by John Calvin (abridged)1,2
Eternal Election, Or God’s Predestination of Some to Salvation, and of Others to Destruction
1. The Gospel not being equally preached to all, and among those to whom it is preached not always finding the same reception, this leads us to inquire into the doctrine of God’s eternal election. In the opinion of many, this is a perplexing subject; for they consider nothing more unreasonable, than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestinated to salvation and others to destruction. On our part, we shall never understand fully our salvation as flowing from the fountain of God’s free mercy, until we know His eternal election. The knowledge of God’s eternal election is productive of the most delightful benefit; but ignorance of this principle detracts from the Divine glory, and diminishes real humility. According to Paul, what is so necessary to be known, can never be known, unless God, without regard to works, chooses those whom He has decreed. “At this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:5, 6).