Monday, March 7, 2011

Witsius on the Free-ness of Election

The freeness of election consists in this, that God, as the absolute Lord of all his creatures, has chosen, out of mankind, whom and as many as he pleased; and indeed, in such a manner, as that no good which he foresaw in such a man, was the foundation of that choice, or the reason why he chose one rather than another. This appears,

1st. Because the Scripture asserts, that the most free will of God was the supreme reason or cause of election, Matthew 11:26 - "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." Luke 12:32 - "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Above all, the apostle is full in vindicating this absolute power of God, Romans 9, where among other things he says, verse 21: "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

2ndly. At the same time also, that the Scripture refuses consideration of any good foreseen in man, it maintains this most free and gracious good-pleasure of God, Romans 9:11 - "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..." 2 Timothy 1:9 - "Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose."

3rdly. Neither faith, nor holiness, nor any thing truly good can be considered in man, unless bestowed out of divine grace, Philippians 1:29 - "Unto you is given to believe on Christ." Ephesians 2:8 - "Faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." But the bestowing of this favour can proceed from no other cause than the election of grace, and the benevolent good pleasure of his will. And consequently these benefits cannot be presupposed as preparatory to divine election.

4thly. The Scriptures expressly declare, that we are chosen to faith, holiness, and to perseverance in both, which being the consequents and fruits of election, cannot be the antecedent conditions of it, Ephesians 1:4 - "He hath chosen us, that we should be holy and without blame," or have it begun on earth, and consummated in heaven, John 15:16 - "I have chosen you and ordained you that you should bring forth fruit." I have chosen you from eternity, called and ordained you in the appointed time, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 - "God hath from the beginning chosen you to truth." Election is as well to the means, as to the end. All these passages, and many others of a like nature, have been so fully and solidly defended by our divines against the objections of the Remonstrants, that I have scarce anything to add.

Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man 3.4.24

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