A Letter from Elder John Harper,
Regarding Predestination.

Western Predestinarian Baptist, Vol. 2, No. 22, August 1, 1845, pp. 349-350.
Near St. Marys, Ill., June, 1845.

Dear Brother Newport: --
I have received the 16th No. of the 2nd Vol. of the W. P. Baptist, and in that paper I see a communication from Elder S. Trott, trying "to show from the Scriptures of Truth, that the predestination of God, extends to the wicked actions of men, that is, that God has decreed or predestinated every wicked act which he permits man to perform, so that man does not act out any part of the enmity or corruption of his heart farther than God has predestinated to permit him, and so that every act, however vile, has its allotted place in the government of God, and accomplishes the very purpose for which it was designed in the eternal council."
Brother Newport, I may not understand Elder Trott in the above quotation, but if I understand him at all, I understand him to say that God "decreed or predestinated every wicked act which he permits man to perform." If God has decreed wickedness to be done, and then punishes the one who does what he predestinated him to do, where is the consistency, or the justice of the doctrine? Would it not make God directly the author of sin? I know that there are some who profess to believe the predestinarian doctrine, who, for the want of a correct knowledge of God and his revealed word, plunge themselves in the absolute fatality, instead of Bible predestination. I believe from the Old and New Testaments, that God is immutable and perfect in all his divine attributes. And that God has predestinated all things pertaining to his Church. For we are informed in the word of God, that: "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate, to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified." And you will find it again said by the Apostle Paul, to his brethren at Ephesus, "having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," &c. I find in every place in the scriptures of truth, God "predestinated" for good and not for evil. I believe there are two great mysteries; that is, the "mystery of Godliness and the mystery of iniquity." And the mind of man cannot fathom either, for it is said "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out!" And again, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been his counselor?" Now let us see what is said on the other hand: "Let no man deceive you by any means," &c. "And that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition," &c. "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work, only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." Again, "Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs, and lying wonders. As God is perfect in his wisdom and knew Satan and all his devices, and that he was always ready to do wicked acts when ever permitted to do them, without God having to decree the wicked acts of men; so I conclude it is all a mistake about God's predestinating man to do wickedly, and then pronounce a woe upon him for doing so. Sin is either the sinner's crime, or it is his misfortune, and if God decreed the sinner to sin, is not sin by misfortune? Most assuredly it is, and not his crime. But sin is of the devil. He was the cause of man's transgressing the law which God gave to him to keep. "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." Again, "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." No! but every thing that is good comes from God, and every thing that is evil comes from the devil, and the devil possesses great power, but God possesses all power over death, hell, and the grave, is, and will carry on his work of grace in the hearts of his people, and will finally save all his children, while the devil with all his wicked crew, will be turned into hell, (or the "bottomless" pit where he came from.) For it is evident that "sweet water and bitter never came from the same fountain," neither can good and bad both spring from the same source; "first make the tree good and the fruit good or the tree corrupt and the tree corrupt."
Brother Newport, if you please, you may give this a place in your paper, as I have a small remittance to make, and you requested me to give you something from my pen for publication, I send you these lines, taking all responsibility to myself, and hoping that God may bless it to the comfort of some of his dear lambs.
I ascribe myself your brother and fellow laborer in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.


P. S. - Brother Newport, if Elder Trott, or any other brother takes any exceptions to the above sentiments, I will be prepared to sustain them by the standard of eternal truth.

I am yours, truly

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