Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Is there anything truly and cordially hated but grace?

Richard Sibbes, Bowels Opened 6:
For God in Christ, having condescended to the terms of friendship, nay, to intimate terms of friendship in marriage with us; therefore the church in her right temper, has never enough of Christ, but desires further union, and communion still. It being the description of the people of God, that 'they love the appearance of Christ,' 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 22:20, as they loved his first appearance, and waited for ' the consolation of Israel,' Luke 2:25; so they love his second appearing, and are never quiet, till he comes again in the flesh, to consummate the marriage begun here. So Christ also he is as desirous of them, yes, they are his desires that breed their desires. ‘Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove,' etc. Again his love and pity moves him to desire further to come into us. Christ knows what is in our hearts.
The church loves Christ's appearing, but the world...
What indignities endured they in the primitive church, that were the publishers of the gospel! Those sweet publishers thereof, drawing men to open to Christ, were killed for preaching. So cruel is the heart, that it offered violence to them that love them most, that love their souls. And what greater love than the love of the soul! Yet this is the Satanical temper and disposition of men's hearts. They hate those men most, that deal this way most truly and lovingly with them. It is not that the gospel is such a hard message. It is the word of reconciliation, and the word of life; but the heart hates it, because it would draw men from their present condition; and ' therefore condemnation is come into the world, in that men hate the light, because their works are evil,' John 3:19. Is there anything truly and cordially hated but grace? And are any persons heartily and cordially hated in the world so much as the promulgers and publishers of grace, and the professors of it? Because it upbraids most of all, and meddles with the corruptions of men, that are dearer to them than their own souls.
Let us preach it well, preach it warmly, but nonetheless always preach the grace that is in Christ.

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