Evangelista. Yes, indeed; for there is no limitation of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, except the sin against the Holy Ghost. 25 Christ “stands at the door and knocks,” (Rev 3:20). And if any murdering Manasseh, or any persecuting and blaspheming Saul, (1 Tim 1:13), or any adulterous Mary Magdalene, “will open unto him, he will come in,” and bring comfort with him, “and will sup with him.” “Seek from the one end of the heavens to the other,” says Hooker; “turn all the Bible over, and see if the words of Christ be not true, ‘Him that cometh unto me, I will in no ways cast out,'” (John 6:37).
Nomista. Why, then, sir, it seems you hold, that the vilest sinner in the world ought not to be discouraged from coming unto Christ, and believing in him, by reason of his sins.
Evangelista. Surely, if “Christ came into the world to seek, and call, and save sinners, and to justify the ungodly,” as you have heard; and if the more sinful, miserable, and distressed a man judge himself to be, the more willing Christ is to receive him and relieve him; then I see no reason why the vilest sinner should be discouraged from believing on the name of Jesus Christ by reason of his sins. Nay, let me say more; the greater any man’s sins are, either in number or nature, the more haste he should make to come unto Christ, and to say with David, “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity, for it is great!” (Psa 25:11).
Antinomista. Surely, sir, if my friend Neophytus did rightly consider these things, and were assuredly persuaded of the truth of them, methinks he should not be so backward from coming to Christ, by believing on his name, as he is; for if the greatness of his sin should be so far from hindering his coming to Christ, that they should further his coming, then I know not what should hinder him.
Evangelista. You speak very truly indeed. And therefore I beseech you, neighbour Neophytus, consider seriously of it; and neither let your own accusing conscience, nor Satan the accuser of the brethren, hinder you any longer from Christ. For what though they should accuse you of pride, infidelity, covetousness, lust, anger, envy, and hypocrisy? yea, what though they should accuse you of whoredom, theft, drunkenness, and such like? yea, do what they can, they can make no worse a man of you than a sinner, or chief of sinners, or an ungodly person; and so, consequently, such an one Christ came to justify and save; so that in very deed, if you do rightly consider of it, they do you more good than hurt by their accusations.
And therefore, I beseech you, in all such cases or conflicts, take the counsel of Luther, who, on the Galatians, [p. 20,] says, “When thy conscience is thoroughly afraid with the remembrance of thy sins past, and the devil assaileth thee with great violence, going about to overwhelm thee with heaps, floods, and whole seas of sins, to terrify thee, and to draw thee from Christ; then arm thyself with such sentences as these: Christ the Son of God was given, not for the holy, righteous, worthy, and such as were his friends; but for the wicked sinners, for the unworthy, and for his enemies. Wherefore, if the devil say, Thou art a sinner, and therefore must be damned; then answer thou, and say, Because thou sayest I am a sinner, therefore will I be righteous and saved. And if he reply, Nay, sinners must be damned; then answer thou, and say, No, for I flee to Christ, who hath given himself for my sins; and, therefore, Satan, in that thou sayest I am a sinner, thou givest me armour and weapons against thyself, that with thine own sword I may cut thy throat, and tread thee under my feet.”
And thus you see it is the counsel of Luther, that your sins should rather drive you to Christ than keep you from him.
Nomista. But, sir, suppose he hath not as yet truly repented for his many and great sins, hath he any warrant to come unto Christ, by believing, till he has done so?
Evangelista. I tell you truly, that whatsoever a man is, or whatsoever he hath done or not done, he hath warrant enough to come unto Christ by believing, if he can; for Christ makes a general proclamation, saying, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price.” This, you see, is the condition, “buy wine and milk,” that is, grace and salvation, “without money,” that is, without any sufficiency of your own; only “incline your ear and hear, and your souls shall live”; yea, live by hearing that “Christ will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”
This quote can be found on pages 150-51 of the Marrow of Modern Divinity edition as pictured above.