What a treasure .... oh what mercy !!!
Who has 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. 2 Timothy 1:9
THERE is an external and an internal call of the Spirit. The external call is thus alluded to: I have called, and you refused; Many are called, but few are chosen. This outward call of the Spirit is made in various ways. In the word, in the glorious proclamation of the gospel, through the providences of Godthose of mercy and those of judgmentthe warnings of ministers, the admonitions of friends, and, not less powerful, the awakening of the natural conscience. By these means does the Holy Spirit call sinners to repentance. In this sense, every man who hears the gospel, who is encircled with the means of grace, and who bears about with him a secret but ever-faithful monitor, is called by the Spirit. The existence of this call places the sinner in an attitude of fearful responsibility; and the rejection of this call exposes him to a still more fearful doom. God has never poured out His wrath upon man, without first extending the olive-branch of peace. Mercy has invariably preceded judgment. I have called, and you have refused. All day long I have stretched forth my hands. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. He reasons, He argues, He expostulates with the sinner. Come, let us reason together, is His invitation. He instructs, and warns, and invites; He places before the mind the most solemn considerations, urged by duty and interest; He presses His own claims, and appeals to the individual interests of the soul; but all seems ineffectual. Oh, what a view does this give us of the patience of God toward the rebellious! That He should stretch out his hand to a sinnerthat instead of wrath, there should be mercyinstead of cursing, there should be blessingthat, instead of instant punishment, there should be the patience and forbearance that invites, and allures, and reasons!Oh, who is a God like unto our God? I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.
But there is the special, direct, and effectual call of the Spirit, in the elect of God, without which all other calling is in vain. God says, I will put my Spirit within them. Christ says, The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live. And in the following passages reference is made to the effectual operation of God the Spirit. Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. The word of God which effectually works in you that believe. Thus, through the instrumentality of the truth, the Spirit is represented as effectually working in the soul. When He called before, there was no inward, supernatural, secret power accompanying the call to the conscience. Now there is an energy put forth with the call, which awakens the conscience, breaks the heart, convinces the judgment, opens the eye of the soul, and pours a new and an alarming sound upon the hitherto deaf ear. Mark the blessed effects. The scales fell from the eyes, the veil is torn from the mind, the deep fountains of evil in the heart are broken up, the sinner sees himself lost and undonewithout pardon, without a righteousness, without acceptance, without a God, without a Savior, without a hope! Awful condition! What shall I do to be saved? is his cry: I am a wretch undone! I look within me, all is dark and vile; I look around me, everything seems but the image of my woe; I look above me, I see only an angry God: whichever way I look, is hell!and were God now to send me there, just and right would He be. But, blessed be God, no poor soul that ever uttered such language, prompted by such feelings, ever died in despair. That faithful Spirit who begins the good work, effectually carries it on, and completes it. Presently He leads him to the cross of Jesusunveils to his eye of glimmering faith a suffering, wounded, bleeding, dying Saviorand yet a Savior with outstretched arms! That Savior speaksoh, did ever music sound so melodious?All this I do for youthis cross for youthese sufferings for youthis blood for youthese stretched-out arms for you. Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you restHim that comes to me, I will in no wise cast outLook unto me, and be you savedonly believe. Are you lost? I can save you. Are you guilty? I can cleanse you. Are you poor? I can enrich you. Are you low sunk? I can raise you. Are you naked? I can clothe you. Have you nothing to bring with youno price, no money, no goodness, no merit? I can and will take you to me, just as you are, poor, naked, penniless, worthless; for such I came to seek, such I came to call, for such I came to die. Lord, I believe, exclaims the poor convinced soul, Help You mine unbelief. You are just the Savior that I want. I wanted one that could and would save me with all my vileness, with all my rags, with all my povertyI wanted one that would save me fully, save me freely, save me as an act of mere unmerited, undeserved graceI have found Him whom my soul lovesand will be His through time, and His through eternity. Thus effectually does the blessed Spirit call a sinner, by His especial, direct, and supernatural power, out of darkness into marvelous light. I will work, says God, and who shall let it? (marg. turn it back.)
by Octavius Winslow