The second, third and fourth elements of such yielding concerning the degree of intellectual assent which must be given in any true yielding: deliberation, judgment and “fulness of consent”.
It must be done with great deliberation; not as the mere effect of a sudden fright. What is done in a rash haste, may be as soon undone. Leisurely consider, and take the whole compass of the case; weigh with yourselves the mentioned grounds upon which you are to yield yourselves, and the ends you are to do it for, that things may be set right between him and you, that you may return into your own natural place and station, that you may be again stated in that subordination to your sovereign Lord which fitly belongs to you; that he may have his right which he claims, and you the mercy which you need. Here is place for much consideration.
John Howe, The Works of the Reverend John Howe, vol. 1 (London: William Tegg and Co., 1848), 397. A point noted previously, Howe’s call to repentance is not the purely emotional call of a “revivalist” or “evangelist”: you are pressed to come (and he will press); but you are not called without due consideration. In speaking like this, Howe has the model of the Lord:
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:28–33 (ESV).
Judgment: One must consider the case until he has reached a conclusion, a judgment. God calls you to yield; consider the matter carefully and do not come or depart until you have reached a judgment. Howe cites to:
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:14–15(ESV). The word for concluded is the verb krinein, to pass judgment upon. The yielding there to the control of Christ is the result a judgment.
Fulness of consent: At this point Howe speaks of making a deliberate covenant with God. The idea here is taken from the law. A contract is formed by a “meeting of the minds”. One cannot accidentally form a contract (or at least that is the ideal!). You know what you are doing and “hereby a covenant is struck between God and you.” It is not idle movement, it is not “thinking about it.” The yielding sought by Romans 6:13 is an understanding consent to the call of God.
In the next, we will come to the affections and attitudes which must characterize the one who yields to God. In the end, we will see that Howe is setting out the elements of true faith: head, heart, hands (if you will).
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