June 30, 2017

Daniel Rogers (1573–1652) on God’s Well-Meaning and Loving Offer of Grace

First, it is accidental to God’s offer of Grace, that the condemnation of the wicked is aggravated thereby. For it is not through his default, but theirs. His offer is directly to his own elect; but if the other will mix themselves, and abuse this offer, their blood be upon their heads. Put case a Prince offer his pardon to ten of whom he knows none will not accept it: is it his fault to offer it? or is he the cause of their contempt? Doth he infuse it into them? No surely. Nay further, (to stop the mouth of all such cavilers) this I add, That God doth not hereby only aggravate their judgment: for he doth by his Gospel bestow upon them many gifts of his Spirit, much restraint of sin, many merciful allowances which others want, so that by this means their condemnation is lessened.
Daniel Rogers, Naaman the Syrian His Disease and Cure (London: Printed by Th. Harper for Philip Nevil, 1642), 13 [errata; or insert at the beginning of the book].
Fifthly, let thy stony heart break in pieces between the hammer of his Sovereignty, and the pillow of his long suffering and patience toward thee. Surely in that he hath so long had thee as so infinite advantage, its strange that ever he should forbear thee so long, offer thee such means & ordinances; or should pass by the days of thine ignorance, or suffer any seed or remainder of a tender heart to abide in thee. I say, it is strange he should restore thee out of so many perils, diseases, and hazards: still present thee with hope and possibility of forgetting such a multitude of transgressions, and forgiving thy offenses. What should all this argue, save a most bountiful abatement of extremity & rigor, and that (notwithstanding his power, yet) his love is more prevailing with him, to spare thee? Shall this kindness of his, leading thee to repentance, be an occasion to forget both his sovereignty, and thine own guiltiness, and (according to thine hard heart which cannot repent) wax stout and willful against him, and so heap up wrath against the day of just vengeance [Rom. 2:4]? No, rather, this mixture of both, should keep thee within bounds, and put holy thoughts of his purpose and pleasure into thee: than breed a desperate enmity on the one side, or security on the other, (to both which thy heart is far more propense) then to come in, give up thy weapons, and tremble at thy wretchedness.
Ibid., 18. On page 19, Rogers continues to encourage sinners to repent by speaking of “those cords which the Gospel puts in, and offers thee in this dungeon, and of that ladder which is thrust in for thee to come up by.”
Also do not by this doctrine [of God’s sovereignty], disorder the secret and revealed will of God, but reverendly distinguish and observe both. The one is that by which he hath determined the ends: The other whereby he appoints the duties of men: The one is unknown to thee: adore it, but snare not thyself with it: let not that forestall thy care and diligence in use of the means appointed by the revealed will. Say not thus, if I knew myself ordained to salvation, I would apply myself willingly to them: but how do I know whether I belong to God, and shall not use the means in vain to increase my judgment? I answer thee, Election is not revealed to any to encourage them to use means, or believe. But means of faith are offered to encourage to believe. The knowledge of Election (in such as attain it) flows from faith, not faith from it. Fall thou to the means as God offers them: which shall be a sign unto thee of an humble and plain heart: and descant not upon that thou knowest not (a sign of a froward, rebellious spirit.) Thou are in the dungeon: the Lord offers thee a ladder to come out, cords and rags to hail thee up. As Ebedmelech did to Jeremiah. Should Jeremiah standing in his mire, have felt more will to descant upon Ebedmelech’s purpose in the casting in of rags and cords, then desire to apply himself to the way of coming out, might he not have lain long enough there? but if God have given thee the heart of Jeremiah, to tremble at the dungeon: thou wilt not find leisure to quarrel with Ebedmelech, what his meaning is unto thee, but simply judge his meaning by his act, his love by his cords: and say, thou mayest leave thy offer, for then thou mightest have spared this labor. Therefore, I obey thy charge, and trust thee for drawing me up, who gavest me thy cords! and when I am drawn out, then will I say, now I know thy good will by the effect thereof. Do so in this case, and prosper.
Ibid., 26–27. For virtually the same thoughts, see also Daniel Rogers, A Practicall Catechism (London: Printed by I. N. for Samuel Man, 1632), 183.
This offer will appear so much the freer, if also we mark the circumstances in which the Scripture expresseth the offer, called the cords of love by Hosea: by which he draws the soul to see his meaning, sometimes by his long patience and waiting upon her; notwithstanding all her deafness of ear, and deadness of heart, and dallying with his offer. Oh! his locks are bedewed with the drops of night! His long suffering and patience is a bottomless depth beyond all the expectation of man! It is long ere thy unbelief could weary him; he hath lengthened out the season of grace, according to the length of grace itself; forborn thee long, kept off judgment a long while, which might have swept thee away from hope many years since. He hath recovered the lives of many of us twice or thrice, that we might renew our covenants and keep them. And he hath spared us when we have broke them, pressing in upon us with renewing of good motions and affections which we had quenched, as being loth to lose us, giving us helps and means even out of season, after long contempt, confessing himself to mean as he speaks: Why lay you out your money, and not for bread, and your silver for that which profits not? Hearken unto me! eat good things!

So sometimes by his protestations of his loathness that any poor soul should perish! Why will ye die oh ye house of Israel! Anger is not in me, why should flame consume the stubble! What should I do to my vine that I have not done? Sometimes by his passions and lamentations; Luke 19:42. Oh! that thou hadst seen, even in that day, the things that concern thy peace; but now they are hidden!

Those tears and mournings over Jerusalem for her hard heart and contempt, have been and are still over thee! If there be any dampings and streightnings [sic] of spirit, thou hast caused them by thy dalliance and heart that would not repent. But the Lord for his part still cries, How oft would I have gathered thee as the Hen doth her chickens? Sometimes by his writings to this feast of his Son, sometimes by his contestation, sometimes by his entreaties and earnest exhorting, sometimes by his allurements, to persuade and toll on the heart that hangs off, by the promise of all the good things which he offereth; sometimes by his severe threats to all that refuse his offers: all these show how willing and cordial he is to part with his grace: and lastly, sometimes by the universality of it, that he dispenses it without all respect of persons, age, sex, states and conditions, who exempt not themselves.
R. P., Collections, Or Brief Notes Gathered Out of Mr Daniel Rogers’s Practical Catechism for Private Use ([London] n.p.: Printed for the Author, 1648), 118–120. See also Daniel Rogers, A Practicall Catechism (London: Printed by I. N. for Samuel Man, 1632), 178–179. Rogers distinguishes between “common grace” and “peculiar grace” on page 207.
Let this be a sweet preparative unto us, to frame us to believe. Entertain we not any base cursed thoughts of God in the simplicity of his offer. Nourish all possible persuasion in the soul of his unfeigned meaning towards thee in this kind: thou canst honor him no better, than to agree with him, in his meaning well to thee. There is no greater difficulty of faith than this seed of bondage in us, to judge of God by ourselves. We muse as we use. If we have an enemy, we cannot forget his wrongs, we meet him not without indignation: and therefore so we think of God also to us, and the rather, because he hath so much vantage over us. But oh poor wretch, jealousy against his love? Is it not rather oil to the flame? Pull down thy traitor’s heart; hate not him whom thou hast hurt; put on an holy and child-like opinion of him, who when he needed not, yet purposed, sent, received this satisfaction for thee, and therefore cannot lie in offering it to thee. Say thus: Lord, thy sweet offer, naked bosom, cords of love, passions of sick love, sometime to allure, sometime to contest, command, urge, threaten, and beseech, turning thee into all forms of persuasion, to win my soul: all these convince me of thy well-meaning towards me. If my own enmity to my enemy, and the slander of Satan that thou enviest my good, do assault me never so much, and my traitorous heart conspire with them, yet this thy gracious offer in thy Gospel, shall bear down all. Read Isa. 55:7. For my ways are not as your ways, nor my thoughts as your thoughts: but as far above them, as heaven above the earth. Add this: All the understanding of man cannot comprehend the love of this offer, no more than the eye of a needle can the great Camel: and shall I go about to lessen it?
Ibid., 125–126. See also Daniel Rogers, A Practicall Catechism (London: Printed by I. N. for Samuel Man, 1632), 184–185.
For an Offer is no otherwise differing from a promise, then as a general out of which a particular issueth: the promise is included in an offer, but yet in special, expressing the covenant of God to all that express the offer, that he will receive them, be their God, both in pardon and all-sufficiency.
Ibid., 121. See also Daniel Rogers, A Practicall Catechism (London: Printed by I. N. for Samuel Man, 1632), 180.


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