Part 1

Section 532 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.

It is said,[1] "That the election mentioned in the Holy Scriptures is not that of particular persons, but only of churches and nations; that it is to the enjoyment of the means of grace, which puts them in a capacity of having all the privileges and blessings which God hath promised to his church and people, and is only a conditional one, upon our perseverance in a life of holiness, and is to be made sure unto us by good works, according to this exhortation." But,

1. Though it will be granted that there was a national election of the Jews, who enjoyed the means of grace, the word and ordinances of God, and had peculiar blessings and privileges in consequence of this special choice of them as a nation; yet this was not an election to salvation elsewhere spoken of, and about which our controversy is, and therefore in vain are so many passages produced by Dr. Whitby,[2] out of the Old Testament, to prove what nobody denies. And though sometimes whole communities or churches are by the apostles styled the elect of God, as the churches of Colosse, Thessalonica, Babylon (Col. 3:12; 1 Thess.1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 5:13), and others, yet they were not chosen as such; nor is it to be thought that all of them were ordained to eternal life, though the apostles speak of them in the bulk as the elect of God, being under a visible profession of religion; just as they call them all saints, the sanctified, and faithful in Christ Jesus;though it is not to be supposed that an the individual members of these churches were real saints.However, it does not appear that the persons the apostle Peter wrote his epistles to were either a nation or a church, being the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1); they are indeed called a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people (2 Pet. 2:9); but that is only in allusion to typical Israel, and the shadowy election of that people as a nation. It is certain that these persons were chosen not merely to external means and outward blessings and privileges, but to grace here, and glory hereafter; for they were elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus, and in consequence of this were begotten again to a lively hope of an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven, and were kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation (1 Pet. 1:2-5). They were a set of particular persons, who had obtained like precious faith with the apostles (2 Pet. 1:l), and were, every one to use diligence to make sure their own, and not another's calling and election;and so not a national or church election, but a personal one.

2. This election it not a conditional one, depending on perseverance in a life of holiness. The text does not say, if ye do these things ye shall be elected, or your election shall remain firm and sure, but ye shall never fall;meaning, not into lesser sins and infirmities of life, for in many things we offend all,ptaio>men a{pantev, we all fall; but into the great evil of a final and total apostasy; or ye shall never fall (Jam. 3:2) so as to be lost and perish. The final perseverance of the saints is secured by electing grace; that is not the cause, but the fruit of election; election does not depend upon that, but that upon election.

3. Election and calling here mentioned with it, are to be made sure;not that they can be made surer in themselves, nor with respect to God, than they are, being both not according to our works, but according to the purpose, and grace of God, which cannot be frustrated; and so stand upon a sure foundation, which can never fail, and are inseparably connected with glorification (Rom. 8:30). Nor are these to be made sure by the saints to themselves,for, though they may have some doubts and scruples in their minds about their interest in these things, and an assurance of which may be attained; yet it is not their work, but the work of the Spirit of God, to certify or assure them of their vocation and election of God. But diligence is to be used by the saints, to make sure their calling and election to others;either to their fellow Christians, which they may do by conversing with them about the work of grace upon their souls,or rather to the world, and that dia< twn kalwn ejrgwn, by good works;as these words are read in two manuscript copies of Beza's, and by the Syriac, Ethiopic, and Vulgate Latin; and then the meaning is, be careful to maintain good works, be diligent in doing these things, which, through the grace of God, will not only be the means of your final perseverance, but also of making your calling and election sure to others; you will hereby certify and assure others, give the best evidence to the world you are capable of giving, or they of receiving, that you are the called and chosen of God you profess yourselves to be.


[1] Ibid. p. 36; ed. 2. 35.

[2] Pages 37-40; ed. 2. 36-89.

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