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Heinrich Bullinger on the Longsuffering of God

July 24, 2008


To the former errors and sins of Jezebel he adds another sin nothing light, to wit, the abuse, yea, and the contempt of God’s long-suffering. God does not by and by and out of hand destroy such as be in error, yea, or in most grievous sins. But sinners are wont for the most part to abuse that long-sufferance of God, unto the occasion and pretense of sinning more impudently, saying: “If God abhorred these offences so greatly, he would have destroyed us long ere this: But now he nourishes us gently, and therefore does not so greatly mislike it.” But this is an abuse of God’s long-suffering. For the Lord says at this present, “I have given Jezebel a time to repent her, and to leave her fornication, & to turn to the Lord: Howbeit she has not converted, which thing the Lord takes in most evil part, that his grace should be despised and set to nought. Wherefore S. Paul to the Romans, “Does thou contemn the riches of God’s goodness, long-suffering and mildness? knowing not that the goodness of God provokes thee to repentance.” &c. Then if the lord has not suddenly oppressed us in our sins: let us not thereof take unto us a liberty to sin, but let us rather amend, S. Peter says, “The Lord is patient toward us, whilst he will destroy none, but receive all to repentance,” 2 Pet 3. Certain Jezebel herself, when after the death of her husband Ahab, and the mortal fall of her son Ahaziah she did not amend (nor with the 12 years of her son Johoram, wherein he is read to have reigned) did repent her: felt the wrath of God so much more grievous, for that it was long or it came.

Henry Bullinger, A Hundred Sermons Vpon the Apocalipse of Iesu Christ (London: Printed by Iohn Daye, dwellying ouer Aldersgate, 1573), 43[B]. [Note: I have modernized the spelling and the personal names, and inserted some commas for better reading.]

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