September 6, 2007

Benjamin Keach (1640–1704) on God's Sincere Offers

Keach went to the 1689 General Assembly and subscribed the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
II. The Gospel is glorious in respect of the tenders and offers made therein to the sons of men.

Quest. What is tendered?
Answ. Repentance is tendered, pardon is tendered, peace is tendered, bread and water of life is tendered, perfect righteousness is tendered, adoption is tendered, glorious liberty is tendered; in short, God is offered, he makes a tender of himself. Christ is tendered with all his benefits, who is the Pearl of great price, worth millions; yea, more than ten thousand worlds; a marriage with Christ is tendered, the Spirit is tendered with all the blessings of it, a kingdom is offered in the Gospel, a crown is offered, a crown of endless glory, a crown that fadeth not away, eternal life is tendered.
Quest. Who is it that makes these tenders and offers in the Gospel?
Answ. The great God, he that has them to bestow, and a right to give them.
Quest. Whom are they offered to?
Answ. To such that were his enemies, rebels even the worst of sinners; in word, whoever will, he that hath a will to receive them may have them, Rev. xxii. 17.
Quest. Upon what terms are they offered?
Answ. Freely offered, without money and without price, though a man, as to righteousness, hath nothing of worth nor beauty in him, being in himself but a lump of sin and filthiness, yet lie may have these things, they are offered unto such, Isa. lv. 1, 2, 3.

They are sincerely and faithfully offered; God doth not mock men and women, offer them such things as these, and yet never intend to bestow them upon them; if they have a heart and a mind to them, my life for theirs they enjoy all these and many more like glorious good things. Nay, and more than this, they have been often tendered with much affection and in bowels of compassion, God bewails, and Christ bewails, the state of such who refuse them. O! then what fools are mortals to slight and reject these tenders!
Benjamin Keach, Tropologia; A Key to Open Scripture Metaphors, in Four Books (London: William Hill Collingridge City Press, 1858), 555–556.

This first quote may be problematic, since Keach seems to suggest that the offer is made to sensible sinners, i.e. to such as "were" God's enemies and have a "will" to receive it. The textual reference to Isaiah makes it interesting. Nevertheless, his ending statements clarify the fact that God affectionately offers the gospel to such as refuse the offer, and bewails their state of rejection. The following quotes will elaborate on God's compassionate offer made to all.
XI. God is said to stretch forth his Arms, when he calls upon rebellious sinners, showing how willing he is, upon their repentance, to pardon, and forgive them, Isa. lxv. 2.
Ibid., 302. [note the text reference carefully]

God is willing to pardon all "sinners," but will only do so if they repent.
2. And this is one great part of a Minister's embassy, he is sent to let sinners know what goodwill the God of heaven and earth bears to them, and that he is desirous to bestow his own dear Son, the heir of all things, in marriage upon them; what favor and grace is this! Can sinners be so sottish, foolish, and ungrateful, as not readily to receive and embrace this offer?
Ibid., 852.

By "sinners," he clearly means to include the sottish, foolish and ungrateful who do not receive and embrace the offer, i.e., the reprobates. I think it's safe to conclude that Keach believed in well-meant offers, since God is "desirous" and "willing" to bestow the blessings of Christ on sinners, even those who are sottishly and ungratefully not receiving the offer. This helps to establish, at least in the case of Keach, how the 1689 Confessional material on gracious offers was interpreted.


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