Sunday, 6 July 2008

Yet More Venning

Ralph Venning is turning out to be one of my all-time favourite Puritans...
more from his book on sin:

Love the sinner, hate the sin??

God hates man for sin. It is not only sin but sinners that God hates, and that for sin. IT is said of God that He hates the workers of iniquity (Ps 5.5); not only the works of iniquity but the workers of it. Hatred is known not by judgements, nor by the evil of suffering, but by the evil of sin which is before us (Ecc 9:1-2). It is because of sin that the merciful God says, "He that made them will not have mercy on them, nor shew them any favour" (Is 27:11). This is the highest that can be spoken of the venom of sin, that in a sense, and to speak after the manner of men, it has put hatred into God Himself; it has made the Lord hate and destroy His own workmanship. God is love, and judgement is a strange work; yet sin makes Him out of love with men and in love with their destruction at last. Though He does not delight in the death of a sinner who repents, yet He does in the death of one who is impenitent...

Christ is the best and the greatest of Saviours, and His salvation is the best and greatest salvation. This proves sin to be the worst and greatest of evils...

Sin is so sinful, contrary and displeasing to God, and has made man so much God's enemy, that it is a mircale that He should find His enemies and let them go away safely. God who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity looks on the sin of men. His eyes so affect His heart as to grieve Him. It tempts and provokes Him to anger, wrath and hatred. And yet God keeps His anger, which is like burning coals in the bosom; He does not let out all His wrath and ease Himself of His burden by avenging Himself on His adversaries, but He woos and waits on sinners. Such is the power of His patience, the infiniteness of His mercy and compassion, and the riches of His unsearchable grace!

His concluding paragraph:

Lastly then, the poor despised profession of the power of godliness, a trembling at the Word of God, a scrupulous and conscientious forebearance not only of oaths but of idle words, a tenderness and aptness to bleed at the touch of any sin, a boldness to withstand the corruptions of the times, a conscience of but the appearance of evil, a walking humbly and mournfully before God, an heroic resolution to be strict and circumspect, to walk in an exact and geometrical holiness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, which the world esteems and scorns as the peevishness of a few silly impolitic men, shall in good earnest from the mouth of God Himself be declared to have been the true and narrow way which leads to salvation; and the enemies thereof shall then, when it is too late, be driven to that desperate and shameful confession: 'We fools counted their life madness, and their end to have been without honour. And now they are reckoned among the saints and have their portion with the Almighty!'

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