If thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood will I require at thine hand.
—Ezekiel 33.8.

 
David Dickson's

Truth's Victory Over Error

Chapter. X.

Of Effectual Calling.

QUESTION I.

"ARE all those whom God has predestinated to life, and those only, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually called by his word and Spirit, out of the estate of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, through Jesus Christ?"

Yes; Rom. 8.30. Rom. 11.7. Eph. 1.10,11. 2 Thes. 2.13,14. Rom. 8.2. Eph. 2.1-5, 2 Cor. 3.3,6.

Well then, do not the Papists, Arminians, and Lutherans err, who maintain, That men not elected are sometimes effectually called?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because faith belongs to the elect only, Titus 1.1.

2d, Because whom he did predestinate, those only, and no other hath he called, Rom. 8.30.

3d, Because though many hear the gospel, yet none believe, but such as are ordained to everlasting life, Acts 13.48.

4th, Because the apostle testifies, that the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded, Rom. 11.7.

5th, Because Christ manifested his Father's name, to those only whom he choose out of the world, and gave to him, John 17.6.

Quest. II. "Doth God, whom he effectually calls, enlighten their minds spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God?"

Yes; Acts 26.18. 1 Cor. 2.10,12. Eph. 1.17,18.

Well then, do not the Arminians err, who maintain, That no supernatural light infused into the intellective faculty, and thereby elevating it, is requisite to the saving understanding of these things, which are needful, in the scripture, to be believed and hoped for?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2.14.

2d, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be, Rom. 8.7.

3d, Because all unregenerate men are darkness, Eph. 5.8. And darkness cannot comprehend the light, John 1.5.

4th, Because Christ says, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes, Mat. 11.25.

Quest. III. "Doth God take away from them, whom he effectually calls, the heart of stone, and give unto them an heart of flesh, renewing their wills, and by his almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ?"

Yes; Ezek. 36.26. Ezek. 11.19. Phil. 2.13. Ezek. 36.27.

Well then, do not the Arminians err, who maintain, That the will of man, when he is regenerate, is not renewed, nor furnished with any new and spiritual qualities?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because Moses says, God shall circumcise they heart, and the heart of they seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live, Deut. 30.6.

2d, Because the Lord says, A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and will take away the stony heart of flesh: And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and cause you to keep my judgments and do them, Ezek. 36.26,27.

3d, Because it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do, according to his own good pleasure, Phil. 2.13.

4th, Because all the faculties of the soul are renewed, 2 Cor. 5.17. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are past away, behold all things are become new.

Do not likewise the Arminians err, who maintain, That when the grace of God begins to make an infall upon the heart, in order to a man's conversion, it is indifferent, and may be resisted and withstood; so that a man may be converted, or not converted by it?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because if this doctrine were true, a man's conversion would be of him that runneth, and of him that willeth, but not of God, that sheweth mercy; which is contrary to the apostle, Rom. 9.15,16.

2d, Because by this way, it should not be God that worketh in us, both to will and to do, Phil. 2. 13

3d, Because by this way, a man himself should make the difference, and God should not make one man differ from another, which is contrary to the apostle, 1 Cor. 4.7.

4th, Because if so, a man might glory, that he had in himself, what he had not received; which contradicts, 1 Cor. 4.7.

5th, Because it is God that draws a man before he comes to Christ, John 6.44.

6th, Because conversion is a new creation, 2 Cor. 5.17.

7th, Because it is a resurrection from the dead, Eph. 2.5.

8th, Because conversion is no less than to be born over again, John 3.3.

Quest. IV. "Is this effectual call, of God's free and special grace alone, and not from any thing at all foreseen in man?"

Yes; 2 Tim. 2.9. Titus 3.4,5. Eph. 2.4,5,8,9.

Well then, do not the Papists and Arminians err, who maintain, That an unregenerate man may, by the strength of nature and his free-will, do some good works; nay, oftentimes hath actually done such good works, as may prepare him, and dispose him for receiving of the grace of God?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit, Mat. 7.17.

2d, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be, Rom. 8.7.

3d, Because we have nothing in ourselves, which we have not received, whereby we may differ from others, 1 Cor. 4.7.

4th, Because whatever is not of faith is sin, Rom. 14.23. Heb. 11.6.

5th, Because we are not able of ourselves to think a good thought, but all our sufficiency is of God, 2 Cor. 3.5.

6th, Because before conversion we were dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2.2,5.

7th, Because not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3.5.

8th, Because we were sometimes, that is, before conversion, darkness, Eph. 5.8.

9th, Because Christ says, without me, ye can do nothing, John 15.5.

Quest. V. "Is man in effectual calling only passive, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Ghost, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it?"

Yes; 1 Cor. 2.14. Rom. 8.7. Eph. 2.5. John 6.37. John 5.25. Ezek. 36.27.

Well then, do not the Papists and Arminians err, who maintain, That a man in his conversion is not passive, but active?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

Before I do this, it is to be observed, that when I say a man is passive in his conversion, I do not think he is physically passive, as a stock or a stone, while an artist is about to make a statue of them: but morally, or rather spiritually; as a man is spiritually dead, which is a true and real death, though he be naturally living. The first reason by which they are confuted is this, because we are dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2.1.

2d, Because we are the servants of sin, until we be made free men by the Son of God, John 8.34,36.

3d, Because we are by nature, under the power of Satan and of darkness, Acts 26.18. Col. 1.13. 2 Tim. 2.26.

4th, Because it is God that worketh in us, both to will and to do, of his own good pleasure, Phil. 2.13.

5th, Because the flesh lusteth against the spirit, Gal. 5.17.

6th, Because the Scriptures ascribe that whole work to God, and no part of it to man, Eph. 2.8,9.

Quest. VI. "Are elect infants, dying in infancy, regenerated and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when and where he pleaseth?"

Yes; Luke 18.15,16. Acts 2.38,39. John 3.5. 1 John 5.12.

Well then, do not the Anabaptists err, who maintain, That no infants are regenerated?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb, Luke 1.15.

2d, Because the prophet Jeremiah was sanctified from his mother's womb, Jer. 1.5.

3d, Because the promise is made to believing parents, and to their children, conjunctly, Gen. 17.7. Acts 2.39.

4th, Because of such, says Christ, is the kingdom of heaven, Mat. 19.14.

5th, Because the apostle calls children, which are descended but of one parent, in covenant with God, holy; 1 Cor. 7.14.

6th, Because God hath promised in the second command, That he will shew mercy unto thousands, that are descended of believing parents, Exod. 20.6.

Quest. VII. "Can any not elected, although called by the ministry of the word, and having some common operations of the Spirit, truly come to Christ, and so be saved?"

No; Mat. 22.14. Mat. 7.22. Mat. 18.20,21. Heb. 6.4,5. John 6.64,65,66. John 8.24.

Well then, do not the Arminians err, who maintain, That there is sufficient grace given to all men for their conversion to whom the gospel is preached?

Yes.

Do not likewise the Quakers err, who maintain, That every man hath so much grace given of God, as, if he would improve it, would bring him to heaven?

Yes.

By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because Christ says to his disciples, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given, Mat. 13.11.

2d, Because it is said of the Jews, they could not believe, because God had blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, John 12.39,40.

3d, Because Christ said to his disciples, there are some of you that do not believe; therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father, John 6.64,65.

4th, Because the prophet Isaiah complains, Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Isa. 53.1.

5th, Because many are called, but few are chosen, Mat. 22.14.

6th, Because men in nature do not discern neither can they know the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Cor. 2.14.

7th, Because the most part of the world are buried in gross darkness, and have their understanding darkened, and are alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts, Eph. 3.18.