24 June 2011

When Others Hurt You

After exhorting his people to meekness and long-suffering when hurt by others, Jonathan Edwards anticipates an objection:
Some may be ready to say that the injuries they receive from men are intolerable; that as the other person has been so unreasonable in what he has said or done, it is so unjust and injurious and ungrateful and the like, that it is more than flesh and blood can bear. . . .
Edwards answers the objection with a series of questions.
Question 1. Whether he thinks the injuries he has received are more intolerable than those which he has offered to God? whether they are more base, unreasonable, ungrateful, aggravated, and heinous; more in number or on any account whatsoever more provoking?

Question 2. Do you not hope that God hitherto has or will bear with all this, and notwithstanding all, exercise infinite love and favor? . . . Has not God long forborne to punish, and do you not hope that he either has or will blot out all your sins . . . ?

Question 3. When you hope for such long-suffering of God do you not approve of it?

Question 4. If it be excellent and worthy to be approved of in God, why is it not worthy to be imitated by you? . . . Is it well that you should be forgiven . . . but not worthy for God to desire that you should do so to your fellow creatures?

Question 5. . . . Will you go and tell God that if ever you did so intolerably you would not have him bear with you?

Question 6. Was not Jesus Christ trampled on and trod underfoot a thousand times more than ever you was? Did he turn again? Did you never tread underfoot the Son of God more than you were ever trodden? And is it a more provoking thing for men to tread on you than for you to tread on Christ?
--Jonathan Edwards, 'Long-Suffering and Kindness,' in Charity and Its Fruits, Works of Jonathan Edwards, Yale ed., 8:204-5

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