John Stoughton (1593?-1639) on the Wrath of God

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in Divine Hatred


Now, then man was no sooner made but he rebelled against his maker, he that was right, was fat and kicked against his Lord, and we in him: we were, sons of prevarication, and the sons of perdition, ex illo fluere, from that fountain springs all misery: we have all sinned against the Lord, and therefore his evil is upon us: hence it is that our minds are blind, the crows of the valley have picked our eyes: our will’s lame, to anything that is good, our nature caught a fall, like Mephibosheth, in the cradle of her infancy, and we could never outgrow it: hence it is that our bodies are subject to deformities, infirmities, death, and our souls and bodies to the wrath of God, which lies heavy upon us here, prosecuting us with armies of plagues, and will never leave us till it has brought us (unless his mercy prevents us) to eternal torments, and sunk us into the bottom of hell.

No marvel then, if Plato complain that the soul has broken her wings: if poets tell us of an iron age: if whole volumes be filled with declamations of brevity of man’s life, and the miseries of mankind. No, I marvel not, if the who had but one eye saw these things, even through the clouds of obscurity: I marvel rather, that among Christians, who have both their eyes, the eye of reason, and the eye of faith, and besides, live in the sunshine of the Gospel, so few see this, as they did, or at least the reason of this, which they could not.

I marvel I hear no more cry out with Saint Paul, “O miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?” For if Paul so pathetically cried out, who could so triumphantly give thanks; how much more justly may we, if we cannot add that which follows, reiterate the same again, and say: “O Miserable man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death?”

You see now the misery of a natural man, consisting in the conscience of sin, and the consequence of sin, the fault and the guilt, malum cuplæ: this is the misery of man, which estranges him far from the state of happiness: and out of this you may gather what salvation is. For every salve supposes a sore, and the sore is sin and pain, and therefore the salve is that which will free us from this horrible condition: and restore, and reinstate us into the favor of the Lord, and so into our former felicity. This is what I mean by salvation.

John Stoughton, “1 Corinth. 2.2. For I determined to know nothing among you, but Christ Jesus, and him Crucified,” in XV Choice Sermons Preached Vpon Selected Occasions (London: Printed for I. Bellamie, H. Overton, I. Rothwell, R. Royston, D. Frere, and R. Smith, 1640), 22-23. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; marginal reference not included; and underlining mine.]

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