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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 31. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

1. Is the common call given to the world? Yes: he sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden, Matt. 22:3. Can ministers make that call effectual? No: for who hath believed our report, Isa. 53:1. Is it the work of God to make it effectual? Yes: for it is God that giveth the increase, 1 Cor. 3:7. Does he do it in a way suitable to our nature? Yes: I drew them with cords of a man, Hos. 11:4. Is it necessary to our salvation that the call should be effectual? Yes: who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, 2 Tim. 1:9.

2. Are all who are effectually called convinced of sin? Yes: I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, Rom. 7:9. Is it the Spirit's work to convince? Yes: when he is come he will convince the world of sin, John 16:8. Is the word the ordinary means of conviction? Yes: for by the law is the knowledge of sin, Rom. 3:20. Is it necessary we should be convinced of sin? Yes: for they that are whole need not a physician, Matt. 9:12. Must we be convinced of the fact of sin? Yes: These things thou hast done, Ps. 50:21. And of the fault of sin? Yes: Know therefore, and see, that it is an evil thing, Jer. 2:19. And of the folly of sin? Yes: Herein thou hast done foolishly, 2 Chron. 16:9. And of the filth of sin? Yes: For how canst thou say, I am not polluted? Jer. 2:23. And of the fruit of sin? Yes: Your sins have separated between you and your God, Isa. 59:1, 2. And of the fountain of sin? Yes: They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, 1 Kings 8:38.

3. Must we also be convinced of our misery? Yes: Thou art wretched and miserable, Rev. 3:17. And of our danger? Yes: Flee from the wrath to come, Matt. 3:7. Must we be convinced of our helplessness in ourselves? Yes: when sin revived I died, Rom. 7:9. And of the possibility of our being helped by the grace of God? Yes: How many hired servants of my father have bread enough, and to spare! Luke 15:17. Will these convictions put us in pain? Yes: When they heard this, they were pricked to the heart, Acts 2:37. And bring us to be at a loss within ourselves? Yes: Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 2:37. And put us upon inquiry? Yes: They shall ask the way to Sion with their faces thitherward, Jer. 1. 5. Are these convictions necessary to prepare us for an invitation to Christ? Yes: Come unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, Matt. 11:28.

4. Does the Spirit, when he has convinced us of sin and misery, leave us so? No: for he has torn, and he will heal us, Hos. 6:1. When he has showed us our wound, does he show us our remedy? Yes: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help, Hos. 13:9. Does he enlighten our minds? Yes: the Spirit of wisdom and revelation is given, that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened, Eph. 1:17, 18. Does he enlighten them with the knowledge of Christ? Yes: he gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 4: 6. Does he discover to the soul Christ's ability to save? Yes: I have laid help upon one that is mighty, Ps. 89:19. And his willingness to save? Yes: I will, be thou clean, Matt. 8:3. Should we be most ambitious of the knowledge of Christ? Yes: counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord, Phil. 3:8. Does the Spirit direct convinced sinners to Christ? Yes: Turn ye to the B hold, ye prisoners of hope, Zech. 9:12.

5. Is it enough to have the mind enlightened? No: for we are called into a professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, 2 Cor. 9:13. Must the will therefore be renewed ? Yes: for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, Phil. 2:13. Is it the work of the Spirit to incline the will to do that which is good ? Yes: Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, Ps. 119:36. And is that the renewing of the will? Yes: A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, Ezek. 36:26. Does that make the will pliable? Yes: I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh, Ezek. 11:19. Does it bring it into subjection to the will of God? Yes: Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Acts 9:6. And is that a cheerful subjection? Yes: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Rom. 5:5.

6. Is Christ offered to us in the gospel? Yes: Behold, I stand at the door and knock, Rev. 3:20. Is he freely offered? Yes: Come buy, without money, and without price, Isa. 55:1. Are we concerned to embrace that offer? Yes: Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled, Prov. 9:5. Are we by nature averse to it? Yes: Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life, John 5:40. Do sinners perish then through their own wilfulness? Yes: I have called, and ye have refused, Prov. 1:24. Does the Spirit in effectual calling overcome this aversion? Yes: With loving kindness have I drawn thee, Jer. 31: 3. Does he persuade us to embrace this offer? Yes: For every man that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me, John 6:45. Does he enable us? Yes: For you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:1.

7. Can we turn to God by any power of our own? No: for we are not sufficient of ourselves, 2 Cor. 3:5. Is it the grace of God that turns us to him? Yes: Turn thou me, and I shall be turned, Jer. 31:18. Is it free grace? Yes: He went on frowardly in the way of his heart, I have seen his ways and will heal him, Isa. 57:17, 18. Does it turn us by a work upon the will? Yes: The Lord opened the heart of Lydia, Acts 16:14. Is it special grace? Yes: It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy, Rom. 9:16. Shall this grace be given to all the elect? Yes: All that the Father hath given me shall come unto me, John 6:37. Shall it be effectual? Yes: His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, 1 Cor. 15:10. May we. in faith pray for this grace? Yes: I will for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, Ezek. 36:37. Can any turn to God without this special grace? No: for no man can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him, John 6:44. Must that grace therefore have all the glory? Yes: we must show forth the praises of him that hath called us, 1 Pet. 2: 9.

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