August 9, 2013

Thomas Case (1598–1682) on God and Christ Begging

This Westminster divine wrote:
Fifthly; Neither is there any Pardon to be expected at this Judgement Seat. Pardons were tendered in the Gospel upon gracious terms, but ungracious Sinners would have none of them, or would have them upon their own terms, Sin and Pardon too; their Pardons were nothing, unless they might have dispensations, also, such as the Pope sells often times; but Christ's Pardons, fo[?]. Pardon & Repentance, Pardon of sin and forsaking of sin, Pardon of sin and Hatred of sin, Pardon and Holiness, would not be accepted, and now the time of Pardons is out; the day of Grace is expired; no cries nor entreaties will prevail with the Judge; no, though the Sinner would fall upon his knees, and weep as many Seas of Tears, as once the Ministers wept Tears of Compassion over them; or as Christ himself shed drops of blood upon the Cross; Christ was once upon his knees, in the Person of His Ministers, beseeching them to be reconciled. Though the Sinner was first in the Transgression, yet God was first in the Reconciliation; and followed the Sinner (as it were), on his knees, entreating him to accept of Mercy, as if God had stood in as much need of the Sinner, as the Sinner did of Mercy; but nothing would prevail, a deaf ear was still turned to Christ's importunity, and now Repentance is hid from the eyes of the Judge, as once Repentance was hid from the eyes of the Sinner; the things of their peace are everlastingly hid, because they knew them not in that the day of their Vision: As Sinners obdurated their heart against Christ's voice, so Christ will harden his heart against the Sinner's cry, Prov. 1:24.

Sixthly; There shall be no mitigation of the punishment; not a farthing abated of the whole debt, Matt. 5:26. There was once Mercy without Judgment, before the Sinner; now there shall be Judgment without Mercy; now Sinners shall know that God is not mocked, that the Lamb of God is also the Lion of the Tribe of Juda; His voice was once, Fury not in me; now the voice will be, Meekness is not in me, mercy is not in me; now must the Sinner expect nothing but the utmost severity of divine justice, who once despised the yearnings of Christ's bowels, the lowest condescensions of divine Grace; the Sinner in his day, knew no moderation in sin, the Judge now in his day, will know no mitigation of Judgment; there will be a Sea of wrath, without a drop of Mercy.
Thomas Case, Mount Pisgah: Or, A Prospect of Heaven (London: Printed by Thomas Milbourn, for Dorman Newman, at the Chirurgious Arms in Little-Brittain, near the Lame-Hospital, 1670), 2:169–170.

The following is from a secondary source from the "Morning Exercises," or "a collection of sermons that present the system of Reformed theology in sermon form." As Ryan McGraw says, Case "introduces the sermons by indicating that he and several other members of the Westminster Assembly preached the sermons. Unfortunately, Case did not tell his readers who his fellow preachers were or who was responsible for which sermons." But, given what Case said above in his own writings, it is clear that he would concur with the following statements in Sermon XVIII :
2. If the wind do not, lets see whether the Sun cannot prevail. Poor self-destroying Caitiff, Look yonder on the amiable Jesus Christ; (for a marriage between whom and thy precious soul I am now wooing) Do but observe his condescending willingness to be united to thee: That great Ahashuerus courts his own captive Hester. The Potter makes suit to his own clay; Woos thee, though he wants [needs] thee not; is infinitely happy without thee, yet is not, cannot be satisfied but with thee. Heark how he commands, entreats, begs thee to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5:20. Swears and pawns his life upon it, that he desires not they death, Ezek. 33:11. Seals his oath with his blood; and if after all this thou art fond of thine own damnation, and hadst rather be at an agreement with hell, than with him; see how the brinish tears trickle down his cheeks, Luke 19:41, 42. He weeps for thee, that dost not, wilt not weep for thy self: Nay, after all this obdurate obstinacy, is resolved still to wait, that he may be gracious, Isa. 30:18. Stands yet and knocks, though his head be wet with rain, and his locks with the dew of the night; fain he would have thee open the door, that he may be come in and sup with thee, and thou with him, Rev. 3:20.


Other advocates within the Augustinian tradition who use the metaphor of God begging are the following men:

Augustine (Early Church Father), Hugh Latimer (Early English Reformer), Isaac Ambrose (Puritan), Daniel Burgess (Puritan), Jeremiah Burroughs (Westminster divine), Richard Baxter (Puritan), Joseph Caryl (Westminster divine), Stephen Charnock (Puritan), John Collinges (Puritan), John Flavel (Puritan), Theophilus Gale (Puritan), William Gearing (Puritan), Andrew Gray (Puritan), William Gurnall (Puritan), Robert Harris (Westminster divine), Thomas Larkham (Puritan), Thomas Manton (Puritan), John Murcot (Puritan), George Newton (Puritan), John Oldfield (Puritan), Anthony Palmer (Puritan), Edward Reynolds (Westminster divine), John Richardson (Puritan), Samuel Rutherford (Westminster divine), John Shower (Puritan), Richard Sibbes (Puritan), Sydrach Simpson (Westminster divine), William Strong (Westminster divine), George Swinnock (Puritan), John Trapp (Puritan), Ralph Venning (Puritan), Nathaniel Vincent (Puritan), Thomas Watson (Puritan), Daniel Williams (Puritan), Samuel Willard, Benjamin Wadsworth, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, Samuel Davies, Ralph Erskine, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Chalmers, Walter Chantry, Erroll Hulse, John MacArthur and Fred Zaspel.

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