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Thomas Gouge (1605-1681) Direct References and Allusions to Romans 2:4

July 14, 2009


1) Obj. Haply, thou wilt say, though I am not sure to live another day, yet, I am likely, being in good health and strength of body.

Ans. How many as strong and healthful as thyself, have suddenly by death been snatched away? And why may not thou as soon be taken away, having no lease of thy life; who then but: a fool, or a mad-man, would adventure his carnal happiness upon such an hazard? Oh therefore, as thou tenders the everlasting good of thy precious soul, put not off this great and weighty work a day longer: for who knows what a day may bring forth, Prov. xxvii. 1.

Had thou been taken away in the state thou art in, how sad had thy case been? where had thou been at this hour? Certainly thou art not able to conceive the dreadfulness of that misery thou should now have been in. And hast thou lived all this while in so great danger, and wilt thou live in it still? God forbid! Hath a miracle of mercy kept thee out of hell so long; and wilt thou yet continue securely in such danger of it? Oh ungrateful wretch! Questionless, if thou had any ingenuity in thee, thou would be ashamed thus to abuse the patience, and long-suffering of God towards thee; which should have led thee to repentance. Thou should rather take up a resolution, and say, Though I have hitherto abused the patience and long-suffering of God, I will abuse it no more. Though I have often slighted and rejected the gracious invitations of Jesus Christ, yet, through the grace of God, I will reject them no more, but close with them, and give up myself into Christ, from henceforth to be ruled and governed by him.

God hath allotted to every man, A who lives in the bosom of the church, a certain day of grace, and time of repentance; which, whosoever neglects, can never be saved. Ah sinner! as therefore thou would not neglect thine own salvation; neglect not thy day of grace, neither let slip the season of mercy ; but, as the Apostle exhorts, Heb. iii. 15. To-day, if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Behold! now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation: If that be once past, there is no recovering of it. Thomas Gouge, “A Word to Sinners, and a Word to Saints, in The Works of The Latin Reverend and Pious Mr Thomas Gouge, (Albany: George Lindsay, 1815), 31-32.

2) 2. ‘Consider, together with the number, the heinousness of thy sins.’ To this end, call to mind the aggravating circumstances of them; as, how thou hast sinned against the motions of God’s Spirit, the admonitions of his ministers, the checks of thine own conscience, against the light of nature; against the patience and long-suffering of God, which should have led thee to repentance. Thomas Gouge, “A Word to Sinners, and a Word to Saints, in The Works of The Latin Reverend and Pious Mr Thomas Gouge, (Albany: George Lindsay, 1815), 62.

3) 4. ‘It is a mercy that sinners can never enough admire, that, upon repentance, they may be received into favor; but it is a wicked perverting this mercy of God, if, instead of leading us to repentance, it should encourage us to defer the same from day to day.’ Because God is merciful, shall we be so ungrateful, as thereupon to run on in a course of sinning against him. presuming on his mercy to the last? Because God is gracious, shall we there upon prove the more ungracious and rebellious against him, and his commandments? That be far from us. Yea, rather, seeing the Lord is merciful and gracious, let us be the more ashamed to sin against so good and gracious a God. Let not the mercy of God occasion us to take any encouragement to sin against him; but rather, let the consideration thereof be an effectual argument to prevail with us speedily to turn from our sins unto him, and walk in the ways of holiness. Surely, if there were any ingenuity in us, his love to us would constrain us to love him again; his mercy to us would work in us both a care to please him, and a fear to offend him.

III ‘Another encouragement is taken by many from the patience and long-suffering of God, because he long bears with them in their wicked and ungodly courses, not executing his wrath upon them.’ Eccles. viii. 10. ‘Because sentence against an evil work, is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.’ Because the Lord is slow in executing vengeance on wicked men, therefore are their hearts exceedingly hardened in their sinful ways, so that they go on impenitently therein, abusing the long-suffering of God unto presumption; which should have led them to repentance: but know, that though the Lord doth bear long with some sinners, yet not with all. How many have we known in our own experience have been suddenly surprised, and cut off in the very act of sin, not having so much time and strength as to say, Lord have mercy on me? And assuredly, the slower God is in striking, the heavier will be his strokes; the curse and wrath of God, for thy going on still in thy trespasses, will be more grievous on thee at the last. Thomas Gouge, “The Young Man’s Guide,” in The Works of The Latin Reverend and Pious Mr Thomas Gouge, (Albany: George Lindsay, 1815), 303-304.

4) 2. .Arg. ‘Is taken from that present impunity.’ They flatter themselves with a conceit, that because God doth not presently execute vengeance upon them for their drunkenness; therefore they shall not be punished, and thereupon take heart to go on in their sins, according to that of the wise man, Eccles. viii. 11. ‘Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil;’ implying, that impunity increases impiety, and makes sinners the more obstinate; because the judgments of God threatened against them are not presently executed; therefore they go on in their wickedness. But let such know, that though God is slow in executing his judgment on wicked and ungodly men, thereby to lead them to repentance, yet, will He be sure in the execution at last; and the longer He is fetching his strokes, the sorer will be His blow, and the deeper will he wound when he strikes. In which respect, God’s wrath may be compared to a great bell, which is long in raising, but being up, it gives the greater sound. Thomas Gouge, The Young Man’s Guide, in The Works of The Latin Reverend and Pious Mr Thomas Gouge, (Albany: George Lindsay, 1815), 339.

[Notes: Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

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