By Aaron Hills
THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION IN CHAPTER III -- CONFESSION OF FAITH
Calvinism teaches the doctrine of Unconditional Election in these words:
III. "By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death.
IV. 'Those angels and men thus predestinated and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
V. "Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life. God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes, moving Him thereunto, and all to the praise of His glorious grace.
VI. "As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He by the eternal and most free purpose of His will fore-ordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only" VII. "The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel, of His own will, whereby he extendeth or with-holdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice."
The foregoing blasphemous utterances are further explained and supported by these atrocious declarations on effectual calling in Chapter X.
I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only He is pleased in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ, enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh, - renewing their wills and by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.
II. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything, at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
III. Elect infants dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ, who worketh when and where, and how He pleaseth; so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
IV. Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet not being effectually drawn by the Father, they neither do nor can come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved; much less can men not professing the Christian religion be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious and to be detested."
I have no vocabulary to adequately express my abhorrence of a doctrine, so insulting to every moral instinct and intuition of man, and such a blasphemous caricature of the goodness and mercy and justice and love of our holy God! It tells its own story, and makes its own comment. The marvel is that any company of Christian men, born in a Christian land, with a Bible in their hands, could write a statement of doctrine so absolutely diabolical, and such a base calumny against God, and profess to believe it!
THE METHODIST DOCTRINE OF ELECTION
How unspeakably more Scriptural and rational, and more honorable to the character and government of God is the doctrine of Election, as Methodist thought has developed it. Notice
I. There are three kinds of election, or of choosing and separating from others, mentioned in the Scriptures.
1. There is the election of individuals to fill some office or to perform some important public service. In this sense, Aaron was called to be priest, and Saul was called to be a disciple. But this calling implied nothing as to their eternal destiny.
The oldest sons of Aaron, called to be priests, Nadab and Abihu, were struck dead by Jehovah, for becoming filled with strong drink and offering strange fire before the Lord. Lev. 10: 1-10. Saul, chosen and anointed with holy oil to be king of Israel, died a suicide. So did Judas. Annas and Caiaphas, the high priests, who condemned Jesus to death, died miserably. None of these were saved by their election to office.
2. There is the election of nations or bodies of people to special religious privileges. Thus the family of Abraham or one branch of it, the descendants of Isaac and Jacob were called or chosen to be separated from all the other descendants of Abraham, and from all other nations of the earth, to be the visible church of God, and to give a Bible and a revealed religion to mankind, and to be the human ancestor of the incarnate Son of God. No other such election of a family and nation was ever given to man. Hence they are spoken of as His "chosen" or "elect" people (Deut. 4:37; 7: 6; 10: IS; Ps. 33: 12; Isa. 41: 8, 9). He invited them to the honors and privileges of His "sons," and dealt with them leniently and graciously for the sake of His own cause and kingdom in the world. He hedged them about by peculiar laws and forbade them to intermingle and unite by marriage with foreign peoples, and eventually become lost. He called them His "peculiar people" (Deut. 7: 6; 14: 2; 26: 18) and by rites and ceremonies and laws, offensive to heathen nations, He kept them so.
But, let it be noted, that all these peculiar privileges and blessings belonged to all the descendants of Jacob without exception, and were the result of God's free grace, without any prior righteousness or peculiar merit of their own. They were granted for the ultimate good of all nations (Gen. 12: 3, 22: 18; Ex. 9: 16, 15: 14; Num. 14: 10-24). Yet there was nothing in these peculiar blessings that made certain the final salvation of any individual soul. While the nation, and the cause of God was spared, yet for sin, multitudes were destroyed (Ex. 32: 28; Num. 11: 33, 16: 32-35, 16: 49, 21: 5, 6; Heb. 3:11; 1 Cor. 10:8).
Under the Christian dispensation the term "election" was sometimes applied to bodies of Gentiles who have professedly embraced the Gospel. The Jews had been deprived of "election" for rejecting Christ, and their privileges were transferred to believing Gentiles. It was this calling and election of Gentile believers to the privileges of the Church of God that constituted "the mystery which was not made known to the sons of men," in pre-Christian ages, but hath now been revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets (Eph. 3: 1-7).
It was this that so angered the Jews, and which St. Paul so nobly defended in the ninth of Romans. He tells us that it was no accident of history that believing Gentiles were brought into the Church, but was a part of the original plan of God. "They were called according to His purpose." Rom. 8: 28, and were "chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world." Eph. 1:4, "that we should be holy and without blemish." But in all these passages there is not the slightest reference to the unconditional election of individuals to eternal life.
3. In the New Testament we have the Abrahamic race-election displaced by the faith election. Natural descent is disregarded. While that was in vogue, it secured only religious privileges and opportunities, but never made certain an individual's personal salvation. The individual who then repented and believed and continued in the faith was saved, - then, and so he is now. A wicked Absalom could perish then as now, even though he could trace his descent to Abraham, and to Adam, and even though His father was chosen to be king, and to be the ancestor of Christ.
When it came to personal salvation, God designed a plan of salvation and all the means of grace, and all the conditions of its appropriation, and then elected to save all that would fall in with that nplan, and to reject all who would not. Every personal penitent believer, therefore, whether Jew or Gentile, is chosen in Christ, to enjoy all the privileges of grace here, and heaven hereafter. And to each one the same language of election is applied, that was used relative to the rational or collective elections of peoples, - "the elect," "the chosen of God."
How this personal election or salvation is brought about is explained clearly. First, in 1 Pet. 1:2. We are told that we are ''elect through sanctification of the Spirit." We are not elected when sinners, in rebellion against God, and "compelled to be saved and sanctified by "irresistible, efficacious grace"; but we are elected "through the sanctification of the Spirit," (which is forced upon no one). It is, therefore, strictly conditional, though it takes place, like everything else, in the foreknowledge of God.
Second, in 2 Thess. 2: 13, 14, we are told "that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, whereunto He called you through our Gospel." "Belief" is our own personal act, for which we are held responsible, as Jesus always taught. "Except ye believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins, and whither I go ye cannot come" (John 8: 24, 21; 3: 16; 3: 36).
"Now sanctification and belief of the truth cannot be the ends of election, if they are the means of it. Paul preached a wonderful Gospel, directly adapted to save and sanctify his hearers. Whether they believed it and acted upon it and were saved, or not, depended solely upon themselves. St. Peter in 2 Pet. 1: 10, begged them to "give diligence to make their calling and election sure." Then it follows, irresistibly that our election is conditional, depending on our own willingness to repent and believe and be saved and sanctified.
People do not get sanctified until after they are regenerated, by their own acceptance of Christ by faith, as their atoning Savior. They must further comply with certain divinely appointed conditions, before Christ will baptize them with the Holy Spirit. Such as
1. "Hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matt. 5:6).
2. Ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11: 13).
3. Submit the will in complete obedience (Acts 5: 32).
4. Make a complete consecration (Rom. 6: 13; Rom. 12: 1).
5. Receive the cleansing by faith (Acts 15: 8, 9; Acts 26: 18). 18).
Now these are all conditions that we can comply with, and must comply with before the cleansing, sanctifying baptism of the Spirit will be given us.
If then, we obtain our election through the sanctification of the Spirit, it is conditional. In other words, God elects to save the "Whosoever wills" and reprobates to death the "Whosoever will nots," and we decide whether we will be "candidates for election" and "will give diligence to make our calling and election sure," or not.
II. We are more confirmed in this view by the absurdities and evils of the opposite view. We have seen the Calvinistic doctrine of "the unconditional election of a fixed and definite number of moral beings to everlasting life without any merit in them, and all the means and agencies inevitably leading thereunto; and that all the rest of the moral beings of the universe were malignantly created, and purposely endowed with possibilities of the most excruciating agony, and had unavoidable sin fixed upon them by a heartless Creator, who endowed them with an eternity of woe, - the horrors of endless damnation, just to display before an appalled universe His resistless power!-such a doctrine would shame hell itself, It can be nothing but a nightmare of human reason, that logically makes God the moral monster of the universe! The reason, which God has given us, declares that it cannot possibly be true!
1. Because of what God is in His nature and moral character. "He is the absolute monarch of the moral universe. No constitution limits His authority, and He receives no counsel from His subjects in any form. He needs none, either in Himself, or for the satisfaction of His subjects. Any participation, on the part of finite beings, in the government, would not add to our confidence in the government, but detract from it."
God assumes the government, not simply because He is the Creator, and therefore has a right to do what He will with His own. In a very important sense He owns the universe; but there is no such ownership of moral beings possible, as makes it proper to dispose of them arbitrarily, without reasonable regard to their good. God never claims the right to appoint arbitrarily, without due reason, the destiny of His moral creatures.
Nor merely because He is good does He claim the right to govern. There are other good beings in the universe, but they have no such right. Goodness is one of the qualifications, but that alone does not confer the right. The duty would exist without the goodness; He would be under obligation to become good, and to establish a righteous government.
God governs the universe because it needs to be governed, and because He, and He alone, is perfectly able to govern. These two facts would constitute Him ruler, even if He were not the Creator. The fact of His being Creator demonstrates His qualifications---reveals Him to man as the infinite and perfect, capable of universal dominion. He does not ask the consent of His creatures to His exercise of authority. His right to govern rests on no such contingency. He assumes the government, and requires the obedience of His subjects. All moral beings are constrained to acknowledge His right to govern, and their own duty to obey.
The law which God proclaims and enforces, is the moral law - the law of nature and of reason. The great principle of obligation He does not create. It exists in the eternal nature of things, is affirmed in His own reason, and reaffirmed in every finite reason. As thus existing in the reason, it is law - subjective law, a real expression of obligation; and conformity to it would be virtue. God adds to this original principle of obligation the authority of His own will, and publishes and enforces it throughout the moral universe. It thus becomes the law of God, having a vitality and impressiveness to His creatures, indefinitely greater than that of any abstract principle. This expression of His will is found in the constitution of His creatures, in the course of His providence, and in His written word.
The knowledge of God's existence and attributes brings to men, from their own moral constitution, the conviction that He holds them accountable for all their moral conduct. The apprehension of accountability is not strictly intuitive, like that of obligation; but the conviction of it fastens upon the soul with an authority, which it can never throw off, however it may resist."
"Men do not need an express announcement that this accountability extends to every thought, word, and deed-all their moral life; the knowledge of God's character, and of their dependence upon Him, brings with it this conviction" (Fairchild's Moral Philosophy, pp. 142-144).
I make no apology for this long quotation. It is most wholesome and timely. God, it teaches us, is a moral being, like other moral beings, only He alone is infinite. All finite moral beings are under perpetual obligation to have a benevolent regard for the rights and happiness of all sentient being. How much more are the obligations of the Infinite Moral Being! Now if a humane society should learn that a farmer reared litters of pigs and then put them to death by slow, lingering, excruciating torture just to display his power over the helpless swine, the society would promptly put the cruel wretch behind the bars, with the approbation of all decent civilized people! But here are theologians who vainly imagine, that because God is infinite in power, therefore, He has a perfect right to create billions of moral beings on purpose to torture them in an unavoidable hell forever, "as He pleaseth"! "for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures!" "to the praise of His glorious justice!!"
A theologian, no matter who he is, who can write and believe such infinite blasphemy against a holy God is insanely drunk, on "sovereignty!" indulging in a wild orgy of besotted reasoning. He has forgotten, or never knew, the first elements of moral reasoning. It flatly gives the lie to God under oath: "As I live saith the Lord Jehovah, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked!" Ezek. 33: 11. It insults God to declare that He is compelled to practice atrocious cruelty to get glory out of His power! Still worse, it is moral lunacy to call such infinite wickedness "glorious justice!!"
The upshot of it all is, no infinitude of power can make anything righteous that is inherently, and essentially wicked. Moreover, God Himself has only the liberty to do right, just like any other humblest moral being. "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" Gen, 18:25,
2. It cannot be true because of its evil influence.
(1) "It renders all certainty on the subject of salvation impossible."
(2)"It tends to make the confident presumptuous, and the timid despairing."
(3) "It is at variance with the Gospel invitations, made to all men."
(4) "It destroys the sense of human responsibility, and religious earnestness."
(5) It brings against God, the unanswerable charge of partiality.
(6) It renders the judgment day unnecessary.
3. Unconditional election cannot be true, because Conditional election or the election of character is more honorable to God.
(1) Conditional election lifts from God all blame for man's doom.
(2) It agrees with the commission to preach the Gospel to all.
(3) It makes man responsible for his sin and doom.
(4)It is favorable to diligence, watchfulness, and prayerful-ness.
(5) It makes proper and necessary a judgment-day (see Field's Theology, p. 184).
4. There are special objections against the doctrine of unconditional reprobation of a fixed and definite number of men and angels to damnation.
(1) No such doctrine is taught in the Bible. If there were many passages that we were compelled to interpret, as teaching so awful a doctrine, then we would be shut up to one of two alternatives. Either, we would be compelled to abandon our faith in the holiness of God; or we would be compelled to abandon our faith in the inspiration and truthfulness of the Bible. All true doctrines must be supported by many passages of Scripture. But there is no passage which reverent Christian scholarship is compelled to interpret in defense of such a doctrine.
(2)It is directly opposed to all the revealed attributes of God;
a. "To His love} which embraces all the world" (John 3: 16) and "is not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet. 3: 9).
b. To His justice; for it represents Him as destroying or punishing His creatures, for no fault of their own, just to make an abhorrent display of His sovereignty.
c. To His sincerity; for, while publicly publishing His Gospel, and inciting all mankind to share its benefits and be saved, He has decreed that vast multitudes shall be hopelessly excluded forever from its benefits.
d. To His veracity; for He declares that He is good to all (Ps. 145: 9), and "is not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet. 3: 9), "and is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10: 34). When by His own irresistible decree one part of mankind are infallibly saved and all the rest are necessarily and infallibly damned!
These lovely Calvinists try to explain and excuse this by telling us that God has "a declarative" and "a secret will." His published, declarative will is, "Come unto me all ye that labor, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11: 28). "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6: 37). But His secret will is, that "by the decree of God," "other men and angels are foreordained to everlasting death, and the number is so definite and certain that it cannot be either increased or diminished." If language means anything, this makes our blessed God, a double-dealing, two-faced, lying hypocrite.
Thus this doctrine, as John Wesley saw, with his clear moral vision, "makes our adorable God worse than the devil, - more false, more cruel and more unjust." No one has yet appeared, who is able to reverse Wesley's verdict.
(3) Wesley pointed out that it has a manifest tendency to destroy holiness, and Field's theology reiterates it. For it wholly destroys the motives to follow after holiness so frequently urged by the Holy Spirit, the hope of reward, and the fear of punishment, the hope of heaven, and the fear of hell. A man may justly say, and I have heard them say it, "If I am foreordained to eternal life, nothing can prevent my salvation. But if I am foreordained to everlasting death, it is fixed and settled forever, and nothing can possibly avert my doom. In either case, I need not concern myself about it." Thus this doctrine acts as a stupefying opiate, to deaden the soul and send it to perdition.
(4) Said Wesley, "It destroys our zeal for good works, for if the doctrine be true, they avail nothing." Why should anyone toil and agonize over men if the destiny of all of them was fixed and unalterable back in eternity, ages before they or we were born? If the most devout Christian is sure that he has a warrant from heaven to believe that every person to whom he can preach, or reach by his influence is unchangeably elected to heaven or, reprobated to hell, it would not be human, in the very nature of things, to waste himself in careful prayerful effort for either class that was absolutely unneeded or unavailing.
(5) It tends to make the whole Christian revelation, needless. One portion of moral, beings will be saved anyway, either with or without a gospel; all the rest, by the force of an irresistible decree, will be damned anyway, even if there were a hundred gospels, and thousands more of preachers to preach them.
III. It is well to consider some texts, which seem, at first thought to favor this doctrine of unconditional election and reprobation.
1. Acts 13: 48. "As many as were ordained to eternal life believed." "Rarely has a text been so violently wrenched from its connections, and strained beyond its meaning to support the doctrine of predestination." The noble English scholar Bishop Ellicott, translates it "as many as were disposed for eternal life believed." "The words seem to the English reader to support the Calvinistic dogma of divine decrees as determining the belief or unbelief of men. . . . The Greek word, however, does not imply more than that those who believed fell in with the divine order which the Jews rejected."
Dr. Whedon, in his Commentary says: "There is not the least plausibility in the notion that Luke in this simple history is referring to any eternal decree predestinating these men to eternal life. The word usually means disposed. . . . This meaning is required by the antithesis between the Jews in verse 46, and these Gentiles. The Jews were indisposed to eternal life, and so believed not; these were predisposed to eternal life, and so believed. The permanent faith of the soul was consequent upon the predisposition of the heart, and the predetermination of the will."
2. Rom. 9: 13, 17, 18, 21, 22. John Fletcher wrote: "Reason and conscience should alone convince us that St. Paul in Romans 9, does not plead for the right in God so to hate any of His unformed creatures as to intend, make, and fit them for destruction, merely to show his absolute sovereignty and irresistible power. The apostle knew too well the God of love to represent Him as a mighty potter, who takes an unaccountable pleasure to form rational vessels, and to endue them with keen sensibility, only to have the glory of absolutely filling them, by the help of Adam with sin and wickedness on earth, and then with fire and brimstone in hell.
This is the conceit of the consistent admirers of unconditional election and rejection, who build it chiefly on Romans 9. They fix so dreadful a meaning on it, through inattention and prejudice, overlooking the two keys which the apostle gives us to open his meaning, one of which we find in the first three verses, and the other in the last three verses of that perverted chapter."
"But," some one asks, "if the apostle did not intend to establish the absolute, personal preterition of the rejected Jews and their fellow reprobates, what could he mean by the mysterious chapter?" I reply: He meant in general to vindicate God's conduct in casting off the Jews, and adopting the Gentiles. . . .
"He advances two doctrines: (1) That God as the Creator and Supreme Benefactor of men, may do what He pleases with His peculiar favors; and that now He had as indubitable a right to give five talents of church privileges to the Gentiles, as He had once to bestow three talents of church privileges upon the Jews." And, (2) That God had as much right to set the seal of His wrath upon them, as upon Pharaoh, himself, if they continued to imitate the inflexibleness of that proud unbeliever, inexorable unbelief being the sin that fits men for destruction, and pulls down the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience."
But, let it be noted that the rejection of the Jews as a church and nation, did not reprobate any individual to damnation. The individual Jews could be saved, just as Paul had been. The choosing of Isaac rather than Ishmael, and of Jacob rather than Esau, and of Judah to be the ancestor of the Messiah, rather than Reuben, Simeon, or Levi-the three eldest sons of Jacob, had nothing to do with the personal salvation of either of the rejected ones. For aught we know, each one of these rejected ones was personally saved, though some one else in each case was preferred for a special privilege.
Verse 13: "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Quoted by Paul from Malachi 1:3. Malachi referred not to the twin sons of Isaac, but to the nations that sprang from them as they developed in history. "God foresaw Edom-the nation descended from Esau, as persistently godless, and so the objects of God's disfavor."Jacob" stood for or represented the church and the spiritual seed by faith, Jew or Gentile, and so were the object of God's favor or love. But this does not at all imply that the evil of the Edomites was decreed of necessitated, or that it secured the personal damnation of Esau or of any particular Edomite. Esau may have been saved; salvation was in reach of every Edomite" (see Whedon's Commentary).
Verse 17. "Even for this purpose have I raised thee up." "Hebrew- made thee to stand" Calvinists have gratuitously read into this verse their awful doctrine, that God created Pharaoh on purpose to damn him. The context in the Old Testament, manifestly teaches something entirely different, "Pharaoh looked upon every plague as a death. Witness his own words, "Intreat the Lord your God that He may take away from me this death only" (Ex. 10: 17). And if every plague was death to Pharaoh, was not every removal of a plague a kind of resurrection a raising him up together with his kingdom, from a state of destruction, according to these words of the Egyptians. "Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?" How reasonable and Scriptural is this interpretation! How diabolical is that of the Calvinist!" Fletcher. God sent Moses and Aaron, the two greatest preachers in the world, to preach for months to Pharaoh. Indeed there were years in which God would gladly have shown His mercy to this proud monarch. "Now those years are past; the hour has come when he is made to live on earth, when he should be in hell, that God may reveal His true Omnipotence in the land, and over the rulers and the gods of Egypt." Whedon.
Verse 15. "He saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy." R. V. Calvinists have drawn from these words this monstrous doctrine. Paul asks the question, "Is there unrighteousness with God?" They answered thus: "God is an absolute sovereign, and can do as He pleases, and will as He will, and therefore what He does is right. He can choose men to sin and death 'for nothing in them' and for no fault of theirs; and because He is Almighty, it is all right!" No interpretation could be farther from the truth. Paul's doctrine is not that a thing is right because the Absolute One does it; but that the Absolute One always does that which is intrinsically right. The supposed answer is no answer at all. Moses had prayed that God would spare sinning Israel, or else blot his own name out of God's book." Jehovah respects His great servant's unselfishness, but sternly replies: "Whosoever hath sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my book." I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, without any dictation, even from my mistaken servant Moses. Thus did God will as He was supremely pleased to will. But notice:
First, this willing as God will, does not mean willing without a reason, motive, or rule, but willing according to a perfect right, reason and rule.
Second: It does not mean that the motive or rule is an incomprehensible, mysterious, unknown and unknowable one, but the fully revealed and perfectly just rule of dealing impartially and justly with all free agents.
Third: It means that He will take no dictation from devout, but mistaken finite servants, but will show mercy to whom He ought to show mercy.
Fourth: This willing as He wills, is a willing to deal with men, not for "nothing in them" but for something in them, viz., their possession of faith in Christ, or their want of it.
This assertion that God will accept whom He pleases does not reveal whom He pleases to accept. But that is abundantly revealed elsewhere. He proclaims Himself to be a God "showing mercy to thousands that love me and keep my commandments." "Let the wicked forsake his way, and return to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God for He will abundantly pardon" (Isa. 55: 7).
The pretence therefore that these verses presuppose necessarily a no-reason, or an unknowable reason, for God's gracious preferences, saving some and rejecting others, is a pure fiction of Calvinism. The last sentence of Romans 9 utterly annihilates the doctrine of unconditional election and reprobation. So do Romans 10: 9-13. "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
The conclusion of Paul's masterly argument is a perfect "whosoever gospel," with not an infinitesimal fraction of Calvinism in it. "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all" (Rom. 11:32).