But some other of our doctors state the subject of God's Predestination in a manner somewhat different. We will cursorily touch upon the two modes which they employ. Among some of them the following opinion is prevalent:
1. God determined within himself, by an eternal and immutable decree, to make (according to his own good pleasure,) the smaller portion out of the general mass of mankind partakers of his grace and glory, to the praise of his own glorious grace. But according to his pleasure he also passed by the greater portion of men, and left them in their own nature, which is incapable of every thing supernatural, [or beyond itself,] and did not communicate to them that saving and supernatural grace by which their nature, (if it still retained its integrity,) might be strengthened, or by which, if it were corrupted, it might be restored -- for a demonstration of his own liberty. Yet after God had made these men sinners and guilty of death, he punished them with death eternal -- for a demonstration of his own justice.
2. Predestination is to be considered in respect to its end and to the means which tend to it. But these persons employ the word |Predestination| in its special acceptation for election and oppose it to reprobation. (1.) In respect to its end, (which is salvation, and an illustration of the glorious grace of God,) man is considered in common and absolutely, such as he is in his own nature. (2.) But in respect to the means, man is considered as perishing from himself and in himself, and as guilty in Adam.
3. In the decree concerning the end, the following gradations are to be regarded. (1.) The prescience of God, by which he foreknew those whom he had predestinated. Then (2.) The Divine prefinition, [or predetermination,] by which he foreordained the salvation of those persons by whom he had foreknown. First, by electing them from all eternity: and secondly, by preparing for them grace in this life, and glory in the world to come.
4. The means which belong to the execution of this Predestination, are (1.) Christ himself: (2.) An efficacious call to faith in Christ, from which justification takes its origin: (3.) The gift of perseverance unto the end.
5. As far as we are capable of comprehending their scheme of reprobation it consists of two acts, that of preterition and that of predamnatian. It is antecedent to all things, and to all causes which are either in the things themselves or which arise out of them; that is, it has no regard whatever to any sin, and only views man in an absolute and general aspect.
6. Two means are fore-ordained for the execution of the act of preterition: (1.) Dereliction [or abandoning] in a state of nature, which by itself is incapable of every thing supernatural: and (2.) Non-communication [or a negation] of supernatural grace, by which their nature (if in a state of integrity,) might be strengthened, and (if in a state of corruption,) might be restored.
7. Predamnation is antecedent to all things, yet it does by no means exist without a fore-knowledge of the causes of damnation. It views man as a sinner, obnoxious to damnation in Adam, and as on this account perishing through the necessity of Divine justice.
8. The means ordained for the execution of this predamnation, are (1.) Just desertion, which is either that of exploration, [or examination,] in which God does not confer his grace, or that of punishment when God takes away from a man all his saving gifts, and delivers him over to the power of Satan. (2.) The second means are induration or hardening, and those consequences which usually follow even to the real damnation of the person reprobated.