Q&A: Puritan Quotes on Election

Puritan Quotes on Election

Question

Thanks for the Puritan quotes on salvation, self-examination, adversity, atheism, and providence. I have one more request. Can you list some Puritan quotes in reference to election?

Answer

You are most certainly welcome.

ARTHUR DENTA - A king, consulting with himself and purposing to declare his honour and authority, enacteth such laws and statutes as the best industry of his subjects shalt not be able to observe, pretending nevertheless, of his own especial grace, to be favourable or merciful to some and upon the remnant of transgressors to execute justice. From this spring (to wit, the honour of the king) do distill two streams, the one for his beloved subjects to drink at and live, the other for the malignant to drown in.

THOMAS GOODWIN - Moreover, as God respects no persons, so He respects no conditions upon which He gives salvation to us.

THOMAS WATSON - It is absurd to think that anything in us could have the least influence upon our election. Some say that God did foresee that such persons would believe, and therefore did choose them; so they would make the business of salvation to depend upon something in us. Whereas God does not choose us FOR faith, but TO faith. "He hath chosen us, that we should be holy" (Eph. 1:4), not because we would be holy, but that we might be holy. We are elected to boldness, not for it.

THOMAS WATSON - Let us then ascribe the whole work of grace to the pleasure of God's Will. God did not choose us because we were worthy, but by choosing us He makes us worthy.

THOMAS BROOKS - The purpose of God is the sovereign cause of all that good that is in man, and of all that external, internal and eternal good that comes to man. Not works past, for men are chosen from everlasting; not works present, for Jacob was loved and chosen before he was born; nor works foreseen, for men were all corrupt in Adam. All a believer's present happiness, and all his future happiness springs from the eternal purpose of God.

ELNATHAN PAM - This doctrine affords comfort: thy unworthiness may dismay thee, but remember that thy election depends not upon thy worthiness but upon the will of God.

THOMAS MANTON - Election is ascribed to God the Father, sanctification to the Spirit, and reconciliation to Jesus Christ.... This is the chain of salvation and never a link of this chain must be broken. The Son cannot die for them whom the Father never elected, and the Spirit will never sanctify them whom the Father hath not elected nor the Son redeemed.

SAMUEL RUTHERFORD - If so be that freewill were our tutor, and we had our heaven in our own keeping, then we would lose all. But because we have Christ for our tutor, and He has our heaven in His hand, therefore the covenant it must be perpetual.

JOHN ARROWSMITH - Election having once pitched upon a man, it will find him out and call him home, wherever he be. It called Zaccheus out of accursed Jericho; Abraham out of idolatrous Ur of the Chaldees; Nicodemus and Paul, from the College of the Pharisees, Christ's sworn enemies; Dionysius and Damaris, out of superstitious Athens. In whatsoever dunghills God's elect are hid, election will find them out and bring them home.

JOHN BARLOW - Whom He chooseth, shall be created, called, justified, sanctified, glorified; because His purpose cannot be altered, His promise revoked. Let Manasseh repair the high places, rear altars for Baal; the Prodigal run from his Father, drink and swift, consume his portion; Saul make havoc of the saints, put them in prison, do many things against Jesus of Nazareth; yet shall they come to themselves, mourn for their sins, and be saved. For they are elected, beloved of Him who is the same for ever. Were it not thus, what hope could the faithful have to see Babel ruined, the Roman whore burned, the Jew called, the Devil's kingdom destroyed and Christ's perfected?

THOMAS BROOKS - Christ is to be answerable for all those that are given to Him, at the last day, and therefore we need not doubt but that He will certainly employ all the power of His Godhead to secure and save all those that He must be accountable for. Christ's charge and care of these that are given to Him, extends even to the very day of their resurrection, that He may not so much as lose their dust, but gather it together again, and raise it up in glory to be a proof of His fidelity; for, saith He, "I shall lose nothing, but raise it up again at the last day."

CHRISTOPHER LOVE - If the elect could perish then Jesus Christ should be very unfaithful to His Father because God the Father hath given this charge to Christ, that whomsoever He elected, Christ should preserve them safe, to bring them to heaven. John 6:39.

THOMAS MANTON - Our spiritual estate standeth upon a sure bottom: the beginning is from God the Father, the dispensation from the Son, and the application from the Holy Ghost.... It is free in the Father, sure in the Son, ours in the Spirit.

THOMAS GOODWIN - Oh despise not election! therein lies all your hope, that there is a remnant who shall infallibly be saved.

JOSEPH ALLEINE - The right procedure: You begin at the wrong end if you first dispute about your election. Prove your conversion, and then never doubt your election. If you cannot yet prove it, set upon a present and thorough turning. Whatever purposes be, which are secret, I am sure His promises are plain. How desperately do rebels argue! "If I am elected I shall be saved, do what I will. If not, I shall be damned, do what I can." Perverse sinner, will you begin where you should end?

JOSEPH ALLEINE - Do not stand still disputing about your election, but set to repenting and believing. Cry to God for converting grace. Revealed things belong to you; in these busy yourself.... Whatever God's purposes may be, I am sure His promises are true. Whatever the decrees of heaven may be, I am sure if I repent and believe I shall be saved.

THOMAS ADAMS - Paradise had four rivers that watered the earth.... and howsoever neglected by many, they make glad the city of God. So Bernard sweetly: Eternal life is granted to us in election, promised in our vocation, sealed in our justification, possessed in our glorification. Conclude then, faithfully to thy own soul. I believe, therefore I am justified; I am justified, therefore I am sanctified; I am sanctified, therefore I am called; I am called, therefore I am elected; I am elected, therefore I shall be saved. Oh! settled comfort of joy, which ten thousand devils shall never make void.

RICHARD BAXTER - I tell you again, God hath not ordinarily decreed the end without the means; and if you will neglect the means of salvation, it is a certain mark that God hath not decreed you to salvation. But you shall find that He hath left you no excuse, because He hath not thus predestined you.

THOMAS ADAMS - Predestination is pleaded. If I be written to life, I may do this; for many are saved that have done worse. If not, were my life never so strict, hell appointed is not to be avoided. These men look to the top of the ladder, but not to the foot. God ordains not men to jump to heaven, but to climb thither by prescribed degrees. He that decreed the end, decreed also the means that conduce it. If thou take liberty to sin, this is none of the way. Peter describes the rounds of this ladder: "Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, charity." Thou runnest a contrary course, in the wild paths of unbelief, profaneness, ignorance, riot, impatience, impiety, malice; this is none of the way. These are the rounds of a ladder that goes downward to hell. God's predestination helps many to stand, pusheth none down. Look thou to the way, let God alone with the end.

RICHARD SIBBES - Some are much troubled because they proceed by a false method and order in judging of their estates. They will begin with election, which is the highest step of the ladder; whereas they should begin from a work of grace wrought within their hearts, from God's calling by His Spirit, and their answer to His call, and so raise themselves upwards to know their election by their answer to God's calling. "Give all diligence," says Peter, "to make your calling and election sure," your election by your calling. God descends unto us from election to calling, and so to sanctification; we must ascend to Him beginning where He ends.

JOSEPH HALL - Mark in what order: first, our calling; then, our election; not beginning with our election first. By our calling, arguing our election.

THOMAS ADAMS - We know there is a sun in heaven, yet we cannot see what matter it is made of, but perceive it only by the beams, light and heat. Election is a sun, the eyes of eagles cannot see it, yet we may find it in the heat of vocation, in the light of illumination, in the beams of good works.

DAVID CLARKSON - When you are dangerously sick, and the physician tells you unless you take such a course of physic, your case is desperate, do you use to reason thus: If I knew that God had decreed my recovery, I would take that course that is so like to restore me: but till I know that God has decreed my recovery I'll take nothing? Surely we should think such a reasoner not only sick, but distracted.... Even so are the arms of Christ always open to receive a perishing sinner fleeing to Him for refuge. And wilt thou destroy thyself by suffering Satan to entangle thee with a needless, impertinent, and unreasonable scruple? If there be no way but one.... then fly into it without delay, never perplexing (yourself) with the decrees and secrets of God.

ANTHONY BURGESS - This truth may be handled either sinfully or profitably; sinfully as when it is treated on only to satisfy curiosity, and to keep up a mere barren speculative dispute.... This point of election... is not to be agitated in a verbal and contentious way, but in a saving way, to make us tremble and to set us upon a more diligent and close striving with God in prayer, and all other duties.

ANTHONY BURGESS - For no man is damned precisely because God hath not chosen him, because he is not elected, but because he is a sinner, and doth wilfully refuse the means of grace offered.

THOMAS ADAMS - A man may be so bold of his predestination, that he forget his conversation.

Other Puritan Quotes:

Salvation
Self-Examination
Adversity
Atheism
Providence
Election

Reference

Thomas, I. The Golden Treasury of Puritan Quotations (electronic ed.). Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).