Lectures upon the Three First Chapters of the Revelation… (London, 1604)
ch. 2, p. 197
“Secondly, they charge the doctrine of our church to be a blasphemous doctrine, seeing we hold that God decreed man’s fall, and so do make Him the author of sin.
Answer: We say indeed, that God decreed man’s fall, and permitted
him to sin, yet teach we not that he is the author of sin: for his will is double, general and particular: in his generall will, He decreed to permit man to sin and fall, yet so, as in respect of God it was good, though in respect of man evil: for as He can draw out of darkness light, so out of evil He can work good to Himself.
Secondly, there is his special will by which He wills and delights only in that which is good, and by this He hated man’s fall. And even as the magistrate hates, and would not the death of the malefactor, yet he wills it, in that he executes the same: so the Lord, He in his general will willed the permitting of man’s fall, not as it was evil, but as it turned to his glory and honour, and the good of the elect.”
p. 326, on Rev. 3:19
“Now see the meaning: ‘I love.’ Christ loves the creatures two ways: first, as a Creator: secondly, as a redeemer. As He is a Creator, He loves them with a general and common love, whether the creatures be reasonable or unreasonable. As Redeemer, He loves them with a special and peculiar love, not common to all, but to that part of mankind only which is elected and chosen to salvation.”
pp. 331-4, on Rev. 3:20
“‘I stand.’ Christ expresses his mind by borrowed speeches:
for in this verse He compares every man to a house or householder,
and our hearts to doors by which an entrance is made: and
Himself to a guest or stranger which comes to the house, and
desires to be let in and entertained: yet not so much to look
for kindness to be showed Him, as to show favor to us. By this
similitude Christ purposes to show this Church, what his mind
is toward it: and He expresses it by two signs here set down:
first, a desire of their conversion, which He heartily seeks and
looks for, ‘I stand and knock.’
…yet they were tainted with one great sin of lukewarmeness, which closed up the door of their hearts, so that though they had many good things, yet this one sin kept out Christ. By which we see, that one sin, in a man endued with many good graces, keeps out Christ, and bars Him from all fellowship and society with Him. Judas had many no∣table things in him; he forsooke all, and preached Christ, and yet couetousnesse kept out Christ…
In the original, it is not ‘I stand’, but ‘I have stood.’ So Jer. 7:13, ‘I have risen up early’: and Isa. 65:2, ‘I have stretched out my arm all the day long.’ And here, I have risen up early, and stood here long, all the day till night: for so much the word of supping imports; as if he should say, till supper time.
This shows Christ’s exceeding patience, in waiting for the conversion of this people. He might in justice have condemned them for their sins, and have cast them to hell, and yet he stands still all the day waiting for their conversion, till He is fain to complain.
Now this place serves to show and set forth, and gives just occasion to speak of God’s patience, in waiting for the conversion and amendement of a sinner. Now that which Christ says to them, may He justly say to us: He has risen up early, and spent a long day in waiting at our doors, above six and thirty years, therefore He may well upbraid us.
Let vs then learn to know the day of our visitation: for that is the day of a people’s visitation, when the Gospel is preached and Christ stands knocking: therefore it stands us upon to labor to know this, and regard it. If we can resolve ourselues of this, then we practise the duty which Christ prescribes the church of Jerusalem, if we do not so, but shall let pass all the signs and tokens of God’s mercy, we must look for the like end as Jerusalem had. So much for the first part, ‘I stand at the door.’
‘And knock.’ First He used means to enter when they had barred him out. Mark the unspeakeable mercy of Christ: they by their sins stopped Christ from entering, yet He pursues them with mercy, and offers mercy to them that refused it, and contented themselves to lie and live in their sins. When Adam had sinned and fled from God, the Lord sought him out, and made a covenant of grace with him. So Isa. 65.,the Lord says, He was found of them that never sought Him: they that never dreamed of mercy found mercy.
Here then we are to mark the state of all people which have the ministery of the Word, they have Christ among them, and He stands at the door and knocks at every man’s heart. All threatenings of the law, reproofs of sin, exhortations, admoniti∣ons and promises, they are so many knocks of Christ. A great and unspeakeable mercy, that the King of heaven and earth should do this…
If any man of great place and calling knock at your doors, what stirring is there, that you may receive him as is meet? Then what a shame is this, when Christ vouchsafes to deal thus mercifully with us? Again, in that Christ comes by the ministry of the Gospel to work our conversion, it serves to admonish us to turn with all speed, for we know not how long He will stand and reach forth the hand of his ministry to beat upon our hearts. Mark further; this knocking is not a light and soft kind of knocking, but it goes with crying; he both knocks and cries, it is an earnest knocking of one that would fain enter.
Seeing then Christ standing at the door of men’s hearts knocks so earnestly to save men’s souls, we again ought to be earnest to receive and embrace the Gospel. He knocks in good earnest, and we must accordingly by God’s grace be as earnest. So much for the first token of Christ’s love, his desire of their conversion, which He shows by two signs; first his waiting, secondly his knocking, and that joined with crying.”
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