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Q. 6. How does God execute His purposes?
A. things, and in preserving, governing, and disposing
whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom. 9. 11-16. For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, tut of God that showeth mercy. Rom. 11, 5,7. Even so then at the present time also there is a rempant according to the election of grace. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Tim. 2. 19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. 1 Thess. 5. 9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 2. 13. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because Gor! hath from the beginning, chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. 1 Pet. 1. 2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctiñcation of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 2. 8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed. 2 Pet. 1. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. John 13. 18. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. John 15. 16, 19. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Matt. 20. 16. So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called but few.chosen.
of them. All creatures, things, and events, exist in exact accordance with the pleasure, will, or choice of God, all things considered.()
Q. 7. Do the purposes of God militate against, interrupt, or destroy, the free moralagency of man? or take away his praise-worthiness or blame-worthiness?
A. Most certainly not. Men are not like machines. Man's moral freedom consists in acting as he pleases in view of motives. A free moral agent cannot possess any other liberty. Jehovah Himself possesses no other, nor any more.
Now every man is conscious, that the purposes of God do not at all infringe, or destroy, the free voluntary exercises of his moral powers. He acts just as he chooses, and without compulsion, or coercion. Praise and blame have their foundation in the nature of moral exercises. If virtuous, they are praise-worthy; and if vicious, they are blame-worthy.(0)
Does the doctrine of the Divine purposes discourage endeavours to obtain salvation in the way, pointed out in the Gospel?
A. By no means. The doctrine, If I am to be saved I shall be saved, whether I work out my salvation or not; or if I am to be damned, I shall be damned, let me do the best I can, is preposterous,
(b) Acts 4. 27, 28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. Luke 22. 22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! John 17. 2, 6, 9. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
(c) Luke 22. 22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed.
false, and wicked. It is preposterous, because it disregards the means connected, with the ends, and without which the ends cannot be obtained. It is false, because contrary to the nature of things, the divine determination, and the whole tenour of Scripture. It is wicked, because designed to bring blame on God, and exculpate the sinner. None, therefore, ought to believe it, or practice according to it. On the contrary, the doctrine of Divine purposes is a ground of encouragement.
Q. 9. How do the purposes of God afford encouragement in endeavours to obtain salvation?
A. They afford encouragement in this way: In the purposes of God are embraced the means, as well as the ends. He has constituted a certain and infallible connexion between means and ends. No end can be effected without the use of the means, connected with it; but if the means are used, the end will follow. This doctrine is as true in regard to Christians as to husbandmen, mechanics, and students. If a person, then, repents, believes, and leads a holy life, he will be saved. It is as certain he will be saved, as that God has any purpose, and he cannot be saved in any other way. Hence arise the necessity and encouragement to repent, believe, and live a godly life. The reasoning is this: God has ordained, that there shall be no harvest without the use of means; therefore the husbandman cultivates the earth. God has purposed, that there shall be no salvation without repentance, faith, and holiness of life; therefore we should repent, believe, and obey (4)
Q. 10. Are the Divine purposes any rule of conduct for man?
(d) Acts 27. 23, 24, 31. For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul, thou must be brought before Cæsar; and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.-Paul said to the centurion, and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
A. They are not. God's revealed will, in the Sacred Scriptures, is the only rule of conduct for man. His secret will is the rule of conduct for Himself, but not for man. In all his conduct, man is to act not in reference to the purposes of God, which are secret, but in reference to commanded duty, which is revealed. (C)
Q. 11. How are the Divine purposes to be viewed and treated?
A. They are to be viewed not as arbitrary, despotick, and capricious; but as altogether reasonable and proper, and after the good pleasure of God as the fruit of His wisdom and goodness. They are to be treated, not in a cavilling manner, but with a reverential, humble, submissive, and candid spirit.
Q. 12. Is the doctrine of Divine purposes a new doctrine?
A. It is not. It is as old as the Bible, and is contained in the confessions of faith in the reformed Churches generally.
Q. 13. Is it important, that the doctrine of the Divine purposes should be preached, and believed?
A. It is; because it is a truth, which God has revealed to be believed and embraced; and because it is the only foundation of the sinner's hope of eternal life; for had not God purposed salvation in Jesus Christ, none would ever have been saved.(R)
(e) Deut. 29. 29. The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things, which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.
(f) Jer. 26. 2. Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them, diminish not a word. Jer. 23. 28. The prophet that hath a dream let him tell a dream;—and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully; what is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Isa. 50. 9, 10. That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord; which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits. 2 Tim. 4.3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching