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Chapter 2 Section 5.

- Romans 8:28, 29

Part 2 Chapter 2
Section 5—Romans 8:28, 29.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called, kata proqesin,
according to his purpose; for whom proegnw, he did foreknow, he also prowrise, did predestinate.

These three words prognosiv, the foreknowledge, proqesiv, the purpose, and prowrismov, the fore-appointment
God, are used in the New Testament to express the doctrine of election; which show that the predestination of men to
eternal life, according to the foreknowledge and purpose of God, is a special, unchangeable, and eternal act of his
grace. Though,
1. It is affirmed,[1] "that none of them relate to particular or individual persons (save only when they are used of
our blessed Lord and his sufferings for us), but only to churches and nations in the general." But surely they do not
relate to churches and nations in the general, in the text before us; for then it would unavoidably follow, that whole
churches and nations in general are conformed to the image of Christ, justified and glorified, seeing these things are
said of those whom God foreknows and predestinates; nor do the instances alleged prove the assertion; not Ephesians
1:5, 11, where the apostle speaks of some whom God had proorisav, predestinated to the adoption of sons, and who
were proorisqentev kata proqesin, predestinated according to the purpose of God, which passages regard not nations
or churches, but particular persons, as has been shown under the foregoing section; nor 1 Peter 1:2, where some are
said to be elect, not kata proqesin, according to the purpose, as Dr. Whitby very wrongly cites the words, kata
prognwsin, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, which intend particular persons, and not nations or
churches; for not to such does the apostle write, but to strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia,
Asia, and Bithynia; nor Romans 9:11, where the h kat ekloghn tou qeou proqesiv, purpose of God according to
election, concerns not the posterity of Jacob and Esau, but the single person of Jacob only, as has been made to appear
in a preceding section.
2. It is said,[2] "that this foreknowledge, purpose, or appointment, is only that of calling men to the knowledge of
salvation by Christ Jesus." But, if by calling men to the knowledge of salvation by Christ Jesus is only meant, as it
seems to be by what follows, a bare external call by the ministry of the gospel; it must be denied that foreknowledge,
purpose, and appointment, only regard this; seeing many are called according to the purpose of God, with an holy
calling, such an one as is powerful, and effectual to their real sanctification, and which is secured to them by God’s
foreknowledge, purpose, and appointment, though it is something distinct from them, being an act of God’s grace in
time, whereas the other respects his knowledge and will from all eternity.
3. It is farther said,[3] that "this calling is by God designed epi touto, that they who are thus called might obtain
salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; all Christians being chosen to this end, that they
might be holy, and unblameable before God in love. But hence it cannot reasonably be argued, that this election is no
larger than the holiness designed to be produced by it." I reply, that effectual calling by the grace of God, which is the
calling according to purpose the Scriptures speak of, is not only designed by God, that such who are thus called might
obtain salvation, but is really and infallibly succeeded to such an end; though it would be more proper, and more
agreeable to the Scriptures to say, that such obtain salvation by Jesus Christ, being chosen to it through sanctification
of the Spirit and belief of the truth; which holiness is not only designed to be produced in consequence of electing
grace, but is really produced. Nor is this election larger, nor it does not extend to more persons than holiness; just as
many persons are made holy in time as were chosen to be so from eternity: holiness is a certain fruit and effect of
election. The instances of God’s general goodness, the mission of the Baptist, and the outward ministry of the gospel
of grace, not always having a good effect, upon men, are not to be put upon a level with the purposes and counsel of
God, which shall certainly stand; for he will always do his pleasure. As to the end of the Messiah’s coming, to save
his people from their sins, that ought not. to have been mentioned with the former instances; since that is fully
answered, and has had its sure effect and accomplishment.
4. It is observed,[4] that "as men were appointed to be called from the beginning, and the gospel is thathn
prowrisen, which God had fore-appointed to be preached to them for that end (1 Cor. 2:7); so by virtue of this purpose
and fore-appointment men were in time called by the gospel to faith in Christ, where they are said to be called
according to purpose (Rom. 8:28; 2 Tim. 1:9). And the purpose of sending Christ to die for the remission of sins,
being the ground of this calling, he is said to be given up to death, according to the foreknowledge of God and his
fore-appointed course, (Acts 2:23). And they who slew him are said to have done only what his counsel had fore-[11/2/2010 10:10:07 AM]
Chapter 2 Section 5. - Romans 8:28, 29

appointed to be done" (Acts 4:28). Which observations are very just; but are so far from militating against the
doctrine of absolute election, that they establish it; since, according to them, not only the end but the means, the death
of Christ, the preaching of the gospel, and calling men by it, are appointed and fixed, which infallibly succeed to bring
about the end, eternal salvation.


[1] Whitby, p. 49; ed. 2.48.

[2] Ibid p. 50; ed. 2.49.

[3] Whitby, p. 50; ed. 2.49.

[4] Ibid. p. 51 ed. 2.50.[11/2/2010 10:10:07 AM]