George Swinnock on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1627-1673

 Swinnock held to Limited Atonement, as described in his sermon on John 1:29

 

 

 

Heaven and Hell Epitomized, in his Works, vol. 3

p. 342-346, James Nicol edition, 1868, this quote was compiled by David Ponter

Have you never beheld a condemned prisoner dissolved into tears, upon the unexpected and unmerited receipt of a pardon, who all the time before was as hard as a flint?  The hammer of the law may break the icy heart of man with terrors and horror, and yet it may remain ice still, unchanged; but when the fire of love kindly thaws its ice, it is changed and dissolved into water it is no longer ice, but of another nature.  Where the sun is most predominant, there are the sweetest spices, the richest mines, and the costliest jewels.  Do you therefore meditate much on the love of God and Christ to your unworthy soul: think what love is it that still spares you, notwithstanding all your God-daring and soul damning provocations, and that when others, probably better than yourself, are every day and night sent to that place, where God has large interest for his long patience.  What love is it, not only to forbear you, but also to do you good!  You his enemy are hungry, He feeds you; you are thirsty, He gives you drink.  If a man find his enemy, will he let him go? 1 Sam. 24:19.  But lo, God finds thee every moment.  As all your sins are within the reach of his eye, so you yourself are continually within the reach of his arm; He can as easily turn you into hell, as tell you of hell: and yet He lets you go, and more than that, does you good.  You spend every hour upon the stock of mercy.  God is at great charge and much cost in continuing meat and drink, and health and strength, and time which you do ravel out, and wanton away unprofitably.

What love was that in the Father which sent his own Son to die, that you might live!  Well might the beloved disciple [John] say, God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life, John 3:16.  In this the bowels of divine love are naked, as in an anatomy: in other things the love of God is as the beams of the sun scattered, which are warm and comfortable; but in this it is as the beams of the sun united in a burning glass, hot, fiery, burning love.  God so loved the world, so dearly, so entirely, so incomparably, so infinitely: it is a sic [thus] without a sicut [just as], as one observes a pattern which can never be paralleled.  In this God commended his love towards us, in that when we were sinners Christ died for us, Rom. 5:8.  When God sent his Son into the world, He did, as it were, say to Him, ‘My dear Son, thou Son of my chief love and choicest delight, go to the wicked, unworthy world, commend me to them, and tell them, that in thee I have sent them such a love-token, such an unquestionable testimony of my favor and good-will towards them, that hereafter they shall never have the least color of reason to suspect my love, or to say, Wherein hast thou loved us?’ Mal. 1:2.

What love was that in the Son of God, which moved Him to become the Son of man, that you might become the son of God!  What love was that which made Him so willingly undergo the scorns, and flouts, and derisions of wretched men, the rage, and malice, and assaults of ravenous devils, the wrath and fury of a righteous God; such pangs and tortures in his body as no mouth can express, such sorrows and horror in his soul as no mind can conceive; and all that you might escape such misery, and obtain everlasting mercy!  Greater love than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friend, John 15:13.  The passion of Christ was the greatest evidence of his affection.  The laying down of life did abundantly proclaim his love.  His love before was like wine in a cask, hardly seen; but oh how did it sparkle and cast its color in the glass of his sufferings!  This diamond, before hid in the shell, does shine radiantly in the ring of his death.  If his tears did so much speak his love to Lazarus, that the Jews who saw Him weeping, cried out, Lo, how He loved him! surely his heart-blood does far more demonstrate his love to his members.  They that beheld Him bleeding in the garden, had far more reason to say, Look, lo how He loved his!

What love is that which did all this for such a worm as you are, such a sinner, such a rebel? what would God lose if you were eternally lost? the least tittle of his happiness would not be diminished.  This sun is no loser when men shut their eyes, and will not behold its light; what gains God, if He gain you to Himself, to his service?  You cannot add the least cubit to the stature of his perfections.  The refreshment is to men, not to the spring, when the weary passengers drink of it.  He does not command you to repent from any need He has of you, but from the pity He has to you.  He entreats you to return, not that He may be blessed and happy, but that He may be bountiful and liberal in bestowing on you those blessings which accompany salvation.  Methinks the apprehension of God’s great love and goodness should have such an impression on you as to make you little and low in your own thoughts.  Is it not a wonder that God should vouchsafe a gracious look upon such a clod of earth, a piece of clay, as you are? but what admiration can answer this love and condescension, that God should wait and entreat to lift you up, who would cast Him down? that an emperor should sue to a traitor; that majesty should thus stoop to misery; that the Lord of life and glory should prepare for you exceeding rich and precious promises, a crown of life, a purchased possession, and beseech you to accept of them!  Were your heart never such hard metal, one would think that such a hot fire of burning love should melt it.  

I have in two or three authors read of five men that met together, and asked each other what means they used to abstain from sin?  The first said, the thoughts of the certainty of death, and uncertainty of the time, moved him to live every day as if it were his last day.  The second said, he meditated of the day of judgment, and the torments of hell, and they frighted him from meddling with his dangerous enemy, sin.  The third considered of the deformity of sin, and beauty of holiness.  The fourth, of the abundant happiness provided in heaven for holy ones.  The last continually thought of the Lord Jesus Christ and his love, and this made him ashamed to sin against God.  Reader, if you have but any ingenuity, the abuse of such love and kindness should work upon you.  Some say, the blood of a goat will soften an adamant [hard rock]; shall not then the blood of this true goat dissolve your adamantine [refusing to be persuaded] heart?  Beasts themselves have been won by kindness, and will you be worse than a beast, that such philanthropy and kindness of God shall no whit stir you or humble you?

 

 

p. 352-354, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

Ponder how universal his offers of grace are.  Jesus Christ, with all his merits, are tendered to all.  The proposals of divine mercy and love are general and universal.  ‘Go preach the gospel,’ observe, ‘to every creature’.  ‘He that believeth shall be saved.’  ‘Ho every one that thirsteth,’ Isa. 55:1.  ‘If any man,’ let him be poor or rich, high or low, ‘thirst, let him come to me and drink,’ John 7:37.

 

It is a great encouragement that, in the offers of pardon and life, none are excluded; why, then, should you exclude yourself.  ‘Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy-laden,’ Matt 11:28.  Mark, poor sinner, ‘all ye.’  Are not you one of that all?  Is not your wickedness your weight, and your corruption your burden?  Then you are called particularly as well as generally.  Jesus Christ takes you aside from the crowd, and whispers you in the ear, O poor sinner, that are weary of the work, and heavy-laden with the weight of sin, be entreated to come to Me; I will give you rest.  Why does your heart suggest that He does not intend you in that call?  Does He not, by that qualification, as good as name you?  Ah, it is an unworthy, a base jealousy, to mistrust a loving Christ without the least cause.

 

Once more, meditate how willing He is to heal your wounded spirit, and be not faithless, but believing.  He is willing to accept of you, if you are willing to accept Him.  What mean his affectionate invitations?  He seeks to draw you with cords of love, cords that are woven and spun out of his heart and bowels: Cant. 4:8, ‘Come away from Lebanon, my sister, my spouse; from the lion’s den, from the mountains of leopards.’  Christ’s love is hot and burning; He thinks you tarry [delay] too long from his embraces: ‘Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled,’ Cant. 5:2.  Christ stands begging for entrance: Lost man, do but suffer Me to save you; poor sinner, suffer Me to love you.  These are the charms of gospel rhetoric.  None sings so sweetly as the bird of paradise, the turtle that chirps upon the church’s hedges, that He may cluck sinners to himself.  What mean his pathetical expostulations, ‘Why will ye die?’ Ezek. 33:11.  What reason have you thus to run upon your death and ruin?  ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me?’ Jer. 2:5; what harm have I ever done them? what evil do they know by me, that they walk so contrary to me?  But one place for all: Micah 6:3,4,

 

‘O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. For I brought thee out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants.’

 

O my people, remember now what bowels of love are here sounding in every line; what fiery affection is there in such sweet expostulations!  Oh admirable condescension!  What means his sorrow for them that refuse Him for their Savior?  ‘He is grieved because of the hardness of men’s hearts,’ Mark 3:5.   

 

He shed tears for them that shed his blood.  When He came near that city, which was the slaughter-house of the prophets of the Lord, and of the Lord of the prophets, He wept, Luke 19:41: ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day.’  The brokenness of his speech shows the brokenness of his spirit.  He is pitiful towards their souls that are so cruel to themselves, and weeps for them that go laughing to hell.

 

What means his joy at the birthday of the new creature, when He is received with welcome into the sinner’s heart?  The mother is as much pleased that her full breasts are drawn as the child can be.  The day of your cordial acceptation of Him will be the day of the gladness of his heart.  At such an hour He rejoiced in spirit, says the evangelist, Luke 10:21.  He wept twice, and He bled, as some affirm, seven times; but we never read of his rejoicing, if I mistake not, but in this place.  And surely it was something that did extraordinarily take the heart of Christ, which could, in the time of his humiliation, tune his spirit into a merry note, and cause this man of sorrows to rejoice.  Ah, sinner, believe it, He would never so willingly have died such a cursed, painful death, if He had not been willing that sinners should live a spiritual and eternal life.

 

What mean, I say, his invitations, expostulations, grief upon refusal, joy upon acceptance, his commands, entreaties, promises, threatenings; his wooing you by the ministers of his word, by the motions of his Spirit, by his daily, nightly, hourly mercies, by his gracious providence, by his unwearied patience, but to assure you that He is heartily willing to accept you for his servant, for his son, if you are heartily willing to accept Him for your Savior and for your sovereign?  He would never present you with such costly gifts, if his offer of marriage were not in earnest.  Besides, broken-hearted sinner, for it is to you that all this while I have been speaking; how dare you any longer entertain such a traitor against the King of saints in your breast, as a thought that the Lord Jesus can be guilty in any of the forementioned particulars of the least insincerity?

 

 

Works

3:698-702, this quote was compiled by David Ponter, see here for the larger context.

 

SERMON 16

THE LAMB OF GOD, THE GREAT ATONEMENT

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”

John 1:29

But, on the other hand [after finding universalism and hypothetical-universalism inadequate], I cannot think the sense of the expression is sufficiently explained, by saying, That the world, and the whole world is spoken of, to teach us that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was not confined, like the Levitical offerings, to the nation of Israel only; but that it is available for the sins of a determinate number of persons, called the Elect, who are scattered among many nations, and found under a great variety of states and circumstances inhuman life.  This is undoubtedly the truth, so far as it goes; but not, I apprehend, fully agreeable to the scriptural manner of representation. That there is an election of grace, we are plainly taught; yet it is not said, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save the elect, but that he came to save sinners, to seek and to save them that are lost, 1 Tim. 1:15; Luke 19:10.  Upon this ground, I conceive that ministers have a warrant to preaching the gospel to every human creature, and to address the conscience of every man in the sight of God; and that every person who hears this gospel has thereby a warrant, an encouragement, yea, a command, to apply to Jesus Christ for salvation.  And that they who refuse, thereby exclude themselves, and perish, not because they never had, nor possibly could have any interest in his atonement, but simply because they will not come unto him that they may have life.  I know something of the cavils and curious reasonings which obtain upon this subject, and I know I may be pressed with difficulties, which I cannot resolve to the full satisfaction of inquiring and speculative spirits.  I am not disheartened by meeting with some things beyond the grasp of my scanty powers, in a book which I believe to be inspired by Him, whose ways and thoughts are higher than ours, as the heavens are higher than the earth, Isa. 55:8,9.  But I believe, that vain reasonings, self-will, an attachment to names and parties, and a disposition to draw our sentiments from human systems, rather than to form them by a close and humble study of the Bible, with prayer for divine teaching, are the chief sources of our perplexities and disputes.

…so in Jesus, the Sun of righteousness, there is plenteous redemption, He is rich in mercy to all that call upon him (Psal. 130:7; Rom. 10:12); and He invites sinners, without exception, to whom the word of his salvation is sent, even to the ends of the earth, to look unto Him, that they may be saved, Isa. 45:22.

Under the gospel-dispensation, and by it, God commands all men, everywhere, to repent, Acts 17:30.  All men, therefore, everywhere, are encouraged to hope for forgiveness, according to the constitution prescribed by the gospel; otherwise repentance would be both impracticable and unavailing.  And therefore the command to repent implies a warrant to believe in the name of Jesus as taking away the sin of the world.  Let it not be said, that to call upon men to believe, which is an act beyond their natural power, is to mock them. There are prescribed means for the obtaining of faith, which it is not beyond their natural power to comply with, if they are not willfully obstinate.  We have the word of God for our authority. God cannot be mocked (Gal. 6:7), neither does He mock his creatures, Our Lord did not mock the young ruler, when He told him that if he would sell his possessions upon earth, and follow Him, he should have treasure in heaven, Luke 17:22.  Had this ruler no power to sell his possessions?  I doubt not but that he himself thought he had power to sell them if he pleased.  But while he loved his money better than he loved Christ, and preferred earthly treasures to heavenly, he had no will to part with them.  And a want of will in a moral agent is a want of power in the strongest sense.  Let none presume to offer such excuses to their Maker as they would not accept in their own concerns.  If you say of a man, he is such a liar that he cannot speak a word of truth; so profane that he cannot speak without an oath; so dishonest that he cannot omit one opportunity of cheating or stealing; do you speak of this disability to good, as an extenuation, and because you think it renders him free from blame?  Surely you think the more he is disinclined to good, and habituated to evil, the worse he is.  A man that can speak lies and perjury, that can deceive and rob, but is such an enemy to truth and goodness that he can do nothing that is kind or upright, must be a shocking character indeed!  Judge not more favorably of yourself if you can love the world and sensual pleasure, but cannot love God; if you can fear a worm like yourself, but live without the fear of God; if you can boldly trample upon his laws, but will not, and therefore cannot humble yourself before him, and seek his mercy, in the way of his appointment.

 

 

The Christian Man’s Calling, in The Works, Banner of Truth edition, 2:478-485, this quote was compiled by David Ponter.

12.  He is thus patient towards men, who did not wait at all on angels.  The angels were more noble creatures, and able to have done him more and better service than man; yet, when they sinned, he did not wait a moment for their repentance; but He stretches out his hand all the day long to man. [Isa. 65:2]  He that would not wait upon disloyal courtiers, waits upon rebellious beggars.  Consider the causes of it.

The moving cause is his own gracious nature.  Men forbear punishing malefactors, sometimes because they are related to them, sometimes from hope of advantage by them, sometimes because they are afraid of them; but God forbears none upon any such grounds.  His goodness is the only string that ties his hand from striking; ‘Yea, many years did thou forbear them, for thou art a gracious and a merciful God,’ Neh. 9:30,31.

The final cause is manifold [multiple and diverse]:

1. That He might exalt his great name.  It is light straw that upon the least spark takes fire.  The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to pass by infirmities; mean and low spirits are most peevish and passionate; sickly and weak persons are observed to be the most impatient.  God makes his power known, when He endures with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction.  He intends the advancement of his praise in the lengthening of his patience: ‘For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger; for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off,’ Isa, 48:9.

2. That sinners might amend, He is patient, that men might not perish, ‘The Lord is not slack, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’ [2 Pet. 3:9]  He defers their execution, that they might sue out their pardon.  The Lord waits, not that He might be blessed in Himself, but that He may be gracious to sinners.

3. That impenitent sinners might be left without excuse.  If sinners that are turned out of the womb into hell [unsaved babies], will justify God, surely those upon whom He waited twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty years for their conversion, will condemn themselves.  If all forbearing mercy may well be silent.  Oh, how little will they have to say for themselves upon whom grace waited so many years, knocking hard at the door of their hearts for acceptance, and they refused to open to it [Rev. 3:20], or bid it come in.  How justly will they suffer long in the other world, to whom God was so long-suffering to no purpose in this world, Rom. iv. 2.

How fully, O my soul, does the Scripture mention this patience of thy God!  ‘The Lord passed by and proclaimed his name, The Lord, The Lord God, gracious, long-suffering.’  Though sinners try his patience by their heaven-daring provocations, yet the Lord is gracious, slow to anger, and of great kindness; oftentimes they do their utmost to kindle the fire of his anger, but many a time turned He away his anger, and did not stir up all his wrath.  What monuments of his patience has He reared up in his word!  It is also written in broad letters in his works; He bore with the Jews after their unparalleled murder of his own Son, above forty years.  The old world had larger experiences of his forbearance.  My Spirit shall not always strive with man, yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.’ [Gen. 6:3]  The Egyptians, though cruel persecutors of his own people, that were as dear to Him as the apple of his eye, yet were suffered four hundred years.  He bears with men till He can no longer forbear.  The woman with child is forced, though she hold out long, to fall in labor at last.  ‘I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman,’ Isa. 42:14.

O you dear friend of mankind, that you were imprinted in my thoughts, engraven in my heart, and always before mine eyes!  O my soul, consider this long-suffering of your God, till you taste some relish of its sweetness!  This name of your God is as ointment poured out, which yields a refreshing fragrancy; has it been all your days so near you, and done so much for you, and will you not give it some warm entertainment within you?  Have you not infinite cause to cry out, ‘Oh the depth of the patience and forbearance of God!’  As soon as you were conceived, you were corrupted; before you were born, sin was brought forth in you; your God might have turned you out of thy mother’s belly into the belly of hell; devils might have been the midwife to deliver your mother of such a monster, and their dungeon of darkness the first place in which you did breath; yet He, who might have caused eternal death to have trodden upon the heels of your natural birth, spared you.  Had He then suffered the roaring lions, his executioners, to have dragged you to their own den, He had got Himself glory, and prevented much dishonor, which you have since brought to his name.  As you did grow up, sin grew up in you, and patience grew up with you.  Numberless have your iniquities been, and his advantages for you destruction, yet He has forborne you.  What has He got by all his long-suffering toward you?  He might have ruined you, to his eternal honor; but his forbearance has seemed to impair the revenues of heaven.  Wicked men question his power, and good men quarrel with his providence, and all because of his patience.  When some sinners are hanged on gibbets, as spectacles of his justice, others are kept in the more awe; but if judgment  be not speedily executed, the hearts of the sons of men are set in them to do mischief.  The thanks that are usually paid Him for his patience, are indignities and affronts; the sleeping of vengeance occasions the awakenings of sin.  Besides, their thoughts of Him are the more profane as well as their actions.  If He be patient towards the sinner, He is judged a party of the sin.  ‘These things thou didst, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself;’ because He is silent, they judge Him consenting, when He abounds so much in it, though He be so great a loser by it?  Was not the patience of your Redeemer on earth wonderful, in bearing such mockings, smitings on the cheek, spittings in his face, scourgings on his back?  But your Redeemer in heaven endures more affronts ever moment against his divine nature, than He did all his time of abode in this world, against his human nature.  Oh, why are you no more warmed with it, and wondering at it?  Even a Saul was so affected with the forbearance of David, that he should spare his enemy when he had him in his hands, and might as easily have cut his throat as the skirt of his garment, that he lift up his voice and wept.  And are not you affected with the patience of your God, in whose hand is your life, and breath, and all your comforts, who can with a glance of his eye turn you into the fiery furnace, against who you are an open traitor and professed rebel, that He should spare you so many years, and instead of heaping up judgments on you, lade you with his benefits?  Consider:

3.  He that spares you did not spare his own Son.  The Son of God did no sooner stand in the place of sinners, but it pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and to put Him to grief, and to make his soul an offering for sin.  Though He were free from sin, He was a man of sorrows; and you who are little else than sin has not so much as tasted what such sorrows are.  Your God has forborne you, a monster of rebellion and wickedness, when He would not in the least forbear Him who was a miracle of obedience and dutifulness; nay, He did not spare Him, that He might spare you, and would not forbear Him, because He intended to forbear you.  Wonder, O my soul, at this transcendent grace and goodness!  Is it possible for you to consider how a sudden arrow has shot others dead on your right and left hand! how the angels themselves, upon their first breach of the divine law, were without any pity or forbearance reserved in chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great day!  Nay, how the Son of God’s boundless love, who never offended Him, for becoming only a surety for other’s sins, was without the least forbearance arrested and forced to pay the utmost farthing; and that you who are a lump of lust, a sink of sin, an old enemy and traitor against the crown and dignity of the King of heaven, after thousands and millions of provocations against law and gospel, light and love, precepts and promises, are to this day spared!  Can you, I say, consider all this, and not be transported into a high and holy passion of love and admiration, at such unparalleled patience?  You may well say with the holy apostle, ‘In me Jesus Christ has showed forth all long-suffering and patience, for an example to them that should hereafter believe in Him unto eternal life.’

O my soul, :what do you think of these things?  Was ever patience represented in such lively lovely colors?  You may now fully satisfy yourself in the reason of your abode so many years on this side the unquenchable lake.  Do you ask, Why was I not cut off from the womb, and hurried through the light of this world to blackness of darkness for ever?  I answer, Because your God is patient.  Do you ask, Though I was not as a poisonous viper, crushed to death, as soon as brought forth, with the foot of divine wrath, for the venom which was in me; yet when I put it forth to the injury of others, and did spit it in the face of God Himself, why was I spared?  I answer, Because God is patient.  You sin often, every day, every hour, in every thought, in every word, in every deed, and He spares as often, because He is patient.  You read of a season when the patience of the saints does especially triumph. ‘Here is the faith and patience of the saints;’ this world is the stage, and this life is the time, wherein the patience of your God does act its part, to the amazement of all judicious spectators; here is the faithfulness and patience of your God.  Oh that I could affect and admire it, embrace and entertain it according to its worth!  Oh that my heart were filled with its warmth, my tongue with its praise, and my life ,with its end!  Oh you that are so much in favor with God, and so great a friend to men, that you were engraven upon the palms of my hands, and your walls were ever before me!  Oh that your noble deeds, and what wonders You have wrought for the children of men, were written for the generations to come, that the people yet unborn might praise the Lord!  When, oh when shall this patience of my God make a suitable impression upon my spirit!  I live upon it, I live by it, I had been a firebrand of hell at this moment had it not been for it, yet how great a stranger am I to it [God’s patience]!  It goes with me when I walk abroad, it abides with me when I stay at home, it follows me up and down day and night; I am beholden to it for my life and all my mercies, for my present enjoyments and future expectations; yet, alas, how little am I affected with it!  I wonder at the patience of some choice Christians, that hold their tongues when others revile them, and their hands when others assault them; and do not wonder at the patience of my God, when their injuries are nothing to his, either for nature or number; and their patience to his far less than the smallest drop to the ocean.  O my soul, how will you be able to answer for this senseless stupidity?  Must the candles of creatures be gazed at with amazement, and your God alone be neglected?  Is a beam of the sun worthy of such admiration, and not its glorious body worthy of much more?  Will you not value a pearl of such infinite price, and disesteem all the meekness and forbearance of men, in comparison of the patience of your God?  Oh, where is your judgment, that you value so little such unsearchable riches, that you do not cry out, Oh the height, and depth, and length, and breadth of the forbearance of God?  Where are your affections, that they do not cling about it, cleave to it, close with it, delight in its presence, and desire its continuance?  Where is your heart, that it does not taste its [God’s patience’s] sweetness, smell its savior, love its gracious author, and meditate on its precious nature and pleasant effects night and day?  Where are my spiritual senses, that they are not conversant about so worthy an object?  I cannot open mine eyes, but I may behold it in everything that is visible.  The food, and raiment, and life, and health, and strength, and liberty, that I and others enjoy, present the patience of God unto me.  Every friend I converse with, every drunkard and unclean person and atheist–yea, every man I meet, tells me, God is patient.  The oaths, and curses, and murders, and adulteries, and blasphemies, and profaneness of wicked men, cry aloud in mine ears, that God is patient.  The persecutions, and oppressions, and prayers, and cries, and tears of good men, proclaim to my conscience, that God is patient.  The Sabbaths and ordinances, and seasons of grace, and offers of pardon and life, which both good and bad enjoy, speak plainly and distinctly, The Lord is patient.  Oh that mine eyes could see it, mine ears hear it, and mouth taste it, my mind discern it, and my soul relish it in all these!  O you beautiful beam, darted from the Sun of righteousness, that calls poor mortals to life, when they are at the brink of death, you that are the wonder of glorious angels, and glorified saints, be you unto me as a bundle of myrrh, and a cluster of camphor, always unto me; let me love you much for my own sake, because you have done so much for me, but most for the Lord’s sake, because He is all in all unto me.

Well, O my soul, how will you requite [return the favor of] the kindness you have received from this patience of your God?  When Ahasuerus, a heathen, had read and considered how Mordecai saved his life, by discovering the two traitors that sought to lay hands on the king, he cried out, What honor has been done to Mordecai for this? and could take no rest till he had given him some signal honor.  You have read, for your whole life is a book written within and without with it, how the patience of your God has saved your life, the life of your soul, when sin and Satan conspired together to take it away; now will you not say within yourself, What honor has been done to the patience of God for this? and be unsatisfied till you have done it some honor, for this good office it has done you?  What love does that friend deserve who saves your life?  What esteem does that hand of pity merit, that keeps you out of the bottomless pit?  What thanks is that messenger worthy of, that brings you, a condemned sinner, certain news of a reprieve, and great hopes of a pardon?  Surely the respect you owe to the patience of God, which does as much for you as all this, should be very great, especially considering your disrespects formerly to the God of patience have been very grievous.  Lord, I acknowledge I have formerly much abused your patience, using it as an encouragement to profaneness, and turning your grace into wantonness; but now through your strength I will no longer despise the riches of your forbearance, but be led through your goodness to repentance, I know you intend it as a city of refuge to the penitent, not as a sanctuary to the presumptuous.  Oh, let me never make it a pillow for a hard heart, but a plaster for a wounded spirit!  Let this servant of yours [patience], and friend of mine, obtain his errand, and accomplish the end for which you have sent Him.  You spare me here that you might spare me hereafter, you wait upon me that you might be gracious unto me, and are long-suffering, because not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to repentance.  [2 Pet. 3:9]  Oh that therefore I might wait upon You in all your providences and ordinances for grace, that so your longsuffering may be unto me salvation!  You have told me, Though the sinner live a hundred years, and God prolong his days, yet it shall not go well with the wicked.  His preservation is but a reservation to the sorer and great destruction.  Though You suffer long, You will not suffer always; and when You strike impenitent ones, the slowness of your pace will be recompensed in the heaviness of your hand.  The longer the child of vengeance is in the womb of the threatening, the bigger it grows, and the more pain it will put the sinner to, when it comes to the birth of its execution.  Oh how dreadful will my doom be, when You come to reckon with me for all your patience, if I do not at this day prevent it by repentance!  If your patience do not now make me bend, hereafter it will make me bleed; it is a sweet friend, but a bitter enemy; no fury like that which is extracted out of abused patience.  It were far better to be sent from the mother’s breasts to everlasting burnings, than to live many years at the charge of patience, and then to die impenitent.  If I cause You to suffer long now in vain, You will cause me to suffer long in the other world, and the more dreadfully for your long-suffering in this.  Since you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, oh take me not away in your long-suffering, but give me to mind in this day of your patience, the things that concern mine everlasting peace, that I may to eternity-give You honor and praise for your wondrous and boundless patience.  Amen.

 

 

The Door of Salvation Opened by the Key of Regeneration, in his Works, vol. 5

p. 140-1, Banner of Truth edition.  This quote was compiled by Tony Byrne.  

Now the Son of the ever blessed God tenders Himself to you with many entreaties, goes after you up and down, night and day, knocking at the door of your heart, with all his graces, comforts, and fruits of his death, by the ministry of his word, the motions of his Spirit, multitudes of temporal and spiritual mercies; but you, unworthy wretch, slights both Him and his precious attendants, and esteems your shop and stock, your corn and carnal comforts, far before Him; but when you shall see what a weight of glory, what rivers of pleasures, others enjoy through the Savior, and yourself feel more torment and pain than you can now possibly think or fear, for want of a Savior, surely you will have other manner of thoughts of Him than now you have.

 

It would be as much worth to you as heaven now to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified; but it will be the hell of your hell to know Him there.  Oh how deeply it will cut your heart with horror to think that that Christ, whom you shall see at his Father’s right hand, waited on you till his head was wet with the dew, and his locks with the drops of the night, called frequently and fervently after you, Turn, turn, O sinner! why will you die, and run thus upon your ruin?  And yet you were as deaf as an adder, and would not hear the voice of that sweet charmer.

 

Fifthly, It will teach you the preciousness of time.  Eternity will learn you the value of time, when in that long evening and night, which shall never have a morning, you shall remember and consider that you had a day of grace.  Oh you will think, Time was when I had the tenders and offers of all that love and life, mercy and merits, heaven and happiness, of which yonder blessed souls are possessors; when mercy came kneeling to me for acceptance, grace came a-begging at the door of my heart for admittance, it followed me to be and board, abroad and at home, beseeching me for the love of God, for the sake of my poor soul, to turn from lying vanities to the living God.  How often did the minister with many entreaties invite, exhort, beseech me to pity my dying soul, 2 Cor. 6:1, to leave my damning sins, and heartily to embrace my loving Savior with all speed, assuring me from the word of the eternal God that then was the only accepted time, then was the only day of salvation!  But I despised and deferred all.  I thought I had time enough before me, and woe, and alas, it is now too late; the sun of my life is set, the gate of mercy is shut; I did not work in my day, and now the things of my peace are for ever hid from mine eyes.  Alas, alas! poor creature, what will you do in such an hour?

 

1671 edition, pp. 171-172, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

 

Consider friend, did Christ esteem Regeneration worth his blood, to merit it; and is it not worth your prayers, and tears, and utmost endeavors to obtain it?  Did Christ come to destroy the works of the Devil which is sin, 1 John 3:8, and will you build them up? did the Lord Jesus Come to build up the temple of holiness, and will you pull it down? did Christ think it worth the while to be reproached, condemned, crucified, and all to make you holy; and will you be such an enemy to the cross of Christ, as by continuing in sin, to deprive Him of that which He earned so dearly?  Why will you bind yourself to be a slave to Satan, when He redeemed you with such a vast sum?

[Webmaster’s note: Swinnock clearly denies a hypothetical-universal atonement in his sermon on John 1:29 above in some length and detail (see the larger context), and affirms Limited Atonement.  In light of that, the phrase above, “when He redeemed you with such a vast sum” should should either be taken as

(1) meaning, “He intended to redeem you with such a vast sum,” showing a sincere, revealed desire for the unconverted’s redemption, or

(2) many of Swinnock’s readers were nominal church members in 1600’s England.  In this context it is fully Biblical to speak of them as being outwardly redeemed in some sense, per 2 Pet. 2:1; Ex. 15:13; Deut. 32:6, etc.  Thus Swinnock used Micah 6:3,4, which speaks of the unconverted in the visible church being redeemed, already above with his indiscriminate hearers in his Heaven and Hell Epitomized, p. 352-354.  Or,

(3) it is an anomaly.  This is the only reference to such in his writings that the webmaster has seen.]

 

Did the merciful God send his Son into the world to bless you, in turning you from your iniquity, and can you look upon that great blessing as your bondage? Acts 3:26.  Believe it, God had servants enough (even Angels, that are ever ready to do his will) to send ordinary gifts by, surely them twas some extraordinary Present that He thought none worthy to carry, and would trust none with but his only Son.  God sent Him to bless you, in turning every one of you from your iniquities.  I hope, Reader, you will have higher thoughts of holiness, and worse thoughts of sin all your days: Surely the Son of God was not so prodigal of his most precious blood, as to pour it out for any thing that was not superlatively excellent [men being made in the image of God].

 

1671 edition, p. 177, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

 

Reader, What do you think of this third subject of Consideration, The excellency of Regeneration and Holiness, which God requires of you for the avoiding of Hell, and attaining of Heaven?  Tell me, Does God require any thing to your wrong?  If God required of you to live a thousand years on earth, and to spend all your time in hunger, cold, nakedness, disgrace, pains and imprisonment, or otherwise you should not escape unquenchable burnings, and enjoy eternal life; you were worse than mad if you did not accept of, and obey such a command.  How hearty and thankful then should your acceptance be of Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, of dying to sin, and living to, and delighting yourself in his blessed Majesty, which is all He desires of you!  O do not refuse when thou art so well offered.

 

1671 edition, p. 236, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

 

Thirdly, I answer, That your impotency lies in your obstinacy.  You pretend that you cannot, but the truth is you will not, Luke 19:41John 5:40.  You are resolvedly evil, and then fly out against God himself, that you cannot do good, Eccl. 8:11Jer. 44:16.
Your disease is deadly and dangerous; the Physician of souls offers you his help, and He is both willing and able to cure you: Now you willfully throw away his physic, feed on such things which you (can forbear, and) know will increase your disease; and then tell the world, that you are not able to cure yourself.  Is this honest or rational dealing?

 

1671 edition, p. 237, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

 

Answer me this question, or else never more make this objection: Are you willing to turn from sin unto God?  Are you willing to take the Son of God for your Savior and Lord?  If you are willing, I am sure God is willing; He has confirmed it with an oath, Eze. 33:11.  Jesus Christ is willing that sinners should live, or He would not so willingly have died such a death; he has paid the price of your ransom, and offers you an happier estate than that of which Adam deprived you.  If you are willing to accept of your freedom, you may have it; if any man will, let him drink of the water of life freely, Rev. 22, and if you are not willing, why do you complain.

 

 

The Incomparableness of God, in his Works, 4:493-497, Banner of Truth edition, this quote was compiled by Tony Byrne.

Having spoken in another treatise to this particular, I shall here only offer two or three things to your serious thoughts, and proceed to a third exhortation.
1.  Consider, what is offered you, when the incomparable God is offered you for your portion.  And truly, to explain this head fully, would require the pen, yea, exceed the skill, of an angel.  None can tell what God is, but God Himself.  All the sheets in the explication of the doctrine speak somewhat of Him, but not the thousand thousandth part of that excellency that is in Him.  Reader, I may tell you, when God is offered you, the greatest good that ever was, that ever will be; that ever can be, is offered you; there never was, or can be, the like offered you; more than heaven and earth, than both worlds, than millions of worlds, is offered you.  This God who is offered you is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the God of gods, the blessed and glorious potentate, the first cause, the original being, self-sufficient, all-sufficient, absolutely perfect, incapable of any addition or diminution.  This God who is offered you is the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity every moment, to whom a thousand years, yea, millions of ages, are but as one day, as one moment, whose duration is incapable of the least accession, who is boundless in his being, omnipotent in his power, unsearchable in his wisdom, inconceivable in his grace, and infinite in all his perfections.  He dwells in that light that is inaccessible; before Him angels, the highest of creatures, veil their faces; to Him the whole creation is less than nothing, and vanity.  This God who is offered you made all things of nothing, supports all things, influences all things, and is all things, and infinitely more than all things.  He is so needful a good that you are undone without Him.  This was the misery of the heathen on earth, Eph. 2:12, and of the damned in hell, Mat. 25:41, the very hell of hell.  He is so plentiful a good that you are perfectly happy in Him. Ps. 144:15, you need no more.  He is the heaven of heavens, Ps. 16:11, the safest refuge.  O friend, what do you think of having this God for your portion?  Is it not worth the while to have this God for your God? will you not say, ‘Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O Lord; thou art great, and thy name is great: who would not fear thee, O king of nations’? Jer. 10:6,7.  Again, the God who is offered you is the well of salvation, the Lord of life, the God of all consolation, a hive of sweetness, a paradise of pleasure, a heaven of joy.  He is the richest grace, the dearest love, the surest friend, the highest honor, the vastest treasure, the exactest beauty, the chiefest good, and the fullest felicity.  He is one that can enlarge and suit all your faculties, relieve and answer all your necessities, fill up and satisfy all the capacities of your heaven-born soul.  God is a good which Christ died to purchase for you, Eph. 2:13; 1 Pet. 3:18.  And surely if Christ thought Him worth his blood, He is worthy of your acceptance.  God is a comprehensive universal good, not one, but all good; riches, honors, pleasures, friends, relations, health, life, earth, heaven, this world, the other world, all the good of both worlds, and infinitely more; and are you not covetous of such wealth, that is better worth than both worlds? Phil. 4:19; Ps. 23:1; Gen. 17:1.  God is an everlasting good, a good that will stand by you, and abide with you when all other good things shall fail you, 1 Tim. 6:7; Ps. 73:25.  He is that good which you would have if you are well in your wits: He is that good which you should have if you answer the end of your creation; He is that good which you must have, if you are not eternally miserable; He is the only suitable satisfying good, which hits the nature, and fits the desire of the rational creature.  O reader, I say again, what do you think of having this incomparable God for your God?  Surely by this time your heart may well melt into astonishment that He will allow you to seek so matchless a portion.  Well, what say you to Him?  Is it not worth the while to have Him for yours, to whom you will call in the day of distress, to whom you will cry in a dying hour, when your soul stands quivering on your lips, ready to take its flight into the unknown regions of the other world, when devils will be waiting to seize it, as soon as ever it leaves the body, to hale it to the unquenchable flames of hell, when your friends and relations shall be weeping and wailing by you, but unable to afford your dying body the least cordial, or your departing soul the least comfort?  Ah, friend, what will you do in such an hour, which is hastening on you, without the incomparable God?  Believe it, though you may live without Him, you cannot die, without an infinite horror, without Him.  Is it not worth the while to have Him for yours, to whom you must stand or fall for ever, from whose mouth your sentence of eternal absolution or condemnation must come, and who shall judge you to your unchangeable state of life or death?  Though you may think you can do well enough at this day with the world for your portion; yet what will you do at that day, when the world shall be in a flame, if God be not your portion?  Are you willing or not, to have this God for yours?  What say you?  Can you find in your heart to deprive your precious soul of such an inestimable treasure, and to leave it naked in the other world to the cruelty of devils, and the dreadful curses of the law?  Methinks, though I have spoken little, yet I have said enough, to one that will but let his reason judge, to draw out your most earnest desires after this incomparable God.

 

2.  Consider upon what terms you may have this God for your God.  You may possibly think that so boundless a good must cost you very dear, and the price must be vast of a pearl that is so matchless; but lo, to your comfort, all the condition which God requires of you is only to accept Him heartily and thankfully in his Son.  Can you have anything cheaper? would you desire Him in his terms to fall lower? nay, is it possible so to do, and make you happy?  Nor can He be yours unless you receive Him for yours.  It is a poor favor that is not worth acceptance [meaning: this offer is worth acceptance, therefore it is a great favor].  Do but take Him for your happiness, and you shall have Him for your happiness.

 

You give more for your bread, your clothes, your house, for the needful comforts that are for the support of your frail body, than you need give for the great, glorious, incomprehensible, incomparable God.  You pay money for them, but you may have Him without money and without price.  One would think that the equity of the condition should both amaze you and allure you.  Consider, I say, God does not require of you things impossible to you; He does not say, If you will remove mountains, dry up oceans, stop the course of nature, create worlds, I will then be yours, as great as I am; He does not say, If you will satisfy my justice, answer the demands of my law, merit my love and favor, then I will be your God.  No; He Himself has done all this for you by the death of his Son; all He desires is, that you would accept Him in his Son for your God.  Nay, He does not require of you anything that is barbarous or cruel, as the heathen deities did, by the devil, of their worshippers.  He does not say, If you will lance and mangle your bodies, as Baal’s priests did; if you will go barefoot in sackcloth long and tedious pilgrimages, as the papists do; if you will offer your children in the fire, and give the fruit of your bodies for the sins of your souls, as some did, then I will be your God.  Again, He does not require of you things that are chargeable, to offer the best and chief of your flock daily in the sacrifice to Him; nor, as He once did of the young man, to sell all that you have, and give it to the poor; nor, as idolators, to lay down such a part of your estate for your portion; but He only requires that you would take the Lord for your God; and will you not do it?  Can you deny Him and your poor soul so reasonable, so equitable a request?  As the servant said to Nama, ‘If the prophet had commanded you some great thing, would not you have done it? how much more then when He only says, Wash, and be clean?’  So say I to you; if God had commanded the greatest things imaginable, would you not to your power have done them, that you might enjoy the blessed God for your eternal portion? how much more then when He only says, ‘Thou shalt have no other God before me’?  O reader, do but observe that first command, which contains the sum both of your duty and felicity, and you are made, you are a blessed man for ever.  Take the true God in Jesus Christ for your God, prize Him as your God, love Him as your God, honor Him as your God, and obey Him as your God, and He will be your God for ever.  Do but as much for the true God as the covetous man does for his wealth, which is his god, as the intemperate man for his belly, which is his god; they give their highest esteem, their choicest affections, and their greatest service to that which they take for their god.  And surely the true God is more worthy hereof, and will requite you best for them.

 

3.  Consider for what end God offers Himself to you.  I would not have you mistake, because God out of his infinite pity to his miserable creatures, is instant and urgent with them to accept of Him, to think therefore that God has any need of you, or seeks his own happiness therein; I tell you, if you had no more need of God than He has of you, you may let Him alone.  No; it is purely for your good, for your real and eternal good, that He offers Himself to you; He needs your service no more than He does the service of the damned, of the devils; and He knows how to make use of you for his own glory, as He does of them, if you foolishly reject this offer of Himself.  Your righteousness will not help Him, Job 22:2,3, nor your wickedness hurt Him, Job 35:2.  He offers Himself to you, not that He may be blessed by you, but that He may be bountiful to you.  It is your good, not his own, that He looks at; the felicity of accepting Him is your own, and the misery of neglecting Him is your own, Prov. 9:12.  Men call customers to them, press them with many arguments and entreaties to buy, that they may enrich themselves by their customers; but God calls men to buy of Him, not to enrich Himself–He is as rich, and perfect and happy as He can be–but to enrich themselves; I counsel you, says Christ to his lukewarm church, to buy of me gold.  Why? that He may get somewhat by her, and enrich Himself?  No; that you may be rich; that you, not I, may be rich.  Now, reader, ponder it seriously, it is wholly for your own good, that you may escape wrath and death, and attain heaven and life, that God is pleased once more to offer Himself to you.  What is your mind about his offer?  Will you have Him for your portion or no?  Is there anything unreasonable in his desire or demands?  Does not your eternal felicity depend on your acceptance of Him?  What say you?  Will you have God for your portion, or will you have the devil for your portion?  You shall have eternal portion, good or bad.  The worldlings’ portion of good things is but for this world, and the godly man’s portion of evil things is but for this world; both have immortal souls, which will abide in the other world for ever; and their souls must have immortal portions to abide with them there for ever.  Therefore, reader, consider what you do, either you must take God, in and through Christ, for your portion for ever, or hell and death and wrath and devils for your portion for ever; one of the two is the portion of all the sons and daughters of Adam.  If you will still prefer the world before God, and love the creature above God, and please your flesh more than God; when once you appear in the other word, God will rain on you ‘fire and brimstone, and a horrible tempest: this will be the portion of your cup,’ Ps. 11:6.  But if now you accept Him in his Son (for there is no making God your friend but by Christ) for your chief good and happiness, when all your friends shall leave you, and dearest relations forsake you, yea, when ‘thy flesh and thy heart shall fail thee, God will be the strength of thine heart, and thy portion for ever.’  O friend, consider what I have said in this use, and the Lord give you understanding, you may know when you are well offered, and be wise on this side [of] the other world.

 

 

The Sinners Last Sentence to Eternal Punishment for Sins of Omission, 1675, pp. 48-51.  This quote was compiled by Tony Byrne

5.  It will greatly add to their torment and anguish to consider, that they were sometime near the enjoyment of this blissful presence of Christ.  Pardon, and Peace, and Love, and Life, and the endless fruition of the blessed Jesus were tendered to them, were near them, were at the very door of their hearts.  They were solemnly commanded, lovingly invited, severely threatened, sweetly allured, and pathetically persuaded to accept of Christ and Grace; yea, and Heaven, and Happiness, and eternal Life; yea, and their hearts began to relent, and to close with the entreaties of the Gospel [but not fully]; They were almost persuaded to be Christians indeed.  There was but a little, a very little between them and Christ.  The bargain was driven so far, that Christ was got into their consciences, they bore witness for Him, and warned them, if they loved their lives, their souls, to accept of Him while He would accept of them; yea, Christ was got into their judgments, they gave their verdict on his side [in a natural way], as one infinitely more amiable and eligible than the world or flesh; nay, He had possibly got into their Affections, they delighted to hear of his great Love to poor Sinners, and of the great things He purchased for them by his own blood; and yet though they were so near, they came short, and like Ephraim, played the part of unwise sons, and stayed in the place of the breaking forth of children.

[Webmaster’s Note: the “for” in “the great things He purchased for them by his own blood” above can be taken in two ways.  “For” expresses purpose and can either mean (1) a revealed intention consistent with the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel, as purchasing a redemption intended to be offered, given and received by the gospel hearer, or (2) in the sense of decree, actually paying for one’s personal sins in a universal-conditional atonement.

Seeing that Swinnock clearly denies a Hypothetical Atonement and affirms Limited Atonement in his sermon on John 1:29, “for” should be interpreted as (1) consistent with the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel]

 

O how like a dagger will it pierce the heart of them that live under the Gospel, and neglect the great Salvation offered to them; when they come to be banished [from] the presence of Christ, and to see others, who made religion their business on earth, bathing their souls in rivers of pleasures, drawing water with joy out of the Well of Salvation, eating of the Tree of Life that grows in the midst of Paradise, and housed in the arms of their dearest Savior, and shall reflect and consider with themselves, all those Joys and Pleasures, all those dainties and delicacies, all those robes, and riches, and glories, and felicities, which they enjoy in the presence of Christ, might have been mine; they were freely, and frequently, and affectionately offered to me, I had the refusal of them; nay, I had a good mind to them, I was not far from the Kingdom of Heaven [Mark 12:34].  There was but a little between me and them, they [all the benefits of Christ] were at the very door of my heart, and stood knocking there for admission, and desired only hearty acceptance; but like a fool I dallied [wastefully played] with them, and deterred them, as if hereafter had been time enough, and so have lost them forever.

 

6.  It will much augment their anguish and misery to consider, who it is that passes so severe a doom upon them.  This dreadful sentence is pronounced by Love, and Grace, and Goodness itself.  He that sometimes called them to Him so sweetly, so affectionately, now calls them from Him so sharply, so furiously.  He who sometimes cried to them, Come to me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden [Matt 11:28]; and wept over them, O that thou hadst known, even thou in this thy day, the things of thy peace [Luke 19:41,42].  He that formerly invited, entreated, besought them to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5:20, and showed them his heart-blood, the price of their Pardon and Life, and stretched out his arms to embrace their returning souls, will now in wrath, and rage, and flames, and fury, bid them be gone from Him, and his curse go along with them.  And if Love prove their enemy, surely wrath will not be their friend.  And if Mercy be thus against them, surely Justice will not be for them.  Ah how sorely will it gall the sinner to consider, This dreadful doom is denounced against me not by an enemy, or one that hated me, but by a Friend and Father, by one that loved me, and took my nature on Him, and suffered therein the Law’s Curse, to render me capable of escaping these torments which I now suffer, and partaking of those pleasures which yonder blessed souls enjoy.

 

 

 

Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel