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Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of his calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.—2 Thes. i. 11.
WE come now to examine the particular expressions which contain the matter of the apostle’s prayer. The first is, ἵνα ὑμᾶς ἀξιώσῃ τῆς κλήσεως, ‘That he would count you worthy of his calling.’ Thence we note—
Doct. That it is an excellent benefit, and the mere fruit of the Lord’s grace, to be counted worthy of the calling and privilege of being christians.
First, Let us see what is this calling. It is to be called to christianity. Now our christian calling is set forth by a double attribute—it is a holy calling: 2 Tim. i. 9, ‘Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling;’ and it is a heavenly calling: Heb. iii. 1, ‘Wherefore, brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,’ &c. The one relateth to the way, the other to the end; therefore it is said, ‘He hath called us to glory and virtue,’ 2 Peter i. 3, meaning by ‘glory,’ eternal life, and by ‘virtue,’ grace and holiness; the one is the way and means to come at the other.
Now both may be considered, either as they are represented in the offer of the word, or as they are impressed upon our hearts by the powerful operation of the Spirit.
1. In the offer of the word. There God is often set forth as calling us from sin to holiness: 1 Thes. iv. 7, ‘God hath not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness.’ The end of his calling is to make us be come saints: and this must be the business of our lives, to be such, and show ourselves as such more and more. So also he hath called us from misery to happiness; as 1 Peter v. 10, ‘The God of all grace, who hath called us to obtain eternal glory by Jesus Christ.’ So 2 Thes. ii. 14, ‘He called you by my gospel to the obtaining of eternal glory by our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The Lord doth not invite us to our loss when he calleth us to christianity, but to our incomparable gain 294and eternal happiness. There is a rich prize set before us, a blessed estate offered to us, if we will take it out of Christ’s hands upon his terms.
2. As it is impressed upon us by the powerful operation of the Spirit. And the calling hath had its effect upon us, if we heartily listened to God’s call, to seek after eternal glory in the way of faith and holiness. God offereth it, and we embrace. This is that which is termed ‘effectual calling,’ by which the heart is changed and sanctified and turned unto God, and so we are made a holy people: Rom. i. 7, ‘Be loved of God, called to be saints.’ And also by this we have a right to the heavenly blessedness: Heb. ix. 15, ‘They who are called do receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.’ So that they are effectually called who are altered both in their disposition and condition. As to their disposition, of unholy they are made holy; as to their condition, of miserable they are made happy. They are a people called out of the world, and set apart for this use, to honour and glorify God; and also for the present they are heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and in due time shall be brought into the possession of it.
Secondly, What is it to be counted or made worthy of this calling which the apostle prayeth for? The word ἀξιώσῃ is indifferent to either interpretation. To be made worthy is to be enabled, to be counted worthy is to be accepted; and so the sense may be, that God by his grace would enable you to walk worthy of the calling and privilege of being christians, or count you worthy to be taken into this holy and heavenly estate, or preserved therein until the participation of that glory to which he hath so graciously called you.
But for more distinctness, let me observe to you, that there is a threefold worthiness—
1. A worthiness of desert and proper merit. So the word is some times taken: Rev. iv. 11, ‘Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, honour, and power.’ Surely God deserveth all that the creature can give him, and infinitely much more. So Rev. v. 12, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, and honour;’ that is, to be served with our best. There is no doubt on that side, but God and Christ deserve not our best only, but our all. But let us give it in a lower instance, between man and man, where worthiness signifieth merit: Mat. x. 10, ‘The workman is worthy of his meat.’ When preachers are sustained by their hearers, it is not an alms, but a debt; they are worthy of their sustenance, or to be entertained for all necessaries by them, taking so much pains for the benefit of others. So 1 Tim. v. 17, ‘Let the elders that rule well be accounted worthy of double honour.’ Allowed to enjoy it. The double honour was the elder brother’s portion; but is it so between us and God? Are we worthy of those favours bestowed upon us by Christ? Oh no; there is no such merit, no such worthiness, no not of the mercies of daily providence, much less of the eternal recompenses: Gen. xxxii. 10, ‘I am not worthy of the least of all thy mercies.’ In this sense the apostle would never pray that God would count them worthy of this calling.
2. There is a worthiness of meetness and suitableness, without any respect to merit and proper justice. So we are said to ‘walk worthy 295of God,’ Col. i. 10;’ Worthy of the gospel,’ ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελιοῦ. We translate it ‘becoming the gospel.’ So ‘worthy of our calling,’ Eph. iv. 1, so as may beseem the duties and hopes of christians, that the life of christianity may show forth itself in us. In this sense God maketh us worthy, when we are made more holy and more heavenly, for this is becoming our calling. So 1 Thes. ii. 12, ‘Walk worthy of God, who hath called us to his kingdom and glory.’ God is a holy God, and the happiness we are called unto is a glorious estate; then we are worthy when we are made more suitable to this holiness and happiness. Both together are expressed, Col. i. 12, ‘Made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’ It is the inheritance of saints, and therefore the meetness consists in sanctification. It is in light; by it I understand glory, or a happiness abstracted from those dreggy contentments wherein men usually seek their satisfaction. Therefore this meetness must consist in a heavenly frame of heart, that can forsake or deny all earthly things for Christ’s sake.
[1.] This meetness consisteth in holiness: 1 Peter i. 15, ‘As he that hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.’ The calling puts a holy nature into us, obligeth us to live by a holy and perfect rule, offereth us a pure reward, and all to engage us in the service of a God who is pure and holy, who will be sanctified in all that are near unto him. Therefore to make his people such who were once sinners, he hath appointed means and ordinances, Gal. v. 26, and providences, Heb. xii. 10, and all accompanied with the almighty operation of a Holy Spirit: 2 Thes. ii. 13, ‘Through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.’ Therefore the more pure and holy, the more doth God make us meet.
[2.] This meetness consisteth in heavenliness; for God by calling inviteth men, and draweth them off from this world to a better; the more they obey this call, the more heavenly they are. It is heaven they seek: Col. iii. 1, 2, ‘If ye be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.’ Heaven they hope for: 1 Peter i. 3, ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’ Heavenly things they savour and count their portion: Mat. vi. 20, 21, ‘Lay up treasures in heaven, &c.; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ They count heaven their home and happiness: Heb. xi. 13, ‘These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.’ Their work and scope: Phil. iii. 14, ‘I press towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ.’ Their end, solace, and support: 2 Cor. iv. 18, ‘While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.’ Their course becometh their choice: Phil. iii. 20, ‘Our conversation is in heaven, from whence we look for the Saviour,’ These are worthy, or made meet.
There is dignitas dignationis, or worthiness of acceptance. So it is taken, Acts v. 41, ‘They went away, rejoicing that they were counted 296worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Christ;’ that this honour was put upon them. So we in common speech say, Such a one counted me worthy of his company or his presence, or conference with him, or to sit down at his table; by these phrases of speech, not ascribing any worth to ourselves, but condescension in the party vouchsafing the honour to us. So here the apostle prayeth that they may be accounted worthy of this calling; that is, that God would vouchsafe them to partake of his grace and glory. This worthiness is nothing else but God’s gracious acceptation of a sinner through Jesus Christ, calling them to this grace by the knowledge of the gospel, and giving them eternal life because they are worthy; which noteth liberality in the giver, but no worth in the receiver. So it is taken, Luke xxi. 36, ‘That ye may be counted worthy to stand before the Son of Man;’ and Rev. iii. 4, ‘They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy;’ because in Christ they are accepted as worthy, having given them a right by his grace. All is to be ascribed to God’s dignation; for Christ’s sake God doth take our carriage in good part, though many failings.
Thirdly, That this is an excellent benefit, and the mere fruit of the Lord’s grace.
I shall prove two things—
1. That it is an excellent benefit to be counted worthy of the calling and privilege of christians.
[1.] By this calling your natures are ennobled. You are made most like God of all creatures under heaven: 2 Peter i. 4, ‘Partakers of a divine nature;’ 2 Cor. iii. 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.’ There is no such glorious and valuable being on this side heaven as the new creature. God is a holy and happy being; here you are made like him in holiness, hereafter in happiness. The heathen, when they would express the excellency of any person, they would say, He is like to God. Certainly holiness is the beauty of God, for it is his image impressed upon us.
[2.] This calling bringeth us into an estate, wherein not only we are amiable unto God, but God is amiable unto us; for he doth adopt us into his family, pardon our sins, accept our persons, deliver us from the flames of hell and wrath to come; for we are called to be the sons of God, 1 John iii. 1. By this calling we are severed from the world, to be a peculiar people unto God: Rom. i. 6, ‘Among whom are ye the called of Jesus Christ.’ It is a great and excellent privilege.
[3.] Being called unto this estate, we are under the special protection and care of God, so that all things that befall us are either good or turn to good, Rom. viii. 28. The called, κατὰ πρόσθεσιν, are his special charge, and God will not be unmindful of them; all things do concur and co-operate to their advantage.
[4.] They are not only preserved by the way, but are admitted into everlasting blessedness at the end of their journey; for this calling mainly respects our estate in heaven: Eph. i. 18, ‘That ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and the riches of the glory of the inheritance of the saints.’ So it is called, Phil. iii. 14, ‘The high prize of the calling of God in Jesus Christ.’ We are called to the participation of glorious things; and where this calling is effectual, we have 297a sure right. When once we are renewed by the Spirit, and believe God’s offers, and give hearty obedience to them, what a large door of hope is opened to us of access to an excellent and glorious inheritance! So it is said elsewhere, 1 Peter iii. 9, ‘We are called to inherit a blessing.’ A blessedness which consists in the clear vision and full fruition of God, which is much for us, who are naturally under the curse, that we should be called to possess this blessing; it should make us more apprehensive of the greatness of the privilege.
2. That it is the mere fruit of the Lord’s grace. This will appear, because the scriptures are so tender in this point of preserving the honour of grace in our calling, and do everywhere show that on God’s part the grace is rich, on ours undeserved; as Rom. ix. 11, ‘That the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.’ That the purpose of God, founded in his own free choice, and manifested and declared by the effectual vocation of his Spirit, enlightening their minds and changing their hearts, was the only reason of their calling or bringing them into a state of grace. So again, 2 Tim. i. 9, ‘He hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling; not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ before the world began.’ God recovered us, and rescued us from the evil sinful estate, not because we had deserved this mercy, but out of his mere goodness, designed to us in Christ long ago. No work of ours did merit this calling, or move him thereunto, but only that mere grace which he appointed to the elect by Christ. So that you see how tender the scriptures are in this point, to make effectual calling the fruit of his elective love; for as by elective love we are distinguished from others before all time, so by calling in time separated and set apart from others to honour and please God, and seek after eternal life.
But that you may more distinctly see how freely he loved us and called us, let us distinctly consider—(1.) The beginning; (2.) The progress; (3.) The final consummation of this calling in our eternal reward; and then your souls will be fully possessed with this truth, that all is to be ascribed to God’s dignation, and that it is merely his grace which counteth us worthy of this calling.
1. For the beginning, that he was pleased to call us at first. Two. considerations will evidence that—
[1.] The estate wherein he found us; in an estate of sin and wrath, opposite to God and our own happiness, and unwilling to come out of our miserable condition, being blinded by the delusions of the flesh.
(1.) Wretched and sinful was our estate, objects of his loathing rather than of his love: Ezek. xvi. 8, ‘I said unto thee, when thou wast in thy blood, Live.’ It is twice repeated, for the more emphasis. He called us, and gave us life, when we were wallowing in our own filthiness. We were indeed God’s creatures, and so bound to serve him, but then we were not what we were when we were first his. As we came out of his hands we were pure and holy, but strangely altered and changed after we had departed from God, and had cast away the mercies of our creation. Like a servant that runneth from his master sound and healthy, but by bad diet and ill-usage is altogether become blind, deformed, and diseased; will a master look after or care for him 298in such a case? This was our estate before, we were become wholly depraved and unfit for his service.
(2.) We were loath to come out of it: John iii. 19, ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.’ We are not only careless of our remedy, but averse from it: Col. i. 21, ‘Alienated, and enemies in our minds by wicked works.’ Out of an indulgence to our fleshly and worldly lusts. How freely then did he love us, how powerfully did he work upon us, e’er we would, be brought off from observing lying vanities to seek our own mercies! Sin having prepossessed us, and being affected by us, what through carnal liberty, what through legal bondage, we stood aloof from God, and would not come at him. Long did he continue calling and conquering, ruling and overruling all the passages of our hearts, until he had converted us to himself.
[2.] The second consideration is, how many were passed by. Thou sands and ten thousands, who for deserts were all as good as we, and, for outward respects, far better than we: 1 Cor. i. 26, ‘Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.’ Some are altogether uncalled by the voice of scripture, whatever invitations they had to remember God by the voice of nature. Some only have an external call, that endeth in mere profession: ‘Called, but not chosen,’ Mat. xxii. 14. Some enjoyment of church privileges, and a participation of some common operations of the Spirit they have by it, but they are not effectually called and translated out of their natural estate into the state of grace; these are but few, very few, like two or three berries upon the top of the uppermost bough. Surely then it was the mere goodness of God that counted us worthy of this calling, and took us out of a state of sin, that we might be capable of everlasting glory.
2. For the progress, that we may walk suitably. God, that began the saving work of calling us to holiness and glory, still goeth on with it: 1 Peter v. 10, ‘The God of all grace, who hath called us to his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.’ Mark, he speaketh to those that were already called, effectually called to the faith of Christ and hope of glory, yea, to those who had suffered for these hopes in some measure; yet these needed grace to make them perfect, and strengthen and settle them, and to carry them through their remaining conflicts. So in the text; he had given thanks for the growth of their faith, and the abounding of their love, yet because their trials were not over, nor their course ended, he still prayeth that God would count them worthy of this calling; for calling is not all perfected in the first instance of conversion. God must call us again, and by his efficacious persuasion confirm us in our christian hopes, and continue that grace which he hath begun. So elsewhere, when the apostle speaketh of progress in sanctification: 1 Thes. v. 24, ‘Faithful is he that calleth you;’ not that hath called, but still calleth; the present tense noteth a continued call. And the same means by which grace was begun are blessed and sanctified, that it may be continued and increased.
Now this is necessary for two reasons—
[1.] Because of the indisposition of the subject, our waywardness and 299mutability. We are blind, and wander out of the way; God needeth to reduce us by his word, Spirit, and providence: Ps. cxix. 176, ‘I have gone astray like a lost sheep;’ ver. 57, ‘Before I was afflicted I went astray.’ And we do not only err in our minds, but in our hearts: Jer. xiv. 10, ‘They have loved to wander.’ Nothing more fickle and changeable than man, soon weary of a holy and heavenly frame; and except God did warn and guide us continually, how soon shall we mistake our way! Isa. xxx. 21, ‘Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left.’ Unless God did give continual direction by his word and Spirit, we should never walk evenly nor uprightly in the way that leadeth to heaven and happiness. We are apt to languish and loiter, as well as to step aside and turn out of the way; and therefore we need that God should excite us and quicken us by his repeated calls. Certainly they never were acquainted with calling who despise further calling. So much of our old enmity remaineth as to beget at last a slowness and backwardness of heart to heavenly things. The spouse needeth to beg a new drawing, Cant. i. 4, and further grace to overcome our sluggishness.
[2.] The opposition and temptations to draw us off from the duties of this holy and heavenly calling, which we meet with from the devil, the world, and the flesh.
To begin with the flesh. The back-bias of corruption draweth us another way: James i. 14, ‘Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts.’ If we consider how averse the nature of man is from a strict course of holiness, and how addicted to carnal vanities, and that this nature is but in part broken in the best, how apt we are still to indulge the laziness of the flesh. You will find the best too backward and slothful, and need a renewed drawing.
So for the devil. How cunning he is, how assiduous in his temptations, that he may draw us back from the liberty which we have by Christ into our old slavery; how many cheats he puts upon the soul, that we may distinguish ourselves out of our duty, or live in a sin without remorse, by turning our liberty into an occasion unto the flesh!
Lastly, what lets and hindrances, what baits and snares, we shall find in the world; how much these hinder at least our growth in godliness and heavenly-mindedness! Surely we need more grace, that we may not be flattered by a vain tempting world, but may learn to live as heirs of glory.
3. That we may obtain the reward of our heavenly calling. It is God that must count us worthy to the very last; when we have done and suffered all, mercy alone counteth us worthy. This will sooner appear—
[1.] If we consider the infinite disproportion between our best ser vices and greatest sufferings and the promised glory: Rom. viii, 18, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ As they should not be worthy in our reckoning, to weaken our resolution, so they are not in God’s reckoning, to deserve our reward. There is no equality between the eternal enjoyment of the infinite God, and that 300little that we do and suffer here in the world; therefore the same God that took us with all our faults, and accounted us worthy of the first grace, doth still account us worthy of glory.
[2.] The imperfection and pollution of our best obedience: Isa. lxiv. 6, ‘We are all as an unclean thing, and our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ We deserve rather to be sequestered from his sight, as unclean persons were shut out from the camp, than to be admitted into his glorious presence. Our best actions are not free from some default and defilement, as might render them odious to God, if he should look narrowly into them, and according to the exact tenor and rigour of his law. If you suppose that spoken as of the body of that people, yet the same truth is represented in other scriptures; as Ps. cxliii. 2, ‘Enter not into judgment with thy servant.’ Not with his enemies, but his servant. So Job ix. 2, 3, ‘How should man be just with God? If he should contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.’ Alas! how impossible is it for us to bring out or plead any righteousness of our own by way of merit before God! We do not see the thousandth part of what may be alleged against us. Again, Job xxx. 31, ‘If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.’ As if his own justification of himself would foul him the more, and render him impure in God’s sight and his own.
[3.] Our unprofitableness to God, who is above our injuries and benefits: Job xxii. 23, ‘Can a man be profitable to God, as he that is wise is profitable to himself? Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous? or is it any gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?’ Nothing that we do doth bring any advantage to God: Job xxxv. 7, 8, ‘Thy righteousness may profit a man as thou art; but what is it to God?’ Our good and evil reacheth not to him; so our Lord Christ: Luke xvii. 10, ‘When you have done all that is commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants.’
Use 1. To exhort us to behave ourselves as a people called by the Lord, or to walk worthy of the calling. I shall urge it upon you—
1. Because your calling is a peculiar favour vouchsafed to you, and denied to others. Certainly distinct privileges call for a distinct conversation, and they that have most favour from God should walk more holily and thankfully than others do, that they may comply with their obligations to him. Are all called? No; but a few only, that are distinguished by God’s converting grace from the rest that perish in their sins. And should not they that are made partakers of this grace do more for God than others? Surely when we consider what the grace of God hath made us, and the miserable estate of so many thou sands who have the image of Satan engraven upon them, it should raise our thankfulness. Thus should we have been, and thus we were before grace surprised us. Now, shall we live as others, and, when God hath made such a difference, unmake it again, and confound all again by walking according to the course of this world? We keep up the difference by holy conversation and godliness; but conformity 301to the world, if that still he, it is a confusion of what God hath separated and distinguished, a blending the children of light with the children of darkness, Eph. v. 8, ‘Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light.’
2. Because the calling is a great honour, that God should adopt us, and take us into his family, and pardon our sins, and sanctify us by his Spirit, and qualify us for his glory, and continually set his heart upon us to do us good. Surely we should do some singular thing for God, who hath put such an honour upon us. Will not you honour him again who hath called you, and live to the great ends to which, and for which, ye are called? 1 Thes. ii. 12, ‘That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.’ So excellent is the dignity, so blessed are the privileges, so rich the enjoyments, that no mean thing will become you. Though this calling found you not saints, yet it should leave you so. We must have a spirit becoming the excellent estate we are advanced unto. Saul, when a king, had another spirit, a princely spirit put into him. So you should have a spirit and conversation becoming the honour you are advanced unto.
3. This calling is a rich talent, faculty, and power. As it is a favour and honour, it doth oblige us; but as it is a talent and power, it doth enable and incline us to do more for God than others. By calling we get a nature in part healed and sanctified: 2 Peter i. 3, ‘Through his divine power all things are given to us that are necessary to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who hath called us to glory and virtue.’ By his first call he giveth us renewing grace, and by his continual calling he giveth us further degrees of grace, and power to walk acceptably in the ways of godliness; and if we be thus inclined and enabled, a singular sort of walking is expected from us; for all talents must be accounted for, the gifts of nature, the gifts of providence, the common gifts of the Spirit; much more God’s regenerating grace. God’s best gift must not lie idle, and be bestowed in vain.
4. It is a special trust. We are called by God, that we may be employed for his glory in the world: 1 Peter ii. 9, ‘Ye are a chosen generation, that ye should show forth the virtues of him that called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;’ τὰς ἀρετὰς; to be the image and visible representation of God in the world, that, from the effects of the singular change wrought in you, the world may know what God is, how pure, holy, wise, good. God trusts his honour in our hands. Now to fail in a trust, and disappoint a trust of so high a nature, how culpable doth it leave us before God! A christian should be the clearest glass wherein to see God, and the most lively resemblance of the divine perfections on this side heaven. But alas! most are but dim glasses; much of the satanical, little of the divine nature, is seen in them.
But now, what is it to show ourselves worthly of this calling?
It may be known by our suitableness to our principle, rule, and end.
[1.] To our principle, if we are suitable to the inclinations of the new nature. The apostle saith, ‘Fashion not yourselves to the former 302302lusts of your ignorance,’ 1 Peter i. 14. Heretofore you gave up yourselves to folly, to the satisfaction of your sinful desires, shaping and moulding your lives according to the wisdom of the flesh; but it must not be so now. Your principle is the new nature, which begets in us a love to God and a hatred of sin, so that it must be an unnatural thing to sin: 1 John iii. 9, ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’ And you must be carried to God with such a bent and inclinations, as light bodies move upward; serve him with all readiness of mind, Ps. xl. 8.
[2.] Our rule, which are the precepts of Christ: Phil. ii. 16, ‘Holding forth the word.’ Living in the constant practice of christian doctrine, that religion may be exemplified in you: 2 Cor. iii. 3, ‘Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ,’ ministered according to the seal and stamp.
3. Our end, the hopes of the other world, as those that have a deep sense of the life to come, driving on a trade for the other world, Phil, iii. 10. Either living for heaven, as seeking it, or upon heaven, as comforting yourselves with the hopes of it in all our tribulations. We do but play with religion till we do thus.
Use 2. Since God counts us worthy of this calling, and the beginning, progress, and consummation cometh from his grace as the fountain, and is accomplished by his power, he must be sought to by prayer, waited on in the word and sacraments. To encourage us, what may we not obtain—
1. From our God, who is so propitious and favourable to us, so able to help us? We have undeserved goodness and infinite power to bestow glory upon us.
2. God by calling doth engage himself to perform his promise, that which is promised to the man that is called: 1 Thes. v. 23, 24, ‘The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it;’ 1 Cor. i. 9, ‘God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the fellow ship of his Son Jesus Christ;’ Phil. i. 6, ‘He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.’
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