Golden Chain in the Description of Theology

William Perkins

Puritan Reprints

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To the Christian Reader, there are at this day four opinions of the order of God's predestination. The first is of the old and new Pelagians; who place the cause of God's predestination in man; in that they hold that God did ordain men either to life or death, according as he did foresee, that they would by their natural freewill, either reject or receive grace offered. The second of them, who (of some) are termed Lutherans; which teach, that God foreseeing, how all mankind being shut up under unbelief, would therefore reject grace offered, did hereupon purpose to choose some to salvation of his mere mercy, without any respect of their faith or good works, and the rest to reject, being moved to do this, because he did eternally foresee that they would reject his grace offered them in the Gospel. The third, of Semipelagian Papists, which ascribe God's predestination, partly to mercy, and partly to men's foreseen preparations and meritorious works. The fourth, of such as teach, that the cause of the execution of God's predestination, is His mercy in Christ, in them which are saved; and in them which perish, the fall and corruption of man: yet so, as that the decree and eternal counsel of God, concerning them both, hath not any cause beside his will and pleasure. Of these four opinions, the three former I have labored to oppugn as erroneous, and to maintain the last, as being a truth, which will bear weight in the balance of the sanctuary. A further discourse whereof, here I make bold to offer to thy godly consideration: in reading whereof, regard not so much the thing itself, penned very slenderly, as mine intent and affection: who desire among the rest, to cast my mite into the treasury of the Church of England, and for want of gold, pearl and precious stone, to bring a ram's skin or twain, and a little goats' hair to the building of the Lord's tabernacle, Exodus 35:23 The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant that according to the riches of His glory, thou mayest be strengthened by his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in thy heart by faith; to the end that thou being rooted and grounded in love, mayest he able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and height thereof; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that thou mayest he filled with all the fullness of God. Amen. Farewell, July 23rd, the year of the last patience of the saints, 1592. Thine in Christ Jesus, William Perkins