August 3, 2009

Samuel Davies (1723–1761) on God Beseeching

The next sentence in my text [2 Cor. 5:20] binds you still more strongly to this; as though God did beseech you by us. As if he had said, "God the Father also concurs in this treaty of peace, as well as Christ the great peace-maker; and as we discharge an embassy for Christ, so we do also for God; and you are to regard our beseeching and exhorting, as though the great God did in person beseech and exhort you by us." What astonishing condescension is here intimated! not that the ministers of Christ should beseech you; this would be no mighty condescension: but that the supreme Jehovah should beseech you; that he should not only command you with a stern air of authority as your Sovereign, but as a friend, nay, as a petitioner should affectionately beseech you, you despicable, guilty worms, obnoxious rebels! How astonishing, how God-like, how unprecedented and inimitable is this condescension! Let heaven and earth admire and adore! It is by us, indeed, by us your poor fellow mortals, that he beseeches; but O! let not this tempt you to disregard him or his intreaty: though he employs such mean ambassadors, yet consider his dignity who sends us, and then you cannot disregard his message even from our mouth.

The apostle, having thus prepared the way, proceeds to the actual exercise of his office as an ambassador for Christ: We pray you, says he, in Christ's stead, be reconciled to God. As if he had said, "If Christ were now present in person among you, this is what he would propose to you, and urge upon you, that you would be reconciled to God; but him the heavens must receive till the time of the restitution of all things; but he has left us poor servants to officiate in his place as well as we can, and we would prosecute the same design, we would urge upon you what he would urge, were he to speak; therefore we pray you, in his stead, be reconciled to God: we earnestly pray you to be reconciled: that is the utmost which such feeble worms as we can do: we can only pray and beg, but your compliance is not within the command of our power; the compliance belongs to you; and remember, if you refuse, you must take it upon yourselves, and answer the consequence.
Samuel Davies, "Sermon III: Sinners intreated to be reconciled to God," in Sermons on Important Subjects, by the Late Reverend and Pious Samuel Davies (New York: Printed for T. Allen, 1792), 1:135–136.


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