John Trapp on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1601-1669

 

Commentary on the Bible

 

“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.”

Gen. 6:3

 

Verse 3.  ‘My Spirit shall not always strive‘, that is, I’ll consult no longer, but resolve to ruin them, as some gloss it; or, I’ll pull the sword out of the sheath, the soul out of the body, as others gather out of the Hebrew word (a)here used.  But they do best, in my mind, that sense it thus: My Spirit – whereby I hitherto “went and preached,” by Noah and other patriarchs, to those “spirits” (once in pleasure, now) “in prison,” [Ecclesiastes 11:9 1 Peter 3:18-19] but prevailed not – shall not always strive with perverse men by preaching, disputing, convincing, in the mouths of my servants, whom I have sent unto them; nor in their own minds and consciences, by inward checks and motions, which they have made no good use of. Delicata res est Spiritus Dei [a delicate thing is the Spirit of God]. Grieve it once, and you may drive it away for ever. It “bloweth where it listeth,” and will not be at your whistle.

 

 

Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, [and] Israel had walked in my ways!

Ps. 81:13

 

Verse 13.  Oh that my people had hearkened unto me A wish after the manner of men; to set forth God’s great desire of our welfare, which he here utters, as it were, with a sigh and a groan.

 

 

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”

Isa. 55:1

 

Verse 1.  Ho, every one that thirsteth.  Sitit sitiri Dominus, says Nazianzen, [being translated] the Lord even thirsts to be thirsted after;  He “seeketh such to worship him as will worship him in spirit and in truth.” [John 4:23]  Hence this present proclamation, “Ho, every one,” of what nation soever, that is duly affected with the preceding discourse of Christ’s all-sufficiency to save, [Isaiah 53:11-12] and the church’s glory and safety. [Isaiah 54:11-17]

Yea, come.  Hebrew: And come; come and come; yea come, come, come; linger not, loiter not, frame not excuse, strain not courtesy, hang not off by a sinful bashfulness; it is good manners to fall [come] to your meat [meal].

 

 

“I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way [that was] not good, after their own thoughts;”

Isa. 65:2

Verse 2.  I have spread out my hands.  As preachers use to do, [Proverbs 1:24; Acts 26:1] or as those that invite and beckon others to themselves with the hand. See Matthew 11:28.

Unto a rebellious people.  Whose destruction therefore is of themselves, since they will not be ruled, reclaimed.

 

 

“Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

Eze. 18:23

 

Verse 23. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  No, verily [truly]; for then He should do nothing but do and undo, make a world and unmake it again, since we provoke him continually; but He is longsuffering.

“Atque dolet quoties cogitur esse ferox.” [and it hurts whenever one is forced to be severe]

And not that he should return.  Had not I rather pardon than punish?  Is not this last my work, my strange work [Isaiah 28:21]

 

“Say unto them, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

Eze. 33:11

 

Verse 11.  As I live, saith the Lord God, etc.  This is one of those precious places, those mellifluous [sweet or musical; pleasant to hear] honeycombs, which we should go on sucking towards heaven, as Samson once did towards his parents. [14:9]  Here, if anywhere, we may find “strong consolation.”  God, when He swears, desires certainly to be credited, saith Tertullian. (a)  Oh happy we, for whose sakes God vouches safe to swear! and oh, thrice wretched we, if we believe not God, no, though he swear to us!  Oh, says Theodoret here, who can ever sufficiently admire the Lord’s great goodness, who, being so shamefully slighted by the sinful sons of men, doth yet swear his readiness to receive them graciously who have revolted grievously?  Well might Nazianzen say that God delights in nothing so much as in man’s conversion and salvation.  Tertullian: suffundere mavult sanguinem quam effundere [He prefers to pour out blood in sacrifice than to shed it].  φοβεισθαι βουλεται, ου φονευσαι, says Basil – i.e. [as translated], He would we should fear Him, not fall by his hand.  Redire nos sibi, non perire desiderat [He desires us to return unto Him, not to perish], as Chrysologus phrases it, return unto Him, not “perish from the way.” [Psalms 2:12]

 

 

“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

Jonah 2:8

 

Forsake their own mercy…  These are those fools of the people, that prefer an apple before paradise, a mess of pottage before the inheritance of heaven, their swine before their Saviour, turning their backs upon those blessed and bleeding embracements of His, and cruelly cutting the throats of their own poor souls by an impenitent continuance in sin; so losing, for a few bitter sweet pleasures, or paltry profits in this vale of tears, for an inch of time, that fullness of felicity at God’s right hand, through all eternity….

In all which there is not anything more to be lamented than this, that people should “love to have it so,” Jeremiah 5:31; be active in their own utter undoing, Hosea 13:9; wittingly and willingly forsake God, the fountain of living waters, their own mercies, as He is here called, and elsewhere, Psalms 144:2, and hew themselves out “cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water,” Jeremiah 2:13.

 

 

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matt 11:28

 

Verse 28.  Come unto me.  Why do ye go about, as Jeremiah {Jeremiah 31:22} has it, and fetch a compass?  “Why labour ye for that which satisfieth not?”  Isaiah 4:2; “Can the son of Jesse give you vineyards and olive yards,” etc.? as Saul said; so say I, Can the world or the devil do for you as I can?  Why come ye not unto me, that ye may be saved?  Can you mend yourselves anywhere? etc.  But the poor soul is ready to hang her comforts on every hedge, shift and shark in every by-corner for comfort, and never come at Christ with the hemorrhoids, till all be spent, till she be forsaken of her hopes.  Men will not desire Christ, till shaken, Haggai 2:7.

All ye.  All is a little word, but of large extent. The promises are indefinite, and exclude none. It is not for us to be interlining God’s covenant, and excepting ourselves, however bad, if broken-hearted.

That labour Even to lassitude (κοπιωντας), but to no purpose, labour in the fire where you can make nothing of your labour.

And are heavy laden.  Poised to an inch (πεφορτισμενοι), ready to be weighed down to hell with the turn of a scale, with the dust of a balance superadded.  Others might have Christ if they would come to him; but till then none will come.  Steep thy thoughts in this sweet sentence, thou burdened soul, and come away to the Master (as they said to blind Bartimeus), for, “behold, He calls thee.”

 

 

“And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand.”

Matt 15:10

Verse 10. And he called the multitude.  The Pharisees, those deaf adders, since they would not be charmed, Christ will lose no more sweet words upon them; but turns them up as desperate, with this inscription on their foreheads: Noluerunt incantari; I would have healed these hypocrites, but they would not be healed.  Yea, “When I would have healed Ephraim, then” (to cross me) “their iniquity was discovered,” as the leprosy in their foreheads, Hosea 7:1.  And from such uncounselable and incorrigible hearers, if a minister depart, he does but his duty; the desertion is on their part, and not on his.  “The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal,” 1 Corinthians 12:7.

 

 

But they made light of it [the feast], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

Matt 22:5

 

Verse 5.  But they made light of it.  God’s rich offers are still slighted and criticized; and most men turn their backs upon those blessed and bleeding embracements of his, as if heaven were not worth hearkening after;

 

“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?”

Matt 22:11-12

 

Verse 12.  Friend, how camest? etc.  Not wretch, rebel, reprobate.  Hard reproofs administered in soft language break the bones.

 

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

Matt 23:37

 

Verse 37.  ‘How often would I, &c.’  How then could they perish whom God would have saved?  It is answered, Voluntas Dei alia est praecepti, revelata antecedents, alia beneplaciti, arcana consequens [The will of God is diverse: (1) of precepts, of revealed antecedents, and of (2) good pleasure, secret consequents].  By the former [(1)] God willed their conversion, but not by the latter [(2)].  A king wills the welfare of all his subjects; yet he will not acquit those that are laid up for treason, murder, and the like foul crimes.  A father is willing to give his son the inheritance; yet if he prove an unthrift, he will put him beside it, and take another.  “How oft would I have gathered?” that is (say some), by the external ministry of the prophets, sent unto thee, Matthew 23:34-35. Not by internal regenerating operation of the Spirit.

Even as a hen gathereth her chickens.  Columbarum masculus ipse ovis incubat, sicut Christus ipse ecclesiam suam fovet [As male pigeons brood on eggs, so Christ cherishes His Church], (Chytraeus in Leviticus 12:1-8).  Of unreasonable creatures, birds, and of birds, the hen excels in kindness to her young; so that she doubts not, in their clarence, to encounter a kite, a dog, etc., Iniquo et impari proelio [a disfavorable and uneven battle], though with greatest disadvantage.

And ye would not.  Men may nil their conversion, then, though called by God [by precept and the revealed will of God], Quo nihil est verius, sed et nihil turpius [of which nothing is more true nor more shameful], says one.  Men are not damned [by precept and the revealed will of God] because they cannot do better, but because they will do no better [their guilt is merited on their willful sins, not their spiritual ability].  Cesset voluntas propria et non erit infernus, [being translated:] If there were no will, there would be no hell, John 12:39.  Therefore they could not believe; they could not, that is, they would not, says Theophylact out of Chrysostom, who yet usually extols man’s freewill more than is fit.

 

 

“And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused [from the feast].  And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.  So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.”

Luke 14:19-21

 

Verse 19.  I have bought five yoke of oxen This answers those that plead their necessities, and that they seek not superfluities (as farm upon farm, &c.), but only a sufficiency.  What could be more necessary than oxen, since without them he could not follow his husbandry?  Worldliness is a great hindrance to heaven, though a man cannot be charged with any great covetousness. These all excused themselves out of heaven, by bringing apologies why they could not go to heaven. Never yet any came to hell but had some pretence for their coming thither.  Our vile hearts will persuade us that there is some sense in sinning, and some reason to be mad.

Verse 20.  And therefore I cannot come.  Note that the voluptuary is peremptory, and says flatly he “cannot come.”  Sensual hearts are void of the Spirit, 1:18-19. Miry places could not be healed by the sanctuary waters, Ezekiel 47:11; fleshly lusts fight against the soul, 1 Peter 2:11.  Those that dance to the timbrel and harp, say, “Depart from us,” Job 21:11.  Better be preserved in brine than rot in honey.

Verse 21.  Then the master of the house being angry.  And good reason he had: for, Non modo pluris putare quod utile videatur, quam quod honestum, sed haec etiam inter se comparare et in his addubitare, turpissimum est [I just cannot think of something more valuable than that which is useful and honorable, but for these, to compare anything with it and doubt, it is shameful], says the honest heathen (Cicero de Officiis).  Surely as Pharaoh said of the Israelites, “They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in,” Exodus 14:3, so may we say of many, They are entangled in the creature, the world hath shut them in, they cannot come to Christ: they are shut up in a cave, as those five kings, Joshua 10:16-18; and have hardness of heart, as a great stone, rolled to the mouth, and honours, riches, and pleasures as so many keepers, &c.

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Luke 14:26

 

Verse 26.  And hate not his father, &c.  Much more his farm and his oxen. It was not these, but the inordinate love of these, that detained them, as Christ here intimates.  Your house, home, and goods, yea, life, and all that ever ye have (says that martyr), God has given you as love tokens, to admonish you of His love, to win your love to Him again.  Now will He try your love, whether ye set more by Him or by his tokens.

 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

 

Ver. 16. God so loved the world This is a [Latin] sic, [English] “so” without a [Latin] sicut, [English] “just as,” there being nothing in nature wherewith to parallel it.  The world, that is, all mankind fallen in Adam.  This the apostle fitly calls God’s philanthropy, Titus 3:4, it being a sweet savour to the whole kind of us that any are saved by Christ.

 

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

John 3:17

Verse I7.  Not to condemn the world.  Unless it be by accident [that is, as a secondary effect against the primary purpose], because they will not be saved; they will not have heaven upon Christ’s terms, they will not part with their fat and sweet (with the vine in Jotham’s parable, 9:13), no, not for a kingdom; they will not be constrained to live happily, reign eternally.  At Paris ut vivat regnetque beatus Cogi posse negat [he cannot be compelled to live as a blessed king at Paris]. Hor. Epist. 2.

 

 

“But I receive not testimony from man: but these things I say, that ye might be saved.”

John 5:34

 

Verse. 34. That ye might be saved.  This was that which he sought in all his oracles and miracles.  Salvation properly notes the privative [“marked by the absence, removal, or loss of some quality or attribute that is normally present”; namely, being saved from sin, wrath and punishment] part of our happiness; because it is easier to tell from what we are saved than to what. 

 

 

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”

2 Cor. 5:20

 

As though God did beseech you God’s grace even kneels to us.  En flexanimam suadae medullam [here are the best suasions]; who can turn his back upon such blessed and bleeding embracements?

 

 

“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”

2 Cor. 6:1

 

The grace of God in vain.  That embassy of grace, 2 Corinthians 5:20; or that unspeakable gift of Christ, 2 Corinthians 9:15, which many use as homely as Rachel did her father’s gods [that is, in vain], she hid them in the litter and sat on them [menstruating]; or as that lewd boy in Kett’s conspiracy, who when the king’s pardon was offered the rebels by a herald, he turned toward him his naked posteriors, and used words suitable to that gesture.  One standing by discharged a harquebus [an early gun] upon the [his] body. (Life of K. Edward VI, by Sir John Hay)

 

 

(For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

2 Cor. 6:2

 

Verse 2.  Now is the accepted time.  He purposely beats upon the [Greek] το νυν [“now”], because opportunity is headlong, and, if once past, irrecoverable. Some are semper victuri, always alive, as Seneca says, they stand trifling out their time, and so fool away their salvation.  God will not always serve men for a sinning stock. Patientia laesa fit furor [“patience is the anger of the injured,” that is, how the injured express their anger].  Do [may] we therefore [be] as millers [persons who work in a wind-drawn mill] and mariners, who take the gale when it comes, and make use of it, because they have not the wind in a bottle.

Now is the day of salvation.  And God will not suffer men twice to neglect it.  If once past, it will never dawn again.  Catch therefore at opportunities, as the echo catches the voice, Psalm 27:1 [see also Ps. 27:8], take the nick of time. God is more peremptory now than ever, Hebrews 2:2-3.

 

 

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

2 Thess. 1:8

And that obey not the gospel.  This is the grand sin of this age, John 3:19.  No sin will gripe so in hell as this.  This will be a bodkin [a piercing pin] at the heart one day, I might have been delivered, but I have wilfully cut the throat of my poor soul by refusing those rich offers of mercy made me in the gospel.

 

 

“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Tim. 2:4

 

Verse 4.  Who will have all men, etc.  God wills, to wit [specifically], with a will whereby he invites, and puts no bar; not with a will whereby he effects it, taking away all impediments.

That all men.  Not distributively taken [some out of each], but collectively [as a whole], as thrice [three times] in one verse, Colossians 1:28.

Should be saved. viz. If they do what He commands: God does not tie Himself to cause them to do what He commands, that they may be saved.

 

 

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,”

Heb. 6:4-5

Verse 4.  Who were once enlightened.  [In Greek] φωτισθεντες, as with a flash of lightning. Knowing persons, and those they call the wits of the world, are in the greatest danger of the unpardonable sin; which begins in apostasy, holds on in persecution, ends in blasphemy.

And have tasted.  As cooks do their sauces with the tip of their finger only; or as the Israelites tasted the fruits of the land, and vet perished in the wilderness. Men may taste that which they spit out again, as physicians oft do.

The heavenly gift.  Greek: “Super-celestial gift,” i.e. Christ, who is called the gift, John 4:10, and the benefit, 1 Timothy 6:2.

Partakers of the Holy Ghost.  Of his common and inferior gifts and operations. These a man may lose, and have his dispositions to sin seven times more inflamed than before, Matthew 12:44.

Verse 5.  And have tasted the good word.  Catching at the promises, as children do at sweetmeats, rejoicing therein, as the stony ground hearers did, conceiving a rolling opinion, as Haman did, that they are the men whom the King of heaven will honour.

And the powers of the world to come.  i.e. The wonderful works of the world to come, as glorification, resurrection, last judgment, whereinto a hypocrite may see far, and have a glimpse of heaven, or a flash of hell upon his conscience, as Balaam, Spira.

 

 

“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

Heb. 10:29

Verse 29.  Who hath trodden under foot.  Respecting him no more than the vilest and filthiest dirt in the street, or the most abject thing in the world, as Ambrose expounds it; he disdains to receive benefit by Christ’s propitiatory and expiatory sacrifice, he would not if he might, he is so Satanized.  King Henry VI, going against Richard Duke of York (that ambitious rebel), offered them a general pardon. (Speed, 898.)  This was rejected by them, and called “A staff of reed,” or “glass-buckler.” In Ket’s conspiracy, when King Edward VI’s pardon was offered to the rebels by a herald, a lewd boy turned toward him his naked posteriors, and used words suitable to that gesture. (Sir John Hayward.)  Desperate apostates deal as coarsely with Christ; they hold him for a scorn, as an offender that is carted, Hebrews 6:6.

The blood of the covenant That is, the blood of Christ, whereby the covenant is sealed, the Church purchased, the atonement procured, and heaven opened for [for the purpose of] our more happy entrance.

 

 

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

2 Peter 2:1

Verse 1. Denying the Lord that bought them.  Or, freed them, viz. from their former idolatries and enormities, ut verbum αγοραζειν frequentius significat, saith one.  Or that bought them, as they conceited, and others charitably imagined; but it proved otherwise, as appeared by their apostasy.  Christ is said to buy reprobates, in the same sense wherein it is said that the gods of Damascus smote or plagued Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:23, that is, in his opinion they did so: for an idol is nothing in the world, and can do neither good nor evil, Jeremiah 10:5; 1 Corinthians 8:4.  Or, that bought them, viz. in laying down a sufficient price for all sinners, in taking upon him the common nature of all men, and in preaching to them in the gospel that he died for sinners indefinitely, offering salvation, and beseeching them to receive it.

 

 

 

Related Pages

The Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

Historic Reformed Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel

1600’s Quotes on the Sincere Free Offer of the Gospel