Anthony Tuckney on the Sincere Calling of the Gospel


Bio by Andrew Myers

Anthony Tuckney (wiki), English Puritan (September 1599 — February 1670), was the cousin, assistant and successor to (at Boston, England) John Cotton. He was a member of the Westminster Assembly and played a major role in the production of the Larger and Shorter Catechisms:

“The Larger Catechism occupied, as the Minutes show, a good deal of the Assembly’s attention during the year 1647, and was discussed question by question.  It was prepared before the Shorter.  It is chiefly the work of Dr. Anthony Tuckney, Professor of Divinity and Vice-Chancellor at Cambridge.”  Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. I, p. 786

He served as Master of Emmanuel College.  Later he served as one of the commissioners to the 1661 Savoy Conference.  Some of his works are listed at WorldCat

He is cited in the Epistle Commending the Westminster Standards:

“Never did any age of the Church enjoy such choice helps as this of ours.  Every age of the gospel hath had its Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms, and such breviaries and models of divinity as have been singularly useful.  Such forms of sound words (however in these days decried) have been in use in the Church ever since God Himself wrote the Decalogue, as a summary of things to be done; and Christ taught us that prayer of his, as a directory what to ask.  Concerning the usefulness of such compendiary systems, so much hath been said already by a learned divine² of this age, as is sufficient to satisfy all who are not resolved to remain unsatisfied.”

² Dr. Tuckney in his Sermon on 2 Tim. 1:13.




A Brief and Pithy Catechism, some spelling and punctuation has been updated for ease of reading.

[19] Q.  What is the outward theological calling?

An.  It is medium ad salitem [a medium to salt], as the the word and sacraments and the members of the visible church belong unto it.

[20] Q. What is that inward theological calling?

An.  It is when God’s word brings [?] does not rest in our outward ears but comes into the heart and works somewhat there.

[21] Q.  How many ways [is] this taken?

An.  It is either effectual or ineffectual.

[22] Q.  What is the inward ineffectual calling?

An.  When it comes into the heart and falls as on stony ground.

[23] Q.  How far may this inward ineffectual calling bring us?

An.  To these four degrees of grace principally. 1. It may bring a man to see his own sin & misery.  2ly. It may so work upon him, as it may bring him to have a desire after the thing persuaded [for?]  3ly It may bring him to some kind of degree of possession of the thing called for.  4ly It may bring him to some outward correspondence, as to reform many sins.

[24] Q.  Why then is it called an ineffectual calling?

An.  Because it does not fully persuade [the] heart to come in.

[30] Q.  By what wording in scripture is our vocation expressed?

An.  By many expressions: as first by alluring and persuading. Hos. 2:14.  2ly by inviting and compelling. Math 22:4.  3ly by stretching out of the hand. Rom. 10:21.  4ly by beseeching, 2 Cor. 5:20.  5ly by drawing us. John 6.44.  Lastly by apprehending.

[31] Q.  Do all these properly belong to effectual calling?

An.  No, the four first may be applied to ineffectual calling.

[38] Q.  Whither do effectual and ineffectual calling differ in this respect or no, do not both come from God?

An.  They agree in this that both proceed from God, yet they differ in regard of the manner of work, for God does the work not secundum propositum, but secundum obviam.

[55] Q.  What and how many are the instrumental causes of our vocation?

An.  They are of two sorts either primary or secondary?

[56] Q.  What were the primary?

An.  The word.

[57] Q.  In what propositions was that expressed?

An.  James 5:11 [1:21?] suggests the word is the ordinary means whereby He calls and so by consequence the ministry of it.  2d. That it was but an instrumental cause under God and so it’s called the [sassed?] of God, the arm of god and sometime the power of God.  3ly. That as it’s but an instrumental cause so it did only belong to those which are adults, for infants may be said to be sanctified but not called.  4. That it was but a separable instrument.

[58] Q.  How can we say if the converting word is a separable means?

An.  For two reasons: Because the word may be without the Spirit.  2. Because the Spirit may be and may call some without the word.

[86] Q.  Now you have spoken of the primary instruments of salvation as the word and sacraments.  What are the secondary instruments?

An.  They are many as: 1. The mercies and favors of God common to all. Rom. 10:21 [“But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”].  Bounty is one thing that may cause love so that one main instrument or means God uses to call us home which is to draw us with the thick cords of love [Hos. 11:4].

[95] Q.  Whether do effectual and ineffectual calling differ in this [Q:94: ‘who are they whom God is thus pleased to call’]?

An.  Yes, for the ineffectual calling, many are called but few are chosen.



Forty Sermons upon Several Occasions, 1676

Sermon 30, p. 524, the second point below shows that Tuckney is including unbelievers in his audience

‘But it is good for me to draw near to God’

Ps. 73:25

Loud calls and strong persuasions [to draw near to God] in this kind are not wanting.

1.  In this blessed motion, the terminus ad quem [the end to which] is God; who is so good, as that there is in Him vis infinita magnetica [an infinite magnetic force], such a wonderful attractive power and force, as may trahere [draw], nay, repere animam, draw and snatch the soul to Him, in a way of a sweet but irresistible violence.  Our Savior said, that when He was lifted up, He would draw all men to Him, John 12:32.  Even so, Amen, Lord Jesus, thou faithful and true witness.

Especially as God in Christ looks out, and comes out to us; how earnest is He to call us?  How glad to welcome us?  How ready more than half way to meet us?  When the prodigal began to come, the Father ran, Luke 15:20.  Desperate prodigal, when your heavenly Father draws near, will you draw backward?  Oh take heed of it, lest God’s soul take no pleasure in you, Heb. 10:38 [‘but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him’].  Think what a step your Savior took in his incarnation to come to you!…  At least therefore, though we cannot go, being lame and blind… And yet besides, in all the after-travail of his Soul, think how He came leaping over mountains, and skipping over hills, that He might get to you before you perished eternally.  By his Word and Spirit does He not sometimes come very near you?  In the sacrament, though there be no transubstantian, yet is there not a very near union with you?  And is not all this enough to draw you?

2.  If not, consider then the terminus a quo [the end of which], that estate, which of yourself you are in, and think if it may not drive you.  It may be you are of their mind, who, when God bade them return, returned this answer, ‘We are the Lord’s, we will come no more unto you’, Jer. 2:31.  Though God be never so good, and it be very good to draw near to him, yet we are so well, that we need not trouble ourselves in making out after Him.  I, so?  Woeful blind creature, that has lost yourself and your eyes together that you cannot see it; were you not deadly lethargic, you would be more sensible of your own wants: were you not wholly a stranger at home, you would see nothing but misery and beggary there, that would thrust you out for supply elsewhere.  So far as you are off from Christ, so far from righteousness, Isa. 46:12, and just so far from blessedness.  And what then?  So deadly sick, and not so much as to send for your Physician!  Such a sinner, and not so much as to look out for a Savior!  Does the avenger of blood pursue you, and do you not fly to the City of Refuge? to the hope that is set before you?  Does Hell behind you gape for you? and no need, no care of Christ and heaven to receive you?


Sermon 31

p. 535, Tuckney is including unbelievers in his audience, as is clear from the second paragraph.  Thus the ‘spouse’ of Christ is likely the visible church, including unbelievers.

1.  First it [our drawing near to God] must be in due time, according to that Isa. 55:6, ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near.’  That glorious God, who in the perfection of his essence and majesty is at an infinite distance from us; and yet further removed by our sins, is pleased so far to humble Himself and stoop to us, as graciously to look toward us, and sometimes especially to draw very near to us, as the Sun from on High in the firmament by darting down his warm light enlivening beams, especially in his summer approaches.  In the ministry of his Word God holds out his hand, Rom. 10:21, and by the inspirations of his Spirit He lays hold on our hearts.  In both our Beloved puts in his hand by the hole of the door [Cant. 5:1-3], and says, as unto Thomas, reach hither your finger and put your hand into my side.  Or as to his spouse, Cant. 2:13, ‘Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.’  When thus Christ by his Spirit comes a wooing to the spouse, and after this manner whispers in your heart, He is come very near you, (as our Savior said) even at the doors: And now that this Door stands open, and Christ is coming out to meet you; now come forth you daughters of Jerusalem, and behold King Solomon, Cant. 3:11.  Now lift up your heads, O ye gates, Ps. 24:7.  Now, now is the time of access.  How deep may you get into your Savior’s bosom, when thus wide opened?  How much way may you rid, when your spread sail is filled with such a gale?  The golden scepter is reached out; no danger or fear now to draw near, but only of missing the opportunity.  When you hear the sound of a going on the top of the mulberry trees, then bestir yourself, as God said to David, 2 Sam. 5:24, when Christ thus knocks, and would come in.

Now a wicked and froward locking the door against Him may lose Him forever, so that although you should after[wards] knock and strive to enter, his Door may be shut as well as yours, Luke 13:24-25, and all the answer you have, be as it is, v. 27, ‘Depart from Me, I know you not.’  God (says Aben Ezra) may be found in any place, and at any time, but it must be ante obsignationem decreti [before the decree seals]: when the Door of Mercy is sealed up, look for no entrance; so desperate is a willful refusal; Nay so dangerous is a careless neglect, that in this our advance it may give us such a back-cast, as will very hardly again be recovered, but that we may come limping behind, and go halting to our graves.  




Related Pages 

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer

1600’s – Quote on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

The Westminster Standards and Divines on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel