Friday, June 01, 2007

Article XVII

Of Predestination and Election

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God's mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: So, for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God's Predestination, is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the Devil doth thrust them either into desperation, or into wretchlessness of most unclean living, no less perilous than desperation.

Furthermore, we must receive God's promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in Holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

Commentary from Archdeacon Edward Welchman's (1713) The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England:

The truth of this whole article will sufficiently appear to you from the texts of Scripture. . .

But I would desire the reader to observe, that only the grace of election is asserted in it, and that the severity of reprobation is left wholly untouched upon. And here I would advise him to stop, and to restrain his curiosity. For the doctrine of predestination is a profound abyss; in sounding of which, it is but to little purpose for young men to busy themselves. Much less does it become preachers to trouble their auditors about these deep mysteries: they should rather set forth God's promises in general terms, as they are proposed in the Holy Scriptures, and as it is out duty to embrace them.

1 comment:

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