Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Kill our children, burn our houses, only spare us _____________"

Hmmm. How to fill in that blank?

"Having heard much of Mr. Rogers of Dedham, [Dr. Thomas Goodwin] took a journey . . . to hear him preach on his lecture day. . . . Mr. Rogers was . . . on the subject of . . . the Scriptures. And in that sermon he falls into an expostulation with the people about their neglect of the Bible; . . . he personates God to the people, telling them, "Well, I have trusted you so long with my Bible; you have slighted it, it lies in such and such houses all covered with dust and cobwebs; you care not to listen to it. Do you use my Bible so? Well, you shall have my Bible no longer." And he takes up the Bible from his cushion, and seemed as if he were going away with it and carrying it from them; but immediately turns again and personates the people to God, falls down on his knees, cries and pleads most earnestly, "Lord, whatever thou dost to us, take not thy Bible from us; kill our children, burn our houses, destroy our goods; only spare us thy Bible, only take not away thy Bible." And then he personates God again to the people: "Say you so? Well, I will try you a while longer; and here is my Bible for you. I will see how you will use it, whether you will love it more . . . observe it more . . . practice it more, and live more according to it." By these actions . . . he put all the congregation into so strange a posture that . . . the place was a mere Bochim [Weeping], the people generally . . . deluged with their own tears; and he told me that he himself, when he got out . . . was fain to hang a quarter of an hour upon the neck of his horse weeping before he had power to mount."

Quoted in J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, pages 97-98.