You were meant to be here, the last Chapter in Book Three. Part II! Onto Book Four, the last book, next week. As Wiki says “Books I–III cover truths that naturally are accessible to the human intellect while Book IV covers revealed truths for which natural reason is inadequate.”
1 So, since we have shown that some men are directed by divine working to their ultimate end as aided by grace, while others who are deprived of the same help of grace fall short of their ultimate end, and since all things that are done by God are foreseen and ordered from eternity by His wisdom, as we showed above, the aforementioned differentiation of men must be ordered by God from eternity.
According, then, as He has preordained some men from eternity, so that they are directed to their ultimate end, He is said to have predestined them. Hence, the Apostle says, in Ephesians (1:5): “Who predestinated us unto the adoption of children… according to the purpose of His will.”
On the other hand, those to whom He has decided from eternity not to give His grace He is said to have reprobated or to have hated, in accord with what we find in Malachi (1:2-3): “I have loved Jacob, but have hated Esau.” By reason of this distinction, according to which He has reprobated some and predestined others, we take note of divine election, which is mentioned in Ephesians (1:4): “He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world.”
2 Thus, it appears that predestination, election, and reprobation constitute a certain section of divine providence, according as men are ordered to their ultimate end by divine providence. Hence, it is possible to show that predestination and election impose no necessity, by the same reasoning whereby we showed above that divine providence does not take away contingency from things.
3 Moreover, that predestination and election do not find their cause in any human merits can be made clear, not only from the fact that God’s grace which is the effect of predestination is not preceded by merits but rather precedes all human merits, as we showed, but it can also be shown from this, that the divine will and providence is the first cause of things that are done, but that there can be no cause of the divine will and providence, although, among the effects of providence, and likewise of predestination, one may be the cause of another.
“For who,” as the Apostle says (Rom. 11:35-36), “has first given to Him, and who shall make recompense to Him? For of Him, and in Him, and by Him, are all things. To Him be honor and glory for ever. Amen.”
Notes We’re certainly not done with this difficult topic. God being all-seeing and all-knowing, which are kinds of infinities, and our free will, which is another kind of infinity (there being many different kinds), can make you mad thinking about. Indeed, pondering the Infinite has driven many mad. How can we will when God is the First cause? And so on.