Sunday, April 03, 2011

Compassionate Evangelists Know Love Wins

From Robert Gordon's introduction to John Howe (May 17th 1630-April 2nd 1705), The Redeemer's tears wept over lost souls (p23)
"Every believer can bear witness that thus it has been with him - that the love of God in Christ Jesus has melted and subdued the obstinacy which no dread of punishment ever could have vanquished - and that the small still voice of the gospel is the only melody that can expel from the human soul, the evil spirit of distrust and of unbelief. And where is this melody to be heard, if it is not in the simple, and unadorned narrative of the inspired writer, when he tells us, on our Lord's approach to Jerusalem, the place where he had been reviled... he beheld the city and wept over it..."
The love of God melts us, and makes evangelists like Jesus - who weep. John Howe was a large-hearted man who "never made an enemy and never lost a friend" ministering in Devon and London. Howe preached on the Spirit from Ezekiel, lamenting the lack of the Spirit in his days:
"When the Spirit shall be poured forth plentifully I believe you will hear much other kind of sermons, or they will, who shall live to such a time, than you are wont to do now-a-days …It is plain, too sadly plain, there is a great retraction of the Spirit of God even from us; we not know how to speak living sense [i.e. felt reality] unto souls, how to get within you; our words die in our mouths, or drop and die between you and us. We even faint, when we speak; long experienced unsuccessfulness makes us despond; we speak not as persons that hope to prevail …When such an effusion of the Spirit shall be as is here signified…[ministers] shall know how to speak to better purpose, with more compassion and sense, with more seriousness, with more authority and allurement, than we now find we can"
HT: Ray Ortlund whose tweet put me on to Howe.

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