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Twelfth Sermon on 2 Thessalonians Chapter Two


by Thomas Manton


Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord
Jesus Christ.2 Thes. 2:14.

AFTER the doctrine of Antichrist, and God's dreadful spiritual judgments on his
abettors and followers, the apostle interposeth some matter of consolation to
the Thessalonians; as before he comforted them from their election, so now from
their vocation. Therefore, as we saw the doctrine of election set forth in the
former verse, with all its appendant branches and circumstances, so now the
doctrine of vocation, with what belongeth to it. Here calling is set forth(1.)
By the author of it: he calleth you; that is, God, who from the beginning hath
chosen you to salvation. (2.) The outward means: by our gospel. (3.) The end,
which is double:First, Subordinate, in the word whereunto, viz., to faith and
holiness; Secondly, Ultimate: to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus
Christ. 'Whereunto he called you,' &c.

Doct. All that are elected by God are in time effectually called by [the gospel
to] faith and holiness to obtain eternal life.

1. I shall open effectual calling by what is said of it in the text.

2. That all chosen by God are called in this way.

1. Let me explain effectual calling. The author of it: 'he called you;' namely,
God, spoken of in the former verse. I prove it by these two reasons:(1.) None
else hath authority to call; (2.) None else hath power to call.

[1.] Authority to call, either to duties or privileges; for calling is an
earnest invitation to duties upon the offer of several privileges.
(1.) Duties: God is our proper Lord and rightful sovereign. He may justly
challenge our obedience. Being our Creator, he is our owner; and being our
owner, he is our sovereign and lawgiver, and may enact what laws he pleaseth.
Certainly creation giveth him an interest in us; for every man taketh himself to
have an authority over what he hath made, to dispose of it as he pleaseth. Now
he that properly made all things is God. Man is said to make a thing as he
bestoweth art upon it, but God bestoweth being upon it. A potter may form his
clay into what vessel he pleaseth, to make one vessel unto honour, and another
unto dishonour, Rom. 9:21; that is, either a dish for food or a vessel to serve
the vilest uses of nature, for meat or excrements. But we speak of rational
creatures that are capable of proper government. Surely God made us, and hath a
right to govern us. Our parents are but instruments of this providence; they
know not how the child is framed in the womb, &c. Now he calleth upon us to do
our duty with original supreme authority. We may refuse others; if they speak
not to us in his name, they have no right over our consciences, to impose new
duties upon us: James 4:12 'There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to
destroy.' Now his ,calling, being a powerful excitation to do our duty, it
originally belongeth to God.

(2.) As to privileges: The blessings God offereth are so great and glorious,
that none else can give us a right to them but God; and the soul can have no
security that it doth not usurp and intrude upon the possession of, things that
belong not to us till we have his warrant. As the apostle speaketh of an office,
Heb. 5:4, 'No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God,
as was Aaron;' so it is true of all prerogatives; we have no leave to assume and
take the honour of them to ourselves till we are called of God: that is our
warrant. None came to the wedding feast till they were bidden, Mat. 22, or went
into the vineyard till they were hired, Mat. 20. This is the difference between
duties and privileges: that any man, who will prefer that office of charity and
love to us, may excite us to our duties, to unquestionable duties, due from the
creature to the Creator; but no man can assure us of right to privileges without
the Creator's leave. Man cannot make that to be a necessary duty to the Creator
which is not. But man may warn us of our danger when we disobey God; but man
cannot assure us of our right to such privileges without God's grant. Therefore
certainly it is God that must call us.

[2.] None else can have power; for to calling there is necessary not only the
invitations of the word, but also the effectual operation of the spirit. None
else can change the heart. A Christian is nothing, and hath nothing, but what
God is pleased to work in him by his divine power: 2 Peter 1:3, 'According as
his divine power hath given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.' It is a
work of an infinite power to give grace to graceless souls, to make those that
are sensual and worldly to become spiritual and heavenly, there being so much
opposition to hinder that work; for such is the corruption of men's hearts, the
power of Satan over us, that he keepeth possession till a stronger than he
overcometh him, Luke 11:21. Therefore it is always made the work of his power,
'who calleth the things that are not as though they were,' Rom. 4:17. It is
still ascribed to his creating power; either the illumination of the mind, 2
Cor. 4:6, 'For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ;' or inclinations of the heart, Eph. 2:10. We can
neither think, nor effect, nor pursue spiritual and heavenly things without it.
Therefore certainly it is God that calleth us.

2. The outward means: 'by our gospel.' Where(1.) Consider the means itself: the
gospel; (2.) The interest which the apostle challengeth in it: our gospel.

[1.] The means itself: the gospel. This God useth:

(1.) Because if God will call and invite the creature by his duty to his
happiness, it is necessary that his call should be evident to the creature by
some visible sign. Now, the natural duty of man is much seen by the creation:
Rom. 1:19, 'Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God
hath showed it unto them;' Ps. 19:1, 2, 'The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament showeth his handiwork: day unto day uttereth speech, and night
unto night showeth knowledge.' But this call is made to man fallen, as a remedy
to his lapsed estate, which, depending on the free grace of God, can only be
known by his revelation, conveyed to us by extra-ordinary messengers, such as
Christ, who was the principal revealer of the doctrine of God for the saving of
the world, and him God authorised and sealed to this end:, John 6:27, 'Labour
not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto
everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the
Father sealed.' 'And then by the apostles, who were instituted by Christ, and
sent forth to proselytise the world to the obedience of God; and they were also
authorised from heaven by divers signs and wonders, as long as it was necessary
to use that dispensation for the confirmation of their message, and to show how
dangerous it was to neglect a doctrine so useful to mankind, and suitable to
their great necessities, and so owned by God, Heb. 2:3, 4. Therefore by the
gospel God called them to this grace.

(2.) To convince and stop their mouths that refuse this calling, for the gospel
bringeth grace home to us, and leaveth it upon our choice. If we will accept it,
well and good; if not, we justly deserve to be rejected for ever: Acts 13:26,
'To you is this word of salvation sent.' What say you to it? God hath sent a
gracious message to you in particular; will you accept or refuse? Acts 3:26, 'He
hath sent him to you, to bless every one of you,' &c. It doth excite all, and
every man, to look after the recovery of his lapsed estate; surely God doth you
no wrong if he severely punish your refusal after he hath invited you to his
grace in Christ. Great is the misery of those that refuse this call: 'None of
those that were bidden shall taste of my supper,' Luke 14:24. They are not only
excluded from happiness, but they incur extreme wrath and misery: Prov. 1:24-26,
'Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man
regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my
reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh.
(3.) Because to the elect he will deal congruously, and preserve the liberty of
his own workmanship, and therefore dealeth with man as man; doth not compel us
to be good whether we will or no, but doth at the same time teach and draw us:
John 6:44,45, 'No man can come unto me, except the Father, which hath sent me,
draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the
prophets, And they, shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath
heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me; sweetly attempering the
means to our liberty, but accompanying them with his powerful grace: Acts 11:21,
'The hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed, and turned to
the Lord: It is God doth all, prospering the labours of his servants. So Acts
16:14, 'God opened the heart of Lydia, so that she attended unto the things
spoken by Paul.' God opened her heart, but by the things spoken by Paul. And God
loveth to associate or accompany his power with his own means: Rom 1:16, 'It is
the power of God unto salvation.'

[2] The interest the apostle challengeth in it: our gospel. Doth it not derogate
from the authority of it to appropriate it to any man? I answerNo. Elsewhere it
is called God's gospel: 'The glorious gospel of the blessed God,' 1 Tim. 1:11.
He is the author. It is not an invention of man, but a secret that came from the
bosom of God. Again, it is called Christ's gospel: 'The gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ,' 2 Thes. 1:8; as the principal sub-revealer, who made known unto us most
fully the mind of God. And then on the apostles, who were instruments chosen and
intrusted by Christ to declare it to the world both by word and writing. The
scripture is an authentic record, wherein all things are delivered to us both
concerning our duties and privileges. Therefore, when he saith our gospel, he
doth not mean it of principal revelation, but in regard of dispensation and
trust 1 Tim. 1:11, 'The glorious gospel of the blessed God is committed to my
trust.' Therefore this word our gospel is(1.) A word of fidelity, that argued
the conscience to this duty, that owneth the trust committed to him, and that
this was his chief work and charge: 1 Cor. 9:17, 'A dispensation of the gospel
is committed unto me.' (2.) It is a word of esteem, love, and affection; what we
love we call ours: Rom. 16:25, 'Now to him that is able to stablish you
according to my gospel. Paul was glad he had such interest in it as to be a
preacher of it; and believers should be glad they are partakers of the benefit:
Eph. 1:13, 'In whom ye trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of
your salvation.' It is theirs and ours. Oh, blessed be God for this! (3) It is a
word importing diligenceour gospel; that which he preached with so much labour
and hazard: he followed this work close: Acts 20:24, 'I count not my life dear,
that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of
the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.' He was willing to
die and suffer anything for the gospel's sake. (4.) The consent and harmony
between him and the rest of the apostles. Sometimes he calleth it my gospel, to
assert his own apostolical authority, as Rom. 2:16; sometimes our gospel, 2 Cor.
4:3, to note their common consent, who were the authorised messengers of our
Lord Jesus Christ. It is our gospel, the same jointly attested by all Christ's
chosen messengers.

3. The ends of this calling. They are either subordinate or ultimate.

First, Subordinate: in the word 'Whereunto he hath called you;' that is, to
faith, holiness, and salvation; we are called to all.

[1.] God calleth us to the faith of the gospel; he hath not only ordained us to
believe, but called us to believe. Without calling there can be no faith: Rom.
10:14, 'How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?' But upon
calling there must be faith, or else we make void the dispensation of God which
we are under.

(1.) There must be a belief of the gospel in general. The voice of the creatures
calleth upon the Gentiles to believe an infinite, eternal power, that made man
and all things; and the condemnation of the Gentile world is that they know not
God, and glorify not God as God, after this. revelation made to them. But to
believe in Christ is a mystery to nature, and dependeth upon God's special
revelation in the gospel. Therefore the external and internal power of the
Spirit accompanieth it, to convince the world that it is sin not to believe in
Christ the external power in miracles, and the internal in the illumination of
the mind: John 16:9, 'The Spirit shall convince the world of sin, because they
believe not in me;' that is, receive not the faith of the gospel, or believe not
that Christ was the true Messiah, the great prophet and. doctor of the church.
(2.) This call doth aim at not only a belief of the truth of the gospel in
general, but also a particular affiance in Christ according to the terms of the
new covenant. General assent to the truth of the gospel is only considerable as
it leadeth on other things Now, that I may not wander, I will refer them to two
things(1.) A fiducial assent; (2.) An obediential confidence. This is the
belief of the truth we are called unto.

(1st.) The assent must be fiducial, or accompanied with a trust in Christ: Eph.
1:13, 'In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the
gospel of your salvation.' The meaning is, the Gentiles, after they heard the
gospel and believed the truth, they did trust themselves in the hands of Christ,
to be brought by his saving and healing methods to eternal happiness. It is a
mighty thing to have such a belief as may produce trust, or a venturing
ourselves in the hands of Christ against all hazards, and, whatever befalleth
us, be content to save our souls on his terms. This breedeth holy security or
courage: 2 Tim. 1:12, 'For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that
he is, able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.'
(2dly.) This confidence must be obediential, not a devout sloth or carelessness.
To trust in his mercies and neglect his precepts crosseth the tenor of his
covenant: Ps. 119:60, 'I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.'
It is true religion when faith, hope, and love concur: Jude, vers. 20, 21, 'But
ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy
Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ unto eternal life.' I know there is a trusting in his pardon for
our failings, and that justification is a great privilege, as well as salvation;
but pardon is promised to the sincere, that with an honest heart perform their
duty: Ps. 32:2, 'Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and
in whose spirit there is no guile;' and Rom. 8:1, 'There is no condemnation to
them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the
spirit.' So that still our confidence in Christ must be obediential.

[2.] We are called to holiness; this is everywhere asserted in. the scripture: 1
Thes. 4:7, 'For God hath not called us to uncleanness; but to holiness.' And it
enforceth it on several grounds; as(1.) That there may be a likeness between
the person calling and the persons called: 1 Peter 1:15, 'But as he that called
you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.' It is true religion
to imitate what we worship; for knowledge and esteem always work an
assimilation; and therefore, if we know the true God, and love him, we will
study to be like him. Certainly, we have not a true knowledge of God if we do
not know him to be a pure and holy God. He hath showed it in his laws, showed in
his providence, and showed in his gospel by which we are called. The gods of the
heathen taught sin by their own example. Their impure lives are recorded by
their poets. Austin telleth us of a young man who was incited to wantonness by
seeing the picture of Jupiter on the wall committing adultery. Quo pacto non
faceret, cum in templo adorare cogeretur Jovem potius Catonem quam? But our God
is pure, as appeareth by his laws, which are all 'holy, just, and good,' Ps.
119:140. Surely such holy precepts could come from none but a pure and holy God.
As also by the work of his Spirit on his people: Eph. 4:24, 'And that ye put on
the new man, which after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness;'
and 2 Cor. 3:18, 'We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of
the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, 'even as by the
Spirit of the Lord: He puts us into a nature that is very tender and shy of sin,
troubled at it in others: 2 Peter 2:7,8, 'And delivered just Lot, vexed with the
filthy conversation of the wicked; for that righteous man dwelling amongst them,
in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their
unlawful deeds.' He that made the eye, shall not he see? He that put into us a
clean heart, is not he pure and holy? This appeareth also by the dispensations
of his providence: Hab. 1:13, 'Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and
canst not look on iniquity. Wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal
treacherously, and boldest thy tongue, when the wicked devoureth the man that is
more righteous than he?' Judgments on sinners, so on his own people: Prov.
11:31, 'Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in earth; much more the
wicked and the sinner.' As, for instance, in David: the child died, his daughter
is deflowered, Amnon slain, Absalom is in rebellion, his wives ravished, himself
banished from his house and kingdom. Eli's sons slain, the ark taken, his
daughter-in-law died, himself brake his neck. But chiefly in the very foundation
of the gospel: the Son of God dieth a shameful, painful, accursed death before
God would relax the rigour of his law and set afoot the gospel, and all that
there might be a perfect demonstration of his justice and holiness, and
displeasure against sin: Rom. 8:3, 'For what the law could not do, in that it
was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful
flesh, and for sin condemned sin, in the flesh.'

(2.) The very nature of this calling enforceth this sanctification, or setting
man apart from a common to a sacred use; for it is a calling us not only from
misery to happiness, but from sin to holiness, and the one is indispensably
necessary to the other; for none but those who are in a holy estate can be in a
blessed condition. Our calling is sometimes called 'a heavenly calling,' Heb.
3:1; sometimes Ian holy calling,' 2 Tim. 1:9. Therefore the chief subordinate
end is holiness: Rom. 1:7, 'Called to be saints,'from the devil, the world, and
the flesh, to God.

(3.) The grace and favour which is showed in our calling obligeth us to be holy
in point of gratitude; for when we consider in what a sinful estate God found
us, how freely he loved us, and that with a discriminating, differencing love,
when he passed by others worthier than we, and to what estate he is ready to
advance usto the enjoyment of himself, amongst all those that are sanctified by
faith;all these are as so many strong bonds and obligations upon us to 'walk
worthy of God, who hath called us to his kingdom and glory in Jesus Christ,' 1
Thes. 2:12worthy of his grace in calling; worthy of the glory to which we are
called; that is, with the worthiness of condecency, not of condignity. We cannot
fully answer this grace, but we must do that which will become it.

(4.) This calling enableth us to be holy, because it giveth us all things
necessary both to holiness of heart and life: 2 Peter 1:3, 'According as his
divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.' Now this
grace must not lie idle, otherwise we receive the Spirit in vain.
Secondly, The ultimate end: 'To obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.' The
same expression in 1 Peter 5:10, 'The God of all grace, who hath called us to
his eternal glory by Christ Jesus.' It is 'his glory.' Mark (1.) Here is glory;
(2.) It is the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[1.] It is glory for body and soul. The glory is so great we cannot utter it,
and conceive it. Now a little is revealed to us, but then it shall be revealed
in us. (1.) The soul is not annihilated after death, nor doth it sleep till the
resurrection, nor is it detained by the way from immediate passing into glory;
but as soon as it is loosed from the body, is admitted into God's presence, and
gathered unto the souls of just men made perfect, where it seeth God and loveth
him, and enjoyeth what it seeth and loveth; for as soon as we are loosed from
the body, we are present with the Lord. And therefore the first benefit we
receive in the other world is the salvation of the soul: 1 Peter 1:9, 'Receiving
the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.' It flitteth hence to
God. (2.) The body hath its glory also in due time; for when it is raised up out
of the grave, it will be another kind of body than we now have, both for
impassibility, clarity, agilityfor impassibility, called incorruption; clarity,
called glory; agility, called power; subtilty, called a spiritual body by the
apostle: 1 Cor. 15:42, 43, 'It is sown in corruption, it is raised in
incorruption; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown a
natural body, it is raised a spiritual body'-

(1.) Impassability doth not only exclude corruption, for so the bodies of the
damned are preserved for ever; but all grievances and pain: Rev. 21:4, 'There
shall not be any more pain.'

(2.) For glory, a shining brightness: Mat. 13:43, 'The righteous shall shine as
the sun in the kingdom of the Father.' Stephen's face shone, in this life, 'as
it were the face of an angel,' Acts 6:15. And Moses' face shone by converse with
God in the mount, Exod. 34:30. Our bodies shall be' likened unto his glorious
body,' Phil. 3:21. In the transfiguration, 'His face did shine as the sun, and
his raiment did shine as the light'

(3.) For vigour,. activity, and strength. It shall always be in the height and
excellency of it. God preserved Moses' natural vigour for a long time, Deut.
34:7; but glorified bodies shall for ever remain in an eternal spring of youth.
(4.) Subtilty, a spiritual body. Here we live an animal life, after the manner
of sensitive creatures, maintained by meat, drink, sleep; but hereafter the body
shall live after the manner of spirits, having no need or use of these things.
There we are isaggeloi, 'as the angels of God,' Mat. 22:30; and 1 Cor. 6:19,
'Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost' Well, then, this is the glory put
upon us.

[2] Why is it called 'the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ?'

(1.) It is purchased by Christ. We were redeemed or bought by the price of his
blood, that we might attain to this glory: Eph. 1:7, 'In whom we have redemption
through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
grace.'

(2.) It is promised by Christ: John 10:28, 'I give unto them eternal life, and
they shalt never perish.' All that obey this call have eternal life already
begun, nay, completed: 1 John 2:25, 'And this is the promise that he hath
promised us, even eternal life.'

(3.) It is prayed for by Christ, which is a copy of his intercession John 17:14,
'Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am,
that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.'

(4.) It is actually bestowed by Christ on his followers and called people. He
receiveth our departing souls as soon as they flit out of the body: Acts 7:59,
'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' They are with him: Phil. 1:23, and 2 Cor. 5:8,
when 'absent from the body,' they are 'present with the Lord,' which is a mighty
comfort to us. At the last day he will solemnly introduce us into heaven: John
14:3, 'I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there ye
may be also.' The great shepherd of the sheep will lead the flock into their
everlasting fold.

(5.) We have not only glory by Christ, but with Christ. We shall have the same
glory Christ now hath, but in our measure; the same glory in kind whereunto
Christ's humanity is advanced, referring to him only his privilege in the
degree. So Rom. 8:17, 'And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and
joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also
glorified together;' Rev. 3:21, 'To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his
throne.' We share with him in his own blessedness, so far as we are capable.
II. That all those who are elected and chosen by God are thus called. Election
and vocation have a great respect one to another; and though we cannot say that
none are called that are not elected, for the Lord calleth others not only by
the voice of nature, but the gospel: Mat. 22:14, 'Many are called, but few are
chosen;' yet we may say that none are chosen, but they are in time called, so
that vocation is, as it were, actual election. They are often put one for
another; as John 15:19, 'I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world
hateth you;' that is, called them, or pursued his choice. So 1 Cor. 1:26, 'Ye
see your calling, brethren, that not many wise men after the flesh, not many
noble, not many mighty are called: for God hath chosen the foolish things of the
world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to
confound the things which are mighty,' ver. 27; as if choosing and calling were
all one. So Rom. 11:28,29, 'As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your
sake;. but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father's sake: for
the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.' So that calling is an
infallible consequent of election. And Rom. 8:30, 'Whom he did predestinate,
them he also called.' Reason showeth it. (1.) Effectual calling is that powerful
operation of God, wherein, he beginneth to execute the purposes of his grace:
Rom. 8:28,, 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that
love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose' (kata proJesin).
The first discovery of it to the creature is by drawing us to himself. (2.) This
act proceedeth immediately from his choice, as anteceding all that we can do,
all worthiness of ours, or supposed worthiness: 2 Tim. 1:9, 'Who hath saved us,
and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world
began.' Nothing induced God to do it on our part, for what good thing could we
do before we were made good by calling? (3.) The effect doth infallibly follow:
John 6:37, 'All that the Father hath given me shall come to me, and him that
cometh to me I will in. no wise cast out.' In due time they are called, and are
obedient to the call, Rom. 8:28.

Use 1. If it be so, then here is advice to all.

1. Let us apply ourselves to the means with reverence and seriousness; because
God's power is shown in them, in converting souls to himself: Ps. 65:4, 'Blessed
is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to draw nigh unto thee, that he may
dwell in thy courts.' It is a good thing to be in grace's way. The means have a
ministerial efficacy: Acts 14:1, 'They so spake, that a great multitude of the
Jews and Greeks believed;' with such clearness and force; so far God is with the
minister. A dart flung by a skilful hand will pierce deeper than by its own
weight. But yet, if you can but tarry, the hand of the Lord may be with you
also. You do not know the seasons of the Lord's grace; all are not called at the
first hour; some lie long at the pool, but yet wait still. Ere ever you are
aware, the Holy Ghost may fall upon you and open your hearts. That heavenly
doctrine may have its effect upon you.

2. Let us mind not only privileges, but duties. We have great privileges; we are
called to enjoy sweet fellowship with Christ here: 1 Cor. 1:9, 'Faithful is he
who hath called you to the communion of Christ Jesus our Lord,' and to a
glorious estate hereafter. But we are also called to the sanctification of the
Spirit and the belief of the truth; and we cannot obtain the one without the
other. Do not so mind comfort as to slight holiness, and divide one part of your
calling from the other. Comfort is consequent to holiness, and followeth it as
heat doth fire. The Spirit is more necessarily a sanctifier than a comforter;
for our duty and obedience to God is a greater thing than our own peace.
Holiness is the image of God upon the soul, and the blessed perfection wherein
we were created: Gen. 1:27, 'So God created man in his own image.' And when it
was lost by sin, Christ came and paid our ransom that he might renew us by his
Spirit: Titus 3:5, 'According to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of: the Holy Ghost.' Yea, much of our everlasting
blessedness. lieth in it. For heaven is to be looked upon not only as a state of
complete felicity, but exact holiness: 1 John 3:2, 'We know that when he doth
appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is;' Eph. 5:27, 'That
he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or
any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.' Then it is a
glorious church. Christ hath done his whole work. Holiness is the beauty of God
himself, Exod. 15:1:1, and puts an excellency on us, if we love it, and imitate
it: Prov. 12:26, 'The. righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the
way of the winked seduceth them.' We do not only excel other men, but we are
mare amiable in the sight of God: Prov. 11:20, 'The upright is his delight.' In
short, it is a part of salvation itself, and a means to that which remaineth:
Acts 26:18, 'Inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Christ
Jesus.'

3. Let us reflect upon ourselves. Have we God's call? Have we obeyed the gospel?
This will clear up your election to you: 2 Peter 1:10, 'Wherefore the rather,
brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do
these things, ye shall never fall.' Do you find such a belief wrought in you by
the Spirit as begins in brokenness of heart, and ends in holiness? 'For Christ
came to 'call sinners to repentance,' Mat. 9:13; that is, men sensible of sin to
holiness of heart and. life; to return to God, that we may first live to him,
and then with him.
4. To improve the; belief of the glory promised. (1.) To sweeten obedience, or a
cause of holiness which for the present is so tedious to the flesh. Now here is
our labour, 'hereafter, our recompense, 1 Cor. 15:58. Every day we should grow
more meet for his glory, Col. 1:12. (2.) To a contempt of all worldly things,
good or evil. If good, many are pleased with this world's good things, but have
no affection to spiritual and heavenly things; like the rebellious Israelites,
who more desired the onions and. garlic of Egypt than the milk and honey of the
promised land, or the celestial manna, Num. 11:5, 6; worse than prodigals, that
rest. more satisfied with husks of swine, than bread which is in their father's
house: they have their good things. Now, we should remember we are, called off
from these things, from dreggy contentments, base enjoyments, to the glory of
our Lord Jesus Christ. (3.) The evils of the worldcrosses, afflictions: 'After
ye have suffered a while, the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his,
eternal glory by Christ Jesus, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle
you;' and 2 Tim. 2:11, 12, 'It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him,
we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.' Our
afflictions are both breves and leves, light and momentary 2 Cor. 4:17, 'For our
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding
and eternal weight of glory.' Our sufferings are small if compared with the
reward; the time short, if compared with eternity. There is a twofold
eternitythat eternal death which the wicked must endure; that eternal life
which we enter into. This should sweeten all bitter waters. (4.) To dispose and
prepare us for death. The contemplation of immortality hath left strong
impressions on the hearts of heathens; some burnt themselves as impatient to
tarry longer. If a dark view, vain hope cause this, what should a sure promise
and earnest of the Spirit do?

Use 2. To the called. (1.) Bless God for this calling. The woful estate out of
which we. are called, and the blessed estate into which we are entered, compared
together, should make us wonder: 1 Peter 2:9, 'Ye should show forth the praises
of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light' (2.) Walk
answerably Eph. 4:1, 'I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye
walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.' And 1 Thes. 2:12, 'That ye
would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto ,his kingdom and glory.'


 

Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas