V. The Witness of Scripture

V.1. St Paul and St Peter

We turn now to what is the primary concern, to show that nothing is taught by me concerning this matter that is not plainly declared by God to us all in the sacred scriptures. This is that the salvation of the faithful depends upon the eternal election of God, and that for this no cause can be given except His gratuitous good pleasure. Paul's words in the first chapter of Ephesians are clear (v. 3): Blessed be God who hath blessed us in Christ, according as he hath chosen us before the foundation of the world. Now I hear Pighius[1] babble something: The whole human race is chosen in Christ, so that whoever should lay hold of Him by faith may obtain salvation. But in this invention there are two gross errors which can be instantly refuted by the words of Paul.

For first there is certainly a mutual relation between the elect and the reprobate, so that the election spoken of here cannot stand, unless we confess that God separated out from others certain men as seemed good to Him [2] It is this that is expressed by the word predestinating, afterwards twice repeated. Further he calls those chosen who are by faith engrafted into the body of Christ; and that this is something not common to all men is plain. Paul therefore refers to those only whom Christ condescends to call after they have been given to Him by the Father. To make faith the cause of election is quite absurd and at variance with the words of Paul. For, as Augustine wisely observes,[3] he does not call them elect because they are about to believe but in order that they may believe; he does not call them elect whom God foresaw would be holy and immaculate, but in order that they might be made so. Again, God did not choose us because we believed, but in order that we might believe, lest we should seem first to have chosen Him. Paul emphasizes that our beginning to be holy is the fruit and effect of election. Hence, they act most preposterously who place election after faith.[4] Then, when Paul lays down as the unique cause of election the good pleasure of God which He has in Himself, he excludes all other causes. Therefore Augustine rightly enjoins us to return to this point, lest we should boast of the good pleasure of our own will. Paul continues (Eph i.8): God abounded towards us in all prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself. Thus, we are told, the grace of illumination, like a river, flows from the fountain of that eternal counsel which had before been hidden. This is far removed from the thought that God in choosing us had any regard to faith; for faith could not have existed, unless God had appointed it for us by the grace of His adoption. Paul further confirms this, declaring that God was moved by no external cause; He Himself and in Himself was author and cause of our being elected while yet we were not created, and of His afterwards conferring faith upon us. As Paul says (v. 11): According to His purpose who effects all things according to the counsel of His will. Who does not see that the eternal purpose of God is set over against ours? Augustine, too, pondered this passage deeply. He interprets: God so works out all things as to effect in us the very will by which we believe. It is now, I think, sufficiently demonstrated who they are whom God calls by the Gospel to the hope of salvation, whom He engrafts into the body of Christ, and whom He makes heirs of eternal life: it is those whom by His eternal and secret counsel He adopted to Himself as sons. So far was God from being moved by their faith to adopt them, that rather election is the cause and beginning of faith. Hence election is in order before faith.

Equally plain is what we have in the eighth chapter of Romans. For after saying that all things are an assistance to the faithful who love God, lest men should seek the source of their happiness in themselves, as if by their love they anticipated God and merited such benefit from Him, Paul immediately adds by way of correction: Who are called according to His purpose. Thus we see that he expressly secures priority for God; for by His calling He causes them to begin to love Him who could do nothing but hate. For, examine the whole race of man, and what propensity for loving God will be found there? Why, Paul in the same chapter declares all the senses of the flesh to be at enmity to God. If all men are by nature enemies and adversaries of God, it is plain that by His calling alone are these separated out who put hatred aside and turn to love Him. Further, there can be no doubt that it is that efficacious calling that is here denoted, by which God regenerates those whom He has first adopted to Himself as sons. For Paul does not say simply called. This commonly is applicable to the reprobate whom God promiscuously invites to penitence and faith along with His own sons. What he says is called according to His purpose; and this purpose must be stable in itself and certain in its effect. To expound this passage as referring to man's purpose is, as Augustine admirably argues,[5] absurd. The context itself removes every scruple, so that the need of any other interpreter is obviated. For there is added: Whom He predestinated or appointed them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified. Here clearly the apostle speaks of a certain number whom God destined as a property peculiar to Himself. For though God calls very many by other means, and especially by the external ministry of men, yet He justifies and finally glorifies none except those He ordains to life. The calling is therefore a certain and specific calling, which seals and ratifies the eternal election of God so as to make manifest what was before hidden in God.

I know the objections which many make here: when Paul says that those are predestinated whom God foreknew, he means that each is elected in view of his faith. But I cannot allow them this false supposition. God is not to be understood as foreseeing something in them which procures grace for them; rather they are foreknown because they were freely chosen. Hence Paul elsewhere teaches the same thing: God knows them that are His (11 Tim 2.19), because, that is, He holds them marked and as it were numbered in His roll. Nor is the point omitted by Augustine:[6] the term foreknowledge is[7] to be taken as meaning the counsel of God by which He predestines His own to salvation. No one denies that it was foreknown by God who were to be heirs of eternal life. The real question is whether what He foresees is what He will make of them or what they will be in themselves. It is a futile subtlety to seize on the word foreknowledge and to attach to the merits of man that election which Paul always ascribes to the purpose of God alone. Peter, too, salutes the elect as elect according to the foreknowledge of God (I Pet i.2). Is this because some foreseen virtue in them inclined God's favour towards them? Not at all: Peter is not comparing men among themselves to make some better than others; he puts high above all causes the decree which God determined in Himself. It is as if he had said they are now to reckon themselves among the sons of God, because, before they were born, they had been elected. On this ground in the same chapter he teaches that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to wash away the sins of the world by His sacrifice. Without a doubt this means that the expiation of sin executed by Christ was ordained by the eternal decree[8] of God. Nor can what is found in Peter's sermon recorded by Luke be otherwise explained: Christ was delivered to death by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2.23). Peter thus joins foreknowledge with counsel that we may learn that Christ is not driven to death by chance or by the violent assault of men,[9] but because God, the most good and wise knower of all things, had deliberately so decreed it. Indeed one passage from Paul suffices to put a stop to all controversy. God, he says, declines to repudiate His people whom He foreknew (Rom 11.2). And shortly after he declares what this knowledge was, that there was a remnant saved according to the election of grace (v. 5). He says again (v. 7) that Israel did not by works obtain what it sought, but election did obtain it. What he called foreknowledge in -the first passage, he afterwards defines as election-and that gratuitous.

V.2. The Fourth Gospel

It is a puerile fiction by which Pighius interprets grace to mean that God invites all men to salvation despite their being lost in Adam. For Paul clearly distinguishes the foreknown from the others upon whom God did not please to look. The same thing is expressed as plainly in the words of Christ: Whatever the Father gives Me shall come to Me; and him who comes to Me I shall not throw out (Jn 6.37). Here we have three things briefly but clearly expressed: first, all that come to Christ were seven to Him by the Father before; second, all who were given are transmitted from the Father's hand to His so that they may be truly His; and lastly, He is a faithful custodian of all whom the Father entrusted to His good faith and protection, so that none is allowed to perish. Now if the question of the beginning of faith be raised, Christ replies: Those who believe believe because they were given to Him by the Father. The incredulity of the scribes was a great obstacle[10] to the ignorant people, because people were persuaded that no doctrine was worthy of belief except what had received their sanction. Christ on the other hand declares that the light by which we are directed into the way of salvation is solely the gift of God. Anyone can deny that those whom the Father chose in Him are given to Christ;[11] nevertheless it remains a fixed fact that the gift is not only prior to faith but its cause and origin. To the other clause there attaches much greater weight. For here He declares not only that none come to Him except those to whom the hand of the Father is held out, but also that all given by the Father without exception believe. No one, He says, can come to Me, unless my Father draw him (Jn 6.44). Pighius himself will confess that illumination is needed if those who are at enmity with God are to turn to Christ. But at the same time he imagines that grace is offered equally to all, and that in the last resort it is by the will of man as each is willing to receive it, that it is rendered efficacious. But Christ Himself testifies that the sense of His words is different: There are some among you who do not believe. Therefore I said to you that no man is able to come to Me, unless it is given him by My Father (v. 64f.). You see here that Christ excludes the unbelieving from the number of those who are drawn. For this would have been inappropriately said, if faith were not a special gift. But clearest of all is what He says after quoting the prophet Isaiah: They shall all be taught by God (Is 54.13; Jn 6.45); for He immediately adds by way of interpretation: Every one who has heard and learned of My Father comes to Me. In this He teaches the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, that God inwardly addresses His disciples by His Spirit, so that He may deliver them into the possession of Christ. Isaiah defines this as the method of renewing the Church, that all His sons are divinely instructed. He records therefore a special benefit of which God deems worthy none but the sons of the Church. By this kind of teaching, Christ declares that those are efficaciously drawn to Him whose minds and hearts God compels. For so, says Augustine,[12] He teaches those within who are called according to His purpose, at the same time giving them both to know what they ought to do and also to do what they know. But he who knows what he ought to do and does not do it, has not yet learned of God according to grace, but only according to law, not according to the spirit but to the letter. A little later:[13] If, as the truth says, everyone that learns comes, everyone who does not come has certainly not learned. Finally he concludes: It does not follow that he who can come really does come, unless he is willing and comes. But everyone who has learned of the Father is not only able to come but really does come; for them is now present the possibility of coming forward, the motion of the will and the effect of the act. Nor do I adduce the testimony of Augustine thus in order to fight under his authority, but because words more apt than his are not available with which to express the mind of the evangelist. Should there be any who do not yet acquiesce, he elsewhere[14] discusses the matter more fully. Thus, Christ says: Everyone who has heard and learned of the Father comes to Me. What does this mean, unless: There is no one who hears and learns of the Father, and does not come to Me? For if everyone who has heard and learned of the Father comes, it follows that everyone who does not come has neither heard nor learned of the Father. For if he had heard and learned, he would come. This school of God is certainly far from the understanding, of the flesh; in it the Father teaches and is heard, so that a man may come to the Son. A little later, Augustine declares: This grace which is secretly communicated to human hearts is received by no heart that is hardened. Indeed it is given for the purpose of first taking away his hardness of heart. When therefore the Father is inwardly heard, He takes away the stony heart and gives the heart of flesh. Thus He makes sons of promise and vessels of mercy prepared for glory. Why then does teach all men so that they may come to Christ, unless because all He teaches He teaches in mercy, but those He does not teach He does not teach in judgment? For He has mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom He wills He hardens. The sum of this matter may, however, be compressed into even smaller compass. Of those drawn to the Father, Christ does not say that a flexible heart is given to them, but that God touches their heart inwardly by His Spirit so that by this means they come. That this is not given promiscuously to all, experience demonstrates even to the blind.

Now Christ declares that He casts out no one of this number, but rather that their life rests in safety, until He raises them in the last day. Who does not see that this final perseverance, as it is commonly called, is similarly ascribed to the election of God? It may be that some fall from faith. But Christ affirms that those given to Him by the Father are placed beyond the peril of destruction. Similarly at another place (Jn 10.26ff.), having said that some of the Jews did not believe, because they are not of His sheep, He places the sheep themselves, as it were, in a safe haven of salvation. They shall never perish, He says, nor shall anyone pluck them out of My hand. The Father who gave them to Me is greater than all. Pighius will not dare to base so safe a state of salvation upon their present faith; yet he makes it depend upon the freewill of man.[15] Nor must we think it an ambiguous and discussable point when Christ opposes His protection alone against all the devices of Satan, or declares us to be safe up to the end, because He wills to save us. So that no doubt may remain about whom in His faithfulness He undertakes to protect, He again recalls us to the gift of the Father. Nor should it be lightly overlooked that Christ makes the Father greater than all possible adversaries, lest we should have less security of salvation than reverence for the power of God. Hence in all violent assaults, all kinds of peril, all mighty storms and agitations, the perpetuity of our standing consists in this, that God will constantly defend with the strength of His arm what He has decreed in Himself concerning our salvation. If anyone of us should regard himself, what can he do but tremble? For everything around us shakes, and nothing is more feeble than ourselves. But since the heavenly Father allows none of those whom He has given to His Son to perish, our assurance and confidence are as great as His power. For He is so mighty that He stands the constant and invincible vindicator of His gift. For as Augustine wisely says:[16] If any of these should perish, God would be deceived. But none of them perish, because God is not deceived. If any of these should perish, God is conquered by the sin of man. But none perish, because God is conquered by nothing. For they are elected to reign with Christ perpetually, not like Judas to a temporal office for which he was fitted. And again:[17] Of these none perishes, because all are elect, and, this not according to their own purpose but to God's; seeing that there is conferred upon them, as he later says, not such a gift of perseverance as makes them able if they will, but as can do nothing but persevere. This he confirms by very good reason. In the weakness of this life there is indeed need of strength effectively to repress pride. But if in this weakness men were left only their own will, in such a way that if they willed they might remain within the power of God (without which they could not persevere) without God working in them that will, then the will itself amid so many great trials would succumb under its own weakness. Thus men would not be able to persevere at all; for, failing under their weakness, they would either not be willing or would not so will as to be able. Therefore help is offered to the weakness of the human will, so that it is moved undeviatingly and inseparably by divine grace, and hence though infirm it does not fail, nor is it overcome by any weakness.

V.3. Romans 9

There must now be adduced that memorable passage from Paul which alone ought easily to compose all controversy among sober and compliant children of God. It is no wonder if that Cyclops Pighius ridicules the words contemptuously;[18] yet I hope I shall bring all sound readers to abhor such barbarous and audacious profanation of Scripture. As the Jews, priding themselves on the title Church, repudiated the gospel on the pretext that it had been condemned by this fictitious Church, lest the majesty of the gospel should be overshadowed by such shameless pride, Paul tears aside the mask behind which they boast.[19] It was certainly a formidable obstacle for the weak to see the teaching of Christ rejected by all those whom God had appointed heirs of His eternal covenant. The apostles preached that Jesus was the Messiah of God. The whole nation to which the Messiah had been promised repudiated Him. Is it any wonder, then, if today we see many wavering before the transient deceit of the Papists who boast themselves to be the Church?[20] Paul therefore comes to grips with the Jews in this way. He makes out that the fleshly seed are by no means the legitimate children of Abraham; the children of promise are alone reckoned among the seed (Rom 9.8). He could have counted the seed on the basis of faith. This would have been consistent when he was stating the distinction within the promise between genuine and spurious; and this he has already done (capp. 2 and 4). But now he rises higher: those are children of promise whom God elected before they were born. For he cites what was promised to Abraham by the angel (Gen 18.10): In due time I shall come and Sarah will have a son. This is as if he said: Before he was conceived in the womb, Isaac was chosen by God. He continues: More than this; when, from one embrace of our father Isaac, Sarah conceived, while the children were not yet born nor had done good or evil, so that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not in works, but in Him who calls, it was said: The elder will serve the younger, as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Rom 9.11ff.). Pighius[21] puts up the excuse that this is one of the most difficult passages in Scripture. Let this be conceded; I am thereby far from allowing that his impious barking is tolerable when he asseverates that the labyrinth is inextricable. What? are we to say that the Spirit speaking by the mouth of Paul slipped, so as to lead us away beyond what is useful?[22] It would have been easy for him, as I have said, to distinguish the true from the spurious children of Abraham[23] simply by the mark of faith. But he intentionally raises the question of election, which is a much more profound question. He records that, when caught up above the third heaven, secrets were revealed to him which it is not lawful for a man to utter (II Cor 12.9). Therefore, it is manifest enough that he was aware how far it is both expedient and lawful to go in publishing the secrets of God. Since then he takes to such a high level a question which could be settled in popular and brief terms, what godly man will hesitate to show himself docile and attentive? Unless of Course[24] it were to be hoped that our furious Cyclops would restrict by his moderation the Spirit of God from trespassing beyond due limits! He adds: This is one of the passages which uninstructed and unstable men corrupt to their own destruction. This very thing he compels us to confess of him, he himself extorting this conclusion by the plainest proof, so lawlessly does he twist and pervert Paul's whole context. When he exhorts his readers to hold themselves obedient to the Church in these obscurities and for the interpretation of difficult passages, he would have my support too, if only he showed them a sheepfold of Christ and not a stinking sty of swine. For what is the Church of Pighius but the conglomeration of all impieties, the whirlpool filled with all errors and still insatiable? His last admonition is that his readers should admit nothing inconsistent with the immense goodness of God, nor anything that incites them to hate rather than to love Him. But here he runs full sail against God for determining some from their very creation to destruction. Yet even if all this doctrine be suppressed, the reprobate would never lack occasion for holding God in detestation and for attacking Him with their sacrilegious arguments. What reason there is for their opposition will he considered in its proper place, when the mind of Paul has been expounded. For the present let all who can bear to be taught in the school of God hear what Paul plainly and unambiguously means.

He puts before us the two sons of Isaac, who, when they were, equally begotten in nature's sacred womb as in a temple of God, were none the less separated to dissimilar lots by the oracle of God. The cause of discrimination, which might other- wise be sought in the merits of each, Paul assigns to the hidden[25] counsel of God, that the purpose of God might stand. We learn that it was determined by God that one only of these two twins be elected. These words of Paul, Pighius tries to root up with a foolish objection, like a hog with its snout.[26] He replies[27] that the election of grace means that Jacob had not merited any such things. But Paul commends grace because one is elected while the other is rejected. Hence what Pighius supposes about universal grace falls immediately to the ground. Paul does not simply teach that Jacob is nominated the heir of life in order that the election of God might stand, but that, his brother being set aside, the birthright was conferred on him. I do not indeed forget what other dogs bark out, what are also the objections of the ignorant, that the testimony cited from Paul[28] does not deal with eternal life and eternal destruction. But if these objectors held the true principles of theology which ought to be well known to all Christians, they would speak a little more modestly. For the answer given to Rebecca showed her that the issue of the struggle she felt in her womb would be that the blessing of God and the covenant of eternal life would remain the possession of the younger. For what did the struggle itself mean except that both could not at the same time be heirs of the covenant which was already in the secret counsel of God destined for one? They object that the covenant referred to the land of Canaan, about which the word of Malachi also speaks (Mal 1.2).[29] Here they might perhaps be listened to, if God had fattened the Jews in the land of Canaan like pigs in a sty. The thought of the prophet is very different. For God had promised that land as an external symbol[30] of a greater inheritance and had given it for a possession to his posterity, so that He might gather them as a people peculiar to Himself, and might erect a sanctuary[31] and testimony of His presence and grace. These are the ends that the prophet fitly ponders. In a. word, he represents the land of Canaan as the sacred domicile of God. Since Esau is deprived of this habitation, he understands him to be hated of God; for he was rejected from the holy and elect family in which the love of God perpetually resides. We also must consider the nature with which God has invested that land, that it should be an earnest and pledge of the spiritual covenant with the seed of Abraham into which God entered. Hence, it is very relevant that Paul should record (Rom 9.12) the gratuitous election settled on Jacob, because, being not yet born, and his brother being rejected, he is appointed to enjoy the inheritance. But Paul proceeds even further. This dignity was not obtained by all: the brothers are separated before either had done anything either good or evil. Hence he concludes that the discrimination was carried out on the basis not of works but of Him who calls.

Here Pighius obtrudes upon us that noisome distinction of his. Works already done did not indeed come into consideration, for there were none; but the election of God was ratified on Jacob because God foresaw his faith and obedience. And he philosophises[32] ingeniously upon the name of Israel, saying that he was so named from seeing God, so that we may know that they are indeed true Israelites who, being not blind from their own wickedness but only with respect to God, open their eyes to see God when He appears to them. But is it not ridiculous that, while concerned to make others so clear-sighted, he himself should be blinder than a mole? An etymology entirely different is given by Moses, that he had wrestled with the angel of God and was victorious. For Israel means having power with God or prevailing over God.

But whose eyes, I ask, will he be able so to close or tear out that they will not notice his absurdities? Why does Paul deny that they had done anything good or evil unless to remove all consideration of merit? - why, unless precisely to affirm that God drew His reasons from no source other than Himself, when He passed so diverse a judgment upon the twin brothers? I know that this is a common means of escape. But I would first know, if Esau and Jacob had been left to their common nature, what greater total of good works would God have found in the second than in the first? Clearly the hardness of a stony heart in both would have repudiated offered salvation. But, says Pighius, a flexible heart was given to both that they might be able to embrace grace; but the one by his free will willed to do what he could, while the other refused. As if Paul testified that the unwillingness was also given by God! As if God did not promise that Israel should walk in His precepts![33] But in the judgment of Pighius, John (1.12) loudly denies that God has given us power to become the sons of God. But this wild fellow is deluded in thinking that power means faculty or ability, when in fact it rather signifies title to the honour. He betrays a more than gross dullness when, as with shut eyes, he disregards the cause of this power which is described by the evangelist. He declares that those become the sons of God who receive Christ, but affirms immediately after that they are born not of flesh and blood but of God. God therefore deems them worthy of the honour of adoption who believe on His Son but whom before He had begotten by His Spirit; that is, those He formed to be sons of Himself, these He declares at last to be His. For if faith renders us sons of God, it has to be considered from where it derives. For it is the fruit of the seed of the Spirit by which God begets us into newness of life. In a word, what Augustine says is most true, that the redeemed are distinguished from the lost by grace alone; and even them the common mass of original corruption would have hardened into perdition. Hence, it follows that the grace of God to be preached is that which makes and does not find men elect. This is what he is always insisting.[34] Add to this that, if God foresees anything in His elect for which He separates them from the reprobate, Paul would have argued foolishly in asserting that God's appointment: The elder will serve the younger, referred not to works but to Him that calls, because the brothers were not yet born. Hence the solution in terms of the foreseen works of each clearly insults Paul. He concludes that in the election of God there is no respect of works, because God preferred Jacob to his brother before they were born or had done anything good or evil. Opponents of this doctrine try to establish that those who are elect of God are distinguished by some mark of goodness from the reprobate; hence they make out that the matter depends upon some future disposition in each to receive or repudiate grace. Even if they accepted the expression, who had not yet done anything good, God would still not be disregarding works in electing them, because election would still depend on works foreseen by Him. But Paul regards as admitted fact what is incredible to these fine theologians, that all are equally unworthy and the nature of all equally corrupt. Hence he safely concludes that God elects those whom He elects in His gracious purpose, not those whom He foresaw would be obedient sons. Further, Paul is considering what the nature of man would be without the election of God; his opponents are dreaming of the good God foresaw in man which would never exist unless He Himself effected it.

Although these things are clear enough in themselves, yet the context leads us deeper. For there follows: What shall we then say? that there is unrighteousness with God? Either this objection is introduced without reason, or Paul's doctrine has no place for works foreseen. For what suspicion of unrighteousness can be conceived, where God offers grace equally to all but permits the worthy to enjoy it? In a word, when these objectors make the cause of election or reprobation future works, they appear to evade and solve for themselves the very question which Paul puts to them. Hence, it is manifest that he himself is not instructed in this new wisdom. Let it be that Paul introduces these opponents as quarrelling importunately and groundlessly about the justice of God. Note how he repudiates the objection. The words are: God forbid; for He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and compassion on whom I will have compassion. Nothing will, I see, be more fitting than to use the words of Augustine in explaining this passage. It is marvellous, he says,[35] when hemmed in by these straits to see the abyss into which they precipitate themselves for fear of the net of truth. They say God hated one of these unborn children and loved the other because He foresaw their future works. How remarkable that this acute understanding of the matter escaped the apostle! Yet he did not see it, for he replies that the question raised here for himself and his opponents is not to be solved with such brevity, with such obvious truth, as they think. For in putting forward this stupendous matter, how it could rightly be said that God loved one and hated the other, he himself declares: What shall we then say? is there unrighteousness with God? Now here was the place for him to give the reason they have in mind:[36] Because God foresaw their future works. But the apostle does not say it. Rather, lest anyone should glory in the merits of his own works, he wishes to commend the grace of God by establishing what God Himself has said. For He said to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy. Where are merits now? where are works past or future, fulfilled or to be fulfilled as by the free will of men?

Does not the apostle plainly declare his mind in commendation of gratuitous grace? Thus far I have considered the words of Augustine. Let us suppose that Paul had said no such thing.[37] How easy the solution would be! God discriminates between men on the basis of future works. Why then does Paul entangle himself deeper and assert that the whole cause is in the will of God? For first the Lord vindicates to Moses His free right to exercise mercy where He pleases, lest anyone should dare to prescribe a law for Him. Then He declares that He will take out of the whole multitude of the people those whom He wished to deliver - and all were alike covenant-breakers. He does not say the choice would depend on themselves, so that He would be propitious to any whom He found worthy of pardon. He precisely testifies that He is the arbiter of mercy, so as to spare those whom He should will, for He is bound by no necessity to elect one rather than another. Paul goes on to infer what necessarily follows from this statement: it is not of him that wills or him that runs, but of God that shows mercy. For if the salvation of men is wholly comprehended within the mercy of God, and God saves none but those whom in His secret good pleasure He chose, there is. nothing left over for man to do. Pighius' explanation is that salvation is due to no endeavour of ours nor to any[38] works, because God gratuitously calls us all to salvation. Of course he plays about in safety, as if by a single word he could immediately dismiss Paul's whole doctrine. Paul's premise is: because the Lord in His good pleasure saves whom He chooses, without discrimination of works; and his conclusion: therefore it is not of him that wills nor him that runs, and the whole matter turns on the mercy of God alone. Pighius thinks to make his escape by talking of grace to all; whereas it is due to none. Then, when he says that those become partakers of grace whom the Lord finds fit and obedient to Himself, he necessarily falls back on the acknowledgement that the willing and the running do avail, but that, because by themselves they are not sufficient, the palm has to be awarded to the grace of God. But Augustine admirably refutes these absurdities. If, he says,[39] the reason for the: Not of him that wills nor of him that runs but of God who shows mercy, is that the matter depends on both, that is both on the will of man and the mercy of God, then it follows that will alone is not sufficient unless the grace of the Lord be added, and that the grace of God is not sufficient unless the will of man be added. Further, if no Christian will dare to say: It is not of God that shows mercy but of man who wills, it remains that the right understanding of the saying: Not of him that wills nor of him that runs, is that all be ascribed to God who both prepares the good will of man for help and helps it when prepared. Even more frivolous is the cunning of others who in this matter search out a concurrence of God's grace and man's endeavour. As if Paul meant that men's running effected little unless helped by the grace of God, and did not rather intend to reduce all other things to nothing that the place might be wholly vacated for the grace of God. For whence is the principle of right running? Can anyone of himself go to meet God unless led and directed by the Holy Spirit? For, if I may use here also the words of Augustine:[40] Every day there are drawn to Christ those who are His enemies. For Christ says: No one can come to Me, unless the Father draw him. He does not say lead, as if willing somehow preceded; for who is drawn unless he is willing to go? He is therefore drawn in wonderful ways by Him who knows how to work in the hearts of men, not that men believe against their wills, but that the unwilling are made willing. We see therefore, that the election of God is ratified by the subsequent running of men, so that His mercy alone (which raises the fallen, brings the straying back into the way, raises the dead to life, and calls things that are not) may have pre-eminence.

There follows the other clause concerning the reprobate, of whom Paul finds the most signal instance in Pharaoh. Of him, God speaks thus to Moses: For this I have set thee up, to show My power in thee. Paul faithfully renders the passage word for word: For this I have raised thee up. The word used is the hiphil of the root amad which means to stand.[41] Pharaoh therefore is said to be introduced as one in whom God provides a memorable example of His power. Why does the Lord accept him and set him in this place? Pighius would have it that God sustained him by His patience for a time, though worthy of death.[42] Let me permit him this escape. Yet he is still entangled and caught by the fact that God destined Pharaoh to destruction and left him to his own devices. If Pighius commend the patience of God, I agree. Yet this remains an incontrovertible fact, that the reprobate are set aside in the counsel of God to the end that in them He might demonstrate His power. And this patience is far from Paul's mind, as appears in the next reference: Whom He wills He hardens. This would not have been added, unless by the term setting or raising up Paul had not meant the counsel of God by which He ordained Pharaoh by his stubbornness to illustrate the redemption of His people. For if anyone should say his being divinely raised up was to the summit of royal honour, this is indeed a part of the meaning, but not all. For the Greek interpreters used here the same word by which they were accustomed to render the hiphil derived from the root kum, which means to arise.[43] Further, God is said to raise up what He brings forward as with an outstretched arm for the end ordained in His counsel. But Scripture looks to the beginning of the thing being done, that it may ascribe it to God alone. So God is said to raise up prophets and ministers of salvation, lest any of these be claimed for man on the ground of his industry. Hence the meaning of Moses was faithfully expressed by the word raised up, if only you will understand it thus;[44] and Paul did not understand it otherwise. Certainly the term comprehends both plainly and summarily what he touched on concerning the elect and the reprobate; for he claims for God the right and the power to harden and to have mercy according to His will. He declares the right to harden and to have mercy to be His, and that no law can be imposed upon Him as rule, because no law or rule better or more just than His will can be conceived. But because formerly some considered that Paul introduces impious objectors against God, Pighius, too, has resort to this refuge. Suppose this be permitted to him. The knot is not thus loosed. For Paul does not raise a question about nothing; and moreover, his reply is to admit as true what his adversaries object. What profit then[45] does Pighius derive from hesitation of this kind, except to show that his case is a bad one? Who will allow him what he asks, when he so violently separates what hangs together, and joins in one bundle what is clearly distinguished? After showing the reprobate and the elect to be discriminated by the incomprehensible[46] counsel of God, he infers in the same context: Therefore He has mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardens. To this he adds: You will then say to me: Why does He yet find fault? When Paul clearly distinguishes the disputing persons, must we not accept his words rather than the extraneous comments? For the rest, Augustine, here as often, makes a prudent observation: It matters little how exactly you come to accept what Paul's argument approves as true.[47]

If the objection had been false, it is certainly improbable that Paul in a cause so good, so clear and so plausible, would have been silent. For if it is false that God hardens whom He will, the knot, so inexplicable to human ingenuity, would easily have been loosed with one word. Pighius represents Paul as declining to give a clear and fit reply because he did not regard impudent persons as worthy of reply, so that they might rather learn to know with humility than proudly demand a reason for the works of God. Thus, we read elsewhere that the Jews who asked Christ by what authority He did His works were repulsed by only a question in return. But the words of Paul contradict this. For afterwards he restrains the insolence of those who indulge a too audacious curiosity in investigating the secrets of God, but none the less confirms that the reprobate are vessels of His wrath in whom He shows His power. Augustine[48] is therefore a much better interpreter: When the question is asked: Why does He yet find fault? is Paul's reply: O man, what thou hast said is false? Not at all. The reply is: O man, who art thou? What Augustine elsewhere says is to be observed. Paul does not break off the argument with a reproof when they contend against God with sacrilegious petulance, as if the justice of God needed serious defence. He brings forward what is most expedient. Certain foolish persons think the apostle to have been deficient in his reply at this point, and to have simply repressed the audacity of his opponent for want of good reason. But the weight of what he says is great: O man, who art thou? In such question, he recalls man to a consideration of his capacity. Only one brief word, but in fact the reason given is very weighty. For who can reply to God who does not accept it? and if he do accept it, he will find even less to reply, etc.[49]

Hence the same writer says elsewhere:[50] If such arguments move us because we are men, let us also listen when he says: O man, who art thou? And a little later: For though God did not create the sins of men, who but God created the natures of men themselves, which are undoubtedly good in themselves, but from which according to the decree of His will the evil of sin was destined to proceed, and in many such sins as would merit eternal punishment? Why? unless because He willed it. Why did He will it? O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Is there any other vain notion? Look, a reason is here offered to man that is sufficient for him, if indeed he will accept it who in the bondage of infirmity contends for the freedom of his own will. If the ill desire to contend with God still entices him, let such a man, says Augustine,[51] speak and hear as is proper for a man: O man who art thou? Let him hear and not despise. If anyone be a despiser, let him under- stand himself hardened to despise; if he be not a despiser, let him understand himself assisted not to despise -hardened according to desert, assisted according to grace. What the desert imputed to man is, Augustine had earlier showed in these words: Every sinner. is inexcusable, either by original sin, or by the addition of his own will, whether he knows or is ignorant, whether despite right judgment or not. For ignorance itself in those who will not understand is undoubtedly sin, and in those unable to understand it is the punishment of sin.[52]

But to take no further help from the testimony of Augustine,[53] let my readers ponder the matter by itself with me. Paul, comparing man with God as he does here, shows that the counsel of God in electing and reprobating men is undoubtedly more profound and more deeply concealed than the human mind can attain. It is as if he said: Do you consider, O man, who you are, and allow more to God than the measure of your nature can compass. But let us give place to the philosophising of Pighius:[54] the condition of all men is equal, except in so far as some deprive themselves of eternal life though they like others were elected. Where then would be the difficulty and the obscurity? what would not be acceptable to common sense and plausible to natural judgment? When then you hear of a mystery surpassing the comprehension of human intelligence,[55] you may immediately conclude that solutions derived from common judgment, which might be valid in a secular court of justice, are frivolous. Pighius, interposes here that none are repelled by the Lord nor sent away in suspense who humbly discipline their minds, and that this opposition to God is found only in the refractory and proud. To this I assent without difficulty; only let him on his side admit that Paul charges with impious pride all who measure the justice of God by their own comprehension. But on the judgment of Pighius, God must reader a reason for whatever He does, if His justice is to win praise. The rule of modesty prescribed by us, on the other hand, is that, where the reason for God's works lies hidden, we none the less believe Him to be just. The son of Sirach[56] is not ashamed to extol God with the eulogy that as a potter He discriminates between His vessels according to His will, and that men are similarly in the hand of God who renders to them as He decrees. For krisis in this passage, if it is compared with what precedes, can mean nothing else than the good pleasure of the artificer. Nor do we need here any other interpreter, when Paul himself plainly rebukes the audacity of those who demand a reason of God. Is the clay to say to the artificer: Why have you made me? Hence to hold the will of God, though hidden, to be the highest justice and to allow Him the power of freely destroying and saving, is to limit oneself within the moderation prescribed by Paul. However Pighius may twist himself in twisting the words of Paul, the simile cannot be otherwise applied in the present instance than to show that God by His own right forms and fashions men to whatever destiny He wills. If this should seem absurd to anyone at first glance, he should recall the admonition of Augustine:[57] If beasts could speak and quarrel with their maker that they are not made men like us, all of us would be immediately enraged. What then do we think of ourselves? It is surely foolish not to ascribe to God a much greater excellency than that which He and all men possess over the beasts. Rightly expressed indeed, before God we are less than the beasts. What then remains but that the sheep of His flock quietly submit themselves to Him? This is much more fitting than to follow the example of Pighius in making men potters in the place of God, so that each contrives his own destiny by his own virtue. Elsewhere, he says, what is here obscure is made plain; for the furnace proves the potter's vessels and temptation those who are just. Hence he concludes that if a just man remains constant in faith and piety he will be a vessel to honour, and if he weakly fail he will be a vessel to dishonour. And since each by his own will, and assisted by divine grace prepared for all in common, does persevere, he concludes in the end that we are made vessels to honour by our invincible fortitude. I will not observe how foolishly two things are here confused, the making of the vessel and its proving.[58] But I will observe that God's proving His own by various trials and conflicts does not at all prevent Him predestinating them in His eternal counsel before they were born for whatever use He pleased, nor making them such as He willed them after- wards to be. Nor does what Paul says help Pighius: If any man purify himself from evils of this kind, he will be a vessel to honour (II Tim 2.21). For Paul here discusses, not how men extricated from their baseness are made vessels to honour, but how the faithful already elect and called adapt themselves to pure uses.[59] Observe how exact is the harmony between Pighius and Paul! Pighius' words are: What he was silent about before, Paul here expresses, why God makes some vessels to honour and not others. So that Jacob might be a vessel of mercy, his soul had purified itself, and on the strength of this he was deservedly made a vessel of honour. God having regard to this purification which He foresaw chose him. Now listen to Paul. He is exhorting the faithful to purify themselves. To pave the way for this doctrine, he prefaces it: God knows them who are His (II Tim 2.19). Similarly elsewhere (Eph 2.10) he teaches that we are His workmanship, created unto good works, which also He has prepared. Paul then, who does not rashly boast of being a skilled architect,[60] lays this foundation for salvation, in the gratuitous election of God alone. Pighius on the contrary begins his building on the surface.[61] So too in dealing with the passage in Jeremiah, he uses many words to no purpose. The passage does not describe the origin of our formation; it asserts God's rightful power in the breaking and shattering of vessels already formed and finished. Paul's intention is to be observed. God the maker of men takes them from the same clay and forms them for honour or dishonour by His will (Rom 9.21); for He gratuitously chooses to life some not yet born, leaving others to that destruction which all by nature equally deserve. When Pighius denies that the election of grace has anything to do with hate of the reprobate, I quite agree that this is true; for to the gratuitous love with which the elect are embraced there corresponds on an equal and common level a just severity towards the reprobate.

Paul then concludes: What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make known His power, endured with great patience the vessels fitted for destruction, so that He might make known the riches of His grace towards the vessels of mercy which He prepared for glory? This supplies no cause of dispute against Him. As do others like him, Pighius plays with the word patience. Or rather he fiercely bandies it about, as if it were in paternal indulgence that God hardened the reprobate. In this way, he says, God forms vessels to dishonour by kindly enduring those who abuse His patience and accumulate a treasury of wrath against themselves. Where is then the difference between the brothers not yet born? If Pighius is to be believed, God foresaw Esau's future hardness of heart. How then is the election of grace so manifest in Jacob, when Esau was given the same status until he excluded himself from the number of the sons? But Pighius' hesitation is so entirely refuted by a brief sentence of Paul, that there is no need to go elsewhere to assemble arguments against it. Anyone even moderately acquainted with Scripture knows quite well in what sense the Hebrews used the terms vessels and instruments. When we read of instruments, it is necessary to presuppose God as the author and overruler of the whole action and His hand to be the director. Why then are some called vessels of wrath, unless because God exercises upon them His just severity which He withholds from others? And why are they made vessels of wrath? Paul answers, that in them God might show His wrath and power. He says they are fitted to destruction. When or how, except by first origin and nature? For the nature of the whole human race was corrupted in the person of Adam. Not that the higher counsel of God did not precede; but that from this fountain the curse of God takes its rise, and the destruction of the human race. For Paul testifies that God prepared vessels for the glory of His mercy. If this is the characteristic of the elect, the rest were fitted to perdition, because left to their own nature they were thereby devoted to certain destruction. The frivolous suggestion that they are thus fitted by their own wickedness is so foolish that it needs no notice. It is indeed true that the reprobate procure the wrath of God by their own depravity and daily hasten its falling on their heads. But it must be allowed by all that Paul here treats of the difference arising from the hidden judgment of God. He also says that the riches of God's grace are made known, while on the other hand the vessels of wrath rush upon destruction. Here there is nothing of what Pighius babbles, that grace is equal towards all and that the goodness of God is better illustrated by Ms enduring the vessels of wrath and suffering them to come to their own end. As for God's patience, the solution is immediately at hand. it is connected with His power, so that God does not only permit what is done, but overrules it by His virtue. This, as is known, Augustine too observes.[62]

V.4. The Covenant

On no other ground can that contract of God stand inviolable: I am a jealous God, merciful to a thousand generations and a severe avenger unto the third and fourth generation (Ex 20.5ff.), except the Lord in His free will decree to whom He will show grace and whom He wills to remain devoted to eternal death. He extends grace to a thousand ages. Now, I ask, does God estimate the sons of the pious on their own merits when He continues to them the grace exhibited to their fathers on no other ground than that He had promised to do so? To Abraham, who had deserved nothing, He gratuitously binds Himself in faithfulness to be a God of grace to his posterity. Hence that solemn entreaty after his death:[63] Remember, O Lord, thy servant Abraham. Here certainly there is a selection between men, not on the merits of each, but on the covenant with the fathers. Not that all the posterity of Abraham descended from him according to the flesh possesses this privilege; but both the faith and the salvation of all those who out of the seed of Abraham are chosen for life are to be referred to this promise. Exactly similar is the nature of that vengeance which God executes unto the third and fourth generation. For the allegation of some, that those who sin from age to age are punished each in his own order, is worse than frivolous. So formerly the Pelagians, unable to extricate them- selves from the testimonies of Scripture which all show that all men sinned in Adam, used to protest that all sinned by imitation. Just as then pious doctors attacked them, saying truly that all were condemned on account of the guilt of Adam from which the grace of Christ looses them, so in the present case it is necessary, if the parallel is to be maintained, to hold that God avenges in the person of the children the sins He condemned in their fathers. Nor can many other passages of Scripture be intelligibly explained otherwise, where God declares that He casts up the sins of the fathers into the bosom of their children (Ex 34.7; Deut 5.9; Jer 32.18). In vain do opponents object the passage in Ezekiel (i8.2ff.): The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, but the soul that sins shall die. For it is one part of vengeance that the Lord leaves men deprived and destitute of His Spirit, so that it comes about that each sustains his own punishment. Hence the children are said to bear the sins of their elders not undeservedly (as the profane poet sings);[64] for they are guilty on this very ground that, being by nature the sons of wrath as Paul says (Eph 2.3), being left to their own capabilities, being heirs from their first origin of eternal death, they can do nothing but constantly and unremittingly augment their own destruction.

V.5. Isaiah 6.9

Here it is opportune to expound the passage in Isaiah (6.9) which the Holy Spirit saw fit relevantly to repeat six times in the New Testament (Jn 12.40; Mt 13.14; Mk 4.12; Acts 28.25; Lk 8.10; Rom 11.8). The prophet is sent out with an apparently ominous mandate. Go and tell this people: Hear indeed, but do not understand; and see indeed, but do not perceive. Make fat the heart of this people, make heavy their ears, and close their eyes; lest they should perhaps see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with heart, and be converted for Me to heal them. That the prophet is called the minister of blindness, is, in my view, accidental. The real question turns upon the cause of the blindness. Also, I hold that it is a deserved punishment inflicted on a rebellious people, that for it light should be turned to darkness. Clearly a malicious and obstinate unbelief had preceded, which God requited with such a recompense.[65] But the prophet afterwards testifies that there was a certain chosen number upon whom salvation shone from the word of God. The question therefore is whether these escaped that terrible judgment by their own virtue or were held safe by the hand of God. There is another even more pressing question: How did it come about that out of that multitude in which there was equal unbelief some were recovered, while the disease of others was incurable? If anyone should judge the matter by human standards, The cause will be looked for in the men themselves. But God does not allow us to stop there. He declares all those who do not follow the common defection are saved by His grace.[66] Whether recovery is His own work ought not to be matter of controversy. What Augustine says[67] is therefore evidently true: They are converted to the Lord whom He Himself wills to be converted; for He not only makes willing ones out of unwilling but also sheep out of wolves and martyrs out of persecutors, reforming them by more powerful grace. If the wickedness of men be urged against this as cause,[68] it might indeed be more powerful than such grace as God shows towards the elect, but for that one truth: He has mercy on whom He will have mercy. And Paul's interpretation leaves no doubt remaining (Rom 11.7). For after saying that the election of God was determined, he adds that the rest were blinded that the prophecy might be fulfilled. I admit that the blindness was voluntary and freely acknowledge their sin. But I note whom Paul excepts -those whom it pleased God to elect. But why these rather than those? Lest it vex us that choice of this kind is made, Paul says that men have no right to contend against God.[69] So again elsewhere (Acts 28.25), to the Jews, whose virulent malice he had experienced, he says: Well did the Holy Spirit speak by the mouth of Isaiah, You will hear with your ears and not understand, thus accusing them as they merited. Someone will wrongly and ignorantly gather from this that the beginning of obduracy was their wickedness. As if there were not a cause deeper than that wickedness - the corruption of their nature; as if they did not remain sunk in this corruption because, reprobate by the secret counsel of God before they were born, they were not delivered from it.[70]

V.6. John 12-37ff

Now let us listen to John, who will be no ambiguous interpreter (Jn 12.37ff.). Though Jesus had done many signs, he says, they did not believe; that the saying of Isaiah (53.1) might be fulfilled: Lord who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For this reason they could not believe, as Isaiah again says (6.9): He blinded their eyes, etc. Here certainly John does not record that the Jews were prevented by their wickedness from believing. While this was very true, yet he takes the matter higher. Here is to be seen the counsel of God. It disturbed the ignorant and weak in no small degree to hear that Christ had. no place in the people of God. John replies that none believe except those to whom it is given; and there are few to whom God reveals His arm. This other prophecy on which the question now turns, he later weaves into the argument to the same end. And what he here inserts has great weight: they were not able to believe. Men may torture themselves as long as they wish; yet the cause of the discrimination, why God does not reveal His arm to all, lies hidden in His eternal decree. The intention of the evangelist is quite different. Faith is a special gift, and the wisdom of Christ is too lofty to fall within human understanding. Hence the unbelief of the world should not astonish us, even if the most acute lack faith. Hence,[71] unless we wish to evade what the evangelist confessedly contends, that few receive the gospel, we must conclude this to be established, that the external sound of the voice strikes our ears in vain, until God inwardly touches the heart.

For the other three evangelists (Mt 13.11; Mk 4.12; Lk 8.10), there is a different occasion for citing this passage. In Matthew, Christ separates His disciples from the crowds. He declares that it is given to them to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and that He speaks to others in parables, that hearing they might not hear and that the saying of Isaiah might be fulfilled. I do not deny that those whom Christ addressed thus enigmatically and unprofitably were unworthy of greater light. But on the other hand, I would ask, in what way the apostles were more worthy of being admitted into familiarity with Christ? The antithesis stands: grace is conferred on few, when it could with equal right be denied to all. Shall we say that the disciples procured for themselves what the Lord asserts was given them? Nor is it to be lightly overlooked that He calls the things He spoke to them mysteries. And certainly there is nothing in all spiritual doctrine which does not much surpass and far exceed the comprehension of our mind. Hence, no verbal explanation, however lucid, is enough, unless the Spirit teach us at the same time. But Christ wished it to be regarded by His disciples as a pledge[72] of rare dignity that in the external means of teaching He should honour them above the crowds. Meantime He gradually led them to the singular privilege which distinguishes members of the house- hold from those outside, so that, taught from above, they might comprehend the things that are higher than natural understanding. Hence Christ's appeal: Who has ears to hear, let him hear (Mt 13.9; Lk 8.8). With these words, He not only distinguished the attentive from the inattentive hearers; He implies that all are deaf except those whose ears are pierced by the the Lord (Ps 40.6). This benefit David celebrates in the name of the whole Church.[73] I shall not examine further isolated passages. Let this summary suffice. If we admit the Spirit of God who spoke by the apostle to be interpreter of the prophet, the hidden and incomprehensible judgment of God is to be adored even while it blinds the larger part of men lest seeing they should see. Here let all reasonings that can enter our minds cease. For if we confine ourselves to men, this will first be certain, that the Lord gives liberally to those who ask, and others waste away in their need for which they do not seek remedy. But unless there comes to our aid what Augustine says,[74] that it is of the divine beneficence not only to open to those that knock, but also to cause them to knock and ask, we shall never sufficiently know the need under which we labour. As for the help God gives, experience proves that all do not understand the power of the Spirit by which that is done which ought to be done. Let no one deceive himself with vain flattery. Those who come to Christ were sons of God in His heart when in themselves they were enemies of His. Because they were foreordained to life, they were given to Christ.[75] Hence, as Augustine faithfully admonishes,[76] let them remember that they are vessels of grace, not of merit; for grace is to them the whole of merit. Nor let us take pleasure in any other knowledge than that which is comprehended in admiration. Let those deride us who will, if only God in heaven nods in approval of us and the angels applaud.


[1] French has: and those like him.

[2] French has. for God in choosing has separated His own from among others, so that He cannot elect without electing some and rejecting others.

[3] De Praedest. Sanct. cap. 17,18,19.

[4] French has: as if the root should be placed after the fruit.

[5] Ad Bonif., lib. 2, cap. 9, et aliis locis.

[6] De Dono Persever., cap. 18.

[7] Chief authority erroneously has: not.

[8] Beza has: consilio (instead of: scito).

[9] French adds: as if He had been constrained to suffer their will.

[10] French has: scandal.

[11] French adds. and that by this means He gives Him those who believe.

[12] De Gratia Christi contra Pelag. et Coetest., lib. i, cap. 13.

[13] Ibid., cap. 14.

[14] De Praedest. Sanct., cap. 8.

[15] French adds: or rather that it hangs on this as on a thread.

[16] De Corrept. et Grat., cap. 7.

[17] Ibid., cap. 12.

[18] French has: How the despisers of God advance objections to obscure and confuse everything! Yet I hope, etc.

[19] French adds: showing that it is a frivolous arrogance in them to usurp the name of Church for themselves.

[20] It was certainly ... Church - this section omitted in French.

[21] Lib. 9, cap. 2.

[22] French adds: and plunge us in darkness instead of instructing us.

[23] French has: the dissemblers and false pretenders.

[24] Unless of course . . . unambiguously means - French runs quite differently: In brief, if we refuse to accept that he shows us, this is plainly to disdain to receive what is shown to us by the Spirit of God. We shall later see what opportunity the wicked have of grumbling against what does at first sight seem strange. For the present, let us be content to learn in the school of God, knowing that He is so good a master that all that we get from Him will be profitable for our salvation.

[25] French has: closely hidden.

[26] French omits this sentence.

[27] French has: they are constrained to mean.

[28] French has: from Moses and the prophet Malachi (Rom 9.12).

[29] French has no reference to Malachi.

[30] French has: earnest and pledge.

[31] French has: the temple and ark of alliance.

[32] And he philosophises ... prevailing over God - lacking in the French.

[33] French adds: The question here is not of a faculty of indifference but of an actual virtue.

[34] Enchir. ad Laur.., cap. 99; Epist. ad Sixtum, 105 (Migne 194); Contra Iulianum, lib. 5, cap. 3; and elsewhere.

[35] Epist. ad Sixtum, 105 (Migne 194).

[36] French has: what these invent.

[37] French adds: and come to the facts.

[38] French, Beza and Amst. have: those.

[39] Enchir. ad Laur., Cap- 32.

[40] Ad Bonif., lib. i, cap. 19.

[41] Paul faithfully renders ... stand - French omits.

[42] Beza and -Amst. have: power.

[43] For the Greek interpreters ... arise - French omits.

[44] Hence the meaning ... understand it thus - a version omits.

[45] French has more simply: For the rest, that is not to be separated which is joined together.

[46] French has: irreproachable.

[47] Enchir. ad Laur., cap. 99.

[48] De Praedest. Sanct., cap. 8.

[49] French has: For if we understand what it means to say: No one is able to reply to God, this ought to be enough for us. If we do not understand it, even less will we find it possible to plumb this profundity.

[50] Epist. ad Bonif., 106 (Migne 186).

[51] Epist. ad Sixtum, 105 (Migne 104).

[52] French has: of original sin.

[53] French has: Let us take a case which Augustine did not consider, and leaving him aside consider the facts as they are.

[54] French has: Now if we accept this supposition that all are equal and none deprived of life unless, after being elected, they consciously withdraw from it; where then, etc.

[55] Beza and Amst. have: which is the supreme head of human intelligence.

[56] See Wis. 15.7.

[57] De Verbis Apost., sermo 11.

[58] French adds: St Paul treats here not of how we are proved but of how we are made.

[59] French has: give and devote themselves to conduct they know to be pleasing to God and fit for them who are instruments of His glory.

[60] French has: master builder and expert.

[61] French has: Those imagine that God chose each one according to what He foresaw in him, begin to build at window level and construct the ceiling before the foundations. We have then to note St Paul's intention (rest omitted).

[62] Contra Iulianum, lib. 5, cap. 5.

[63] French has: this fashion of praying customary to the faithful in the old dispensation.

[64] Horace, Odes, III, 6.i.

[65] French adds: should it be that the question is not again solved.

[66] French adds: I have, says He, kept for myself seven thousand men who have not at all bent the knee before the idol Baal.

[67] De Praedest. Sanct., cap. 2.

[68] French has: If it be objected that men's wickedness resists the grace of God, and denied that grace is such that He who promises it to His elect will have greater efficacy and virtue than all wickedness and so surmount it, this would allow no place for what He said by Moses: I will have mercy, etc.

[69] French has: We must not be too proud to reiterate a thousand times to those who complain thus against God - O man, who art thou? As also St Augustine shows (De Dono Persever., cap. 12).

[70] See Aug., Ad Bonif., lib. 2, cap. 6.

[71] French has: Hence, if we will not ridicule our knowledge of the Spirit of God, let us turn away from subterfuges for escaping from what the evangelist says, etc.

[72] French has: privilege.

[73] French has: which David shows to be peculiar to the children of God.

[74] De Dono Persever., cap. 23..

[75] See Aug., De Corrept. et Gratia, cap. 5; also cap. 8 and 9.

[76] Ibid., cap. 7.