December 21, 2008

More from William Gurnall (1617–1679) on Christ Begging

Take heed thou dost not make thy private particular enemies the object of thy imprecation: we have no warrant, when any wrong us, to go and call fire from heaven upon them. We are bid indeed to, heap coals upon the enemy's head,' but they are of love, not of wrath and revenge. Job set a black brand upon this, and clears himself from the imputation of so great a sin'—'If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him: neither have I suffered my mouth to sin, by wishing a curse to his soul,' chap. xxxi. 29, 30. He durst not wish his enemy ill, much less deliberately form a wish into a prayer, and desire God to curse him. Our Saviour hath taught us a more excellent way, Matt. v. 44.: 'Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you.' I know this is counted a poor, sheepish spirit by шаnу. What! go and pray for them? No, send them the glove rather, and be revenged on them in a duel, by shedding their blood. This is the drink-offering which these sons of pride delight to pour out to their revenge, or else curse them to the pit of hell with their oaths. O tremble at such a spirit as this!

The ready way to fetch a curse from heaven on thyself is to imprecate one sinfully upon another, Psalm cix. 17, 18: 'As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him; as he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garments, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.' Moses, I suppose, had as noble a spirit as any of these that style themselves men of honour, yet did he draw his sword upon Aaron, or curse Miriam, when they had used him so ill? I trow not, but bore all patiently; nay, when God declared his displeasure against Miriam for this affront put upon him, see how this holy man interceded for her with God, Numb. xii. 13. This is valour of the right make, to overcome evil with good, and instead of seeking revenge on him that wrongs us, to have the mastery of our own corruption so far as to desire his good the more. Thus our Lord, when he was numbered amongst transgressors, even then interceded for the transgressors, Isa. liii. 12; that is, these very men who used him so barbarously, while they were digging his heart out of his body with their instruments of cruelty, then was he begging the life of their souls with his fervent prayers.
William Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armour, rev. by John Campbell (London: William Tegg, 1862), 728–729.

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1 comment:

Derek Ashton said...

Tony,

You sure are hammering home this issue of the free offer. Thanks, your blog is now probably one of the best collections of quotes concerning the free offer and in this regard one of the best antidotes to hyper calvinism available on the web.

Blessings,
Derek Ashton