Now, how often does God clear himself, and cast all blame of men’s destruction upon themselves? Ezek 18:31,32, “Cast away all your transgressions,” &c, “for why will you die? I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies.” Hos. 13:8, “O Israel thou hast destroyed thyself.” To this purpose also read Isaiah 5. v. 1, 4….
To return where we left before; I shall a little further, and more fully show, that God is (if I may so say) exceeding careful to clear himself of having any hand in the death of him that dies: He thinks that he has done what was to be done on his part; “What could have been done more, that I have not done?” Isaiah 5:3.4. As if he should say, there wanted nothing to their being a fruitful people, if they would themselves. Consider also what our Savior says, John 5:40. “And,” (or rather, But), “you will not come unto me that you might have life.” Vers. 39, he had told them, that the Scriptures testified to him, that he was the light and the life of men; “But” (says he), “you will not come unto me that you may have life.” Is not that as much as to say, “Here is life laid up in me, all sufficient to all intents and uses an safe enough, but you will not come and take it, though you may have it only for the asking?” If this be not the full purport and meaning of those words, I cannot imagine what it should be. For our Savior speaks plainly to them, that if they should die in their sins, it is not because eternal life is not to be had, but because they will not have it. And is not this enough to clear God, and condemn the unbelieving world? Add to this that affectionate passage of our Savior, Matt. 23:37, “I would have gathered them as a hen gathers her chickens, but they would not.” This clears him; and dare any man say or think, that our Savior meant otherwise than he spoke? O! how happy had that people been, if they had taken him at his word! Take one place more, Luke 19:41, 42, how pathetically he wishes, “if thou had known in this day, the things that belong unto thy peace!” Was it not in his heart (think you) that Jerusalem was the only cause of her destruction? And by all you may see, the Lord is willing to clear himself, and we may assure ourselves he is able to do it. He well knows, that all his dispensations of grace and providence are such, as will clear him against all the world. Our Savior knew well (and has not forgotten it to this day) that when he was on earth, he was no way wanting to the work which his Father had put into his hands. And this appears Isaiah 49:4, that God will justify him, that it was not by any default of his, that his labor had no better success; “His judgment is with the Lord and his reward with his God.” He knew (and knows still) that he had one all that he had to do, for the reclaiming of his countrymen and for the reconciling of the world. Did the Jews wont [for] any means, whereby they might know him to be, as he was indeed, the promised Messiah?
Thomas Ford, Autokatakritos, or, The Sinner Condemned of Himself (London: Printed for Edward Brewster, and are to be sold by Giles Widowes, at the Maiden-head, over against the Half-Moon, in Aldersgate-street, near Jewen-street, 1668), 7, and 9-10. [Some spelling modernized, some reformatting; square bracketed insert mine; and underlining mine.]