William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Home
Sermons
 
Back
 
Effectual Calling


by Francis Turretin


This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he
calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the
gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to
the salvation obtained in him. In it, the two terms "from which' (a
quo) and "to which (ad quem) are to be considered. The term 'from
which' (terminus a quo) is the state of sin and condemnation in
which we lie (Eph. 2:1); darkness (Eph. 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:9); the world
(Jn. 15:19); and the things which are behind (to wit, earthly and
mundane, Phil. 3:13). The term "to which' (terminus ad quem) is
union with Christ (1 Cor. 1:9); holiness (Rom 1-7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 1
Thess. 4-7); marvelous light (I Pet. 2:9); the kingdom of God (1
Thess. 2:12); eternal glory in Christ (1 Pet. 5:10); eternal life (I
Tim. 6:12). Hence it is at one time called a "holy calling" (2 Tim.
1:9), not only by reason of the principle (because God the author of
calling is holy, 1 Pet. 1:15), but also by reason of the end
(because it tends to holiness).

What of the reprobate?

Are the reprobate, who partake of external calling, called with the
design and intention on God's part that they should become partakers
of salvation? And, this being denied, does it follow that God does
not deal seriously with them, but hypocritically and rarely; or that
he can be accused of any injustice? We deny.

This question lies between us and the Lutherans, the Arminians and
the patrons of universal grace, who (to support the universality of
calling, at least as to the preaching of the gospel in the visible
church) hold that as many as are called by the word are called by
God with the intention of their salvation. For otherwise God would
trifle with men and not deal seriously but hypocritically with them,
offering them grace which, nevertheless, he is unwilling to bestow.
Now although we do not deny that the reprobate (who live in external
communion with the church) are called by God through the gospel;
still we do deny that they are called with the intention that they
should be made actual partakers of salvation (which God knew would
never be the case because in his decree he had ordained otherwise
concerning them). Nor ought we on this account to think that God can
be charged with hypocrisy or dissimulation, but that he always acts
most seriously and sincerely.

To make this more distinct, we must remark: (1) the external call is
extended to the reprobate as well as to the elect; but in a
different manner-to the elect primarily and directly. For their sake
alone the ministry of the gospel was instituted to collect the
church and increase the mystical body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). They
being taken out of the world, preaching would no longer be necessary
because the word of God cannot return unto him void (Is. 55:11). But
to the reprobate, it is extended secondarily and indirectly because,
since they are mingled with the elect (known only to God, 2 Tim.
2:19), the call cannot be addressed to men indiscriminately without
the reprobate as well as the elect sharing in it (in order that the
end ordained by God may be obtained); as a fisherman in casting his
net intends only to catch good fish, but indirectly closes in his
net the bad also mixed with the good.

(2) The end of calling can be considered in two ways: either on the
part of God or on the part of the thing (which is called the end of
the worker and the end of the work). Although each is conjoined in
the elect, yet in others they are separated (as in the legal
proclamation, the end of the thing is life by the law, but the end
of God after man's fall cannot be the happiness of man, which
through sin has become impossible to him by the law; rather the
conviction of mans weakness and leading of him to Christ is the end
of the law; so in the gospel call, the end of the thing is the
salvation of man because by its nature it tends to the bringing of
him to salvation by faith and repentance; but not at once with
respect to all the called is it the end of God, but only of those to
whom he decreed to give faith and salvation).

Further, that end on the part of God is either common to all the
called or special with respect to the elect or the reprobate. And as
to the common, we ought not to doubt that it is the demonstration of
the mode and way of salvation.


 

Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas