August 4, 2009

Samuel Davies (1723–1761) on Christ Begging

I pray you, in the name of the great God your heavenly Father, and of Jesus Christ your Redeemer. If God should once more renew the thunder and lightning, and darkness and tempest of Sinai, and speak to you as he once did to the trembling Israelites; or if he should appear to you in all the amiable and alluring glories of a sin-pardoning reconcileable God, and pray you to be reconciled to him, would you not then regard the proposal? or if Jesus, who once prayed for you from the cross, should now pray to you from his throne in heaven, and beg you with his own gracious voice to be reconciled, O! could you disregard the intreaty? Surely no. Now the overture of peace is as really made to you by the blessed God and his Son Jesus Christ, as if it were expressly proposed to you by an immediate voice from heaven. For I beseech you, as though God did beseech you by me, and it is in Christ's stead, that I pray you be reconciled to God. Therefore, however lightly you may make of a mere proposal of mine, can you disregard an overture from the God that made you, and the Saviour that bought you with his blood; in which I am but the faint echo of their voice from heaven.

In the name of God I pray you; the name of the greatest and best of beings; that name which angels love and adore, and which strikes terror through the hardiest devil in the infernal regions; the name of your Father, the immediate Father of your spirits, and the Author of your moral frames; the name of your Preserver and Benefactor, in whom you live, and move, and have your being; and who gives you life, and breath, and all things; the name of your rightful Sovereign and Lawgiver, who has a right to demand your love and obedience; the name of your supreme Judge, who will ascend the tribunal, and acquit or condemn you, as he finds you friends or foes; the name of that God, rich in goodness, who has replenished heaven with an infinite plenitude of happiness, in which he will allow you to share, after all your hostility and rebellion, if you consent to the overture of reconciliation; in the name of that God of terrible majesty and justice, who has prepared the dungeon of hell as a prison for his enemies, where he holds in chains the mighty powers of darkness, and thousands of your own race, who perished in that enmity to him of which you are now guilty, and with whom you must have your everlasting portion, if, like them, you continue hardened and incorrigible in your rebellion; in the name of that compassionate God, who sent his dear Son (O the transporting thought!) to satisfy divine justice for you by his death, and the precepts of the law by his life, and thus to remove all the obstructions out of the way of your reconciliation on the part of God; in this great, this endearing and tremendous name, I pray you be reconciled to God. I pray you for his sake; and has this name no weight with you? Will you do nothing for his sake? what, not so reasonable and advantageous a thing as dropping your unnatural rebellion, and being reconciled to him? Is your contempt of God risen to that pitch that you will not do the most reasonable and profitable thing in the world, if he entreat you to do it? Be astonished, O ye heavens! at this.

I pray you both in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, the true friend of publicans and sinners, in his name, and for his sake, who assumed your degraded nature, that he might dignify and save it; who lived a life of labour, poverty, and persecution upon earth, that you might enjoy a life of everlasting happiness and glory in heaven; who died upon a torturing cross, that you might sit upon heavenly thrones; who was imprisoned in the gloomy grace, that you might enjoy a glorious resurrection; who fell a victim to divine justice, that you might be set free from its dreadful arrest; who felt trouble and agony of soul, that you might enjoy the smiles, the pleasures of divine love; who, in short, has discovered more ardent and extensive love for you than all the friends in the world can do; in his name, and for his sake, I pray you to be reconciled to God. And is his dear name a trifle in your esteem? Will you not do any thing so reasonable and so necessary, and conducive to your happiness for his sake; for his sake who has done and suffered so much for you? Alas! has the name of Jesus no more influence among the creatures he bought with his blood! It is hard indeed if I beg in vain, when I beg for the sake of Christ, the Friend, the Saviour of perishing souls.
Samuel Davies, "Sermon III: Sinners Entreated 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), 1:149–151.


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