While working on the next (and I think, for the moment, final) segment of my response to Paul Owen’s stealth anti-Calvinism, I noted his referring his readers to Calvin’s discussion of election in the Institutes. What I found ironic was that barely a few pages after the section he cited, we read these words, which are not only relevant to the previous portion (i.e., note that this Baptist sees Judas as Calvin did, while Owen the “real” Calvinist disagrees with Calvin) but to the final portion (on John 10) as well:
CHRIST’S WITNESS CONCERNING ELECTION
Now let the sovereign Judge and Master give utterance on the whole question. Detecting such great hardness in his listeners that he would be almost wasting words before the crowd, in order to overcome this hindrance he cries out: “All that the Father gives me will come to me” [John 6:37]. “For this is the will of the Father,… that whatever he has given me, I should lose nothing of it.” [John 6:39.] Note that the Father’s gift is the beginning of our reception into the surety and protection of Christ. Perhaps someone will here turn the argument around and object that only those who in faith have voluntarily yielded are considered to be the Father’s own. Yet Christ insists upon this point alone: even though the desertions of vast multitudes shake the whole world, God’s firm plan that election may never be shaken will be more stable than the very heavens. The elect are said to have been the Father’s before he gave them his only-begotten Son. They ask whether by nature. No, those who were strangers he makes his own by drawing them to him. Christ’s words are too clear to be covered up with any clouds of evasion. “No one,” he says, “can come to me unless the Father… draws him… Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” [John 6:44-45.] If all men in general bowed the knee before Christ, election would be general; now in the fewness of believers a manifest diversity appears. Therefore, after Christ declared that the disciples who were given him were the special possession of God the Father [John 17:6], a little later he adds: “I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine” [John 17:9 p.; see also John 15:19]. Whence it comes about that the whole world does not belong to its Creator except that grace rescues from God’s curse and wrath and eternal death a limited number who would otherwise perish. But the world itself is left to its own destruction, to which it has been destined. Meanwhile, although Christ interposes himself as mediator, he claims for himself, in common with the Father, the right to choose. “I am not speaking,” he says, “of all; I know whom I have chosen.” [John 13:18.] If anyone ask whence he has chosen them, he replies in another passage: “From the world” [John 15:19], which he excludes from his prayers when he commends his disciples to the Father [John 17:9]. This we must believe: when he declares that he knows whom he has chosen, he denotes in the human genus a particular species, distinguished not by the quality of its virtues but by heavenly decree.
From this we may infer that none excel by their own effort or diligence, seeing that Christ makes himself the Author of election. He elsewhere numbers Judas among the elect, although he “is a devil” [John 6:70]. This refers only to the office of apostle, which, even though it is a clear mirror of God’s favor, as Paul often acknowledges in his own person [e.g., Galatians 1:16; Ephesians 3:7], still does not contain in itself the hope of eternal salvation. Judas, then, could be worse than a devil, since he faithlessly discharged the office of apostle, but Christ does not allow any of those whom he has once for all engrafted into his body to perish [John 10:28]; for in preserving their salvation he will perform what he has promised—namely, he will show forth God’s power, which “is greater than all” [John 10:29]. For what he says elsewhere, “Father,… of those… whom thou hast given me none… is lost but the son of perdition” [John 17:11-12], even though the expression is misused, involves no ambiguity. To sum up: by free adoption God makes those whom he wills to be his sons; the intrinsic cause of this is in himself, for he is content with his own secret good pleasure. [3:22.7]