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Thomas Adams on 1 Timothy 2:4 (with 2 Peter 3:9): an informal reference

May 13, 2008

This pours oil into the wounds of a contrite heart. Were our souls in such a strait, as Israel between the Red Sea and the Egyptians; the spirits of vengeance, like those enemies, pursuing us behind; hell and death, like that Red Sea, ready to in before: yet would I speak to you in the confidence of Moses, “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord,” Exod. xiv. 13. Thou that art oppressed with the violence and clamour of thy sins, and wantest an advocate either to intercede or pity hear the voice of the Lamb; Cry unto me, I will hear thee out of mine holy hill. Doth any soul hunger after righteousness Behold, I am the bread of fife: Take, eat, here is my body. Doth any thirst after the waters of grace? Lo, I am a living Fountain; come and drink; here is my blood. Art thou not yet quite dead in trespasses? are not thy ulcers past cure? are there any seeds of life remaining? is there any motion of repentance in thy soul? will thy pulse of remorse beat a little? hast thou but a touch of sorrow, a spark of hope, a grain of faith? Be comforted; the God of mercy will not have thee perish. Not a tear of repentance drop from thee, either unpitied, or unpreserved; God puts it into his bottle. Doth the Lord say, I would have none perish? And dost thou say, Nay, but he will have me to perish? Thee? why thee? He says, None; and dost thou except one? and that one thyself? What is this but to cross the cross of Christ? He would have all men saved, I Tim. ii. 4; and thou comest in with thy exceptive, All but me. What is this but, in effect, and at a distance, to give the lie to Truth itself? There be many that flatter away their souls in sport; but that a man should cast away his soul in wilful earnest, is a prodigious desperateness. Not so; but, God would have none to perish, therefore not me: this is a safe and comfortable inference. We are all naturally given to favour ourselves where we should not; why then do we not favour ourselves where we should? Justice thinks on us in the heat of our rebellions, but then we think not on justice; and in our sad remorse, when mercy thinks on us, cannot we think on mercy? If the greatness of thy sins, which is commonly heightened by thine own dejections, and exalted by thine own sinking, grow so strong against thee, that thou canst not quench the jealousy, nor devest the scruple of God’s desertion; do but consider who should occasion it. It must be God, or thyself. God it cannot be, for he is not willing that any should perish. It is then thyself, it is thy fault, if it be done: and if thou humbly acknowledge that fault, it is not done; for God doth never so irrevocably threaten judgment for sin, but the penitent confession of that sin cancels and avoids the sentence. If our clamorous conscience,like some sharp-fanged officer, arrest us at God’s suit, let us put in bail, two subsidy-virtues, faith and repentance, and so stand the trial. The law is on our side, the law of grace is with us: and this law is his that is our Advocate, and he is our Advocate that is our Judge, and he is our Judge that is our Saviour, even the Head of ourselves, Jesus Christ.

Thomas Adams, An Exposition upon the Second Epistle General of St. Peter, by Rev. Thomas Adams, Rector of St.Gregory’s, (London, 1633, revised by James Sherman, reprinted: Soli Deo Gloria, 1990), 696.

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