In the previous chapters it has been shown that the Absoluter faction of Hardshells, in holding to the absolute predestination of all things, are the real old Baptists on that topic. This was seen from the fact that it is the teaching of the oldest Baptist confessions, confessions that have historically been accepted by the oldest Hardshell churches. It was also evident from the writings of Dr. Gill and of the first great leaders in the Hardshell movement, by men such as Elders Gilbert Beebe and Samuel Trott. It was also shown that the supralapsarian scheme was held to by the above named leaders. It was further seen how some of the charges made by the Conditionalist faction against Absoluters was false. For instance, the Absoluter faction did not deny the permissive will of God. It was also shown how the scriptures are very plain in affirming that "all things" are "of God."
Permissive Will of God
Many Hardshells who object to the absolute predestination of all things think that those who embrace it do not believe in the permissive will of God. But, this is not generally true. The first Hardshells were generally believers in the absolute predestination of all things and yet they believed that some things are to be ascribed to the permissive will of God. The Conditionalist Hardshell, however, does not recognize how believing in the permissive will of God does not in any way undermine the doctrine of God's universal decrees respecting "all things."
First, the Conditionalist fails to understand that "permissive will" of God is still the will of God. The adding of the adjective "permissive" does not negate the fact that such permission is still the will of God, still part of his decrees.
Second, the Conditionalist does not know how to respond to the question - "what if God does not permit" something to occur? Will it occur any way? This is important because the Conditionalist thinks that the permission of God exonerates God of all causal responsibility in the thing permitted. But, this is illogical, especially if it is granted that nothing can occur apart from divine permission. For instance, if I hold a rock in my hand, can it fall apart from my permitting it to fall by the removing of my hand? Though the withdrawing of my hand (permission) is not the sole cause of the rock falling, gravity being another cause, yet who would say that this removal (permission) was not a cause or reason?
Third, another question the Conditionalist does not sufficiently consider is that which asks - "does God permit by choice?" Or, "does God permit willingly and knowingly?" Or, does he permit without a choice to permit, without will and knowledge? Obviously willing and knowing permission includes second causes (such as gravity in the above example).
Some will use various adjectives to differentiate the permissive will of God from his non-permissive will. The latter will often be called "absolute will," or "will of purpose." But, these adjectives may just as well be used in conjunction with his permissive will. Does God choose to permit without a purpose? Does God's permissive will exclude what is absolute and certain? Some will say God's absolute will is his "perfect will," as if his permissive will was not perfect. Some will say that his absolute will is his "sovereign will," again, as if his permissive will is not sovereign. All this is unacceptable. It would be better to come up with different adjectives than to use the foregoing, or better to use none at all. We saw this same difficulty in previous chapters in attempting to find adjectives to distinguish between two usages of God's will in scripture. I chose the adjectives "resistible" versus "irresistible" as the best. In differentiating God's permissive will from his non-permissive will, the adjectives often chosen, as I have observed, are generally not proper. Perhaps it would be best to just keep it simple, using permissive versus non-permissive.
Wrote Jonathan Edwards:
"5 1. Whether God has decreed all things that ever came to pass or not, all that own the being of a God, own that he knows all things beforehand. Now, it is self-evident, that if he knows all things beforehand, he either doth approve of them, or he doth not approve of them; that is, he either is willing they should be, or he is not willing they should be. But to will that they should be, is to decree them."
Edwards is correct. The permissive will of God is still the will of God, involves a choice and purpose on the part of God, and is still part of his "decrees" regarding the future. Edwards also shows how a belief in the absolute foreknowledge of God is a proof for his predetermination of all things.
"17. For God certainly to know that a thing will be, that possibly may be, and possibly may not be, implies a contradiction. If possibly it may be otherwise, then how can God know certainly what it will be? If it possibly may be otherwise, then he knows it possibly may be otherwise; and that it is inconsistent with his certainly knowing that it will not be otherwise. If God certainly knows it will be, and yet it may possibly be otherwise, then it may possibly happen to be otherwise than God certainly knows it will be. If so, then it may possibly happen that God may be mistaken in his judgment, when he certainly knows: for it is supposed, that it is possible that it should be otherwise than he judges. For that it should be otherwise than he judges, and that he should be mistaken, are the same thing. How unfair therefore is it in those that hold the foreknowledge of God, to insist upon this objection from human liberty, against the decrees, when their scheme is attended with the same difficulty, exactly in the same manner!"
18. Their other objection is, that God's decree make God the author of sin. I answer, that there is no more necessity of supposing God the author of sin, on this scheme, than on the other. For if we suppose, according to my doctrine, that God has determined, from all eternity, the number and persons of those that shall perform the condition of the covenant of grace: in order to support this doctrine, there is no need of maintaining any more concerning God's decreeing sin, than this, lis. that God has decreed that he will permit all the sin that ever comes to pass, and that upon his permitting it, it will certainly come to pass. And they hold the same thing. For they hold, that God does determine beforehand to permit all the sin that does come to pass; and that he certainly knows, that if he does permit it, it will come to pass. I say, they in their scheme allow both these; they allow that God does permit all the sin to come to pass, that ever does come to pass: and those that allow the foreknowledge of God, do also allow the other thing, viz. that he knows, concerning all the sin that ever does really come to pass, that it will come to pass upon his permitting it. So that if this be making God the author of sin, they make him so in the very same way that they charge us with doing it. They own that God does permit sin, and that he knows, with respect to all sin that ever is committed, that upon his permitting it, it will come to pass; and we hold no other. God's permission of sin they allow; and yet it would be a sin in men to permit sin. We ought not to permit, or suffer it, where we have opportunity to hinder it; and we cannot permit it, without making ourselves in some measure guilty. Yet they allow, that God permitting it does not make him guilty of it."
Those Conditionalist Hardshells, as well as the Arminians, in believing in God's absolute foreknowledge and in his permissive will, nevertheless have the same difficulties with human reason as do those who believe in the absolute predestination of all things, that all things are the subject of God's decrees.
Edwards wrote against these Arminian objections by saying:
"...they lay it down for a rule, to embrace no doctrine which they, by their own reason, cannot reconcile with the moral perfections of God. But I would show the unreasonableness of this rule. For, if this be a good rule, then it always was so. Let us then see what will follow. We shall then have reason to conclude every thing to be really inconsistent with God's moral perfections, that we cannot reconcile with his moral perfections; for if we have not reason to conclude that it is inconsistent, then we have no reason to conclude that it is not true. But if this be true, that we have reason to conclude every thing is consistent with God's moral perfections, which we cannot reconcile with those perfections, then David had reason to conclude, that some things that he saw take place, in fact, were inconsistent with God's moral perfections; for he could not reconcile them with those perfections, Psalm lxxiii. And Job had cause to come to the same conclusion concerning some events in his day. If it be a good rule, that we must conclude that to be inconsistent with the divine perfections, that we cannot reconcile with, or, which is the same thing, that we cannot see how it is inconsistent with those perfections, then it must be, because we have reason to conclude that it cannot happen that our reason cannot see how it can be; and then it will follow, that we must reject the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation of the Son of God, &c."
Rejection of clearly expressed biblical propositions because we cannot eliminate all seeming contradictions in our minds is to make our understanding the judge about the truthfulness of scripture, and this is untenable. Further, it is ironic that those who use human rationality as the deciding factor as to which biblical propositions are true, nevertheless do not remove all seeming contradictions by their unscriptural rule.
"The scripture itself supposes, that there are some things in the scripture that men may not be able to reconcile with God's moral perfections. See Rom, 9: 19. "Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?" And the apostle does not answer the objection, by showing us how to reconcile it with the moral perfections of God, but by representing the arrogancy of quarrelling with revealed doctrines under such a pretence, and not considering the infinite distance between God and us. "Nay, but who art thou, O man, that replies against God?" And God answered Job after the same manner. God rebuked him for darkening counsel by words without knowledge, and answered him only, by declaring and manifesting to him the infinite distance between God and him; so letting him know, that it became him humbly to submit to God, and acknowledge his justice, even in those things that were difficult to his reason; and that without solving his difficulties any other way, than by making him sensible of the weakness of his own understanding." (pgs. 420-24, CHAPTER III., "CONCERNING THE DIVINE DECREES IN GENERAL, AND ELECTION IN PARTICULAR")
In the previous chapter several citations were given from Dr. Gill to show that he believed in the absolute predestination of all things, a belief stated in the London Confession of 1689. It was also seen that Dr. Gill was a supralapsarian, just as were the first Hardshell leaders. It was John Gill who in 1760 urged Toplady to publish his translation of Zanchius's great work on the absolute predestination of all things. Gill endorsed the views of Zanchius.
Jerome Zanchius wrote:
"VI.-When foreknowledge is ascribed to God, the word imports (1) that general prescience whereby He knew from all eternity both what He Himself would do, and what His creatures, in consequence of His efficacious and permissive decree, should do likewise. The Divine foreknowledge, considered in this view, is absolutely universal; it extends to all beings that did, do or ever shall exist, and to all actions that ever have been, that are or shall be done, whether good or evil, natural, civil or moral. (2) The word often denotes that special prescience which has for its objects His own elect, and them alone, whom He is in a peculiar sense said to know and foreknow (Psa. i. 6; John x. 27; 2 Tim. ii. 19; Rom. viii. 29; 1 Peter i. 2), and this knowledge is connected with, or rather the same with love, favour and approbation."
"Divine preordination has for its objects all things that are created: no creature, whether rational or irrational, animate or inanimate, is exempted from its influence. All beings whatever, from the highest angel to the meanest reptile, and from the meanest reptile to the minutest atom, are the objects of God's eternal decrees and particular providence. However, the ancient fathers only make use of the word predestination as it refers to angels or men, whether good or evil, and it is used by the apostle Paul in a more limited sense still, so as, by it, to mean only that branch of it which respects God's election and designation of His people to eternal life (Rom. viii. 30; Eph. i. 11)."
"The supreme end of this decree is the manifestation of His own infinitely glorious and amiably tremendous perfections; the inferior or subordinate end is the happiness and salvation of them who are thus freely elected." (chapter 1)
(4) That he (Adam - SG) fell in consequence of the Divine decree we prove thus: God was either willing that Adam should fall, or unwilling, or indifferent about it. If God was unwilling that Adam should transgress, how came it to pass that he did? Is man stronger and is Satan wiser than He that made them? Surely no. Again, could not God, had it so pleased Him, have hindered the tempter's access to paradise? or have created man, as He did the elect angels, with a will invariably determined to good only and incapable of being biassed to evil? or, at least, have made the grace and strength, with which He endued Adam, actually effectual to the resisting of all solicitations to sin? None but atheists would answer these questions in the negative. Surely, if God had not willed the fall, He could, and no doubt would, have prevented it; but He did not prevent it: ergo He willed it. And if He willed it, He certainly decreed it, for the decree of God is nothing else but the seal and ratification of His Will. He does nothing but what He decreed, and He decreed nothing which He did not will, and both will and decree are absolutely eternal, though the execution of both be in time. The only way to evade the force of this reasoning is to say that "God was indifferent and unconcerned whether man stood or fell." But in what a shameful, unworthy light does this represent the Deity! Is it possible for us to imagine that God could be an idle, careless spectator of one of the most important events that ever came to pass? Are not "the very hairs of our head all numbered"? or does "a sparrow fall to the ground without our heaveuly Father"? If, then, things the most trivial and worthless are subject to the appointment of His decree and the control of His providence, how much more is man, the masterpiece of this lower creation? and above all that man Adam, who when recent from his Maker's hands was the living image of God Himself, and very little inferior to angels! and on whose perseverance was suspended the welfare not of himself only, but likewise that of the whole world. But, so far was God from being indifferent in this matter, that there is nothing whatever about which He is so, for He worketh all things, without exception," after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. i. 11), consequently, if He positively wills whatever is done, He cannot be indifferent with regard to anything. On the whole, if God was not unwilling that Adam should fall, He must have been willing that he should, since between God's willing and nilling there is no medium. And is it not highly rational as well as Scriptural, nay, is it not absolutely necessary to suppose that the fall was not contrary to the will and determination of God? since, if it was, His will (which the apostle represents as being irresistible, Rom. ix. 19) was apparently frustrated and His determination rendered of worse than none effect. And how dishonourable to, how inconsistent with, and how notoriously subversive of the dignity of God such a blasphemous supposition would be, and how irreconcileable with every one of His allowed attributes is very easy to observe."
This reasoning is sound and irresistible. God, if he foreknew the fall, and permitted it, then he willed it, and had good reason and purpose for so doing.
"The Deity from all eternity, and consequently at the very time He gives life and being to a reprobate, certainly foreknew, and knows, in consequence of His own decree, that such a one would fall short of salvation. Now, if God foreknew this, He must have predetermined it, because His own will is the foundation of His decrees, and His decrees are the foundation of His prescience; He therefore foreknowing futurities, because by His predestination He hath rendered their futurition certain and inevitable. Neither is it possible, in the very nature of the thing, that they should be elected to salvation, or ever obtain it, whom God foreknew should perish, for then the Divine act of preterition would be changeable, wavering and precarious, the Divine foreknowledge would be deceived, and the Divine will impeded. All which are utterly impossible. Lastly, that all men are not chosen to life, nor created to that end is evident in that there are some who were hated of God before they were born (Rom. ix. 11-13), are "fitted for destruction" (ver. 22), and "made for the day of evil" (Prov. xvi. 1)."
"Luther observes that in Rom. ix., x. and xi. the apostle particularly insists on the doctrine of predestination, "Because," says he, "all things whatever arise from and depend upon the Divine appointment, whereby it was preordained who should receive the word of life and who should disbelieve it, who should he delivered from their sins and who should be hardened in them, who should be justified and who condemned."
The London Confession of 1689 stated the same, saying the "command given unto them (Adam and Eve), in eating the forbidden fruit, which God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory." (Chapter 6, section 1) The confession also stated - "Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet hath he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions." (Chapter 3, section 2) God's predetermination is the cause of his foreknowledge, and not vice versa.
In Chapter IV, in that section titled "Of Reprobation or Predestination as it respects the ungodly," Zanchius wrote:
"The actions of God being thus fruits of His eternal purpose, we may safely, and without any danger of mistake, argue from them to that and infer that God therefore does such and such things, because He decreed to do them, His own will being the sole cause of all His works. So that, from His actually leaving some men in final impenitency and unbelief, we assuredly gather that it was His everlasting determination so to do, and consequently that He reprobated some from before the foundation of the world. And as this inference is strictly rational, so is it perfectly Scriptural. Thus the Judge will in the last day declare to those on the left hand, "I never knew you" (Matt. vii. 23), i.e., "I never, no, not from eternity, loved, approved or acknowledged you for Mine," or, in other words, "I always hated you."
Anyone who believes in the absolute foreknowledge of God respecting all things must also, in some sense, believe what they condemn respecting absolute predestination and supralapsarianism. If God foreknows that John Doe, in being brought into the world (created) will die in unbelief, having rejected all God's offers of pardon, and YET, creates him any way, has he not, in some sense, created such a man for destruction?
"POSITION 2. -Some men were, from all eternity, not only negatively excepted from a participation of Christ and His salvation, but positively ordained to continue in their natural blindness, hardness of heart, etc., and that the just judgment of God. (See Exod. ix.; 1 Sam. ii. 25; 2 Sam. xvii. 14; Isa. vi. 9-11; 2 Thess. ii. 11, 12.) Nor can these places of Scripture, with many others of like import, be understood of an involuntary permission on the part of God, as if God barely suffered it to be so, quasi invitus, as it were by constraint, and against His will, for He permits nothing which He did not resolve and determine to permit. His permission is a positive, determinate act of His will, as Augustine, Luther and Bucer justly observe. Therefore, if it be the will of God in time to permit such and such men to continue in their natural state of ignorance and corruption, the natural consequence of which is their falling into such and such sins (observe God does not force them into sin, their actual disobedience being only the consequence of their not having that grace which God is not obliged to grant them)-I say, if it be the will of God thus to leave them in time (and we must deny demonstration itself, even known absolute matter of fact, if we deny that some are so left), then it must have been the Divine intention from all eternity so to leave them, since, as we have already had occasion to observe, no new will can possibly arise in the mind of God. We see that evil men actually are suffered to go on adding sin to sin, and if it be not inconsistent with the sacred attributes actually to permit this, it could not possibly be inconsistent with them to decree that permission before the foundations of the world were laid."
This is simply saying that if God permits, then he chooses to permit, and a choice to permit is the same as saying he willed, decreed, purposed, or determined to permit, and that reason and justice were behind his deliberate choice.
"Thus God efficaciously permitted (having so decreed) the Jews to be, in effect, the crucifiers of Christ, and Judas to betray Him (Acts iv. 27, 28; Matt. xxvi. 23, 24). Hence we find St. Augustine speaking thus: "Judas was chosen, but it was to do a most execrable deed, that thereby the death of Christ, and the adorable work of redemption by Him, might be accomplished. When therefore we hear our Lord say, 'Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?' we must understand it thus, that the eleven were chosen in mercy, but Judas in judgment; they were chosen to partake of Christ's kingdom; he was chosen and pitched upon to betray Him and be the means of shedding His blood."
The London confession, the writings of Dr Gill, and of Zanchius, all affirm that the scriptures know of no meaningless or purposeless permitting by God. It is not a "mere" or "bare" permission.
"POSITION 5. -God is the creator of the wicked, but not of their wickedness; He is the author of their being, but not the infuser of their sin.
It is most certainly His will (for adorable and unsearchable reasons) to permit sin, but, with all possible reverence be it spoken, it should seem that He cannot, consistently with the purity of His nature, the glory of His attributes, and the truth of His declaration, be Himself the author of it. "Sin," says the apostle, "entered into the world by one man," meaning by Adam, consequently it was not introduced by the Deity Himself. Though without the permission of His will and the concurrence of His providence, its introduction had been impossible, yet is He not hereby the Author of sin so introduced.
It is a known and very just maxim of the schools, Effectus sequitur causam proximam: "An effect follows from, and is to be inscribed to, the last immediate cause that produced it." Thus, for instance, if I hold a book or a stone in my hand, my holding it is the immediate cause of its not falling; but if I let it go, my letting it go is not the immediate cause of its falling: it is carried downwards by its own gravity, which is therefore the causa proxima effectus, the proper and immediate cause of its descent. It is true, if I had kept my hold of it, it would not have fallen, yet still the immediate, direct cause of its fall is its own weight, not my quitting my hold. The application of this to the providence of God, as concerned in sinful events, is easy. Without God, there could have been no creation; without creation, no creatures; without creatures, no sin. Yet is not sin chargeable on God for effectus sequitur causam proximam."
This logic is undeniable and rests upon express scriptural statements. Even learned Arminians are forced to own this much, as I shall show in future postings. How can today's Hardshells think it a great error to affirm that God is, in some sense, the cause of all things? Is their position not an extreme? Have the Conditionalist Hardshells not gone to an extreme in fighting an extreme?
"POSITION 7. -The punishment of the non-elect was not the ultimate end of their creation, but the glory of God. It is frequently objected to us that, according to our view of predestination, "God makes some persons on purpose to damn them," but this we never advanced; nay, we utterly reject it as equally unworthy of God to do and of a rational being to suppose. The grand, principal end, proposed by the Deity to Himself in His formation of all things, and of mankind in particular, was the manifestation and display of His own glorious attributes. His ultimate scope in the creation of the elect is to evidence and make known by their salvation the unsearchable riches of His power and wisdom, mercy and love, and the creation of the non-elect is for the display of His justice, power, sovereignty, holiness and truth. So that nothing can be more certain than the declaration of the text we have frequently had occasion to cite, "The Lord bath made all things for Himself, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov. xvi.). On one hand, the vessels of wrath are fitted for destruction," in order that God may "show His wrath and make His power known," and manifest the greatness of His patience and longsuffering (Rom. ix. 32). On the other hand, He afore prepared the elect to salvation, that on them He might demonstrate "the riches of His glory and mercy" (ver 23). As, therefore, God Himself is the sole Author and efficient of all His own actions, so is He likewise the supreme end to which they lead and in which they terminate.
"So Bucer somewhere observes that the punishment of the reprobate "is useful to the elect, inasmuch as it influences them to a greater fear and abhorrence of sin, and to a firmer reliance on the goodness of God."
Here Zanchius shows that the good to come from the willing of sin justifies God in its allowance. Even the Arminians argue the same way, saying that the good that is created by God's giving men free will justifies his allowance of evil. The disagreement is over the precise nature of that good that is brought about by the sufferance of sin.
"POSITION 8. -Notwithstanding God did from all eternity irreversibly choose out and fix upon some to be partakers of salvation by Christ and rejected the rest (who are therefore termed by the apostle, the refuse, or those that remained and were left out), acting in both according to the good pleasure of His own sovereign will, yet He did not herein act an unjust, tyrannical or cruel part, nor yet show Himself a respecter of persons.
(1) He is not unjust in reprobating some, neither can He be so, for "the Lord is holy in all His ways and righteous in all His works" (Psa. cxlv.). But salvation and damnation are works of His, consequently neither of them is unrighteous or unholy...And, surely, if the apostle's illustration be allowed to have any propriety, or to carry any authority, it can no more be unjust in God to set apart some for communion with Himself in this life and the next, and to set aside others according to His own free pleasure, than for a potter to make out of the same mass of clay some vessels for honourable and others for inferior uses. The Deity, being absolute Lord of all His creatures, is accountable to none for His doings, and cannot be chargeable with injustice for disposing of His own as He will.
(2) Nor is the decree of reprobation a tyrannical one. It is, indeed, strictly sovereign; but lawful sovereignty and lawless tyranny are as really distinct and different as any two opposites can be. He is a tyrant, in the common acceptation of that word, who (a) either usurps the sovereign authority and arrogates to himself a dominion to which he has no right, or (b) who, being originally a lawful prince, abuses his power and governs contrary to law. But who dares to lay either of these accusations to the Divine charge? God as Creator has a most unquestionable and unlimited right over the souls and bodies of men, unless it can be supposed, contrary to all Scripture and common sense, that in making of man He made a set of beings superior to Himself and exempt from His jurisdiction. Taking it for granted, therefore, that God has an absolute right of sovereignty over His creatures, if He should be pleased (as the Scriptures repeatedly assure us that He is) to manifest and display that right by graciously saving some and justly punishing others for their sins, who are we that we should reply against God?
Neither does the ever-blessed Deity fall under the second notion of a tyrant, namely, as one who abuses his power by acting contrary to law, for by what exterior law is HE bound, who is the supreme Law-giver of the universe? The laws promulgated by Him are designed for the rule of our conduct, not of His. Should it be objected that "His own attributes of goodness and justice, holiness and truth, are a law to Himself," I answer that, admitting this to be the case, there is nothing in the decree of reprobation as represented in Scripture, and by us from thence, which clashes with any of those perfections.
POSITION 9. -Notwithstanding God's predestination is most certain and unalterable, so that no elect person can perish nor any reprobate be saved, yet it does not follow from thence that all precepts, reproofs and exhortations on the part of God, or prayers on the part of man, are useless, vain and insignificant.
(1) These are not useless with regard to the elect, for they are necessary means of bringing them to the knowledge of the truth at first, afterwards of stirring up their pure minds by way of remembrance, and of edifying and establishing them in faith, love and holiness.
(2) Nor are these vain with regard to the reprobate, for precept, reproof and exhortation may, if duly attended to, be a means of making them careful to adjust their moral, external conduct according to the rules of decency, justice and regularity, and thereby prevent much inconvenience to themselves and injury to society. And as for prayer, it is the duty of all without exception. Every created being (whether elect or reprobate matters not as to this point) is, as such, dependent on the Creator for all things, and, if dependent, ought to have recourse to Him, both in a way of supplication and thanksgiving.
(3) But to come closer still. That absolute predestination does not set aside, nor render superfluous the use of preaching, exhortation, etc., we prove from the examples of Christ Himself and His apostles, who all taught and insisted upon the article of predestination, and yet took every opportunity of preaching to sinners and enforced their ministry with proper rebukes, invitations and exhortations as occasion required. Though they showed unanswerably that salvation is the free gift of God and lies entirely at His sovereign disposal, that men can of themselves do nothing spiritually good, and that it is God who of His own pleasure works in them both to Will and to do, yet they did not neglect to address their auditors as beings possessed of reason and conscience, nor omitted to remind them of their duties as such; but showed them their sin and danger by nature, and laid before them the appointed way and method of salvation as exhibited in the Gospel."
"So, then, all these being means whereby the elect are frequently enlightened into the knowledge of Christ, and by which they are, after they have believed through grace, built up in Him, and are means of their perseverance in grace to the end; these are so far from being vain and insignificant that they are highly useful and necessary, and answer many valuable and important ends, without in the least shaking the doctrine of predestination in particular or the analogy of faith in general." (chapt. 4, "THE DOCTRINE OF ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION" by Jerome Zancius, 1516-1590, Translated from the Latin of by AUGUSTUS MONTAGUE TOPLADY, A.B.)