Sunday, October 31, 2010

The 95 Theses; First Gleam of Reformation Light

 It was 493 years ago today that the first thin beams of Reformation light cracked through the darkened skies of history as Martin Luther (with no clue in the slightest as to what was about to happen) posted his 95 theses on the church door in Wittenberg.

Here's the account of what happened as found in D'Aubigne’s History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

"Luther’s words had produced little effect. Tetzel continued his traffic and his impious discourses without disturbing himself.1 Will Luther resign himself to these crying abuses, and will he keep silence? As pastor, he has earnestly exhorted those who had recourse to his services; as preacher, he has uttered a warning voice from the pulpit. It still remains for him to speak as a theologian; he has yet to address not merely a few souls in the confessional, not merely the assembly of the faithful at Wittenberg, but all those who are, like himself, teachers of the Word of God. His resolution is taken.

It is not the church he thinks of attacking; it is not the pope he is bringing to the bar; on the contrary, it is his respect for the pope that will not allow him to be silent longer on the monstrous claims by which the pontiff is discredited. He must take the pope’s part against those imprudent men who dare mingle up his venerable name with their scandalous traffic. Far from thinking of a revolution which should overthrow the primacy of Rome, Luther believes he has the pope and catholicism for his allies against these barefaced monks.2
The festival of All-Saints was a very important day for Wittenberg, and, above all, for the church the elector had built there, and which he had filled with relics. On that day the priests used to bring out these relics, ornamented with gold, silver, and precious stones, and exhibit them before the people, who were astonished and dazzled at such magnificence.3 Whoever visited the church on that festival and made confession, obtained a rich indulgence. Accordingly, on this great anniversary, pilgrims came to Wittenberg in crowds.

On the 31st October 1517, at noon on the day preceding the festival,4 Luther, who had already made up his mind, walks boldly towards the church, to which a superstitious crowd of pilgrims was repairing, and posts upon the door ninety-five theses or propositions against the doctrine of indulgences. Neither the Elector, nor Staupitz, nor Spalatin, nor any even of his most intimate friends, had been made acquainted with his intentions.5

Luther therein declares, in a kind of preface, that he has written these theses with the express desire of setting the truth in the full light of day. He declares himself ready to defend them on the morrow, in the university, against all opponents. Great was the attention they excited: they were read, and passed from mouth to mouth. Erelong the pilgrims, the university, and the whole city were in commotion.

We give some of these propositions, written with the pen of the monk, and posted on the door of the church of Wittenberg: 

1. “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ says repent, he means that the whole life of believers upon earth should be a constant and perpetual repentance.
2. “This word cannot be understood of the sacrament of penance (i.e. confession and satisfaction), as administered by the priest.
3. “Still the Lord does not mean to speak in this place solely of internal repentance; internal repentance is null, if it produce not externally every kind of mortification of the flesh.
4. “Repentance and sorrow — i.e. true penance — endure as long as a man is displeased with himself — that is, until he passes from this life into eternity.
5. “The pope is unable and desires not to remit any other penalty than that which he has imposed of his own good pleasure, or conformable to the canons — i.e. the papal ordinances.
6. “The pope cannot remit any condemnation, but only declare and confirm the remission of God, except in the cases that appertain to himself. If he does otherwise, the condemnation remains entirely the same.
8. “The laws of ecclesiastical penance ought to be imposed solely on the living, and have no regard to the dead.
21. “The commissaries of indulgences are in error when they say, that by the papal indulgence a man is delivered from every punishment and is saved.
25. “The same power that the pope has over purgatory throughout the Church, each bishop possesses individually in his own diocese, and each priest in his own parish.
27. “They preach mere human follies who maintain, that as soon as the money rattles in the strong box, the soul flies out of purgatory.
28. “This is certain, that as soon as the money tinkles, avarice and love of gain arrive, increase, and multiply. But the support and prayers of the Church depend solely on God’s will and good pleasure.
32. “Those who fancy themselves sure of salvation by indulgences will go to perdition along with those who teach them so.
35. “They are teachers of antichristian doctrines who pretend that to deliver a soul from purgatory, or to buy an indulgence, there is no need of either sorrow or repentance.
36. “Every Christian who truly repents of his sins, enjoys an entire remission both of the penalty and of the guilt, without any need of indulgences.
37. “Every true Christian, whether dead or alive, participates in all the blessings of Christ or of the Church, by God’s gift, and without a letter of indulgence.
38. “Still we should not contemn the papal dispensation and pardon; for this pardon is a declaration of the pardon of God.
40. “True repentance and sorrow seek and love the punishment; but the mildness of indulgence absolves from the punishment, and begets hatred against it.
42. “We should teach Christians that the pope has no thought or desire of comparing in any respect the act of buying indulgences with any work of mercy.
43. “We should teach Christians that he who gives to the poor, or lends to the needy, does better than he who purchases an indulgence.
44. “For the work of charity increaseth charity, and renders a man more pious; whereas the indulgence does not make him better, but only renders him more self-confident, and more secure from punishment.
45. “We should teach Christians that whoever sees his neighbor in want, and yet buys an indulgence, does not buy the pope’s indulgence, but incurs God’s anger.
46. “We should teach Christians that if they have no superfluity, they are bound to keep for their own households the means of procuring necessaries, and ought not to squander their money in indulgences.
47. “We should teach Christians that the purchase of an indulgence is a matter of free choice and not of commandment.
48. “We should teach Christians that the pope, having more need of prayers offered up in faith than of money, desires prayer more than money when he dispenses indulgences.
49. “We should teach Christians that the pope’s indulgence is good, if we put no confidence in it; but that nothing is more hurtful, if it diminishes our piety.
50. “We should teach Christians that if the pope knew of the extortions of the preachers of indulgences, he would rather the motherchurch of St. Peter were burnt and reduced to ashes, than see it built up with the skin, the flesh, and the bones of his flock.
51. “We should teach Christians that the pope (as it is his duty) would distribute his own money to the poor whom the indulgence-sellers are now stripping of their last farthing, even were he compelled to sell the mother-church of St. Peter.
52. “To hope to be saved by indulgences, is a lying and an empty hope; although even the commissary of indulgences, nay farther, the pope himself, should pledge their souls to guarantee it.
53. “They are the enemies of the pope and of Jesus Christ, who, by reason of the preaching of indulgences, forbid the preaching of the Word of God.
55. “The pope can have no other thought than this: If the indulgence, which is a lesser matter, be celebrated with ringing of a bell, with pomp and ceremony, much more should we honor and celebrate the Gospel, which is a greater thing, with a hundred bells, and with a hundred pomps and ceremonies.
62. “The true and precious treasure of the Church is the Holy Gospel of the glory and grace of God.
65. “The treasures of the Gospel are nets in which in former times the rich and those in easy circumstances were caught.
66. “But the treasures of the indulgence are nets with which they now catch the riches of the people.
67. “It is the duty of bishops and pastors to receive the commissaries of the apostolical indulgences with every mark of respect.
68. “But it is still more their duty to ascertain with their eyes and ears that the said commissaries do not preach the dreams of their own imagination, instead of the orders of the pope.
71. “Cursed be he who speaks against the indulgence of the pope.
72. “But blessed be he who speaks against the foolish and impudent language of the preachers of indulgences.
76. “The indulgence of the pope cannot take away the smallest daily sin, as far as regards the guilt or the offense.
79. “It is blasphemy to say that the cross adorned with the arms of the pope is as effectual as the cross of Christ.
80. “The bishops, pastors, and theologians who permit such things to be told the people, will have to render an account of them.
81. “This shameless preaching, these impudent commendations of indulgences, make it difficult for the learned to defend the dignity and honor of the pope against the calumnies of the preachers, and the subtle and crafty questions of the common people.
86. “Why, say they, does not the pope, who is richer than the richest Croesus, build the mother-church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with that of poor Christians?
92. “Would that we were quit of all these preachers who say to the Church: Peace! peace! and there is no peace.
94. “We should exhort Christians to diligence in following Christ, their head, through crosses, death, and hell.
95. “For it is far better to enter into the kingdom of heaven through much tribulation, than to acquire a carnal security by the consolations of a false peace.”

Such was the commencement of the work. The germs of the Reformation were contained in these propositions of Luther’s. The abuses of indulgences were attacked therein, and this is their most striking feature; but beneath these attacks there was a principle which, although attracting the attention of the multitude in a less degree, was one day to overthrow the edifice of popery. The evangelical doctrine of a free and gratuitous remission of sins was there for the first time publicly professed. The work must now increase in strength. It was evident, indeed, that whoever had this faith in the remission of sins, announced by the Wittenberg doctor; that whoever had this repentance, this conversion, and this sanctification, the necessity of which he so earnestly inculcated, would no longer care for human ordinances, would escape from the toils and swaddling-bands of Rome, and would acquire the liberty of the children of God. All errors would fall down before this truth. By it, light had begun to enter Luther’s mind; by it, also, the light would be diffused over the Church. A clear knowledge of this truth is what preceding reformers had wanted; and hence the unfruitfulness of their exertions. Luther himself acknowledged afterwards, that in proclaiming justification by faith, he had laid the axe to the root of the tree. “It is doctrine we attack in the adherents of the papacy,” said he. “Huss and Wickliffe only attacked their lives; but in attacking their doctrine, we take the goose by the neck.6 Everything depends on the Word, which the pope has taken from us and falsified. I have vanquished the pope, because my doctrine is of God, and his is of the devil.”

In our own days, too, we have forgotten this main doctrine of justification by faith, although in a sense opposed to that of our fathers. “In the time of Luther,” observes one of our contemporaries,7 “the remission of sins cost money at least; but in our days, each man supplies himself gratis.” There is a great similarity between these two errors. There is perhaps more forgetfulness of God in ours, than in that of the 16th century. The principle of justification by the grace of God, which brought the Church out of so much darkness at the period of the Reformation, can alone renew our generation, put an end to its doubts and waverings, destroy the selfishness that preys upon it, establish righteousness and morality among the nations, and, in short, reunite the world to God from whom it has been dissevered.

But if Luther’s theses were strong by the strength of the truth they proclaimed, they were not the less so by the faith of their champion. He had boldly drawn the sword of the Word: he had done so in reliance on the power of truth. He had felt that by leaning on God’s promises, he could afford to risk something, to use the language of the world. “Let him who desires to begin a good work,” said he when speaking of this daring attack, “undertake it with confidence in the goodness of his cause, and not, which God forbid! expecting the support and consolation of the world. Moreover, let him have no fear of man, or of the whole world; for these words will never lie: It is good to trust in the Lord, and assuredly he that trusteth in the Lord shall not be confounded. But let him that will not or who cannot risk something with confidence in God, take heed how he undertakes anything.”8 Luther, after having posted his theses on the gate of All-Saints’ Church, retired, no doubt, to his tranquil cell, full of the peace and joy that spring from an action done in the Lord’s name, and for the sake of eternal truth.

Whatever be the boldness that prevails in these propositions, they still bespeak the monk who refuses to admit a single doubt on the authority of the see of Rome. But, while attacking the doctrine of indulgences, Luther had unwittingly touched on certain errors, whose discovery could not be agreeable to the pope, seeing that sooner or later they would call his supremacy in question. Luther was not so far-sighted; but he was sensible of the extreme boldness of the step he had just taken, and consequently thought it his duty to soften down their audacity, as far as he could in conformity with the truth. He therefore set forth these theses as doubtful propositions on which he solicited the information of the learned; and appended to them, conformably with the established usage, a solemn declaration that he did not mean to affirm or say anything contrary to the Holy Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, and the rights and decretals of the Roman See.

Frequently, in after-years, as he contemplated the immense and unexpected consequences of this courageous attack, Luther was astonished at himself, and could not understand how he had ventured to make it. An invisible and mightier hand than his held the clue, and led the herald of truth along a path that was still hidden from him, and from the difficulties of which he would perhaps have shrunk, if he had foreseen them, and if he had advanced along and of his own accord. “I entered into this controversy,” said he, “without any definite plan, without knowledge or inclination; I was taken quite unawares, and I call God, the searcher of hearts, to witness.”9"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Martyrdom of Hugh Latimer

 Well, I could hardly post the fascinating conversion of Hugh Latimer without also posting his glorious martyrdom at the side of his colleague Dr. Ridley. Now that's the kind of friends we need more of; someone who will go to the stake with us!

The Martyrdom of Hugh Latimer
As recorded in Foxe's Book of Martyrs

307206: Foxe"s Book of Martyrs Foxe's Book of Martyrs

By John Foxe / Ambassador-emerald, Intl

"The place of death was on the northside of the town, opposite Baliol College. Dr. Ridley was dressed in a black gown furred, and Mr. Latimer had a long shroud on, hanging down to his feet. Dr. Ridley, as he passed Bocardo, looked up to see Dr. Cranmer, but the latter was then engaged in disputation with a friar. When they came to the stake, Mr. Ridley embraced Latimer fervently, and bid him: "Be of good heart, brother, for God will either assuage the fury of the flame, or else strengthen us to abide it." He then knelt by the stake, and after earnestly praying together, they had a short private conversation. Dr. Smith then preached a short sermon against the martyrs, who would have answered him, but were prevented by Dr. Marshal, the vice-chancellor. Dr. Ridley then took off his gown and tippet, and gave them to his brother-in-law, Mr. Shipside. He gave away also many trifles to his weeping friends, and the populace were anxious to get even a fragment of his garments. Mr. Latimer gave nothing, and from the poverty of his garb, was soon stripped to his shroud, and stood venerable and erect, fearless of death.

Dr. Ridley being unclothed to his shirt, the smith placed an iron chain about their waists, and Dr. Ridley bid him fasten it securely; his brother having tied a bag of gunpowder about his neck, gave some also to Mr. Latimer.

Dr. Ridley then requested of Lord Williams, of Fame, to advocate with the queen the cause of some poor men to whom he had, when bishop, granted leases, but which the present bishop refused to confirm. A lighted fagot was now laid at Dr. Ridley's feet, which caused Mr. Latimer to say: "Be of good cheer, Ridley; and play the man. We shall this day, by God's grace, light up such a candle in England, as I trust, will never be put out."

When Dr. Ridley saw the fire flaming up towards him, he cried with a wonderful loud voice, "Lord, Lord, receive my spirit." Master Latimer, crying as vehemently on the other side, "O Father of heaven, receive my soul!" received the flame as it were embracing of it. After that he had stroked his face with his hands, and as it were, bathed them a little in the fire, he soon died (as it appeareth) with very little pain or none.

Well! dead they are, and the reward of this world they have already. What reward remaineth for them in heaven, the day of the Lord's glory, when he cometh with His saints, shall declare."

307206: Foxe"s Book of MartyrsFoxe's Book of Martyrs

By John Foxe / Ambassador-emerald, Intl

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Deterioration in Fathers' Values

“Sadly, many parents today shun their parental responsibilities just as Eli did. This is evidenced by the thriving day care industry and overcrowded public schools. Evangelicals bemoan this breakup of the "traditional family" and call for a return to "family values." It is ironic that many vocal proponents of "family values" advance programs that are either political or ecclesiastical. These do not face the heart of the problem. The breakup of the family isn't due to a deterioration in our legislators' values, but rather to a deterioration in fathers' values”.

From: Critique of Modern Youth Ministry By Christopher Schlect


82437: Critique of Modern Youth Ministry (Audio Book) Critique of Modern Youth Ministry (Audio Book)

By Christopher Schlect / Canon Press




Judgement

From the Book The Rock of Our Salvation
by William S. Plumer (June 25, 1759 – December 22, 1850)
Published 1867

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Principle of Definition!

“God is thus the principle of definition, of law, and of all things. He is the premise of all thinking, and the necessary presupposition for every sphere of thought. It is blasphemy therefore to attempt to "prove" God; God is the necessary presupposition of all proof. To ground any sphere of thought, life, or action, or any sphere of being, on anything other than the triune God is thus blasphemy. Education without God as its premise, law which does not presuppose God and rest on His law, a civil order which does not derive all authority from God, or a family whose foundation is not God's word, is blasphemous.”

-R.J. Rushdoony from The Institutes of Biblical Law

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Forgotten Spurgeon

710115: The Forgotten SpurgeonI can honestly say that I haven’t read anything from Ian Murray that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy and find very edifying. That being said, out of his books that I have read, I have probably enjoyed and profited from this one the most.

If you’re looking for a book of historical facts covering the entire life of Spurgeon this might not be the book you’re looking for but I still recommend reading it. When I read biographies I really like to find out what people believed, what made them tick, what drove them to do the great things that they did and what kind of fruit their beliefs and actions produced (Matthew 7:16). In this book Murray does just this as he follows Spurgeon through three of the great controversies of his life time: 1) Arminianism vs. Calvinism. 2) Baptismal Regeneration, and 3) the Down-Grade controversy.

Spurgeon was masterful at getting to the point of a matter and shedding a great deal of light on the Scriptural doctrine at hand and the many quotes contained in this book from numerous sermons are an invaluable resource. It would seem that the main thing that has been forgotten about Charles Spurgeon is what he believed.
This was one of the first biographies I read as a young Christian and it completely blew me away. There’s something extremely invigorating in learning about the growth and struggles of those who have gone before us in the Lord and have fought the good fight, finished the coarse and kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:6-8).


Contents
  1. The Preacher in Park Street 21
  2. The Lost Controversy 45
  3. Arminianism Against Scripture 69
  4. Arminianism and Evangelism 99
  5. Church Issues Revived 117
  6. The Down-Grade 139
  7. The Down-Grade and its Lessons 153
  8. Free Grace and the Down-Grade in Perspective 167
  9. 'Though the Heavens Fall...' 193
  10. 10 The Aftermath at the Metropolitan Tabernacle 209
  11. Appendix: An Open Letter 239
  12. Index 251
Illustrations appear between pages 122 and 123

From the back of the book:

"This book seeks to throw light on the reasons which have given rise to the superficial image of Spurgeon as a genial Victorian pulpiteer, a kind of grandfather of modern evangelicalism. Even before his death in 1892 newspapers and church leaders disputed over the features of his life which entitled him to fame. Not his 'narrow creed' but his 'genuine loving character' was most worthy of remembrance said one periodical, echoing the general view. When Joseph Parker contrasted the hard Calvinism preached at Spurgeon's Tabernacle with the praiseworthy Christianity exemplified in his orphanage, The Baptist protested that the man about whom Parker wrote 'is not the Spurgeon of history'. But the distortion continued and Spurgeon forecast how the position he held might fare in the 20th century: 'I am quite willing to be eaten by dogs for the next fifty years but the more distant future shall vindicate me. This book traces the main lines of Spurgeon's spiritual thought in connection with the three great controversies in his ministry — the first was his stand against the diluted Gospel fashionable in the London to which the young preacher came in the 1850's; the second, the famous 'Baptismal Regeneration' debate of 1864; lastly, the lacerating Down-Grade controversy of 1887 - 1891 when Spurgeon sought to awaken Christians to the danger of the Church 'being buried beneath the boiling mud-showers of modern heresy'."

A few good quotes from the book:

I particularly love this account of the revival that took place under his ministry as it got underway at New Park Street:

“Spurgeon came to London conscious that God had been hiding His face from His people. His knowledge of the Bible and of Church history convinced him that, com­pared with what the Church had a warrant to expect, the Spirit of God was in great measure withdrawn, and if God continued to withhold His face, he declared to his people, nothing could be done to extend His Kingdom. It is not your knowledge, nor your talent, nor your zeal, he would say, that can perform God's work. 'Yet, brethren, this can be done -we will cry to the Lord until He reveals His face again,' 'All we want is the Spirit of God. Dear Christian friends, go home and pray for it; give yourselves no rest till God reveals Himself; do not tarry where you are, do not be content to go on in your everlasting jog-trot as you have done; do not be content with the mere round of formalities. Awake, O Zion; awake, awake, awake!'

Before many months had passed it was manifest that the congregation at New Park Street was awakening, and as travail in prayer became the characteristic of the church one common burden spread from pastor to people. 'The Lord send a blessing. He must send it, our hearts will break if He does not.' What a change took place in the prayer meetings! Now instead of the old, dull prayers, 'Every man seemed like a crusader besieging the New Jerusalem, each one appeared determined to storm the Celestial City by the might of inter­cession; and soon the blessing came upon us in such abund­ance that we had not room to receive it.”
p.34
“All the way to heaven, we shall only get there by the skin of our teeth. We shall not go to heaven sailing along with sails swelling to the breeze, like sea birds with their fair white wings, but we shall proceed full often with sails rent to ribbons, with masts creaking, and the ship's pumps at work night and day. We shall reach the city at the shutting gate, but not an hour before”

p. 24

On the Atonement:

"In other words, the Cross has a Godward reference; it was a propitiatory work through which the Father is pacified and it is on this ground, namely, Christ's obedience and blood, that all the blessings of salvation flow freely and surely to sinners. This is what is so clearly taught in Romans 3:25, 26. Writing on these verses, Robert Haldane says: 'God is shown not only to be merciful to forgive, but He is faithful and just to forgive the sinner his sins. Justice has received full payment, and guarantees his deliverance. Even the chief of sinners are shown in the propitiatory sacrifice of their Surety, to be perfectly worthy of Divine love, because they are not only perfectly innocent, but have the righteousness of God. 'He hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.'9 Spurgeon gloried in this truth: 'He has punished Christ, why should he punish twice for one offence? Christ has died for all his people's sins, and if thou art in the covenant, thou art one of Christ's people. Damned thou canst not be. Suffer for thy sins thou canst not. Until God can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died."

p. 75

On Arminianism:

"...Arminianism does not fully disclose the Biblical testimony concerning the condition of sinners and it does not do justice to die terrible extent of their needs. The Scripture represents us, by nature, as not only in need of salvation from the guilt of sin, but in need of an omnipotent power to quicken us from being 'dead in trespasses and in sins'. We are not only under condemnation through our offences, but we are under the dominion of a fallen nature which is at enmity against God. It is not only that we have committed sins for which we need mercy, but we have a sinful nature which needs to be made anew. Arminianism preaches the new-birth but it preaches it as a consequence of or an accompaniment to the human de­cision; it represents man as being born again by repenting and believing, as though these spiritual acts are within the ability of die unconverted. This teaching is only possible because of an under-estimation of die total ruin and impotence of the sinner. The Scripture says dial the natural man cannot receive spiritual things and it is because of this that the Divine quick­ening must precede die human response."

p. 83


710115: The Forgotten Spurgeon
The Forgotten Spurgeon

By Iain H. Murray / Banner Of Truth

CBD Says:

"An incisive, historical and theological insight into the great 19th century Baptist, with emphasis on the doctrines that moulded his life and thought.

This book seeks to throw light on the reasons which have given rise to the superficial image of Spurgeon as a genial Victorian pulpiteer, a kind of grandfather of modern evangelicalism. Even before his death in 1892 newspapers and church leaders disputed over the features of his life which entitled him to fame. Not his 'narrow creed' but his 'genuine loving character' was most worthy of remembrance said one periodical, echoing the general view.

When Joseph Parker contrasted the hard Calvinism preached at Spurgeon's Tabernacle with the praiseworthy Christianity exemplified in his orphanage, The Baptist protested that the man about whom Parker wrote 'is not the Spurgeon of history'. But the distortion continued and Spurgeon forecast how the position he held might fare in years to come: 'I am quite willing to be eaten by dogs for the next fifty years but the more distant future shall vindicate me'.

This book traces the main lines of Spurgeon's spiritual thought in connection with the three great controversies in his ministry - the first was his stand against the diluted gospel fashionable in the London to which the young preacher came in the 1850's; the second, the famous 'Baptismal Regeneration' debate of 1864; lastly, the lacerating Down-Grade controversy of 1887-1891 when Spurgeon sought to awaken Christians to the danger of the Church 'being buried beneath the boiling mud-showers of modern heresy'."

The Way to Make Godly Countries

“The way to make godly parishes, and godly countries, and godly kingdoms, is to make godly families.   When sin as a plague spreadeth abroad, it begin-neth in families:  one atheistical family defileth and destroyeth many; it sendeth a son into one house, a daughter into another, a servant into a third, and every of them, like infectious persons, poison those with whom they converse: like a nest of foxes, they destroy and devour all the country over.   As one house on fire often burneth down many; so one profane family injureth many: one godly family, on the contrary, doth good to many.    As one stock of bees sendeth forth swarms and honey into many parts of the country; so one religious family, sending religious children and servants abroad, (they come in time to have families of their own,) may bring much honour to God, and be helpful to the eternal welfare of many souls”

-George Swinnck  Works Vol.1

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Conversion of Hugh Latimer

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I ran across this fascinating story of the conversion of Hugh Latimer while reading The History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century by Merle d' Aubigne.

Latimer, a vehement and brilliant defender of the Catholic Church, was out to stop the spread of the Reformation in England when he ran into Bilney, a teacher who had who had embraced the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the Reformation. Bilney went to hear Latimer's lectures against Philip Melancthon (Martin Luther's right hand man) and launched upon one of the most interesting evangelistic endeavors ever recorded.

Knowing that Latimer would never listen to his arguments for the Reformed faith he asked Latimer if he could make a confession to him. Latimer, in his great arrogance, assumed that his brilliant lectures had convinced Bilney of his doctrinal errors and now Bilney wanted to confess his sin to him. Once in the confessional, however, Bilney related his struggles with his conviction of sin, the overwhelming guilt he had experienced and how Christ had set him free of it all and absolved him of all his sin and guilt. The Spirit of God overpowered Latimers hard heart and the one receiving the confession confessed his sin to the Lord Jesus Christ. Latimer left the confessional a new man and went on to die as a martyr for the Reformed faith.

What a story, you just can’t make stuff like that up! So here it is as recorded in d' Aubigne's History.

"Bilney easily detected Latimer’s sophisms, but at the same time loved his person and conceived the design of winning him to the gospel. But how would he manage it? The prejudiced Latimer would not even listen to the evangelical Bilney. Bilney reflected, prayed and at last planned a very candid and very strange plot, which led to one of the most astonishing conversions recorded in history.

He went to the college where Latimer resided. “For the love of God,” he said to Latimer, “be pleased to hear my confession.” The heretic (so Latimer thought) asked to make confession to the Catholic. What a singular fact! My discourse against Melancthon has no doubt converted him, said Latimer to himself. Had not Bilney once been among the number of most pious zealots?…..If he turns back (to Catholicism) all will turn back with him and the reaction will be complete at Cambridge. The ardent Latimer eagerly yielded to Bilney’s request, and Bilney, kneeling before Latimer, related to him with touching simplicity the anguish he had once felt in his soul, the efforts he had made to remove it; there unprofitableness as long as he determined to follow the precepts of the church, and lastly, the peace he had felt when he believed that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. He described to Latimer the spirit of adoption he had received, and the happiness he experienced in being able now to call God his Father….

Latimer, who expected to receive a confession, listened without mistrust. His heart was opened, and the voice of the pious Bilney penetrated it without obstacle. From time to time Latimer would have chased away the thoughts which came crowding into his bosom; but Bilney continued. His language, at once so simple and so lively, entered like a two-edged sword. Bilney was not without assistance in his work. A new and strange witness – the Holy Ghost – was speaking in Latimer’s soul. He learned from God to know God: he received a new heart.

At length grace prevailed: Bilney rose up, but Latimer remained seated, absorbed in thought. The strong Latimer contended in vain against the words of the feeble Bilney. Like Saul on his way to Damascus, he was conquered, and his conversion, like the Apostle’s was instantaneous. He stammered out a few words; Bilney drew near him with love, and God scattered the darkness which still obscured his mind. He saw Jesus Christ as the only Savior given to man: he contemplated and adored him. “I learned more by this confession,” he said afterward, “then by much reading and in many years before….I now tasted the word of God, and forsook the doctors of the school and all their fooleries…”

It was not Bilney, but Latimer who received absolution. Latimer viewed with horror the obstinate war he had waged against God; he wept bitterly; but Bilney consoled him. “Brother”, Bilney said, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” These two men, then locked in their solitary chamber at Cambridge, were one day to mount the scaffold for that divine Master whose Spirit was teaching them."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Glory of the Church and State depend on....

“We must have a special eye upon families, to see that they are well ordered, and the duties of each relation performed. The life of religion, and the welfare and glory of both the Church and the State, depend much on family government and duty. If we suffer the neglect of this, we shall undo all."

From The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter

Governmentium

"A major research institution (MRI) has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. The new element has been tentatively named Governmentium.

Governmentium has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Faul T. Reezning on The Sufficiency of Scripture

Greetings once again ladies and gentleman,

It is I, Faul T. Reezning, your more than average evangelical and grandson of the famous German philosopher Eishur Kant Thinkwell. Today I will be applying my mental prowess to the subject of the sufficiency of scripture.

My last post caused some of you dear readers to question my commitment to the sufficiency of scripture. Now that’s funny! Let me assure every one of you that I am just as committed to the sufficiency of scripture as most other evangelicals are today. I, just like most modern evangelicals, believe that the scriptures are 100% sufficient for all the things that they address…. it’s just…well…there are one or two things that they don’t really address.

Things like politics, law making, criminal law, penology, restitution, forms of government, economics, bail out plans, national debt, personal debt, church debt, borrowing and lending, fractional-reserve banking, taxes, the Federal Reserve, welfare, unemployment benefits, unions, health care…

…and career choices, education, putting our children in day care, public schools, Christian schools, college, youth groups, Sunday school, children’s church…

…and mothers working outside the home, the size of families, sex, birth control, the role of grandparents in the family, dating, apparel, eating and drinking, sleeping…

boy, my hands are cramping up…

…what God expects from the unbeliever, what is acceptable in the worship of the church, the role of men and women in the church, what kinds of songs the church should sing…

Well, I could go on and on, but my fingers are getting tired and I think you get the point. Be assured though, dear readers, that the Bible does authoritatively address all the other areas of life like…ah….aaaaah…well…I think it addresses sexual orientation but that’s kind of controversial so lets not talk about that.

Anyhow, I know that there are those who think that the scriptures address every aspect of life in one way or another, either by direct command, normative example or unavoidable consequence but stop and think about this for a moment. Do you really want to start going down that road? You start believing stuff like that and you’re in for a looooot of hard work!

You start believing stuff like that and you’re really going to have to start studying your Bible and comparing scripture with scripture. You’re going to have to incline your ear to wisdom and apply your heat to understanding. You’ll have to seek wisdom as if it was silver and search for it as if it was hidden treasure! Have I said this already? It sounds vaguely familiar…Anyway; do you really want to get involved in a big mess like that?

Just think of the benefits of my point of view for a moment; I get a clear conscience for saying that scripture is completely authoritative and sufficient for every area of life (that it addresses) and none of the hard work of searching the scriptures or the nuisance of them affecting my everyday life! So simple! So easy! Anyone could do it!

So, if you want to assert that you believe in the sufficiency of scripture but you don’t want it interfering with your casual Christian lifestyle then just say with me: “I believe that the Bible is 100% sufficient for everything that it addresses!” Put it in your statement of faith and go on your merry way.

And remember; be of good cheer, you and I think exactly alike! That my friends is your Faul T. Reezning for today.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Myth of Spiritual Freedom

Part 3 of 3
Taken from The Myth of Free Will
by Walter Chantry


"Nevertheless many assert that the human will makes the ultimate choice of spiritual life or spiritual death. They say that here the will is altogether free to choose eternal life offered in Jesus Christ or to reject it. It is said that God will give a new heart to all who choose by the power of their own free will to receive Jesus Christ.

There can be no question that receiving Jesus Christ is an act of the human will. It is often called "faith." But how do men come to willingly receive the Lord? It is usually answered, "Out of the power of their own free will." But how can that be? Jesus is a PROPHET . To receive Him means to believe all that He says. In John 8:41-45 Jesus made it clear that you were born of Satan. This evil father hates the truth and imparted the same bias into your heart by nature. Hence said Jesus, "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." How does the human will jump out of man to choose to believe what the human mind hates and denies?

Further, to receive Jesus means to embrace him as a PRIEST — that is, to employ and depend on him to sue out peace with God by sacrifice and intercession. Paul tells us that the mind with which we were born is hostile to God (Rom 8:7). How can the will escape the influence of human nature which was born with a violent enmity to God? It would be insane for the will to choose peace when every bone and drop of blood cries out for rebellion.

Then too, receiving Jesus means to welcome Him as a KING. It means choosing to obey His every command, to confess His right of rule and to worship before His throne. But the human mind, emotions, and desires all cry out, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14). If my whole being hates His truth, hates His rule and hates peace with God, how can my will be responsible for receiving Jesus? How can such a sinner have faith?

It is not man’s will but God’s GRACE that must be thanked for giving a sinner a new heart. Unless God changes the heart, creates a new spirit of peace, truthfulness, and submission. man will not choose to receive Jesus Christ and eternal life in Him. A new heart must he given before a man can believe, or else the human will is hopelessly enslaved to evil human nature even in the matter of conversion. Jesus said. "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye MUST be born again" (John 3:7). Unless you are, you will never see His kingdom.

Read John 1:12 & 13. It says that those who believe on Jesus have been "born, not of the will of man, but of God." As your will is not responsible for your coming into this world, it is not responsible for the new birth. It is your Creator who must be thanked for your life, and if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (II Cor 5:17). Who ever chose to be created? When Lazarus rose from the dead, he then could choose to answer the call of Christ, but he could not choose to come to life. So Paul said in Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, [God] I hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)." Faith is the first act of a will made new by the Holy Spirit. Receiving Christ is an act of man just as breathing is, but God must first give life.

No wonder Martin Luther wrote a book entitled The Bondage of the Will which he considered one of his most important treatises. The will is in the chains of an evil human nature. You who extol the free will as a great force are clinging to a root of pride. Man, as fallen in sin, is utterly helpless and hopeless. The will of man offers no hope. It was the will choosing the forbidden fruit that brought us into misery. The powerful grace of God alone offers deliverance. Cast yourself upon God’s mercy for salvation. Ask for the Spirit of Grace that He may create a new spirit within you."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Now That's a Mouth Full!

Best of the Old Blog!
Friday, August 1, 2008: Now That's a Mouth Full!

Our local library recently started a “chess night” every other week in which people can get together at the library and play a few games of chess. Our boys love to play chess and they're tired of getting beat by dad all the time so we’ve been going fairly regularly and it’s been lots of fun. 

This last time I took my four year old daughter along and she naturally became bored with the whole chess thing after a little bit, so I took her out to walk around in the library for a while. As we entered the toddlers play area I noticed a 4 foot tall stuffed Barney flopped over in a chair in the corner of the room and before I knew it my sweet little daughter was running over to see him. I don't think we have ever watched Barney so I had no idea what she was doing, but I soon found out.

Much to the horror of all the on-looking toddlers my little girl ran up to Barney, stuck her head right in his big mouth and started hollering (quietly of course, she does have some manners) "Ahhhhh, he's chewing my head!"

I don't know, maybe we need to do a little more work on the whole "meek and quiet spirit" thing (1 Peter 3:4). One things for sure though, I think Barney bit off more than he could chew with this one.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Myth of Ethical Freedom

Part 2 of 3
Taken from The Myth of Free Will
by Walter Chantry


"But freedom of the will is cited as an important factor in making MORAL decisions. Man’s will is said to be free to choose between good and evil. But again we must ask, from what is it free? And what is man’s will free to choose?

The will of man is his power to choose between alternatives. Your will does decide your actions from a number of options. You have the faculty to direct your own thoughts, words, and deeds. Your decisions are not formed by an outside force, but from within yourself. No man is compelled to act contrary to his will, nor forced to say what he does not wish. Your will guides your actions.

Yet this does not mean that the power to decide is free from all influence. You make choices based on your understanding, your feelings, your likes and dislikes, and your appetites. In other words, your will is not free from yourself! Your choices are determined by your own basic character. The will is not independent of your nature, but the slave of it. Your choices do not shape your character, but your character guides your choices. The will is quite partial to what you know, feel, love, and desire. You always choose on the basis of your disposition. according to the condition of your heart.

It is just for this reason that your will is NOT free to do good. Your will is the servant of your heart, and your heart is evil. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that EVERY imagination of the thoughts of his heart was ONLY evil CONTINUALLY" (Gen 6:5). "There is NONE that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom 3:12). No power forces man to sin contrary to his will, but the descendants of Adam are so evil that they always choose the evil.

Your decisions are molded by your understanding, and the Bible says of all men, ‘And their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom 1:21). Man can only be righteous when he desires to have fellowship with God, but, "There is NONE that seeketh after God" (Rom 3:11). Your appetites crave sin, and thus you cannot choose God. To choose good is contrary to human nature. If you chose to obey God, it would be the result of external compulsion. But you are free to choose and hence your choice is enslaved to your own evil nature.

If fresh meat and tossed salad were placed before a hungry lion, he would choose the flesh This is because his nature dictates the selection It is just so with man. The will of man is free from outside force, but not from the bias of human nature. That bias is against God. Man’s power of decision are free to choose whatever the human heart dictates; therefore there is no possibility of a man choosing to please God without prior work of divine grace.

What most people mean by free will is the idea that man is by nature neutral and therefore able to choose either good or evil. This simply is not true. The human will and the whole of human nature is bent to ONLY evil CONTINUALLY Jeremiah asked, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots’? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer 13:23). It is impossible. It is contrary to nature Thus do men desperately need the supernatural transformation of their natures, else their wills are enslaved to choosing evil.

In spite of the great praise that is given to "free will," we have seen that man’s will is not free to choose a course contrary to God’s purposes nor free to act contrary to his own moral nature. Your will does not determine the events of your life nor the circumstances of it. Ethical choices are not formed by a neutral mind but always dictated by your personality makeup."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

I just couldn’t let the month of October go by without putting in a word for D'Aubigne’s History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century.

Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné was born in August of 1794 and died suddenly, almost exactly 138 years ago, on October 21st 1872. He spent a great deal of his 78 years studying the Reformation and wrote undoubtedly the best history of it ever written. His Histoire de la Reformation as it was originally called covers the earlier portion of the Reformation, much of which occurred in Germany, but it also touches on the Swiss and English Reformation. The story of Hugh Latimer’s conversion in the English Reformation was well worth the price of the whole book as far as I’m concerned. I’ll have to try and post it later.

d'Aubigné's love of the Reformation and the Reformed faith shines through in his writing and his colorful use of language never gets boring. This is definitely not one of those historical, biographical books written by a theologically disinterested person. d'Aubigné went on to write numerous other books and historical works, such as The History of the Reformation in the Time of Calvin, but his first set of books is simply unbeatable! If you really want a good history of the Reformation this is by far the best as far as I’m concerned.

 My own first set has seen some better days (probably back in the 1800s):


 Twenty books in five very old volumes. Being too brittle to read they mostly serve as a decoration on my bookshelf and I had to get another set to read.

One of the other sets I found is a stuffed-all-in-one volume paperback edition. This one has been all over the country with me, suffered a great deal of abuse and I've loved every page of it! 


Its 876 pages of small print put out by a Seventh Day Adventist publisher of all places but you really can’t beat the price. You can get a new copy for around $30-40 on Amazon. It looks like a publisher by the name of Nabu Press has also recently re-published it in a single volume paperback:



And if you don't mind reading off of the internet or doing a whole lot of printing someone else has made the entire 20 books available on line:
I love the way the book starts: "The enfeebled world was tottering on its foundations when Christianity appeared....."

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Myth of Circumstantial Freedom

Part 1 of 3
Taken from The Myth of Free Will
by Walter Chantry


The Myth of Circumstantial Freedom

"MOST PEOPLE say that they believe in "free will." Do you have any idea what that means? I believe that you will find a great deal of superstition on this subject. The will is saluted as the grand power of the human soul which is completely free to direct our lives. But from what is it free? And what is its power?

THE MYTH OF CIRCUMSTANTIAL FREEDOM

No one denies that man has a will — that is, a faculty of choosing what he wishes to say, do, and think. But have you ever reflected on the pitiful weakness of your will? Though you have the ability to make a decision, you do not have the power to carry out your purpose. Will may devise a course of action, but will has no power to execute its intention.

Joseph’s brothers hated him. They sold him to be a slave. But God used their actions to make him a ruler over themselves. They chose their course of action to harm Joseph. But God in His power directed events for Joseph’s good. He said, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good" (Gen 50:20).

And how many of your decisions are miserably thwarted? You may choose to be a millionaire, but God’s providence is likely to prevent it. You may decide to be a scholar, but bad health, an unstable home, or lack of finances may frustrate your will. You choose to go on a vacation, but an automobile accident may send you to the hospital instead.

By saying that your will is free, we certainly do not mean that it determines the course of your life. You did not choose the sickness, sorrow, war, and poverty that have spoiled your happiness. You did not choose to have enemies. If man’s will is so potent, why not choose to live on and on? But you must die. The major factors which shape your life cannot thank your will. You did not select your social status, color, intelligence, etc.

Any sober reflection on your experience will produce the conclusion, "A man’s heart deviseth his way: but THE LORD DIRECTETH his steps" (Prov 16:9). Rather than extolling the human will, we ought to humbly praise the Lord whose purposes shape our lives. As Jeremiah confessed, "O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jer 10:23).

Yes, you may choose what you want, and you may plan what you will do; but your will is not free to accomplish anything contrary to the purposes of God. Neither have you any power to reach your goals but that which God allows you. The next time you are so enamored with your own will, remember Jesus’ parable about the rich man. The wealthy man said, "This I WILL do: I WILL pull down all my barns, and build greater: and there I WILL bestow all my fruits and my goods. . . But God said unto him. Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee" (Luke 12:18-21). He was free to plan but not free to accomplish; so it is with you."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

09766: The Life and Diary of David Brainerd The Life and Diary of David Brainerd

By Edited by Jonathan Edwards / Baker

CBD writes: "Pioneer missionary to Indians, David Brainerd rode over 3,000 miles on horseback through the wilderness of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. His journal, kept during his travels, was edited by Jonathan Edwards after Brainerd's death in 1747. His accounts of setbacks, successes, and intense spiritual devotion have inspired believers ever since. This new edition includes a biographical sketch of Edwards by Philip E. Howard, Jr. 385 pages, softcover from Baker."





David Brainerd (1718-1747)

I first read The Life and Diary of David Brainerd as a much younger Christian and three things really leapt out of the book at me: 1) Brainerd’s prayer life. 2) The way he seemed to loath himself and 3) The mighty way in which God used this man and answered his prayers.

Mr. Brainerd never published these papers nor did it seem to be his intention while writing them. He fell ill from his missionary labors among the Native American Indians and kept going till it literally killed him. He died at the age of 29 at the home of Jonathan Edwards. Edwards read the papers that Brainerd left behind and realizing the invaluable treasure that he had he proceeded to edit and published them.

Mr. Brainerd only spent 29 years and about 5 months or so on this planet and only 8 of those years as a Christian but he changed this world forever as this story of his life was in large part one of the main impetus behind the modern missionary movement.

William Carey once wrote: “It is true all the reward is of mere grace, but it is nevertheless encouraging; what a treasure, what and harvest must await such characters as Paul, and Elliot, and Brainerd, and others, who have given themselves wholly to the work of the Lord….”

 Gideon Hawley, a missionary to the Iroquois Indians in Massachusetts tells us: “I need, greatly need, something more than human to support me. I read my Bible and Mr. Brainerd's Life, the only books I brought with me, and from them have a little support”

After reading Brainerds Life Henry Martyn wrote in his journal: “I thought of David Brainerd, and ardently desired his devotedness to God and holy breathings of soul…I long to be like him; let me forget the world and be swallowed up in a desire to glorify God…”

John Wesley urged: “Let every preacher read carefully over the Life of David Brainerd.”

Robert Murray McCheyne “steeped himself in the journals and writings of Jonathan Edwards, David Brainerd and Henry Martyn, and longed that the power of the Holy Spirit that had been so evident in their lives would also be granted him.”

We could go on and on with such stories.

This particular edition has a brief biographical sketch of Jonathan Edwards included in the book (including his 70 Resolutions) which itself is worth the price of the book in my own opinion.

If you have never read this wonderful book I would highly, highly recommend it.
CONTENTS
Prefatory Note.............................................................. 7
A Biographical Sketch of the Life and Work of JonathanEdwards.................................................................... 11
The Works of President Edwards.................................. 41
Preface......................................................................... 43
Introductory Note......................................................... 53
brainerd's life and diary
Part I............................................................................. 57
From His Birth to the Time When He Began to Study for the Ministry, 1718-1742
Part II............................................................................ 75
From About the Time That He First Began to Study Divinity Till He Was Examined and Licensed to Preach, April-July, 1742
Part III........................................................................... 93
From the Time of His Being Licensed to Preach Till He Was Appointed as Missionary to the Indians, July-November, 1742
Part IV........................................................................... 107
From the Time of His Examination and Appointment to His Entrance Among the Indians at Kaunaumeek, 1742-1743

Part V 
        From His Beginning to Instruct the Indians at Kaunau-meek to His Ordination, 1743-1744

Part VI.
        From His Ordination Till He First Began to Preach to the Indians at Crossweeksung, Among Whom He Had His Most Remarkable Success, 1744-1745

BRAINERD S JOURNAL
Part I.......................................................................... 203
From June 19 to November 4, 1745, at Crossweeksung and the Forks of Delaware
Part II............................................................................ 255
From November 24, 1745 to June 19, 1746 at Cross­weeksung and Forks of Delaware
Part VII......................................................................... 311
From the Close of His Journal to His Return from the Susquehannah, June-September, 1746
Part VIII........................................................................ 331
After His Return from His Last Journey to Susquehannah Until His Death, 1746-1747
Appendix I.................................................................... 379
Appendix II................................................................... 383




From the Back of the Book:


"A remarkable story of genuine piety, in heart
and in practice
The autobiographical account of a courageous
preacher who daily ' 'walked with God,'' but who
also mourned when the light of God's countenance
was dimmed or absent
Taken from Jonathan Edwards's edited versions of David Brainerd's Diary and Journal, this compilation makes available a "fairly complete" record of the self-denying life and strenuous labors of David Brainerd as he presented the gospel to American Indians. It was originally published as one of the titles in the Wycliffe series of Christian classics.
Preceding the Brainerd accounts is a brief but revealing biographical sketch of Jonathan Edwards by Philip E. Howard, Jr."



Some Quotes From the Book:
 

"Friday, April 2. In the afternoon I felt, in secret prayer, much resigned, calm, and serene. What are all the storms of this lower world, if Jesus by His Spirit does but come walking on the seas! Some time past, I had much pleasure in the pros­pect of the heathen being brought home to Christ, and desired that the Lord would employ me in that work. But now, my soul more frequently desires to die, to be with Christ. Oh. that my soul were rapt up in divine love, and my longing desires after God increased! In the evening, was refreshed in prayer, with the hopes of the advancement of Christ's king­dom in the world."

"Lord's Day, April 4. My heart was wandering and lifeless. In the evening God gave me faith in prayer, made my soul melt in some measure, and gave me to taste a divine sweetness. O my blessed God! Let me climb up near to Him, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle, and stretch after Him, and for deliverance from the body of sin and death. Alas! my soul mourned to think I should ever lose sight of its Beloved again. "O come, Lord Jesus, amen."

"....Then God gave me to wrestle earnestly for others, for the kingdom of Christ in the world, and for dear Christian friends. I was weaned from the world and from my own reputation amongst men, willing to be despised and to be a gazing stock for the world to behold. It is impossible for me to express how I then felt. I had not much joy, but some sense of the majesty of God, which made me as it were tremble. I saw myself mean and vile, which made me more willing that God should do what He would with me; it was all infinitely reasonable."

Monday, April 19. I set apart this day for fasting and prayer to God for His grace; especially to prepare me for the work of the ministry, to give me divine aid and direction in my preparations for that great work, and in His own time to send me into His harvest. Accordingly, in the morning, I en­deavored to plead for the divine presence for the day, and not without some life. In the forenoon, I felt the power of intercession for precious, immortal souls; for the advance­ment of the kingdom of my dear Lord and Saviour in the world; and withal, a most sweet resignation and even con­solation and joy in the thoughts of suffering hardships, dis­tresses, and even death itself, in the promotion of it. Had special enlargement in pleading for the enlightening and con­version of the poor heathen.

In the afternoon, God was with me of a truth. Oh, it was blessed company indeed! God enabled me so to agonize in prayer that I was quite wet with perspiration, though in the shade and the cool wind….”

Wednesday, June 30. Spent this day alone in the woods in fasting and prayer; underwent the most dreadful conflicts in my soul that ever I felt, in some respects. I saw myself so vile that I was ready to say, "I shall now perish by the hand of Saul." I thought, and almost concluded, I had no power to stand for the cause of God, but was almost "afraid of the shaking of a leaf." Spent almost the whole day in prayer, incessantly. I could not bear to think of Christians showing me any respect. I almost despaired of doing any service in the world. I could not feel any hope or comfort respecting the heathen, which used to afford me refreshment in the darkest hours of this nature. I spent the day in bitterness of my soul. Near night, I felt a little better; and afterwards enjoyed some sweetness in secret prayer.”

Thursday, July 22. Journeying from Southbury to Ripton, I called at a house by the way; where being very kindly en­tertained and refreshed, I was filled with amazement and shame that God should stir up the hearts of any to show so much kindness to such a dead dog as I. Was made sensible, in some measure, how exceeding vile it is not to be wholly de­voted to God. I wondered that God would suffer any of His creatures to feed and sustain me from time to time.”
“Friday, August 20.1 appeared so vile to myself that I hardly dared to think of being seen especially on account of spiritual pride. However, tonight I enjoyed a sweet hour alone with God (at Ripton); I was lifted above the frowns and flatteries of this lower world, had a sweet relish of heavenly joys, and my soul did as it were get into the eternal world and really taste of heaven. I had a sweet season of intercession for dear friends in Christ, and God helped me to cry fervently for Zion. Blessed be God for this season.”

Monday, November 28. In the evening, I was obliged to spend time in company and conversation that was unprofit­able. Nothing lies heavier upon me than the misimprovement of time.”

“…I continued my discourse, with some fervency, till almost every one in the house was melted into tears; and divers wept aloud and appeared earnestly concerned to obtain an interest in Christ. Upon this, numbers soon gathered from all the houses round about and so thronged the place that we were obliged to remove to the house where we usually meet for public worship. The congregation gathering immediately, and many appeared remarkably affected. I discoursed some time from Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"; endeavoring to open the mercy, compassion, and concern of Christ for lost, helpless, and undone sinners…..”