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September 19, 2005

Ch. XXV. Q. 139. Is Divine Grace given in the same measure and with the same particular end to all?

DIVINE grace is not given in the same measure nor with the same particular end to all; for there
are diversities of gifts, vocations 1 and ministries, and not all men are called of God to His kingdom of grace and life and glory.2

2. No creature can merit Divine grace before it is given (Q. 137. 2); and it was just and right that God should determine from all eternity on whom He would bestow His grace, whom He would call to His kingdom of life and glory, in what measures and proportions He would bestow His gifts upon the elect, and what destinies or types of glory He would set before them. Certain have thought that, in fact, He has imparted some form and degree of grace to all men, and has set before every man some good destiny to strive after, whether revealed or secret, covenanted or uncovenanted.3 If this opinion is true, God may be said to have predestined all men to happy ends, however diverse and however conditioned as to human cooperation with grace given.4

3. The predestination, however, of which Holy Scripture speaks is the predetermination by God, from all eternity, as to who shall be gathered into the elect and mystical communion of the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church, and thus be given the opportunity of being conformed to the image of God's Son and of winning the kingdom of heaven.5 In the New Testament the elect are identified with those who enter into life by means of Baptism, and all the baptized are collectively termed the elect.6 Furthermore, the elect are assumed to be far more numerous than the finally glorified7, and future glory is assumed to depend upon moral conditions as well as upon the fact of election.8

4. Three forms of predestination have been distinguished: (a.) predestination of certain individuals to the kingdom of life, grace and glory, with the subsequent possibility, none the less, of falling from grace and forfeiting glory—the subject of many texts in Holy Scripture (see above): (b.) predestination of the Church as a body to glory, whatever may be the future of her individual members; also spoken of in Holy Scripture, and there assumed to be absolute9: (c.) direct and secret predestination of individuals as such to glory; probably not treated of directly in Holy Scripture, which identifies the elect by the visible sign of Baptism, and warns them to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.10 The texts from which such predestination is deduced 11 are either irrelevant or obscure, and should be interpreted in harmony with the rest of Holy Scripture.12

5. The theories which have been advanced concerning the predestination of individuals, as such, to glory, whether Augustinian, Calvinistic, Arminian or Jansenist, are speculative and not of faith, since they do not possess the unmistakable authority of Holy Scripture or of the Church. Our Articles approach the subject eirenically, and both avoid and discourage explicit definitions. This caution is justified by the facts; for the attempt to define in this direction, especially on the part of Calvinists, has resulted in obscuring truth in other directions, and in actual heresy. We do wisely, therefore, to "receive God's promises in such wise as they be generally, generaliter, set forth to us in Holy Scripture; and, in our doings, that will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God" (Art. XVII).13

1 I. Cor. XI. 4-11

2 S. John VI. 65: Rom. IX. 22-24. Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Election": Schouppe, IX. 244-286: Thos. Strong's Manual of Theol., 317-323, 331: Sadler's Justification of Life, IV, VI.

3 cf. Acts X. 34, 35: Rom. VIII. 21-23

4 Schouppe, IX. 223-243

5 S. Matt. XI. 25-27: S. John VI. 44, 65: Acts XXVI. 18: Rom. VIII. 29: Ephes. I. 5-11: Col. I. 12,13: I. Thess. V. 9: II. Tim. I. 9

6 S. John I. 12: Acts II. 38, 39, 47: XX. 28: Tit. III. 4: Isa. XLV. 4

7 S. Matt. XXII. 14

8 Deut. XXX. 19: II. Pet. I.10: Heb. XII. 14: S. Matt. XXV. 31-46: Rev. XXII. 12. Sadler's Second Adam, pp. 206-211: ch. XIX: Mason's Faith of the Gosp., X. 2-5: Jones of Nayland on the Church, 38-41: Faber, Primitive Doc. of Election, Bk. II: Forbes' 39 Arts., 254, 355: Sadler's Justification, VI: Hooker's Ec. Pol., V. 60. 3.

9 Acts XX. 28: Ephes. I. 20-23: V. 25-27: Rev. XIX. 7, 8

10 Tit. III. 5: S. John III. 5: Phil. II. 12

11 cf. Prov. XVI. 4, 33: Dan. IV. 34, 35: S. John XIII. 18: Acts II. 23: IV. 27, 28: Rom VIII. 28-30: IX. 17-23: XI. 7, 8: Ephes. I. 11: II. Tim. II. 20: I. Pet. II 8: Jude 4

12 Schouppe, IX. 330-345, 350.

13 Forbes' 39 Arts. XVII: Faber, Bk. I. i-iii: II. viii, ix.

Posted by Trevor at September 19, 2005 09:54 AM