Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whitefield preaches the Gospel

It's longer than most quotes I post but I think it's worth reading...

Abraham was God's creature (and God was Abraham's friend) and therefore under the highest obligation to surrender up his Isaac. But O stupendous love! Whilst we were his enemies, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that he might become a curse for us. O the freeness, as well as the infinity, of the love of God our Father! It is unsearchable: I am lost in contemplating it; it is past finding out. Think, O believers, think of the love of God, in giving Jesus Christ to be a propitiation for our sins. And when you hear how Abraham built an altar, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood; think how your heavenly Father bound Jesus Christ his only Son, and offered him upon the altar of his justice, and laid upon him the iniquities of us all.

When you read of Abraham's stretching forth his hand to slay his son, Think, O think, how God actually suffered his Son to be slain, that we might live for evermore. Do you read of Isaac carrying the wood upon his shoulders, upon which he was to be offered? Let this lead you to mount Calvary (this very mount of Moriah where Isaac was offered, as some think) and take a view of the antitype Jesus Christ, the Son of God, bearing and ready to sink under the weight of that cross, on which he was to hang for us. Do you admire Isaac so freely consenting to die, though a creature, and therefore obliged to go when God called? O do not forget to admire infinitely more the dear Lord Jesus, that promised seed, who willingly said, “Lo, I come,” though under no obligation so to do, “to do thy will,” to obey and die for men, “O God!” Did you weep just now, when I bid you fancy you saw the altar, and the wood laid in order, and Isaac laid bound on the altar? Look by faith, behold the blessed Jesus, our all-glorious Emmanuel, not bound, but nailed on an accursed tree: see how he hangs crowned with thorns, and had in derision of all that are round about him: see how the thorns pierce him, and how the blood in purple streams trickle down his sacred temples! Hark how the God of nature groans! See how he bows his head, and at length humanity gives up the ghost! Isaac is saved, but Jesus, the God of Isaac, dies; A ram is offered up in Isaac's room, but Jesus has no substitute; Jesus must bleed, Jesus must die; God the Father provided this Lamb for himself from all eternity. He must be offered in time, or man must be damned for evermore. And now, where are your tears? Shall I say, refrain your voice from weeping? No; rather let me exhort you to look to him whom you have pierced, and mourn, as a woman mourneth for her first-born: for we have been the betrayers, we have been the murderers of this Lord of glory; and shall we not bewail those sins, which brought the blessed Jesus to the accursed tree? Having so much done, so much suffered for us, so much forgiven, shall we not love much! O! let us love Him with all our hearts, and minds, and strength, and glorify him in our souls and bodies, for they are his.

- George Whitefield from his sermon Abraham's Offering Up His Son Isaac


Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

First of all I want to say this excerpt is such a wonderful and powerful reminder of the immense love of God for us undeserving creatures! I’ve always enjoyed George Whitefield’s commentaries and writings, thanks for posting this. However this brings to mind a question, ever since I took a philosophy classes in college, this story of Abraham and Isaac has reminded me of Kierkegaard’s conjecture about the teleological suspension of the ethical. Did you ever touch on that in your many seminary classes? If one thinks about it logically, then it makes sense and indeed does support a case where God suspended the ethical (not killing one's son). I know that to comprehend the Bible one must have a faith-based way of looking at things and just believe that what the Bible says is true and right (which is what I do)…just curious as to your thoughts.


Matt Perkins said...

Hey A.J.,
Good to hear from you. I've never really read any Whitefield up until now but started reading some of his sermons the other day. I've read a good amount of Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley, two of Whitefield's contemporaries and really like their stuff. Is there a certain Whitefield commentary you would recommend? I sometimes look at Wesley's notes on the Bible but they tend to be pretty sparse. When I really want a good commentary I read Calvin's but I'd be very interested in Whitefield also.

When it comes to the teleological suspension of the ethical it's something I've talked with friends about and something we probably discussed in some seminary classes but unfortunately I don't really remember any of those conversations. While it is something I've thought about it's not something I've put a lot of thought into or read much about. I remember hearing about Kierkegaard's dealing with the issue way back in college but don't remember any details. I was just talking with a friend who is a Presbyterian pastor and he was telling me of a man in his congregation who said he just couldn't accept a God who would ask a man to sacrifice his son. My first thought was to look at this story in light of what happened on the cross but I guess that might not really answer the problem that seems to arise with it.


Anonymous said...

Throughout my younger years I’ve often heard and/or read the sermons of Whitfield as well and have come to enjoy them. If you ever get the chance you should read George Whitefield’s Journals. It is amazing that so much encouragement and enlightenment can be derived from just a journal, I highly recommend the book. Included are some of the letters between Whitefield, Wesley, and other forefathers in faith. Additionally there is occasional commentary on scriptural passages or sermons that he preached. Whitefield truly had a heart after God and love for a person’s undying soul.

That is interesting; another friend and I were discussing the teleological suspension of the ethical over coffee and just to be the devil’s advocate I took the side that Kierkegaard would argue. She totally knocked the wind out of my sail though by pointing out, like you said, to look at it in comparison to what happened on the cross and without that we would have no hope of redemption or salvation, through God all things are possible, and that God never sins nor makes mistakes.
Thanks and take care Matt,