed, the

whole scheme of man's salvation by Christ, the "fellowship

of the mystery" hid in him, in which there is such an

amazing display of the wisdom of God, is "according to the

eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our

Lord", #Eph 3:9-11 and which is no other than his purpose

according to election, or respecting that.


2b5. Fifthly, The impulsive, or moving cause of this act in God,

or what were the motives and inducements with God to take

such a step as this: and these were not--


2b5a. The good works of men; for this act passed in eternity,

before any works were done; "The children not being yet

born, neither having done any good or evil; that the purpose

of God, according to election, might stand", #Ro 9:11 and

since this was done before them, they could never be the

moving cause of it; they are the fruits and effects of it,

and so cannot be the cause of it in any sense: it is owing

to electing grace that any good works have been done by men

since the fall of Adam; for what the prophet says of the

people of Israel, is true of the whole world; "Except the

Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed", a remnant, according to

the election of grace, a few, whom, according to this

decree, he makes holy and good, and enables them to perform

good works, "we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto

Gomorrah", #Ro 9:29 should have been like to the inhabitants

of those cities, both in sin and punishment; as public and

abandoned sinners, given up to the vilest lusts, without any

check or restraint. Good works are what God has preordained,

that his chosen ones should walk in them, #Eph 2:10 and

therefore the election of the one, and the preordination of

the other, must be previous to them, and they not the cause

of either; the same cannot be both cause and effect, with

respect to the same things: besides, there are no good works

truly such, before the effectual calling, which is the fruit of

election; before that they have only the appearance of good

works, but are not really such, not being done in faith; and

whatsoever is not of faith is sin; nor from love to God,

which is the end of the commandment; nor in the name and

strength of Christ; nor with a view to the glory of God. Men

must be first created in Christ, or be new creatures in him,

must be believers in him, and have the Spirit of Christ, and

his grace put into them, ere they can perform good works:

all which are done at the effectual calling, and not before.

Moreover, God does not proceed according to mens' works; nor

are they the moving causes to him, in other acts of his

grace; as not in the mission of his Son, #1Jo 4:10 nor in

calling, #2Ti 1:9 nor in justification, #Ro 3:20,28 nor

in the whole of salvation, #Tit 3:5 Eph 2:8,9 and so not in

this first step to salvation, election; for then it would

not be of grace, of pure free grace, unmixed and unmerited

grace, as it is said to be. And in the strongest manner it

is denied to be of works, and that established by an

argument which is unanswerable, #Ro 11:5,6.


2b5b. Neither is the holiness of men, whether in principle or in

practice, or both, the moving cause of election to eternal

life; it is an end to which men are chosen; "he hath chosen

us in him--that we should be holy", #Eph 1:4 not because

we were holy, but that we might be so, and so denotes

something future, and which follows upon it; and it is a

means fixed in the decree of election to another end,

salvation; to which men are chosen, "through sanctification

of the Spirit", #2Th 2:13 yea, the sanctification of

God's elect is the object of God's decree; is the thing

decreed, and so cannot be the cause of the decree; "This is

the will of God, even your sanctification", #1Th 4:3 not

barely the approving will of God, as being agreeable to his

holy nature and holy law; nor merely the will of his

precept, "Be ye holy"; but his decreeing will, or

determinate counsel, that men should be holy: besides,

holiness in principle and practice, does not take place

until the effectual calling, and is the work of the Spirit of

God in time, who calls men with an holy calling; not only to

holiness, but works a principle of grace and holiness in

them, whereby they are influenced and enabled, under the

power of his grace, to live soberly, righteously, and godly.


2b5c. Nor is faith the moving cause of election; the one is in

time, the other in eternity: while men are in a state of

unregeneracy, they are in a state of unbelief; they are, as

without hope in God, so without faith in Christ; and when

they have it, they have it not of themselves, of their own

power and freewill; but they have it as the gift of God,

and the operation of his Spirit, flowing purely from his

grace; and therefore cannot be the cause of electing grace:

besides, it is the effect of that, it is a consequence that

follows upon it, and is insured by it; "As many as were

ordained to eternal life, believed", #Ac 13:48 it is proper

and peculiar to the elect of God; the reason why some men do

not believe is, because "they are not of Christ's sheep",

#Joh 10:26 his elect, given him by the Father; and the

reason why others do believe is, because they are of

Christ's sheep, or his chosen ones, and therefore faith is

given to them; which is called, "the faith of God's elect",

#Tit 1:1. Faith is not the cause of calling, and much less

of election, which precedes that: the reason why men are

called, is not because they believe, but they are called

that they might believe; in which effectual call faith is

given to them, as the evidence of their election. Once more,

faith is fixed as a means, in the decree of election; and

therefore cannot be the cause of it, #2Th 2:13. To which may

be added, if faith is the moving cause of election, men

might be said rather to choose God and Christ, at least

first, than they to choose him; whereas our Lord says, "Ye

have not chosen me, but I have chosen you", #Joh 15:16 the

apostles had chosen him, but not first; he first chose them;

so that their choice of him had no influence on his choice

of them: but if faith is the moving cause of election, then

men rather choose Christ than he them; for what is faith but

an high esteem of Christ, a choosing and preferring him, as

a Saviour, to all others? a choosing that good part which

shall never be taken away; and of the way of truth, or of

Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


2b5d. Nor is perseverance in faith, holiness, and good works, the

moving cause of election; but the effect of it, and what is

ensured by it: the reason why men persevere is, because they

are the elect of God, who cannot be deceived totally and

finally, so as to have their faith subverted, and

overthrown, as that of nominal professors may be; because

the foundation on which they are, stands sure; sealed with

this seal, "the Lord knows them that are his", #Mt 24:24

#2Ti 2:18,19. Should it be said, that it is the foresight

of these things in men, which moves God to choose them; it may

be replied, that God's foresight, or foreknowledge of things

future, is founded on the determinations of his will

concerning them; God foresees, or foreknows, that such and

such a man will believe, become holy, do good works, and

persevere therein to glory; because he has determined to

give faith to them, work holiness in them, enable them to

perform good works, and cause them to persevere therein to

the end, and so be saved; and what is this, but the doctrine

contended for? it is no other than a decree to give grace

and glory to some persons for his own glory, and to deny

them to others.


The truth of all this might be illustrated and confirmed

by the case of infants dying in infancy; who, as soon as

they are in the world, almost, are taken out of it. Now such

a number as they are, can never be thought to be brought

into being in vain, and without some end to be answered; and

which, no doubt, is the glory of God, who is and will be

glorified in them, some way or another, as well as in adult

persons: now though their election is a secret to us, and

unrevealed; it may be reasonably supposed, yea, in a

judgment of charity it may rather be concluded, that they

are all chosen, than that none are; and if it is allowed

that any of them may be chosen, it is enough to my present

purpose; since the election of them cannot be owing to their

faith, holiness, obedience, good works, and perseverance, or

to the foresight of these things, which do not appear in



In short, these maxims are certainly true, and

indisputable, that nothing in time can be the cause of what

was done in eternity; to believe, to be holy, to do good

works, and persevere in them, are acts in time, and so

cannot be causes of election, which was done in eternity;

and that nothing out of God can be the cause of any decree,

or will in him; he is no passive Being, to be wrought upon

by motives and inducements without him; for if his will is

moved by anything without him, that must be superior to

him, and his will must become dependent on that; which to

say of God, is to speak very unworthily of him. God wills

things because it so pleases him; predestination is

according to the good pleasure of his will; election is

according to his foreknowledge; which is no other than his

free favour and good will to men, #Eph 1:5 1Pe 1:2 no other

reason can be given of God's will or decree to bestow grace

and glory on men, for his own glory, and of his actual

donation of them, but what our Lord gives; "Even so, Father,

for so it seemed good in thy sight", #Mt 11:25,26.


2b6. Sixthly, The means fixed in the decree of election, for the

execution of it, or in order to bring about the end

intended, are next to be inquired into; which are, the

principal of them, the mediation of Christ, and redemption

by him, the sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the

truth. The mediation of Christ; Christ, as God, is the

efficient cause of election; in his office capacity as an

Head, the elect are chosen in him, as members of him; and

though his mediation, bloodshed, sufferings, and death, are

not the meritorious cause of election, yet Christ in them is

the medium of the execution of it; that is, of bringing the

chosen ones, through grace, to glory, whereby God is

glorified, and so the end of it is answered: men are said to

be chosen "unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of

Jesus Christ", #1Pe 1:2 which words, though they seem to

express the ends of election, yet are such as have the

nature of means, in order to further ends, the salvation of

men, and the glory of God therein.  Obedience may intend the

obedience of Christ, both active and passive, or his

subjection to the law, and fulfilment of it, both with

respect to its precepts and penalty, by which men are

justified in the sight of God, and so are entitled to

eternal life and happiness; and to the blood of Jesus Christ

are owing, the redemption of men, the remission of their

sins, and the atonement of them, which issue in their

salvation, and make way for the glorifying of the justice of

God, as well as the grace of God in it: and the "sprinkling"

of this blood, denotes an application of it to the

conscience, whereby it is purged from dead works, and the

heart sprinkled from an evil conscience; and which speaks

peace, and yields comfort, and causes the soul to rejoice in

hope of the glory of God. Moreover, men are chosen to

salvation, "through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief

of the truth", as means to that end, #2Th 2:13. The

sanctification of the Spirit, is the work of grace on the

heart, begun in regeneration, and carried on by the Spirit,

until it is perfected by him; and this is necessary to

salvation, for without holiness, even perfect holiness, no

man shall see the Lord; and therefore it is fixed as a means

of it, and is made as sure and certain by the decree of

election, as the end, salvation itself; and, being fixed as

a mean, in this decree, confirms what has been observed,

that it cannot be the cause of it: and this proves that the

doctrine of election can be no licentious doctrine, but a

doctrine according to godliness; since it makes such sure

provision for holiness, as well as for happiness. "Belief of

the truth" may signify, not a bare belief of the Gospel, and

the truths of it; for though they are to be believed by all

the saved ones, yet this may be where neither election, nor

calling, nor sanctification, ever take place; even in

reprobates, and devils themselves: but faith in Christ, the

Way, the Truth, and the Life; and believing in him with the

heart, unto righteousness, and with which salvation is

connected, and to which it is necessary, and is a mean of

it; and which being fixed in the decree of election, as such

is secured by it, and certainly follows upon it.


2b7. Seventhly, The ends settled in the decree of election are

both subordinate and ultimate; the subordinate ones have

indeed the nature of means with respect to the ultimate one:

there are many things to which the elect of God,

predestinated or chosen, both with respect to grace and

glory, which are subordinate to the grand end, the glory of

God. So God is said to "predestinate" them "to be conformed

to the image of his Son", to be made like unto him, not so

much in his sonship, nor in his sufferings, as in his

holiness: man was made after the image of God, this by

sinning he came short of; in regeneration the image of

Christ is stamped, the lines of his grace are drawn upon,

and he himself is formed in the hearts of his people; and

into which image they are more and more changed through

transforming views of his glory; and which will be complete

in the future state, when saints will see him as he is; and

to this they are predestinated, and that in order to another

end, that Christ "might be the firstborn among many

brethren"; the brethren are the predestinated ones, who are

brethren to each other; and these are many, the many sons

Christ brings to glory; and he is the firstborn among them;

and that he may appear to be so, he is set up as the pattern

of them, to whose image they are predestinated to be

conformed, that in all things he might have the preeminence,

#Ro 8:29 moreover they are said to be "predestinated to the

adoption of children", #Eph 1:5 which may be understood

either of the grace of adoption, the blessing itself, which

predestination to it is no other than a preparation of it in

the purposes and decrees of God, in his council and

covenant, #2Co 6:18 or the inheritance adopted to, which

they obtain in Christ, being predestinated to it according

to a divine purpose, #Eph 1:11 likewise they are chosen to

be "holy and without blame", #Eph 1:4 even to unblameable

holiness, which is begun in this life and perfected in the

other; when they will appear before the throne in the sight

of God without fault, without spot or wrinkle, or any such

thing: also they are said to be chosen unto faith; "God hath

chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith", #Jas 2:5 not

that they were, or were considered rich in faith when God

chose them, but he chose them to be rich in faith, as the

words may be supplied, as well as to be heirs of the

kingdom; and this end is always answered, such as are chosen

do believe; "as many as were ordained to eternal life

believed", #Ac 13:48. Once more, the elect are chosen to

obedience and good works; the text in #1Pe 1:2 which has

been already observed, will bear to be interpreted of the

obedience of the elect, in consequence both of their

election and their sanctification; and certain it is, that

good works are what "God has before ordained that his elect

ones should walk in them", #Eph 2:10 these are subordinate

ends which respect grace, and are in order to a further end,

glory and happiness, which is sometimes expressed by

salvation; "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to

obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ", #1Th 5:9 and

again, "God hath from the beginning chosen you to

salvation", #2Th 2:13 salvation was fixed upon, and the

method of it contrived in eternity; Christ was sent into the

world, and came to effect it; he is become the author of it

by his obedience and sufferings; this is not only published

in the Gospel, but it is applied to God's elect in

conversion; but the full enjoyment of it is yet to come,

#Ro 13:11 the saints are now heirs of it, are kept unto it,

and Christ will appear to put them into the possession of it,

and to this they are chosen, #1Pe 1:2,5 Heb 1:14 9:28 this

end is also expressed by eternal life, "As many as were

ordained to eternal life", #Ac 13:48. This is begun in grace

now, which is a well of living water springing up to it; he

that believes has it already in some sense; the knowledge of

God and Christ is the beginning, pledge, and earnest of it;

and it will lie hereafter in a life of perfect knowledge and

holiness, and in uninterrupted communion with God to all

eternity; and to this the elect are ordained.


Now all these ends, both respecting grace and glory, are

subordinate ones to the grand and ultimate end of all, the

glory of God; for as God swears by himself, because he could

swear by no greater, so because a greater end could not be

proposed than his own glory, he has set up that as the

supreme end of all his decrees; he has made, that is, has

appointed, "all things for himself", for his own glory,

#Pr 16:4 as all things are from him, as the first cause,

they are all to him as the last end, #Ro 11:36 and with

respect to the decree of election, it is the glory of his

grace mixed with justice, which is the end of it; the

election of men to unblameable holiness, and the

predestination of them to the adoption of children, are said

to be "to the praise of the glory of his grace", #Eph 1:4-6

that his free and sovereign grace might be displayed

and glorified thereby; and that men who are the chosen

generation and peculiar people, might show forth the praises

of it; as, they do in part now, and will do it perfectly

hereafter; for they are a people he has formed for himself

both in election and the effectual calling, for this end and

purpose, #Isa 43:21 1Pe 2:9 his great end in election is

to "make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of his

mercy"; that is, the riches, the fulness, and plenty of his

glorious and sovereign grace and mercy on the objects of it,

#Ro 9:23 and not the glory of his grace and mercy only,

but of his justice also; for which provision is made in the

decree of the means, by setting forth, or pre-ordaining,

Christ "to be the propitiation", or to make atonement, "for

sin; to declare his righteousness", the justice of God,

"that he might be just, and the justifier of him that

believes in Jesus", #Ro 3:25,26 and so the glory of

God, of his justice and holiness, as well as of his grace

and mercy, appear to be great in the salvation of men; here

mercy and truth meet together, and righteousness and peace

kiss each other; and God is glorified in all his

perfections, which is the great end in view.


2b8. Eighthly, The blessings and benefits flowing from election

are many, indeed all spiritual blessings; it is as it were

the rule, measure, and standard according to which they are

communicated; the several chains in man's salvation are

connected with it, and hang and depend upon it, #Eph 1:3,4

#Ro 8:30 they need only be just named in order, since they

have been suggested under the former heads.


2b8a. Effectual Calling. "Whom he did predestinate, them he

called"; all the predestinated, or chosen ones, are in time

called, and are called according to the eternal purpose and

grace of God in election, #Ro 8:30 2Ti 1:9.


2b8b. Faith and holiness, and indeed every grace of the Spirit.

Holiness is both an end and a mean in this decree, as before

observed, and made certain by it; faith follows upon it as a

free gift of grace, and so hope and love, and every other



2b8c. Communion with God. "Blessed is the man whom thou choosest,

and causest to approach unto thee", #Ps 65:4 to come into

his presence, and enjoy it in his house, his word, and



2b8d. Justification; which is secretly a branch of it, and openly

as to the manifestation of it, flows from it; "Who shall lay

anything to the charge of God's elect? it is God that

justifieth"; that is, the elect; who because they are chosen

in Christ, they are justified in him, #Ro 8:33.


2b8e. Adoption; to which the elect are predestinated, and are

denominated the children of God, being given to Christ as

such when chosen in him, before the incarnation of Christ,

redemption by him, or having the Spirit from him,

#Heb 2:13,14 Joh 11:52 Ga 4:6.


2b8f. Glorification; "Whom he did predestinate them he

glorified", #Ro 8:30 the elect, the vessels of mercy, are

"afore prepared for glory", for eternal glory and happiness;

and are chosen and called to the obtaining of the glory of

Christ, which the Father has given to him to bestow upon

them, and which they will most certainly enjoy. #Ro 9:23

#2Th 2:13,14.


2b9. Ninthly, The various properties of election may be gathered

from what has been said of it; as,


2b9a. That it is eternal; it does not commence upon believing,

and much less at perseverance in faith and holiness; but it

was an act in God before the foundation of the world,

#Eph 1:4.


2b9b. It is free and sovereign; God was not obliged to choose

any; and as it is, he chooses whom he will, and for no other

reason excepting his own glory, but because he will; "what

if God willing", &c. and the difference in choosing one and

not another is purely owing to his will, #Ro 9:18,22,23.


2b9c. It is absolute and unconditional; clear of all motives in

man, or conditions to be performed by him; for it "stands

not of works, but of him that calleth", the will of him that

calls, #Ro 9:11.


2b9d. It is complete and perfect; it is not begun in eternity and

completed in time, nor takes its rise from the will of God,

and is finished by the will of man; nor is made perfect by

faith, holiness, obedience, and persevering in well doing,

but has its complete being in the will of God at once.


2b9e. It is immutable and irrevocable; God never repents of, nor

revokes the choice he has made; some choose their friends

and favourites, and alter their minds and choose others; but

God is in one mind, and never makes any alteration in the

choice he has made; and hence their state is safe and



2b9f. It is special and particular; that is, those who are chosen

are chosen to be a special people above all others, and are

particular persons, whose names are written in the book of

life; not in general, men of such and such characters, but

persons well known to God, and distinctly fixed on by him.


2b9g. Election may be known by the persons, the objects of it;

partly by the blessings flowing from it, and connected with

it, before observed, bestowed upon them; for to whomsoever such

blessings of grace are applied, they must be the elect of God,

#Ro 8:30 they may know it from the efficacy of the Gospel

upon them, in their calling and conversion, #1Th 1:4,5

and by the Spirit of God testifying their adoption to

them, to which they are predestinated, #Ro 8:15,16 and

they may be able to make it known to others by their holy lives

and conversations; which is meant by making their calling

and election sure, even by their good works, as some copies

read, #2Pe 1:10 since both calling and election are to be

made sure, and therefore by some third thing: indeed no man

can know his election of God until he is called; it would be

presumption in him to claim this character, until he is born

again; nor should any man conclude himself a reprobate

because a sinner, since all men are sinners; even God's

elect, who are by nature, and in no wise better than others,

but children of wrath, even as others.


There are many things objected to this doctrine of

election; but since it is so clear and plain from scripture,

and is written as with a sunbeam in it, all objections to it

must be mere cavil. It is urged, that God is said to be

"good to all, and his tender mercies over all his works",

#Ps 145:9 which seems inconsistent with his choosing some

and leaving others; but this is to be understood not of his

special grace, but of his providential goodness, which

extends to the elect and non-elect, the evil and the good,

the just and the unjust, #Mt 5:45 and in this sense he

is the saviour, preserver, and bountiful benefactor of all

men, but especially of them that believe, #1Ti 4:10. It

is observed that Christ says he was sent not to "condemn the

world, but that the world through him might be saved", and

therefore not some only but all; but to understand this of

all the individuals in the world is not true, because all

are not saved; and so this end of Christ's mission, so

understood, is not answered; but by the world is meant the

world of God's elect, whom he was reconciling in Christ, and

for whom Christ gave his life, and became the propitiation

for their sins, even for all the chosen throughout the whole

world, and particularly among the Gentiles. Nor is

#1Ti 2:4 any objection to this doctrine, "Who will have all

men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth";

for all men are not eventually saved, nor do all come to the

knowledge of the truth of the Gospel; nor indeed have all

the means of that knowledge: but the sense is, either, that

all that are saved, God wills to be saved; or that it is his

will that men of all sorts and of all nations, Jews and

Gentiles, should be saved; which agrees with the context,

#1Ti 2:1,2,7. And when it is said of God, that he is

"not willing that any should perish, but that all should

come to repentance", #2Pe 3:9 this must be interpreted,

not of all mankind, but of the elect, to whom this and the

preceding epistle are inscribed, and who are in #2Pe 3:8

styled "beloved", and in this verse, the "us" towards whom

"God is longsuffering"; now it is the will and pleasure of

God that none of those should perish, but all in due time be

brought to faith in Christ, and to repentance towards God:

but objections from hence, with others of the like kind, are

not sufficient to overturn this truth, so abundantly

established in the sacred scriptures.


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