The Humble Advice of the Assembly of Divines/Chapter 3

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Chap. III.

Of Gods eternall Decree.

GOD from all eternity did by the most wise and holy Counsell of his own Will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass[1]. Yet so, as thereby neither is God the Author of sin[2], nor is violence offered to the wil of the Creatures, nor is the Liberty or contingency of second Causes taken away, but rather established[3].

II. Although God knows whatsoever may, or can come to pass upon all supposed conditions[4], yet hath he not decreed any thing because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions[5].

III. By the decree of God for the manifestation of his glory, some men and Angels[6] are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death[7].

IV. These Angels and men thus predestinated and fore ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and difinite, that in cannot be either increased or diminished[8].

V. Those of man kind that are predestinated unto Life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternall and immutable purpose, and the secret counsell and good pleasure of his Will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory[9], out of his meer free grace and love, without any fore sight of Faith, or Good works, or perseverence in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto[10], and all to the praise of his glorious grace[11].

VI. As God hath appointed the Elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternall and most free purpose of his Will, fore-ordained all the means thereunto[12]. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Chrift[13], are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by his Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified[14], and kept by his power through faith unto salvation[15]. Neither are any other redeemed by Chrift, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified and saved, but the Elect only[16].

VII. The rest of man-kinde God was pleased according to the unsearchable councell of his own Will, whereby he extendeth, or withholdeth mercy, as he pleaseth, for the glory of his Soveraign Power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordaine them to dishonour and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice[17].

VIII. The doctrine of this high Mystery of Predestination is to be handled with speciall prudence and care[18], that men attending the Will of God revealed in his Word, and yeelding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectuall Vocation, be assured of their eternall Election[19]. So shall this Doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God[20], and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the Gospell[21].