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There are hard texts in the works [of providence] as well as in the Word of God. It becomes us modestly and humbly to show reverence, but not to dogmatize too boldly and positively upon them. (Flavel, The Mystery of Providence, 141)

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We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else. If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is “of him.” If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment, in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from this fountain, and from no other. (Calvin, Institutes 2.16.19)

From these statements of the inspired word [e.g.God turning the hearts of them men of Israel against Rehoboam], and from similar passages which it would take too long to quote in full, it is, I think, sufficiently clear that God works in the hearts of men to incline their wills whithersoever He wills, whether to good deeds according to His mercy, or to evil after their own deserts; His own judgment being sometimes manifest, sometimes secret, but always righteous. This ought to be the fixed and immoveable conviction of your heart, that there is no unrighteousness with God. (Augustine)

Although the saints on account of the grievous sins into which they slip, deserve exclusion from the kingdom of heaven and the abrogation of their justification and adoption, still it happens by the mercy of God that on this account neither their right to the kingdom of heaven is taken away, nor justification or adoption recalled, nor their state of regeneration effectively destroyed. The right to the kingdom is not founded upon our actions, but on the gratuitous adoption of God and our indissoluble union with Christ. Also, the guilt of this or that sin does not abrogate the universal justification of preceding sins and the state of the person reconciled to God by Christ. The privilege of adoption does not depend upon us, but upon the mercy of God the Father alone. The grace of regeneration flows from the Spirit, who as he once implanted in our hearts that vivifying seed, so he impressed upon it a heavenly and incorruptible force and this he perpetually cherishes and preserves. Thus although sinful man can (at least for a time) lose the use of this right and the sense of justification, still he cannot fall from lose the use of this right and the sense of justification, still he cannot fall from that right, Even if he were deprived of the solace of adoption, still he is not at once divested of that adoption so that he who had been made a son of God should become a child of the Devil and a servant of sin. And if that seed is latent in the heart and does not exhibit itself outwardly in the bearing of fruit, still it is not dead-life is always in the root. The act of faith can be intercepted, but the not dead-life is always in the root. The act of faith can be intercepted, but the habit itself cannot be shaken off (as fire lies concealed under ashes; as life which suffers it decays; as a plant in the winter which neither flourishes nor bears fruit).

Thus, we are commanded "to serve the Lord with fear and to rejoice with trembling" (Ps. 2:11), because joy without fear is pride, fear without joy is despair; both joined together add sure confidence with deep humility to the mind. Thus, the believer fears on account of sin, rejoices on account of grace, fears on account of his own infirmity and threatening dangers and anxiously uses all the means that he may not slip into carnal security. Still he rejoices with confidence in the divine aid promised to him that he may not rush into despair.

Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology
Fifteenth Topic: Calling and Faith

Sixteenth Question: The Perseverance of Faith (p.613-614,628)

Calvin on Piety

Piety has a family ring about it (devotion to one’s father being its most common human expression). Alongside it in sheer frequency of use Calvin employs another family to describe the Christian life: adoptio – adoptive sonship. … Piety is an expression of adoption – reverence for God, living with a single eye to his glory. This is what the children of God are called to do and to be. Sinclair Ferguson, Some Pastors and Teachers p. 68

True piety consists rather in a pure and true zeal which loves God altogether as Father, and reveres him truly as Lord, embraces his justice and dreads to offend him more than to die. Calvin’s French Catechism of 1537

"God is so great that according to his eternal purposes … no sin can frustrate the Lord of his purpose. … Almighty God in his eternal purpose of election and salvation actually rides high and sinlessly on the sins of his saints having dealt with them by precious blood and by the fire – the purging fire of the Holy Spirit … The sinners are transformed into instruments of his holy will."

(William Still)

Preaching

… in the language of earlier generations of preachers, to both wound and heal, sing and sting, disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.

Source: Capill, The Heart is the Target p.19

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