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jo. to Christ, and keep them united by an invisible band, which yet no foree could break asun. der: . But when he had more brightly discovered himself, he *d for a more exact know and faith.' And as he y teaches his people, “how they ought to walk, and to please God; so he also requires them to abound more and inore.” I*Thess; iv. 1. . . * * * * * *:: * ~ * * XVIII: We do not agree with those, who think, that by the unwritten word of God, those only were called to salva. tion through faith in Christ, who were eminent for the spirit of prophecy, but the rest of the church was so rude and ighorant, that they were brought to an unknown Christ, by the help of the law of nature alone, without the spirit of faith. For, down from Adam, the true church had one and the same precious faith, and the same common salvation with the prophets.” God' did not only speak to the prophets for their private use, but by the prophets to the fathers, Heb. i. 1. The prophets would have acted perfidiously, had they put the candle that'was'lighted for th mounder a bushel, and indolentl wrapt in a napkin the talent entrusted with them: Nor is it consistent with the piety bf the ancient fathers, not to have inculcated with care and diligence so. children, what they themselves had learned about the promised seed of the woman. So that though we are not to determine anything rashly, as to the manner and measure of knowledge, yet we are not to doubt; but that the revelation of a Saviour was made to the Elect from the beginning. * * * * * * * * * * , , or “XIX. This gospel call was never given universally to all men; unless"in the beginning of the world, just springing from Adam; or rising again from Noah. Though even then, God gave warning of the seclusion of some from his grace by the distinction he made between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent; and by separating Ham from his brethren by a dreadful curse, and the ancient prophecy of alluring, in 'after times, the 'posterity of Japhet into the tents of Shem; which insinuated, that the posterity of Japhet should, for some time, be aliens from the communion of the people of God.” Afterwards, the greatest part of mankind were fest to themselves, and though God vouchsafed the word of his grace. to the posterity of Abraham, yet not to them all. In fine, when he claimed Israel to himself for a people, he rejected the other, nations, and suffered them all to go on in their own ways,
Acts xiv. 16. And though, upon breaking down the wall of
partition, the apostles were enjoined to preach the gospel to every creature, without distinction, yet it was never so univer
chap. v.] OF EFFECTUAL CALLING. 353
sally preached, but that there were always very many nations,
354 OF EFFECTUAL CALLING. shook 111,
when he says to the Elect, in the hour of their happy visitation, “awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light," Eph. v. 14. it is no more possible for them to remain any longer in the sleep of death, than it was possible for Lazarus to continue in the grave, after Christ had said to him, Lazarus, come forth, John xi. 48. . . . . * , a ... XXII. Here God exerts his infinite power, by which he converts the soul no less powerfully than sweetly. While the Gospel is externally proposed to his chosen o, “he gives them the eyes of their understanding to be enlightened, that they may know what is the hope of their calling, and what the
riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Eph. i. 18.
he “openeth their heart, that they may attend unto the things which are spoken,” Acts xvi. 14. and causes them “to receive the word with all readiness of mind,” Acts, xvii. 11. He writes his laws on their heart, Jer. xxxi. 33. puts the reverence of himself there, Ezek. xi. 20. And not only calls them from darkness to his marvellous light, but also, by the call, draws them, not to stand still in the path of doubtful deliberation, but to run after him, Cant. i. 4. Not only puts them in an equal poise, but turns them, Jer. xxxi. 18. Not only o: persuades, and he is stronger and prevails, Jer. xx. 7. Nor does he solicit, but translate, Col. i. 18. Not by an ordinary, but by that mighty power by which he raised Christ from the dead, Eph. i. 20. Let * changeable human nature put on what form it will, it must be obliged to confess, that in this matter, these are so many displays of divine omnipotence, like so many thunderbolts thrown out to bring down its pride. , XXIII. Nevertheless, God deals here with the rational creature in such, a manner, that the liberty of the human will is not in the least affected: which he is so far from destroying by the energy of his power, that, on the contrary, he rescues and maintains it. He put, indeed, into the heart of Titus the earnest care of going, yet so as to undertake the jou of his own accord, 2 Cor. viii. 16, 17. It is a violence indeed, but that of heavenly love, the greater the sweeter. A certain kind of compulsion, but that of the most charming friendship; to the end, that the soul being loosed from the chains of sin and Satan, may rejoice in the most delightful liberty. God does not drag along the unwilling, by head and shoulders, but makes them willing; Phil. ii. 13. bringing his truths so clearly to their understanding,
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* The author's words are humani ingenii vertumnus, alluding to Vertumnus, a God worshipped by the Romans, under several shapes, because he was thought to be the God of change, and to be graceful under every form, and therefore I have rendered it changeable human nature.
chap. v.] of eFFECTUAL CALLing. 355
that they cannot but assent, so effectually gaining upon their will by the charms of his goodness, that they are not able to reject them; but yield themselves conquered, and that with the highest complacency; exulting with joy, ““O Lord, thou hast enticed me, and I was enticed, thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed,” Jer. xx. 7. I may well exult in this victory and triumph over the devil, for that I myself am conquered by thee." And who can be so rude, as to complain of any violence done to human liberty, by this winning power (so to speak) of the Deity P : * XXIV. It was certainly inconsistent with the power and majesty of God to attempt any thing and leave it in suspense, and not bring it to a final issue; it was likewise unworthy both of his goodness and wisdom, so to vex and distress a man endowed with reason and will, as, in a matter of the far greatest moment, to act, without knowledge or against his will, by a certain fatal and blind instinct of his own. He therefore employs the highest degree of force, thereby to conquer the highest degree of the corruption of nature; but a pleasant force, a force under the direction of wisdom, as became an intelligent and rational nature; which is so willingly overcome as not only not to resist because nothing can resist God, when he comes to convert the soul; but also because, should it resist, it would think itself most unhappy. But yet we are here to distinguish between the beginning and accomplishment of the call; as also between the object and the end, or that in which it terminates. For, at the beginning of the call man necessarily resists, and cannot but resist, because the object is an unbelieving and rebellious sinner and a child of disobedience: but in the consummation, he necessarily makes no resistance, and cannot now resist, because the end of this call, or that in which it terminates, is a believer, who owns himself conquered, and glories in the obedience of faith. This is, what the Greek authors emphatically call, attaväyxn, the contracting persuasion of God, who calls. XXV. The many admonitions, promises, and threatenihgs, by which we are invited, make nothing against this truth: for as they inform us of our duty, so they are made effectual to conversion by the internal operation of the Spirit: ; Nor ought the complaints of God and of Christ, of the unwillingness of people, to be converted, be objected to it; because these do not speak of any inward power that would bring about their conversion, as if they were able to weaken that, but of the external ministry of the word, against which the wicked harden their heart. Neither are we to urge, what we elsewhere find about grieving, the Spirit of God: because we are to
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356 OF REGENERATION. [Book iii.
distinguish between the common operations of the Spirit of God, and ... rations of the Spirit of grace; between the moral and i. supernatural actions of the Spirit of grace: between some more feeble impulses to certain exercises of virtue and piety, and that grand attempt of the Spirit, when he to convert an elect person. They grieve the Spirit of God, because they rather choose wooley the impulses of the flesh and of the devil, than his holy admonitions, which are partly proposed externally by the word, partly insinuated into their mind by conscience. Believers themselves also grieve the Spirit of grace, whereby they are sealed, as often as they refuse to comply with his holy admonitions; and though conscience, in which the Spirits has set up his throne, in vain struggles with them, yet they suffer themselves to be carried away by the flesh and the world; and likewise every time, that, with a becoming reverence of soul, they refuse to receive, cherish, follow his holy impulses, when he Huickens them to duty. Whence nothing can be concluded against the invincible efficacy of God, when he calls internally, and effectually undertakes the conversion of his
6. XXVI. We ought then attentively to consider, carefull hearken to, and willingly comply with the call of God, ... the external by the light of nature and revelation, and the internal by the Spirit, so that upon being brought to communion with God and Christ, “we may shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light,” 1 Pet. ii. 9. .
o Qf Regeneration.
1. By that same word, whereby the Elect are called to com-
“of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we .
should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” It is there-