Something for Preachers to Consider

HT:Rev. Roger Salter with a huge assist from A.A. Hodge. Found this after listening to an Iain Murray lecture on John Knox.

Nothing is more distressing to the human mind than the thought of any soul, being finally lost, enduring the unceasing fury of the Lord and experiencing the horror of his total disapprobation and abandonment. In this vein A.A. Hodge remarks, “To human view the conception of never-ending, hopeless sin and misery is absolutely overwhelming. If we could realize its tremendous meaning it would paralyze our minds and hearts. We think and speak of it so calmly because it is so far off and so vague that it fails to impress us as an actual reality. There is nothing on earth more outrageously vulgar and profane than coarse and careless shouting out of threats of damnation against heedless sinners by an orthodox ranter. When we declare the judgments of the Lord against our fellow-sinners, of our own flesh and blood, who by nature are no worse than we are, we should do it tremblingly and with tears. We should seek to treat all impenitent sinners with the yearning tenderness with which our blessed Lord wept over Jerusalem, with outstretched arms and heaving breast — ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace; but now they are hid from thine eyes’ “ (Evangelical Theology p389). But Hodge is insistent that the unwelcome facts must not be avoided. “Is it not the utmost reach of human folly to attempt to erect flimsy gauze barriers to shut out the approach of the intolerable fires he (God) declares it to be his will to pour out? Is it not the last refinement of cruelty to administer to bewildered sinners moral anaesthetics, assuring them of an ‘eternal hope only that they may meet ‘the vengeance of God’s eternal fire’ with drugged consciences?*”

*Italics mine.

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