March 23, 2008

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on God Begging: Part 2

1. Consider God's gracious invitation. God hath fully opened his mind concerning the receiving of sinners that come to Christ. He prays us to come, makes public proclamation: Isa. Iv. 1, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.' God by his ministers goes a begging to poor creatures: 2 Cor. v. 20, 'Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.' He pitieth those that do not come to him, Ps. Ixxxi. 13, 'Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!' so Luke xix. 41, 42, 'When he was come near he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace!' He professeth his loathness that any should perish: Ezek. xxxiii. 11, 'As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will you die, house of Israel?' he reasoneth with them—'Why will you die?' So Ezek. xviii. 31. He chideth them for not coming, John v. 40, 'Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.' He promiseth and offereth to them all the favour that may be: John vi. 27, 'Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you;' Mat. xi. 28, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Ye need not fear an entertainment. Now it is a great advantage to faith to consider these passionate forms. Show yourselves men by a literal revolution of the promises; though it be but an act of understanding and memory, yet God may bless it. Constant thoughts have a natural efficacy; when God is in them, and giveth his blessing, they work much.

5. God doth not only admit them to come, but of his own accord inviteth them that are slack and backward. The Scriptures do every where record the entreaties of God: he draweth us with cords of Love; cords that are woven and spun out of Christ’s heart and bowels: In one place thus, Cant. 4.8. Come away from Lebanon, my Sister, my Spouse, from the Lions dens, from the mountains of Leopards: Christ’s love is hot and burning, he thinketh we tarry too long from his embraces. So Cant. 5.2. Open to me my Sister, my Spouse, &c. Christ stands begging for entrance: Lost man, do but suffer me to save thee; poor sinner, suffer me to love thee: These are the charms of Gospel Rhetorick! So Isaiah. 49. Hearken to me, and attend to the words of my mouth, &c. Oh sinners, you will not hearken to me for the good of your Souls! You see none singeth so sweetly as the Bird of Paradise, the Turtle that chirpeth upon the Churches hedges, that he may cluck sinners to himself: The Scripture is full of such an holy witchcraft, such passionate charms, to entice Souls to their happiness.
Thomas Manton, “A Practical Commentary; Or, An Exposition with Notes, on the Epistle of Jude,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton , 22 vols. (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1873), 5:58.


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