Article "Predestination," from A
Dictionary of the
Bible, ed. by James Hastings, v. 4, pp. 47-63.
Pub. N. Y. 1909, by Charles Scribner's Sons.
marked up by Lance George
Greek and Hebrew fonts used in this document can be downloaded at BibleWorks
I. THE TERMS
THE words 'predestine,' 'predestinate,' 'predestination' seem not to have been domiciled in English literary use until the later period of Middle English (they are all three found in Chaucer: "Troylous and Cryseyde," 966; "Orisoune to the Holy Virgin," 69; translation of "Boethius," b. 1, pr. 6, l. 3844; the Old English equivalent seems to have been 'forestihtian,' as in Ælfric's "Homilies," ii. 364, 366, in renderings of Rom. i. 4, viii. 30). 'Predestine,' 'predestination' were doubtless taken over from the French, while 'predestinate' probably owes its form directly to the Latin original of them all. The noun has never had a place in the English Bible, but the verb in the form 'predestinate' occurs in every one of its issues from Tindale to the Authorized Version. Its history in the English versions is a somewhat curious one. It goes back, of course, ultimately to the Latin 'prædestino' (a good classical but not pre-Augustan word; while the noun 'prædestinatio' seems to be of Patristic origin), which was adopted by the Vulgate as its regular rendering of the Greek proori,zw, and occurs, with the sole exception of Acts iv. 28 (Vulgate decerno), wherever the Latin translators found that verb in their text (Rom. i. 4, viii. 29, 30, I Cor. ii. 7, Eph. i. 5, 11). But the Wyclifite versions did not carry 'predestinate' over into English in a single instance, but rendered in every case by 'before ordain' (Acts iv. 28 'deemed'). It was thus left to Tindale to give the word a place in the English Bible. This he did, however, in only one passage, Eph. i. 11, doubtless under the influence of the Vulgate. His ordinary rendering of proori,zw is 'ordain before' (Rom. viii. 29, Eph. i. 5; cf.. I Cor. ii. 7, where the 'before' is omitted apparently only on account of the succeeding preposition into which it may be thought, therefore, to coalesce), varied in Rom. viii. 30 to 'appoint before'; while, reverting to the Greek, he has 'determined before' at Acts iv. 28 and, following the better reading, has 'declared' at Rom. i. 4. The succeeding English versions follow Tindale very closely, though the Genevan omits 'before' in Acts iv. 28 and, doubtless in order to assimilate it to the neighbouring Eph. i. 11, reads 'did predestinate' in Eph. i. 5. The larger use of the word was due to the Rhemish version, which naturally reverts to the Vulgate and reproduces its prædestino regularly in 'predestinate' (Rom. i. 4, viii. 29, 30, I Cor. ii. 7, Eph. i. 5, 11; but Acts iv. 28 'decreed'). Under this influence the Authorized Version adopted 'predestinate' as its ordinary rendering of proori,zw (Rom. viii. 29, 30, Eph. i. 5, 11), while continuing to follow Tindale at Acts iv. 28 'determined before,' I Cor. ii. 7 'ordained,' as well as at Rom. i. 4 'declared,' in margin 'Greek determined.' Thus the word, tentatively introduced into a single passage by Tindale, seemed to have intrenched itself as the stated English representative of an important Greek term. The Revised Version has, however, dismissed it altogether from the English Bible and adopted in its stead the hybrid compound 'foreordained' as its invariable representative of proori,zw (Acts iv. 28, Rom. viii. 29, 30, I Cor. ii. 7, Eph. i. 5, 11), - in this recurring substantially to the language of Wyclif and the preferred rendering of Tindale. None other than a literary interest, however, can attach to the change thus introduced: 'foreordain' and 'predestinate' are exact synonyms, the choice between which can be determined only by taste. The somewhat widespread notion that the seventeenth century theology distinguished between them, rests on a misapprehension of the evidently carefully-adjusted usage of them in the Westminster Confession, iii. 3 ff. This is not, however, the result of the attribution to the one word of a 'stronger' or to the other of a 'harsher' sense than that borne by its fellow, but a simple sequence of a current employment of 'predestination' as the precise synonym of 'election,' and a resultant hesitation to apply a term of such precious associations to the foreordination to death. Since then the tables have been quite turned, and it is questionable whether in popular speech the word 'predestinate' does not now bear an unpleasant suggestion.
That neither word occurs in the English Old Testament is due to the genius of the Hebrew language, which does not admit of such compound terms. Their place is taken in the Old Testament, therefore, by simple words expressive of purposing, determining, ordaining, with more or less contextual indication of previousness of action. These represent a variety of Hebrew words, the most explicit of which is perhaps rc;y" (Ps. cxxxix. 16, Isa. xxii. 11, xxxvii. 26, xlvi. 11), by the side of which must be placed, however, #[;y" (Isa. xiv. 24, 26, 27, xix. 12, xix. 17, xxiii. 9, Jer. xlix. 20, l. 45), whose substantival derivative hc.[e (Job xxxviii. 2, xlii. 3, Jer. xxiii. 19, Prov. xix. 21, Ps. xxxiii. 11, cvii. 11, Isa. xiv. 26, xlvi. 10, 11, Ps. cvi. 13, Isa. v. 19, xix. 17, Jer. xlix. 20, l. 45, Mic. iv. 12) is doubtless the most precise Hebrew term for the Divine plan or purpose, although there occurs along with it in much the same sense the term hb'v'j'm; (Jer. xviii. 11, xxix. 11, xlix. 30, 1. 45, Isa. lv. 8, Jer. li. 29, Mic. iv. 12, Ps. xcii. 6, a derivative of bv;x' (Gen. l. 20, Mic. ii. 3, Jer. xviii. 11, xxvi. 3, xxix. 11, xxxvi. 3, xlix. 50, l. 45, Lam. ii. 8). In the Aramaic portion of Daniel (iv. 14 (17), 21 (24) the common later Hebrew designation of the Divine decree (used especially in an evil sense) hr'zEG. occurs: and qx is occasionally used with much the same meaning (Ps. ii. 7, Zeph. ii. 2, Ps. cv. 10 = I Chron. xvi. 17, Job xxiii. 14). Other words of similar import are ~m;z' (Jer. iv. 28, li. 12, Lam. ii. 19, Zee. i. 6, viii. 14, 15) with its substantive hM'zIm. (Job xlii. 2, Jer. xxiii. 20, xxx. 24, li. 11); #pex' (Ps. cxv. 3, cxxxv. 6, Prov. xxi. 1, Isa. Iv. 11, Jon. i. 14, Judg. xiii. 23, Isa. ii. 25, Isa. liii. 10) with its substantive #p,xe (Isa. xlvi. 10, xliv. 28, xlviii. 14, liii. 10); #r;x' (Job xiv. 5, Isa. x. 22, 23, xxviii. 22, Dan. ix. 26, 27, xi. 36); %t;x' (Dan. ix. 24); (I Sam. xii. 22, I Chron. xvii. 27, II Sam. vii. 29). To express that special act of predestination which we know as 'election,' the Hebrews commonly utilized the word rx;B' (of Israel, Deut. iv. 37, vii. 6, 7, x. 15, xiv. 2, Isa. xli. 8, 9, xliii. 10, 30, xliv. l, 2, Jer. xxxiii. 24; and of the future, Isa. xiv. 1, lxv. 9, 15, 22; of Jehovah's servant, xlii. 1, xlix. 7; of Jerusalem, Deut. xii. 14, 18, 26, xiv. 25, xv. 20, xvi. 7, 15, 16, xvii. 8, 10, xviii. 6, xxxi. 11, Jos. ix. 27, I Kings viii. 44, 48, xi. 13, 32, 36, xiv. 21, II Kings xxi. 7, xxiii. 27) with its substantive ryxB' (exclusively used of Jehovah's 'elect,' II Sam. xxi. 6, I Chron, xvi. 13, Ps. lxxxix. 4, cv. 6, 43, cvi. 5, 23, Isa. xlii. 1, xliii. 20, xlv. 4, lxv. 9, 15, 22), and occasionally the word [d;y" in a pregnant sense (Gen. xviii. 19, Amos. iii. 2, Hos. xiii. 5, cf. Ps. i. 6, xxxi. 8(7), xxxvii. 18, Isa. lviii. 3); while it is rather the execution of this previous choice in an act of separation that is expressed by lyD[b.hi (Lev. xx. 24, xx. 26, I Kings viii. 53).
In the Greek of the New Testament the precise term proori,zw (Acts iv. 28, I Cor. ii. 7, Rom. viii. 29, 30, Eph. i. 5, 11) is supplemented by a number of similar compounds, such as prota,ssw (Acts xvii. 26); proti,qhmi (Eph. i. 9) with its more frequently occurring substantive, pro,qesij (Rom. viii. 28, ix: 11, Eph. i. 11, iii. 11, II Tim. i. 9); proetoima,zw (Rom. ix. 23, Eph. ii. 10) and perhaps proble,pw in a similar sense of providential pre-arrangement (Heb. xi. 40), with which may be compared also proei/don (Acts ii. 31, Gal. iii. 8); progignw,skw (Rom. viii. 29, xi. 2, I Pet. i. 20) and its substantive pro,gnwsij (I Pet. i. 2, Acts ii. 23); proceiri,zw (Acts xxii. 14, iii. 20) and proceirotone,w (Acts x. 41). Something of the same idea is, moreover, also occasionally expressed by the simple o`ri,zw (Luke xxii. 22, Acts xvii. 26, 31, ii. 23, Heb. iv. 7, Acts x. 42), or through the medium of terms designating the will, wish, or good-pleasure of God, such as boulh, (Luke vii. 30, Acts ii. 23, iv. 28, xiii. 36, xx. 27, Eph. i. 11, Heb. vi. 17, cf. bou,lhma Rom. ix. 19 and bou,lomai Heb. vi. 17, Jas. i. 18, II Pet. iii. 9), qe,lhma (e. g., Eph. i. 5, 9, 11, Heb. x. 7, cf. qe,lhsij Heb. ii. 4, qe,lw, e. g., Rom. ix. 18, 22), euvdoki,a (Luke ii. 14, Eph. i. 5, 9, Phil. ii. 13, cf. euvdoke,w Luke. xii. 32, Col. i. 19, Gal. i. 15, I Cor. i. 21). The standing terms in the New Testament for God's sovereign choice of His people are evkle,gesqai, in which both the composition and voice are significant (Eph. i. 4, Mark xiii. 20, John xv. 16 twice, 19, I Cor. i. 27 twice, Jas. ii. 5; of Israel, Acts xiii. 17; of Christ, Luke ix. 35; of the disciples, Luke vi. 13, John vi. 70, xiii. 18, Acts i. 2; of others, Acts i. 24, xv. 7), evklekto,j (Matt. [xx. 16] xxii. 14, xxvi. 22, 24, 31, Mark xiii. 20, 22, 27, Luke xviii. 7, Rom. viii. 33, Col. iii. 12, II Tim. ii. 10, Tit. i. 1, I Pet. i. 1, [ii. 9], Rev. xvii. 14; of individuals, Rom. xvi. 13, II John i. 13; of Christ, Luke xxiii. 35, John xiii. 18; of angels, I Tim. v. 21), evklogh, (Acts ix. 15, Rom. ix. 11. xi. 5, 7, 28, I Thes. i. 4, II Pet. i. 10), - words which had been prepared for this New Testament use by their employment in the Septuagint - the two former to translate rx;B' and ryxiB'. In II Thes. ii. 13 ai`re,omai is used similarly.
II. PREDESTINATION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
No survey of the terms used to express it, however, can convey an adequate sense of the place occupied by the idea of predestination in the religious system of the Bible. It is not too much to say that it is fundamental to the whole religious consciousness of the Biblical writers, and is so involved in all their religious conceptions that to eradicate it would transform the entire scriptural representation. This is as true of the Old Testament as of the New Testament, as will become sufficiently manifest by attending briefly to the nature and implications of such formative elements in the Old Testament system as its doctrines of God, Providence, Faith, and the Kingdom of God.
Whencesoever Israel obtained it, it is quite certain that Israel entered upon its national existence with the most vivid consciousness of an almighty personal Creator and Governor of heaven and earth. Israel's own account of the clearness and the firmness of its apprehension of this mighty Author and Ruler of all that is, refers it to His own initiative: God chose to make Himself known to the fathers. At all events, throughout the whole of Old Testament literature, and for every period of history recorded in it, the fundamental conception of God remains the same, and the two most persistently emphasized elements in it are just those of might and personality: before everything else, the God of Israel is the Omnipotent Person. Possibly the keen sense of the exaltation and illimitable power of God which forms the very core of the Old Testament idea of God belongs rather to the general Semitic than to the specifically Israelitish element in its religion; certainly it was already prominent in the patriarchal God-consciousness, as is sufficiently evinced by the names of God current from the beginning of the Old Testament revelation, - El, Eloah, Elohim, El Shaddai, - and as is illustrated endlessly in the Biblical narrative. But it is equally clear that God was never conceived by the Old Testament saints as abstract power, but was ever thought of concretely as the all-powerful Person, and that, moreover, as clothed with all the attributes of moral personality, - pre-eminently with holiness, as the very summit of His exaltation, but along with holiness, also with all the characteristics that belong to spiritual personality as it exhibits itself familiarly in man. In a word, God is pictured in the Old Testament, and that from the beginning, purely after the pattern of human personality, - as an intelligent, feeling, willing Being, like the man who is created in His image in all in which the life of a free spirit consists. The anthropomorphisms to which this mode of conceiving God led were sometimes startling enough, and might have become grossly misleading had not the corrective lain ever at hand in the accompanying sense of the immeasurable exaltation of God, by which He was removed above all the weaknesses of humanity. The result accordingly was nothing other than a peculiarly pure form of Theism. The grosser anthropomorphisms were fully understood to be figurative, and the residuary conception was that of an infinite Spirit, not indeed expressed in abstract terms nor from the first fully brought out in all its implications, but certainly in all ages of the Old Testament development grasped in all its essential elements. (Cf. the art. GOD).
Such a God could not be thought of otherwise than as the free determiner of all that comes to pass in the world which is the product of His creative act; and the doctrine of Providence (hD'quP.) which is spread over the pages of the Old Testament fully bears out this expectation. The almighty Maker of all that is is represerited equally as the irresistible Ruler of all that He has made: Jehovah sits as King for ever (Ps. xxix. 10). Even the common language of life was affected by this pervasive point of view, so that, for example, it is rare to meet with such a phrase as 'it rains' (Amos iv. 7), and men by preference spoke of God sending rain (Ps. ixv. 9f., Job xxxvi. 27, xxxviii. 26). The vivid sense of dependence on God thus witnessed extended throughout every relation of life. Accident or chance was excluded. If we read here and there of a hr,q.mi it is not thought of as happening apart from God's direction (Ruth ii. 3, I Sam. vi. 9, xx. 26, Eccl. ii. 14, cf. I Kings xxii. 34, II Chron. xviii. 33), and accordingly the lot was an accepted means of obtaining the decision of God (Jos. vii. 16, xiv. 2, xviii. 6, I Sam. x. 19, Jon. i. 7), and is didactically recognized as under His control (Prov. xvi. 33). All things without exception, indeed, are disposed by Him, and His will is the ultimate account of all that occurs. Heaven and earth and all that is in them are the instruments through which He works His ends. Nature, nations, and the fortunes of the individual alike present in all their changes the transcript of His purpose. The winds are His messengers, the flaming fire His servant: every natural occurrence is His act: prosperity is His gift, and if calamity falls upon man it is the Lord that has done it (Amos iii. 5, 6, Lam. iii. 33-38, Isa. xlvii. 7, Eccl. vii. 14, Isa. liv. 16). It is He that leads the feet of men, wit they whither or not; He that raises up and casts down; opens and hardens the heart; and creates the very thoughts and intents of the soul. So poignant is the sense of His activity in all that occurs, that an appearance is sometimes created as if everything that comes to pass were so ascribed to His immediate production as to exclude the real activity of second causes. It is a grave mistake, nevertheless, to suppose that He is conceived as an unseen power, throwing up, in a quasi-Pantheistic sense, all changes on the face of the world and history. The virile sense of the free personality of God which dominates all the thought of the Old Testament would alone have precluded such a conception. Nor is there really any lack of recognition of 'second causes,' as we call them. They are certainly not conceived as independent of God: they are rather the mere expression of His stated will. But they are from the beginning fully recognized, both in nature - with respect to which Jehovah has made covenant (Gen. viii. 21, 22, Jer. xxxi. 35, 36, xxxiii. 20, 25, Ps. cxlviii. 6, cf. Jer. v. 22, Ps. civ. 9, Job xxxviii. 10, 33, xiv. 5), establishing its laws (tAQxu Job xxviii. 25, 28, Isa. xl. 12, Job xxxviii. 8-11, Prov. viii. 29, Jer. v. 22, Ps. civ. 9, xxxiii. 7, Isa. xl. 26) - and equally in the higher sphere of free spirits, who are ever conceived as the true authors of all their acts (hence God's proving of man, Gen. xxii. 1, Ex. xvi. 4, xx. 20, Deut. viii. 2, 16, xiii. 3, Judg. iii. 1, 4, II Chron. xxxii. 31). There is no question here of the substitution of Jehovah's operation for that of the proximate causes of events. There is only the liveliest perception of the governing hand of God behind the proximate causes, acting through them for the working out of His will in every detail. Such a conception obviously looks upon the universe teleologically: an almighty moral Person cannot be supposed to govern His universe, thus in every detail, either unconsciously or capriciously. In His government there is necessarily implied a plan; in the all-pervasiveness and perfection of His government is inevitably implied an all-inclusive and perfect plan: and this conception is not seldom explicitly developed.
It is abundantly clear on the face of it, of course, that this whole mode of thought is the natural expression of the deep religious consciousness of the Old Testament writers, though surely it is not therefore to be set aside as 'merely' the religious view of things, or as having no other rooting save in the imagination of religiously-minded men. In any event, however, it is altogether natural that in the more distinctive sphere of the religious life its informing principle of absolute dependence on God should be found to repeat itself. This appears particularly in the Old Testament doctrine of faith, in which there sounds the keynote of Old Testament piety, - for the religion of the Old Testament, so far from being, as Hegel, for example, would affirm, the religion of fear, is rather by way of eminence the religion of trust. Standing over against God, not merely as creatures, but as sinners, the Old Testament saints found no ground of hope save in the free initiative of the Divine love. At no period of the development of Old Testament religion was it permitted to be imagined that blessings might be wrung from the hands of an unwilling God, or gained in the strength of man's own arm. Rather it was ever inculcated that in this sphere, too, it is God alone that lifts up and makes rich, He alone that keeps the feet of His holy ones; while by strength, it is affirmed, no man shall prevail (I Sam. ii. 9). 'I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies' is the constant refrain of the Old Testament saints (Gen. xxxii. 10); and from the very beginning, in narrative, precept and prophetic declaration alike, it is in trust in the unmerited love of Jehovah alone that the hearts of men are represented as finding peace. Self-sufficiency is the characteristic mark of the wicked, whose doom treads on his heels; while the mark of the righteous is that he lives by his faith (Hab. ii. 4). In the entire self-commitment to God, humble dependence on Him for all blessings, which is the very core of Old Testament religion, no element is more central than the profound conviction embodied in it of the free sovereignty of God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, in the distribution of His mercies. The whole training of Israel was directed to impressing upon it the great lesson enunciated to Zerubbabel, 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts' (Zech. iv. 6) - that all that comes to man in the spiritual sphere, too, is the free gift of Jehovah.
Nowhere is this lesson more persistently emphasized than in the history of the establishment and development of the kingdom of God, which may well be called the cardinal theme of the Old Testament. For the kingdom of God is consistently represented, not as the product of man's efforts in seeking after God, but as the gracious creation of God Himself. Its inception and development are the crowning manifestation of the free grace of the Living God working in history in pursuance of His loving purpose to recover fallen man to Himself. To this end He preserves the race in existence after its sin, saves a seed from the destruction of the Flood, separates to Himself a family in Abraham, sifts it in Isaac and Jacob, nurses and trains it through the weakness of its infancy, and gradually moulds it to be the vehicle of His revelation of redemption, and the channel of Messianic blessings to the world. At every step it is God, and God alone, to whom is ascribed the initiative; and the most extreme care is taken to preserve the recipients of the blessings consequent on His choice from fancying that these blessings come as their due, or as reward for aught done by themselves, or to be found in themselves. They were rather in every respect emphatically not a people of their own making, but a people that God had formed that they might set forth His praise (Isa. xliii. 21). The strongest language, the most astonishing figures, were employed to emphasize the pure sovereignty of the Divine action at every stage. It was not because Israel was numerous, or strong, or righteous, that He chose it, but only because it pleased Him to make of it a people for Himself. He was as the potter, it as the clay which the potter moulds as he will; it was but as the helpless babe in its blood cast out to die, abhorred of man, which Jehovah strangely gathers to His bosom in unmerited love (Gen. xii. 1, 3, Deut. vii. 6-8, ix. 4-6, x. 15, 16, I Sam. xii. 22, Isa. xli. 8, 9, xliii. 20, xlviii. 9-11, Jer. xviii. 1 f., xxxi. 3, Hos. ii. 20, Mal. i. 2, 3). There was no element in the religious consciousness of Israel more poignantly realized, as there was no element in the instruction they had received more insisted on, than that they owed their separation from the peoples of the earth to be the Lord's inheritance, and all the blessings they had as such received from Jehovah, not to any claim upon Him which they could urge, but to His own gracious love faithfully persisted in in spite of every conceivable obstacle.
In one word, the sovereignty of the Divine will as the principle of all that comes to pass, is a primary postulate of the whole religious life, as well as of the entire world-view of the Old Testament. It is implicated in its very idea of God, its whole conception of the relation of God to the world and to the changes which take place, whether in nature or history, among the nations or in the life-fortunes of the individual; and also in its entire scheme of religion, whether national or personal. It lies at the basis of all the religious emotions, and lays the foundation of the specific type of religious character built up in Israel.
The specific teaching of the Old Testament as to predestination naturally revolves around the two foci of that idea which may be designated general and special, or, more properly, cosmical and soteriological predestination; or, in other words, around the doctrines of the Divine Decree and the Divine Election. The former, as was to be expected, is comparatively seldom adverted to - for the Old Testament is fundamentally a soteriological book, a revelation of the grace of God to sinners; and it is only at a somewhat late period that it is made the subject of speculative discussion. But as it is implied in the primordial idea of God as an Almighty Person, it is postulated from the beginning and continually finds more or less clear expression. Throughout the Old Testament, behind the processes of nature, the march of history and the fortunes of each individual life alike, there is steadily kept in view the governing hand of God working out His preconceived plan - a plan broad enough to embrace the whole universe of things, minute enough to concern itself with the smallest details, and actualizing itself with inevitable certainty in every event that comes to pass.
Naturally, there is in the narrative portions but little formal enunciation of this pervasive and all-controlling Divine teleology. But despite occasional anthropomorphisms of rather startling character (as, e.g., that which ascribes 'repentance' to God, Gen. vi. 6, Joel ii. 13, Jon. iv. 2, Jer. xviii. 8, 10, xxvi. 3, 13), or rather, let us say, just because of the strictly anthropomorphic mould in which the Old Testament conception of God is run, according to which He is ever thought of as a personal spirit, acting with purpose like other personal spirits, but with a wisdom and in a sovereignty unlike that of others because infinitely perfect, these narrative portions of the Old Testament also bear continual witness to the universal Old Testament teleology. There is no explicit statement in the narrative of the creation, for example, that the mighty Maker of the world was in this process operating on a preconceived plan; but the teleology of creation lies latent in the orderly sequence of its parts, culminating in man for whose advent all that precedes is obviously a preparation, and is all but expressed in the Divine satisfaction at each of its stages, as a manifestation of His perfections (cf. Ps. civ. 31). Similarly, the whole narrative of the Book of Genesis is so ordered - in the succession of creation, fall, promise, and the several steps in the inauguration of the kingdom of God - as to throw into a very clear light the teleology of the whole world-history, here written from the Divine standpoint and made to centre around the developing Kingdom. In the detailed accounts of the lives of the patriarchs, in like manner, behind the external occurrences recorded there always lies a Divine ordering which provides the real plot of the story in its advance to the predetermined issue. It was not accident, for example, that brought Rebecca to the well to welcome Abraham's servant (Gen. xxiv), or that sent Joseph into Egypt (Gen. xlv. 8,1. 20; 'God meant [bvx] it for good'), or guided Pharaoh's daughter to the ark among the flags (Ex. ii), or that, later, directed the millstone that crushed Abimelech's head (Judg. ix. 53), or winged the arrow shot at a venture to smite the king in the joints of the harness (I Kings xxii. 34). Every historical event is rather treated as an item in the orderly carrying out of an underlying Divine purpose; and the historian is continually aware of the presence in history of Him who gives even to the lightning a charge to strike the mark (Job xxxvi. 32).
In the Psalmists and Prophets there emerges into view a more abstract statement of the government of all things according to the good-pleasure of God (Ps. xxxiii. 11, Jer. x. 12, li. 15). All that He wills He does (Ps. cxv. 3, cxxxv. 6), and all that comes to pass has pre-existed in His purpose from the indefinite past of eternity ('long ago' Isa. xxii. 11, 'of ancient times' Isa. xxxvii. 26 = II Kings xix. 25), and it is only because it so pre-existed in purpose that it now comes to pass (Isa. xiv. 24, 27, xlvi. 11, Zech. i. 6, Job xlii. 2, Jer. xxiii. 20, Jon. i. 14, Isa. xl. 10). Every day has its ordained events (Job xiv. 5, Ps. cxxxix. 16). The plan of God is universal in its reach, and orders all that takes place in the interests of Israel - the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament declaration that all things work together for good to those that love God. Nor is it merely for the national good of Israel that God's plan has made provision; He exercises a special care over every one of His people (Job v. 15 f., Ps. xci, cxxi, lxv. 3, xxxvii, xxvii. 10, 11, cxxxix. 16, Jon. iii. 5, Isa. iv. 3, Dan. xii. 1). Isaiah especially is never weary of emphasizing the universal teleology of the Divine operations and the surety of the realization of His eternal purpose, despite the opposition of every foe (xiv. 24-27, xxxi. 2, xl. 13, lviii. 8-11) - whence he has justly earned the name of the prophet of the Divine sovereignty, and has been spoken of as the Paul, the Augustine, the Calvin of the Old Testament.
It is, however, especially in connexion with the Old Testament doctrine of the Wisdom (hm'k.x') of God, the chief depository of which is the so-called Ḥokhmah literature, that the idea of the all-inclusive Divine purpose (hc'[; and tAbv'x}m;) in which lies predetermined the whole course of events - including every particular in the life of the world (Amos iii. 7) and in the life of every individual as well (Ps. cxxxix. 14-16, Judg. i. 2) - is speculatively wrought out. According to this developed conception, God, acting under the guidance of all His ethical perfections, has, by virtue of His eternal wisdom, which He 'possessed in the beginning of his way' (Prov. viii. 22), framed 'from everlasting, from the beginning,' an all-inclusive plan embracing all that is to come to pass; in accordance with which plan He now governs His universe, down to the least particular, so as to subserve His perfect and unchanging purpose. Everything that God has brought into being, therefore, He has made for its specific end (Prov. xvi. 4, cf. iii. 19, 20, Job xxviii. 23, xxxviii, xli, Isa. xl. 12f., Jer. x. 12, 13); and He so governs it that it shall attain its end, - no chance can escape (Prov. xvi. 33), no might or subtlety defeat His direction (Prov. xxi. 30, 31, xix. 21, xvi. 9, cf. Isa. xiv. 24, 27, Jer. x. 23), which leads straight to the goal appointed by God from the beginning and kept steadily in view by Him, but often hidden from the actors themselves (Prov. xx. 24, cf. iii. 6, xvi. 1-9, xix. 21, Job xxxviii. 2, xlii. 3, Jer. x. 23), who naturally in their weakness cannot comprehend the sweep of the Divine plan or understand the place within it of the details brought to their observation - a fact in which the Old Testament sages constantly find their theodicy. No different doctrine is enunciated here from that which meets us in the Prophets and Psalmists, - only it is approached from a philosophical-religious rather than from a national-religious view-point. To prophet and sage alike the entire world - inanimate, animate, moral - is embraced in a unitary teleological world-order (Ps. xxxiii. 6, civ. 24, cxlviii. 8, Job ix. 4, xii. 13, xxxvii); and to both alike the central place in this comprehensive world-order is taken by God's redemptive purpose, of which Israel is at once the object and the instrument, while the savour of its saltness is the piety of the individual saint. The classical term for this all-inclusive Divine purpose (hc'[e) is accordingly found in the usage alike of prophet, psalmist, and sage, - now used absolutely of the universal plan on which the whole world is ordered (Job xxxviii. 2, xlii. 3, cf. Delitzsch and Budde, in loc.), now, with the addition of 'of Jehovah,' of the all-comprehending purpose, embracing all human actions (Prov. xix. 21 and parallels; cf. Toy, in loc.), now with explicit mention of Israel as the centre around which its provisions revolve (Ps. xxxiii. 11, cvii. 11, cf. Delitzsch, in loc.; Isa. xiv. 26, xxv. 1, xlvi. 10, 11), and anon with more immediate concern with some of the details (Ps. cvi. 13, Isa. v. 19, xix. 17, Jer. xlix. 20, 1. 45, Mic. iv. 12).
There seems no reason why a Platonizing colouring should be given to this simple attributing to the eternal God of an eternal plan in which is predetermined every event that comes to pass. This used to be done, e. g., by Delitzsch (see, e. g., on Job xxviii. 25-28, Isa. xxii. 11; "Biblical Psychology," I. ii.), who was wont to attribute to the Biblical writers, especially of the "Ḥokhmah" and the latter portion of Isaiah, a doctrine of the pre-existence of all things in an ideal world, conceived as standing eternally before God at least as a pattern if not even as a quasi-objective mould imposing their forms on all His creatures, which smacked more of the Greek Academics than of the Hebrew sages. As a matter of course, the Divine mind was conceived by the Hebrew sages as eternally contemplating all possibilities, and we should not do them injustice in supposing them to think of its 'ideas' as the causa exemplaris of all that occurs, and of the Divine intellect as the principium dirigens of every Divine operation. But it is more to the point to note that the conceptions of the Old Testament writers in regard to the Divine decree run rather into the moulds of 'purpose' than of 'ideas,' and that the roots of their teaching are planted not in an abstract idea of the Godhead, but in the purity of their concrete theism. It is because they think of God as a person, like other persons purposeful in His acts, but unlike other persons all-wise in His planning and all-powerful in His performing, that they think of Him as predetermining all that shall come to pass in the universe, which is in all its elements the product of His free activity, and which must in its form and all its history, down to the least detail, correspond with His purpose in making it. It is easy, on the other hand, to attribute too little 'philosophy' to the Biblical writers. The conception of God in His relation to the world which they develop is beyond question anthropomorphic; but it is no unreflecting anthropomorphism that they give us. Apart from all question of revelation, they were not children prattling on subjects on which they had expended no thought; and the world-view they commend to us certainly does not lack in profundity. The subtleties of language of a developed scholasticism were foreign to their purposes and modes of composition, but they tell us as clearly as, say, Spanheim himself ("Decad. Theol." vi. § 5), that they are dealing with a purposing mind exalted so far above ours that we can follow its movements only with halting steps, - whose thoughts are not as our thoughts, and whose ways are not as our ways (Isa. lv. 8; cf. xl. 13, 28, xxviii. 29, Job xi. 7 f., Ps. xcii. 5, cxxxix. 14 f., cxlvii. 5, Eccl. iii. 11). Least of all in such a theme as this were they liable to forget that infinite exaltation of God which constituted the basis on which their whole conception of God rested.
Nor may they be thought to have been indifferent to the relations of the high doctrine of the Divine purpose they were teaching. There is no scholastic determination here either; but certainly they write without embarrassment as men who have attained a firm grasp upon their fundamental thought and have pursued it with clearness of thinking, no less in its relations than in itself; nor need we go astray in apprehending the outlines of their construction. It is quite plain, for example, that they felt no confusion with respect to the relation of the Divine purpose to the Divine foreknowledge. The notion that the almighty and all-wise God, by whom all things were created, and through whose irresistible control all that occurs fulfils the appointment of His primal plan, could govern Himself according to a foreknowledge of things which - perhaps apart from His original purpose of present guidance - might haply come to pass, would have been quite contradictory to their most fundamental conception of God as the almighty and all-sovereign Ruler of the universe, and, indeed, also of the whole Old Testament idea of the Divine foreknowledge itself, which is ever thought of in its due relation of dependence on the Divine purpose. According to the Old Testament conception, God foreknows only because He has pre-determined, and it is therefore also that He brings it to pass; His foreknowledge, in other words, is at bottom a knowledge of His own will, and His works of providence are merely the execution of His all-embracing plan. This is the truth that underlies the somewhat incongruous form of statement of late becoming rather frequent, to the effect that God's foreknowledge is conceived in the Old Testament as 'productive.' Dillmann, for example, says ("Handbuch der alttestamentlichen Theologie," p. 251): 'His foreknowledge of the future is a productive one; of an otiose foreknowledge or of a præscientia media . . . there is no suggestion.' In the thought of the Old Testament writers, however, it is not God's foreknowledge that produces the events of the future; it is His irresistible providential government of the world He has created for Himself: and His foreknowledge of what is yet to be rests on His pre-arranged plan of government. His 'productive foreknowledge' is but a transcript of His will, which has already determined not only the general plan of the world, but every particular that enters into the whole course of its development (Amos iii. 7, Job xxviii. 26, 27), and every detail in the life of every individual that comes into being (Jer. i. 5, Ps. cxxxix. 14-16, Job xxiii. 13, 14).
That the acts of free agents are included in this 'productive foreknowledge,' or rather in this all-inclusive plan of the life of the universe, created for the Old Testament writers apparently not the least embarrassment. This is not because they did not believe man to be free, - throughout the whole Old Testament there is never the least doubt expressed of the freedom or moral responsibility of man, - but because they did believe God to be free, whether in His works of creation or of providence, and could not believe He was hampered or limited in the attainment of His ends by the creatures of His own hands. How God governs the acts of free agents in the pursuance of His plan there is little in the Old Testament to inform us; but that He governs them in even their most intimate thoughts and feelings and impulses is its unvarying assumption: He is not only the creator of the hearts of men in the first instance, and knows them altogether, but He fashions the hearts of all in all the changing circumstances of life (Ps. xxxiii. 15); forms the spirit of man within him in all its motions (Zech. xii. 1); keeps the hearts of men in His hands, turning them whithersoever He will (Prov. xxi. 1); so that it is even said that man knows what is in his own mind only as the Lord reveals it to him (Amos iv. 13). The discussion of any antinomy that may be thought to arise from such a joint assertion of the absolute rule of God in the sphere of the spirit and the freedom of the creaturely will, falls obviously under the topic of Providential Government rather than under that of the Decree: it requires to be adverted to here only that we may clearly note the fact that the Old Testament teachers, as they did not hesitate to affirm the absolute sway of God over the thoughts and intents of the human heart, could feel no embarrassment in the inclusion of the acts of free agents within the all-embracing plan of God, the outworking of which His providential government supplies.
Nor does the moral quality of these acts present any apparent difficulty to the Old Testament construction. We are never permitted to imagine, to be sure, that God is the author of sin, either in the world at large or in any individual soul - that He is in any way implicated in the sinfulness of the acts performed by the perverse misuse of creaturely freedom. In all God's working He shows Himself pre-eminently the Holy One, and prosecutes His holy will, His righteous way, His all-wise plan: the blame for all sinful deeds rests exclusively on the creaturely actors (Ex. ix. 27, x. 16), who recognize their own guilt (II Sam. xxiv. 10, 17) and receive its punishment (Eccl. xi. 9 compared with xi. 5). But neither is God's relation to the sinful acts of His creatures ever represented as purely passive: the details of the doctrine of concursus were left, no doubt, to later ages speculatively to work out, but its assumption underlies the entire Old Testament representation of the Divine modes of working. That anything - good or evil - occurs in God's universe finds its account, according to the Old Testament conception, in His positive ordering and active concurrence; while the moral quality of the deed, considered in itself, is rooted in the moral character of the subordinate agent, acting in the circumstances and under the motives operative in each instance. It is certainly going beyond the Old Testament warrant to speak of the 'all-productivity of God,' as if He were the only efficient cause in nature and the sphere of the free spirit alike; it is the very delirium of misconception to say that in the Old Testament God and Satan are insufficiently discriminated, and deeds appropriate to the latter are assigned to the former. Nevertheless, it remains true that even the evil acts of the creature are so far carried back to God that they too are affirmed to be included in His all-embracing decree, and to be brought about, bounded and utilized in His providential government. It is He that hardens the heart of the sinner that persists in his sin (Ex. iv. 21, vii. 3, x. 1, 27, xiv. 4, 8, Deut. ii. 30, Jos. xi. 20, Isa. lxiii. 17); it is from Him that the evil spirits proceed that trouble sinners (I Sam. xvi. 14, Judg. ix. 23, I Kings xxii, Job i.); it is of Him that the evil impulses that rise in sinners' hearts take this or that specific form (II Sam. xxiv. 1). The philosophy that lies behind such representations, however, is not the pantheism which looks upon God as the immediate cause of all that comes to pass; much less the pandaimonism which admits no distinction between good and evil; there is not even involved a conception of God entangled in an undeveloped ethical discrimination. It is the philosophy that is expressed in Isa. xlv. 5 f., 'I am the LORD, and there is none else; beside me there is no God. . . . I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I am the LORD that doeth all these things'; it is the philosophy that is expressed in Prov. xvi. 4, 'The LORD hath made everything for its own end, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.' Because, over against all dualistic conceptions, there is but one God, and He is indeed GOD; and because, over against all cosmotheistic conceptions, this God is a PERSON who acts purposefully; there is nothing that is, and nothing that comes to pass, that He has not first decreed and then brought to pass by His creation or providence. Thus all things find their unity in His eternal plan; and not their unity merely, but their justification as well; even the evil, though retaining its quality as evil and hateful to the holy God, and certain to be dealt with as hateful, yet does not occur apart from His provision or against His will, but appears in the world which He has made only as the instrument by means of which He works the higher good.
This sublime philosophy of the decree is immanent in every page of the Old Testament. Its metaphysics never come to explicit discussion, to be sure; but its elements are in a practical way postulated consistently throughout. The ultimate end in view in the Divine plan is ever represented as found in God alone: all that He has made He has made for Himself, to set forth His praise; the heavens themselves with all their splendid furniture exist but to illustrate His glory; the earth and all that is in it, and all that happens in it, to declare His majesty; the whole course of history is but the theatre of His self-manifestation, and the events of every individual life indicate His nature and perfections. Men may be unable to understand the place which the incidents, as they unroll themselves before their eyes, take in the developing plot of the great drama: they may, nay, must, therefore stand astonished and confounded before this or that which befalls them or befalls the world. Hence arise to them problems - the problem of the petty, the problem of the inexplicable, the problem of suffering, the problem of sin (e. g., Eccl. xi. 5). But, in the infinite wisdom of the Lord of all the earth, each event falls with exact precision into its proper place in the unfolding of His eternal plan; nothing, however small, however strange, occurs without His ordering, or without its peculiar fitness for its place in the working out of His purpose; and the end of all shall be the manifestation of His glory, and the accumulation of His praise. This is the Old Testament philosophy of the universe - a world-view which attains concrete unity in an absolute Divine teleology, in the compactness of an eternal decree, or purpose, or plan, of which all that comes to pass is the development in time.
Special or Soteriological Predestination finds a natural place in the Old Testament system as but a particular instance of the more general fact, and may be looked upon as only the general Old Testament doctrine of predestination applied to the specific case of the salvation of sinners. But as the Old Testament is a distinctively religious book, or, more precisely, a distinctively soteriological book, that is to say, a record of the gracious dealings and purposes of God with sinners, soteriological predestination naturally takes a more prominent place in it than the general doctrine itself, of which it is a particular application. Indeed, God's saving work is thrown out into such prominence, the Old Testament is so specially a record of the establishment of the kingdom of God in the world, that we easily get the impression in reading it that the core of God's general decree is His decree of salvation, and that His whole plan for the government of the universe is subordinated to His purpose to recover sinful man to Himself. Of course there is some slight illusion of perspective here, the materials for correcting which the Old Testament itself provides, not only in more or less specific declarations of the relative unimportance of what befalls man, whether the individual, or Israel, or the race at large, in comparison with the attainment of the Divine end; and of the wonder of the Divine grace concerning itself with the fortunes of man at all (Job xxii. 3 f., xxxv. 6 f., xxxviii, Ps. viii. 4): but also in the general disposition of the entire record, which places the complete history of sinful man, including alike his fall into sin and all the provisions for his recovery, within the larger history of the creative work of God, as but one incident in the greater whole, governed, of course, like all its other parts, by its general teleology. Relatively to the Old Testament record, nevertheless, as indeed to the Biblical record as a whole, which is concerned directly only with God's dealings with humanity, and that, especially, a sinful humanity (Gen. iii. 9, vi. 5, viii. 21, Lev. xviii. 24, Deut. ix. 4, I Kings viii. 46, Ps. xiv. 1, li. 5, cxxx. 3, cxliii. 2, Prov. xx. 9, Eccl. vii. 20, Isa. i. 4, Hos. iv. 1, Job xv. 14, xxv. 4, xiv. 4), soteriological predestination is the prime matter of importance; and the doctrine of election is accordingly thrown into relief, and the general doctrine of the decree more incidentally adverted to. It would be impossible, however, that the doctrine of election taught in the Old Testament should follow other lines than those laid down in the general doctrine of the decree, - or, in other words, that God should be conceived as working in the sphere of grace in a manner that would be out of accord with the fundamental conception entertained by these writers of the nature of God and His relations to the universe.
Accordingly, there is nothing concerning the Divine election more sharply or more steadily emphasized than its graciousness, in the highest sense of that word, or, in other terms, its absolute sovereignty. This is plainly enough exhibited even in the course of the patriarchal history, and that from the beginning. In the very hour of man's first sin, God intervenes sua sponte with a gratuitous promise of deliverance; and at every stage afterwards the sovereign initiation of the grace of God - the Lord of the whole earth (Ex. xix. 5) - is strongly marked, as God's universal counsel of salvation is more and more unfolded through the separation and training of a people for Himself, in whom the whole world should be blessed (Gen. xii. 3, xviii. 18, xxii. 18, xxvi. 4, xxviii. 14): for from the beginning it is plainly indicated that the whole history of the world is ordered with reference to the establishment of the kingdom of God (Deut. xxxii. 8, where the reference seems to be to Gen. xi). Already in the opposing lines of Seth and Cain (Gen. iv. 25, 26) a discrimination is made; Noah is selected as the head of a new race, and among his sons the preference is given to Shem (Gen. ix. 25), from whose line Abraham is taken. Every fancy that Abraham owed his calling to his own desert is carefully excluded, - he was 'known' of God only that in him God might establish His kingdom (Gen. xviii. 19); and the very acme of sovereignty is exhibited (as St. Paul points out) in the subsequent choice of Isaac and Jacob, and exclusion of Ishmael and Esau; while the whole Divine dealing with the patriarchs - their separation from their kindred, removal into a strange land, and the like - is evidently understood as intended to cast them back on the grace of God alone. Similarly, the covenant made with Israel (Ex. xix-xxiv) is constantly assigned to the sole initiative of Divine grace, and the fact of election is therefore appropriately set at the head of the Decalogue (Ex. xx. 2; cf. xxxiv. 6, 7); and Israel is repeatedly warned that there was nothing in it which moved or could move God to favour it (e. g., Deut. iv. 37, vii. 7, viii. 17, ix. 4, x. 11, Ezk. xvi. 1 f., Amos ix. 7). It has already been pointed out by what energetic figures this fundamental lesson was impressed on the Israelitish consciousness, and it is only true to say that no means are left unused to drive home the fact that God's gracious election of Israel is an absolutely sovereign one, founded solely in His unmerited love, and looking to nothing ultimately but the gratification of His own holy and loving impulses, and the manifestation of His grace through the formation of a heritage for Himself out of the mass of sinful men, by means of whom His saving mercy should advance to the whole world (Isa. xl, xlii, lx, Mic. iv. 1, Amos iv. 13, v. 8, Jer. xxxi. 37, Ezk. xvii. 22, xxxvi. 21, Joel ii. 28). The simple terms that are employed to express this Divine selection - 'know' ([d;y"), 'choose' (rx;B') - are either used in a pregnant sense, or acquire a pregnant sense by their use in this connexion. The deeper meaning of the former term is apparently not specifically Hebrew, but more widely Semitic (it occurs also in Assyrian; see the Dictionaries of Delitzsch and Muss-Arnolt sub. voc., and especially Haupt in "Beiträge zur Assyriologie," i. 14, 15), and it can create no surprise, therefore, when it meets us in such passages as Gen. xviii. 19 (cf. Ps. xxxvii. 18 and also i. 6, xxxi. 8; cf. Baethgen and Delitzsch in loc.), Hos. xiii. 5 (cf. Wunsche in loc.) in something of the sense expressed by the scholastic phrase, nosse cum affectu et effectu; while in the great declaration of Amos iii. 2 (cf. Baur and Gunning in loc.), 'You only have I known away from all the peoples of the earth,' what is thrown prominently forward is clearly the elective love which has singled Israel out for special care. More commonly, however, it is rx;B that is employed to express God's sovereign election of Israel: the classical passage is, of course, Deut. vii. 6, 7 (see Driver in loc., as also, of the love underlying the 'choice,' at iv. 37, vii. 8), where it is carefully explained that it is in contrast with the treatment accorded to all the other peoples of the earth that Israel has been honoured with the Divine choice, and that the choice rests solely on the unmerited love of God, and finds no foundation in Israel itself. These declarations are elsewhere constantly enforced (e. g., iv. 37, x. 15, xiv. 2), with the effect of throwing the strongest possible emphasis on the complete sovereignty of God's choice of His people, who owe their 'separation' unto Jehovah (Lev. xx. 24, 26, I Kings viii. 33) wholly to the wonderful love of God, in which He has from the beginning taken knowledge of and chosen them.
It is useless to seek to escape the profound meaning of this fundamental Old Testament teaching by recalling the undeveloped state of the doctrine of a future life in Israel, and the national scope of its election, - as if the sovereign choice which is so insisted on could thus be confined to the choice of a people as a whole to certain purely earthly blessings, without any reference whatever to the eternal destiny of the individuals concerned. We are here treading very close to the abyss of confusing progress in the delivery of doctrine with the reality of God's saving activities. The cardinal question, after all, does not concern the extent of the knowledge possessed by the Old Testament saints of the nature of the blessedness that belongs to the people of God; nor yet the relation borne by the election within the election, by the real Israel forming the heart of the Israel after the flesh, to the external Israel: it concerns the existence of a real kingdom of God in the Old Testament dispensation, and the methods by which God introduced man into it. It is true enough that the theocracy was an earthly kingdom, and that a prominent place was given to the promises of the life that now is in the blessings assured to Israel; and it is in this engrossment with earthly happiness and the close connexion of the friendship of God with the enjoyment of worldly goods that the undeveloped state of the Old Testament doctrine of salvation is especially apparent. But it should not be forgotten that the promise of earthly gain to the people of God is not entirely alien to the New Testament idea of salvation (Matt. vi. 37, I Tim. iv. 8), and that it is in no sense true that in the Old Testament teaching, in any of its stages, the blessings of the kingdom were summed up in worldly happiness. The covenant blessing is rather declared to be life, inclusive of all that that comprehensive word is fitted to convey (Deut. xxx. 15; cf. iv. 1, viii. 1, Prov. xii. 28, viii. 35); and it found its best expression in the high conception of 'the favour of God' (Lev. xxvi. 11, Ps. iv. 8, xvi. 2, 5, lxiii. 4); while it concerned itself with earthly prosperity only as and so far as that is a pledge of the Divine favour. It is no false testimony to the Old Testament saints when they are described as looking for the city that has the foundations and as enduring as seeing the Invisible One: if their hearts were not absorbed in the contemplation of the eternal future, they were absorbed in the contemplation of the Eternal Lord, which certainly is something even better; and the representation that they found their supreme blessedness in outward things runs so grossly athwart their own testimony that it fairly deserves Calvin's terrible invective, that thus the Israelitish people are thought of not otherwise than as a 'sort of herd of swine which (so, forsooth, it is pretended) the Lord was fattening in the pen of this world' ("Inst." ii. x. 1). And, on the other hand, though Israel as a nation constituted the chosen people of God (I Chron. xvi. 13, Ps. lxxxix. 4, cv. 6, 13, cvi. 5), yet we must not lose from sight the fact that the nation as such was rather the symbolical than the real people of God, and was His people at all, indeed, only so far as it was, ideally or actually, identified with the inner body of the really 'chosen' - that people whom Jehovah formed for Himself that they might set forth His praise (Isa. xliii. 20, lxv. 9, 15, 22), and who constituted the real people of His choice, the 'remnant of Jacob' (Isa. vi. 13, Amos ix. 8-10, Mal. iii. 10; cf. I Kings xix. 18, Isa. viii. 18). Nor are we left in doubt as to how this inner core of actual people of God was constituted; we see the process in the call of Abraham, and the discrimination between Isaac and Ishmael, between Jacob and Esau, and it is no false testimony that it was ever a 'remnant according to the election of grace' that God preserved to Himself as the salt of His people Israel. In every aspect of it alike, it is the sovereignty of the Divine choice that is emphasized, - whether the reference be to the segregation of Israel as a nation to enjoy the earthly favour of God as a symbol of the true entrance into rest, or the choice of a remnant out of Israel to enter into that real communion with Him which was the joy of His saints, - of Enoch who walked with God (Gen. v. 22), of Abraham who found in Him his exceeding great reward (Gen. xv. 1), or of David who saw no good beyond Him, and sought in Him alone his inheritance and his cup. Later times may have enjoyed fuller knowledge of what the grace of God had in store for His saints - whether in this world or that which is to come; later times may have possessed a clearer apprehension of the distinction between the children of the flesh and the children of the promise: but no later teaching has a stronger emphasis for the central fact that it is of the free grace of God alone that any enter in any degree into the participation of His favour. The kingdom of God, according to the Old Testament, in every circle of its meaning, is above and before all else a stone cut out of the mountain 'without hands' (Dan. ii. 34, 44, 45).
III. PREDESTINATION AMONG THE JEWS
The profound religious conception of the relation of God to the works of His hands that pervades the whole Old Testament was too deeply engraved on the Jewish consciousness to be easily erased, even after growing legalism had measurably corroded the religion of the people. As, however, the idea of law more and more absorbed the whole sphere of religious thought, and piety came to be conceived more and more as right conduct before God instead of living communion with God, men grew naturally to think of God more and more as abstract unapproachableness, and to think of themselves more and more as their own saviours. The post-canonical Jewish writings, while retaining fervent expressions of dependence on God as the Lord of all, by whose wise counsel all things exist and work out their ends, and over against whom the whole world, with every creature in it, is but the instrument of His will of good to Israel, nevertheless threw an entirely new emphasis on the autocracy of the human will. This emphasis increases until in the later Judaism the extremity of heathen self-sufficiency is reproduced, and the whole sphere of the moral life is expressly reserved from Divine determination. Meanwhile also heathen terminology was intruding into Jewish speech. The Platonic pro,noia, pronoei/n, for example, coming in doubtless through the medium of the Stoa, is found not only in Philo (peri. pronoi,aj), but also in the Apocryphal books (Wis. vi. 7, xiv. 3, xvii. 2, III Mac. iv. 21, v. 30, IV Mac. ix. 24, xiii. 18, xvii. 22; cf. also Dan. vi. 18, Septuagint 19); the perhaps even more precise as well as earlier evfora/n occurs in Josephus (BJ II. viii. 14), and indeed also in the Septuagint, though here doubtless in a weakened sense (II Mac. xii. 22, xv. 2, cf. III Mac. ii. 21, as also Job xxxiv. 24, xxviii. 24, xxii. 12, cf. xxi. 16; also Zech. ix. 1); while even the fatalistic term ei`marme,nh| is employed by Josephus (BJ II. viii. 14; Ant. XIII. v. 9, XVIII. i. 3) to describe Jewish views of predestination. With the terms there came in, doubtless, more or less of the conceptions connoted by them.
Whatever may have been the influences under which it was wrought, however, the tendency of post-canonical Judaism was towards setting aside the Biblical doctrine of predestination to a greater or less extent, or in a larger or smaller sphere, in order to make room for the autocracy of the human will, the twvr, as it was significantly called by the Rabbis (Bereshith Rabba, c. 22). This disintegrating process is little apparent perhaps in the Book of Wisdom, in which the sense of the almightiness of God comes to very strong expression (xi. 22, xii. 8-12). Or even in Philo, whose predestinarianism (de Legg. Allegor. i. 15, iii. 24, 27, 28) closely follows, while his assertion of human freedom (Quod Deus sit immut. 10) does not pass beyond that of the Bible: man is separated from the animals and assimilated to God by the gift of 'the power of voluntary motion' and suitable emancipation from necessity, and is accordingly properly praised or blamed for his intentional acts; but it is of the grace of God only that anything exists, and the creature is not giver but receiver in all things; especially does it belong to God alone to plant and build up virtues, and it is impious for the mind, therefore, to say 'I plant'; the call of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob was of pure grace without any merit, and God exercises the right to 'dispose excellently,' prior to all actual deeds. But the process is already apparent in so early a book as Sirach. The book at large is indeed distinctly predestinarian, and such passages as xvi. 26-30, xxiii. 20, xxxiii. 11-13, xxxix. 20, 21 echo the teachings of the canonical books on this subject. But, while this is its general character, another element is also present: an assertion of human autocracy, for example, which is without parallel in the canonical books, is introduced at xv. 11-20, which culminates in the precise declaration that 'man has been committed to the hand of his own counsel' to choose for himself life or death. The same phenomena meet us in the Pharisaic Psalms of Solomon (B.C. 70-40). Here there is a general recognition of God as the great and mighty King (ii. 34, 36) who has appointed the course of nature (xviii. 12) and directs the development of history (ii. 34, ix. 4, xvii. 4), ruling over the whole and determining the lot of each (v. 6, 18), on whom alone, therefore, can the hope of Israel be stayed (vii. 3, xvii. 3), and to whom alone can the individual look for good. But, alongside of this expression of general dependence on God, there occurs the strongest assertion of the moral autocracy of the human will: 'O God, our works are in our own souls' election and control, to do righteousness or iniquity in the works of our hand' (ix. 7).
It is quite credible, therefore, when Josephus tells us that the Jewish parties of his day were divided, as on other matters, so on the question of the Divine predestination - the Essenes affirming that fate (ei`marme,nh|, Josephus' affected Graecizing expression for predestination) is the mistress of all, and nothing occurs to men which is not in accordance with its destination; the Sadducees taking away 'fate' altogether, and considering that there is no such thing, and that human affairs are not directed according to it, but all actions are in our own power, so that we are ourselves the causes of what is good, and receive what is evil from our own folly; while the Pharisees, seeking a middle ground, said that some actions, but not all, are the work of 'fate,' and some are in our own power as to whether they are done or not (Ant. XIII. v. 9). The distribution of the several views among the parties follows the general lines of what might have been anticipated - the Essenic system being pre-eminently supranaturalistic, and the Sadducean rationalistic, while there was retained among the Pharisees a deep leaven of religious earnestness tempered, but not altogether destroyed (except in the extremest circles), by their ingrained legalism. The middle ground, moreover, which Josephus ascribes to the Pharisees in their attempt to distribute the control of human action between 'fate' and 'free will,' reflects not badly the state of opinion presupposed in the documents we have already quoted. In his remarks elsewhere (BJ ii. viii. 14; Ant. XVIII. i. 3) he appears to ascribe to the Pharisees some kind of a doctrine of concursus also - a kra/sij between 'fate' and the human will by which both co-operate in the effect: but his language is obscure, and is coloured doubtless by reminiscences of Stoic teaching, with which philosophical sect he compares the Pharisees as he compares the Essenes with the Epicureans.
But whatever may have been the traditional belief of the Pharisees, in proportion as the legalistic spirit which constituted the nerve of the movement became prominent, the sense of dependence on God, which is the vital breath of the doctrine of predestiriation, gave way. The Jews possessed the Old Testament Scriptures in which the Divine lordship is a cardinal doctrine, and the trials of persecution cast them continually back upon God; they could not, therefore, wholly forget the Biblical doctrine of the Divine decree, and throughout their whole history we meet with its echoes on their lips. The laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attributed to the Divine predestination. Nevertheless, it was ever more and more sharply disallowed that man's moral actions fell under the same predetermination. Sometimes it was said that while the decrees of God were sure, they applied only so long as man remained in the condition in which he was contemplated when they were formed; he could escape all predetermined evil by a change in his moral character. Hence such sayings as, 'The righteous destroy what God decrees' (Tanchuma on ~yrbd); 'Repentance, prayer, and charity ward off every evil decree' (Rosh-hashana). In any event, the entire domain of the moral life was more and more withdrawn from the intrusion of the decree; and Cicero's famous declaration, which Harnack says might be inscribed as a motto over Pelagianism, might with equal right be accepted as the working hypothesis of the later Judaism: 'For gold, land, and all the blessings of life we have to return thanks to God; but no one ever returned thanks to God for virtue' (de Nat. Deorum, iii. 36). We read that the Holy One determines prior to birth all that every one is to be - whether male or female, weak or strong, poor or rich, wise or silly; but one thing He does not determine - whether he is to be righteous or unrighteous; according to Deut. xxx. 15 this is committed to one's own hands. Accordingly, it is said that 'neither evil nor good comes from God; both are the results of our deeds' (Midrash rab, on har, and Jalkut there); and again, 'All is in the hands of God except the fear of God' (Megilla 25a); so that it is even somewhat cynically said, 'Man is led in the way in which he wishes to go' (Maccoth 10); 'If you teach him right, his God will make him know' (Isa. xxviii. 26; Jerusalem Challah i. 1). Thus the deep sense of dependence on God for all goods, and especially the goods of the soul, which forms the very core of the religious consciousness of the writers of the Old Testament, gradually vanished from the later Judaism, and was superseded by a self-assertiveness which hung all good on the self-determination of the human spirit, on which the purposes of God waited, or to which they were subservient.
IV. PREDESTINATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament teaching starts from the plane of the Old Testament revelation, and in its doctrines of God, Providence, Faith, and the Kingdom of God repeats or develops in a right line the fundamental deliverances of the Old Testament, while in its doctrines of the Decree and of Election only such advance in statement is made as the progressive execution of the plan of salvation required.
In the teaching of our Lord, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, for example, though there is certainly a new emphasis thrown on the Fatherhood of God, this is by no means at the expense of His infinite majesty and might, but provides only a more profound revelation of the character of 'the great King' (Matt. v. 35), the 'Lord of heaven and earth' (Matt. xi. 25, Luke x. 21), according to whose good pleasure all that is comes to pass. He is spoken of, therefore, specifically as the 'heavenly Father' (Matt. v. 48, vi. 14, 26, 32, xv. 13, xviii. 35, xxiii. 9, cf. v. 16, 45, vi. 1, 9, vii. 11, 21, x. 32, 33, xii. 50, xvi. 17, xviii. 14, 19, Mark xi. 25, 26, Luke xi. 13) whose throne is in the heavens (Matt. v. 34, xxiii. 22), while the earth is but the footstool under His feet. There is no limitation admitted to the reach of His power, whether on the score of difficulty in the task, or insignificance in the object: the category of the impossible has no existence to llim 'with whom all things are possible' (Matt. xix. 26, Mark x. 27, Luke xviii. 27, Matt. xxii. 29, Mark xii. 24, xiv. 36), and the minutest occurrences are as directly controlled by Him as the greatest (Matt. x. 29, 30, Luke xii. 7). It is from Him that the sunshine and rain come (Matt. v. 45); it is He that clothes with beauty the flowers of the field (Matt. vi. 28), and who feeds the birds of the air (Matt. vi. 26); not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him, and the very hairs of our heads are numbered, and not one of them is forgotten by God (Matt. x. 29, Luke xii. 6). There is, of course, no denial, nor neglect, of the mechanism of nature implied here; there is only clear perception of the providence of God guiding nature in all its operations, and not nature only, but the life of the free spirit as well (Matt. vi. 6, viii. 13, xxiv. 22, vii. 7, Mark xi. 23). Much less, however, is the care of God thought of as mechanical and purposeless. It was not simply of sparrows that out Lord was thinking when He adverted to the care of the heavenly Father for them, as it was not simply for oxen that God was caring when He forbade them to be muzzled as they trod out the corn (I Cor. ix. 9); it was that they who are of more value than sparrows might learn with what confidence they might depend on the Father's hand. Thus a hierarchy of providence is uncovered for us, circle rising above circle, - first the wide order of nature, next the moral order of the world, lastly the order of salvation or of the kingdom of God, - a preformation of the dogmatic, schema of providentia generalis, specialis, and specialissima. All these work together for the one end of advancing the whole world-fabric to its goal; for the care of the heavenly Father over the works of His hand is not merely to prevent the world that He has made from falling into pieces, and not merely to preserve His servants from oppression by the evil of this world, but to lead the whole world and all that is in it onwards to the end which He has appointed for it, - to that paliggenesi,a of heaven and earth to which, under His guiding hand, the whole creation tends (Matt. xix. 28, Luke xx. 34).
In this divinely-led movement of 'this world' towards 'the world that is to come,' in which every element of the world's life has part, the central place is naturally taken by the spiritual preparation, or, in other words, by the development of the Kingdom of God which reaches its consummation in the 'regeneration.' This Kingdom, our Lord explains, is the heritage of those blessed ones for whom it has been prepared from the foundations of the world (Matt. xxv. 34, cf. xx. 23). It is built up on earth through a 'call' (Matt. ix. 13, Mark ii. 17, Luke v. 32), which, however, as mere invitation is inoperative (Matt. xxii. 2-14, Luke xiv. 16-23), and is made effective only by the exertion of a certain 'constraint' on God's part (Luke xiv. 23), - so that a distinction emerges between the merely 'called' and the really 'chosen' (Matt. xxii. 14). The author of this 'choice' is God (Mark xiii. 20), who has chosen His elect (Luke xviii. 7, Matt. xxiv. 22, 24, 31, Mark xiii. 20-22) before the world, in accordance with His own pleasure, distributing as He will of what is His own (Matt. x.14, 15); so that the effect of the call is already predetermined (Matt. xiii), all providence is ordered for the benefit of the elect (Matt. xxiv. 22), and they are guarded from falling away (Matt. xxiv. 24), and, at the last day, are separated to their inheritance prepared for them from all eternity (Matt. xxv. 34). That, in all this process, the initiative is at every point taken by God, and no question can be entertained of precedent merit on the part of the recipients of the blessings, results not less from the whole underlying conception of God in His relation to the course of providence than from the details of the teaching itself. Every means is utilized, however, to enhance the sense of the free sovereignty of God in the bestowment of His Kingdom; it is 'the lost' whom Jesus comes to seek (Luke xix. 10), and 'sinners' whom He came to call (Mark ii. 17); His truth is revealed only to 'babes' (Matt. xi. 25, Luke x. 21), and He gives His teaching a special form just that it may be veiled from them to whom it is not directed (Mark iv. 11), distributing His benefits, independently of merit (Matt. xx. 1-16), to those who had been chosen by God therefor (Mark xiii. 20).
In the discourses recorded by St. John the same essential spirit rules. Although, in accordance with the deeper theological apprehension of their reporter, the more metaphysical elements of Jesus' doctrine of God come here to fuller expression, it is nevertheless fundamentally the same doctrine of God that is displayed. Despite the even stronger emphasis thrown here on His Fatherhood, there is not the slightest obscuration of His infinite exaltation: Jesus lifts His eyes up when He would seek Him (xi. 41, xvii. 1); it is in heaven that His house is to be found (xiv. 2); and thence proceeds all that comes from Him (i. 51, iii. 13, vi. 31, 32, 33, 38, 41, 49, 50, 58); so that God and heaven come to be almost equivalent terms. Nor is there any obscuration of His ceaseless activity in governing the world (v. 17), although the stress is naturally thrown, in accordance with the whole character of this Gospel, on the moral and spiritual side of this government. But the very essence of the message of the Johannine Jesus is that the will (qe,lhma) of the Father (iv. 34, v. 30, vi. 38, 39, 40, vii. 17, ix. 31, cf. iii. 8, v. 21, xvii. 24, xxi. 22, 23) is the principle of all things; and more especially, of course, of the introduction of eternal life into this world of darkness and death. The conception of the world as lying in the evil one and therefore judged already (iii. 18), so that upon those who are not removed from the evil of the world the wrath of God is not so much to be poured out as simply abides (iii. 36, cf. I John iii. 14), is fundamental to this whole presentation. It is therefore, on the one hand, that Jesus represents Himself as having come not to condemn the world, but to save the world (iii. 17, viii. 12, ix. 5, xii. 47, cf. iv. 42), and all that He does as having for its end the introduction of life into the world (vi. 33, 51); the already condemned world needed no further condemnation, it needed saving. And it is for the same reason, on the other hand, that He represents the wicked world as incapable of coming to Him that it might have life (viii. 43, 21, xiv. 17, x. 33), and as requiring first of all a 'drawing' from the Father to enable it to come (vi. 44, 65); so that only those hear or believe on Him who are 'of God' (viii. 47, cf. xv. 19, xvii. 14), who are 'of his sheep' (x. 26).
There is undoubtedly a strong emphasis thrown on the universality of Christ's mission of salvation; He has been sent into the world not merely to save some out of the world, but to save the world itself (iii. 16, vi. 51, xii. 47, xvii. 21, cf. i. 29, I John iv. 14, ii. 2). But this universality of destination and effect by which it is 'the world' that is saved, does not imply the salvation of each and every individual in the world, even in the earlier stages of the developing salvation. On the contrary, the saving work is a process (xvii. 20); and, meanwhile, the coming of the Son into the world introduces a crisis, a sifting by which those who, because they are 'of God,' 'of his sheep,' are in the world, but not of it (xv. 19, xvii. 14), are separated from those who are of the world, that is, of their father the devil (viii. 44), who is the Prince of this world (xii. 31, xiv. 30, xvi. 11). Obviously, the difference between men that is thus manifested is not thought of as inhering, after a dualistic or semi-Gnostic fashion, in their very natures as such, or as instituted by their own self-framed or accidentally received dispositions, much less by their own conduct in the world, which is rather the result of it, - but, as already pointed out, as the effect of an act of God. All goes back to the will of God, to accomplish which, the Son, as the Sent One, has come; and therefore also to the consentient will of the Son, who gives life, accordingly, to whom He will (v. 21). As no one can come to Him out of the evil world, except it be given him of the Father (vi. 65, cf. vi. 44), so all that the Father gives Him (vi. 37, 39) and only such (vi. 65), come to Him, being drawn thereunto by the Father (vi. 44). Thus the Son has 'his own in the world' (xiii. 1), His 'chosen ones' (xiii. 18, xv. 16, 19), whom by His choice He has taken out of the world (xv. 19, xvii. 6, 14, 16); and for these only is His high-priestly intercession offered (xvii. 9), as to them only is eternal life communicated (x. 28, xvii. 2, also iii. 15, 36; v. 24, vi. 40, 54, viii. 12). Thus, what the dogmatists call gratia præveniens is very strikingly taught; and especial point is given to this teaching in the great declarations as to the new birth recorded in John iii, from which we learn that the recreating Spirit comes, like the wind, without observation, and as He lists (iii. 8), the mode of action by which the Father 'draws' men being thus uncovered for us. Of course this drawing is not to be thought of as proceeding in a manner out of accord with man's nature as a psychic being; it naturally comes to its manifestation in an act of voluntary choice on man's own part, and in this sense it is 'psychological' and not 'physical'; accordingly, though it be God that 'draws,' it is man that 'comes' (iii. 21, vi. 35, 41, xiv. 6). There is no occasion for stumbling therefore in the ascription of 'will' and 'responsibility' to man, or for puzzling over the designation of 'faith,' in which the 'coming' takes effect, as a 'work' of man's (vi. 29). Man is, of course, conceived as acting humanly, after the fashion of an intelligent and voluntary agent; but behind all his action there is ever postulated the all-determining hand of God, to whose sovereign operation even the blindness of the unbelieving is attributed by the evangelist (xii. 39 f.), while the receptivity to the light of those who believe is repeatedly in the most emphatic way ascribed by Jesus Himself to God alone. Although with little use of the terminology in which we have been accustomed to expect to see the doctrines of the decree and of election expressed, the substance of these doctrines is here set out in the most impressive way.
From the two sets of data provided by the Synoptists and St. John, it is possible to attain quite a clear insight into the conception of predestination as it lay in our Lord's teaching. It is quite certain, for example, that there is no place in this teaching for a 'predestination' that is carefully adjusted to the foreseen performances of the creature; and as little for a 'decree' which may be frustrated by creaturely action, or an 'election' which is given effect only by the creaturely choice: to our Lord the Father is the omnipotent Lord of heaven and earth, according to whose pleasure all things are ordered, and who gives the Kingdom to whom He will (Luke xii. 32, Mark xi. 26, Luke x. 21). Certainly it is the very heart of our Lord's teaching that the Father's good-pleasure is a good pleasure, ethically right, and the issue of infinite love; the very name of Father as the name of God by preference on His lips is full of this conception; but the very nerve of this teaching is, that the Father's will is all-embracing and omnipotent. It is only therefore that His children need be careful for nothing, that the little flock need not fear, that His elect may be assured that none of them shall be lost, but all that the Father has given Him shall be raised up at the last day. And if thus the elective purpose of the Father cannot fail of its end, neither is it possible to find this end in anything less than 'salvation' in the highest sense, than entrance into that eternal life to communicate which to dying men our Lord came into the world. There are elections to other ends, to be sure, spoken of: notably there is the election of the apostles to their office (Luke vi. 13, John vi. 70); and Christ Himself is conceived as especially God's elect one, because no one has the service to render which He has (Luke ix. 35, xxiii. 35). But the elect, by way of eminence; 'the elect whom God elected,' for whose sake He governs all history (Mark xiii. 20); the elect of whom it was the will of Him who sent the Son, that of all that He gave Him He should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day (John vi. 39); the elect whom the Son of Man shall at the last day gather from the four winds, from the uttermost parts of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven (Mark xiii. 27): it would be inadequate to suppose that these are elected merely to opportunities or the means of grace, on their free cultivation of which shall depend their undecided destiny; or merely to the service of their fellowmen, as agents in God's beneficent plan for the salvation of the race. Of course this election is to privileges and means of grace; and without these the great end of the election would not be attained: for the 'election' is given effect only by the 'call,' and manifests itself only in faith and the holy life. Equally of course the elect are 'the salt of the earth' and 'the light of the world,' the few through whom the many are blessed; the eternal life to which they are elected does not consist in or with the silence and coldness of death, but only in and with the intensest activities of the conquering people of God. But the prime end of their election does not lie in these things, and to place exclusive stress upon them is certainly to gather in the mint and anise and cummin of the doctrine. That to which God's elect are elected is, according to the teaching of Jesus, all that is included in the idea of the Kingdom of God, in the idea of eternal life, in the idea of fellowship with Christ, in the idea of participation in the glory which the Father has given His Son. Their choice, and the whole development of their history, according to our Lord's teaching, is the loving work of the Father: and in His keeping also is the consummation of their bliss. Their segregation, of course, leaves others not elected, to whom none of their privileges are granted; from whom none of their services are expected; with whom their glorious destiny is not shared. This, too, is of God. But this side of the matter, in accordance with Jesus' mission in the world as Saviour rather than as Judge, is less dwelt upon. In the case of neither class, that of the elect as little as that of those that are without, are the purposes of God wrought out without the co-operation of the activities of the subjects; but in neither case is the decisive factor supplied by these, but is discoverable solely in the will of God and the consonant will of the Son. The 'even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight' (Matt. xi. 26, Luke x. 21), is to our Lord, at least, an all-sufficient theodicy in the face of all God's diverse dealings with men.
The disciples of Jesus continue His teaching in all its elements. We are conscious, for example, of entering no new atmosphere when we pass to the Epistle of James. St. James, too, finds his starting-point in a profound apprehension of the exaltation and perfection of God, - defining God's nature, indeed, with a phrase that merely repeats in other words the penetrating declaration that 'God is light' (I John i. 5), which, reflecting our Lord's teaching, sound the keynote of the beloved disciple's thought of God (Jas. i. 17), - and particularly in a keen sense of dependence on God (iv. 15, v. 7), to which it was an axiom that every good thing is a gift from Him (i. 17). Accordingly, salvation, the pre-eminent good, comes purely as His gift, and can be ascribed only to His will (i. 18); and its exclusively Divine origin is indicated by the choice that is made of those who receive it - not the rich and prosperous, who have somewhat perhaps which might command consideration, but the poor and miserable (ii. 5). So little does this Divine choice rest on even faith, that it is rather in order to faith (ii. 5), and introduces its recipients into the Kingdom as firstfruits of a great harvest to be reaped by God in the world (i. 18).
Similarly, in the Book of Acts, the whole stress in the matter of salvation is laid on the grace of God (xi. 23, xiii. 43, xiv. 3, 26, xv. 40, xviii. 27); and to it, in the most pointed way, the inception of faith itself is assigned (xviii. 27). It is only slightly varied language when the increase in the Church is ascribed to the hand of the Lord (xi. 21), or the direct act of God (xiv. 27, xviii. 10). The explicit declaration of ii. 47 presents, therefore, nothing peculiar, and we are fully prepared for the philosophy of the redemptive history expressed in xiii. 48, that only those 'ordained to eternal life' believed - the believing that comes by the grace of God (xviii. 27), to whom it belongs to open the heart to give heed to the gospel (xvi. 14), being thus referred to the counsel of eternity, of which the events of time are only the outworking.
The general philosophy of history thus suggested is implicit in the very idea of a promissory system, and in the recognition of a predictive element in prophecy, and is written large on the pages of the historical books of the New Testament. It is given expression in every declaration that this or that event came to pass 'that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets,' - a form of statement in which our Lord had Himself betrayed His teleological view of history, not only as respects details (John xv. 25, xvii. 12), but with the widest reference (Luke xxi. 22), and which was taken up cordially by His followers, particularly by Matthew (i. 22, ii. 15, 23, iv. 14, viii. 17, xii. 17, xiii. 35, xxi. 4, xxvi. 56, John xii. 38, xviii. 9, xix. 24, 28, 36). Alongside of this phrase occurs the equally significant 'dei/ of the Divine decree,' as it has been appropriately called, by which is suggested the necessity which rules over historical sequences. It is used with a view now to Jesus' own plan of redemption (by Jesus Himself, Luke ii. 49, iv. 43, ix. 22, xiii. 33, xvii. 25, xxiv. 7, John iii. 14, x. 16, xii, 34; by the evangelist, Matt. xvi. 21), now to the underlying plan of God (by Jesus, Matt. xxiv. 6, Mark xiii. 7, 10, Luke xxi. 9; by the writer, Matt. xvii. 10, Mark ix. 11, Acts iii. 21, ix. 16), anon to the prophetic declaration as an indication of the underlying plan (by Jesus, Matt. xxvi. 56, Luke xxii. 37, xxiv. 26, 44; by the writer, John xx. 9, Acts i. 16, xvii. 3). This appeal, in either form, served an important apologetic purpose in the first proclamation of the gospel; but its fundamental significance is rooted, of course, in the conception of a Divine ordering of the whole course of history to the veriest detail.
Such a teleological conception of the history of the Kingdom is manifested strikingly in the speech of St. Stephen (Acts vii.), in which the developing plan of God is rapidly sketched. But it is in such declarations as those of St. Peter recorded in Acts ii. 23, iv. 28 that the wider philosophy of history comes to its clearest expression. In them everything that had befallen Jesus is represented as merely the emerging into fact of what had stood beforehand prepared for in 'the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,' so that nothing had been accomplished, by whatever agents, except what 'his hand and his counsel has foreordained to come to pass.' It would not be easy to frame language which should more explicitly proclaim the conception of an all-determining decree of God governing the entire sequence of events in time. Elsewhere in the Petrine discourses of Acts the speech is, coloured by the same ideas: we note in the immediate context of these culminating passages the high terms in which the exaltation of God is expressed (iv. 24 f.), the sharpness with which His sovereignty in the 'call' (proskale,omai) is declared (ii. 39), and elsewhere the repeated emergence of the idea of the necessary correspondence of the events of time with the predictions of Scripture (i. 16, ii. 24, iii. 21). The same doctrine of predestination meets us in the pages of St. Peter's Epistles. He does, indeed, speak of the members of the Christian community as God's elect (I i. 1, ii. 9, v. 13, II i. 10), in accordance with the apostolic habit of assuming the reality implied in the manifestation; but this is so far from importing that election hangs on the act of man that St. Peter refers it directly to the elective foreknowledge of God (I i. 2), and seeks its confirmation in sanctification (II i. 10), - even as the stumbling of the disobedient, on the other hand, is presented as a confirmation of their appointment to disbelief (I ii. 8). The pregnant use of the terms 'foreknow' (proginw,skw) and 'foreknowledge' (pro,gnwsij) by St. Peter brought to our attention in these passages (Acts ii. 23, I Pet. i. 2, 20), where they certainly convey the sense of a loving, distinguishing regard which assimilates them to the idea of election, is worthy of note as another of the traits common to him and St. Paul (Rom. viii. 29, xi. 2, only in the New Testament). The usage might be explained, indeed, as the development of a purely Greek sense of the words, but it is much more probably rooted in a Semitic usage, which, as we have seen, is not without example in the Old Testament. A simple comparison of the passages will exhibit the impossibility of reading the terms of mere prevision (cf. Cremer sub voc., and especially the full discussion in K. Müller's "Die Gottliche Zuvorersehung und Erwahlung," etc. pp. 38 f., 81 f.; also Gennrich, "Theol. Studien und Kritiken," 1898, 382-395; Pfleiderer, "Urchristenthum," 289, "Paulinismus," 268; and Lorenz, "Lehrsystem," etc. 94).
The teaching of St. John in Gospel and Epistle is not distinguishable from that which he reports from his Master's lips, and need not here be reverted to afresh. The same fundamental view-points meet us also in the Apocalypse. The emphasis there placed on the omnipotence of God rises indeed to a climax. There only in the New Testament (except II Cor. vi. 18), for example, is the epithet pantokra,twr ascribed to Him (i. 8, iv. 8, xi. 17, xv. 3, xvi. 7, 14, xix. 6, 15, xxi. 22, cf. xv. 3, vi. 10); and the whole purport of the book is the portrayal of the Divine guidance of history, and the very essence of its message that, despite all surface appearances, it is the hand of God that really directs all occurrences, and all things are hastening to the end of His determining. Salvation is ascribed unvaryingly to the grace of God, and declared to be His work (xii. 10, xix. 1). The elect people of God are His by the Divine choice alone: their names are from the foundation of the world written in the Lamb's Book of Life (xiii. 8, xvii. 8, xx. 12-15, xxi. 27), which is certainly a symbol of Divine appointment to eternal life revealed in and realized through Christ; nor shall they ever be blotted out of it (iii. 5). It is difficult to doubt that the destination here asserted is to a complete salvation (xix. 9), that it is individual, and that it is but a single instance of the completeness of the Divine government to which the world is subject by the Lord of lords and King of kings, the Ruler of the earth and King of the nations, whose control of all the occurrences of time in accordance with His holy purposes it is the supreme object of this book to portray.
Perhaps less is directly said about the purpose of God in the Epistle to the Hebrews than in any other portion of the New Testament of equal length. The technical phraseology of the subject is conspicuously absent. Nevertheless, the conception of the Divine counsel and will underlying all that comes to pass (ii. 10), and especially the entire course of the purchase (vi. 17, cf. x. 5-10, ii. 9) and application (xi. 39, 31, ix. 15) of salvation, is fundamental to the whole thought of the Epistle; and echoes of the modes in which this conception is elsewhere expressed meet us on every hand. Thus we read of God's eternal counsel (boulh,, vi. 17) and of His precedent will (qe,lhma, x. 10) as underlying His redemptive acts; of the enrolment of the names of His children in heaven (xii. 23); of the origin in the energy of God of all that is good in us (xiii. 21); and, above all, of a 'heavenly call' as the source of the whole renewed life of the Christian (iii. 1, cf. ix. 15).
When our Lord spoke of 'calling' (kale,w, Matt. ix. 13, Mark ii. 17, Luke v. 32, and, parabolically, Matt. xxii. 3, 4, 8, 9, Luke xiv. 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 24; klhto,j, Matt. xxii. 14 [xx. 16]) the term was used in the ordinary sense of 'invitation,' and refers therefore to a much broader circle than the 'elect' (Matt. xxii. 14); and this fundamental sense of 'bidding' may continue to cling to the term in the hands of the evangelists (Matt. iv. 21, Mark i. 20, cf. Luke xiv. 7, John ii. 2), while the depth of meaning which might be attached to it, even in such a connotation, may be revealed by such a passage as Rev. xix. 9 'Blessed are they which are bidden to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' On the lips of the apostolic writers, however, the term in its application to the call of God to salvation took on deeper meanings, doubtless out of consideration of the author of the call, who has but to speak and it is done (cf. Rom. iv. 17). It occurs in these writers, when it occurs at all, as the synonym no longer of 'invitation,' but rather of 'election' itself; or, more precisely, as expressive of the temporal act of the Divine efficiency by which effect is given to the electing decree. In this profounder sense it is practically confined to the writings of St. Paul and St. Peter and the Epistle to the Hebrews, occurring elsewhere only in Jude 1, Rev. xvii. 14, where the children of God are designated the 'called,' just as they are (in various collocations of the term with the idea of election) in Rom. i. 6, 7, I Cor. i. 2, Rom. viii. 28, I Cor. i. 24 (cf. Rom. i. 1, I Cor. i. 1). Klhto,j, as used in these passages, does not occur in the Epistle to the Hebrews, but in iii. 1 Kaiwis occurs in a sense indistinguishable from that which it bears in St. Paul (Rom. xi. 29, I Cor. i. 26, Eph. i. 18, iv. 1, 4, Phil. iii. 14, II Thes. i. 11, II Tim. i. 9) and St. Peter (II Pet. i. 10); and in ix. 15 (cf. special applications of the same general idea, v. 4, xi. 8), klh/sij bears the same deep sense expressed by it in St. Paul (Rom. viii. 30 twice, ix. 11, 24, I Cor. i. 9, vii. 15, 17, 18 twice, 20, 21, 22 twice, 24, Gal. i. 6, 15, v. 8, 13, Eph. iv. 1, 4, Col. iii. 15, I Thes. ii. 12, iv. 7, v. 24, II Thes. ii. 14, II Tim. i. 9) and in St. Peter (I i. 15, ii. 9, 21, iii. 9, v. 10, II i. 3, cf. proskale,w, Acts ii. 39, and in the language of St. Luke, Acts xiii. 2, xvi. 10). The contrast into which the 'called' (iii. 1) are brought in this Epistle with the 'evangelized' (iv. 2, 6), repeating in other terms the contrast which our Saviour institutes between the 'elect' and 'called' (Matt. xxii. 14), exhibits the height of the meaning to which the idea of the 'call' has climbed. It no longer denotes the mere invitation, - that notion is now given in 'evangelize,' - but the actual ushering into salvation of the heirs of the promise, who are made partakers of the heavenly calling, and are called to the everlasting inheritance just because they have been destined thereunto by God (i. 14), and are enrolled in heaven as the children given to the Son of God (ii. 13).
It was reserved, however, to the Apostle Paul to give to the fact of predestination its fullest New Testament presentation. This was not because St. Paul exceeded his fellows in the strength or clearness of his convictions, but because, in the prosecution of the special task which was committed to him in the general work of establishing Christianity in the world, the complete expression of the common doctrine of predestination fell in his way, and became a necessity of his argument. With him, too, the roots of his doctrine of predestination were set in his general doctrine of God, and it was fundamentally because St. Paul was a theist of a clear and consistent type, living and thinking under the influence of the profound consciousness of a personal God who is the author of all that is and, as well, the upholder and powerful governor of all that He has made, according to whose will, therefore, all that comes to pass must be ordered, that he was a predestinarian; and more particularly he too was a predestinarian because of his general doctrine of salvation, in every step of which the initiative must be taken by God's unmerited grace, just because man is a sinner, and, as a sinner, rests under the Divine condemnation, with no right of so much as access to God, and without means to seek, much less to secure, His favour. But although possessing no other sense of the infinite majesty of the almighty Person in whose hands all things lie, or of the issue of all saving acts from His free grace, than his companion apostles, the course of the special work in which St. Paul was engaged, and the exigencies of the special controversies in which he was involved, forced him to a fuller expression of all that is implied in these convictions. As he cleared the whole field of Christian faith from the presence of any remaining confidence in human works; as he laid beneath the hope of Christians a righteousness not self-wrought but provided by God alone; as he consistently offered this God-provided righteousness to sinners of all classes without regard to anything in them by which they might fancy God could be moved to accept their persons, - he was inevitably driven to an especially pervasive reference of salvation in each of its elements to the free grace of God, and to an especially full exposition on the one hand of the course of Divine grace in the several acts which enter into the saving work, and on the other to the firm rooting of the whole process in the pure will of the God of grace. From the beginning to the end of his ministry, accordingly, St. Paul conceived himself, above everything else, as the bearer of a message of undeserved grace to lost sinners, not even directing his own footsteps to carry the glad tidings to whom he would (Rom. i. 10, I Cor. iv. 19, II Cor. ii. 12), but rather led by God in triumphal procession through the world, that through him might be made manifest the savour of the knowledge of Christ in every place - a savour from life unto life in them that are saved, and from death unto death in them that are lost (II Cor. ii. 15, 16). By the 'word of the cross' proclaimed by him the essential character of his hearers was thus brought into manifestation, - to the lost it was foolishness, to the saved the power of God (I Cor. i. 18): not as if this essential character belonged to them by nature or was the product of their own activities, least of all of their choice at the moment of the proclamation, by which rather it was only revealed; but as finding an explanation only in an act of God, in accordance with the working of Him to whom all differences among men are to be ascribed (I Cor. iv. 7) - for God alone is the Lord of the harvest, and all the increase, however diligently man may plant and water, is to be accredited to Him alone (I Cor. iii. 5 f.).
It is naturally the soteriological interest that determines in the main St. Paul's allusions to the all-determining hand of God, - the letters that we have from him come from Paul the evangelist, - but it is not merely a soteriological conception that he is expressing in them, but the most fundamental postulate of his religious consciousness; and he is accordingly constantly correlating his doctrine of election with his general doctrine of the decree or counsel of God. No man ever had an intenser or more vital sense of God, - the eternal (Rom. xvi. 26) and incorruptible (i. 23) One, the only wise One (xvi. 27), who does all things according to His good-pleasure (I Cor. xv. 38, xii. 18, Col. i. 19), and whose ways are past tracing out (Rom. xi. 33); before whom men should therefore bow in the humility of absolute dependence, recognizing in Him the one moulding power as well in history as in the life of the individual (Rom. ix.). Of Him and through Him and unto Him, he fervently exclaims, are all things (Rom. xi. 36, cf. I Cor. viii. 6); He is over all and through all and in all (Eph. iv. 6, cf. Col. i. 16); He worketh all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. i. 11): all that is, in a word, owes its existence and persistence and its action and issue to Him. The whole course of history is, therefore, of His ordering (Acts xiv. 16, xvii. 26, Rom. i. 18 f., iii. 25, ix-xi, Gal. iii. iv.), and every event that befalls is under His control, and must be estimated from the view-point of His purposes of good to His people (Rom. viii. 28, I Thes. v. 17, 18), for whose benefit the whole world is governed (Eph. i. 22, I Cor. ii. 7, Col. i. 18). The figure that is employed in Rom. ix. 22 with a somewhat narrower reference, would fairly express St. Paul's world-view in its relation to the Divine activity: God is the potter, and the whole world with all its contents but as the plastic clay which He moulds to His own ends; so that whatsoever comes into being, and whatsoever uses are served by the things that exist, are all alike of Him. In accordance with this world-view St. Paul's doctrine of salvation must necessarily be interpreted; and, in very fact, he gives it its accordant expression in every instance in which he speaks of it.
There are especially three chief passages in which the apostles so fully expounds his fundamental teaching as to the relation of salvation to the purpose of God, that they may fairly claim our primary attention.
(a) The first of these - Rom. viii. 29, 30 - emerges as part of the encouragement which the apostle offers to his readers in the sad state in which they find themselves in this world, afflicted with fears within and fightings without. He reminds them that they are not left to their weakness, but the Spirit comes to their aid: 'and we know,' adds the apostle, - it is no matter of conjecture, but of assured knowledge, 'that with them that love God, God co-operates with respect to all things for good, since they are indeed the called according to [His] purpose.' The appeal is obviously primarily to the universal government of God: nothing takes place save by His direction, and even what seems to be grievous comes from the Father's hand. Secondarily, the appeal is to the assured position of his readers within the fatherly care of God: they have not come into this blessed relation with God accidentally or by the force of their own choice; they have been 'called' into it by Himself, and that by no thoughtless, inadvertent, meaningless, or changeable call; it was a call 'according to purpose,' - where the anarthrousness of the noun throws stress on the purposiveness of the call. What has been denominated 'the golden chain of salvation' that is attached to this declaration by the particle 'because' can therefore have no other end than more fully to develop and more firmly to ground the assurance thus quickened in the hearts of the readers: it accordingly enumerates the steps of the saving process in the purpose of God, and carries it thus successively through the stages of appropriating foreknowledge, - for 'foreknow' is undoubtedly used here in that pregnant sense we have already seen it to bear in similar connexions in the New Testament, - predestination to conformity with the image of God's Son, calling, justifying, glorifying; all of which are cast in the past tense of a purpose in principle executed when formed, and are bound together as mutually implicative, so that, where one is present, all are in principle present with it. It accordingly follows that, in St. Paul's conception, glorification rests on justification, which in turn rests on vocation, while vocation comes only to those who had previously been predestinated to conformity with God's Son, and this predestination to character and destiny only to those afore chosen by God's loving regard. It is obviously a strict doctrine of predestination that is taught. This conclusion can be avoided only by assigning a sense to the 'foreknowing' that lies at the root of the whole process, which is certainly out of accord not merely with its ordinary import in similar connexions in the New Testament, nor merely with the context, but with the very purpose for which the declaration is made, namely, to enhearten the struggling saint by assuring him that he is not committed to his own power, or rather weakness, but is in the sure hands of the Almighty Father. It would seem little short of absurd to hang on the merely contemplative foresight of God a declaration adduced to support the assertion that the lovers of God are something deeper and finer than even lovers of God, namely, 'the called according to purpose,' and itself educing the joyful cry, 'If God is for us, who is against us?' and grounding a confident claim upon the gift of all things from His hands.
(b) The even more famous section, Rom. ix, x, xi, following closely upon this strong affirmation of the suspension of the whole saving process on the predetermination of God, offers, on the face of it, a yet sharper assertion of predestination, raising it, moreover, out of the circle of the merely individual salvation into the broader region of the historical development of the kingdom of God. The problem which St. Paul here faces grew so directly out of his fundamental doctrine of justification by faith alone, with complete disregard of all question of merit or vested privilege, that it must have often forced itself upon his attention, - himself a Jew with a high estimate of a Jew's privileges and a passionate love for his people. He could not but have pondered it frequently and deeply, and least of all could he have failed to give it treatment in an Epistle like this, which undertakes to provide a somewhat formal exposition of his whole doctrine of justification. Having shown the necessity of such a method of salvation as he proclaimed, if sinful men were to be saved at all (i. 18-iii. 20), and then expounded its nature and evidence (iii. 21-v. 21), and afterwards discussed its intensive effects (vi. 1-viii. 39), he could not fail further to explain its extensive effects especially ,when they appeared to be of so portentous a character as to imply a reversal of what was widely believed to have been God's mode of working heretofore, the rejection of His people whom He foreknew, and the substitution of the alien in their place. St. Paul's solution of the problem is, briefly, that the situation has been gravely misconceived by those who so represent it; that nothing of the sort thus described has happened or will happen; that what has happened is merely that in the constitution of that people whom He has chosen to Himself and is fashioning to His will, God has again exercised that sovereignty which He had previously often exercised, and which He had always expressly reserved to Himself and frequently proclaimed as the principle of His dealings with the people emphatically of His choice. In his exposition of this solution St. Paul first defends the propriety of God's action (ix. 6-24), then turns to stop the mouth of the objecting Jew by exposing the manifested unfitness of the Jewish people for the kingdom (ix. 30-x. 21), and finally expounds with great richness the ameliorating circumstances in the whole transaction (xi. 1-36). In the course of his defence of God's rejection of the mass of contemporary Israel, he sets forth the sovereignty of God in the whole matter of salvation - 'that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth' -with a sharpness of assertion and a clearness of illustration which leave nothing to be added in order to throw it out in the full strength of its conception. We are pointed illustratively to the sovereign acceptance of Isaac and rejection of Ishmael, and to the choice of Jacob and not of Esau before their birth and therefore before either had done good or bad; we are explicitly told that in the matter of salvation it is not of him that wills, or of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy, and that has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens; we are pointedly directed to behold in God the potter who makes the vessels which proceed from His hand each for an end of His appointment, that He may work out His will upon them. It is safe to say that language cannot be chosen better adapted to teach predestination at its height.
We are exhorted, indeed, not to read this language in isolation, but to remember that the ninth chapter must be interpreted in the light of the eleventh. Not to dwell on the equally important consideration that the eleventh chapter must likewise be interpreted only in the light of the ninth, there seems here to exhibit itself some forgetfulness of the inherent continuity of St. Paul's thought, and, indeed, some misconception of the progress of the argument through the section, which is a compact whole and must express a much pondered line of thought, constantly present to the apostle's mind. We must not permit to fall out of sight the fact that the whole extremity of assertion of the ninth chapter is repeated in the eleventh (xi. 4-10); so that there is no change of conception or lapse of consecution observable as the argument develops, and we do not escape from the doctrine of predestination of the ninth chapter in fleeing to the eleventh. This is true even if we go at once to the great closing declaration of xi. 32, to which we are often directed as to the key of the whole section - which, indeed, it very much is: 'For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.' On the face of it there could not readily be framed a more explicit assertion of the Divine control and the Divine initiative than this; it is only another declaration that He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and after the manner and in the order that He will. And it certainly is not possible to read it as a declaration of universal salvation, and thus reduce the whole preceding exposition to a mere tracing of the varying pathways along which the common Father leads each individual of the race severally to the common goal. Needless to point out that thus the whole argument would be stultified, and the apostle convicted of gross exaggeration in tone and language where otherwise we find only impressive solemnity, rising at times into natural anguish. It is enough to observe that the verse cannot bear this sense in its context. Nothing is clearer than that its purpose is not to minimise but to magnify the sense of absolute dependence on the Divine mercy, and to quicken apprehension of the mystery of God's righteously loving ways; and nothing is clearer than that the reference of the double 'all' is exhausted by the two classes discussed in the immediate context, - so that they are not to be taken individualistically but, so to speak, racially. The intrusion of the individualistic-universalistic sentiment, so dominant in the modern consciousness, into the interpretation of this section, indeed, is to throw the whole into inextricable confusion. Nothing could be further from the nationalistic-universalistic point of view from which it was written, and from which alone St. Paul can be understood when he represents that in rejecting the mass of contemporary Jews God has not cast off His people, but, acting only as He had frequently done in former ages, is fulfilling His promise to the kernel while shelling off the husk. Throughout the whole process of pruning and ingrafting which he traces in the dealings of God with the olive-tree which He has once for all planted, St. Paul sees God, in accordance with His promise, saving His people. The continuity of its stream of life he perceives preserved throughout all its present experience of rejection (xi. 1-10); the gracious purpose of the present confinement of its channel, he traces with eager hand (xi. 11-15); he predicts with confidence the attainment in the end of the full breadth of the promise (xi. 15-32), - all to the praise of the glory of God's grace (xi. 33-36). There is undoubtedly a universalism of salvation proclaimed here; but it is an eschatological, not an individualistic universalism. The day is certainly to come when the whole world - inclusive of all the Jews and Gentiles alike, then dwelling on the globe - shall know and serve the Lord; and God in all His strange work of distributing salvation is leading the course of events to that great goal; but meanwhile the principle of His action is free, sovereign grace, to which alone it is to be attributed that any who are saved in the meantime enter into their inheritance, and through which alone shall the final goal of the race itself be attained. The central thought of the whole discussion, in a word, is that Israel does not owe the promise to the fact that it is Israel, but conversely owes the fact that it is Israel to the promise, - that 'it is not the children of the flesh that are the children of God, but the children of the promise that are reckoned for a seed' (ix. 8). In these words we hold the real key to the whole section; and if we approach it with this key in hand we shall have little difficulty in apprehending that, from its beginning to its end, St. Paul has no higher object than to make clear that the inclusion of any individual within the kingdom of God finds its sole cause in the sovereign grace of the choosing God, and cannot in any way or degree depend upon his own merit, privilege, or act.
Neither, with this key in our hand, will it be possible to raise a question whether the election here expounded is to eternal life or not rather merely to prior privilege or higher service. These too, no doubt, are included. But by what right is this long section intruded here as a substantive part of this Epistle, busied as a whole with the exposition of 'the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,' if it has no direct concern with this salvation? By what chance has it attached itself to that noble grounding of a Christian's hope and assurance with which the eighth chapter closes? By what course of thought does it reach its own culmination in that burst of praise to God, on whom all things depend, with which it concludes? By what accident is it itself filled with the most unequivocal references to the saving grace of God 'which hath been poured out on the vessels of his mercy which he afore prepared for glory, even on us whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles'? If such language has no reference to salvation, there is no language in the New Testament that need be interpreted of final destiny. Beyond question this section does explain to us some of the grounds of the mode of God's action in gathering a people to Himself out of the world; and in doing this, it does reveal to us some of the ways in which the distribution of His electing grace serves the purposes of His kingdom on earth; reading it, we certainly do learn that God has many ends to serve in His gracious dealings with the children of men, and that we, in our ignorance of His multifarious purposes, are not fitted to be His counsellors. But by all this, the fact is in no wise obscured that it is primarily to salvation that He calls His elect, and that whatever other ends their election may subserve, this fundamental end will never fail; that in this, too, the gifts and calling of God are not repented of, and will surely lead on to their goal. The difficulty which is felt by some in following the apostle's argument here, we may suspect, has its roots in part in a shrinking from what appears to them an arbitrary assignment of men to diverse destinies without consideration of their desert. Certainly St. Paul as explicitly affirms the sovereignty of reprobation as of election, - if these twin ideas are, indeed, separable even in thought: if he represents God as sovereignly loving Jacob, he represents Him equally as sovereignly hating Esau; if he declares that He has mercy on whom He will, he equally declares that He hardens whom He will. Doubtless the difficulty often felt here is, in part, an outgrowth of an insufficient realization of St. Paul's basal conception of the state of men at large as condemned sinners before an angry God. It is with a world of lost sinners that he is representing God as dealing; and out of that world building up a Kingdom of Grace. Were not all men sinners, there might still be an election, as sovereign as now; and there being an election, there would still be as sovereign a rejection: but the rejection would not be a rejection to punishment, to destruction, to eternal death, but to some other destiny consonant to the state in which those passed by should be left. It is not indeed, then, because men are sinners that men are left unelected; election is free, and its obverse of rejection must be equally free: but it is solely because men are sinners that what they are left to is destruction. And it is in this universalism of ruin rather than in a universalism of salvation that St. Paul really roots his theodicy. When all deserve death it is a marvel of pure grace that any receive life; and who shall gain say the right of Him who shows this miraculous mercy, to have mercy on whom He will, and whom He will to harden?
(c) In Eph. i. 1-12 there is, if possible, an even higher note struck. Here, too, St. Paul is dealing primarily with the blessings bestowed on his readers, in Christ, all of which he ascribes to the free grace of God; but he so speaks of these blessings as to correlate the gracious purpose of God in salvation, not merely with the plan of operation which He prosecutes in establishing and perfecting His kingdom on earth, but also with the all-embracing decree that underlies His total cosmical activity. In opening this circular letter, addressed to no particular community whose special circumstances might suggest the theme of the thanksgiving with which he customarily begins his letters, St. Paul is thrown back on what is common to Christians; and it is probably to this circumstance that we owe the magnificent description of the salvation in Christ with which the Epistle opens, and in which this salvation is traced consecutively in its preparation (vv. 4, 5), its execution (6, 7), its publication (8-10), and its application (11-14), both to Jews (11, 12) and to Gentiles (13, 14). Thus, at all events, we have brought before us the whole ideal history of salvation in Christ from eternity to eternity - from the eternal purpose as it lay in the loving heart of the Father, to the eternal consummation, when all things in heaven and earth shall be summed up in Christ. Even the incredible profusion of the blessings which we receive in Christ, described with an accumulation of phrases that almost defies exposition, is less noticeable here than the emphasis and reiteration with which the apostle carries back their bestowment on us to that primal purpose of God in which all things are afore prepared ere they are set in the way of accomplishment. All this accumulation of blessings, he tells his readers, has come to them and him only in fulfilment of an eternal purpose - only because they had been chosen by God out of the mass of sinful men, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him, and had been lovingly predestinated unto adoption through Jesus Christ to Him, in accordance with the good-pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace. It is therefore, he further explains, that to them in the abundance of God's grace there has been brought the knowledge of the salvation in Christ, described here as the knowledge of the mystery of the Divine will, according to His good-pleasure, which He purposed in Himself with reference to the dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in the universe in Christ, - by which phrases the plan of salvation is clearly exhibited as but one element in the cosmical purpose of God. And thus it is, the apostle proceeds to explain, only in pursuance of this all-embracing cosmical purpose that Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, have been called into participation of these blessings, to the praise of the glory of God's grace, - and of the former class, he pauses to assert anew that their call rests on a predestination according to the purpose of Him that works all things according to the counsel of His will. Throughout this elevated passage, the resources of language are strained to the utmost to give utterance to the depth and fervour of St. Paul's conviction of the absoluteness of the dominion which the God, whom he describes as Him that works all things according to the counsel of His will, exercises over the entire universe, and of his sense of the all-inclusive perfection of the plan on which He is exercising His world-wide government - into which world-wide government His administration of His grace, in the salvation of Christ, works as one element. Thus there is kept steadily before our eyes the wheel within wheel of the all-comprehending decree of God: first of all, the inclusive cosmical purpose in accordance with which the universe is governed as it is led to its destined end; within this, the purpose relative to the kingdom of God, a substantive part, and, in some sort, the hinge of the world-purpose itself; and still within this, the purpose of grace relative to the individual, by virtue of which he is called into the Kingdom and made sharer in its blessings: the common element with them all being that they are and come to pass only in accordance with the goodpleasure of His will, according to His purposed good-pleasure, according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the counsel of His will; and therefore all alike redound solely to His praise.
In these outstanding passages, however, there are only expounded, though with special richness, ideas which govern the Pauline literature, and which come now and again to clear expression in each group of St. Paul's letters. The whole doctrine of election, for instance, lies as truly in the declaration of II Thes. ii. 13 or that of II Tim. i. 9 (cf. II Tim. ii. 19, Tit. iii. 5) as in the passages we have considered from Romans (cf. I Cor. i. 26-31) and Ephesians (cf. Eph. ii. 10, Col. i. 27, iii. 12, 15, Phil. iv. 3). It may be possible to trace minor distinctions through the several groups of letters in forms of statement or modes of relating the doctrine to other conceptions; but from the beginning to the end of St. Paul's activity as a Christian teacher his fundamental teaching as to the Christian calling and life is fairly summed up in the declaration that those that are saved are God's 'workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God afore prepared that they should walk in them' (Eph. ii. 10).
The most striking impression made upon us by a survey of the whole material is probably the intensity of St. Paul's practical interest in the doctrine - a matter fairly illustrated by the passage just quoted (Eph. ii. 10). Nothing is more noticeable than his zeal in enforcing its two chief practical contents - the assurance it should bring to believers of their eternal safety in the faithful hands of God, and the ethical energy it should arouse within them to live worthily of their vocation. It is one of St. Paul's most persistent exhortations, that believers should remember that their salvation is not committed to their own weak hands, but rests securely on the faithfulness of the God who has called them according to His purpose (e. g., I Thes. v. 24, I Cor. i. 8 f., x. 13, Phil. i. 6). Though the appropriation of their salvation begins in an act of faith on their own part, which is consequent on the hearing of the gospel, their appointment to salvation itself does not depend on this act of faith, nor on any fitness discoverable in them on the foresight of which God's choice of them might be supposed to be based, but (as I Thes. ii. 13 already indicates) both the preaching of the gospel and the exercise of faith consistently appear as steps in the carrying out of an election not conditioned on their occurrence, but embracing them as means to the end set by the free purpose of God. The case is precisely the same with all subsequent acts of the Christian life. So far is St. Paul from supposing that election to life should operate to enervate moral endeavour, that it is precisely from the fact that the willing and doing of man rest on an energizing willing and doing of God, which in turn rest on His eternal purpose, that the apostle derives his most powerful and most frequently urged motive for ethical action. That tremendous 'therefore,' with which at the opening of the twelfth chapter of Romans he passes from the doctrinal to the ethical part of the Epistle, - from a doctrinal exposition the very heart of which is salvation by pure grace apart from all works, and which has just closed with the fullest discussion of the effects of election to be found in all his writings, to the rich exhortations to high moral effort with which the closing chapters of this Epistle are filled, - may justly be taken as the normal illation of his whole ethical teaching. His Epistles, in fact, are sown (as indeed is the whole New Testament) with particular instances of the same appeal (e. g., I Thes. ii. 12, II Thes. ii. 13-15, Rom. vi, II Cor. v. 14, Col. i. 10, Phil. i. 21, ii. 12, 13, II Tim. ii. 19). In Phil. ii. 12,13 it attains, perhaps, its sharpest expression: here the saint is exhorted to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, just because it is God who is working in him both the willing and the doing because of His 'good-pleasure'- obviously but another way of saying, 'If God is for us, who can be against us?'
There is certainly presented in this a problem for those who wish to operate in this matter with an irreconcilable 'either, or,' and who can conceive of no freedom of man which is under the control of God. St. Paul's theism was, however, of too pure a quality to tolerate in the realm of creation any force beyond the sway of Him who, as he says, is over all, and through all, and in all (Eph. iv. 6), working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. i. 11). And it must be confessed that it is more facile than satisfactory to set his theistic world-view summarily aside as a 'merely religious view,' which stands in conflict with a truly ethical conception of the world - perhaps even with a repetition of Fritzsche's jibe that St. Paul would have reasoned better on the high themes of 'fate, free-will, and providence' had he sat at the feet of Aristotle rather than at those of Gamaliel. Antiquity produced, however, no ethical genius equal to St. Paul, and even as a teacher of the foundations of ethics Aristotle himself might well be content to sit rather at his feet; and it does not at once appear why a so-called 'religious' conception may not have as valid a ground in human nature, and as valid a right to determine human conviction, as a so-called 'ethical' one. It can serve no good purpose even to proclaim an insoluble antinomy here: such an antinomy St. Paul assuredly did not feel, as he urged the predestination of God not more as a ground of assurance of salvation than as the highest motive of moral effort; and it does not seem impossible for even us weaker thinkers to follow him some little way at least in looking upon those twin bases of religion and morality - the ineradicable feelings of dependence and responsibility - not as antagonistic sentiments of a hopelessly divided heart, but as fundamentally the same profound conviction operating in a double sphere. At all events, St. Paul's pure theistic view-point, which conceived God as in His providential concursus working all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph. i. 11) in entire consistency with the action of second causes, necessary and free, the proximate producers of events, supplied him with a very real point of departure for his conception of the same God, in the operations of His grace, working the willing and the doing of Christian men, without the least infringement of the integrity of the free determination by which each grace is proximately attained. It does not belong to our present task to expound the nature of that Divine act by which St. Paul represents God as 'calling' sinners 'into communion with his Son,' itself the first step in the realization in their lives of that conformity to His image to which they are predestinated in the counsels of eternity, and of which the first manifestation is that faith in the Redeemer of God's elect out of which the whole Christian life unfolds. Let it only be observed in passing that he obviously conceives it as an act of God's almighty power, removing old inabilities and creating new abilities of living, loving action. It is enough for our present purpose to perceive that even in this act St. Paul did not conceive God as dehumanizing man, but rather as energizing man in a new direction of his powers; while in all his subsequent. activities the analogy of the concursus of Providence is express. In his own view, his strenuous assertion of the predetermination in God's purpose of all the acts of saint and sinner alike in the matter of salvation, by which the discrimination of men into saved and lost is carried back to the free counsel of God's will, as little involves violence to the ethical spontaneity of their activities on the one side, as on the other it involves unrighteousness in God's dealings with His creatures. He does not speculatively discuss the methods of the Divine providence; but the fact of its universality - over all beings and actions alike - forms one of his most primary presuppositions; and naturally he finds no difficulty in postulating the inclusion in the prior intention of God of what is subsequently evolved in the course of His providential government.
V. THE BIBLE DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION
A survey of the whole material thus cursorily brought before us exhibits the existence of a consistent Bible doctrine of predestination, which, because rooted in, and indeed only a logical outcome of, the fundamental Biblical theism, is taught in all its essential elements from the beginning of the Biblical revelation, and is only more fully unfolded in detail as the more developed religious consciousness and the course of the history of redemption required.
The subject of the DECREE is uniformly conceived as God in the fulness of His moral personality. It is not to chance, nor to necessity, nor yet to an abstract or arbitrary will, - to God acting inadvertently, inconsiderately, or by any necessity of nature, - but specifically to the almighty, all-wise, all-holy, all-righteous, faithful, loving God, to the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that is ascribed the predetermination of the course of events. Naturally, the contemplation of the plan in accordance with which all events come to pass calls out primarily a sense of the unsearchable wisdom of Him who framed it, and of the illimitable power of Him who executes it; and these attributes are accordingly much dwelt upon when the Divine predestination is adverted to. But the moral attributes are no less emphasized, and the Biblical writers find their comfort continually in the assurance that it is the righteous, holy, faithful, loving God in whose hands rests the determination of the sequence of events and all their issues. Just because it is the determination of God, and represents Him in all His fulness, the decree is ever set forth further as in its nature eternal, absolute, and immutable. And it is only an explication of these qualities when it is further insisted upon, as it is throughout the Bible, that it is essentially one single composite purpose, into which are worked all the details included in it, each in its appropriate place; that it is the pure determination of the Divine will - that is, not to be confounded on the one hand with an act of the Divine intellect on which it rests, nor on the other with its execution by His power in the works of creation and providence; that it is free and unconditional - that is, not the product of compulsion from without nor of necessity of nature from within, nor based or conditioned on any occurrence outside itself, foreseen or unforeseen; and that it is certainly efficacious, or rather constitutes the unchanging norm according to which He who is the King over all administers His government over the universe. Nor is it to pass beyond the necessary implications of the fundamental idea when it is further taught, as it is always taught throughout the Scriptures, that the object of the decree is the whole universe of things and all their activities, so that nothing comes to pass, whether in the sphere of necessary or free causation, whether good or bad, save in accordance with the provisions of the primal plan, or more precisely save as the outworking in fact of what had lain in the Divine mind as purpose from all eternity, and is now only unfolded into actuality as the fulfilment of His all-determining will. Finally, it is equally unvaryingly represented that the end which the decreeing God had in view in framing His purpose is to be sought not without but within Himself, and may be shortly declared as His own praise, or, as we now commonly say, the glory of God. Since it antedates the existence of all things outside of God and provides for their coming into being, they all without exception must be ranked as means to its end, which can be discovered only in the glory of the Divine purposer Himself. The whole Bible doctrine of the decree revolves, in a word, around the simple idea of purpose. Since God is a Person, the very mark of His being is purpose. Since He is an infinite Person, His purpose is eternal and independent, all-inclusive and effective. Since He is a moral Person, His purpose is the perfect exposition of all His infinite moral perfections. Since He is the personal creator of all that exists, His purpose can find its final cause only in Himself.
Against this general doctrine of the decree, the Bible doctrine of ELECTION is thrown out into special prominence, being, as it is, only a particular application of the general doctrine of the decree to the matter of the dealings of God with a sinful race. In its fundamental characteristics it therefore partakes of all the elements of the general doctrine of the decree. It, too, is necessarily an act of God in His completeness as an infinite moral Person, and is therefore eternal, absolute, immutable - the independent, free, unconditional, effective determination by the Divine will of the objects of His saving operations. In the development of the idea, however, there are certain elements which receive a special stress. There is nothing that is more constantly emphasized than the absolute sovereignty of the elective choice. The very essence of the doctrine is made, indeed, to consist in the fact that, in the whole administration of His grace, God is moved by no consideration derived from the special recipients of His saving mercy, but the entire account of its distribution is to be found hidden in the free counsels of His own will. That it is not of him that runs, nor of him that wills, but of God that shows mercy, that the sinner obtains salvation, is the steadfast witness of the whole body of Scripture, urged with such reiteration and in such varied connexions as to exclude the possibility that there may lurk behind the act of election considerations of foreseen characters or acts or circumstances - all of which appear rather as results of election as wrought out in fact by the providentia specialissima of the electing God. It is with no less constancy of emphasis that the roots of the Divine election are planted in His unsearchable love, by which it appears as the supreme act of grace. Contemplation of the general plan of God, including in its provisions every event which comes to pass in the whole universe of being during all the ages, must redound in the first instance to the praise of the infinite wisdom which has devised it all; or as our appreciation of its provisions is deepened, of the glorious righteousness by which it is informed. Contemplation of the particular element in His purpose which provides for the rescue of lost sinners from the destruction due to their guilt, and their restoration to right and to God, on the other hand draws our thoughts at once to His inconceivable love, and must redound, as the Scriptures delight to phrase it, to the praise of His glorious grace. It is ever, therefore, specifically to the love of God that the Scriptures ascribe His elective decree, and they are never weary of raising our eyes from the act itself to its source in the Divine compassion. A similar emphasis is also everywhere cast on the particularity of the Divine election. So little is it the designation of a mere class to be filled up by undetermined individuals in the exercise of their own determination; or of mere conditions, or characters, or qualities, to be fulfilled or attained by the undetermined activities of individuals, foreseen or unforeseen; that the Biblical writers take special pains to carry home to the heart of each individual believer the assurance that he himself has been from all eternity the particular object of the Divine choice, and that he owes it to this Divine choice alone that he is a member of the class of the chosen ones, that he is able to fulfil the conditions of salvation, that he can hope to attain the character on which alone God can look with complacency, that he can look forward to an eternity of bliss as his own possession. It is the very nerve of the Biblical doctrine that each individual of that enormous multitude that constitutes the great host of the people of God, and that is illustrating the character of Christ in the new life now lived in the strength of the Son of God, has from all eternity been the particular object of the Divine regard, and is only now fulfilling the high destiny designed for him from the foundation of the world.
The Biblical writers are as far as possible from obscuring the doctrine of election because of any seemingly unpleasant corollaries that flow from it. On the contrary, they expressly draw the corollaries which have often been so designated, and make them a part of their explicit teaching. Their doctrine of election, they are free to tell us, for example, does certainly involve a corresponding doctrine of preterition. The very term adopted in the New Testament to express it - evkle,gomai, which, as Meyer justly says (Eph. i. 4), 'always has, and must of logical necessity have, a reference to others to whom the chosen would, without the evklogh,, still belong' - embodies a declaration of the fact that in their election others are passed by and left without the gift of salvation; the whole presentation of the doctrine is such as either to imply or openly to assert, on its every emergence, the removal of the elect by the pure grace of God, not merely from a state of condemnation, but out of the company of the condemned - a company on whom the grace of God has no saving effect, and who are therefore left without hope in their sins; and the positive just reprobation of the impenitent for their sins is repeatedly explicitly taught in sharp contrast with the gratuitous salvation of the elect despite their sins. But, on the other hand, it is ever taught that, as the body out of which believers are chosen by God's unsearchable grace is the mass of justly condemned sinners, so the destruction to which those that are passed by are left is the righteous recompense of their guilt. Thus the discrimination between men in the matter of eternal destiny is distinctly set forth as taking place in the interests of mercy and for the sake of salvation: from the fate which justly hangs over all, God is represented as in His infinite compassion rescuing those chosen to this end in His inscrutable counsels of mercy to the praise of the glory of His grace; while those that are left in their sins perish most deservedly, as the justice of God demands. And as the broader lines of God's gracious dealings with the world lying in its iniquity are more and more fully drawn for us, we are enabled ultimately to perceive that the Father of spirits has not distributed His elective grace with niggard hand, but from the beginning has had in view the restoration to Himself of the whole world; and through whatever slow approaches (as men count slowness) He has made thereto - first in the segregation of the Jews for the keeping of the service of God alive in the midst of an evil world, and then in their rejection in order that the fulness of the Gentiles migh the gathered in, and finally through them Israel in turn may all be saved - has ever been conducting the world in His loving wisdom and His wise love to its destined goal of salvation, - now and again, indeed, shutting up this or that element of it unto disobedience, but never merely in order that it might fall, but that in the end He might have mercy upon all. Thus the Biblical writers bid us raise our eyes, not only from the justly condemned lost, that we may with deeper feeling contemplate the marvels of the Divine love in the saving of sinners not better than they and with no greater claims on the Divine mercy; but from the relatively insignificant body of the lost, as but the prunings gathered beneath the branches of the olive-tree planted by the Lord's own hand, to fix them on the thrifty stock itself and the crown of luxuriant leafage and ever more richly ripening fruit, as under the loving pruning and grafting of the great Husbandman it grows and flourishes and puts forth its boughs until it shall shade the whole earth. This, according to the Biblical writers, is the end of election; and this is nothing other than the salvation of the world. Though in the process of the ages the goal is not attained without prunings and fires of burning, - though all the wild-olive twigs are not throughout the centuries grafted in, - yet the goal of a saved world shall at the end be gloriously realized. Meanwhile, the hope of the world, the hope of the Church, and the hope of the individual alike, is cast solely on the mercy of a freely electing God, in whose hands are all things, and not least the care of the advance of His saving grace in the world. And it is undeniable that whenever, as the years have passed by, the currents of religious feeling have run deep, and the higher ascents of religious thinking have been scaled, it has ever been on the free might of Divine grace that Christians have been found to cast their hopes for the salvation alike of the world, the Church, and the individual; and whenever they have thus turned in trust to the pure grace of God, they have spontaneously given expression to their faith in terms of the Divine election.
LITERATURE. - The Biblical material can best be surveyed with the help of the Lexicons on the terms employed (especially Cremer), the commentaries on the passages, and the sections in the several treatises on Biblical Theology dealing with this and cognate themes; among these last, the works of Dillmann on the Old Testament, and Holtzmann on the New Testament, may be especially profitably consulted. The Pauline doctrine has, in particular, been made the subject of almost endless discussion, chiefly, it must be confessed, with the object of softening its outlines or of explaining it more or less away. Perhaps the following are the more important recent treatises: - Poelman, "de Jesu Apostolorumque, Pauli præsertim, doctrina de prædestinatione divina et morali hominis libertate," Gron. 1851; Weiss, "Predestinationslehre des Ap. Paul.," in "Jahrbb. f. D. Theol." 1857, p. 54f.; Lamping, "Pauli de prædestinatione decretorum enarratio," Leov. 1858; Goens, "Le rôle de la liberté humaine dans la prédestination Paulinienne," Lausanne, 1884; Ménégoz, "La prédestination dans la théologie Paulinienne," Paris, 1885; Dalmer, "Zur Paulinischen Erwählungslehre," in "Greifswälder Studien," Gütersloh, 1895. The publication of Karl Müller's valuable treatise on "Die Göttliche Zuvorersehung und Erwählung," etc. (Halle, 1892), has called out a new literature on the section Rom. ix-xi, the most important items in which are probably the reprint of Beyschlag's "Die Paulinische Theodicee" (1896, first published in 1868), and Dalmer, "Die Erwählung Israels nach der Heilsverkündigung des Ap. Paul." (Gütersloh, 1894), and Kühl, "Zur Paulinischen Theodicee," in the "Theologische Studien," presented to B. Weiss (Gottingen, 1897). But of these only Goens recognizes the double predestination; even Müller, whose treatise is otherwise of the first value, argues against it, and so does Dalmer in his very interesting discussions; the others are still less in accordance with their text (cf. the valuable critical note on the recent literature in Holtzmann's "N. T. Theologie," ii. 171-174).
Discussions of the doctrine of post-Canonical Judaism may be found in Hamburger, "Real-Encyc." ii. 102 f., article "Bestimmung"; F. Weber, "Jüd. Theol." 148 ff., 205 ff.; Schürer, HJP 11. ii. 14 f. (cf. p. 2 f., where the passages from Josephus are collected); Edersheim, "Life and Times of Jesus," i. 316 ff., article "Philo" in Smith and Wace, 383 a, and "Speak. Com." on Ecclesiasticus, pp. 14, 16; Ryle and James, "Psalms of Solomon" on ix. 7 and Introd.; Montet, "Origines des partissaducéen et pharisien," 258 f.; Holtzmann, "N. T. Theologie," i. 32, 55; P. J. Muller, "De Godsleer der middeleeuwische Joden," Groningen, 1898; further literature is given in Schürer. - For post-Canonical Christian discussion, see the literature at the end of article ELECTION in the present work, v. i. p. 681.