John Boys: “Evening Repenters”
Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Resurrection
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’” (John 20:1–2)
John Boys (1571-1625) ministered at a time when our nation was in great need of preaching, something which caused concern to the then Archbishop. Boys, though, gave much attention to his craft and aged only twenty-seven he was made a preacher at St Paul’s Cross, which was the outdoor preaching station adjacent to the Cathedral. In fact, he was preaching in that very pulpit when the Earl of Essex tried to stir up the residents of London in rebellion against the government.
Boys proved a popular author, and in 1619 was made Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, a post he held until 1625 when he was found dead amongst his books. What a good way to go!
Mary and the other women sought Christ on the first day of the week, and in the first hour of the day, but many put off seeking the Lord until the last week of their life, the last day of the week, the last hour of the day, the last minute of the hour. While the ship is sound, the tackle sure, the pilot well, the sailors strong, the wind favourable and the sea calm, it is a risky course to lie idle at anchor, playing cards and dice, drinking and wasting the seasonable weather, and only launch forth and hoist up sail for a voyage to a distant country when the ship leaks, the pilot is sick, the mariners faint, the storms boisterous and the sea full of raging surges. Yet these “evening repenters,” when they are in the morning of youth, with soundness of health and the perfect use of their reason, cannot resolve to weigh the anchor and cut the cable that holds them back from seeking Christ. Nevertheless they convince themselves with a strong persuasion that when their wits are distracted, their senses dazed and all the powers of their mind and parts of their body are disordered, they will suddenly be able to become saints on their death, no matter how much they may have demeaned themselves as devils all of their life.