ON this important part of the doctrine of Christ, we wish to be well understood, as we consided it a fundamental part of the faith of the Gospel. In the absence of this doctrine we can have no confidence in the predictions of the word of God. If the prophets spake and wrote of undetermined events, events concerning which the Holy One himself had not made up his mind, they must have spoken and written with the utmost uncertainty. If it were possible to banish the doctrine of Predestination from the Holy Scriptures, we should not only lose thereby our interest in the ancient predictions of the Old Testament, but we should find it impossible to believe the testimony of the new. What consolation would the excedingly great and precious promises of the Gospel afford us,if we had reason to believe that God had not yet determined whether they should ever be verified? Again, what confidence could we have in the varacity of God, if it were certain that his promises were made without any determination on his part to perform them? Indeed there could be no certainty of a future state without the predestination of such a state. No heaven, no hell, no resurrection, nor final judgement. Thus we see to what an awful dilemma we should be driven without this doctrine. Predestination is the pre-determination of all events that can possibly come to pass, it involves the doctrine of Divine Sovereignty, and exhibits the wisdom and the power of God; the one presents the plan, the other carries into execution the things decreed. Predestination is the result of the counsel of God’s own will, originating with himself alone. “With whom took he counsel, and who instructed &c.” In the doctrine of Predestination all the Attributes of Deity shine forth, with dreadful majesty. The entire history of mankind is by Predestination established in the view of nod, and the final destiny of all things are held in his almighty hand.
“There’s not a sparrow nor a worm,
But’s found in his decree;
He sits on no precarious thone,
Nor borrows leave to be.”
We may consider this doctrine first in the economy of salvation, and then in its more general bearings. First God has chosen, or predestined, his people unto salvation, through sanctification of the spirit and a belief of the truth. - 2 Thes. ii. 13. Agreeable to his own sovereign pleasure as expressed in the above text, he has predestined them to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself according to the good pleasure of his will. - Eph. i. 5. He has predestined them unto eternal life. “As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” - John xvii. 2. “And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” - Acts xiii. 48. He has predestined their calling, conformity to the image of Jesus Christ, their justification and glorification. “For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate them he also called, and whom he called them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” - Rom. viii. 29, 30. In short, every thing in relation to his people here and hereafter is so firmly established in the decree of God, that no power can prevail against them. “He rideth upon the heavens in their help and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is their refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” - Deut. xxxiii. 26, 7. “Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel; according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought?” - Num. xxiii. 23. “Even the very hairs of your heads are all numbered.” - Math. x. 30, Luke xii. 7.
Predestination is not confined to the adorable purpose of Salvation by Grace, but it has a direct bearing on all things. Not a sparrow can be brought to the ground, nor can the troubled ocean dash her foaming waves one inch beyond the limits of God’s decrees.
If any thing was left upon uncertainties, every thing must have been equally uncertain. If the smallest atom in creation were suffered to fly at random in the full sense of the word, God himself not knowing where, or when it would alight, it would prove what cannot be proved, viz: that God is deficient in knowledge. The Omniscience, and the predestination of God, must stand or fall together; they cannot be separated. We are confident that both exist in glorious harmony in the mind of him who has declared the end from the beginning, saying, My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure. See Isaiah xlvi. 10. The doctrine of Absolute Predestination, when rightly understood, does not involve the idea of man’s acting involuntarily in sin; nor does it exonerate him from accountability; this may be discovered by noticing the following examples. The crucifiction of Christ, the abduction of Joseph, together with many other circumstances recorded in holy writ. “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.” - Acts iv. 27 · “Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and by wicked hands crucified and slain.” - Acts ii. 23.
The brethren of Joseph had no knowledge of the purpose of God when they sold him to go down to Egypt, they meant it for evil, but God ordained it for good. When the Jews persecuted the disciples of our Lord Jesus into strange cities they knew not that God had ordained this very method of sending his missionaries everywhere preaching the word. And amidst the abounding abominations of the present day, it is our consolation to know that God has ordained “The wrath of man shall praise him, the remainder of that wrath he will restrain.” - Psalms lxxvi. 10. We need only to understand this precious doctrine, and we shall most assuredly love it. The christian exults in the thought that death and hell can do no more than what our Father please.
We might notice the objections commonly brought against this doctrine, but we shall wait until such objections are presented; and in the mean time earnestly request our brethren to examine the word of God on this important subject. And that the G3d of all grace may give us light and wisdom from above, that in his light we may see light, is our prayer in Jesus’ name, to whom be glory, power and dominion, now and forever, Amen.
New Vernon, N.Y.,
February 6, 1833
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 28 – 31