SIX VOLUMES IN ONE BY THE DISTINGUISHED EXPONENTS OF CATHOLICISM
REV. HENRY DODRIDGE, D. D.REV. HENRY EDWARD MANNING, D. D.REV. F. LEWIS, of Granada REV. STEPHEN KEENAN REV. BERNARD VAUGHAN, S. J. REV. THOMAS N. BURKE, O. P.
CHAPTER VI. OF THE SIXTH MOTIVE THAT OBLIGES US TO THE LOVE OF VIRTUE, WHICH IS, THE BENEFIT OF DIVINE PREDESTINATION.
ADD to all the benefits we have hitherto spoken of, that of election, which belongs to none but those whom God has chosen from all eternity to be partakers of his glory. It is for this inestimable benefit the Apostle thanks God in his own and in the name of all the elect, when, in his epistle to the Ephesians, he says," Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly things, in Christ: as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. Who hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will;" Ephes. i. 3, 4, 5. The royal prophet highly extols this favor, when he says, " Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and receivest unto thee; he shall dwell in the court;" Ps. lxiv. 5. This, therefore, we may justly call the grace of graces, and benefit of benefits; inasmuch as God, purely out of his own goodness, bestows it on us before we deserve it. For he, like one who is the absolute master of his own riches, without wronging any man, but rather affording every one sufficient assistance to work his salvation, pours out the abundance of his mercy on some particular persons, without any limits or measure.
It is also the benefit of benefits, not only, because it is the greatest, but because it is the very source of all the rest. For God, having chosen man for his glory, bestows on him, through the means of this first favor, whatsoever is necessary for obtaining of his glory, as he testifies by the mouth of one of his prophets, in these words: " I have loved thee with an eternal love, and therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee" (Jerem. xxxi. 3) ; that is, I have called you to my grace, that by its help you may arrive at my glory. The Apostle expresses the same thing to us, in much clearer terms: " Whom God has foreknown, he has also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified;" Rom. viii. 29, 30. The reason of this is, because as God disposes all things sweetly and regularly, he has no sooner been pleased to choose a man for his glory, but he bestows on him, on account of his grace, many others, and furnishes him with a sufficient supply of all things necessary for the obtaining of the first grace. So that, as a father that has a design to bring one of his children up for the Church, or the bar, employs him, whilst he is but a child, about such things as have a regard to the one or the other, and directs all the actions of his life to this end; so the eternal Father, when he has chosen a man for his glory, to which the way of justice leads us, takes care always to keep him right in this road, that so he may attain the end he is designed for.
It is fit, therefore, that they who perceive in themselves any token of this favor, should thank God sincerely and heartily for it. For though it is a secret hid from human eyes, yet there are certain signs of our election, as there are of our justification. And as the surest mark of our justification is the conversion of our lives, so the best token of our election is our perseverance in a good life; for lie who has lived many years in the fear of the Lord, and has been very careful not to fall into any kind of sin, may piously believe that, according to the Apostle, " God will confirm him to the end, that he may be blameless in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;" 1 Cor. i. 8.