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Gentile Christians. The Davidic descent of the
coming Deliverer based on Is II 8 , Jer 23 5 , Ps 132 11
was an article of faith among the scribes, who
connected with it the hope of regal power and a
restored Kingdom. It would be too much to say
that our Lord's own discussion of the point (Mt
22 41 , Mk 12 35 , Lk 20 41 ) amounts to a denial on His
part of Davidic descent, but it clearly implies that
He did not attach to the traditional genealogy the
same importance as the Rabbis. The Messiah's
spiritual Lordship, acknowledged by the writer of
Ps 110 who is presumed to be David is for Him
the essential fact (cf. W. Baldensperger, Das Selbst-
bewusstsein Jesit?, 1892, p. 82 f.). The Apostolic
Church, however, appears to have taken for granted
His Davidic extraction on the male side. This fact
is genealogically set forth in Mt I 1 ' 16 and Lk S 23 - 38 .
Much earlier, St. Paul is said to have referred to it
at Pisidian Antioch (Ac 13 23 ), and in Ro 1 s he
expresses the belief that Christ was ' born of the
seed of David according to the flesh ' (cf. 2 Ti 2 8 ).
For the writer of the Revelation, too, it is an
article of faith that Christ is ' the Root (meaning
shoot or scion from the main stem) of David ' (5 5 ),
' the Root and Offspring of David ' (22 18 ).

Before the rise of historical and literary criti-
cism, the Psalms were assumed to be Davidic in
authorship and many of them directly Messianic
in import. In Ac l le the 69th Psalm, m 2 25 Ps 16,
in 2 s4 Ps 110, in 4 20 Ps 2, in Ro 4 6 Ps 32, in II 9
Ps 69, and in He 4 7 Ps 95 are ascribed to David.
Ps 16 is supposed to be the poetical embodiment
of an astonishing vision granted to David, of the
resurrection of his greater Son. In its original
significance it was a cry for the deliverance of the
writer from death and the expression of a serene
hope that the prayer would be answered. St.
Peter is struck by the parallel between the words
of 'the patriarch David' and the experience of
Christ, and instead of abstracting the eternal
principle contained in the Psalm that God cannot
leave to destruction any holy one with whom He
had made a covenant and applying it to Christ,
he assumes, as the exegetical methods of his time



permitted him to do, that the Psalmist had the
actual historical events directly in view a thousand
years before their occurrence. In the same way
Ps 110, which ascribes to an ideal King the high-
est participation in the sovereignty of God, is
interpreted, on the ground that David himself
' ascended not into the heavens,' as a prevision on
his part of the Ascension of Christ (Ac 2 s4 ). His-
torical criticism insists on the rigid separation of
all the Psalms from their NT applications. Each
of them had its own meaning in its own time and
place. The words ' his office let another take '
(Ac I 20 || Ps 109 8 ) were no doubt originally spoken
regarding some traitor, but probably not by David,
and certainly not concerning the betrayer of our
Lord. Yet 'the idea lying behind the parallel
perceived ... is usually profound, admitting of
suggestive restatement in terms of our own more
rigorous literary methods ' (J. Y. Bartlet, Acts
^Century Bible, 1901], p. 145).

In Rev 3 7 the Messiah is described as ' he that
hath the key of David.' This is part of a message
of comfort to the persecuted Church of Phila-
delphia. The whole verse is an adaptation of
Is 22 22 . The idea is that the steward who has the
key of the house possesses the symbol of unlimited
authority over the household. As the Scion of the
house of David, Christ has supreme power in the
Divine realm, admitting and excluding whom He
will. ' And the key of the house of David will I
lay upon his shoulder' (Is 22^) is synonymous
with 'And the government shall be upon his
shoulder' (9 6 ). Vested with that authority, pos-
sessing that key, the Messiah sets before the J e\v-
ish Christians of Philadelphia, who are shut out
from the synagogue, the ever-open door of His
eternal Kingdom.

LITERATURE. F. Weber, Jtidische Theologie, Leipzig, 1897, p.
382 f. ; C. A. Briggs, The Messiah of the Apostles, 1895, pp. 42,
74 ff . ; E. F. Scott, The Kingdom and the Messiah, 1911, p. 175 ff.

JAMES STRAHAN.

DAY AND NIGHT (figurative).* Besides their
literal meanings, ' day ' has frequently, and
' night ' on two or three occasions, a figurative
signification.

1. By a species of synecdoche, 'day' is often
employed generally as an equivalent for ' time ' ;
cf. the similar use of oV in the OT (Gn 47 26 , Jg 18 30 ,
2 S 21 1 , etc.). ' The day of salvation ' (2 Co 6 2 ) is
the time when salvation is possible ; ' the day
of visitation ' (1 P 2 12 ), the time when God visits
mankind with His grace, though some would make
it equivalent to the day of judgment ; ' the evil
day' (Eph 6 1S ), the time of Satan's assaults. In
this use of the word the plural is much more
common, and is illustrated by such phrases as ' for
a few days' (He 12 10 ), 'in the last days' (2 Ti 3 1 ),
'good days' (1 P 3 10 ). Sometimes 'days' ia
followed by the genitive either of a person or a
thing. With the genitive of a person it denotes
the period of his life or public activity. 'The
days of David ' (Ac T 45 ) are the years of his reign ;
' the days of Noah' (1 P 3 20 ), the time when he
was a preacher of righteousness to the disobedient
world. With the genitive of a thing, ' days '
refers to the time of its occurrence, as 'in the
days of the taxing' (Ac S 37 ), 'in the days of the
voice ' (Rev 10 7 ).

2. In Rev. ' day ' is used as a mystical symbol
for a certain period of time. As to the length of
that time the interpreters of apocalyptic have
widely differed. Some have taken the author to
be using words in their literal meaning when he
writes in II 3 12 6 of the 1260 days (with which cf.
the corresponding 42 months of 13 8 and the ' time
and times and half a time,' i.e. 3 years, of 12 14 ).
More commonly the ' year-day principle ' (cf . Ezk 4 6 )

* For ' day ' and ' night ' in the literal sense see art. TIME.



284



DAY OF THE LOED



DEACON, DEACONESS



has been applied, so that the 1260 days have stood
for the same number of years. Similarly the ' ten
days ' of tribulation (2 10 ), instead of being regarded
as a round-number expression for a short and
limited period (cf. Job 19 3 , Dn I 12 ), has been taken
to indicate a persecution of the Church at Smyrna
lasting for 10 years.
3. In a specific sense ' the day ' (Ro 13 12 , 1 Co 3 13 ,

1 Th 5 s , He 10 25 , 2 P I 19 ) and ' that day' (1 Th 5 4 ,

2 Th I 10 , 2 Ti I 13 - ls 4 8 ) are used metaphorically for
the Parousia with all its glorious accompaniments,
in contrast with which the present world of sin
and sorrow appears as ' the night.' ' The night is
far spent,' St. Paul exclaims, ' the day is at hand '
(Ro 13 12 ). Elsewhere he conceives of Christ's
people as illumined already by the glorious light
of that day's dawn, so that, although they still
have the night around them just as others have,
they do not belong to it, but are ' sons of light and
sons of the day ' (1 Th 5 5 ), whose calling it is to ' cast
off the works of darkness ' and to ' put on the
armour of light ' (Ro 13 12 ; cf. 1 Th 5 8 ). In keeping
with this metaphorical description of the glory of
the Parousia as a shining day is the conception of
the heavenly city, illumined by the presence of the
Lamb (Rev 21 23 ), as a city of unfading light : ' for
there shall be no night there ' (v. 25 ; cf. 22 4 - 5 ). In
this distinctive sense 'the day' is more fully de-
scribed as 'the day of the Lord' (1 Th 5 2 , etc.),
' the day of our Lord Jesus ' (2 Co I 14 ), ' the day of
Jesus Christ' (Ph I 6 ), 'the day of Christ' (v. 10 ),
' the day of God ' (2 P 3 12 ), ' the great day ' ( Jude 6 ),
'the great day of God Almighty' (Rev 16 14 ). It
is further defined by a variety of epithets in which
reference is made to its characteristic manifesta-
tions and events. Thus it is ' the day of judgment '
(2 P 2" 3 7 , 1 Jn4"), 'of wrath' (Ro 2 s , Rev 6"),
' of slaughter ' ( Ja 5 8 ), ' of revelation of the right-
eous judgment of God ' (Ro 2 5 ) ; but also ' the day
of redemption ' (Eph 4 s0 ), a day in which Christ's
people shall not only have boldness (1 Jn 4 17 ), but
shall rejoice (Ph 2 16 ), and whose coming they are
to look for and earnestly desire (2 P 3 12 ).

J. C. LAMBERT.
DAY OF THE LORD. See ESCHATOLOGY.

DAY-STAR. In the OT there are traces of the
survival of a dawn myth of which we have re-
miniscences in Job 3 9 , where 'the eyelids of the
dawn ' ("lU^SKEy ; LXX <>)a<j>6pov dvar4X\ovra) glance
over the mountain-tops to behold the sleeping
earth. The morning- or day-star is the son of
the dawn, as in the great ode on the overthrow of
the king of Babylon (nn^-j| ^n ; LXX tu<r<f>6pos 6
irpeat dva.Tt\\<av ; AV ' Lucifer, son of the morning ' ;
but RV 'day star' [Is 14 12 ]). From this came the
metaphor. But in the NT the physical associa-
tions of the figure are entirely lost, and the word
'day -star' has become the equivalent of harbinger
or forerunner some joyful event or appearance
foretelling the end of the night of distress and
sorrow, and the dawning of a new and better day.
'This species of symbolism was employed freely,
as every reader knows, in the Gospels. . . . John
the Baptist was the Forerunner, the Morning
Star. Christ was the Sun, the Light of the
World. . . . The usage persisted as it had been
originated ' (W. M. Ramsay. Luke the Physician,
p. 230 f.).

The word ' day-star ' occurs in the NT only in 2 P
l u leal 0wcr0<5/5os dvaTefXp tv ratj Ka.p5la.ts viuav ' and
the day-star arise in your hearts' (AV and RV).
The thought, however, is fairly common (cf. such
expressions as 'the dayspring [dmToXi)] from on
high,' Lk I 78 ; his marvellous light' [0ws], 1 P 2 9 ;
and specially 'I will give him the morning star'
\rbv drrtpa rbv irpuii>6v~\, Rev 2 s8 ; ' the bright, the
morning star' [6 durr^p 6 \afj.irpds 6 wpwiVAs], 22 16 ).



In the Apocalypse, it should be noted, the usage
(2 28 22 16 ) is different. While in the Gospels 'an
earlier age and another style of thought ' (Ramsay,
op. cit. p. 234) had called Christ not a Star but
the Sun and the Light of the World, in Revelation
Christ calls Himself the Morning-Star as ' the
herald and introducer of a new era,' and the gift
of the Morning-Star means ' the dawn of a
brighter day and a new career.' In 2 P I 19 the
writer, discussing the effect produced by the
Transfiguration of Jesus, says that by it ' we have
the word of prophecy made more sure ' (RV). The
glorification of Christ on the Mount was not only
a partial fulfilment of Messianic prediction, but
was in itself the earnest of a complete glorification.
In the squalid place of the worm (RVm tv a.vx/j.i]p$
TOTrtp the adj. occurs only here in the NT), where
the Christian's lot is cast, the prophecies, even
with their partial fulfilment, are a lamp shining.

The new day heralded by the day-star may be
the Second Advent (Bennett, Century Bible, in
loc.); but there is more to be said for Plumptre's
view (Cambridge Bible), that the rising of the day-
star points to a direct manifestation of Christ in
the soul of the believer (v rats tcapdlais vfj.>v). It is
the revelation and confirmation in the heart of the
Christian of what had been foreshadowed both by
the prophetic word and the earthly manifestation
of God's Son. Christ in the heart is the gleam,
the light, the Day-star, which the believer follows,
and to which he moves. He has therefore the
testimony in himself that he follows, not wander-
ing fires, but a star.

Witsius (Trench, Epp. to the Seven Churched,
London, 1867, p. 155) sums up the import of the
morning-star as follows: (1) a closer communion
with Christ, the fountain of light ; (2) an increase
of light and spiritual knowledge ; (3) glorious and
unspeakable joy, which is often compared with
light. Such hopes 2 Peter holds before Christians
in the squalidness of a world where God is not
known. But they know, for the day-star shines
in their hearts.

'Nor would I vex my heart with grief or strife
Though friend and lover Thou hast put afar,
If I could see, through my worn tent of life
The stedfast shining of Thy morning star'

(Louise Chandler Moulton).

For the same thought in the hymnology of the
Church reference may be made to the Advent
Hymns, ' Light of the lonely pilgrim's heart, Star
of the coming day,' also ' Come, come, Immanuel.'

LITERATCRB. W. M. Ramsay, Luke the Physician, London,
1908, pp. 230-234. For the morning-star in the symbolism of
the NT, see G. Mackinlay, The Magi : Bow they recognized
Christ's Star, do. 1907. W. M. GRANT.

DEACON, DEACONESS. 'Deacon' or 'deacon-
ess' (Sid/covoj, masc. or fern.) means one who serves
or ministers. In cl assical Greek the word commonly
implies menial service. In the NT it implies the
noble service of doing work for God (2 Co 6 4 II 28 ,
Eph 6 21 , 1 Th 3 2 ), or ministering to the needs of
others (Ro 16 1 ; cf. 1 Co 16 16 , 2 Co 8 4 9 1 ) ; and the
meaning of the term, with its cognates ' service '
or 'ministry' and 'to serve' or 'to minister'
(diaKovia. and Siaicoveiv) is nearly everywhere quite
general and does not indicate a special office. The
only passage in which special officials are certainly
mentioned is 1 Ti 3 8 " 12 , where v. 11 refers to women
deacons (RV) rather than to wives of deacons (AV).
But it is highly probable that ' with [the] bishops
and deacons' (Ph I 1 ) also refers to special officials ;
although it is just possible that St. Paul is merely
mentioning the two functions which must exist in
every organized community, viz. government and
service. A church consists of rulers and ruled.
The case of Phoebe, ' 5idicot>os of the church which



DEABTH



DEBT, DEBTOB,



285



is in Cenchrese' (Ro 16 1 ), is doubtful. She may
be a female deacon ; but this is very unlikely, for
there is no trace of deacons or other officials in the
church of Corinth at this time. Phoebe was prob-
ably a lady, living at the port of Corinth, who
rendered much service to St. Paul and other
Christians. Milligan (on 1 Th 3 a ) quotes inscrip-
tions which show that Sidnovos (masc. and fern.) was
a religious title in pre-Christian times. The Seven
(Ac 6) are probably not to be identified with the
later deacons. The special function of deacons,
whether men or women, was to distribute the alms
of the congregation and to minister to the needs
of the poor ; they were the church's relieving
officers. They also probably helped to order the
men and the women in public worship. The
qualities required in them (1 Ti 3 8 " 12 ) agree with
this : ' not greedy of sordid gain,' and ' faithful in
all things,' point to the care of money. See artt.
CHUECH GOVERNMENT and MINISTER, MINISTRY.

LITERATURE. F. J. A. Hort, The Christian Ecclesia, London,
1897, pp. 19&-217 ; M. R. Vincent, PhUippians (ICC, Edin-
burgh, 1897), pp. 36-51 ; art. ' Deacon ' in HDB.

ALFRED PLUMMER.
DEARTH. See FAMINE.

DEATH. See LIFE AND DEATH.

DEBT, DEBTOR. The Acts and the Epistles
give few glimpses of the trade of the time (cf. Ja
4 i3ff. } ! Th 2* 4", 2 Th 3 8ff -, Ac IQ 24 *, 1 Co 7 30 ,
Ro 13 7ff -, Rev IS 4 " 20 ). This may seem all the more
remarkable since Christianity touched the com-
merce of the Roman world at so many points and
used the fine Roman roads (see art. TRADE AND
COMMERCE). The allusions to debt are quite
incidental, and come in generally in the meta-
phorical use of words.

1. Literal use. The word 'debt' signifying a
business transaction is found in Philem 18 (<50eA),
where St. Paul delicately refers to money or
valuables stolen from Philemon by Onesimus.
St. Paul here uses the technical language of
business TOVTO tyol \\6ya. We meet 4\\oytu in
pagan inscriptions and in an Imperial papyrus
letter of the time of Hadrian (Deissmann, Light
from the Ancient East 2 , 79 f.). Dibelius ('Kol.'
in Handbuch zum NT, 1912, p. 129) quotes various
examples, as inrtp dppafi&vos [rfj r]tfj.-g ^XXoyov/j^v^v
(Grenfell and Hunt, ii. 67, 16 ff. ). In the rest of
St. Paul's half-humorous sally with Philemon
(efypa^a -rfj tuy x/>0 he probably has in mind rb
Xeip6rypa<j>ov (Col 2 14 ). The debtor could have an-
other to write for him if unable to write himself
(cf. specimen of such a note by an dypdp/jMTos from
the Fayyum papyri [Deissmann, op. cit. p. 335]).
The common word for 'repay ' is dirodldufu (cf. Ro
13 7 ), but St. Paul here uses dn-orfcrw, ' which is much
stronger than <bro5c&rw ' (Deissmann, p. 335 n. ; cf.
also Moulton and Milligan, in Expositor, 7th ser.,
vi. [1908] 191 f.). St. Paul thus gives Philemon
his note of hand to pay the debt of Onesimus. In
Ph 4 18 St. Paul uses, perhaps in playful vein again,
the technical word for a receipt, dirfyu, in express-
ing his appreciation of the liberal contribution
sent to him by the PhUippians (cf. d><?xw for a
tax -receipt on an ostracon from Thebes [Deissmann,
p. 111]). The term els Xd-yo" fyw (Ph 4 17 ) has
the atmosphere of book-keeping (cf. also els Xdyov
56o-e us Kal X^/ti/'ewj in v. 16 ). In Ro 4 4 we find the
figure of credit for actual work as a debt Kara
6<t>ei\-r)fjM. This is simply pay for work done ( wages).
The word 6 (i.ur66s, hire for pay, is the common
expression (cf. the proverb in 1 Ti 5 18 and piffOw/Mt.
(hired house) in Ac 28 30 ).

In Ja 5 4 the curtain is raised upon the social
wrong done to labour by grinding employers who
kept back (d^vorep^w) the wages of the men who



tilled the fields. James rather implies that there
was little recourse to law in such cases, but con-
soles the wronged workers in that God has heard
their cries. There was imprisonment for debt,
as was the case in England and America till some
50 years ago, but it was only with difficulty that
the workman could bring such a law to bear on his
employer. In Ro 13 6 ' 8 St. Paul expressly urges
the Roman Christians to pay taxes, a form of
debt paid with poor grace in all the ages. Christi-
anity is on the side of law and order, and recog-
nizes the debt of the citizens to government for
the maintenance of order. ' For this cause ye pay
tribute also' (v. 6 ), <f>6povs reXeire. In v. 7 he urges
the duty of paying (diroSore) back in full (perfective
use of dir6 as in d7r^%w above) one's taxes. <j>6pos is
the tribute paid by the subject nation (Lk 20 22 ,
1 Mac 10 33 ), while rtXos represents the customs and
dues which would in any case be paid for the
support of the civil government (Mt 17 28 , 1 Mac
lO 31 ). So Sanday-Headlam, Romans, in loco.

In Ro 13 8 St. Paul covers the whole field by pydevl
fj.t}5ti> 6<pel\ere. We are not to imagine that he is
opposed to debt as the basis of business. The
early Jewish prohibitions against debt and interest
(usury) contemplated a world where only the poor
and unfortunate had to borrow. But already,
long before St. Paul's time, borrowing and lending
was a regular business custom at the basis of trade.
Extortionate rates of interest were often charged
(cf. Horace [Sat. I. ii. 14], who expressly states
that interest at the rate of 5 per cent a month or
60 per cent a year was sometimes exacted). Jesus
draws a picture of imprisonment, and even slavery,
for debt in the Parable of the Two Creditors (Mt
18 23-3s . cf. a i so 5 25f.) > g ut the po i nt o f view of

St. Paul here is the moral obligation of the debtor
to pay his debt. In few things do Christians show
greater moral laxity than in the matter of debt.
Evidently St. Paul.had already noticed this laxity.
He makes this exhortation the occasion of a strong
argument for love, but the context shows that
literal financial obligations (6tf>ei\iri, common in the
papyri in this sense) are in mind as well as the
metaphorical applications of dtpeiXw.

2. Metaphorical uses. The examples in the
apostolic period chiefly come under this heading.
The debt of love in Ro 13 8 is a case in point. It
may be noted that dydiri] can no longer be claimed
as a purely biblical word (cf. Deissmann, op. cit.
p. 70). None the less Christianity glorifies the
word. The debt of love is the only one that must
not be paid in full, but the interest must be paid.
For other instances of 6<pdXu see Ro 15 1 * 27 , 1 Co 5 10 .
In Ro 13 7 6<j>eiMi covers all kinds of obligations,
financial and moral (cf. also 1 Co 7 8 [conjugal
duty]). The metaphorical use of 6<f>ei\ri)s appears
in Ro I 14 , Gal 5 3 , etc. The metaphor of debt is
found in various other words. Thus, when St.
Paul speaks of Christians being ' slaves of Christ,'
he is thinking of the obligation due to the new
Master who has set us free from the bondage of
sin at the price of His own blood. The figure need
not be overworked, but this is the heart of it (cf.
Ro 6 18 - 22 , Gal 2 4 5 1 , 1 Co 6 20 7 23 , Ro S 24 , 1 Ti 2 6 , Tit
2 14 ; cf. also 1 P I 18 , He 9 12 ). (See Deissmann, op.
cit. pp. 324-44 for a luminous discussion of the
whole subject of manumission of slaves in the
inscriptions and papyri, as illustrating the NT use
of words like diro\vrpucris, \vrp6w, Xtirpov, dvriXvTpov,
dyopdfw, Tifi'/i, Xev6ep6ii}, Aetftfepoj, tXevdepla, dovXos,
SovXeiJU, KaradovX6(i), etc.) The use of diroSiduui
with the figure of paying off a debt is common (cf.
Ro 2 s 12 17 , etc.). dppapdiv (Eph I 14 ) presents the
idea of pledge (mortgage), earnest money to
guarantee the full payment (Deissmann, op. cit.
p. 340). In He 7 22 in the same way tyyvos is surety
or guarantor. It seems clear that SiaQ-fiKi) in He



286



DECKEE



DEMAS



9 16 '- has the notion of a will (testament) which is
paid at death. Deissmann (op. cit. p. 341) argues
that 'no one in the Mediterranean world in the
first century A.D. would have thought of finding in
the word 5ia0ij/o; the idea of " covenant." St. Paul
would not, and in fact did not.' That sweeping
statement overlooks the LXX, however. Cf. art.
COVENANT. The figurative use of AXo^dw occurs
in Ro 5 18 .

LITERATURE. Artt. in HDS, DOG, JE, and CE, and Com-
mentaries on the passages cited ; A. Deissmann, Bible Studies,
Eng. tr., 1901, and Light from the Ancient East*, 1911 ; A.
Edersheim, LTu. p. 268 ff. ; E. Schiirer, HJP n. i. 362 f.

A. T. ROBERTSON.

DECREE. This word occurs only three times in
the NT, once in the singular (Lk 2 1 ), where it is
the decree of Csesar Augustus that all the world
should be taxed, and twice in the plural (Ac 16 4
17 7 ), the reference in the one case being to the de-
cisions of the Apostolic Church at Jerusalem, and
in the other to the decrees of the Roman Emperors
against treason.

The word in its technical or theological sense of
the Divine decree of human salvation, or of the
decrees of God comprehended in His eternal purpose
whereby He foreordains whatsoever comes to pass,
is therefore not found in the NT at all. The
Greek word which it most nearly represents is
irp66e<ns, which describes the purpose of God in
eternity for the salvation of men. 'They that
love God ' are ' the called according to his purpose '
(oi KO.T& wpbOeffiv K\ijTol, Ro S 28 ). ' The purpose of
God according to election ' (i) KCLT fK\oyrji> vp60e<ris
TOV Oeov, 9 11 ) is to stand, not of works but of His
own sovereign grace who calls them that believe.
Christians are 'allotted their inheritance, having
been foreordained according to the purpose of him
who worketh all things after the counsel of his
will' (TrpoopiffOtvTes /card, irp66fffiv TOV TO, irdvTO, fvep-
yovvTos, Eph I 11 ). The Divine purpose is ' a purpose
of the ages ' which God fulfilled in Christ (Eph 3 11 )
as He had purposed it in Him (irpotdero, Eph I 9 ).
God's eternal decree depends upon the counsel of
His own will, for it is ' not according to our works
but according to his own purpose (/card tdiav
irp69e<riv) and grace given in Christ Jesus before
times eternal ' that ' he saved us and called us with
a holy calling ' (2 Ti I 9 ). See artt. CALL, ELECTION,
and PREDESTINATION.

The decree of God, however, is not to be con-
ceived in the same way as that of Darius or Nebu-
chadrezzar, who could say, ' I have made a decree :
let it be done with speed' (Ezr 6 12 ). God's decree
has no constraining effect on the things to which it
is directed, because it is not promulgated to the
world, but is really His secret plan for the regula-
tion of His own procedure. It is not the proximate
cause of events, yet the objects which it contem-
plates are absolutely certain, and are in due time
brought to pass. Whilst the decrees of God are
' his eternal purpose whereby he foreordains



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