But we may never forget that also the cloth on which this divine work of the revelation of God in Christ Jesus our Lord was embroidered by the Holy Spirit is not from men, but from God. He did not find organs of revelation, but prepared them for the purpose of causing His light of revelation to shine unto men. He did not find a human history, but He causes history to be realized according to His everlasting counsel. He does not find times, countries, places, circumstances; but He causes them to be. He does not find persons and all their experiences which He deems fit to be used as instruments of His revelation; but He creates them and prepares them for the purpose which He has conceived to be instruments of His revelation. Thus, for instance, there is difference between John, the intuitive apostle, and Paul, whom He prepared that he might be the apostle that emphasizes faith and justification, and Peter, who is often called the apostle of hope. But He Himself prepared the instruments of revelation. And therefore, the Holy Scriptures are not a mixture of divine and human factors, but they are from beginning to end the infallible record of the Word of God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hence, the Holy Scripture is not dead, but is a living testimony of the Holy Spirit, a testimony that has its center in the incarnated Word of God, Who came in the fullness of time in our flesh and in our nature. The calling, therefore, which proceeds from the proclamation of the gospel is also a work of God. It certainly is a divine calling. Moreover, we must not forget that God causes His calling to proceed not at random, but wherever He wills, unto the salvation of the elect. Even when that Word of God is proclaimed through the apostles and also through the church, its course is directed by God. Thus we read in the Canons of Dordrecht, I, 3: “And that men may be brought to believe, God mercifully sends the messengers of these most joyful tidings, to whom he will and at what time he pleaseth; by whose ministry men are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified.” And this is also according to Scripture. For we read in Acts 16:6, 7: “Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” It is evident, therefore, that even the external preaching of the gospel as to, the places, where it is preached, as well as to the time of its being preached, is entirely directed by God through the Holy Spirit. And it is also evident that the calling through the preaching of the gospel, or what is called the external aspect of the calling, is not a human, but a divine calling.
However, this external side of the calling without anything else is not capable to cause the light of life to shine in the hearts of sinners. For, according to the gospel according to John, 1:4, 5: “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” And again, in the same chapter, 9-11: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Who then did receive Him? Also that is expressed in the chapter from which we just quoted, vss. 12 and 13: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is of no saving avail that the electric wire is led right into my home. That wire may scintillate with light and life. But in itself it is incapable of illuminating my home. If that wire is not ultimately connected with an electric bulb, and if, further, the switch is not turned on, my dwelling remains in darkness. The same is true of the living wire of the Word of God. The gospel as it comes to us in human language and in human form certainly brings the living wire of the Holy Spirit to our natural ear and to our natural understanding, which, however, is in darkness. But if the mind of the sinner is to be spiritually illuminated, the Holy Spirit of Christ Himself must call efficaciously and creatively, through the hearing of the gospel, to the very heart of the sinner. That Spirit must give him an eye to see and an ear to hear. That Spirit must spiritually illuminate his mind, and thus translate him out of darkness into the marvelous light of God. And this is the internal aspect of the calling of God through the preaching of the gospel. And thus only the calling of God becomes efficacious and irresistible.
Although, therefore, the external calling comes to all to whom God sends the preaching of the gospel, not all are saved. In fact, some are hardened by that same external calling of the gospel. For thus we read in I Corinthians 1:21, ff.: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.”