A Compendium of Christian Theology

By William Burt Pope, D.D.,

Volume Two

Chapter 15

The Gospel Vocation



            Mystery of Gradual Development


            Universal Call


            Gospel Vocation Direct

            Old-Testament Election and Calling New-Testament Calling and Election



            Offer Command




            Vocatio Seria

            Election and Effectual Calling

            Resistible, Contingency and Reprobation


            In the New Testament

            Early Church

            Augustinian Doctrine


            Calvinism and Reformed Confessions

            Modifications of Calvinism Lutheranism and its Modifications

            Arminianism and its Modifications

The Divine purpose of saving the world, accomplished in Christ, is made known to all men by a proclamation which, as containing the free offer of grace, and the command to accept it on certain conditions, is a Vocation or Call. However profound is the mystery involved in such a thought, that call must needs, in some sense, be as universal as the benefit of atonement, which embraces mankind. But it has had, in the mystery of the Divine will, an historical development. Before the fullness of time it proceeded by a principle of election on which vocation followed; but, under the last dispensation, the call is as wide as the preaching of the Gospel, and election follows vocation. In this meaning of the term, with which alone we now have to do, the Spirit's calling is efficacious, inasmuch as through the Word He renders all men who hear that Word conscious of their responsibility, and capable of obedience; but it is not irresistible. In the case of those who accept the Divine offer, the term is often used to express their Christian state and privileges generally: it gives them one of their designations as The Called

The three words kalein to call, kleesis vocation, and kleetos called, refer respectively to the Caller, the act of calling, and the result. The present section has mainly to do with the act and not with the result: the latter belonging rather to the Spirit's work in the preliminaries of salvation. It is obvious, also, that our subject must take no account of some limited applications of the word: for instance, those in which it refers to the Divine power calling those things which be not as though they were;1 those in which it is used as meaning simply designation, as I have even called thee by thy name;2 and, lastly, those in which it signifies a vocation to special office, such as that of St. Paul called to be an Apostle3 of the apostleship. Though the distinction cannot be rigorously observed, we must limit the term as much as possible to the declaration of God concerning His purpose of salvation; and, while we do so, remember that we are dealing with a subject which is at present involved in impenetrable mystery

1 Rom. 4:17; 2 Isa. 45:4; 3 Rom. 1:1


The Divine call is based upon the Divine counsel for the salvation of mankind. This involves two important postulates. It requires, first, that we believe in the universality of the call, whatever difficulties this faith may encounter; and, secondly, it prepares us to expect that the call will, like the purpose of redemption, be gradually made manifest to all men

1. Scripture establishes, as we have seen, the fact that the eternal purpose of redemption embraced the entire body of mankind. God so loved the world,1 that He willeth all men to be saved.2 But there is only a step, and that a necessary one, to the universal declaration of His will in His Son. The Creator loved the world before He declared His love in Christ; He declared His will to save all, and that will is connected with the fundamental truth that as there is one God, so also there is one Mediator between God and man, that Mediator being Jesus Christ, Man, the Representative of mankind. What St. Paul, in his last word on this subject, calls the Philanthropy, or the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man,3 as such, appeared in the Gospel, no less than a catholic love to the entire race: the word philanthropia is the plainest and strongest argument for the universality of the salvation provided. Now, whatever difficulties may arise to baffle our finite faculties, we are bound to believe that the whole world, directly or indirectly, sooner or later, must receive the glad tidings of the Gospel

1 John 3:16; 2 1 Tim. 2:4; 3 Tit. 3:4

2. As it has pleased God to make the revelation of His purpose gradual, so we might expect that the proclamation of His mercy in accordance with that purpose would be gradual. In fact the two are one; and they are united in many passages. Its slow and partial and progressive announcement is bound up with the gradual development of the design of salvation itself. Here two things may be noted. The law of the Divine economy, according to which the education of fallen mankind has been conducted by a development of truth, and the orderly unfolding of one great mediatorial system, admits of no exception to it, and no appeal from it. But the gradual and slow progress of the call has reference only to the external proclamation. Known only to God are His internal communications with the spirits of men


The Divine Call, keeping pace with the unfolding of the redeeming purpose, is with reference to all mankind, and apart from revelation, general and indirect: in the universal influence of the Spirit upon the fallen spirits of men, and in His providential guidance of the nations. The direct Call through the Word has been twofold: first, during the ages of preparation, it was spoken to the people of the old covenant and of the election; secondly, in Christ Jesus, it is the Gospel Call proper addressed to all mankind, leading to the election of those who believe


The Universal Call, Vocatio Catholica, is that by which the Holy Spirit has moved upon the chaos of the nations through a secret influence to which the term call is only improperly applied. Whatever name, however, is applied to it there can be no doubt that the world has been under the secret and mysterious attraction of grace from the beginning, over and above the interior Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.1 1 John 1:9

1. The influence of the Holy Ghost, the gift of redemption to the fallen race, must not be limited. We have intimations in the early Scriptures that the Spirit strove WITH MAN;1 throughout the Old Testament the rebellious vexed His Holy Spirit;2 and, though this was the special sin of the ancient people, we must assume that it was the secret of the commencing ungodliness of the world at large. In the New Testament we are told that the Gentiles universally had the law of God written in their hearts:3 and certainly there has been no universal sense of truth but as the fruit of the influence of Him who is the Spirit of the truth.4 He in every age HATH SHOWED5 it unto them

1 Gen. 6:3; 2 Isa. 63:10; 3 Rom. 2:15; 4 John 16:13;5 Rom. 1:19; 2.

The early revelation which was given to the world before the first dispersion of its inhabitants was a sound that went into all the earth:1 issuing from the household of Adam and afterwards from that of Noah. And, however perverted became the traditions of primeval truth, they were in a certain sense a constant appeal to the world to remember its Creator in the days of its youth. In like manner, and this may be referred to by way of analogy, the most corrupt presentation of the Gospel in the darkest ages of Christendom carried with it the word of life

1 Rom. 10:18

3. Moreover St. Paul tells us, in one of the few early discourses to the Gentiles that are recorded, of God's providential call to all nations. Nevertheless He left not Himself without witness.1 How this catholic preacher of a Catholic Christianity elsewhere dilated upon this theme we know not. But these words have a large meaning; and, if we collate the preacher in the Acts with the teacher to the Romans, we shall gather that the Apostle of the Gentiles magnified his office in this sense also

1 Acts 14:17


The history of the Gospel vocation, as direct through the Word, is in Scripture divided into two branches. In the Old Testament it was limited to one race, first elected and then called; in the New Testament it is universally to all men, first called arid then elected: a distinction of great importance

I. The Vocation of Abraham is the central point of Old-Covenant Election. But this looks back upon a previous historical development of the principle, and looks forward to its consummation and change in the Gospel

1. In the two sons of our first parents the separation of God's people had its first type; and in the salvation of one family the Flood was the second. Between the sons of Noah God put a difference not altogether dependent upon their several personal acts; and the special vocation followed a special election. For, though the dealings of God with the two classes respectively had reference to their moral character, especially as it respects the leading personages, such as Shem and Noah, yet we cannot but discern a direct and sovereign election of the peoples and nations who should carry on His central design

2. The call of Abraham was the choice of a covenant people. With him this special national or race election specifically began. The words of Jehovah to the children of Israel, the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, you only have I known of all the families of the earth,1 is the strongest expression of the fact. This election, as in the New Testament, is adoption: Israel is My son, even My firstborn.2 Hence the people thus distinguished were the peculiar people.3 The thought has a striking illustration in the words of the prophet concerning the typical chosen nation: When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt;4 where the election is followed by vocation and adoption

1 Amos 3:1,2; 2 Exo. 4:22; 3 Deu. 14:2; 4 Hos. 11:1

3. Throughout the development of the Old-Testament Election there runs the mystery of a Divine purpose of unfathomable wisdom; in the contemplation of which, however, two things must be remembered: first, that this choice was never altogether without respect to the moral character of its objects, and, secondly, that it always was connected with a prophecy of a universal call in the Gospel. Though the Supreme God used occasionally the instrumentality of the ungodly He carried on the great purposes of His grace by men who responded to His internal call, and were morally fit agents of His will. Abel, Noah, Abraham, are instances of this; nor is Jacob an exception. It is true that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance;1 and that, having chosen a lineage out of which His Son should arise, He did not vary from His purpose in consequence of much unfaithfulness on the part of the elect people. But it is true also that the leading personages on whom the absolute election fell were among the foremost saints of history

Moreover, in His government of the people of His special election God was a jealous God; and often chastised them by the very heathen whom He passed by in their favor

Above all, He failed not always to let them know that they were only the temporary Election of His counsel, and that His Name should one day be great among the Gentiles.2 But, after every qualification, the profound mystery remains untaken away, nor is it altogether removed in the more catholic dispensation of the Gospel

1 Rom. 11:29; 2 Mal. 1:11

II. The direct call of the Gospel after the coming of Christ, or rather after the Day of Pentecost, is distinguished from that of the Old Testament by not being national, and by preceding the election. But this leads us onward to the nature of the vocation itself


The Gospel Call is the universal offer of salvation and command to submit to its Author; proclaimed by the Spirit through the Word committed to the keeping and ministry of the Christian Church; containing the glad tidings of the earnest purpose of God towards every individual of mankind; effectual through the Spirit's grace to all who yield; but declared not to be irresistible, and in fact resisted, even finally resisted, by unbelief


The Call is the PROCLAMATION of the redemption accomplished by Christ; the OFFER of its blessings on certain conditions; and the COMMAND to submit to the authority of Christ the Mediator of these blessings. These three are one in the embassage of the New Covenant; and the Gospel is not fully preached unless equal prominence is given to all

The model of this preaching is found in the Acts of the Apostles, where St. Peter and St

Paul are the leading examples. The Proclamation and the Offer and the Command must be united in every true delivery of the Gospel Call, as they are invariably united in the original examples. The first sound of that Vocation ends with such a note as this: and we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him.1 Here are the three elements to which we have given prominence: the testimony given; the terms prescribed; and the submission demanded. St. Paul's first recorded sermon contains them all with equal precision: Be it known unto you, . . . all that believe; . . . beware therefore!2 Were there no theory to be served it must be admitted that the call of the Gospel is a witness to everyone of a blessing offered on terms open to all, and enforced by a command to submit to the Mediatorial Authority of Him Who is raised up to dispense it. The NAME is preached as a Testimony of salvation, as the Object of faith, and the Authority to which universal submission is due

1 Acts 5:32; 2 Acts 13:38-40


The second proposition contains three points: the Spirit is the Agent of the Call: it is connected with the Word; and that Word is ordinarily committed to the ministry of the Christian Church. The doctrine of the Gospel Vocation demands a careful adjustment of the relations of these three

I. Generally, He Who calleth is God, though not specifically as the Father. We preached unto you the Gospel of God—a phrase which seldom occurs—Who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory.1 Christ also, though only as upon earth, declares: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.2 The Holy Spirit is now permanently the manifestation of the God of the Gospel Vocation: The Spirit and the Bride say, Come,3 where the invitation to sinners follows the invocation of the Lord Himself to return. He is the Preacher in the name of Christ to the world: He shall testify of Me.4 But this in the unity of the Three-One Author of redemption: All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.5

1 1 Thes. 2:9-12; 2 Mat. 9:13; 3 Rev. 22:17; 4 John 15:26; 5 John 16:15

II. The call of the Gospel is ordinarily through the Word, But the Word is both the letter and the substance of the letter: these are united in the instrument which the Holy Ghost employs

1. St. Paul says that faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God,1 where he evidently means the doctrine preached: the summary of truths as the truth is in Jesus.2 That the Gospel proclamation is intended seems obvious from the connection of that word with what precedes: How shall they hear without a preacher?3 But there is a substantial truth of which the Word written or spoken is only the vehicle. Hence the Apostle adds: Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.4 And the original passage of the prophet proves that there is a voice of God's Will which is not in written language: I was made manifest unto them that asked not after Me.5 In this sense there may be a Word without the Word.6

1 Rom. 10:17; 2 Eph. 4:21; 3 Rom. 10:14; 4 Rom. 10:18; 5 Isa. 65:1; 6 1 Pet. 3:1

2. Now the call through the Gospel is not limited either to the oral or to the written announcement. It is a silent effectual voice accompanying the truth, wherever the truth is

The Holy Ghost is the Life of the doctrine which is the letter; and most certainly the letter is never without the accompanying Spirit. The letter is not only written; there may be a spoken letter also. Wherever the truth is declared in the name of Jesus it is the instrument of His energy. But the Spirit is not dependent either on the written or on the spoken letter as such. It is the truth which He uses as His instrument. He is the Spirit of truth.1 1 John 16:13

III. The relation of the Church to the Spirit's efficiency through the Word is everywhere made prominent in the New Testament. The Savior gave His commission unto the Apostles whom He had chosen.1 Their authority He declared to be from Himself and the reflection or continuation of His own: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.2 The extent of their commission is all nations; and the matter of the vocation is the preaching the Gospel to every creature.3 These Apostles to whom the Lord gave commandment themselves in turn gave commandment through the Holy Ghost4 to their successors as responsible for preaching that Gospel to the end of time. But the call is committed really to the Church in a wider sense than this: all who receive the glad tidings must freely give as they have freely received. We read in the Acts that the Dispersed went about preaching the Word.5 And the very last saying of Scripture on the subject is The Spirit and the Bride say, Come,6 where the mystical fellowship is represented as uniting with the Spirit in beseeching the Savior to come to His people, and in beseeching all who thirst to come to Him. This general truth may be further unfolded as pointing to the mystery of the Divine law of vocation; impressing deeply the responsibility of the Church; and carrying in it the prophecy of the eventual proclamation of the Gospel to all men

1 Acts 1:2; 2 John 20:21; 3 Mat. 28:19; 4 Acts 1:2; 5 Acts 8:4; 6 Rev. 22:17

1. In every age the work of the Spirit in extending the Kingdom of God has been bound up with human agency. Individuals in the old economy were prominent in every dispensation of it, teaching His will and uttering His prophetic words and carrying on His work generally. The history of ancient revelation is bound up with a series of eminent men; and not only individuals but the covenant nation itself was elected and called to preach in some sense to the outside world His present and coming Kingdom. The Christian dispensation has introduced no new law: it has only widened the application of the law that operated from the beginning. As Man was taken up into the Godhead to be the procurer of redemption, so that Man who is God uses His brethren for the diffusion of His grace

2. There is no fact more sure, while there is no mystery more profound, than the connection between the fidelity of the Church and the spread of Christ's kingdom. The Call is heard where the Church sends it; but where the messengers are not sent from among men, there are no angels having an eternal Gospel to proclaim.1 How shall they hear without a preacher?2 was a question which might leave all to the secret arrangements of arbitrary grace. But it is followed by another, which leaves the responsibility with the living Church: How shall they preach except they be sent?3 Not indeed that the Holy Spirit is, or has ever been, absolutely bound to human instrumentality. The dew of His grace tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men;4 but the gradual and slow spread of Gospel preaching most plainly shows that the energy of the Church has much to do with the term of the final consummation. Our Lord must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet;5 but He does not wait for any set time apart from the accomplishment of His Church's mission. Though we dare not limit the operation of grace to the sphere of missionary preaching, we know of no Christianity which the successors of the Apostles do not establish. Hence it is well to fall back upon a double call, — not so dishonorable to the Divine perfections as the external and internal, the former resting on an official will of Heaven, so to speak, and the latter on the private feeling of our heavenly Father, —one that is open and known and another that is hidden and unknown. There is a secret call in which generally speaking man is not co-operant: which, like the sun, extends its influence to the evil and the good

1 Rev. 14:6; 2 Rom. 10:14; 3 Rom. 10:15; 4 Mic. 5:7; 5 1 Cor. 15:25

3. Nothing is more certain in prophecy than that the Vocation of the Gospel in its stricter meaning shall be universal. Both the Old Testament and the New concur to present a perspective in which this Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.1 1 Mat. 24:14


We may pass with more confidence to the third proposition. The Gospel Call contains the earnest purpose of God to save every man who hears it

1. Here if anywhere the a priori style of argument is valid. However the contrary assertion may be disguised it involves dishonor to the truth and faithfulness of God

Many mysteries crowd around the subject, beneath which our reason must bow down; but the superfluous mystery that makes the Righteous Judge utter the gracious offers of His mercy with a secret reserve is one from which every feeling of our reverence and charity recoils. The teaching that finds it necessary to distinguish between an official call for all men and an efficacious call for the elect is self-condemned

2. We need not defend the honor of God: we have only to interpret His sayings. Our Lord's words ought to be enough: Compel them to come in!1 illustrated as they are by His sorrow over Jerusalem: How often would I! and ye would not!2 And our Lord's will is the will of God, Who will have all men to be saved.3 Who in the Old Testament said, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.4 In the New Testament the Gospel is the appearance of the kindness and love of God our Savior toward MAN,5 or His philanthropy

1 Luke 14:23; 2 Mat. 23:37; 3 1 Tim. 2:4; 4 Eze. 33:11; 5 Tit. 3:4

3. Such a genuine call implies that the offer of salvation is always accompanied by sufficient grace for its acceptance. This has already been seen in relation to the Word, and will again be considered in the next topic of Preliminary Grace. Meanwhile, there is no need of argument; nor is any specific text necessary. Every Divine commandment is virtually a commandment with promise: with promise not only of blessing to follow obedience but of grace to precede it. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.1 By the special appointment and will of God the Word has grace connected with it, sufficient for every purpose for which it is sent. So it was anciently said: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please.2

1 Rom. 1:16; 2 Isa. 55:11


Those who accept the Divine call through the Word are in the language of Scripture the Elect. And both terms, Calling and Election, or the Called and the Elect, are sometimes used to designate the Christian Estate as such

1. Of a Vocatio Interna, as distinguished from the Vocatio Externa, there is no trace in Scripture: INTERNAL CALLING and EFFECTUAL CALLING are phrases never used. The distinction implies such a difference as would have been clearly stated if it existed; and all that is meant by the internal call finds its expression, as we shall see, in other offices of the Holy Spirit of enlightenment, conviction, and conversion. Each of these terms carries the meaning of an external summons made effectual by interior grace; but never in the sense that sufficient interior grace is denied to any. It may be said that the true internal vocation is election in the strict sense. Many be called, but few chosen.1 This states a fact over which the Savior mourns. I have chosen you out of the world.2 This states a fact over which the Savior rejoices. The term, however, is used in some passages with the same wide application as the term call: for instance, God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,3 and have not I chosen you twelve?4 While therefore our Saviour's first word establishes the distinction, and we are warranted in saying that election is the result of accepting the call, we must remember that the New Testament often uses the terms interchangeably. Election always presupposes the call; but the call does not always issue in election

1 Mat. 20:16; 2 John 15:19; 3 1 Cor. 1:27; 4 John 6:70

2. The acceptance of the Call, and the Election that follows it, are both metonymically used to designate the state of Christians, presumed according to their profession to stand in the grace of God. They are The Called of Jesus Christ . . . beloved of God, called to be saints,1 or called saints. Christians are Saints by designation as well as by internal character; and they are called by designation, as having accepted the external appeal. So also they are the Elect as separated from the world both outwardly and inwardly. St. Peter writes his Catholic Epistle to The Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,2 whom he terms a chosen generation. St. Paul speaks of the faith of God's elect;3 and St. John of thy elect sister.4 The phrase The Election5 is used for the company of God's chosen among the Jews; but not now generally of all Christians. God's Elect,6 or The Elect of God,7 are those who belong to the household of faith. The predominant allusion in the Word is to the collective character of the Church which has taken the place of the privileged nation; and that governs the use of the term everywhere, precisely like the denomination the Sanctified or the Saints. Christians are the Election of Grace8 in opposition to the ancient people gathered out of the world; they are the sanctified as separated, instead of them, to God. The word Church or Ecclesia literally means the same as The Called and the Elect: it expresses the result of that which Election means as in the purpose of God

1 Rom. 1:6,7; 2 1 Pet. 1:1; 2:9; 3 Tit. 1:1; 4 2 John 13; 5 Rom. 11:7; 6 Rom. 8:33; 7 Col. 3:12; 8 Rom. 11:5


The Gospel Call may be resisted and finally resisted; even the Election connected with it may after obedience be forfeited; and, with regard to both classes of the disobedient, the term reprobation is used, though never as the result of a fixed decree

1. Many are called, but few chosen.1 This word, if genuine in the text, should be an end of all controversy, as explained by our Lord Himself: Ye will not come to Me.2 There is nothing more constantly and consistently declared in the older and later Scriptures than the power of man to oppose and oppose successfully the influence of grace. Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost!3 Surely it is dishonorable to the name of God to suppose that He would charge on sinners a resistance which was to them a necessity, and complain of outrage on His Spirit Whose influences were only partially put forth

1 Mat. 20:16; 2 John 5:40; 3 Acts 7:51

2. There are some passages of Scripture which indicate that the blessings of Election itself may be forfeited: this sacred word is not shielded, nor is its special grace inviolable

Judas was one of the elect: have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?1 When our Lord speaks of the very elect being deceived, if it were possible.2 He does not intimate that delusion leading to apostasy was impossible in their case. Though the words might seem to bear that meaning, we must otherwise interpret them. For, at the commencement of the discourse He had said: Take heed that no man deceive you! and at the close, He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.3 St. Peter, whose Epistles dwell much on the privileges of the Election, does not number among those privileges the security against falling: on the contrary he bids his readers give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall, or, rather, stumble.4

1 John 6:70; 2 Mat. 24:24; 3 Mat. 24:4,13; 4 2 Pet. 1:10

3. Lastly, the Word of God speaks of the possible Reprobation of both these classes, — the Called and the Chosen—but of the reprobation of no other. The vocation of the Word is a mysterious test of their state before God and the truth; and they have failed to sustain that test. They are adokimoi (1.) The called who resist are reprobates. God gave them over to a reprobate mind who did not like to retain God in their knowledge.1 They who resist the truth are the reprobate concerning the faith.2 (2.) St. Paul speaks of the possibility of the saints being reprobates: Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobate?3 When we read of the final signature of the called and chosen and faithful4 we are taught that the end is not yet when the called are also chosen. The third word in the great sentence remains: fidelity must seal the eternal grace of election. (3.) There is no reprobation as fixed in the decree of God throughout the Scriptures of mercy and truth. The idea is inconsistent with every-thing but a probation and a willful failure in probation

1 Rom. 1:28; 2 2 Tim. 3:8; 3 2 Cor. 8:5; 4 Rev. 17:14


A few observations may be made on the Polemics of this question: limited to that branch of it which concerns Vocation and Election. It is with the perversion of the Predestination idea that we have mainly to do

I. Within the New Testament itself there is a remarkable anticipation of the modern controversy. The preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles was resented by the Jewish Christians, by those of a certain party especially, as an invasion of the privileges, or advantages, of the covenant people as the Elect of God. There was no saying which they more disapproved than St. Paul's Lo, we turn to the Gentiles.1 In his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle of the Gentiles argues against these advocates of an unconditional election, these earliest perverters of the true doctrine of the decretive will of God. It must be always remembered that this was the object for which he wrote the Three Chapters which the Predestinarians have taken refuge in: they were written in fact as a proleptical refutation of such views. The special exegesis on which a vindication of this assertion depends is not necessary here. Suffice that St. Paul admits, as we have already seen, that the ancient election was of a particular line through which the revelation of the preparatory Gospel was to be transmitted, and in which the Author of that Gospel was to appear. Undoubtedly, it is hard for human reason to distinguish between the national and the individual election, and between the active and the permissive will of God in the hardening of evil men; but the distinction must be made. Such passages as Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy,2 on the one hand, and the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, on the other, are not to be understood of absolute predetermination of individuals to be saved or to be lost. The similitude of the Potter and the clay as more fully seen in Jeremiah ends with a direct refutation of the notion: there the decrees of God are said to be changed by the characters of men. 0 house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; if that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.3 The whole argument of St. Paul is to show that the election of Israel as a nation had not come to naught: it was not of works, but of Him that calleth.4 The Three Chapters carefully studied yield conclusions in favor of a national election but not of an individual: especially when they are connected with the intermediate chapter in which we have the Apostle's glorious protest against the perversion of his teaching: 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 . . .. But to Israel He saith, All day long have I stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.5

1 Acts 13:46; 2 Rom. 9:18,22; 3 Jer. 18:6-8; 4 Rom. 9:11; 5 Rom. 10:12,13,21

II. The entire Christian community down to the time of Augustine knew in its doctrine no other election and predestination than what was conditional or, what is the same thing, of none which do not refer to the ideal Body of Christ as such. The tendency of the Easterns especially was to lay too much rather than too little emphasis on the foreknowledge of human repentance and faith. Chrysostom says: " Not of love alone, but of our virtue also

If it sprang from love alone all would have been saved. If from our virtue alone that would be little and all would be lost. It was from neither alone, but from both: for the Calling was not of necessity or of force." This sentence represents the sentiment of the Greek Church from Origen to Athanasius, and even John of Damascus, the last of the Oriental Fathers proper. There was a decided leaning to an exaggeration of the freedom of the human will: at least their doctrine was not sufficiently protected by any reference to the ever-active influence of the Holy Ghost upon our fallen nature. But, whatever their theoretical notions were of the universality of the Gospel vocation, their Missionary zeal declined after the ninth century, and they have contributed little to the evangelization of the world

III. Augustine first laid down the principle that " Predestination is the preparation of grace; grace the bestowment itself." 1. The foundation of his whole system is his doctrine of Original Sin, which regards all mankind as utterly bereft of capacity for good: a "mass of perdition," a "condemned lump." Therefore salvation is absolutely of grace, and without human co-operation. To this great principle there can be no objection. Nature cannot cast out nature; and the human fall was a fall into utter impotence. But Augustine forgot that the first benefit of redemption was co-extensive with the ruin of man. Perhaps, indeed, he held this; but in a sense of his own. That benefit was in his teaching a wasted and useless influence save to the elect. He taught that the Divine eternal decree determined the exact number of those to whom efficacious grace, which includes an irresistible grace for the beginning and the grace of perseverance for the close, shall be given. For these alone the Redeemer may be said to have died: " Everyone that has been redeemed by the blood of Christ is a man; though not everyone that is a man has been redeemed by the blood of Christ." " The Savior redeemed the sinners who were to be justified," and " No one perishes for whom the Savior died." 2. Some of the difficulties connected with the Gospel Call in this doctrine were summarily disposed of by Augustine, but only through renouncing that principle of an inextinguishable life of regeneration which his followers now hold so firmly. All who hear and receive the Gospel and are baptized receive regenerating grace, and are placed in a state of salvation: this explains the universal offer of the Gospel and the equally universal administration of the sacrament. But to the Elect only is the gift of perseverance imparted, and the objects of the Donum Perseverantiae are known to God alone: this protects the doctrine of the eternal decree. " Those who fall are not to be reckoned in the number of the elect, even as to the time when they lived piously. There are sons of God, not yet such to us but such to God; and there are again some who are called by us sons of God on account of grace temporarily received, but not so by Him." Other difficulties Augustine does not attempt to solve. He has no more to say concerning the hidden decree than that " God divided the light from the darkness; and so ordered the Fall that He might first show what the free will of man could do, and then what His grace could do." Nor has he any solution of the difficulty that the electing grace of God should be connected with sacraments and bound to a system of external ordinances. A thousand years afterwards Calvin arose to confront more boldly these and all other difficulties: not cramped by the Sacramentarian theory which hampered his great predecessor

IV. During that long interval Predestinarianism, or Augustinianism, passed through many vicissitudes. The Semipelagians asserted an election of believers as foreknown, thus giving a formula which has been ever since found useful; and the Synod of Orange (A.D. 529) condemned the dogma of predestination to evil or reprobation. In the ninth century Gottschalk carried the doctrine of Augustine to its extremist limits, limits which it was not again to reach until the modern representative of the Predestinarian Father arose. His teaching was rejected at Mainz (A.D. 848), but acknowledged at Valence (A.D. 855): "Fatemur praedestinationem electorum ad vitam, et praedestinationem impiorum ad mortem," a confession, however, in which, rightly understood, all may unite. On the side of Gottschalk was Ratramnus, against him Hinckmar. It may be said that throughout the mediaeval discussions of this and kindred subjects the tendency was in a direction opposite to that of predestinarianism. And, moreover, that the ever-growing theory of a kingdom of Christ, under one vicar, predestined to embrace the world, was itself unfavorable to any limitation of the Gospel vocation. The mediaeval Church at the worst was in spirit and practice missionary. Universal missions and a partial Call can never rationally co-exist

V. At the Reformation the doctrine of Election and the Limited Call seemed likely to be in the ascendant everywhere

1. Zwingli and Calvin united in reviving the Augustinian doctrine of an individual vocation determined by a predestinating decree; but Calvin has given a permanent name to the system, because in fact he gave it a distinguishing character. He laid his foundation deeper than that of his forerunner. Augustine made the Eternal Decree his central point; Calvin carried it up to the Absolute Being, or Absolute Sovereignty, of God, from which that decree flowed. These are some of his words: Praedestinationem vocamus aeternum Dei decretum, quo apud se constitutum habuit quid de UNOQUOQUE homine fieri vellet

Dico Deum non modo primi hominis casum et in eo posterorum ruinam praevidisse, sed arbitrio quoque suo dispensasse. " Man falls by the providence of God so ordaining, but he falls through his own wickedness." All is of the absolute, unquestionable, despotic sovereignty of God. If human, reason suggests a demur, "Respondendum est: quia voluit!" The decree was Supralapsarian, that is, it included the Fall, which Augustine never asserts formally. It follows from this in the system of Calvin that the external call of the Gospel is an unmeaning ceremonial save as to the elect. The word and the means of grace are to all others "Signa inania:" the manifestations of a "Voluntas signi," which, signifying nothing but " Common Grace," must be distinguished from the hidden " Voluntas beneplaciti" on which the salvation of every man depends. Here is the secret of Predestinarianism, whatever other name it may bear: the secret that links it with Fatalism, with philosophic Determinism, with Pantheism, with the modern notion of Abstract Law or the Absolute Fiat of a Being who is not so much a Person as a Will. Other relations of this creed to theological doctrine, subordinate relations introduced in due course, all find their vanishing point in this Unconditioned and Unconditional Sovereignty, which is the foundation and top-stone of the whole superstructure

2. The Reformed Confessions assert this doctrine, though with some variations: variations, however, which introduce qualifying clauses having no real meaning, and may be left to the symbolical Volumes. Some are of a more extreme type, approaching, though not positively expressing, the Supralapsarian theory, that the Fall was included in the decree of God; others are more evidently Infralapsarian, dating the decree as it were this side of the Fall. The Synod of Dort, 1618, in opposition to the Remonstrants, digested the Calvinistic doctrine in a large number of canons, which seem to be based on the latter scheme. It thus speaks concerning the Vocation of the Gospel: " Though all men sinned in Adam and were made guilty of malediction and eternal death, God would have done injury to no one if He had willed to leave the entire human race in sin and the curse, and to condemn it on account of that sin . . .. But that men may be led to faith God mercifully sends the heralds of His most joyful tidings to whom He will and when He will, by whose ministry men are called to repentance and faith in Christ . . .. That some are gifted with faith in time, and others not, springs from His eternal decree, . . .according to which He graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however hard, and bends them to belief, but in His just judgment leaves the non-elect to the consequences of their own wickedness and obduracy." These Articles, nearly a hundred in number, are generally received by the Predestinarian Churches as a full statement of the Christian Faith. The English version of the same creed is found in the Westminster Confession, drawn up for the purpose of reforming the English Church between 1643 and 1648: it is a reflection of the Dort Canons, and accepted by the Presbyterians of the British Islands and America

Many of the Reformed Confessions, like that of the English Church, mitigate the dogma of predestination, and use such language as may be without much violence reconciled with Scripture, especially in their reference to the universality and sincerity of the Call

Others of them are more predestinarian than they appear to be: ambiguity of phrase disguising their meaning

3. Modifications of the Calvinistic creed are as various as the lands which it has penetrated. Calvin himself protested unconsciously against all among his followers who should soften his system of doctrine: " Many so preach election as to deny that any man is reprobated; but very ignorantly and childishly, since election itself would not stand unless opposed to reprobation." Thus the modern Father of Predestination condemned beforehand the devices of his more generous or less unrelenting successors: rather their device, for all the sophistries of palliation may be regarded as one. In France, towards the middle of the seventeenth century, Amyraldus taught that salvation was provided for all men; that God elected some to whom was given the necessary grace of repentance and faith; and that all others are simply left without a special determining influence which none have a right to claim. This useless subterfuge was resorted to in England by Richard Baxter; and has in more recent times been advocated in Scotland. It is the unacknowledged creed of great numbers who are bound to the general teaching of predestinariamsm, but feel constrained to preach the Gospel freely to all: some because the New Testament exhibits that kind of preaching, and they dare not contradict its example; some because they think that the reprobate are predoomed to reject the Gospel as well as to perish without atonement; and some because their ardent charity melts the fetters of their creed

VI. The Lutheran doctrine passed through stages of fluctuation

1. Both Luther and Melanchthon were at first predestinarian in their views of the Gospel Call. They taught Determinism or Fatalism almost in the same words as Calvin used; but both gradually modified and finally retracted these views, induced mainly by the impossibility of reconciling them with the serious purpose of God in universally proffering salvation, and with the evangelical scheme of the means of grace. It may be said generally that the followers of Luther are not of the school of Augustine

2. Hence the Lutheran Formularies are not predestinarian. The Formula Concordise was the first public document that dealt at large with the subject. The following is a translation of sentences which treat, of Election and Vocation: " Predestination or the eternal Divine election pertains only to the good and accepted sons of God, and it is the cause of their salvation. It procures their renewal and disposes of all things which belong to it . . .. This predestination is not to be scrutinized in the secret of the Divine counsel, but is to be sought in the Word of God, which reveals it. The Word of God leads us to Christ . . .. But Christ calls all sinners to Himself, and promises them rest, and seriously wills that all men should come to Him and yield themselves to be aided and saved. The true doctrine of predestination is to be learned from the nature of the Gospel of Christ

There it is plainly taught that God has concluded all under unbelief that He might have mercy on all, and that He wills none to perish, but rather that all should be converted and believe the Gospel . . .. When it is said that many are called but few are chosen,1 it is not to be understood that God is unwilling that all should be saved; but it indicates the cause of the perdition of the ungodly, which is this, that they either fail altogether to hear the Word of God, rebelliously despising it by closing their ears and hardening their hearts, and in this way hindering the ordinary method of the Holy Spirit, so that He cannot effect His work on them, or that they esteem lightly the word they hear and cast it away from them. Their perishing must be ascribed, not to God and His election, but to their own malignity." Thus the official doctrine of the Lutheran Church omits the reprobation of the wicked, and makes the predestination of the believer dependent on the foresight of faith and perseverance. The Call of the Gospel it regards as universal, serious, and efficacious: offering sufficient grace to all who hear the Word, whether they accept it or not. As in the Lutheran doctrine of the Eucharist all who partake receive the glorified body of the Lord, some to salvation and others to condemnation, so all who hear the Gospel receive its saving word, some to the saving of their souls, and some to their aggravated doom

1 Mat. 22:14

3. The later development of Lutheran teaching has been faithful to these statements, but has expanded them so as to touch some of the pressing difficulties which crowd around the question

(1.) The earlier dogmatic writers laid emphasis on the "voluntas antecedens," which is the Divine decree of salvation in Christ expressing His "voluntas universalis, gratuita et seria." This counsel when viewed in the light of foreknowledge is translated into a " voluntas consequens seu specialis “: not as if there were two wills in God; but the one supreme will is determined distributively in regard to the two classes of believers and unbelievers

Hence the universal will may be regarded as rather that of mercy, the special will as rather that of justice. Later Lutheran theologians have preferred to dwell more on the election of a new humanity in Christ into the fellowship of which only those enter who believe:' the whole emphasis of election rests on the second race of which the Second Adam is the Head. The special predestination of individuals is only the historical realization of the eternal purpose of love in Christ

(2.) Again, the first Lutheran doctors explained the absolute universality of the Call by a reference to the three great historical crises when the evangelical appeal went forth without limitation to the nations of the earth: first, when the universal Promise concerning the Seed of the woman, the Serpent-Bruiser, passed out into all the world and down to all posterity; secondly, when the preaching of Noah after the Flood again sent its sound into all the earth to be molded into universal traditions; and, thirdly, when the worldwide preaching of the Apostles literally went out without restriction: " quo non venit apostolee eo epistolee." This solution has a fair show of theoretic completeness, and of striking generalization; but it leaves unsolved the mystery that the posterity of those who rejected this triple testimony are yet without the Gospel, as well as the still profounder mystery that the publication of the world's glad tidings should have been left contingent in any degree whatever on the fidelity of the missionary church. Some more modern speculative theologians have had recourse to other expedients; among which is the notion of a Gospel preached in the intermediate state to those who have either rejected it in this life or insufficiently heard it: a notion which, based on St. Peter's testimony to the Saviour's Missionary Descent into Hades, is capable of almost unlimited expansion and application within the interval down to the Day of Judgment. But this subject belongs rather to Eschatology

VII. The Remonstrants of Holland, or Arminians, endeavored to introduce into the Reformed Church the Scriptural doctrine. But in vain: the Synod of Dort (1618, 1619) rejected their Remonstrance against a limiting of Divine grace, just as the Council of Trent in the previous century rejected the remonstrance of Protestantism against another and an opposite kind of dishonor done to the grace of God. From that time the doctrine of a Universal Atonement, or of a Savior provided for the race and for sin universally, with the concomitant doctrine of a free and unreserved offer of grace to all who hear the Word, has been connected with the name of Arminianism. But this is an injustice to these doctrines themselves, which have a higher parentage. The Calvinism of modern times was the Augustinianism of the fifth century: it has no higher origin. It was Augustine who first dared so to interpret Scripture as to attach a limited design to the death of Christ: the Fathers who preceded him were generally faithful to the catholic Gospel; or, if they erred, it was like Origen, in making the mission of Christ too comprehensive in its benefits

Conversely, Augustinianism may in modern times be called Calvinism; for it has never prevailed outside of the Churches of the Reformed or Calvinistic type: its sporadic existence in the JANSENISM of Rome is hardly an exception. The term Calvinism is however disavowed by some earnest communities which hold its type of doctrine; because they find or think they find in Scripture the principles on which Predestinarianism rests. They boldly assume that the teaching of the Word of God is on this subject, as on some others, expressed in opposite and seemingly contradictory terms, which it is not within the range of man's faculties to reconcile. The antinomy, or paradox, of a determinate decree of election combined with the most universal appeals to human free will, they regard as the final word of the Bible; and, admitting that the earliest Christians were unconscious of it, they claim for Augustine the distinction of having given it the prominence in his teaching which the Scripture assigns to it. This is therefore matter of pure exegesis, and the question remains—though it is no question to us—whether or not God has imposed this heavy burden on the human intellect and on Christian faith. Meanwhile what is unreasonably called Arminianism is the faith of the Eastern and Western Churches representing Ancient Christianity though in its corruption, of Lutheranism, representing the Reformation, of the Church of England throughout the British Empire, and of Methodism in all its branches throughout the world