November 14, 2014

Richard Baxter (1615–1691) on God Kneeling to Entreat

The torments of the damned must needs be extreme, because they are the effect of Divine Revenge: Wrath is terrible, but Revenge is implacable: When the great God shall say; I will now be righted for all the wrongs that I have born from rebellious creatures; I will let out my wrath, and it shall be stayed no more, you shall now pay for all the abuse of my Patience! Remember now how I waited your leisure in vain, how I stooped to persuade you; how I, as it were, kneeled to entreat you: did you think I would always be slighted by such miscreants as you? O, who can look up when God shall thus plead with them in the heat of Revenge? Then will he be revenged for every mercy abused, for his creatures consumed in luxury and excess; for every hours time misspent; for the neglect of his word, for the vilifying of his messengers, for the hating of his people, for the prophanation of his ordinances, and neglect of his worship, for the breaking of his Sabbaths, and the grieving of his Spirit, for the taking of his Name in vain, for unmerciful neglect of his servants in distress. O the numberless bills that will be brought in! And the charge that will overcharge the soul of the sinner! And how hotly Revenge will pursue them all to the highest! How God will stand over them with the rod in his hand (not the rod of fatherly chastisements, but that Iron rod wherewith he bruiseth the rebellious) and lay it on for all their neglects of Christ and grace! O that men would foresee this! And not put themselves under the hammer of revenging fury, when they may have the treasure of happiness at so easy rates! And please God better in preventing their woe!
Richard Baxter, The Saints Everlasting Rest, 10th edition (London: Printed by R. W. for Francis Tyton, and are to be sold at the sign of the three Daggers in Fleet-street, 1650), 334–335.
Direct. xxvi. 'Conclude not the worse of the effects of a discovery of your bad condition, than there is cause.' Remember that if you should find that you are unjustified, it followeth not that you must continue so: you search not after your disease or misery as incurable, but as one that hath a sufficient remedy at hand, even brought to your doors, and cometh a begging for your acceptance, and is freely offered and urged on you: and therefore if you find that you are unregenerate, thank God that hath shewed you your case; for if you had not seen it, you had perished in it: and presently give up yourselves to God in Jesus Christ, and then you may boldly judge better of yourselves; it is not for despair, but for recovery that you are called to try and judge. Nay, if you do but find it too hard a question for you, whether you have all this while been sincere or not, turn from it, and resolvedly give up yourselves to God by Christ, and place your hopes in the life to come, and turn from this deceitful world and flesh, and then the case will be plain for time to come. If you doubt of your former repentance, repent now, and put it out of doubt from this time forward.
Richard Baxter, "Christian Politics," in A Christian Directory: Or, A Sum of Practical Theology, and Cases of Conscience (London: Printed for Richard Edwards; and Sold by James Duncan, Paternoster Row, and by All Other Booksellers, 1825), 6:534.


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

Augustine, Hugh Latimer [Early English Reformer], Samuel Rutherford [Westminster divine], Thomas Manton [Puritan], Jeremiah Burroughs [Westminster divine], John Trapp [Puritan], Sydrach Simpson [Westminster divine], Joseph Caryl [Westminster divine], Robert Harris [Westminster divine], Theophilus Gale [Puritan], William Gearing [Puritan], Isaac Ambrose [Puritan], Stephen Charnock [Puritan], John Richardson [Puritan], John Flavel [Puritan], Thomas Watson [Puritan], Thomas Case [Puritan], Richard Sibbes [Puritan], John Shower [Puritan], John Collinges [Puritan], William Gurnall [Puritan], George Swinnock [Puritan], Ralph Venning [Puritan], Daniel Burgess [Puritan], Samuel Willard, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, Samuel Davies, Andrew Gray, Ralph Erskine, Charles Spurgeon, Thomas Chalmers, Walter Chantry, Erroll Hulse, John MacArthur and Fred Zaspel.

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