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CHAPTER V.

Purposes of God.

Q. 1.

What is meant by the purposes of God? A. By His purposes is meant His eternal and immutable pleasure, will, or choice, concerning all creatures, things, and events, or whatever comes to pass in time or in eternity.

Q. 2. Do God's purposes respect generals and particulars, means and ends, in the great system of the universe, as one stupendous whole?

A. God does not purpose by parts. He does not purpose effects without causes, ends without means, and volitions without motives.

But his purposes extend to all creatures, things, and events, in the natural and moral worlds, and embrace them as one great, complete, and harmonious whole.

Q. 3. What is meant by the purposes of God in relation to what is usually called Election?

A. It means, simply, His pleasure, will, or choice, in reference to the eternal salvation of a part of mankind, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; and the eternal perdition of the remaining part, by reason of their continuing in their own chosen ways of sin, and their voluntary rejection of the salvation, freely, and sincerely, offered to them in the Gospel. Those who are saved, are saved through holiness and faith; and those who are lost, are lost through sin and unbelief. None are saved, simply, because they were elected; but

in consequence of their embracing the Saviour and conforming to the requisitions of the Gospel. None perish, simply, because they were not elected; but in consequence of their voluntarily persisting in sin and rejecting the Saviour. The wicked are punished on account of their sins, which render them deserving of punishment. The non-elect as well as the elect, have all possible natural powers to choose or refuse the equally free and sincere offers of salvation.

Q. 4. Are the purposes of God in reference to man's salvation conditional, or unconditional and absolute?

A. They are conditional; not however as grounded on God's foreknowledge of the good works of those, who are saved; (this is by no means the case, and is a great errour;) but as grounded on the interposition and atonement of Christ, and the repentance, faith, and obedience of the subjects of salvation. It should be remembered, that the conditions performed on the part of man, are to be viewed in no degree in the sense of merit, and, therefore, detract not at all from the riches of Divine grace in man's salvation. It is ever to be remembered, that God's

purposes are not founded upon the actions and conduct of men; but lay a foundation for them.

Q. 5. How does it appear, that God has a purpose in reference to the existence of all creatures, things, and events, and especially the future condition of man?

A. From the fact, that God is the Creator, Preserver, Governour, and Disposer of all creatures and things, and must have had a purpose in reference to His own conduct;- from the fact, that He must have had some ultimate end in all His works, which

supposes design, and consequently an arrangement of all theparts included in the whole;- from the fact of His foreknowledge, for He cannot foreknow what is not certain, and nothing can be certain which is not agreeable to, and consequent upon, His pleasure, will, or choice, all things considered; and also from the Sacred Scriptures.(a)

(a) Acts 15. 18. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Isa. 14. 24, 26, 27. The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, su shall it stand. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back? Isa. 46. 10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. Prov. 19. 21. There are many devices in a man's heart, nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. Job 14. 5. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee; thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. Acts 17. 26. And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. Ps. 33. 11. The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. Acts 2. 23. Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. Acts 13. 48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord; and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. Eph. 1. 4, 5, 9, 11. 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 to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.--Ilaving made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself. 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. Eph. 2 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them. Eph.3. 11. According to the eternal purpose, which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8. 28, 30. And we know, that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.-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

Q. 6. How does God execute His purposes? Å. In giving existence to all creatures, and things, and in preserving, governing, and disposing

whom he justified, them he also glorified. Rom. 9. 11–16. For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. . So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, tut of God that showeth mercy: Rom. 11, 5,7. Even so then at the present time also there is a rempant 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. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. 2 Tim. 2. 19. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. 1 Thess. 5. 9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thess. 2. 13. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because Gol hath from the beginning, chosen yon to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. 1 Pet. 1.2. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctiñcation of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 2. 8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed. 2 Pet. 1. 10. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. John 13. 18. I speak not of you all; I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. John 15. 16, 19. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Matt. 20. 16. So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called but few. chosen.

of them. All creatures, things, and events, exist in exact accordance with the pleasure, will, or choice of God, all things considered.O)

Q. 7. Do the purposes of God militate against, interrupt, or destroy, the free moral agency of man? or take away his praise-worthiness or blame-worthiness?

A. Most certainly not. Men are not like machines. Man's moral freedom consists in acting as he pleases in view of motives. A free moral agent cannot possess any other liberty. Jehovah Himself possesses no other, nor any more. Now every man is conscious, that the purposes of God do not at all infringe, or destroy, the free voluntary exercises of his moral powers. He acts just as he chooses, and without compulsion, or coercion. Praise and blame have their foundation in the nature of moral exercises. If virtuous, they are praise-worthy; and if vicious, they are blame-worthy. (9)

Q. 8. Does the doctrine of the Divine purposes discourage endeavours to obtain salvation in the way, pointed out in the Gospel?

A. By no means. The doctrine, If I am to be saved I shall be saved, whether I work out my salvation or not; or if I am to be damned, I shall be damned, let me do the best I can, is preposterous,

(b) Acts 4. 27, 28. 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. Luke 22. 22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! John 17. 2, 6, 9. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

(c) Luke 22. 22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed.

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