Now we come to show and demonstrate, that all the gracious acts and providences in the church are the products and execution of His eternal will. As for the act of effectual vocation (2 Tim. 1:9), it is not according to our works (Acts 13:42), but according to His own purpose and Grace, which He purposed in Christ before the world began (Eph. 1:3). That the Gentiles believed in Christ, was because they were ordained to eternal life: that the Ephesians were holy, was, because chosen to it, not for it, before the foundation of the world. The reason why a people are drawn in time to God is because “loved with an everlasting love,” (Jer. 31:3). The new creation and good works found in the Ephesians church (Eph. 2:10), was the pure effect of what God had before ordained. The hope of eternal life in the saints, is the product of that promise which was made by God, that cannot lie, before the world began (Titus 1:2). The sanctification of the church at Thessalonica, and their belief of the truth (2 Thess. 2:13), was in order to that salvation they were chosen and appointed unto from the beginning (1 Thess. 5:9). In a word, our calling, justification, and glorification, are all the effects of God’s eternal purpose. This was the doctrine St. Paul taught the church of the Romans (Rom. 8:28-33), Ephesians, Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus, etc. Christ’s being manifested in time to the church, was from His foreordination to it, before the foundation of the world (1 Pet. 1:20). His being slain in time actually, was from the decree in eternity, hence called “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world;” not so actually, but in God’s decree.
Hercules Collins (1646 -1702) From a sermon delivered in 1696 entitled “Mountains of Brass: Or A Discourse Upon The Decrees of God”