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The Heart of Christ – A Review by Wilfred Weale

Category Book Reviews
Date July 31, 2012

From the Foreword by Michael Reeves, which gives us a helpful summary of Thomas Goodwin’s life, we learn that The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth1, was first published in 1651. It soon became Goodwin’s most popular work.

The book is in three parts. In the first, entitled, ‘Outward demonstrations of the tenderness of Christ’s heart towards sinners’, Goodwin speaks of the encouragement and comfort Christ gave to his disciples when he was with them on earth in the upper room. He washed their feet and told them of the Comforter he was to send to them after his departure, to prepare a place for them. Goodwin then speaks of Christ’s gracious words to his disciples during his appearances after his resurrection and finally just before his ascension.

In the second and third parts, ‘Internal demonstrations of the tenderness of Christ’s heart towards sinners’ and ‘Christ’s affectionate compassion for sinners in their infirmities’, Goodwin takes us to the heart of his argument, with his exposition of Hebrews 4:15: ‘For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin’. In his exposition, Goodwin shows, in a most warm and encouraging way, that, far from Christ in heaven being cold or forgetful of his people, his heart now beats even more strongly than ever with love for them, empathising with their sufferings more fully than the most loving friend.

Christ is so far from being provoked against you, as all his anger is turned upon your sin to ruin it; yea, his pity is increased the more toward you, even as the heart of a father to a child that has some loathsome disease, or as one is to a member of his body that hath the leprosy; he hates not the member, for it is his flesh, but the disease, and that provokes him to pity the part affected the more (pp 155-6).

Thomas Goodwin (1600-1680) was one of the foremost Puritans and needs no commendation from us. In an age of much superficiality we could do little better than acquaint ourselves with such writers. Surely those of us who seek encouragement and assurance can do no better than focus on the heart of Christ.

Notes

Rev W A Weale ministers in Staffin on the Isle of Skye. Taken with permission from the Free Presbyterian Magazine, August 2012, by permission.

www.fpchurch.org.uk

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