At the age of thirteen, future Westminster Divine Thomas Goodwin (1600–1679) was enrolled at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he pursued studies for the ministry. During this time, he was strongly influenced by Richard Sibbes, who preached regularly at Trinity Church. at age fourteen, Goodwin hoped to receive the Lord’s Supper on Easter Sunday. His tutor, however, “lovingly restrained the boy from receiving Communion because of his age and spiritual immaturity.” In reaction, Goodwin turned away from Puritan teaching and “set his heart on becoming a popular preacher,” following the example of preachers who “cared more for style than substance.” (I imagine he might have fit right in with the Warrens and Osteens of our day.) Just after his twentieth birthday, he and some friends attended a funeral at which Thomas Bainbridge preached on Luke 19:41–42. Goodwin was convicted of his “desperate condition, which left him exposed to the wrath of God.” Later that same day, he received deliverance as God spoke to him from Ezekiel 16:
‘Live, yea, I said unto you, Live’—so God was pleased on the sudden, and as it were in an instant, to alter the whole of his dispensation toward me, and said of and to my soul, ‘Yea, live; yea, live,’ I say, said God: and as he created the world and the matter of all things by a word, so he created and put a new life and spirit into my soul, and so great an alteration was strange to me . . .
God [then] took me aside, and as it were privately said unto me, ‘do you now turn to me, and I will pardon all your sins though never so many, as I forgave and pardoned my servant Paul, and convert you unto me’ (Works, 2:lxi-lxii).
—Meet the Puritans (Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 267–268.