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SECTION II
THE PROBLEM IN HISTORY
A. Preliminary Considerations

1. The Basis of Enquiry

As we proceed to our marked historic figures whose contributions we anticipate will prove beneficial and stimulating to us in our particular approach to this problem, we cannot fail to notice an incidental and interesting fact. Though incidental as a fact, it does however indicate an important principle of procedure.

Augustine, Calvin, Wesley, Luther and Spurgeon all assume that the ultimate touchstone of doctrine is Scripture; and all hold it inerrant. Thus if it can be shown that a given statement affecting our problem is indeed part of the Jewish Old Testament Canon or the Christian New Testament Canon, in that these two bodies, though serially, have been the joint custodians of revelation as appointed in that revelation ­ then this statement is a part of our data.

Frequently our first contributor, St. Augustine, for example, will insist on a point just because it appears in such a way in Scripture. Nor will the others be ever found to alter the Scriptural data even when manifestly they experience difficulty in incorporating some text or textually based issue in their schema of doctrine on our problem.

In this, we will completely accord with them. In their entire 1500 years, the Jews did not depart from this approach; nor in 1700 Christian years was such departure ever normative, or indeed less than distinctly abnormal in the Church: and on this precise issue the Reformers were as emphatic as Trent which however gave standing in doctrine to writings allotted as not given by the Scripturally definitive mode of inspiration from God. We however are concerned with God directly and intensely in our investigation; with His revelation as indisputably such (and thereby the condition of all else) in the field of continuous and historic Christian­Theism: and thus with Scripture.

We will not therefore be concerned with a third approach: that of making revelation per se a matter devolving esoterically upon "Scripture and me ­ or my contemporaries"; there is obviously neither systematic revelation nor coherent fact in such an alignments and as such a situation is itself predicted by the Scriptural revelation, it the less concerns us as interpreting that revelation. Indeed, quite consistently the

departing rockets launched from the Scriptural pad, contemporary non­Scripturally bound theologians, tend now to speak of all revelation with disparagement or despair. This too accords with Scripture *1.

To Christian revelation:

i) as a system, mutually consistent and mutually self­attesting, but

ii) devolving upon the Spirit and

iii) focussing a man claiming to be equal with God, one observed and recorded as He was and not as He may be imagined to have been in the minds of those who cannot by creaturely status attain to a re­composition of Him as God:

to this revelation and this set of data we address ourselves without apology. But if a name more precisely be required, or an interpretation of what we have called Christian­Theism: the interpretation is as above and the names Historic Christian­Theism. .

It is in this way, more precisely, that we have defined our area of research.

2. Procedure in Perspective.

We are now ready to give ourselves a Certain type of concern with the subject in history; but for this a preliminary procedural perspective will be helpful. Two points are immediately noteworthy.

Firstly, from the point of view of literary allusion we intend typically a conscientious restriction to accord with our primary conceptual purpose (cf. Preface p.7, para 4, and p.49 para 2 infra): a measured relaxation of this stringency will occur chiefly in the case of our reference to Augustine (Part 1) in view of certain special features of his works to which we shall shortly refer prospectively pp. 43-44, and with more relish, retrospectively (pp. 48ff.).

Secondly regarding our conceptual emphasis itself, we must exercise some moderation here that we might indeed benefit; but our primary purpose will remain in view. Thus, while this Section II represents a developmental thrust into history, and is not in terms of a merely abstract schema; and while indeed, an element of systematic cohesion or mutuality of parts in total perspective would not be the least helpful or stimulating contribution which we might expect from the historical figures to whom we refer; nevertheless, it is true that the figures in question have been chosen and considered in such a way as to provide considerable emphasis on particular aspects.

In the case of Boethius, it is largely Foreknowledge (with some application to sin, suffering and system); with Calvin, Predestination; Luther and Wesley can give specialist treatment of aspects of the Will­in­Sin (with application to freedom); Spurgeon provides a stimulus to reserve and caution in the composition of elements; while in Augustine especially that very comprehensiveness which evokes favour for some such historic probing as this, in a basically essential type of study.

In this reference to history, of course, there is a further major value which we shall need to bear in mind as the case now develops. It can show at least something of the ingredients as felt to constitute a problem in historical application to this field. It helps us to set up the problem in terms ­ if not conditioned by history, nevertheless adapted to cognizance of it; and it is a barrier against an extreme of abstraction and private limitation of perspective within our defined conceptual area.
 

B. A CONCEPTUAL JOURNEY
PART I. AN AFRICAN PANORAMA OF PREDESTINATION AND
ITS PROVINCES


 


AUGUSTINE ­ THE SAGE

I. The Central Scene: Predestination, Freedom and Grace.

1. Initial Survey.

A man deftly contemporary as a Scriptural expositor for Truth does not grow old ­ Augustine seems to reach before and almost beyond the Calvinist­Arminian controversy; for he appears to have a subtle mind, a discursive gift, great disquisitive powers and to embrace within himself something of the stressful force of questions which . others, through pre­occupation with system, sometimes seek to solve and resolve with too great a glory for consistency as such; and it is too great when there is inadequate concern for the breadth of the matters in view ­ some note persistently sounding when a gamut has been played.

This is not to say that Augustine was unconcerned with consistency; nor to make of it less than an apt and proper virtue when it is with verity rather than specious verisimilitude to be obtained; but that Augustine often would wrestle with the issues rather than tame them with a pseudo-logical wand.

In his artistic account of the alchemies of his soul, The Confessions*2, Augustine evidences (though possibly he does not entirely perceive it as such) a great tussle between diverse components in divine enactment and human involvement as apparent in conversion. On the one hand one sees in his record a sovereign grace, a divine 'hand' a series of divine directives which, it would appear, if not executed with certainty would certainly not have secured the soul of Augustine. On the other, one finds a correlation, a concatenation, an impregnation meanwhile, and with it an evasion and contemplation on the part of Augustine; there is a human involvement: in some sense, there is a relevance to the operation in all the disorderly facets of his disturbed being.

Wonderful, he avows ­ even in so late and comparatively systematised a book as the 'Enchiridion'*3 ­ that God "could still accomplish what He Himself had willed and this through the same creaturely will*4 by which the first act contrary to the Creator's will had been done." (Emphasis added.)

To offset any rash first impression, let us hasten to add from 'To Simplician' *5 ...

(a comparatively early work ­ thus evidencing the richness of Augustine): "Freewill is most important. It exists, indeed, but of what value is it in those who are sold under sin?"

Thus in a late book*6, he does not entirely jettison will, and in an earlier (if transmutative) book he flashes against its efficacy. Be is, then, a man not easily turned from facts however uncomfortable to chosen systems for we must observe that in general he moves the opposite way ­ from earlier emphasis on freedom to later emphasis on sovereignty.

Seldom do we find so composite and competent an expression as that in his Confessions on this matter: "But where through all those years, and out of what low and deep recess was my freewill called forth in a moment, whereby to submit my neck to Thy easy yoke?" It is 'called forth' as if not operative; it is done sovereignly, a call at once answered, and directed towards a yoke; and it is done freely in that, called forth, it submits. Not that one would vouch peremptorily for all these concepts in such a general way here; but this statement will, one expects, in Section III be seen to be susceptible to a finer explanation, when we then seek to allow more studiously for the components here attested.

The man who could write that was obviously no shallow sophisticate in this area. We find the allurement of Truth and the fear of it: we can see the reluctance which C.S. Lewis*7 summed in his Surprised by Joy ­ "Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about 'men' s search for God'. To me, as I then was, they might as well have talked about the mouse's search for the cat." He is engaged by what is right; he is engaged with what is wrong. There is a mystery which he notes, in the last resort attaching to the will of God, which works surrender ­ his ultimate conclusion.

In the end, in 'Enchiridion' and even in the last analysis of 'To Simplician', we find recourse to a resolutely soul­fixing sovereignty which moves in, inexpressibly and irresistibly insurgent, to free a soul as it works within the will to acclimate it to the era and area of Truth instantly seized as such and willed. He dispenses with any residue of the view that a suggestive and submissive 'sovereignty' proceeds before the will to secure spontaneous self­release through preferred and activating yielding ... like the intimate donkey owner, who triumphing in his cajoleries, AT LAST makes the thing budge.

From Calvin he differs in his greater awareness of the tension between these components later forming as views but by the time we reach his more mature thought, his system might by a selection of quotations be thought identical in content, if not in expression in this matter of election, to that of Calvin.

A further distinctive element and one not irrelevant to content is Augustine's character. In the later books of the Confessions, we see an amiable, slightly ironic Augustine 'admiring' the sophisticated craftsmen of interpretation who infallibly could read one only meaning into broad texts and unerringly condemn every variant interpretation.

Unlike Luther, Augustine was not fighting essentially for irrevocable clarity; we see comparatively few acrid fumes. Not embattled in a menaced minority like Luther, the African was obliged nevertheless to face a turmoiled battleground in his day, and was there often decisive; and if rather less ready to equate the demonstrable with what must be demonstrated, he set himself with no small force to counter and collapse two contemporary pincer movements of extremism in particular.

These, he felt, with their muddled theological mauling, could embarrass the very course of Truth.

First he fought the Manichean *8 approach of eternal co­sovereign good and evil *9

(in contrast Augustine stressed freewill, realistic guilt, divine grace and a strictly negative, conditional and conditioned 'evil') *10;

but then he had to fight (inter alia) the Pelagian view of an operatively ultimate human will exercising its free virtue to gain salvation (roughly in the manner of the nineteenth century Liberal). In that conflict, he stressed the depravity of man and a disposing divine predestination.

2. The Hope of Harmony.

If it be asked how Augustine harmonised his findings formed in these two divergent areas of conceptual rebellion: the answer is that there is little doubt that he did not do so, and partially realised the fact; although as we saw, it is equally true that he formed a later view more extreme than his own earlier one. It seems a pity that this view did not sympathetically allow for his earlier data.

If it had done so, Augustine would have contributed even more to that especial breadth and strength of dissertation on divine things for which he is justly renowned. A more sensitive composition of the data pertaining to these two insights, and indeed of the two strands of cognate doctrine as well; a gentler and, one hopes, therefore more precise resolution of the sort of stress Augustine for one admitted he felt between these viewpoints in his own mind, is in effect equivalent to one object of our research.

3. The Exigencies of Extremes.

Perhaps nowhere is Augustine's after­the­battle quietude, his post­Pelagian­polemics serenity seen more to approach quiescence in this matter than in his chapter in Enchiridion, "Limits of God's Plan for Human Salvation." He is of course aware that certain Scriptural principles must be allowed for; principles Pelagianism might misuse sadly, but which orthodoxy must use soundly. We must watch however that these be not 'taken in hand' to fit into a mould formed in fighting an error; but rather are fashioned in a mould which they help to create, if we would have accurate doctrine.

"Who will have all men to be saved ...", *11 quotes Augustine. What might this mean, predicated of God? Why, says Augustine, surely that no man can be saved unless God wills it. But, we must ask, does it say: Who will have no man saved without His will? And could it not have said so? In affirming the direction of divine will, Paul is not affirming the necessity of this will (or denying it); far less is he stating that the correlation here in view is not that between divine willingness and salvation, but divine decision and salvation; for if it were between decision and salvation, it would not be: no decision means no salvation, but active decision entails universal salvation.

This however it cannot entail: for the Greek word*12 is used of ...
the willingness of the disciples
to have the Jesus who walked upon water come aboard;
yet they took no action to secure this.

Nor would the plenteous references to perdition in the book in question support such a meaning. But the grammar simply cannot allow what Augustine has said. Perhaps sensing this, he allows that it involves people from every group being saved ­ old, rich, young, poor etc.. But might it not have said: Who wills all types of men to be saved? Moreover, it must be confessed that what follows in the text does nothing to mitigate these considerations.

We are informed that there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ. The Creator in His unique estate is set in contradistinction to the category of human creation; while, between, in a stark linking power implicitly sharpening the distinction between the parties, is an exhaustively and uniquely defined mediation, in Christ.

The asymmetry involved if there is in view some mere imagined segment of mankind, would be in precise contradiction to both the emphatic form of the statement and its formal emphasis.

{Moreover, we might add this: imagine the enormity if we had said that in Ephesians 1:11 it means that God works every CATEGORY of thing after the counsel of His own will, but does not apply this to details! It is best in all things to keep to what the word of God says without indulging in exotic romancing or delusive subtractions or additions.}

Nor are we left alone with this featuring of categories to reinforce our penchant for grammatical care, applied above. We are further informed in this text that He (the mediator echo is singular) gave Himself as a ransom for all. Admittedly the word is 'on behalf of' and does not entail the meaning 'in place of' as is found in other ways in other texts. It is true, accordingly that what is implied at this precise point is not an effective transaction but no more than a proffered tender: as if a magnate made certain property available on behalf of his former city, possibly employing certain terms for reception of the gift *13. It is not so far theirs but available. Nevertheless this ransom is passed on from the Creator category *14 to the creature category.

Can anything be more decisive concerning the fact and extent of divine willingness than the provision of a ransom which by definition is the most costly expression of effective concern available to the Creator?

We have proceeded with some little care on our present point because Augustine's treatment of it is evidence of the extent to which he moved from his earlier comprehensive tendencies, within the area. We may here appositely notice that there is much more investigable in this side of the field; and while this essay cannot allow any large divagation, we may mention further data. If then in I Timothy 2:4 we find that God has inclination that all men be saved, in II Peter 3:9 He allows that He willingly proposes *15

that all should come to repentance (a different Greek word). These predispositions of His personality, if we may so speak, and deliberated desires are not at all ephemeral, even though revelatory of a cast of heart (the first) and of mind (the second) rather than a resolution equivalent to action.

Thus the Scripture never teaches that He will save all ('few there be' ... *16 ) ; but it most certainly teaches that as far down as His heart, He has a willingness that He might do so. "As I live", says He, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" *17

As Professor John Murray of Westminster Seminary has pointed out ­ Here you have affirmation of His desire, negation given to the contrary, asseveration of the certainty of it and protestation that it might be heeded. He might add that it includes invitation, expatiation, destination. In fact, there is in a sense very little that it does not include in its mission. Nothing could be more certain as to His inclination and the depth of it who 'is the Saviour of all men (see magnate above) especially of those who believe' *18 , who not once but often, very often 'would have gathered' the city to be destroyed 'under my wings as a hen gathers her chickens'. Nevertheless: 'you would not'*19 .

Now Augustine formulates a certain procedure which is to support him in this somewhat extraordinary bracing against the apparent force of these texts. He takes it that the text must mean either one thing (which is expressed so as to be improper in doctrine and so in terms of our data, impossible) or the other. Since it cannot mean the one (although it might seem to do so), it must mean the other. In this way, what it does mean can become lost in a false method of inexhaustive exclusion. For this reason, when we view the end result, we are not satisfied that this is what the text could have meant.

In the case of I Timothy 2:4, we find the approach in Letter 217 *20. Either it means that all will be saved' or it means that none will be saved without His will. It cannot mean the former; it must mean the latter. "Ergo". It is done. To this we oppose the above consideration. It does not possibly mean the latter grammatically or contextually. Nor confessedly does it mean the former. Quite evidently it must mean something else.

We diverge on the point that there is something else, rather than differ on the question of the apparent meaning of the text. Indeed to that meaning he does adopt, Augustine somewhat reluctantly allows himself to be forced; but to this we cannot be forced in that we hold that where a logical form entails an obvious error of exegesis, we must examine the logic and discard that exegesis *21.

Now that would be consistent with Augustine's view of reason and revelation as well as with our own, both being derived from Scripture. Thus we have all the more reason to pursue this refinement. Small in appearance, it is weighty in consequence in our area.

As already noted, a third possible interpretation is that God has willingness that all be saved. This fits other Scripture, does no violence to grammar, context or etymology. We therefore adopt it and prepare to face the consequences as squarely as those from the opposite brand of text.

Again, Augustine supports an interpretation of Matthew 23:37 (supra p.49 and cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Appendix A) which avoids the clear inference that love, affection, inclination, persistence, brooding desire were all involved in the search for that which was not shown mercy at this time ­ the Jerusalem of the first century.

He has of course an opposing principle which leads him to do this: "Where is that omnipotence by which 'whatsoever He willeth in heaven and on earth, He has done', if He willed to gather the children of Jerusalem together, and did not do so?"

Answer: Distinguish between divine aptitude + attitude on the one side, and divinely decreed determination on the other. The text does not entail more than the former; and the result + power claimed will not allow the latter. But can such willingness be construed in so complete and comprehensive an understanding as God's when the result is not aligned; when it is negative as to salvation? We believe that it can be.

This pre­temporal phase we reserve for Section III. But what is Augustine's rendering of the force of this verse, misled as we assert him to be through the application of a procedure become irrelevant through a failure to make a distinction? "Although" says he, "Jerusalem did not will that her children be gathered together by Him, yet, despite her unwillingness, God did indeed gather together those children of here whom He would' *22 .

Now this is undoubtedly true; but it is not what the text here asserts. It states categorically that in view of this unwillingness of the city, a lamented unwillingness which contrasted utterly with God's recapitulated willingness ­ Jerusalem will be left desolate. Again, then, Augustine has given a rendering not in accord with the text through the slightly insensitive impress of a different and prized Scriptural principle on this area, and a non­exhaustive method of exclusion. In due course, when dealing with these two lines together, we shall endeavour no less carefully to avoid the opposite and equally illicit extremism of assuming that predestination depends on "him who willeth", humanly, for its subsistence.

4. The Diversity of Tendencies.

Let there be no doubt however that this final position of Augustine was reached after strong efforts to be comprehensive. Immediately after the above, it is little short of staggering to read from the work 'On Free Will' *23, written much earlier:
"If I must necessarily will, why need I speak of willing at all?" This was in opposition to a kind of evil partial determinism; but it attests the force Augustine felt for the integrity of a disposable personality. Again, in the same book, we cannot fail to note Evodius the learner's obvious delight on hearing Augustine, speaking of the results of evil willing, give courage by the advice: "If you fear it, all you have to do is simply not to will it." Moreover: "If you do not will it, it will not exist."

He adds in a more comprehensive and less merely negative way: "What can be more secure than to live a life where nothing can happen to you which you do not will?" Here he adds qualification: "But since man cannot rise of his own free trill as he fell by his own will spontaneously, let us hold with steadfast faith the right hand of God stretched out to us from above, even our Lord Jesus Christ."

Here there is the impression that the will is not able to actualise salvation, but that it can activate it by accepting "the right hand of God". Although he would discount its force in his Retractions, it is true that Augustine also said: "There is nothing so much in the power of the will as the will itself.' Nor in the work On Free Will, does he at least appear to be restricting his studies to Adam! But we are not left to inference: "If any of Adam's race should be willing to turn to God, and so overcome the punishment which had been merited by the original turning away from God, it is fitting not only that he should not be hindered, but that he should also receive divine aid."

Now of course all this is far from Pelagianism; but it is not near. Augustine's later trend. How easy, he reflects, it would have been for man to have retained his original goodness of Eden because even subsequently ­ "his offspring had power to transcend that in which he was born." We find that (at least in an aptitude­for­receiving sense) he "had power"; that if Adam's race be willing to turn to God then they should be given divine aid, so that they might receive their salvation ­ admittedly a gift.

Perhaps not fully aware of these trends, so that he denied the no doubt excessive implications sought from several quotations of his by the Pelagians, Augustine was sufficiently alive to the wrestling to admit that in his work
'To Simplician', he strove by all means to retain human freedom of choice:
"I tried hard to maintain the free choice of human will; but the grace of God prevailed."

In that work, we read nevertheless so extreme a statement (in view of the later sovereignty stress) as this: "In this mortal life, one thing remains for freewill, not that a man may fulfil righteousness when he wishes, but that he may turn in suppliant piety to Him who has power to fulfil it." He refers to a man involved in guilt and "not yet liberated by grace", who yet may "implore the grace of the Liberator." Now since the grace concerned is a liberating grace, it would appear that he can implore this before he has been liberated. and to the end that he might receive liberation.

Against the Pelagians, and in general in a systematic way subsequently he would stress rather the sovereignty, the infrangibility of the will of God, the fact that for grace to be grace it must not be earned in any sense and in any degree: if it is to be opposed to works as the method of instituting salvation ­ indeed set to the exclusion of these.

But we are later to argue that these principles may be safeguarded amply without allowing either the full extent of the more voluntaristic side of Augustine, or the more mechanistic and rigorous side: and the texts can lead to just such a position.

This latter and developing side we may now profitably pursue in complementing our understanding of Augustine. "How can human will deserve to have grace given to it," runs his lucid query of Letter 217, "if it is given freely to those to whom it is given, that it may be truly grace?" Several times he argues that if even the will to receive faith were present but self­engendered rather than received, then that man who had this will could glory in his will, contradicting the text: "What have you that you did not receive?"*24 . This, such a man could assert, this I had that I did not receive; in this will I glory and not in the Lord ­ in that I had the will to ask, which my scrubby brother lacked.

You see such a theme in his 'To Simplician'; but it recurs with conviction, almost compulsion. We shall have to reckon with this and give it its full force. Augustine gives it a maximal interpretation in the work ­ 'On Grace and Freewill' *25 :

"It is certain that it is we that act when we act; but it is He who makes us act, by applying efficacious powers to the will."

To safeguard Augustine, we must observe that he does not profess (to whatever extent he may imply) anything non­voluntary in grace reception: "If we believe that we attain this grace (and of course believe voluntarily) ..." But how can you be said to believe if involuntarily you are so changed that being changed and with the volition appropriate to the change, you will as you would not have willed, but now will? Indeed, to revert to his own words from his work 'On Free Will':

"If I must necessarily will,

why need I speak of willing at all?"

Is it as C.S. Lewis *26says:

"As for what we commonly call Will, and what we commonly call Emotion, I fancy these usually talk too loud, protest too much, to be quite believed" ­ that the "Iron resolution" is too pretentious? Lewis talks of 'being'' averring ­ "At the maximum, a man is what he does" ­ and Augustine startlingly can say (To Simplician - emphasis added) ­

"Many, that is to say, are called in one way, but all are not affected in the same way; and those only follow the calling who are found fit to receive it."

It would be quite inconsistent with the context to claim that here Augustine is allowing 'being' as the determinant, in the combination: Man's being *27and God's methods. Even Lewis attests that his experience WAS both that he was in the ultimate sense free in the regard in question, and that at the same time he felt that it could not be otherwise ­ it was necessary. Yet as to 'being' for determinant, with what severity the spiritual parvenu can contradict the tenor and text of Scripture by glorying in his superior being. If (a point lie shall pursue with Calvin) God finds them 'fit', how very fit they must be!

This mystery in predestination, if not watched, can be an unrealised cover for greater pretensions than Arminius ever conceived. Nevertheless, as to method rather than essence, there is here a clue we believe suggestive: there is a mutuality of involvement somewhere in predestination.

Far from articulate is any suggestion of superiority in Augustine's mind: Distinguishing in the same place the effectual and the ineffectual calls of God, those which work justification and those consistent with the fact that while many are called, few are chosen, he says: "Possibly those who are called in this way, and do not consent, might be able to direct their wills toward faith if they were called in another way *28. (Emphasis added.) In this, we would be dull indeed not to notice the subjects who "direct their wills toward". This implies of such wills that they are dirigible before they reach that to which they are so directed; and thus it follows that they may not after all have it said of them: "Of what value is it (freewill) in those who are sold under sin." According to these citations, it would seem not so much valueless as impotent.

The point is that there is a frequent variability in the very expression of Augustine: and taking this in conjunction with all the other evidence, we hypothesise that this is because the very ford of language, the very cast of thought, and the very constraint of data (experiential and doctrinal) resists so severe a conclusion as Augustine formally and finally reaches. After all, we are going to need a better answer to this than that it is unrevealed mystery: If efficacious grace triumphs so that it is ­ from eternity to time ­ no more than an effective motion from the Creator to the creature, in its initial and determinative aspect not vitally differing from the movement from engineer to machinery, from spirit driver to spirit, immediately the question arises ­ Why does He not save all in this manner since He states the attitude and aptitude are His?

If there is no question of the integrity and relevance of the individuality of the soul to be approached by this saving love: if such a consideration does not prevent God's changing the nature and thus securing the acceptance of the will of the creature, then why ­ being so initially disposed in procedure, power and willingness ­ should He baulk at performing the transmutative operation in all? To say ... that He allows to those who freely wish to thwart Him both their freedom in His justice, and the justice of their freedom in that they receive the brand of disobedience and destruction; that He thus cannot be impugned for injustice; that He mercifully calls (with the secretly triumphant call) others who receive a mercy unmerited ... is true ­ but it does not by itself fully answer this question just put. Frequently implied in Scripture is just this reticence to invade personality past a certain point. If we dismiss it, we are amidst these new difficulties. And in any case, how could we consistently dismiss our data?

These then are components answerable in our Section III resolution.

Before we conclude our analysis of relevant strands in Augustine, two points remain. First, one text pursued by Augustine seems to require attention, to prepare it for our listing. Secondly we will rehearse several more contrasting elements in the 'Confessions': where a danger exists of extreme system deficient in scope, then what is less designedly systematised can be more revealing; and it can certainly reveal important background considerations.

5. A Textual Consideration.

In the work, 'On the Gift of Perseverance', Augustine refers to the men of Tyre whom Jesus said would have repented if they had seen the mighty works performed in vain in certain impenitent cities of Israel *29. At once Augustine concludes that there was potential not persuaded, available manpower not taken, opportunity of salvation not grasped. Thus, says he, "From this it is clear that some have in their minds a gift of understanding naturally divine, by which they may be moved to faith, if they hear the words or see the signs which are adapted to their intelligences. And yet if they are not, in the higher judgment of God, separated from the mass of perdition by the predestination of grace, then neither those words nor those deeds are applied to them ... Their capacity for belief availed them nothing, because they were not so predestinated by Him whose judgments are inscrutable." Does this follow? For if it must, our numerous strands of doctrinal data on a divine attitude, are ­ confess it ­ flatly contradicted.

It would appear not. Augustine rarely teaches, and rightly rarely, that man has a "gift of understanding naturally divine" such that it may respond to impressions received as a car to the accelerator: that is, in a pseudo­mechanical way. The will, says he, is imprisoned free, but futile in its unenlightened freedom.

It is therefore inconsistent to hold that we have here in the words of Jesus an evidence of an earthly possible stimulus arbitrarily withdrawn in a situation where men, had they received it, would have been saved. We do not here have evidence of a niggardly failure to dispense ample stimulus at that level in that, if Augustine is right, a recreative spiritual surge is necessary before any evidence can impress effectually in this divine-human area of vital relationship. The point therefore is rather - What kind of repentance did you expect in this doctrinal setting from men confronted with what is allowed to be intrinsically ineffectual?

Ahab superficially and expediently 'repented'; similarly the 'rejoicing for a season' of the shallow but unbroken soil parable follows acceptance of elements of the doctrine in terms of 'the seed' sown; many of the children of Israel of the Exodus were replete with miracles, and with repentances not to the summit of salvation but in the sequence of straggling correlation with God. They did not have the strength of faith. They were living by sensation; they were requiring even the drug stimulus of miracle to the point that Moses himself became temporarily infected. They were not content simply to believe 30*
Him from whom these things came.

This then is a feasible interpretation of the 'repentance' which might have been obtained from the men of Tyre. After all, it would not be an event without some smack of significance: though on the negative side, because superficial, liable insidiously to contribute to a swelling series of partial sincerities which could be fatal because never final.

Moreover, consider what would have been entailed if Jesus had been present in Tyre. It would have been a dazzling case defiant to historicity in that it would have meant an incarnation 600 years too early, one reaching to a people who ­ if in fact originally receiving their ample meed. would now have been surfeited in astonishment at the divine bustle and excess. God's systematic methods of procedure and development, his organisational structure of revelation and preparation for the incarnation would have been bypassed in a panzer drive of glory not unjustly to be expected to produce results shallow and sensational.

Now this would simply fortify the above considerations still further, and moreover coincide with the direction of their out-thrust. But even without regard to this quarter, our basic point remains.

Thus even if the men of Tyre could with dignity and decency have received this divine visitant, they might have responded, if shallowly yet far more notably than the men in Israel in Christ's day. Thus the Tyrians might well judge the sophisticatedly unmoved of Christ's day: if Christ incarnate was aptly reserved for the hardness of granite, then condemnation of the 'granite' is greater.

Thus we submit *31*that the extrinsic type of stimulus involved, the correlation of this with other unreal repentance quite apart from the an­historical, anti­organisational and intemperate character of an earlier incarnation for Tyre ­ a tumultuous thing such as might well encourage a very superficial and sophisticatedly unreal response ­ as well as the cohesion of this suggestion with the judgment by the Tyrians on Israel: all this points to a case not greater than a frightened departure from certain obvious civic evils. It does not warrant32*a view that since God in time here withheld saving actions of merely extrinsic kind, and it is the one God who eternally elects men, and also directs history: therefore in an election which must comport as to character with His designed impacts on history, there is a deficiency of willingness. (Cf. Section III, pp. l79ff.; & pp.107­8, endnote 32).

6. Dynamic Equilibrium in the Confessions.

We may now proceed to our second point. In the experiential and not essentially systematic Confessions of Augustine, we find evidence of a strong and tensile, but tense or strained sort of dynamic equilibrium between the sovereignly­selective and humanly-receptive component considerations in salvation and in predestination. It involves predestination (inter alia) to the extent that there is this comporting ­ at least as to character ­ between the eternal decisions (election) and the historic procedure (salvation).

We find him, then, referring to himself as putting off the divine grace of God so that the present (time) when he should have God' s presence is never (comparatively and persistently) present. Again, he experiences the fact of the truth, its emplacement and owner and onus upon him, shall we say, but willingly submits to slumber so that awareness of truth should not become the yoke of truth.

On the other side, we find that in the last resort a divine grace infused him: "For instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away." While he knew that he had a will as surely as that he lived, and "not to go only, but to go in thither was nothing else but the will to go, but to will resolutely and thoroughly", yet he could say: "Thou again didst set me over against myself, and thrustedst me before my eyes, that I might find out mine iniquity, and hate it."

Now God does this; but so that Augustine may find out. Again he can say: "And as I shake, I all but enacted it: I all but did it, and did it not" and yet: "It was pleasing in Thy sight to reform my deformities, and by inward goads didst Thou rouse me that I should be ill at ease, until Thou wert manifested to my inward sight."

Now in these things we see a concomitance, a correlation, but in the last resort a divine resolution. Such ingredients as these will feature in tile resolution offered in Section III, as they are intimately connected not only with our doctrinal dated but with the composition of the sovereignty and responsivity strands which we must seek. Our point is that they are here with a measure of unpolished integrity; and they must be given fuller account in the system than Augustine at the last found them.

Another element is that of secrecy: "Thus," he continues after the last quoted passage, "by the secret hand of Thy medicining...;" or again he says ­ "Thou ... dost by Thy hidden inspiration effect that the consulter should hear what, according to the hidden deservings of souls, he ought to hear, out of the unsearchable depth of Thy just judgment." A similar secret counsel impels the meeting between Augustine and his mother prior to her death. Providentially as in election of souls: "It came to pass ... Thy secret ways so ordering it", is frequently his formula. While we will touch on this in our treatment of theological reticence*33*, we shall also seek to be in measure reticent about the employment of that very concept when consistency demands a postulate.

7. Analysis of Development.

We are now ready to analyse the position, to seek some rationale of the variously attested movement in our author from comparative fluidity to fixity in this area.

It could readily be said that Augustine was guilty of oversimplification; that he saw the varied data and surmised as was convenient, easing out the inconvenient facts. Such would be unfair to the depth of his awareness and earlier (sometimes, indeed, heterogeneous! later) concessions and thought and word forms employed. But can we suggest that whilst it has not been a mere over­simplification on, the part of someone unaware of the relevant depths, perhaps there has been rather a rigidification? Perhaps as he grew older, tending to ignore the experiential richness which embraced him in his dynamic involvement with God prior to his conversion, Augustine seized on the significance of what at conversion he called an infusion, and held to this one last phase ­ as to type ­ as if it were the sole ingredient because it was the final: because it was what on the surface appeared to be the only effective one ­ what in chemical terms, we would call the 'active ingredient'. Was a sovereignty sweet because of his vacillation, to receive a focus blurring the rest?

It is tempting to think this; but improper. His stress on secret ways and divine discretion and control in inducing capitulation is as self­attestingly genuine ­ and early, as that more vivid sense of meaningful involvement on his part; and even from this latter, Augustine was to remain far from alienated.

It would appear rather that Augustine has sought to maintain this secret, supernal, sublime, divine infiltration and eventual Justification, and sallied strongly with these considerations against the Pelagians ­ facing whom their correlation with grace was so apt as a weapon; and yet has sought against the Manicheans to stress the validity, value and responsibility of a freewill not involved in any fatalistic grasp (of evil).

It seems that he has sought (quite consciously) for some conceptualisation which would embrace both this responsibility and validity of personal experience on the one hand, and on the other that divine activation of that which is moribund and in all alienability of spirituality with respect to God, intrinsically defunct. To embrace both of these considerations with essential rigour, even if not with complete verbal agreement with all that he said at other times, appears indeed as a task he attempted*34* but never triumphed in.

It is precisely such a composure, in essence but not in form, which we must attempt as a further component of a sought solution to the problems of predestination.

What then has happened to Augustine, as to system, in his later times: not rigidification in that he seems to have been sometimes acutely aware till the last times, of the tension. We would call the process rather a movement to classicism a growing affinity in his pensive purposes for a way of perceiving and marshalling things with a perspective not embroiled in too fastidious niceties; for something not tendential but traced with vigour and amplitude. The vast palette for doctrinal daubs afforded by the words: "He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy" perhaps attracted him to a particular sense of celestial scope ­a Sense as largely true in itself as inspiring ­ but one often substituted for composure of that true principle with other and prima facie divergent considerations.

But it does not stop with such splendid innocence. We find the recondite saint saying: "He who made and fashioned the whole creation spiritual and corporeal, disposes of all things by number, weight and measure*35*. With most uncharacteristic affront to reticence, he announces that the elect are measured and disposed so that they will precisely fill the gaps in the full rotundity of the designs of heaven, left by fallen angels*36* .

God is more than a supreme mathematician in His revelations and while revelation stresses or at least signifies His supreme disposing powers, it does not elevate them as a sort of virtuosity to the status of virtue in their naked existence. A certain mathematical, a formal zeal therefore, relative to fallen angels' numbers, seems to obtrude in place of the dire need of perception of the relevance of divine love in the observed extensiveness of its attitude; and this tends almost to become a deficiency in his system. {This is by no means to imply that the number of the elect is not known in its own domain and through its own proprieties.}
 

2. Some Surrounding Slopes in the
Regions of Relevant Thought in Augustine.

We move now to our broader concerns in Part 1.

1. Perspective Perceptible on the Distribution of Evil in the Universe

For God who predestines everything, why is there such a variety of both creatures and calamities? We will simply note certain basic elements of Augustine's contribution towards this topic.

We are prone to think of things in terms of utilitarian and more infantile modes of assessment. One man might think it would be nicer to have a shrub in his backyard than to retain several of the stars aloft which ensure the perfection of the heavens. But, says Augustine, seeing things reasonably we should try to imagine the gigantic, the classic harmony (q.v.) of the whole, so that the different parts, propensities and degrees reflect in different ways the excellence of Him who makes all.

We miss the clustering composition devolving on God's manifold wisdom37*, if we desire that all things should be of a summit level (two suns, no moon for example) which would broadcast for only one type of awareness­potentiality on behalf of God. Similarly we should not grudge the smaller part of existence to that which is more lowly.

Apparent in this is a stress on integrity, on completeness, on wholeness, on many mouths speaking through many means' ideally' the manifold wisdom of God37*.

It is, however, when things go wrong that we find the relevance of this point to the predestinating wisdom of God, uncowed and uncompromising. For then we have manifold miseries, manifold machinations and manifold almost mechanical repercussions. The sovereign will of God, agleam with the future, is never broken by such occasions: for if a creature will contrary to His will, the creature may indeed will that which he will, but in so willing, he will not escape the will of God ­ which is for his blessing if he obeys ­ which is for his destruction, for his calamity if he disobeys. But in nothing is the will of God impugned, inoperative or less than impregnable. The thing is sure, it is definite: it is not awaiting history, indeed, to be worked out.

Thus to the element of classical integrity and totality' we add this of sovereign strength and severity. To this area we must return in our final interpretation of the disposition of evil in the ill of God who desired what He foreknow, and determined His desire.

2. Foreknowledge.

An interesting discussion occurs in the work, 'On Free Will', featuring Augustine and Evodius. We could summarise in discussion form the features we desire:

Does foreknowledge involve a necessity nullifying human will?

Why would you think so? ;

Does not God know? Yes. Could He be wrong? Not if He is unlimited in power and composed in His purposes ­ for whom no desire can be thwarted.

Then must He be right? Necessarily. Then could we by will avoid His pre­perception of what we shall do? Not at all: But in His foresight He pre­perceives our will and our willing. Because this is accurate, we will as He foresees: because it is discernible to Him, He knows.

Yet does not this necessity abort freedom?

On the contrary freedom is assured because its conditions are kept by necessity.

Thus we find: "Is there, then, no difference between things that happen according to God's foreknowledge where there is no intervention of man's will at all, and things that happen because of a will of which He has foreknowledge"; and: "Indeed I shall be more certainly in possession of my power because He whose foreknowledge is never mistaken foreknows that I shall have the power."

But is it, we must ask ourselves, merely an observation for Him who ordains and works all things after the counsel of His will. This seems inadequately correlated with the stress on sovereignty; just as the predestination element is often apparently conceived in a manner too peremptory to fit the attitudinal texts of love, in Augustine.

If only Augustine would combine the too superficial approach to foreknowledge in 'Freedom of the Will' with the too automatic approach to predestination in 'Enchiridion', allowing each in effect to exercise a monitoring influence on the other and seeking Scriptural remodelling of extreme elements ... then he might have seen indeed a kind of necessity in foreknowledge beyond that resulting from the necessary accuracy of God's perceptions of that which is to be, of the way we will will; a necessity including His own perceived and future free actions: and Augustine might also then have seen a moderation in the rigour of disposing predestination, for the very same reason, obversely.

Then predestination, though mysterious as expressive of the will of One not accountable outside Himself, could be considered as at least able to be seen as consistent with all the other general principles of conduct which God reveals of Himself. A spiritual involvement of God with man (even if in vision) would enlighten the doom of necessity in election; while a divine, all­purposeful probe leaves authority all­powerful but nil-peremptory.

If in a way which we shall later develop, we allow this, then we will find that a divine seeking for men which is

not short of realistic, leaves predestinating consignment no less conclusive but more conformable to the mercy which never impudently but quite persistently would kiss justice.

3. Time.

Finally, a very noble and grand discussion by Augustine may be observed in the latter books of his Confessions ­ on a topic he closely involves in foreknowledge: time.

First we find him amazed at the swift passage of time, so that it is ­ only that it might not be. Future and past, in time strictly conceived as a passing phenomenon, he holds ­ these are not. But in God he finds all time present, and as present time. For God is no mere serially orientated observer*38. Thus while Augustine, embarrassed in search for a human ultimate for measurement of time, decides that we measure time by virtue of our minds ­ he conceives this created thing, time, as eternally present to the Creator whose constructions are constitutive for it, though it is not even a constituent in Him.

With God, he says, the case is not that time is swallowed up from the future and dispensed as the past. God foresees more than do we even when, for example, we recite a poems for then we perceive what will shortly be ­ short of calamity ­ namely the residual verses. But for God, says Augustine, time is permeated with His presence. He appears to be suggesting that He enshrouds it while it moves, He governs it while it pours. We might well add that He pours it by His government39* ­ if we are going to think of time in illustrative terms ...

God as it were ingests, digests and re­gests it, yes but not as might be done with things of another and extrinsically objective world; rather as the very events which, as we will see, He is planning and predestining.

So that we may develop these questions of time and foreknowledge, we shall turn first in our next section to the famed classic scholar, Boethius.

PART II. ELECT VISTAS IN ENGLAND AND EUROPE.

Relationships in Perspective.
Broader Movements from Early Times

In his depth, range, establishment of relevance to the scenes of surrounding philosophy, and his variety in the conceptual regions of predestination and freewill, Augustine is perhaps our principal Scriptural exponent subsequent to the writing of the New Testament.

Before the sometimes intriguing but often unproductive entramellings of "attitudes" and "views" and "party lines" had creased the brow of Christendom in its busy application to these doctrines, slightly amplified in the New Testament addition to Scripture, we have this voluble, vigorous, classically brilliant and often vivacious genius operating ­ if sometimes against lively foes ­ yet with comparative freedom.

Given this eminence in this historic part of our work, he has performed the Greater part of the service of stimulus and warning which we required in our restricted scope from a direct consideration of historic. Therefore, as we now seek to capture arresting vistas relevant to our purpose from England and Europe, we shall not much spread ourselves. Rather shall we restrict our discourse very specifically to certain limited topics or even aspects ­ though sometimes these are vital in their force; and in this vein, we shall probe and ponder something of Boethius, Spurgeon, Luther, Calvin and Wesley.

Our concern with Boethius will touch his foreknowledge proposals; Spurgeon ­ his moderation; Luther ­ his zestful conclusiveness; Calvin ­ his love of system. Wesley provides a foil for Calvin to be considered in one expression alone: the question of the adequacy and aptitude of the love of God for those who in fact shall not be found or secured. Noting a welcome word of reconciliation on this topic from Wesley himself, we shall seek to discern what may be said in such an attitude at least for the trend of certain tenets which he esteemed too effulgent to be yielded, too practical to be ignored.

Accordingly, then, we shall endeavour to proceed to the essence of the points which concern us in our restricted and residual consultation with history. Rarely reverting to the literary analysis of the words of these figures as such, we plan rather to assess the actual thrust, in brief form of the words which they employ.

1. Boethius ­ The Man of Sensibility

Too late in point of time, by a mere round fifty years to have been Augustine's son, this Roman in certain elements of his discussion of foreknowledge and necessity follows with a freshness like that of originality the simple force of Augustine's presentation. But in some respects, he goes further.

How, he questions the kindly phantasm40* of Philosophy which has appeared to him, a saddened victim of evil men: How can you say that foreknowledge does not condition, constrain or cut off freewill? Would you conceive of foreknowledge at all if the events in themselves were not taken as necessary, in any case; and if this is so, where is this free will you defend in mentioning justice? But, he continues, even if we could rescue these events from the rationalising universalities of reason's laws so that freedom might live, how short would be her tenure of life! For if we escape essential determinism as applicable to the field of operation, we are caught by an existential necessity lodged in the very nature of foreknowledge: For how can you have certainty of knowledge of that which is uncertain? Will the knowledge carry the very characteristic which its subject matter lacks? Or will the indeterminate be determined, even in mind?

"Philosophy" is quite unimpressed with this verbal splash; for to such she reduces it. You, a man, she says, have reason. Your universaling tendencies are most successful in any consideration of matter: in the field ­ a modest but interesting one ­ to which your reason applies, indeed for which it was constructed you observe the quiet competence of a rigour in law which sets the stage of your material existence. How immodest then is it for men to seek to subject, indeed subjugate the regions which they essentially, spiritually comprise to the minimal ­ though impressive ­ analysing instrument of reason! There is a superior standpoint and a spiritual intelligence ­ that is an intelligence adapted to a non­interfering awareness of spirits, one which can attain the perspective productive of the perception of necessity.

This she calls 'understanding'. Unwearied and unhesitant, the sublime, divine capacity grasps the future performances of wills; captures any alteration, deceit and error which they may employ or yield to; and while this understanding is opaque to the penetration of man's reasons there is nothing in man to which its illumination does not instantly reach.

Thus freedom is the product of a will commissioned for decision on the limited grounds available to its awareness; will is the product of God directly; and as such its free working is eternally and instantly displayed before Him with a certainty therefore which does not condition its 'uncertainty'.

"This faculty of comprehending and seeing all­things as present, God does not receive from the issue of futurities, but from the simplicity of His own nature ... the divine mind embracing and comprehending all things by a present knowledge, plans and directs all things and is not dependent upon futurity." Philosophy, in making this statement, conforms to her earlier and dramatic stress on the sovereign providence of God.

Genuine joy is never found in wicked hearts; the rush for riches brings with possible apparent reward certain defeat because of its deluded basis ­ for it pre­supposes things much inferior to man to be so worthy as to control his conduct and secure the direction of his person. Directly or indirectly his subordinated spirit will attest and providence determine the method of personal ruin. The wicked are unhappy if unpunished because ­ as wicked ­ astray from their created constitution and correlation; they are happier if. punished for this at least imposes a rectifying force. But as punished they feel unhappy. Moreover when in power, the corrupt frequently reform outwardly to retain office, popularity or security; and since self­centred ricked men seldom agree but vie and bite rhen in care they do not grow cautious, in disgust they often reform, destroying in a riot of comparative rectitude their avaricious rivals; meanwhile stimulating the righteous and goading careless men.

From many such cases and the conviction, akin to Augustine's that the providence of the illimitably versed creator must be full, for Him free, and final, she proceeds to the conclusion: "While He endeavoureth to retain in His own likeness those things which He hath produced, He banisheth all evil from the bounds of His commonwealth by the course of fatal necessity so that if thou considerest the disposition of Providence, thou wilt perceive that evil, which is thought so to abound upon earth, hath no place left for it at all."

This dismissal of the careless assumption of mechanistically conceived causation as the sole type in a world formed by Spirit, is apt and forceful41*; the stress on the lordly privileges of the dispenser of providence, fortified by sub­surface considerations of the impact of righteous moral laws on those who superficially may seem to escape, is a worth­while contribution; but some needless inconsistencies seem to have arisen, partly because the concept of foreknowledge, though here pushed further, is yet not taken far enough.

Criticism

While he makes his case to contain and lead to the view that the divine mind is "embracing" and comprehending all things by a present knowledge he further asserts (through Philosophy): "(He) plans and directs all things." For this statement, in a format of rebuttal dependent on the theory of foreknowledge, we see no evidence in his work; at least of any direct kind. He has after all simply shown a divinity full of comprehension: he has not opened a view of His sufficient, necessary and comprehensive planning and directing all things. Does not Paul say: "If in this life only we have hope, then of all men we are the most miserable"? Has not Boethius stopped, having outlined a scope of moral law which remorselessly but very generally works its way out on men as its subject matter? His gigantic (theoretical but no doubt not actual) deism leaves a world where injustice, deceit and violence, however grudged by celestial laws, have significant impact on those who did not sponsor them. If God merely watches with facility and skill, how is any life 'planned' when the laws operate after the drastic events which scar the body, soul and mind of millions?

There can in this limitation be no question of adequate control over free creatures: so that we must move the conceptions of events appropriate to this system of Boethius, from indefinable justice (which he claims) to definable injustice (which he eschews).

This provision of a direct and firm hand, and an intimate control over whatsoever comes to pass, a providentially articulate activity in the Person of God who controls persons at the level of their essence ­ personally this is the further step which we must take in Section III in showing that foreknowledge can not only be made to comport comfortably with whatever freedom of will sin allows, but with rigorous pre­determination of all events with a quality of predestination Which sets the fixation logically prior to the enactment.

2. Spurgeon ­ The Moderate

Before we proceed with some of' the more agile contestants in our field of doctrinal athletics, we may perhaps be excused for lingering a moment more with the moderates: especially so fragrant a cultivator of speech and commonsense as Charles Haddon Spurgeon. With his peculiar gifts, a man who should seem to adorn rather than merely adapt to any Age, he explicitly faces the issue of' selective grace versus incompressible love with an engaging enthusiasm for truth in his sermon 'On Jacob and Esau' 42*. . .

In this, he first sounds a note of theological reticence: many imagine they divine the divine mind and flourish their performances as truth. How mistaken! Seeing the deepest parts of their own minds' motions in this matter, they display merely how shallow is their depth; or gouging out the contrary eyes of their opponents, they imagine this proves that they themselves are right. Yet the problem remains; while they are departed.

Spurgeon next ponders the text: "Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated." The context states that before the birth and irrespective of the works of either, their divine destiny was dispensed. Thrusting aside two hermeneutic infertilities is a preliminary. He rejects the effort to equate "hated" with "loved less". If "hate" is a somewhat strong translation, it is nearer the original than is the amendment: and use what word you will, Esau was not directed? blessed or treated with divine affection. Nor is the pinch of predestination escaped by equating "Esau" with a tribe. First, the context is concentrated on individual considerations; furthermore, is not a nation composed of individuals? Even if it were not so, this selective type of principle is not the less operative because vaster in scope. Let us face it, he says, there was a decisive divine difference in approach portrayed as predestination.

That word! Its mention is like the tang of doom to the Arminian who reacts with flashing eye. But is this response consistent for him? Surely such a man would assert that his own salvation depended on an effusion of divine grace. that it was grace which brought him in; that he will glory in that; that he could not reach it and but for this grace, he would have remained blind.

Wait! says Spurgeon. If it was the superabundance of divine grace which drew you, how is it that that unconverted man is not also so drawn? Are you sure that you do not intend that you were simply sharper than he? Never! comes the swift responses he has not as yet received so gracious an effusion as I was blessed to obtain. Spurgeon is implacable: If he never does, is he not therefore separated from you by a decisive difference in divine approach and by nothing else? And is this not precisely what I called predestination? Thus we agree ­ but you are less happy to consider these consequences of your own emphasis.

As here indicated, Spurgeon wishes to clarify thinking, to establish principles but he has no intention of carrying them to the further point where there is a gratuitous addition to Scripture, or a collision with it. In this respect, he asserts, much harm is done by considering positive and negative predestination as determined by the one principle. The procedure is mistaken. The two types of apportionment of destiny should be seen to be governed by two appropriate principles.

With the (positive) election of grace, it is this:

The sinner in debt to God with his life, can expect ­ short of grace ­
to pay with the condign consignment of that life beyond the presence of God.
A rifling (not self­dependent but yet self­directive) renegade,
his is just exclusion.

But God will have mercy; delights in it; shows it;
the man is swamped in grace, restored by forgiveness,
penalty is lifted and life is restored.
The principle is one of grace: pure, unmerited, unsearchable, unattainable, but bestowed.

We have no problem: divine discretion engenders delightsome bounty in this positive case.

A new principle applies in the case of negative election: it is justice, a pure justice not to be confused with the vindictiveness, spite or bitter ebullitions of parting personalities, retaliatory after injury rather than pursuant of equity. The will of the reprobate wanted what it got, with respect to God: that is, none of Him. Is not preference as well as justice catered for? for he has got what he wanted. Who shall complain?

These are two principles: grace and justice each appropriate to its subject, and neither to be applied to the subject matter of the other. Where now is controversy

But the truth­loving Spurgeon does not ignore a possible appearance of inconsistency. We may divide; but have we conquered? Would it not appear that the electing God has declined to pour out a necessary and efficacious grace upon some men ­ like Esau; and does not this abstention raise the anomalous thought that He specifically created some souls with the purpose of damning them!

Is not this, counters Spurgeon, to libel the Lord? It is contrary to the principles which God reveals of His character: and it is mere inference. Can we infer in these supernal regions which directly move upon the divine personality? he asks. Do we not recall the dangers of shallow doctors of limited mind but unlimited "understanding" whose shallowness brings, through a misleading sophistication, not triumph but defeat! No. Just as God's word, in promise form, staggered even faith to believe it, when Abraham heard it seem to surpass normal providence in promising him a child at his great age, so here God's word in the form of doctrine seems to surpass logic in its propositions.

With our premises of the greatness of His excellence above us, we may consistently postulate that in some such way this apparent deficiency43* (not after all an express statement) may be filled up, and the difficulty overcome with a like power in the regions of understanding. But for the present, let us adhere to what we know and pursue it.

It is instructive to note that Augustine44* when on the ground of the goodness engendered in creation, seemed somewhat to disrelish what for Spurgeon is a detested proposition; but in the same book he happily observes in his justification of evil, that examples of justice, wisely and sovereignly uninterrupted, confirm helpfully the depth and sharpness of our conception of mercy. Who will say that Esau could not have been found? But, says Augustine, he was left.

Spurgeon has in effect shown that in our limited quest for a provisional hypothesis attesting the consistency of revelation in this field, we must investigate this implied grace gap, this suggested eternity in which the thoughtful knowledge of such an end is associated with God's determinative sovereign hand. Do these things even plausibly attest what Spurgeon is direly concerned to deny: a detached arbitrariness which defiles sovereignty? We do not think so. On the other hand, is not Augustine himself in unchanged difficulties in the implications of the extreme point of his presentation (cf. e.g. pp.51­53 supra)?

If it is indeed true that discreet mercy cannot be requisitioned, it is also true that our thoughts about this discretion must not abuse it; or depart from the revelation in terms of which we treat it.

No doubt we shall find our answer to this suggested problem of the grace ­ gap in an enlarged concept of foreknowledge, and from a specialised treatment of the will--in-sin (cf. p.66 with endnote 42). For this latter, meanwhile, we look with relish for a contribution from Luther.

3. Luther ­ The Zestfully Decisive

There are times when vigour can be brash; there are times when it would be rash not to use it. Consider the state of affairs when the problems of predestination can be used for ecclesiastical trafficking! Yet this is what Blaise Pascal attests of competing groups, in his 'Provincial Letters' 45* Here he claims that a first group adopted a shibboleth term "sufficient grace" dear to a second group (in the sense, God gives it, but you must use it); they then reinvested it (privately) with the meaning according with their own unchanged contentions (summed as efficacious grace: God changes you as He gives it). In this verbal and unreal agreement they next cooperated jointly to oppress a third group, itself disallowing the test term, but following the second meaning!

Though living in the Winter of the century which preceded, and before the Summoner of these dark blooms, Luther was already stirring to prune where he could: it was an age when pruning was appropriate.

None is likely to affirm this with more acumen than Luther himself. Terming a persistent Medieval School 'sophists' (admittedly for the procedures he first exposes), he can even say of the presentation of tradition­favoured Jerome at one point: "Jerome deserved hell rather than heaven for it ­ so far am I from having the audacity to canonise him and call him a saint!" Nor was this magisterial outburst without some stimulus: Luther showed reason for his view that a concept of works inducing salvation was still fatally implicit in the free will vogue.

Unawed as little by contemporaries, and in particular by the contentions for free will appearing in the 'Diatribe' of the renowned scholar Erasmus, Luther countered ­ (in fact sought conceptual capitulation) in his work, 'The Bondage of the Will' 46* . In this he attacked the Erasmian view that a very little something still lay potential and able to act in human will vis-à-vis God: grace attested the activity of this quiddity by consequently beaming meritless abundance on these tiny sparks.

Luther contested that ­ maintaining that little could be further from grace as defined by the propositions and case of Scripture. "I could wish," he divulges, "that the guardians of 'free will' would be taught by this passage72* to recognise that when they assert 'free will' they are denying Christ." He would that his opponents should see that dedicated reason and definitive revelation team so to implicate will, as to insist that it is in a state of bondage.

a) A Place for Free Will?

First: man is placed in a position of condemnation, as an agent of outrage and exemplar of enmity. Be is 'flesh' which is 'enmity' 47* with God: all of him. Now to none of His constituted creatures can there be any debt from God48* : by a double certainty does this apply to men by nature bent on such a bias. Accordingly, do we not know that "to him that worketh the reward is reckoned not of grace but of debt" 49* ; and that, disjunctively, it is to "him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justifies the ungodly," that "his faith is counted for righteousness" 50* ? "It is," moreover, "of faith that it might be by grace." 51*

It is then, not of works that it might be of grace. Furthermore, persists Luther: "If righteousness is not reckoned to 'him who works', it becomes clear that his works are nothing but sins, evil and ungodly in God's sight."

Now we shall apply such Scriptural principles as attested by Luther to the view of Erasmus. One man is damned because he was without race by his own ('incongruent' or spiritually lazy) fault: another soars to pardon and paradise because he endeavoured with his little spark, to be receptively congruent with the grace of God. This preliminary exercise of free will is a disposer of destiny, is rewarded by acceptance in the divine bosom which then unleashes the grace of Christ, as a sort of living testimonial to its creature's aptitude. Luther's comment is forthright: "If this is not condign merit, I should like to be told what condign merit is. But it is by grace, and "that not of yourselves" 52* that salvation is wrought in man": and if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace." 53*

The Law itself with its "if's" and imperatives is to show the "exceeding sinfulness of sin" 54* and not the exceeding capacities of the sinner. "By the Law is the knowledge of sin" 55* : thrust to confession of impotence and gracelessness by its stringent rule, man is revealed to himself by the here pragmatic­seeming Physician as in hopeless case, and is made ready for grace, so that through dying55* is he transferred to life. Certainly innate spiritual ability is never entailed by the Law. Indeed grace­faith preceded its point-making
school­master57* rule; Abraham preceded Moses. "The promise was not ... through the Law ... because the Law worketh wrath." 58*

Thus we have two distinct human categories when we consider obedience to the Law. There is 'flesh' which, as we have seen, cannot please God59* and the already endued heart, as we now stress, which will: but it is Christ in His imputation, dispensation and prevailing presence who makes the difference. Only Christ will do. This preliminary free will, this is not Christ; because preliminary, indeed, it is not yet 'in the Spirit'; for it is to lead us to that condition.

That which is born of flesh is flesh; of the spirit spirit: But Erasmus wants something intermediate, despite the fact the sons of God are born "not of the will of the flesh".61 *

On the contrary, the Scripture reveals categorical antitheses constantly in the areas where unregenerate man, salvation and grace are concerned. "Out of Christ there is nothing but Satan, out of grace nothing but wrath, out of light nothing but darkness, out of the way nothing but error, out of truth nothing but a lie, out of life, nothing but death." In effect, Luther goes on: Out of a reborn will, only a "'free will' nothing but the slave of sin, death and Satan, not doing anything, nor able to do or attempt anything, but evil!"

How ridiculous to have this disposing will vis-à-vis the face of God, for it must be "neither evil nor good, neither Christ's nor Satan's. neither true nor false, neither alive nor dead, neither something nor nothing ... and its name would be called 'the most excellent and exalted thing in the whole human race'" But though it would be this if there were an excluded middle, where salvation and rule of Christ or the devil is concerned, did not the Saviour in this precise area of discourse, say: "He who is not with me is against me" ? 62*

Is He not found of those who "sought me not" 63* so that He can say: "You have not chosen me but I have chosen you",64* and "I know whom I have chosen"? 65 * Indeed, since "there is not one that doeth righteousness" 66*, how could His choice logically follow upon such efforts as these which men propose?

There is then, no excluded middle: it is free will which is excluded ... a 'nothing'.

Incomprehensible? asks Luther. But it is not merely tolerable that God's innate justice should evade that knowledge­lure which tempts the eyes of the soul; it is necessarily so. How inconsistent to seek to "arrogate so much to our judgment as to presume to comprehend, judge and evaluate God's judgment ... In everything else, we allow God His Divine Majesty; in the single case of judgment, we are ready to deny it!" How believe, he asks, if you can already see?

We considered man'sposition; but how difficult not to take this jointly with his essential condition. They are twins of the past, tied in the nature of God and man. But more specifically, is not free will ludicrous even in view of the ontology of it all?

b) The Nature of Free Will.

It is easy to talk of free will as if we understood it. Our speech often attests that we fail to do this, Luther insists. Erasmian free will assumes two agents in a system where one autocrat exacts a result from another, through that system over and superior to both: where in fact man impels God to confer grace by his willing.

Now these premises are of course incorrect ­ but the verbal case is worse. Even these premises are inadequate if we are to make will 'free': for that term suggests that it makes its own laws, paths and destiny. Let us rather be precise. The question is: Is will vertible; has it mutability ­ or as we in this essay would say, does it have disposability with respect to God? But if (with Erasmus) 'free' will is to be able to will and not to will the things which appertain to salvation, it must be able to will and not will the Word and work of God. That merely shows that a free will can be God's alone: not man's. At most it turns to receive or reject. Vertibility is the question.

But even this highly attenuated merely vertible­will (a 'compact') has 'arrived' at the point where it is without any good 67* power of vertibility or standing. Satan (the "strong man" 68* ) tussles with Christ: he leads men "captive at his will" 69* and "blinds their eyes" 70* . Only Christ can conquer him; and this by "commanding light"* 71   in a soul which is pardoned, through the Cross, the sin which Satan so assiduously attests.

These are two riders: man is the horse. Who does he think he is, what power does he assume, in choosing between such dedicated and vastly more powerful riders?

We have no space to follow more of the pungent words of Luther (justly clamant against our more general policy of brevity in our Vista region), except on the point of evil; here therefore we are constrained to end by noting the exquisite pattern of his rendering of Romans 5:1572* ­ The gift of grace is by Jesus Christ: It is a gift surely. Grace is its nature. Christ is its donor; it is given by Him. It is in His gift and not in that of free will: for grace is emptied not earned; sent not secured; granted not acquired.

Concerning, then, the basic argument: There can be no rebuttal, we esteem, of Luther's points on the virtueless impotence of the human will in its God­ward vertibility73* : not, that is, if we are seeking to expound the data of Christian­Theism as applicable to the post­creation era of generated man. But we must criticise three points.

c) General Criticism ­ in the Area of our Purpose.

Firstly: Luther treats converting and sanctifying power as a unilateral divine insurgence which is almost mechanical in kind. Free will, or vertible will, is natural to man; and although we agree that it is as much a misuse of lease to species of a mode of freedom when it is lost, or merely hoped for, as of health when we are sick or hoping for recovery: yet we must watch our conclusion.

The power is gone. but what of the constitution? The quality is gone; but what of the calibre? The dynamic has departed; but what of the disposition? Is the composition of man's spirit such that even when vertibility has vertigo, nature is annulled?

Sanctification is a matter of vital divine infiltration and human involvement: of grieving, gaining, seeking, inspiring, reproving, confirming ... God can practically work His own non­contingent will without adopting rigorously 'mechanical' no­touch modes of procedure with man: indeed, here we see He does. Nor is there any theoretical opacity about this, as we shall seek to substantiate in Section III74* . But what is clear in sanctification (and even there Luther is not altogether and always inclined to grant it), may have some application even in conversion.

Shall we perhaps be able to co­ordinate incompressible divine love, adept with and adapted to the needs and nature of man, with a situation in which there is a divine dwelling and brooding on man leading either to the breaking of the spirit in its inaccessibility; or to its waking through the destroying dynamic of the conversion-which­crucifies­the­sinner-with­Christ before he, re­created, arises? And all this before time and apart experience?

Could He penetrate the gloom of defilement without first transmuting it, and elicit an hypostasised response from the broken chords of disposability? ... and this without the contingencies of the vagaries of reckless moments and feckless inconsequence? If so, we must praise Him in this, that it is perfect: a procedure of sublime and not peremptory sovereignty, shielded from sight but not from coherence or consistency.

Secondly: It is strictly in accord with this monovolitional tendency, that Luther has an exceedingly restricted concept of foreknowledge. Repeatedly he affirms that if God does not determine directly, He must lay down His power. Necessity itself is in all willing since God has done it. This however approaches in effect though not in intention: existential pantheism.

Now as Augustine expounded it, foreknowledge in terms of a divine prevenient observation does not overbear the freedom of the acts of human will (within their strictly defined and highest possible limits) which yet must necessarily be, in that they are accurately foreknown. This, in agreement with Luther we see, as previously we saw in another setting, to be inadequate. But to proceed to this almost unmediated necessitation is not our only recourse; and it creates more difficulties than it solves. Moreover as a general hypothesis touching the relationship of the human and divine willing processes, it must concern sanctification also, and it there fails to be verified in terms of our data.

While accepting Luther's account of the (in­) capabilities of the will­in­sin, we do not accept his view of God's relationship to it, energically and dynamically. This reduces experiential and doctrinal fact to the very fantasy Luther is normally artistic in detecting, dismissing and deriding. To give but one further instance, it would make God's cry to repent, as Erasmus (with his own and extreme presuppositions) claimed, seem a gigantesque farce. "Hold that impotent will in rebellion," go the alleged or implied orders, "and scold it for failing to cease to rebel." Certainly, in effect, God holds and scolds, imposes and disposes; but the procedure of pardon and the method of election must better comport with these Scriptures and those of the essential status and illimitable inclination of love, than a retreat into mystery after these monovolitional assertions, will allow.

Finally: He may not and must not invade the sanctity, so to speak, of divine commonsense; ours is not to judge. But with this Lutheran note on bondage, we would hold the consistency of concepts already divinely given: for that revelation itself tells us to give is reason for the hope (I Peter 3:15).This necessity of (mortally) plumbless depths of divinity is a strong and good steel: the consistency (although of course formulated only provisionally) of what is revealed, is oil to its strength.

d) Evil and Necessity.

'Here is nothing new or different to be found in tracing the etiology of evil to sin: but as to the historic operation of evil, Luther stresses that divine activity is not to be suspended bocause some wills are perverted; if a man is evil, God who is good continues to summon sequence so that the good 'Rider' finds a wry result from the lame hack.

This Lutheran sense of the divine activation of all natures and the outflow of what is according to nature affords an interesting addition to our probing into evil. We must not in such rigour, however, allowourselves to miss thedivine discretion. This instils the plan or principle felt appropriate, into the minds which being set yet are to be embroidered into a tapestry allowing the resistant evil and the regenerate good to be exquisitely tended in relations now internal, now reciprocal, indeed divine. Here isaccorded a manifold conformity to the plan, purpose and Person of God.

Thus Boethius stressed overruling law; Luther, nature-driving divine activity: but the divine is ultra­legal and supra­activistic, whilst both pursuing principles and engendering action. This we must affirm. To the law and action we must add the divine Person Himself,

discreet and dextrous,

merciful and just,

tolerant and trenchant where need is:

unpredictable but characterisable, in part through His works, but in essence through His self-revelation;

unchanged but dynamic.

These are no antonyms, but aspects of what Luther elsewhere would rightly set beyond mere abstract conceptual analysis75 * . This then is the source of governance; and as such presents no bafflement but allowsno intrinsic componential analysis to stir and twinge within it, from those whom it has made.

e) Necessity and Predestination: Truth and Revelation.

Nevertheless as we shall see, as the Lord confers this type of analysis in His disposition of men, and so predestines, His stated principles of procedure continue to cohere without collision. His words, after all, are Truth and light; and as Luther so expertly shows, in light there is no darkness.{Of these, most illuminating here are these: whom He foreknew, these He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son; and these, Not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy - Romans 8:28-29, 9:16.}

In Truth there is no error; in exposure no conflict. In Him there is no shadow but rather light ineffable, continual, impenetrable (James 1:17). His word is truth and it is that which is in our mouths76* . We therefore do not need, as Luther, to speak of that unrevealed as compromising what is revealed, or to allow that what is reserved may be reversing what is made manifest. We say, and must say, rather, that it embraces it.

Luther's approach to repentance in this connection has Already been noted; but tine point requires development here. Replying to Erasmus' ridiculing (from another standpoint) of his ontologically restricted view of repentance77*, Luther failed to combine his view of necessity with the sort of attitude on Christ's part, which he went on to specify in terms of Matthew 23:37: "I would (divine) ... you would not (human)."

In this predicament, he improperly pursued the province of mystery so far as to say anent this problem: "He (God) does not will the death of a sinner ­ that is in His Word, but He wills it by His inscrutable will." Of this we ask: Where now is the acuity of Scripture which says: "But the Spirit has revealed them (the things God has prepared for His lovers) to us, for the Spirit searches everything even sounding the profound things of God"78* ... ? To this concept and word, we will return when considering Calvin's contribution.

Are there not implications in Luther's pursuance of this particular escape route from the otherwise certain clash of his principles? But these implications in the choice of escape are contrary to our common data.

Discretion is left in the plenary and unpursued divine counsels; this ­ but not the type of impenetrable principle which can mysteriously annul a clear statement of revelation: here one of deepest import. The Scripture negatives a will for, but affirms a limitless willingness towards the salvation of all men:79* a willingness which cannot be said to have been nullified, just because its pragmatically conceived issue or result should with some men come to nil; and where this is nil, His will has not broken company with His word, but first performed it. (Historically this is adequately illustrated by the very text in question).

This it would fail to have done if we could speak rightly in such a way of hidden and revealed wills. We may not invoke any empirical support from our data for this straight antithesis thus developed between (comparative) heavenly indifference and earthly concern; nor do we systematically need to adopt an anti­revelational view of the nature of the impartation of repentance or the depth of the diving yearning (and if for predilection we should yet do so, we should leave not only our system but the province of system). We should rather - and for these reasons, ponder the precincts of heavenly concern, pursuing thither the scent of what was revealed on earth, as we consider80* the possibilities one may envisage from these data, within Predestination itself.

Nor do we need very strong powers of initiative to make this pursuit80* : for do we not learn and do we not see that God is changeless; speaking from heaven does He not declaim the depth of this divine yearning, as we saw; did not God so love (in heaven) the world that He sent His uniquely generated Son; and did not that Son manifest His Father?

To interpret this revelation as data, we must be realistic about it. when Christ said: he who has seen me has seen the Father, He did not wish to signify a deficiency in that Divine Father81* - which none could find in His own Person82* (though searching often!): nor a deficiency in the One who as Christ was speaking, calling Himself the Truth in His revelation, and His revelation the Truth81* .

Rather was He actually underwriting the adequacy, aptitude, acuity and relevance of revelation of which He was the crux and the criterion. To take it further: so far was he from despising that method of procedure called logic, He made devastating use of it, in this very field of revelation, and even there reached to that which must have been implied (e.g. Matthew 21:42, 22:32,44-46).

To mystery, then, we cannot go in terms of revelation in overcoming revelation; and to these reflections we must add this fact:no method can make a direct contradiction of a statement allowable as its interpretation. If we deny this, we are denying the very grounds of our discourse.

Meanings my not at first appear; may be removed from sight, to speak in generic terms: but when in sight and stated, or stated as if in sight, they must be denied this turncoats capacity of interpretation by simple contradiction ­ so long as language is to be an orderly channel of thought. If this fact were not so, and some such 'method' could be used, then we would have to present our reasoning (if at all) outside of words, and certainly could not verbalise reasons for doing so.

Furthermore, we cannot ignore the point that the Greek 'Logos' means 'reason' as well as 'word', 'cause' as well as 'Expression'. Now while contextual (indeed pantextual) items constrain the translation 'Word' in that passage of John's Gospel which refers to Christ (the Logos of God) before time and proceeding into time, it would seem less than apt to expect either the acme of Revelation or the words He endorsed with His own name to be irrational or susceptible to logical shadows ­ far less to direct contradiction as their sophisticated exposition.

Such considerations, in helping to define our scope ­­ shutting off a potential escape route, but opening an avenue of progress ­ will tend to intensify our application to the task area as we move towards the final resolution of this particular love­and­predestination problem in Section III. But now, turning from the appealing zest of Luther to that cooler 'climate' which is conducive to the stress on breadth and system found in John Calvin, we may examine some further aspects of this very sovereignty problem as seen in the featured Plan of Salvation. Then we conclude with a look at an interesting insight once given by self­styled Arminian, John Wesley ­ seeking to be reconciled as far as conscience would permit, with such a system.

4. Calvin ­ The Systematiser

The treatment he accorded Servetus often assails the modern mind before his fine formulations of system, when it comes to Calvin. Was not this man of crystal theology injurious as a splinter in the heart, when colliding with those who differed? Didn't he have Servetus killed for an apparently refined theological issue? however ultimately basic it may in fact have been.

Schaff in his History of the Christian Church *83 indicates that Calvin himself is not known to have divulged the error of Servetus to the Roman Inquisition ­ but that a Genevan converted to Reformation principles did this; and although politico­theologian Calvin had this successful escapee from the Inquisition arrested in Geneva, it was because he regarded Servetus as a menace to security through an intended propaganda, the basis of which the Reformer wanted assessed.

This is true. It is also the case that Servetus insisted on coming to Geneva which was for him a foreign entity, with its own standards, after escaping from the Romanists, who proceeded to read over him in absentia, a horrible slow burning death sentence. Not satisfied with this, he proceeded after some months to journey to Geneva, a city divided in politics, and one where his presence was by no means irrelevant to its affairs.

Moreover, no less is it a fact that Calvin had sought vigorously, years earlier to help Servetus pastorally from his error, in protracted correspondence. It is nevertheless also true that Calvin, having "rebuked" *84 him (i.e. gravely exhorted) twice, and entreated on his behalf a humane propriety, let him be. The State however would pursue its process; and took the matter to the flames.

Is this merely interesting? Perhaps in a point it is illustrative. Calvin's system seems to give a due and "proper" regard to the "love" passages seized by his Sovereign System of Predestination; but then to let them be. And does not their Fate then take them to the flames?

Is there here in his assessment of the part of predestination in the plan of salvation more clarity than charity? Perhaps merely an imbalance.

Fortified by the contributions and considerations arising from the works previously consulted and having given some attention to a strong and often cognate Reformation stress in Luther, we shall and must be highly selective in approaching this work of Calvin: like some fastidious bee in pursuit of the nectar adapted to the niceties to be worked out in the hive. The point which we shall touch in Calvin is precisely this matter of love and sovereignty; and we shall touch it with respect to the high degree of system which Calvin has placed about it.

a) De Mysterio.

If, for the purposes of comparison, we were to abstract two trends, we would suggest that if Augustine is glorying in the sovereignty of mystery, then Calvin is glorying in the mystery of sovereignty : this of course as a matter of degree and emphasis. If Augustine is glorying in mystery, he does so in a less mechanical way than Calvin; he has more acute and revealing embarrassments with the sovereignty, more apprehension of the softening resources of that mystery. At the hand of Calvin, however, what with Spurgeon we specifically styled the 'grace gap' appears clearly filled ­ but not with grace. There appears in specific trend to be rather a sovereignty which, although capable of grace, is not essentially gracious.

Have we just indulged in a mere play upon words ? We think not . Speaking in terms of "accommodation" or of the moulding of the mysteries of the sublime deity into adjusted form, form that can hide mystery as readily as reveal it, Calvin shows a strong if subtle tendency to glory in pure mystery, pure unknown, pure incognito; and accordingly, when he takes the various mutually compressing propositions which we have been considering: pure enigma. Expanding this, he experiences no need to find a solution: following sovereignty as a light in a dark place, he tends to suppress the vigour and integrity of the love passages of open strain, in a way which surpasses in explicit system even the presentation of Luther ­ for whom confessedly it was more of a corollary to his major premise forged in and concerning 'The Bondage of the Will'.

b) The Sovereign of Sovereignty.

In discussing Truth and Revelation in Luther, we indicated our position anent any accommodation which makes revelation less than true *85; which makes truth less than the facts*86 ; or which makes the divine facts portrayed of less revelational stature than that tested by Scripture. Moreover, even if ­ which is inconsistent and cannot be ­ there were such an accommodation, why should that not apply to the concept of sovereignty as much as to the concepts of love which are involved, and suffer because of the desire to give it lebensraum? Why should sovereignty be given such a clear sweep of the bench ­ why not vice versa? a point Arminius in effect pursued. When we start with these conceptual "points of origin", we have chronic disequilibrium in our system; and it is in accord with the claims for unique and precise acuity of our revelation that this should be so; for the more refined a system and the more certain it is sui generis, the more damaging is the intrusion of an alien concept and the more inept is any analogue. What is written, by virtue of the author, is not susceptible to preference; but its magnificence requires its careful exposition.

Not merely, then does such an approach do less than justice to the doctrine of revelation, a point which we will follow, and to "inconvenient" data divergently trending from the adopted estimate of its major intents; but it allows more than justice to a concept which tends to replace revelation, and become a "master" key of interpretation. For this reason, as for others, this type of sovereignty approach must be modified at this point as inappropriate to the stringency of our data.

This sovereignty is taken as such that it in effect legislates, ultimately, eternally apart from the open strain of revealed love, as covital with it, co­essential, co­extensive, co­dynamic. This is a certain conclusion of strict Calvinism. This sovereignty acts and it selects: he would say that God is loving ­ to a certain point ­ even towards those who do not receive that dispensation and adaptation of love, that actuating availability of love, which makes the difference between heaven and hell. It may against this be urged that it is mere talk about terms: and such in a justly deprecatory sense.

Love does not need to be quintessential in order to be concerned with such a distinction in destiny as that! In this sense, then, in the viewpoint that is before us, love does not in its highest and only effective form in this region, penetrate sovereignty; but sovereignty can act alone. This having made the selection (as of course beyond time), the love pours out on those previously (logically previously) selected.

These implications are perhaps not always pursued with persistence, although Calvinism in general is notable for its clear development; it seeks an elevation and perspective such as that which we found in Boethius on the topic of time and eternity; but the way in which it has sought to pursue its program of implication has in fact tended to conceptual monopoly and involved a measure of unwarranted revelational restriction. This in turn has important consequences ­we are not deficient in this system in sovereignty; but if this sovereignty in predestination does not reveal the Sovereign of revelation, where in it is He?

c) The Son of Sovereign.

We have referred to a certain love­lack in the sovereign schema of Calvin ­ a pre­eminence of a principle in one area, with a corresponding depletion, in theory, of a Person. This was the more erroneous in that this Person is the originator of principles. There is now a correlative problem. It applies to the Son of this Sovereign Himself.

If we could say as is sometimes done, that Calvin is Theo­centric, not Christo­centric, in that he has the Father make a logically prior sovereign selection by ultimate authority; and that only subsequently87* does he introduce the Son to the question, according Him an agent status in the matter, such that He simply seeks, pays, procures and brings home the extrinsic appointees: if we could say this, the matter under review would be simpler.

We would then in straightforward fashion indicate that there had been an omission of Christ, the eternal co­essential partner of the Father from the processes of predestination; and add that such an ontologically inept omission of the character and essence of the Son in this ultimate predestining process would mean that this Son manifested as to love in a characterisable way on earth, was simply omitted from the character determining procedure of predestination. This, one would add, violates the definitive text as to divine attitude as well as to the power, place and immutable character of the Son, who has divine standing.

This is interesting; as although Calvin does not make this assertion touching the emplacement of Christ in predestination, the rebuttal will still in essence be found to be applicable. Implications from his propositions produce almost the equivalent.

Calvin actually says that Christ is the Author of Predestination. This sounds most adequate ­ He is divine: Father and Son are inter-essential personalities of the Godhead.

So strict however, is Calvin's authoritarianism (a sad diversion of the blessed principle of authority), that through what he styled the "decretum horribile" of predestination, the Christ whom God revealed must in election be concealed. We must see how this comes about.

Calvin stoutly asserts that God has not two wills. Yet he notes Christ's lament and yearning love for Jerusalem: His appealing and appalling invitation. Certainly this was the will of God. Again he notes God had determined through inaccessible prudence that He did not on any account desire the deliverance of the city, that He would ensure its exclusion from repentance grants, although these were readily accessible to Him for the purpose. This: but we are forbidden to conclude that God has two wills!

The point, he affirms, is that the will of God is manifold in operation, that is all. It is not two; but to be conceived in two aspects: the one superficial and revealed, the other quintessential and concealed. Christ's lament, in effect, becomes an urge of will but the divine current was set in the opposite direction. This is the sense of Calvin's protestation about the wills, when it is considered.

It is unavoidable to perceive that this would mean that the divine essence of Christ is here muted or countermanded in motion: a mere ploy in intensity, as far as word is concerned... since He suited deeds to words ­ this would apply to deeds also.

Now Calvin does not mean to downgrade Christ: he is vocally intense in the opposite direction. Moreover, he customarily exhibits great acuity in expounding Scripture. But we here find Christ an eddy on a current: such is not the Deity who is the Christ. What then has produced this result?
 

{Cf. Calvin's Institutes, Book 3, Ch. 24, Section 17. As for Christ's lament and statement of gathering in Matthew 23:37: Calvin's disregard here of the clear exposure of the heart of the incarnate God is a hiatus in the life of the divine picture, for which scripture gives no ground. If the "form" of God is not on earth as it is heaven, yet when we come to Christ's word: "He who has seen Me, has seen the Father", this is known,  because He expressly changed His form (John 1, Philippians 2), but not His reality (Heb. 1:3, Mal.3:6, John 8:58). Accordingly, rejection of a divine statement of heart and principle, for one at variance from it, is no interpretation! Concerning Matthew 23:37, see The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, Appendix B as also Ch.8, pp. 636-643.}

There seem to have been at least two reasons ­ the one predisposing, the other imposing. First is the noted tendency to downgrade revelation in general (again not characteristically, but solely in the manner noted). As the area affected must involve Christ, the word of God, His manifestation as such of the Father must suffer if the application of the sovereign principle is affected. Here we see how important an operational principle of revelation can become. Pressed by this principle of sovereignty, Calvin composed this theory of wills, although it is clearly obvious that no unitary being can will two precisely opposite willings in the same respect at the same time and do so with a unitary will: a point Calvin did not adequately pursue.

What then? If there is not this disjunction between this manifested will of Christ and the alleged secret will debarring Jerusalem whilst Christ was pleading with bared heart all those years ­ if there is not this disjunction of will, it must rather be between wills ­ say between the incarnate and paternal persons of the Trinity. On the one hand, will would be destroyed; while on the other, the Trinity.

Calvin means and allows neither. If then we cannot revert to two wills, perforce we must conclude that Calvin's system of sovereignty requires modification. We cannot have this secret will contradict this revealed will; we cannot accept contentions concluding in a theoretical splitting of the Trinity. But we can now understand any tendency to present Calvin's system as being Theo­ and not Christo­centric in the sense mentioned, excluding Christ from the election procedure: for the Son who manifested the Father in effect is not in Calvin's predestination essence ­ not as He was revealed. It is there, however, as we noted in our preliminary rebuttal, there as in all God's works that our data demands Him ... and He responds readily to appeal to His word.

If accommodation allowed this move, sovereignty appears to have given it impetus; and this in our second reason for the erection effectually, of two wills in Calvin's theory. He could assume an inference from the power of God and the fact of perdition - to a sovereign will which must perforce contradict the words of Christ. This problem of perdition, in an area of divine power, nevertheless does not require as it cannot allow this solution.

It does not warrant a conclusion that that character of love was not incorporated in the predestining process. Rather, in accord with revelation, we would say that though incorporated, it did not incorporate the lost souls in its resultant.

{They are not excluded for any lack of love, but rather despite its presence, and in view of its character. The reader may here desire to consult Appendix B of The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, The Kingdom of Heaven..., Ch.4 , with Ch.2 pp. 31ff., Repent or Perish 1, pp. 17ff., and That Magnificent Rock, Ch.3.}

How then can we have sovereignty de rigueur, or at least so as to retain its name, in integrity? In our Section III we shall propose a solution in composition with a similar requirement for love and the range of facts; so that love, sovereignty, justice, truth, consistency, all cohere in their integrity in a predestinative postulate designed to show that even in that sphere these things may be. We will find that they will cohere in the Sovereign.

In conclusion, we must stress anew, that this system currently under review does not as it stands avoid the merit problem. Men differ; and as Augustine pointed out, must be known in order to be predestined. Does some X factor of superior God-suitability in man88* (in part or by aspect) so to speak flash its superior pre-tempered but still availing smile, to One selectively inspecting? However conceived, X is the desired differential determinant before the Changeless One. In this, also, then we must modify such a view as here considered of sovereignty: and predict that we shall lose this part of its form at the Cross when we come to that final consideration of supernal predestination.

5. A Word from Wesley

This salient sovereignty appeared unduly to monopolise the toils of predestination; and not unexpectedly it met unretreating opposition in some quarters. So near systematic as to be intellectually appealing, it was emotionally cacophonous to the ears of many religious expedients; and even doctrinally divergent from some of the data. The extremes provoked by this view, however, if more satisfying to a 'feeling for' generalised divine beneficence at the highest level of destiny, nevertheless came to be set in a form perhaps even less amenable to the claims of Scripture and reason.

Wesley himself was slow to condemn Calvinistic Predestination in any official way. He long strove for friendly ministerial relations with Whitefield; he was reluctant to discriminate against Calvinists in his Classes: but at length he reacted sharply, and said of this form of predestination: It represents

"Our blessed Lord as a hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity, as mocking his helpless creatures bar offering what He never intends to give, by saying one thing and meaning another." *89

For some 50 years Wesley was an unflagging and vociferous proponent of the propositions of Arminianism, and held that all men had their sins expiated by Christ whose love lavishly had done all adequately, had effected expiation for all. Now we can see the force which led to such an extreme reaction: for just as Calvin's doctrine would (inferentially) omit the highest form of love, as pan­operative, from predestination, so Wesley's would show it not merely present without prejudice on earth for the purposes of salvation, but even fixed in a format of universal redemption! Indeed, as the first system would withhold the adapted love *90 , so the other would provide the effected atonement: as the one from those to be lost, so the other to them ­ and both without sufficient warrant. Nor is even this comparison necessarily other than unilinear: for a love absent in predestination will be so also in actuality ­ because it was so predestined! These extremes, then, are

understandable, but they are not acceptable:
if we are interested in conformity to our data *91.
Not, that is, just as they stand.

Of Calvin we have spoken; but Wesley we must ask: Can penalty justly be exacted twice? (and are you not he who has spoken against Calvin in terms of being reasonable*92 and of God's being just?). But if it cannot be so exacted, how then on the premise of universal redemption would God be free in judging to penalise any? If it was not exacted of Christ for all, then there was no expiation for all. But if it was exacted for all, then there is no judgment for any *93.

We read, again, in Hebrews*94 that Christ redeemed us from the transgressions which were under the first covenant; in Galatians *95 that He did so from the curse of the law, through His cursed death ("being made a curse for us"). In Hebrews*96 also we find express correlation of the pervasive principles that it is given unto man once to die *97 and that Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. It follows with entailment that this proposed formula of universal redemption has implicit (and not merely potential) juridical efficacy.

Whether therefore we reason from 'the things that are equal' *98 or from the direct doctrine on this point, we reach the same conclusion.

Again, Christ states categorically in a cause­effect formulation, that in the relationship between ultimate salvatory grouping and faith, the former is the cause and the latter the results.

"Ye believe not because ye are not of my sheep." *99 Indeed He made a practical and in appearance almost pertinacious categorisation of some present as: "not my sheep". This disjunction was made in the very situation where the categorical cause­effect statement eras uttered. Christ explicitly advised that He laid down His life for His sheep, and that these will never perish. We are thus confronted with a redemption which is effective and selective in fact; and Wesley is at variance. But we must not stray to the other extreme by gratuitously assuming any defect in the extent of the actuating love: for this does not follow, as we shall see.

In Isaiah­  so greatly used for quotation in the New Testament, but especially in this 53rd chapter, we find:

"He will justify many". *100

A sufficient cause for this action is then added:

"Because He will bear their iniquities." *100

Now God is no respecter of persons; and there is but one Gospel available to any man; and we are instructed that:" Whom He justified, them He also glorified"*101. Therefore, once again, it cannot be said that He bears the iniquities of any who are to be lost: otherwise they would be both justified and glorified. That love so justly dear to Wesley is not to be formally captured in just that way.

It is interesting and illustrative of what we said of motive for passing over these considerations in pursuit of love, that almost immediately one says this, and insists on grounds of which these few suffice as examples, that there is a limited atonement in the sense of pardon effected for ­ and through history to be provided to ­ the elect: this divine logic and efficiency seem to be mistaken for a tragic (and unScriptural) economy implying a deficiency of divine predestinative desire or devices which occasions the abandonment of most mortals.

Logically and textually neither view works; each involves a systematic expansion of a discreetly Scriptural principle: the one sovereignty, the other love. Each is true in its Scriptural (and uncompromised) form; neither in philosophic reinvestment; both cohere, we shall seek to show, for example, as far as the 'giving of a reason' may require us to go, in such a provisional harmony as Section III is to present.

This is not to say that we do not find a particular and valuable stress in Wesley, as a preaching proponent of open salvation. On the contrary! It is that of the adapted and adequate willingness of God even towards those who will be found to be non­elect. Abstracting this from the theological form in which it was invested, one obtains a sturdy reaffirmation in the Church of the considerations and textual points noted in our endeavour to moderate some of the more extreme reaches of Augustine's teaching. Even if, as sometimes in this area, we find an inclination for attitudes as much as for propositions, we must ensure that we enfold these in articulated form without missing the determinative influence of our data.

In a letter to Calvinist Whitefield, Wesley once said:

"The case is quite plain; there are bigots for predestination and against it; God is sending a message to either side, but neither will receive it unless from one who is of their opinion. Therefore for a time you are suffered to be of one opinion and I of another. But when His time is come God will do what men cannot, namely make us both of one mind."

Might we not interpret the attitude and express in other terms: The case is quite plain. There are too rationalised and too liberalised views of predestination. We must avoid both and seek not merely to avoid them, but to be constrained by our data.

But what of Wesley's last statement? Is there a beneficially provocative message?
 
 

CONCLUSION OF SECTION II
 
 

In concluding this Section, we may observe an interesting alignment of our sectional representatives in relation to the important sovereignty­love issue.

Luther tends, in resolving the problem and reducing the stress, we saw, to be ultra­revelational.God in His word has this limitless willingness; but not in His recondite resources of will. This stress was quite atypical of Luther in his attitude to the acuity of Scripture.

Spurgeon presents all infra­systematic side (although he is very systematic in presenting it); that is, he notes, differentiates and pithily develops two principles, but leaves to mystery even a provisional correlation, while sensitively stressing the dangers of too careless sovereignty inferences.

From Calvin we receive in effect anextra­Personal stress. This in terms of what C.S. Lewis would visualise as a lack of the third dimension, a want of solidity. Although there is always a yokage, even when there is a differential in operation, Christ as revealed is here diminished in procedural stature, in essential indwelling indeed, in the predestinative counsel. All that the Father does, He does; He spoke as He heard from His Father; He spoke Truth; He manifested His Father's name: we cannot allow, as it were, the absence of the unchanging Christ from the council chamber in this matter.

Augustine? Perhaps super­episodic. An impetus from his disputations with those who would invade the faith seems to have left him slowing slightly off course with violence and velocity impinging on the integrity of a neighbouring area of theology. Guarding grace from work­talking men, he tended to remove man from any mode of responsiveness or even involvement which would justify: "I would ... you would not"; and satisfy a limitless actuating love in the One who predestines.
 

ENDNOTES:


 
 

*1 Cf. p. l48, with endnote 70, infra, consulting especially II Peter.2:1­3: 7 and II Timothy 3:4­5.

*2 REF.BIBL.2.

*3 REF.BIBL.3.

*4 Italics added.

*5 REF.BIBL.7.

*6 That is, a late­written component book of The Confessions.

*7 REF.BIBL.24.

*8 Especially and extensively in his work, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus.

*9 Themselves occupying a system without a systematiser. Perceiving that virtue precedes corruption, Augustine gives reasons for the belief that evil originated, and outlines the method in terms of freewill.

*10 See also pp.64­66 infra..

*11 I Timothy 2:4.

*12 qelw - this illustrative use cited, has the identical grammatical construction, being followed by the aorist infinitive. The specialist followed here is J.E. Thayer ­ see Greek­English Lexicon (REF.BIBL.38) notes and comments, under the heading of this word.

*13 Here repentance and faith in the Person and Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

*14 For an interesting but here not logically relevant refinement, regarding the use of this term in conjunction with ''Creator": see Section III, p. 110.

*15 The Greek word here is boulomai and again it is followed by the aorist infinitive. It is so employed, e.g. in:

1. Acts 19:30, where it expresses a willing preparedness found inappropriate and not acted on;

2. Acts 27:43 where it represents an attitude (this time, it proved relevant and effective);

3. Acts 28:18 where it indicates an antecedent intention; this was not realised.

Those findings precisely accord with and allow for the meaning here given. See Thayer, Greek­English Lexicon, op.cit..

*16 Matthew 7:14.

*17 Ezekiel 33:11.

*18 I Timothy 4:10.

*19 Matthew 23:37.

*20 REF.BIBL.5.

*21 i.e. With reasonable confidence, we may be assured that there is a fault or fallacy in our logic. This should be verified and should be expected either in the validity of the logical form, or its relevance to the form of reasoning or structural form to be examined, or in the aptitude with which the conceptualisations have been extracted from the actual subject matter in order that they might be considered in terms of a valid, relevant logical form.

*22 Enchiridion chap.24, op.cit..

*23 REF.BIBL.4.

*24 I Corinthians 4:7.

*25 REF.BIBL.5. See pp. 209ff..

*26 In his book "Surprised by Joy", REF.BIBL.24, p 189.

*27 Indeed in the same work he asserts: "The only possible conclusion is that it is wills which are elected." (emphasis added). See Section III for a solution to this will ­ being topic, one which should touch both the view ­ in effect ­ of Augustine, and that of Lewis here given.

*28 Emphasis added.

*29 Matthew 11:21.

*30 Cf. p.127withendnote 92. See Hebrews 3:15­19, I Corinthians 10:1­5.

*31 A perhaps possible alternative or supplementary construction of this text may here be added for completeness.

The Tyrians, or some of them let us say, might have had ­ relatively speaking ­ a 'famine of the word'. Judged through many spiritual sowings to manifold reapings (Hosea 8:7), the eroded 'fields' whipped by judicial whirlwinds may be in turmoil and mess.

The Lord may wait (Isaiah 30:15 & 30:18; 32:15; 40:14) before, as it were, the next major spiritual Act of the drama is instituted; and do this with due regard for example to the relationship between content and the procedure in pressing the Gospel, through family, nation or tribe (the Aucas recently perhaps an impressive because an apparently strikingly simple case ­ cf. 'The Dayuma Story', Marjorie Saint: REF.BIBL.47) and region (nationallly card internationally similarly striking data may be considered for example in ­ 'The Second Evangelical Awakening', Dr.J.Edwin Orr: REF.BIBL.45).

Vast lessons are often taught by these means, leading to a wise restitution of contrition and insight, as the full moving of the Spirit of God is wisely made (Amos 4:2­11; Jeremiah 5:3; Zechariah 12: 2 &10; Joel 2:17­27. Hosea 13:12,4,7,9, 14: 1­3 ; Psalm 107) . In some such situations, and prior to replenishment, especially, it may become true that some individuals might have been converted if confronted with such a decisive, divine 'crusade' as in history they failed in their time to meet.

Of course we must distinguish this absence from any absence of worthiness-for-condemnation on their part (Romans 10:14 & 17­18).

If some such individuals had been so confronted and been converted (and the case can ramify: laity - Proverbs 24:11­12, like pastors, Jeremiah 23:18 and 22, can actually be directly responsible for some in the vast dispositions of history, not revived because they were not alerted nor told the word of God): if indeed a very few had been converted (Genesis 18:32 & Jeremiah 5:1), then Sodom itself might have stood (cf. Matthew 11:23).

Romans 2:13­16 gives a clue to a possible eventual exposure of such persons to the face of the One Judge and Sacrifice (cf. Revelation 6:16; 5:5­7; John 5:26­27; Hebrews 13:8): and all must pass in someway, the condemnation test of rejecting that Light (John 3.17, 1:9,11) and satisfy the plenary principle of love and availability of which we have spoken, past which indeed, there is a necessary and endless exclusion to which Truth itself would not descend.

We shall pursue this somewhat further in Section III in a relevant sub­section p.173 ff.); but we need here simply remind ourselves that a city is in view in our text; and that as far as those individuals are concerned, who failed to find the appointed time in the fashion we have described, God's earnestness may well involve in ways imaginable (as suggested) or unimaginable (and therefore not suggested) a test of equivalent actualisation.

Keeping to what the tent actually says, then, we need not in fact find any difficulty, even if the 'repentance' mentioned were genuine; and it may well be a case of rushing to conclusions through assuming principles which are not operative, to imagine one. In this way, the case of actual repentance by some, having been in view is covered. It was simply a sub­case of the evangelical ignorance­judgment question which though interesting and able to become speculative, holds no systematic difficulty. Moreover, our doctrinal data decisively require some such position, as noted in endnote 32 infra, and amplified in Section III.

The possibility, finally, that both suggested interpretations of our text are true ­ but so only heterogeneously, applying to different sub­groups in the city ­ is suggestive.
 

ADDENDUM:

It may be added that there is a rather strong possibility that real repentance was in view. True,  the COMPARATIVE morality of AT LEAST finding an impact of repentance in the imagined case at Tyre, even if not in the end more than the temporary reaction to truth in tired and muddied hearts as in the case of the seed on the shallow ground, would cover the case in one thing. Thus the men of Tyre might even then be seen rising up in judgment on the listless people (in the main) in Israel in Christ's day, who aborted an acme of opportunities the Tyrians never had. That is covered. Equally true, to be sure, such temporary and superficial, ultimately unreal modes  of repentance are not uncommon in the Bible, as shown, and as Christ's sowing-of-seed parable typifies.

Yet on balance, the THRUST appears this. IF THEY HAD HAD YOUR OPPORTUNITIES, THEN THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM YOU IN THEIR RELEVANT RESPONSE. In view of this, the case is a cause of SHAME in the light of a just comparison. In view of THAT, the likelihood of any SPECIAL augment from the strange advent of Christ BEFORE HIS TIME, had He in fact so visited Tyre in that day, is not likely to be applicable. The actual case perhaps rather would seem an abstraction for purposes of comparison. This does not entirely remove the possibility of a shallow and ultimately unreal repentance in Tyre, had Christ been there; though it does tend to distance it:  but there is a further consideration.

HAD He been there, repenting in "sackcloth and ashes" at the very least would represent, in that it was a type of reaction of the city, a rather large response of a deep and catastrophic nature. It is still true that such things can occur in the temporary sojourners in spiritual awakening, those who sin away the day of grace, who taste in order to spit out, who are touched but not radically changed in the end, like Judas. Both possibilities remain :

1) that they WOULD indeed have repented (cf. Hosea 7:1 and Jeremiah 51:9 where the DIVINE willingness to effect salvation is seen in the site of a non-event!), and

2) that it would have been a shallow substitute that did not last, remain.

Were there however a preference, it might simply be that their putative, supposed shallowness, on that interpretation, would scarcely adorn their lives for comparison purposes, for accepting the clear evidence of the Almighty, His love and His payment, His grace and His offer; and that perhaps in the end, the main thrust might indeed be that they WOULD have repented (cf. Jeremiah 23:21-22, with Luke 11:52, Ezekiel 34:12-22) in a due, just and sound sense.

If it is held that Christ was in blazing truth condemning the utter besottedness of the many in Israel, in that even men of gross failure in the commonwealth of grace, men who in former times were resistant to the end, and so met destruction in the historic sense, would have been delivered from THAT destruction - had they had the privileges of grace in the face of Christ shown to them at that time: then one result applies. They WOULD have repented; the whole history would have been different. The roll call of the cities would have had some alteration.

It does not of course mean that this is a divine mistake. His patience and His procedures, His delays for the impact of events, His waitings and watchings over the earth and all its components is nothing so shallow; and in that all deserve damnation in terms of His just requirements and the nature of heaven and of all peace, and the overthrow of divine ways  by human invention, including moral self-righteousness and ludicrous autonomy, the due process of history shows vividly many dimensions of human folly. (Cf. pp. 142ff. infra.) Thrusting simplistic thoughts into the divine mind is one of the unhappy and unhallowed follies of the unregenerate; and all are prone to this except by His grace (cf. Psalm 78:41).

It would however mean this. There ARE some who are not found in time, to whom the real love and grace of Christ would have come with salvation, had the final, and ultimate magnificence of the saving intervention of Christ been fully known. In that event, we revert to the simple point that the principles we have found in the study of the Bible propositionally, in terms of the scope of the deep love of God, relative to willingness for salvation, would then simply point back to predestination in the beginning. That is, after all, what the Bible says:

"WHOM HE FOREKNEW HE PREDESTINED" - (Romans 8:29).

THEY WILL COME FOR ONE REASON. They are HIS! They will come from any era, any epoch.

They will come by ONE GOSPEL, for there is no other (Galatians 1:6-9; Revelation 5:12-15, 21:1-3, 22:1-5, Ephesians 1:10, Colossians 1:19-23; cf. Barbs, Arrows and Ch.17, Biblical Blessings, Ch.9).

They will come to ONE PERSON, for there is no other saviour (Isaiah 43:10, Acts 4:11-12), even the Lord Jesus Christ. They will come WITH COMPLETE CERTAINTY, being predestined.

They will come without any ADVENTITIOUS changes, for they were FOREKNOWN. They will do this whatever tradition says otherwise, or worse, whatever tradition about the meaning of tradition, as if the Pharisees themselves were incarnated anew.

They will come without any ADVENTITIOUS changes, for they were FOREKNOWN.

They will come, if without normal means, as the Westminster Confession rightly conveys (Chapter X, III), then as the Lord sees fit; but they will come. HE will bring them, for He knows His own. Limiting the Holy One of Israel to assumed propositions, not bound in the Bible,  is not an apt art (Psalm 78:41). See Section III for ONE possible mode of understanding, then,  these things, predestinatively and before all time, IN TERMS OF THE PRINCIPLES CERTAINLY IN PLACE, by Biblical warrant. ALL that Christ is, is operative in predestination, for He has shown God in truth and reality, being the very word of God (cf. John 14:1-10, Colossians 1:19; and cf. Section III, pp. 106-113 infra).

Whichever mode of understanding be correct, or nearer, and when we have freely acknowledged that in the FORM OF GOD there is a depth which only He can divulge, the fact remains, the thing is to be done in His own way, by His own assured principles, and without their breach, in terms of His own statements, His own love as declared; and it will be done. NONE will be lost  in that ultimate sense  - such as those of Tyre, who did NOT meet the Lord on earth - for some technical glitch.

HAD He not met the Israelites to whom He spoke as noted in John 15:21-24, they "had not had sin" - that is the relevant sin, of securing their damnation IN THE FACE of the active and present mercy of God, looking right at them at the time, IN CHRIST. Something paralleling that in the mind of God is assured, before they DO HAVE SIN, in that same RELEVANT sense, in the second category, of not only DESERVING damnation, but securing it. It is NOT at all Biblical to act as if God were dying to deliver the sinners to hell; it is precisely the contrary. It is so, to the point that He actually DID die, in human format it is true, to secure their deliverance from damnation, and all that this implies. Colossians 1:19-23 is so eloquent in this that it rhymes, as it were, with the profound grief of Luke 19:42.

GOD WILL HAVE HIS OWN WAY BY HIS OWN WILL WITH HIS OWN GOSPEL. It is well, when a child of God, to have a child's mind and not to tell the Father what He can do. It is equally wise to INSIST that EVERY word of God be honoured in ALL teaching. (See Repent or Perish Ch. 1, The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch. 4, SMRAppendix B, The Biblical Workman, Appendix 2.)

*32 See Section III pp.173ff. In fact John 15:24 (an emphatic complement to 15:22) in the most direct and specific manner excludes this view. Without His inimitable words, His unequallable acts , then, in the sense relevant to the relationship of these persons to remedy: "they had not had sin". Although we have reasoned our way through the point, this text confirms a view such as that here reached from other data, and requires a rejection of that of Augustine in the particular account he gave of the Tyrian matter.

*33 See Section III pp.122­5.

*34 See 'Retractions', 11, concerning the work:' To Simplician', op.cit..

*35 Conclusion, To Simplician. Cf. 'Enchiridion' chap.9, op.cit..

*36 'Enchiridion' chaps. 9 & 16, op.cit..

*37 Now Augustine is moving (logically) from what in the preceding section was a tendency to delimitative confinement in the form of classicism, nearer to a religious containment and conspectus. See supra page 61, para.4. Augustine's tendency to classicism in one segment of our special area does not invalidate the statement that he was noteworthy for comprehensiveness and alertness to trends, to an unusual degree.

*38 1. In so far as Immanuel Kant's heterologous system has any relevance to the development of our own conceptual nexus, it is removed by this realisation, and by the additional point that the internal aspects of such a Being do not in principle present any slightest inconsistency or inchoation. In fact, as we find on investigation, they present a harmony as endless as the enquiry, and not ended by it. This internal harmony we shall be unable to avoid in Section III. A treatment of the systematically irrelevant but popular and sometimes misconstrued system of Kant is provided in the Appendix (infra): "IMMANUEL KANT ­ A BENIGNANT OBSTACLE", which specialises in his inconsistencies in summary form.

2. If such a problem as this basic conceivability of the uncaused Divine Nature ever constituted a "stumbling block" to philosophy (cf. Kant's 'Critique of pure Reason', REF.BIBL.18: p.412), it was because her eyes were shut. The relevant terms however will need to be defined in their own setting and produced in proper perspective.

3. Kant's problems in general are not ours, but tend to be peculiar to his system; and this is especially so in the Antinomies and Paralogisms. Nevertheless, an additional word on his relationship to the problem of freedom in one aspect, is appropriate.

Kant, apart from the necessary inconsistency of his system, as considered in the above noted essay, could not claim to have solved our here important 'problem' of freedom. He divides areas of Operation for Reason into practical (moral) and theoretical (scientific); and he cannot explain their conjunction, though he does express a hope for future deliverance in this respect (cf. Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason and Other Works on the Theory of Ethics', REF.BIBL.17: p.l84). Equally, an 'enigma' ('Critique of Pure Reason' p.413) of infinity and an 'unanswered' question (ibid. pp.412­3) of ' 'spontaneity' in turn afflict his two faculties of Reason (theoretical and Practical respectively).

*39 This brings into sharp relief the correlative issue of human freedom. This topic will be progressively developed, especially in our work on Luther, and summed in Section III. Our language in the above passage is decisive in attestation of sovereignty; and yet in the final and mutual development of all the Scriptural concepts presented for this purpose, neither this nor they 'mill need to be modified.

*40 As an experience, or a literary device suggesting this. For the appearing of this so­styled lady of Philosophy, see: Boethius, 'Consolation of Philosophy', REF.BIB.11, p.251.

*41 Though his implicit tendency to delimit the scope of reason by this one field, and the mind in turn by reason, is undefended and not necessary to his point.

*42 REF.BIBL.35, Vol. III.

*43 Spurgeon's basic type of view here is neither rare nor unhelpful, offering a prudent and conservative caution which we do well to consider in our procedure. J.I. Packer ('Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God', REF.BIBL.28) providing a view not dissimilar, refers to the "particular antinomy ... the apparent opposition between sovereignty and human responsibility" (p.22), while he alerts us to the fact that "our speculations are not the measure of God". He holds that an exhaustively comprehensible divine revelation without mysteries would be un­Biblical, in man's image and hence imaginary (p.24).

Here, however we must observe that the presentation of propositions mutually exclusive in terms of their correlated connotations regarding the same thing in the same respect ­ a contradiction ­ is not warranted by the presence of mystery; and its actual presence would warrant more than mere mystery. Moreover as Spurgeon points out, we do not in fact have this situation here.

So far from there being any antimony, it is our belief that we may in this world verify that if we avoid such dangers as the careless use of terms, the peremptory fill­in of their background or perspective and the misconstruction of considerations which God has after all seen fit to reveal, and accept the matter as a call to patient research rather than a signal for the abandonment of a most promising point, seeking we could hope and even expect to find what may be a somewhat neglected harmony. Indeed, the very excellence of the harmony in what has been a troubled area of human thought in general can provide further attestation for the admirable truth of Scripture and "reason for the hope" of the Christian.

*44 In the work: 'To Simplician'.

*45 REF. BIBL.29.

*46 REF. BIBL. 26.

*47 The abstract Duality of enmity is given new status in thin personally depicted living attitude. 'Flesh' signifies a human declaration of independence which secures this derogatory but apt title for unconverted men: Man's desired dominion has left his kind not super-human, but minions of mortality.

*48 1 Corinthians 4:7 e.g..

*49 Romans 4: 4.

*50 Romans 4:5.

*51 Romans 4:16.

*52 Ephesians 2:8.

*53 Romans 11:6.

*54 Romans 7:13.

*55 Romans 3:20.

*56 More than a metaphor. For example, self reference is replaced by Christ­reference for directional finality. In the sense which seemed most ultimate, a self has died.

*57 Galatians 3:23­25.

*58 Romans 4:13­15.

*59 Romans 8:8.

*60 Romans 8:3and 8:8-11.

*61 John 1:13.

*62 Matthew 12:30.

*63 Isaiah 65:1.

*64 John 15:16.

*65 John 13:18. ­

*66 Psalm 14:3 : Romans 3:10,12.

*67 e.g. Romans 7:18; and as for 'flesh' supra.

*68 Matthew 12:27 & 29.

*69 II Timothy 2:26.

*70 II Corinthians 4:4.

*71 II Corinthians 4:6..

*72 The Scripture here cited is used in conjunction with "this passage" (John 1:16) to which Luther addressed the ''guardians of 'free will' ", in the quotation, p.80supra. "John," he says, "is here saying, not only that grace is not received by any effort of our own, but that it comes by the grace of another, that is, 'one man, Jesus Christ' ."

*73 In its dynamic disposability towards the divine.

*74 We shall in this be satisfied with translucence: the source of these things intrinsically defies transparency ­ and His concern is very direct at certain points.

*75 Indeed this is constantly Luther's intention.

*76 Romans 10:8; Deuteronomy 4; 32­3; 30:11­16, Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3.

*77 This one must later expand in its essential as its predestining phase.

*78 1 Corinthians 2: 10­16 (cf. Proverbs 8: 8­9): Italics ours. The rendering is adapted from The Amplified New Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan 7th.Edition, 1958.

*79 Attested Scripturally in the section on Augustine.

*80 The task once again is set up ­ Section III.

*81 John 14:9. See p.12 footnote 10 for further reference. Cf. esp. John 8:26, 44­45, 17:7, 7:16, 12:45, 14:24, 16:15.

*82 From His Father eternally derivative, and with Him, essentially consubstantial.

*83 REF.BIBL.34, Vol. VIII.

*84 Titus 3:10.

*85 An entirely different question is that of interpretation; and in that regard it may be observed that if words are well chosen, they can be interpreted according to the mind of the author.

*86 As an incidental reference, one may appropriately note the Iitotes that the absolute God, creator and orderer attested in Christian Theism, is never embarrassed to know, or know how to know what constitutes for the agnostic, epistemological distress: ACTUAL FACT.

*87 Logical order: the chronological would ab initio be ontologically inappropriate.

*88 God­suitability would be an exquisite and ultimate form of suitability, as an attribute for any man.

*89 Schaff - 'History of the Christian Church', Vol. VIII, op.cit..

Indeed, Wesley went so far as to condemn the view that an inevitable decree from eternity limited the number to be saved ('Life of Wesley', by Robert Southey, REF.BIBL.36. p.253). In this, he simply failed to distinguish between the fact and the method of predestination.

*90 One relevant to the sinner and adapted to his need.

*91 Wesley's implications regarding will present an additional and not fully resolved problem respecting his treatment of the Biblical data: but as this is not intrinsically an historical exercise, we shall not repeat the apposite considerations to be found within our earlier treatment especially of Luther.

*92 Southey' s 'Life of Wesley', op.cit., p.25,

*93 Wesley did not pursue these implications. but insisted on 'acceptance' of the atonement if it was to be even temporarily effective. This empirical fact however is not logically relevant for we show that in Scriptural environment, em effected atonement for any person entails one which is efficacious. If 'acceptance' is to be necessary, this too and pari passu is entailed. To stress it as logically important in such a setting is merely to further inconsistency for Wesley.

*94 Hebrews 9:15.

*95 Galatians 3:13.

*96 Hebrews 9: 25­28.

*97 Hebrews 9:27­28. In context, the singular is exclusive of addition.

*98 Psalm 17:1.

*99 John 10:26.

*100 Isaiah 53:11.

*101 Romans 3:30.

*102 'History of Methodism', Abel Stevens, REF.BIBL.37, Vol. l, p.l89.

*103 If human personalities are represented as plane fires (with appropriate varieties), the Divine personality as Trinity would perhaps ­ omitting its ultimacy ­ appear as a solid: with all the heightened possibilities belonging to that form. This Lewis depicts in the perhaps unfortunately entitled but aptly phrased book, 'Beyond Personality' (REF.BIBL.23).