Tillotson: ghostly consolation
Feast of Paulinus, Bishop of York, Missionary, 644
See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
—Hebrews 12:16-17 (NIV)
The common custom is (and I fear it is too common), when the physician has given over his patient, then, and not till then to send for the minister, not so much to inquire into the man’s condition, and to give him suitable advice, as to minister comfort, and to speak peace to him at a venture.
But let me tell you, that herein you put an extremely difficult task upon us, in expecting that we should pour wine and oil into the wound before it be searched, and speak smooth and comfortable things to a man that is but just brought to a sense of the long course of a lewd and wicked life impenitently continued in. Alas! what comfort can we give to men in such a case? We are loath to drive them to despair, and yet we must not destroy them by presumption; pity and good-nature do strongly tempt us to make the best of their case, and to give them all the little hopes which with any kind of reason we can, and God knows it is but very little that we can give to such persons upon good ground; for it all depends upon the degree and sincerity of their repentance, which God only knows, and we can but guess at.
... John Tillotson (1630-1694), Works of Dr. John Tillotson, v. VII, London: J. F. Dove, for R. Priestley, 1820, Sermon CLXI, p. 316-317 (see the book)
Quiet time reflection:
Lord, Your call is always now.
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