September 29, 2014

William Greenhill (1591–1671) on Man's Destruction Being of Himself

Thirdly, If the willing man shall have the waters of life, then here God is excused, and justifiable in the destruction of sinners: The Lord he holds out waters of life freely; he saith whosoever will, whosoever is willing let him take the waters of life, let him live and be blessed, whosoever is willing: now if men perish where is the fault, who is to be blamed, God hath provided Christ, he hath provided Gospel and ordinances, provided his Spirit, he holds out the promises, and saith whosoever will, whosoever is willing come, come without money, here's water of life freely for you: now if men perish, where's the fault; Rev. 3:20. Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man will open, I will come in: -- And what if you will not open the door, if Christ do beat down the house and the door, and destroy him that is in it, who is in the fault? the fault is yours, you are not willing that Christ should come in. In the 19 of Luke: 27. Those mine enemies that would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me: Those mine enemies that would not have me reign over them, I come and tell them that I will cast out their enemies, and I will reign sweetly and lovingly in them, and I will do them good, I will save them, give them waters of life, cordial comforts, and they will not; what then? Bring those mine enemies and slay them before my face. In the 23 of Matt: How often would I have gathered thee, even as a hen doth her chickens and you would not: had ye been willing ye should have eaten the fat and drank the sweet; But ye would not; now is your house left desolate; Man's destruction is of himself, and God is to be justified and cleared, he makes such tenders of Grace and mercy, and that freely he comes and waits upon men and calls upon them, and yet they will not. You have a remarkable place, 2 Thess. 2:10-12. Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved; Mark, the truth was sent forth, the truth came, and the truth wooed them, but they would not receive the Love of the truth, But they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved, for this Cause God shall send them strong Delusions that they should believe a lie; and this is made good in our days exceedingly, for the truth hath come, and knocked at the hearts of men and women, and it hath not been received with the love of it, Therefore God hath sent them strong Delusions that they should believe a lie, That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness: men and women have pleasure in unrighteousness, and therefore they will not receive the truths of God: And then God gives them over to strong Delusions that they might be damned, would they have received the truth, they should not have been damned, nor had strong Delusions; so that here God will be excusable and justifiable in the destruction of sinners at the last. John 3:19. This is the Condemnation that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil; This will  be their Condemnation, they will shut their eyes against the light, they will not let truth enter, and if they do, they withhold the truth in unrighteousness, and imprison the truth as Herod did John.
William Greenhill, Sermons of Christ (London: Printed by R. I. for Livewell Chapman at the Crown in Popes-head-Alley, 1656), 225–227.
These sermons offer some fine material on spiritual thirsting, the willingness of Christ to save sinners, and the free offer of the gospel.
Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2007), 300.

Final Notes:
• Page 200 has another instance where Greenhill refers to Matt. 23:37.
• Page 204 refers to those that refuse the offer and that they "had good motions of the Spirit."
• Page 215 refers to sinners' "natural ability."
• Pages 217–218 and 220–221 speaks of the gospel enabling the sinner's will to come.
• Page 235 refers to "general promises."
• Page 237–238 has strong language on God's great condescension.


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