IN the third item of our prospectus, we are pledged to maintain inviolably the doctrine of eternal, unconditional election. Some of our opponents have been kind enough to interpret our prospectus in such a manner as to lay us under the necessity of giving our readers more fully to understand our views. The language in which this article is headed is neither vague nor ambiguous; nor does this subject require a volume to be written, in order to convince the wise what doctrinal ideas we wish to convey. Yet as we have only asserted the sentiment as a matter of faith from which we shall in no case depart, it remains for us to show that this doctrine is scriptural, and in proving it to be so we will give a sufficient reason why we cannot depart from it in conducting this paper. Having already given, in our former numbers, our views of the sovereignty, immutability, &c., of the great Jehovah, our present work will be to prove that he has absolutely, eternally and unconditionally chosen or elected a portion of mankind unto salvation, through Jesus Christ.
With that class of our readers who take the bible as the man of their counsel and the standard of their faith, nothing more will be required of us. at this time, than a fair presentment of the word of God. Neither human language nor human wisdom can set forth the doctrine in a more clear or positive light than that which is left by the Holy Ghost, in the sacred pages of the Old and New Testaments.
Let it be understood that our work is only to state the doctrine, and to prove it to be in accordance with, and founded upon the word and testimony of the God of truth; we do not undertake to make the unregenerate understand or love it; for such a work we freely confess ourself inadequate; nor do we consider it any disparagement for us to own that God alone is able to bestow the knowledge and love of truth upon those who possess it not. We shall attempt to show that First, God has chosen or elected a people unto eternal life; second, that this election took place in eternity, or before the foundation of the world; and third, that this doctrine is not founded on any conditions existing between the elector and the elected.
First, that God has an elect people, we call to witness the following portions of holy writ, viz:
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, and the people whom he hath chosen." – Psalms xxxiii, 12. "And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness." – cv. 5. "That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the goodness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance." – cvi. 5. "The beasts of the field shall honor me, the dragons and the owls; because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen." – Isa. xliii. 20. "But for the elect's sake whom he hath chosen," &c. – Mark xiii. 20. "Go thy way, for he (Saul) is a chosen vessel unto me." – Acts ix. 15. "Salute Rufus, chosen in the &c.–Rom. xvi. 13. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." – 1 Peter ii. 9. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." – Rev. xvii. 14. "But for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible they should deceive the very elect. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." – Matt. xxiv. 22, 24, 31. "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him." – Luke, xviii. 7. "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" – Rom. viii. 33. "Even so then, at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it and the rest were blinded. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes." – Rom. xi. 5, 7,28.
Second, the eternity of God's election is set forth in the strongest terilis by the apostles, thus, "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children, by Jesus Christ unto himself; according to the good pleasure of his will, wherein he hath made us, accepted in the beloved. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." – Eph. i. 4, 5, 6, 11, also ii. 10. "Peter an apostle, &c;, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithyna, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father," - I Peter i. 1, 2. "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 lie called, them he also justified and whom he justified, them he also glorified." – Rom. viii. 29, 30. "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath, from the beginning, chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the spirit, and belief of the truth." – 2 Thes. ii. 13. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, (the beast) whose names are not written in the book of life, of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." – Rev. xiii. 8. These with many like scriptures, plainly demonstrate the eternity of the election of the people of God unto salvation, through Jesus Christ their Lord. Arminians may well tremble to meet the array of scriptures here employed to refute their cavils against eternal election. But we must show that God's election is unconditional, as far as it relates to those elected. The weight of this part of our argument may, for the present, rest upon the three following propositions, viz:
First, the fact that the election took place in eternity, precludes the possibility of its resting on conditions to be performed by the people elected. "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good nor evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth," &c.
Second, there is not the mention of a condition (as resting upon the elect) in the bible; and if this all important doctrine, which involves our eternal destiny in its weight had been suspended upon conditions to be performed by man, we may assuredly believe that God would have made known a fact of such awful moment, in his word.
Third, the scripture expressly forbids the idea of conditions, either in regard to election, or salvation in any form whatever. To establish this point we hear the inspired apostle say, "By grace are ye saved through faith, that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."
Again, if there be conditions in the election of grace, resting on the creature to perform, we would for the moment inquire what are the conditions? Is it works? No, for if it be of works, it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work." Does the doctrine then require that the sinner shall be willing on his part to be saved? No, it is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. But did not the choice of God embrace the best kind of sinners, such as are not so vile, polluted and depraved as the rest of mankind? No, "It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief." But did not God choose unto salvation such as would be born of pious parents – parents who would dedicate them by infant or adult sprinkling and train them up to religion? No, "Though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, as I live saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter."
"Cursed is man that trusteth in man, or that maketh flesh his arm." But were they elected on condition that they should use what is in the present day denominated "The means of grace," viz: to give their property to charitable societies, and so fill up the "Lord's treasury?" No, for "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth nothing." "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Now we inquire if election or salvation be conditional, on what condition does it rest? Let the Arminian answer if he can.
But to the everlasting exclusion of all such heart-sickening, God dishonoring, soul-revolting, devil-pleasing delusion, Thus saith the Lord God, whose word endureth forever, "Behold O my people, I will open your graves, and cause, you to come up out of your graves," &c. Thus saith the Lord God, unto these bones, "Behold, I will cause breath to enter in you, and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin and put breath in you and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea I will be their God, and they shall be my people." – Ezekiel xxxiii., see also Heb. viii, 10, 11, 12. "For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts, and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for all shall know me from the least to the greatest: for I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their iniquities will I remember no more." Here, from the uncorrupted fountain breaks forth a refulgent torrent of light and truth, sweeping away all refuges of lies, and reiterating Jehovah's declarations. "I will, and they shall," while each redeemed soul quickened and made alive by the Holy Ghost, and taught by the Father, joins in the heavenly melody to sing:
"Sons we are through God's election,
Who in Jesus Christ believe;
By eternal destination,
Sovereign grace we here receive.
Lord, thy mercy
Does both grace and glory give.
Pause, my soul! adore and wonder!
Ask, O why such love to me?
Grace has put me in the number,
Of my Savior's family.
Thanks, eternal thank to thee.
Since that love had no beginning,
And shall never, never cease;
Keep, O keep me, Lord, from sinning!
Guide me in the way of peace!
Make me walk in
All the paths of holiness.
When that blessed habitation,
Which my God has foreordained;
When in glory's full possession,
I with saints and angels stand;
Free grace only
Shall resound from God's right hand."
New Vernon, N. Y.
February 27, 1933.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 33 - 39