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Chapter 3. Of God's Decree

Article 1. God, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, did from all eternity freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass, yet so as thereby God is not the author of sin, violence is not offered to the will of the creatures, and the liberty or contingency of second causes not taken away, but rather established.

Article 2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, yet He has not decreed anything because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.

Article 3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels (the elect) are predestined to everlasting life, to the praise of His glorious grace, while others are foreordained to everlasting death (the reprobate), being left to act according to their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.

Article 4. These angels and men thus predestined and foreordained are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

Article 5. Before the foundation of the world, God chose the elect in Christ unto everlasting glory, according to His eternal and immutable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of these, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving Him thereunto. All this is to the praise of His glorious grace.

Article 6. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He also, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means to that end. Therefore, they who are elect, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called to faith in Christ, by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation. Moreover, none other is redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

Article 7. God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, by which He extends or withholds mercy as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by the rest of mankind and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.

Article 8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, in order that men, in faith attending the will of God revealed in His Word and yielding obedience, may be assured of their eternal election, from the certainty of their effectual vocation. So shall this doctrine provide all matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

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