John Yates (fl. 1612–1660) on the Longsuffering of God

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in God is Longsuffering


Q. What is his patience?
A. Whereby he bears the reproaches of sinners, and defers their punishment: He does not present step forth, as a mighty enemy to be revenged of such as provoke him. Psal. 50:21. God is silent when he is patient, Acts 17:30, and dissembles the time, when he forgets not the sin, Rom. 3:25. A forbearance, till the appearance of justice, Rom. 9:22. Leniency to prevent all extremity of just anger.

Q. What is his long sufferance?
A. Whereby in bearing he expects a long time for repentance, Isa. 55:7, Lam. 3:22, Eccl. 8:11, Joel 2:12, 13, 2 Peter 3:9, 15. God does wait, and put out the hand to receive sinners: yet let us beware, for he that does always give pardon to repenters, will not ever give repentance to the sinner. At what time soever a sinner repents, he shall find mercy; Ere vengeance begin, repentance is seasonable; but if judgement be once gone out, there is no hope of pardon. While the gospel solicits us, the doors of the Ark are open. If we neglect the time of grace, in vain shall we seek it with tears. God holds it no mercy to pity the obstinate. He gave an hundred and twenty years respite before the deluge, and if the old world had not been willful, it should never have been so wasted with waves and water. How loath is he to strike, that he threatens to long? Surely, he that gives so long warnings, desires to be prevented. Swine for seeing a storm, run home crying for shelter. Lions, tigers, and bears, by an instinct from God, come to see the Ark: only men refuse to be saved; thus reason once debauched, is worse than brutishness, 1 Pet. 3:20.

Q. What is God’s bountifulness?
A. Wherein by being rich in mercy pours forth his good gifts upon sinful creatures, notwithstanding they offend him, Math. 5:45. Adam after he was fallen, had diverse hours to bethink himself of his misery, for God came late unto him, Gen. 3:8. God gave him life, time to repent, yet he sought not for grace, till God came to call him. It may be probably be conjectured, that Eve was created in the after-noon of the sixth day, all the fore-noon being employed, in the creation of beasts, and man himself, the placing of him in paradise, the bringing of the creatures unto him as their lord, the appellation of them, and the not finding of a companion for Adam amongst them all. Adam therefore having been thus busied as was Abraham, Gen. 15:10,11, 12, even at the height of the sun, as he at the fall, fell into a dead and deep sleep, and after his awakening had the woman brought unto him, and she was given unto him for his wife. And it was the cool of the day when God came again to them both, which in Hebrews interpret of the even-tide, and the Greek version follows it, and S. Ambrose gives the reason, for that man came late to his repentance, God as before, so now trying him, whether he would come to a sight of his sin, which he should have prevented. It is also probably, that when God ended his works, and left man some preparation for the sabbath, he sent his angels to be their companions, and to try them both together in the sanctification of his name, for all his works and benefits now bestowed upon them. They being met together, are so far from hallowing the name of God, that presently they fall into the profanation of it, and before the day of confirmation was come, had lost all; yea, and were so destitute of all understanding, as they had not so much grace left them, as to call to God for mercy. O the bounty of our creator, that would come himself, after he had waited a time, and call them to an account, and enter with man into a further covenant of grace and mercy.

John Yates, A Model of Divinity, Catechistically Composed. Wherein is Delivered the Matter and Method of Religion. According to the Creed, Tenne Commandements, Lords Prayer, and the Sacraments (Printed by John Legatt, for Faulke Clifton and are to be sold on New-fish streete Hill, Under St. Margrets Church, 1623), 190-191. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; and italics original.]

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