August 30, 2014

Robert Dingley's (1619-1659) Exhortation to Those Especially in a Natural State

Dingley begins saying this:
"Well now suffer the word of Exhortation which I put to all of you, and especially such as are in a state of nature [i.e. unregenerate]. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh be persuaded in the bowels of Christ Jesus, to consider things well, and make trial of God and his ways. O taste divine goodness. You'll never repent of it, but wish you had tasted sooner. The greater thy sins are, the more need to taste of mercy. Take some motives to the work."
Richard Dingley, God's Sweetness Made Out in Christ; Or, Divine Relishes of Matchlesse Goodnesse (London: Printed by Matthew Simmons, 1649), 73-74. This book has prefatory remarks and recommendations by Thomas Goodwin and William Strong.

Here are two of his five exhortations:
"2. God invites and allures you to taste him, it shall be no presumption, Isa. 55. 1, 2. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come buy and eat wine and milk, and let your soul delight in fatness. And Rev. 22.17. Let whosoever will come and take of the waters of life freely. Christ would willingly have sinners taste of his love, and smell to every flower in his bosom; he stretches out his arms all the day long, and would fain gather you into his embrace." Ibid., 75.

"5. And lastly, Christ tasted gall for thee, Mat. 27.34. that thou mayst taste Ambrosia for him. He tasted death for thee, Heb. 2.9. that thou mightest taste life for him, and drink of those heavenly Nepenthes, that Ocean of pleasure, Psal. 16. He sweat and fainted in his agonies, that he might stay thee with flagons, and comfort thee with apples. He fasted forty days, that thou mightest be feasted to eternity. He wore a crown of thorns, that though mayest wear a crown of glory. He suffered among base evil doers, that thou mayest be blessed among those sweet companions in heaven: In a word, he endured the sorest pains, that thou mayest enjoy the greatest pleasures. O therefore deceive not his expectation, but let him see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied, Isa. 57.11. 'Tis sad when Christ shall complain, as Isa. 49.4, 5, 6 verses. O make not his death to be of none effect to you, forbear to fetch any more sighs from that heart that is so full of love to you, and now at length be persuaded to give up your selves to Christ, to taste and see how good the Lord is." Ibid., 76-77.

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