Now, to remove these misconstructions, end account for the slow method of providence, I offer these considerations.
Fist, This method is taken to bring sinners to repentance, and prevent their ruin , 2 Pet. iii. 9.; and it is becoming the perfections of a merciful God, therefore to me it. By this means sinners,
1. Have time and space to repent given them, Rev. ii. 21. Were they always taken away just in the heat of their unmortified lusts, we world be ready to cry out of severity, Num. xvii. 12. But God
gives them leave to cool ordinarily, if so they will bethink themselves, and turn to the Lord, and so prevent their own ruin.
2. They are invited to repentance, and drawn towards it with the softest methods. Rom. ii. 2. Every sparing preventing, bounteous mercy the impenitent meets with, calls aloud to him to repent. It says to him, “Do thyself no harm :”it upbraids him with willfulness for his own ruin, why will ye die? with ingratitude, In this thy kindness to thy friend? And so hereby,
lst, God has the glory of some perfections, which otherwise would not shine forth so illustriously.
(1.) He has the glory of his long-suffering and patience: 2 Pet.iii. 9. The Lord is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that my should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Grave observers of the method of providence must cry out, O wonderful long-suffering of o God 1 The patience of the meekest man on earth, would be quite worn out with less than the half of what a God bears with.
(2.) He has the glory of his universal good-will to poor sinners of mankind, 2 Pet. iii. 9. forecited. 1 Tim. ii. 4. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth!”
Justice is his act, his strange act; but mercy is what he has a peculiar delight in. He is slow to anger, but ready to forgive. This is written in very legible characters n this method.
(3.) He has the glory of his overcoming goodness. To do evil for good, is devilish ; to do good for good, is human: but to do good for ill is divine. Here shines forth the glory of the divine goodness, overcoming evil with good, Luke vi. 36. This is goodness becoming a God!
Thomas Boston, “God’s Delay of Executing the Sentence of Condemnation,” in Works, 6:500.