33). Pighius contends that men were so immediately created unto salvation that no counsel of God concerning the contrary event, namely, his destruction, preceded his creation. And after having impudently vomited forth these revilings, he now, forgetting himself altogether and what he has uttered, says that we cover over our blasphemies with a certain colouring, that they might not be perceived. Discover (and save!) And in order that he might show that God had a reason and a cause in all His counsels, he adduces, as a proof, the answer which Christ gave to His disciples in the case of a blind man: “That he was born blind, that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Thus does Pighius make a shadow battle, and then fight it out, imagining that he has gained the victory. This conclusion of Pighius is, we repeat, most absurd, because, in the falling away of all men generally from God, His eternal election must nevertheless stand and prevail. If he should reply that God wills all men to be saved on His part, or as far as He is concerned, seeing that salvation is, nevertheless, left to the free will of each individual; I, in return, ask him why, if such be the case, God did not command the Gospel to be preached to all men, indiscriminately from the beginning of the world ? Hence, the Apostle Paul declares this prophecy of Isaiah to be fulfilled in Christ: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given Me,” etc. And, in another work, he maintains more fully that perseverance is freely bestowed on the elect, from which they can never fall away. Indeed, the context itself banishes every scruple, as if to render the intrusion of an interpreter wholly unnecessary. But when Calvin, and before him Luther and Bucer, and antecedently to them, Augustine, and other godly teachers, testify that the will of God is the supreme cause of all things that are in the world; it was the farthest possible from the mind of each of them, and of them all, to entangle God in any shadow of fault. The prophet is not, in that passage, describing the origin of our formation, but he is asserting and maintaining God’s rightful power in breaking to pieces and destroying vessels already formed and finished. This is what Paul means when he says that Christ, who is a “stumbling-block to the Jews” and “foolishness to the Greeks,” is “to them that are celled, the wisdom of God and the power of God.” But the next question is, where does calling come from? The OBJECT of this malicious calumny does indeed affirm throughout his publications that nothing is done but by the WILL of God! And it would be more manifest still, could the whole line of his confession be adduced, how fully and solidly he agrees with me in every particular. 25, 26). Pighius, however, is mistaken altogether. But it is as fully well known that none of these things can be understood or perceived but by faith, in fulfilment of the apostle Paul’s declaration that “the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;” then what can it be to others but the “savour of death unto death?” as the same apostle elsewhere powerfully expresses himself. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Discover John Calvin quotes about predestination. Whereas, this mortal knows not really what Plato either thinks or says. Wherefore, when God commands Adam not to taste the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” He thereby tests his obedience. Paul likewise declares that it is God who “sends upon the wicked strong delusions that they should believe a lie” (2 Thess. And suppose God, ceding His own right, should offer Himself as ready to render a reason for His works? Surely, to apply this promise to those who were worthy of this new covenant, or to such as had prepared themselves by their own merits or endeavours to receive it must be worse than the grossest ignorance and folly; and the more so, as the Lord is speaking by the prophet to those who had before “stony hearts.” All this is plainly stated also, and fully explained, by the prophet Ezekiel (chap. As if he had said, that those to whom he wrote were now numbered among the children of God, because they were chosen or elected of Him before they were born.
The knot immediately before us, however, is not yet, I confess, untied. Because, all those who fall away are declared by John not to have been of Christ’s flock at all. Consequently the sentiments of Augustine are truth, where he thus writes: “The elect of God are chosen by Him to be His children, in order that they might be made to believe, not because He foresaw that they would believe.” I forbear to cite here other passages of the apostle similar to the above, because they will have to be considered very shortly in their proper place, But as there is one passage in the evangelist Matthew, where the elect of God seem to be spoken of as an infinite number, where Christ Himself says that “there shall be such great signs and wonders shown by false christs false prophets that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect;” Georgius explains “the elect” in this place as signifying all those who persevere in faith and righteousness. So, when Pharaoh is said to have been “hardened” of God, he was already, in himself, worthy of being delivered over unto Satan by the Most High. Nay, “that the election of God might stand,” those who were once blind are “illuminated” unto faith. That iniquity which had interrupted it is done away, and the faith still perseveres unto the end. And why? Such characters, however, as John testifies, “were never of us; for if they had been of us, they would not have gone out from us” (1 John ii. For as the God of Goodness, He would not suffer evil to be done at all, unless, as the God of Omnipotence, He could, out of that evil, bring good!”. F or the hearts of most of them, hardened and rendered obstinate by wickedness, will receive no healing; while the ears of others are ever itching with the insatiable desire of depraved speculations.
The sum of Paul’s testimony is, that those only are illuminated unto faith who were predestinated unto eternal life “according to the eternal good pleasure of God.” Nor can it be denied that there was, at the first preaching of the Gospel, a special call of certain persons.
But if there be any ultramorose ones who are not yet satisfied, and who consider that there is more weight in the testimony of Augustine (which acknowledgment I have often and willingly made myself), I will produce his sentiments on this subject in his own words, thereby testifying my own assent to their truth. The second account on which Georgius declares we are in error and delusion is, because we do not hold that all the believers (as he calls them) of the New Testament were chosen unto salvation, as those were of whom the apostle speaks in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians. Paul undeniably here testifies that all those of Israel who were saved were saved according to God’s free election; and that, therefore, “the election obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom. Whereas, he that does understand might, by hearing the truth and receiving it, teach others also. An exalted prophet like David (we see) could not attempt to be wise beyond what is lawful without being confounded and made to feel himself to be, as it were, a brute beast. But the more diffuse he is in his wild discussions, the more brief I shall study to be in my answers, by which I hope to curb his pretensions. Such reprobate persons, thus apparently righteous, could never truly call upon God as their Father. This passage of the apostle (1 Tim. For we never imagine to ourselves, nor falsely picture to others, that the elect always hold on the right course, under the constant direction of the Holy Spirit; on the contrary, we ever affirm that they slip with their feet, wander out of the way, and dash against various rocks of sin and of error, and frequently are quite out of the right way of salvation.
But that man is wilfully mad, whoever he may be, who does not confess that no one of those who died naturally in Adam can be restored unto eternal life in any other way than in that ordained of God. At his commencement, to save all labour and trouble in untying the Gordian knot, he cuts it right in halves (as he thinks) by this one word. Such is Pighius’ theological reasoning! And here, moreover, he elevates his brow in a manner peculiar to himself, as if he had discovered some deeply hidden thing; whereas this subterfuge of his is in the mouth of every schoolboy. But let the one believe that he is hardened according to his desert; the other, that he is helped according to grace.” And what the desert of man is Augustine had before shown in these words, “Every sinner is inexcusable, either on account of his original sin and sinful nature, or else from the additional act of his own will, whether he knew that he was sinning, or knew it not; whether he had a judgment of what is right, or had it not. The apostle does not here simply say that Jacob was appointed heir of life, that the election of God might stand, but that his brother being rejected, his brother’s birthright was conferred on him.
Those whom God chooses, He justifies by His own righteousness. If this worthless fellow goes on with his interpretation of the Scriptures at this rate, according to the letter, he will by-and-bye fabricate for us a corporeal God, assigning as his reason, because the Scripture speaks of God as having ears, eyes, feet and hands. In this refutation of dog-faced dishonesty, as the omnipotence of God is honestly and clearly maintained against calumnies of every kind, I feel confident that I have humbly performed a work both useful and gratifying to the Church, and also acceptable unto God. The reply is, ‘Who. And, in the first place, he holds it as a great absurdity to suppose that God expected any return from the creation of man, since, being content in Himself alone, He could want no one else, nor anything else.