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Quotes by James Boyce


[God’s decrees were] formed within Himself. He needed not to go without Himself, either for the impulse which led to it, or the knowledge in which it was conceived. He had all knowledge, both of the actual and the possible, all wisdom as to the best end and means, all power to execute what He devised in the use, or without the use of appropriate secondary means, and free will to select, of all possible plans and means, whatever He Himself should please, and the impulse which moved Him existed alone in that knowledge and will.


The Scriptural authority for the doctrine of decrees:

1. [They] are eternal (Ac. 15:18; Eph. 1:4; 3:11; 1 Pet. 1:20; 2 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Cor. 2:7).

2. They are immutable (Psm. 33:11; Isa. 46:9).

3. They comprehend all events.

a. The Scriptures assert this of the whole system in general embraced in the divine decrees (Dan. 4:34, 35; Ac. 17:26; Eph. 1:11).

b. They affirm the same of fortuitous events (Pr. 16:33; Mat. 10:29, 30).

c. Also of the free actions of men (Eph. 2:10, 11; Phil. 2:13).

d. Even the wicked actions of men (Ac. 2:23; 4:27, 28; 13:29; 1 Pet. 2:8; Jude 4; Rev. 17:17. As to the history of Joseph, compare Gen. 37:28, with Gen. 45:7, 8, and Gen. 50:20. See also Psm. 17:13, 14; Isa. 10:5, 15).

4. [They] are not conditional (Psm. 33:11; Pr. 19:21; Isa. 14:24, 27; 46:10; Rom. 9:11).

5. They are sovereign (Isa. 40:13, 14; Dan. 4:35; Mat. 11:25, 26; Rom. 9:11, 15-18; Eph. 1:5, 11).

6. They include the means (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2).

7. They determine the free actions of men (Ac. 4:27, 28 ; Eph. 2:10).

a. God Himself works in His people that faith and obedience which are called the conditions of salvation (Eph. 2:8; Phil. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:25).

b. The decree renders the event certain (Mat. 16:21; Lk. 18:31-33; 24:46; Ac. 2:23; 13:29; 1 Cor. 11:19).

c. While God has decreed the free acts of men, the actors have been none the less responsible (Gen. 50:20; Ac. 2:23; 3:18; 4:27, 28).


The Scriptures recognize both the sovereignty of God, and the free agency, and accountability of man. Consciousness assures us of the latter. The nature of God…proves the former. The Bible makes no attempt to reconcile the two.


The Scriptures teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by His sovereign will, while conversion is the act of man turning toward God with the new inclination thus given to his heart.

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James Boyce