March 19, 2016

Obadiah Sedgwick (c.1600–1658) on Christ Begging Sinners

Sedgwick (a Westminster divine) first describes these sinners in Laodicea as “mere formal people” with “little or no power of godliness at all in them,” or “a company of mere hypocrites, or at least of formal professors” (p. 13). Then he says:
4. They were so provokingly sinful, that Christ’s stomach had much ado to bear with them. He could hardly forbear to spew them out of his mouth, (verse 16). Yet at their doors does Christ stand and knock, He begs at the door of beggars, mercy begs to misery, happiness begs to wretchedness, riches begs to poverty, light begs to blindness, and all-sufficiency begs to nakedness, and beseeches those poor and miserable sinners to take gold from him, those naked sinners to take raiment from him, and those blind sinners to take ointment from him, (v. 18.)
Obadiah Sedgwick, The Riches of Grace Displayed in the Offer and Tender of Salvation to Poor Sinners (London: Printed by T. R. & E. M. for Adoniram Byfield at the Bible in Popes head Alley neer Lumbard street, 1657), 14–15. On page 17, Sedgwick wrote about Christ’s “motions” and  the “indefiniteness of his desire” to save all sinners. Elsewhere he said:
Acts 2.36 Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ: yet to these doth Christ (in his Apostle Peter) preach and begs of them to repent and to save themselves, and assures them by promise of pardon if they would come in, see verses 38, 39, 40.
Ibid., 42–43.
And now brethren, have I finished my work on this Text, a Theme of as sweet mercy as ever sinner heard.

The Saviour of sinners knocking at the door of sinners; A Saviour begging of that sinner to be saved: Have you opened your doors, or have you not? Will you open them to Christ, or will you not? will you let in Christ and close with him, or will you not? will you accept of communion with him, or will you not?
Ibid., 270–271.

In another book, while expounding on 20 ways in which Jesus Christ is earnest and importunate with sinners to hearken unto him, Sedgwick said:
4. He entreats them to hearken unto him; we beseech you in Christ’s stead, &c. 2 Cor. 5.20. Jesus Christ doth as it were fall upon his knees unto the Sinner, and begs of him to be reconciled to him.
Obadiah Sedwick, The Fountain Opened: And the Water of Life Flowing Forth, for the Refreshing of Thirsty Sinners (London: Printed by T. R. and E. M. for Adoniram Byfield at the Bible in Popes-head-alley, near Lumbard-street, 1657), 403.

He later said:
Christ is thus earnest with Sinners to hearken unto him, because he is Christ. How earnest is the Parent with the untoward child; speaks, entreats, weeps, argues, &c. because he is a Parent; were he not a Christ, he would never thus mind them, nor importune them, but because he is a Christ, therefore he is full of compassion, and full of desires: he regards them, who do not regard him; he pities them, who pity not themselves; he would help them, who need help, but as yet see not their need of his help. Compassions are always earnest.
Ibid., 409.


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

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), Thomas Case (Puritan), 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), 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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