May 20, 2009

Isaac Ambrose (1604–1664) on God Begging

3. The Lord doth not only command a poor sinner to come, but when he says, "There is mercy with God, but not for me:" the Lord followeth him still, and sends another cord after him, that if it be possible, he may win him, and woo him to receive mercy. If command therefore prevail not, he entreats and beseeches him to come and receive mercy; and this, methinks, should move the hardest heart under heaven. We, saith the apostle, are ambassadors from Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled unto God. Rather than you should go away from Christ, even mercy itself will come and kneel down before you, and beseech and entreat you, "for the Lord Jesus' sake, to pity your poor souls, and receive pardon for your sins;" a sinner is not able to comprehend this, but he begins to be at a stand:--"What, that the Lord should beseech him? Oh, that thou wouldst receive pardon for thy sins, and be blessed for ever! Good Lord!" saith the soul, "is this possible, that the great King of heaven should come and beseech such a traitor, such a rebel as I am, to take pardon? That a king on earth should proclaim a pardon to some notorious traitor, this were much; but that the King of heaven should lay down his crown, and beseech me, on his knees as it were, to take mercy; this is a thing beyond all expectation. What, shall heaven stoop to earth? Shall majesty stoop to misery? Shall the great God of heaven and earth, that might have condemned my soul, and if I had perished and been damned, might have took glory by my destruction: is it possible that this God should not only entertain me when I come, and command me to come, but entreat and beseech me to come, and receive mercy from him! Oh, the depth of the incomprehensible love of God!" Imagine you saw God the Father entreating you, and God the Son beseeching you, as he doth this day, "Come now, and forsake your sins, and take mercy, which is prepared for you, and shall be bestowed upon you;" would not this make a soul think thus with itself, "What, for a rebel? Not only to have mercy offered, but to be entreated to receive mercy, it were pity, if I will not take it, but I should go to hell, and be damned for ever." The Lord, he complains, Why will ye die? As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of a sinner: turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die? "Mercy is offered ye, the Lord reacheth out his hand to you;" fain would he pluck the drunkard out of the alehouse, and the adulterer from his whore. Oh! if you break this cord. I know not what to say to you: this is able to break mountains in pieces;--Shake, O mountains, saith the prophet; why? because God hath redeemed Jacob: the redemption of Jacob was enough to break a mountain; let his mercy break our hearts; it is God that begs, the blessing is our own.
Isaac Ambrose, "The Doctrine of Regeneration," in The Works of Isaac Ambrose (London: Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1829), 45–46.

Beeke and Pederson

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