May 27, 2024

Thomas Lye (1621–1684) on the Amiable Christ Begging Sinners to Come to Him

(2.) If the wind do not, let us see whether the sun cannot, prevail. Poor, self-destroying caitiff, look yonder on that amiable Jesus Christ, for a marriage between whom and thy precious soul I am now wooing. Do but observe his condescending willingness to be united to thee.—That great Ahasuerus courts his own captive Esther. The Potter makes suit to his own clay; woos thee, though he wants thee not; is infinitely happy without thee, yet is not, cannot be, satisfied but with thee. Hark how he commands, entreats, begs thee to be reconciled; (2 Cor. 5:20;) swears, and pawns his life upon it, that he desires not thy death; (Ezek. 33:11;) seals this his oath with his blood. And if, after all this, thou art fond of thine own damnation, and hadst rather be at an agreement with hell than with him; see how the brinish tears trickle down his cheeks: (Luke 19:41, 42:) he weeps for thee, that dost not, wilt not, weep for thyself. Nay, after all this obdurate obstinacy, [he] is resolved still to “wait, that he may be gracious;” (Isai. 30:18;) stands yet, and knocks, though his head be wet with rain, and his locks with the dew of the night. (Canticles 5:2.) Fain he would have thee “open the door,” that he may come in and sup with thee, and thou with him. (Rev. 3:20.)
Thomas Lye, “Sermon XVIII: The True Believer’s Union with Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 6:17),” in Puritan Sermons (1659–1689): Being the Morning Exercises at Cripplegate, 6 vols., ed. Samuel Annesley, 5th ed. (London: Printed for Thomas Tegg, 1844–1845; repr., Wheaton, IL: Richard Owen Roberts, Publishers, 1981), 5:299–300.


All of the men within the broadly Augustinian tradition who use the metaphor of God begging that I have documented so far are the following:

Augustine (Early Church Father), Hugh Latimer (Early English Reformer), Isaac Ambrose (Puritan), Thomas Brooks (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), Nathaniel Heywoood (Puritan), Thomas Larkham (Puritan), Thomas Lye (Puritan), Thomas Manton (Puritan), John Murcot (Puritan), George Newton (Puritan), John Oldfield (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, Steve Lawson, Paul Washer, and Fred Zaspel.

Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) on Jesus’s Wish and Love for Reprobate Jerusalem

According to a delicate and beautiful observation of [Herman] Witsius, in his “doctrine of the covenants,” we can be quite confident that even Jesus, before he entered the way to Gethsemane, according to his human inclination, had cherished the very same wish in his soul. He loved his neighbor as himself without distinction. His weeping over the lost and reprobate Jerusalem shows it. According to what scripture reveals to us, God does not weep over the lost that perish for eternity, and thus we know that Jesus’ weeping was according to his human inclination.1

Add to this that also the holy apostles and prophets, as men acting on human feelings, certainly wept those tears with their Jesus, as we have, over reprobate Jerusalem.
1. [Kuyper’s assertion here is most unfortunate. The reference is undoubtedly to Luke 19:41. Was Jesus’ human nature at odds with his divine nature? Besides, did not Jesus in holy anger with the Jews declare God’s judgments upon the city of Jerusalem for their hindering of the progress of the gospel? (Matt. 23:37ff.). In addition, Jesus’ tears were for God’s honor and goodness, which had been so wickedly rejected and despised by Jerusalem. They were tears of righteous indignation. That is why he immediately expresses judgments upon the city and its inhabitants (Luke 19:42ff.).]
Abraham Kuyper, Particular Grace: A Defense of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation, ed. and trans. Marvin Kamps (Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2001), 236–37.

Note:  It is interesting to note that Kuyper, following Witsius (see below), could not help but see Jesus wishing the salvation of Jerusalem out of love for them. But the Protestant Reformed Church hyper-Calvinist editor, Kamps, in a footnote, understandably faults him for his strong dichotomy between Jesus’s human nature and divine nature. It is, however, bizarre that Kamps refers to Jesus’s tears as “tears of righteous indignation,” as if they were not also indicative of his benevolent sorrow over perishing sinners.


Witsius wrote:
III. 2dly, That Christ, as man, subject to the law of love, did in a holy manner love all men without distinction, as his neighbours, heartily wished them well, seriously lamented the ruin of those that perished, whom yet, as God, he knew were reprobates, and for whom, as Mediator, he had not engaged. Yet he submitted this human affection, commanded by the law, common to us and to Christ, to the divine appointment, and restricted it to the purpose of the decreeing will of God; in this manner proving the holiness of his will, in the glorifying of the divine counsel, and in due subjection thereunto. This appears from the tears which Christ, as man, shed over the calamities that were coming upon that abandoned city, which had partly slain and partly loaded with contempt and ignominy the Prophets;—nay, had been the only butchery in the whole world for them; and was at length, by a most horrid parricide, to devote itself, with its unhappy posterity, to the lasting curse of God, Luke 19:41.
Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants between God and Man: Comprehending a Complete Body of Divinity, 2 vols., trans. William Crookshank (London: T. Tegg & Son, 1837), 1:226; De œconomia fœderum Dei cum hominibus libri quatuor, 2.9.3.


Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) on the Indiscriminate Gospel Proclamation and Christ’s Ransom as “Sufficient for You”

It [the gopsel] is to be preached with a ‘sufficient for you,’ not only with respect to the elect of the congregation, but in regard to every human individual insofar as he also would be saved through that ransom if he could only find it in his sinful heart to accept it.
Abraham Kuyper, Particular Grace: A Defense of God’s Sovereignty in Salvation, trans. Marvin Kamps (Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2001), 236; italics original.

Note: Even though Kuyper was a high Calvinist, he knew from the scriptures that preachers are to tell lost audiences that Christ’s ransom is sufficient for them all. When preachers tell all in a lost audience that “Christ died for you,” they are really just saying “Christ’s death is God’s intended sufficient provision for you to be saved.” It follows, then, that if that sense is the intended meaning, it is quite appropriate to tell all “Christ died for you [all].” Whoever says otherwise is, by implication, whether intentionally or unintentionally, denying that Christ’s death was intended by God to be sufficient for all mankind.


October 28, 2023

William Dyer (d. 1696) on Christ’s General and Special Love

2. Secondly, Christ is a King that loves his subjects with a distinguishing love and a separating love; the general love of Christ is scattered and branched out to all the creatures in the world, but his special love is exceeding great, and rich love is only settled upon his Church. Now if you ask me what Christs distinguishing love is, I shall name it, and but name it to you.
First, ’Tis pardoning Love.
Secondly, ’Tis Redeeming Love.
Thirdly, Calling Love.
Fourthly, Justifying Love.
Fifthly, Adopting Love.
Sixthly, Sanctifying Love.
Seventhly, Glorifying Love.

This I say, is his peculiar Love; Christs Love is not only sweeter than Wine, but better than Life: he is most Lovely, he is always Lovely, he is altogether Lovely; Christ is nothing but love to those who are his Love.
William Dyer, Christ’s Famous Titles, and a Believers Golden-Chain […] (London: Printed for the Author, and now divulged for the good of private Families, especially his Friends in the County of Devon, 1666), 33–34. Credit to Dale W. Smith, ed., Ore from the Puritans’ Mine: The Essential Collection of Puritan Quotations (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2020), 64.