« AnteriorContinuar »
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. 1. 1. The Prophets would have acted perfidiously, had they put the candle, that was lighted for them, under a bulhel, and indolently wrapt in a napkin the talent entrusted with them. Nor is it consistent with the piety of the ancient fathers, not to have inculcated, with care and diligence, upon their children, what they themselves had learn, ed about the promised seed of the woman. So that tho' we are not to determine any thing rafhly, as to the manner and measure of knowledge, yet we are not to doubt, but that the reyeļation of a Saviour was made to the Elect from the beginning.
XIX. This gospel-call was never given universally Yet never to all men ; unless in the beginning of the world, juft universalspringing from Adam, or rising again from Noah Whole Tho'even then, God gave warning of the seclusion of world, fome from his grace, by the distinction he made between the feed of the woman and the seed of the fer, pent; and by seperating Ham from his brethren by a dreadful curse, and the ancient prophecy of alureing, 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 greateft part of mankind were left to themselves, and tho' 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, A&ts. 14. 16. And tho', upon breaking down the wall of partition, the Apostles were enjoined to preach the Gospel to every creature, with. out distinction, yet it was never so universally preached, but that there were always very many nations, and still are at this day, whom the report of the Gos
pel never reached. They are therefore mistaken who,
verfal call to Christ. All to
XX. This call contains the command of faith, command by which all men without exception, to whom God of faith, vouchsafes the same, are enjoined to believe in Christ, but in a in that way and manner, which is revealed in the proper or- Gospel, IJ: 45. 22, look unto me and be ye saved all the
ends of the carth. But the method of believing is
XXI. But that external call will bring none to To the communion with Christ, unless it be accompanied
must be with the internal, which is accomplished not only by added the persuasion and command, but by the powerful ope- internal ration of the Spirit. There is a certain call of God, call. whereby he makes the things, he calls, to exist, by that very call. By such a call, be calletb those things which be not, as though they were Rom. 4. 17. For, when he faid, let there be light, immediately tberc was light, Gen. 1. 3. Not unlike this is that internal call of the Spirit, of which the Apostle writes, 2 Cor. 4. 6, God wbo commanded the light to shine out of darkcefs, bath shined in our hearts. But when he says to the Elect, in the hour of their happy visitation, awake thou that sleepest and arise from the dead, and Christ fhall give thee light, Eph. 5. 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 11: 43.
XXII. Here God exerts his infinite power, by In which which he converts the foul no less powerfully than God exsweetly. While the Gospel is externally proposed to
converthis chosen people, he gives them theeyes of their under-ing powstanding to be enlightened, that they may know what is er. the hope of their calling, and what the riches of the glory of bis inheritance in the saints, Eph. 1. 18; be openeth their beart, that they may attend unto the things which ore spoken, AEts 16. 14; and causes them to receive the word with all readiness of mind, Aals. 17. 11. "He writes his laws on their heart, Jer. 31. 33 : puts the reverence of himself there, Ezek. 11. 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, Cantic. I. 45 not only puts them in an equal poise, but turns them, Jer. 31. 18.- Not only advises, but persuades, and be is stronger and pre
vails, Jer. 20. 7. Nor does he follicite, but translate,
XXIII. Nevertheless, God deals here with the ra.
the human will is not, in the least, affected: which human he is so far from destroying by the energy of his liberty,
power, that, on the contrary, he rescues and main-
A certain kind of compullion, but that of
. 2: 13, bringing his truths so clearly to their understanding, that they cannot but ailent, 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, ibou haft enticed me and I was “ enticed; thou art stronger than I, and baft prevailed, “Jer. 20.7. Į may well exult in this victory and “ triumph over the devil, for thạt I myself am con
+ The author's words are humani ingenii vertumnus alluding to Vertumnus a God worshipped by the Romans, under severa! thapes, 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.
quered 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?
XXIV. It was certainly inconsistent with the For there power and majeity of God, to attempt any thing, is a conand leave it in suspence, and not bring it to a
perfuafion final issue ; it was likewise unworthy, both of his in the call goodness and wisdom, so to vex and distress a of God. man endowed with reason and will, as, in a matter of the far greatest momeni, to act, without know. ledge 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 forçe, a force under the direction of wisdom, as becarpe an intelligent and rational nature, which is so willingly overcome, as not only net to resist, because nothing can resist God, when he comes to convert the foul: 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 refifts, and cannot but refift, because the object' is an unbelieving and rebellious finner, and a child of difobedience : but in the consummation, he necessarily makes no resistance, and cannot now refift, because įhe 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, matbuváyxn, the contracting persuasion of God, who calls.
XXV. The many admonitions, promises, and The chief threatnings, by which we are invited, make nothing artments against this truth; for, as they inform us of our duty, faries so they are made effectual to conversion by the inter- briefly annal operation of the Spirit. Nor ought the com