John Calvin – Prodigious Trifles

20 Aug

john-calvin

But although the Lord represents both himself and his everlasting Kingdom in the mirror of his works with very great clarity, such is our stupidity that we grow increasingly dull toward so manifest testimonies, and they flow away without profiting us. For with regard to the most beautiful structure and order of the universe, how many of us are there who, when we lift up our eyes to heaven or cast them about through the various regions of earth, recall our minds to a remembrance of the Creator, and do not rather, disregarding their Author, sit idly in contemplation of his works? In fact, with regard to those events which daily take place outside the ordinary course of nature, how many of us do not reckon that men are whirled and twisted about by blindly indiscriminate fortune, rather than governed by God’s providence? Sometimes we are driven by the leading and direction of these things to contemplate God; this of necessity happens to all men. Yet after we rashly grasp a conception of some sort of divinity, straightway we fall back into the ravings or evil imaginings of our flesh, and corrupt by our vanity the pure truth of God. In one respect we are indeed unalike, because each one of us privately forges his own particular error; yet we are very much alike in that, one and all, we forsake the one true God for prodigious trifles. Not only the common folk and dull-witted men, but also the most excellent and those otherwise endowed with keen discernment, are infected with this disease.

~John Calvin~






Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volumes 1 & 2, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles, The Library of Christian Classics (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011) Vol. 1.5.10. p. 63-64.

Books by John Calvin

Biography of John Calvin

Calvin’s Works on Logos Bible Software

Kindle Books

Online Books Available

Other Calvin Quotes

Richard Sibbes – A Testimony From One of His Parishioners

18 Aug

RichardSibbes

I was for three years together wounded for sins, and under a sense of my corruptions, which were many; and I followed sermons, pursuing the means, and was constant in duties and doing; looking for heaven that way. And then I was so precise for outward formalities, that I censured all to be reprobates, that wore their hair anything long, and not short above their ears; or that wore great ruffs, andgorgets, or fashions, and follies. But yet I was distracted in my mind, wounded in conscience, and wept often and bitterly, and prayed earnestly, but yet had no comfort, till I heard that sweet saint … Doctor Sibbs. by whose means and ministry I was brought to peace and joy in my spirit. His sweet soul-melting Gospel-sermons won my heart and refreshed me much, for by him I saw and had much of God and was confident in Christ, and could overlook the world. . . . My heart held firm and resolved and my desires all heaven-ward.

~One of Richard Sibbes’ Parishoners~




The Devoted Life: An Introduction to the Puritan Classics (Downers Grove; Intervarsity Press; 2004) p. 80.

Books by Richard Sibbes

Kindle Books

Other Sibbes Quotes at The Old Guys

John Owen: The Immediate, Peculiar, Sanctifier

16 Aug

1616 -1683. Preeminent English Puritan theologian, pastor, and independent.

To come yet nearer unto our principal design, I say it is the Holy Ghost who is the immediate peculiar sanctifier of all believers, and the author of all holiness in them.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 385.

Books by John Owen

Kindle Books

The Works of John Owen on Logos Bible Software

Biography of John Owen

Other Owen Quotes

Ulrich Zwingli – Know Jesus, Learn the Languages, Walk Humbly

14 Jul

Ulrich_Zwingli_03

Now, after the youthful mind, which is to be established in virtue, has been rightly molded through faith, the youth should, in consequence of this, order well and adorn beautifully his own heart. Then, after he is rightly and well ordered within himself, he can also advise and assist other persons.

He cannot order his mind and prepare his heart better, however, than by engaging in the study of the Word of God, day and night. This he can do more skillfully and advantageously, when he thoroughly understands Hebrew and Greek; for he will succeed very poorly in gaining a clear and exact knowledge of the Old Testament, without the aid of the former, and of the New Testament, without the aid of the latter.

While we are instructing those who are well grounded in the elements of knowledge, I do not deem it proper to omit the study of the Latin language altogether, as this language is now being so generally used. Although it is less helpful to a clear understanding of the Holy Scriptures than the Greek or the Hebrew language, it is none the less useful for other purposes in active life. It often happens, too, that we come in contact with Latin scholars, in carrying on the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Far be it from a Christian, however, to use the languages for mere pecuniary gain or pleasure; for they are a gift of the Holy Ghost.

The next language after the Latin, which we should endeavor to study, is the Greek. We should study it, as already stated, for reading the New Testament in the original; for I take the liberty to say that, as I understand the matter, it seems to me that the doctrines of Christ were not treated so carefully nor taught so purely from the beginning, by the Latin scholars, as they were, by the Greek scholars. For this reason, let the youth be led to the original Gospel language.

The student of the Latin and Greek languages must see to it that he keep his heart in faith and innocence; for there are many things in these languages that have been studied to the detriment of the student, among which are wantonness, craftiness, a domineering and warlike spirit, useless and vain philosophy, and the like. If the mind be warned in due time, it can, like Ulysses, pass by these evils, untouched and unharmed. This will be the case, if the student, at the first warning of his conscience, says to himself: This you hear in order that you should take warning and flee from it, and not that you should accept it.

The Hebrew language I place last, because the use of the Latin is so general and the Greek naturally follows the Latin; otherwise I should have given the Hebrew the first place, and justly, too, because any one who does not know the properties and the peculiarities of this language will find it a difficult task, in many passages, even among Greek scholars, to discover the real sense and natural meaning of the Scriptures. The object I have in view, however, is not to speak at great length of the languages.

With such preparation must he be equipped who would arrive at the inner meaning of this heavenly wisdom, to which no other can be compared, much less made equal. Let him, however, approach it in a humble spirit and thirsting after righteousness.

~Ulrich Zwingli~






The Christian Education of Youth, trans. Alcide Reichenbach (Collegeville, PA: Thompson Brothers, 1899), 69–72.

Books by Ulrich Zwingli

Zwingli’s Works on Logos Bible Software

Kindle Books

Other Zwingli Quotes at The Old Guys

Martin Luther – Motivation to Dig Deeper in the Original Languages

9 Jul

martin-luther
Since it becomes Christians then to make good use of the Holy Scriptures as their one and only book and it is a sin and a shame not to know our own book or to understand the speech and words of our God, it is a still greater sin and loss that we do not study languages, especially in these days when God is offering and giving us men and books and every facility and inducement to this study, and desires his Bible to be an open book. O how happy the dear fathers would have been if they had had our opportunity to study the languages and come thus prepared to the Holy Scriptures! What great toil and effort it cost them to gather up a few crumbs, while we with half the labor—yes, almost without any labor at all—can acquire the whole loaf! O how their effort puts our indolence to shame! Yes, how sternly God will judge our lethargy and ingratitude!

~Martin Luther~






Luther’s Works, Vol. 45: The Christian in Society II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 45 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 364.

Books by Martin Luther

Luther’s Works on Logos Bible Software

Kindle Books

Biography

Other Luther Quotes The Old Guys

Old Guy Book Deals: Crossway’s Theologians On the Christian Life Series

7 Jul



Calvin on the Christian Life: Glorifying and Enjoying God Forever
Michael Horton
Kindle Price: $1.99
Hardcopy: $14.88



Bonhoeffer on the Christian Life: From the Cross, for the World
Stephen Nichols
Kindle Price: $1.99
Hardcopy: $15.23



Schaeffer on the Christian Life: Countercultural Spirituality
William Edgar
Kindle Price: $1.99
Hardcopy: $15.23



Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel
Fred Zaspel
Kindle Price: $1.99
Hardcopy: $8.99

Martin Luther – Why Learn the Languages?

5 Jul

martin-luther
And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. The languages are the sheath in which this sword of the Spirit [Eph. 6:17] is contained; they are the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; they are the vessel in which this wine is held; they are the larder in which this food is stored; and, as the gospel itself points out [Matt. 14:20], they are the baskets in which are kept these loaves and fishes and fragments. If through our neglect we let the languages go (which God forbid!), we shall not only lose the gospel, but the time will come when we shall be unable either to speak or write a correct Latin or German. As proof and warning of this, let us take the deplorable and dreadful example of the universities and monasteries, in which men have not only unlearned the gospel, but have in addition so corrupted the Latin and German languages that the miserable folk have been fairly turned into beasts, unable to speak or write a correct German or Latin, and have wellnigh lost their natural reason to boot.

For this reason even the apostles themselves considered it necessary to set down the New Testament and hold it fast in the Greek language, doubtless in order to preserve it for us there safe and sound as in a sacred ark. For they foresaw all that was to come, and now has come to pass; they knew that if it was left exclusively to men’s memory, wild and fearful disorder and confusion and a host of varied interpretations, fancies, and doctrines would arise in the Christian church, and that this could not be prevented and the simple folk protected unless the New Testament were set down with certainty in written language. Hence, it is inevitable that unless the languages remain, the gospel must finally perish.

Experience too has proved this and still gives evidence of it. For as soon as the languages declined to the vanishing point, after the apostolic age, the gospel and faith and Christianity itself declined more and more until under the pope they disappeared entirely. After the decline of the languages Christianity witnessed little that was worth anything; instead, a great many dreadful abominations arose because of ignorance of the languages. On the other hand, now that the languages have been revived, they are bringing with them so bright a light and accomplishing such great things that the whole world stands amazed and has to acknowledge that we have the gospel just as pure and undefiled as the apostles had it, that it has been wholly restored to its original purity, far beyond what it was in the days of St. Jerome and St. Augustine. In short, the Holy Spirit is no fool. He does not busy himself with inconsequential or useless matters. He regarded the languages as so useful and necessary to Christianity that he ofttimes brought them down with him from heaven. This alone should be a sufficient motive for us to pursue them with diligence and reverence and not to despise them, for he himself has now revived them again upon the earth.

~Martin Luther~






Luther’s Works, Vol. 45: The Christian in Society II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 45 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 360–361.

Books by Martin Luther

Luther’s Works on Logos Bible Software

Kindle Books

Biography

Other Luther Quotes The Old Guys

Thomas Boston – A Preface to the Marrow of Modern Divinity

30 Jun
tbost

1676-1732. A Scottish Church Leader. One of the twelve Marrow Men.

I conclude this preface, in the words of two eminent professors of theology, deserving our serious regard:—

“I dread mightily that a rational sort of religion is coming in among us; I mean by it, a religion that consists in a bare attendance on outward duties and ordinances, without the power of godliness; and thence people shall fall into a way of serving God, which is mere deism, having no relation to Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God.”—Memoirs of Mr. Halyburton’s life, p. 199.

“I warn each one of you, and especially such as are to be directors of the conscience, that you exercise yourselves in study, reading, meditation and prayer, so as you may be able to instruct and comfort both your own and others consciences in the time of temptation, and to bring them back from the law to grace, from the active (or working) righteousness, to the passive (or received) righteousness; in a word, from Moses to Christ.” — Martin Luther’s comment in epist. ad Gal. p. 27.

~Thomas Boston~






The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Explication of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 7 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1850), 149. From his preface to Edward Fisher’s The Marrow of Modern Divinity

Books by Thomas Boston

Kindle Books

Thomas Boston on Logos Bible Software

Other Thomas Boston Quotes at the Old Guys.

John Owen: A Proper Frame of Mind In the Pursuit of Holiness

23 Jun

1616 -1683. Preeminent English Puritan theologian, pastor, and independent.

And we may here divert a little, to consider what ought to be the frame of our minds in the pursuit of holiness with respect unto these things,—namely, what regard we ought to have unto the command on the one hand, and to the promise on the other,—to our own duty, and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things, as inconsistent. A command they suppose leaves no room for a promise, at least not such a promise as wherein God should take on himself to work in us what the command requires of us; and a promise they think takes off all the influencing authority of the command. “If holiness be our duty, there is no room for grace in this matter; and if it be an effect of grace, there is no place for duty.” But all these arguings are a fruit of the wisdom of the flesh before mentioned, and we have before disproved them. The “wisdom that is from above” teacheth us other things. It is true, our works and grace are opposed in the matter of justification, as utterly inconsistent; if it be of works it is not of grace, and if it be of grace it is not of works, as our apostle argues, Rom. 11:6. [But] our duty and God’s grace are nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification, yea, the one doth absolutely suppose the other. Neither can we perform our duty herein without the grace of God; nor doth God give us this grace unto any other end but that we may rightly perform our duty. He that shall deny either that God commands us to be holy in a way of duty, or promiseth to work holiness in us in a way of grace, may with as much modesty reject the whole Bible. Both these, therefore, we are to have a due regard unto, if we intend to be holy. And, (1.) Our regard unto the command consisteth in three things,—[1.] That we get our consciences always affected with the authority of it, as it is the command of God. This must afterward be enlarged on. Where this is not, there is no holiness. Our holiness is our obedience; and the formal nature of obedience ariseth from its respect unto the authority of the command. [2.] That we see and understand the reasonableness, the equity, the advantage of the command. Our service is a reasonable service; the ways of God are equal, and in the keeping of his commands there is great reward. If we judge not thus, if we rest not herein, and are thence filled with indignation against every thing within us or without us that opposeth it or riseth up against it, whatever we do in compliance with it in a way of duty, we are not holy. [3.] That hereon we love and delight in it, because it is holy, just, and good; because the things it requires are upright, equal, easy, and pleasant to the new nature, without any regard to the false ends before discovered. And, (2.) We have a due regard unto the promise to the same end, [1.] When, we walk in a constant sense of our own inability to comply with the command in any one instance from any power in ourselves; for we have no sufficiency of ourselves, our sufficiency is of God. As for him who is otherwise minded, his heart is lifted up. [2.] When we adore that grace which hath provided help and relief for us. Seeing without the grace promised we could never have attained unto the least part or degree of holiness, and seeing we could never deserve the least dram of that grace, how ought we to adore and continually praise that infinite bounty which hath freely provided us of this supply! [3.] When we act faith in prayer and expectation on the promise for supplies of grace enabling us unto holy obedience. And, [4.] When we have especial regard thereunto with respect unto especial temptations and particular duties. When on all such occasions we satisfy not ourselves with a respect unto the promise in general, but exercise faith in particular on it for aid and assistance, then do we regard it in a due manner.

~John Owen~





The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, vol. 3: Pneumatologia: A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 384-385.

Books by John Owen

Kindle Books

The Works of John Owen on Logos Bible Software

Biography of John Owen

Other Owen Quotes

Wilhelmus à Brakel – An Unqualified vs. a Qualified Minister

21 Jun
Wilhelmus a Brakel 1

1635-1711. Dutch Reformed Pastor in the Netherlands.

An unqualified minister is the most despicable and harmful creature to be found in the world. He is a disgrace to the church, a stumbling block whereby many fall into eternal perdition, and the cause of the damnation of many souls. A faithful servant of Christ, on the contrary, is an ornament in the house of his God, a light upon a candlestick, a city upon a hill, a leader of the blind, a terror to the ungodly, a joy to the godly, a comforter for the sorrowful, a counselor for those who are perplexed, and a guide for believers on the way to heaven. His life generally is of short duration, during which his preaching reaches but a few and he himself is consumed while illuminating others. The loss of a minister who is endowed with grace is inestimable.



~Wilhelmus à Brakel~





The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1992), cxiii–cxiv.

Books by Wilhelmus à Brakel

Kindle Books

à Brakel’s Works on Logos Bible Software

More à Brakel Quotes at The Old Guys

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,302 other followers