Election And Foreordination -- By: C. Walker
BSac 49:194 (April 1892) p. 276
Election And Foreordination
THESE topics, and the difficulties connected with them, can never be entirely eliminated from human speculation. Some of the difficulties, in certain respects, may indeed be greatly alleviated. Such alleviation, for instance, may come in the spirit and temper in which the subject is approached and dealt with,—in which conclusions reached, are held and asserted. Similar relief may follow the clear and distinct recognition, and confession, of the real difficulties of the case, intellectually and morally,—the necessity, therefore, of great moderation as to one’s own conclusions, of great forbearance as to those of others. So, again, such alleviation may come in the distinct cognizance of what is the central difficulty, where is really the pinch, speculatively or practically, to the full comprehension of the issues involved. And, last of all, there may be relief, or disentanglement, in the limitation of the inquiry to some specific sphere of investigation. There is, we will say, a philosophical election and predestination. There is a Scripture doctrine of the same subject. And, then again, there may be theological systems, usually attempted combinations of Scripture and philosophy. The distinct limitation of the discussion to one of these fields, and the keeping it there, will remove at least some of the entanglements with which it has been connected. As to the first two of these alleviating influences, we may well rejoice that we have come into the inheritance of them. The bitterness and intolerance with which these
BSac 49:194 (April 1892) p. 277
questions were discussed, at earlier periods, in the days of Augustine and Gottschalk or even of those of the Reformation, by men who a few days after died together, at the stake, as martyrs for Christ; the ferocity which drove such men as Grotius and Episcopius into exile; the harshness of spirit and of language, in its discussion, by such men as Wesley and Toplady,—these are now recognized, almost universally, as entirely out of place. Earnestness is not necessarily bitterness or ferociousness. Nor is it likely that these questions will ever again be discussed in that manner. Whatever the system held or the position defended, its manifested and unavoidable difficulties will enforce moderation.
It will additionally help us, moreover, to keep in view the two other alleviating agencies already alluded to, in any such investigation: 1st. Upon what field shall it be investigated? 2d. Shall we confine it to that field?
It is a question of philosophy. How, in the domain of philosophy, is it to be investigated? It is a doctrine of Scripture. What does Scripture say in regard to it? Where, with the former, is the central diffi...
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