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New than it was under the Old Covenant, although his will is much more perfect under the New Covenant, for we are now treated not as slaves but as freemen.

What is the internal divine assistance ?

It is this—when God, by his spirit, imprints and seals what he has promised more and more upon

the hearts of believers, and causes them to be incited by a certain peculiar fondness for the divine promises. And also, when by the same spirit he points out more clearly to their understanding the duties of religion, furnishes their minds with discretion, especially in more difficult circumstances, directly inspires their will with a certain zeal for the vigorous practice of piety, represses the violence of opposing passions, expels sloth, and excites the mind to virtuous actions by certain sacred incentives. The first of these aids is chiefly manifested in afflictions.

If, as you state, there be free will, how comes it to pass that so many deny it?

They do this because they think they have certain testimonies of Scripture, wherefrom they imagine they can make it


that there is no free will in those things of which I have spoken.

What are those testimonies ?

They are of two kinds ;--the one, from which they persuade themselves that they can infer this; the other, by which they conceive that free will is expressly taken away.

Which are those testimonies whence they endeavour to infer this ? All those which treat of the predestination of God.


What is their opinion concerning predestination?

That God, by an absolutely irrevocable and unchangeable decree, did from ail eternity elect and appoint unto salvation certain individuals in particular, from the whole human race who were ever to be born ; and doom all the rest, by the same immutable decree, to eternal damnation ;—not because he foresaw the obedience of the one or the disobedience of the other, but because such was his pleasure.

What is your opinion of this matter?

That this notion of predestination is altogether false,-and principally for two reasons; whereof one is, that it would necessarily destroy all religion; and the other, that it would ascribe to God many things-incompatible with his nature.

Show ine how the admission of this opinion would altogether destroy religion?

This is evident from hence, that all things relating to piety and religion would be in us from necessity : and if this were the case, there would be no need of our efforts and labour in order to be pious. For all exertion and application is wholly superfluous where all things are done through necessity, as reason itself shows. But if exertion and application be taken away from piety and religion, piety and religion must perish.

Show me what things incompatible with his nature would be attributed to God if this opinion were: admitted ? They are four in number. First, injustice: for it would be extremely unjust to punish any one for not doing what he could by no means perform. And when God punishes the wicked, and those who disobey him, what does he but punish those who do not that which they have not ability to execute ? For, if the opinion of our adversaries be true, it is clear, they cannot, on account of the absolutely immutable decree of God, become by any means pious and obedient to him. Secondly, hypocrisy, joined with deceit : for God, after having by his decree excluded from salvation a great, indeed the greatest, part of those to whom the gospel is proclaimed, does nevertheless, by the preaching of the gospel, offer salvation to all ; and thus acts in one way while he pretends to act in another, which conduct properly belongs to hypocrites and deceivers : and, what is worse, he does this in a case wherein it would be evident that they were very greatly injured; since they would be eternally punished because they rejected the gospel. Thirdly, the greatest imprudence: for God would be prosecuting, or at least seem to be prosecuting, what he certainly knew could never be accomplished. And what is more foolish, what more trifling, than to prosecute, or pretend to prosecute, what we certainly know can by no means be executed, and thus expose ourselves to scorn? Fourthly, wickedness: because it would make God the author of sin : for since it is altogether necessary that sin should precede damnation, certainly he who absolutely decrees that any one shall necessarily be damned, does also ordain that he should necessarily sin.



How do they maintain this opinion of theirs concerning predestination?

They endeavour to support it by some testimonies of Scripture, among which the principal are those contained in the eighth and ninth chapters of the epistle to the Romans. The first is Rom. viii. 28, 29, 30, “ We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the first born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ; and whom he called, them he also justified : and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” The other is Rom. ix. 11, 12, 13, where the apostle writes concerning Jacob and Esau ; “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her (Rebecca), The elder shall serve the younger. And it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." And a little further on (ver, 21); “Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump, to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

What answer is to be given to the first testimony?

In order that you may understand this testimony and others of a similar kind, I must first inform you what is meant in the Scriptures by predestination, election, and calling. This I wish you to explain.


The predestination of God means nothing more in the Scriptures than a decree of his made before the foundation of the world, concerning mankind, to give eternal life to those whoshould believe in hin, and yield him obedience, and to punish with eternal damnation those who should refuse to believe in and obey him. For Christ, the perfect interpreter of the divine will, has thus explained to us the purpose and decree of God : He that believeth shall certainly be saved, but he that believeth not shall certainly be damned.

What say you concerning election?

Election, when our salvation is spoken of, has in the sacred writings two significations ; for sometimes all who give their assent to the gospel when preached to them are said to be elected of God : and sometimes they who not only assent to the gospel, but also regulate their lives by its precepts, are called the elect. You have an instance of the first signification, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27, “You see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty," &c. Also in those words of Peter (2 Epist. chap. 1, ver. 11), “Give diligence to make your calling and your election sure,” that is by good works, as some copies subjoin. Of the second signification you have an example, Matth. xxii. 14, where Christ says, “ Many are called, but few are chosen." What say you of calling?


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