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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.

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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.

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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.

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Thomas Boston – A Preface to the Marrow of Modern Divinity

30 Jun
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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

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Thomas Goodwin – Why You Should Read Thomas Goodwin

12 Jun
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1600-1680. Member of the Westminster Assembly. Chaplain to Oliver Cromwell. Independent. Co-pastor with John Owen.

Here is how his discourse on the Heart of Christ begins:

This discourse that follows, which lays open THE HEART of Christ, as now he is in heaven, sitting at God’s right hand and interceding for us; how it is affected and graciously disposed towards sinners on earth that do come to him; how willing to receive them; how ready to entertain them; how tender to pity them in all their infirmities, both sins and miseries. The scope and use whereof will be this, to hearten and encourage believers to come more boldly unto the throne of grace, unto such a Saviour and High Priest, when they shall know how sweetly and tenderly his heart, though he is now in his glory, is inclined towards them; and so to remove that great stone of stumbling which we meet with (and yet lieth unseen) in the thoughts of men in the way to faith, that Christ being now absent, and withal exalted to so high and infinite a distance of glory, as to ‘sit at God’s right hand,’ &c., they therefore cannot tell how to come to treat with him about their salvation so freely, and with that hopefulness to obtain, as those poor sinners did, who were here on earth with him. Had our lot been, think they, but to have conversed with him in the days of his flesh, as Mary, and Peter, and his other disciples did here below, we could have thought to have been bold with him, and to have had anything at his hands. For they beheld him afore them a man like unto themselves, and he was full of meekness and gentleness, he being then himself made sin, and sensible of all sorts of miseries; but now he is gone into a far country, and hath put on glory and immortality, and how his heart may be altered thereby we know not. The drift of this discourse is therefore to ascertain poor souls, that his heart, in respect of pity and compassion, remains the same it was on earth; that he intercedes there with the same heart he did here below; and that he is as meek, as gentle, as easy to be entreated, as tender in his bowels; so that they may deal with him as fairly about the great matter of their salvation, and as hopefully, and upon as easy terms to obtain it of him, as they might if they had been on earth with him, and be as familiar with him in all their needs—than which nothing can be more for the comfort and encouragement of those who have given over all other lives but that of faith, and whose souls pursue after strong and entire communion with their Saviour Christ.


~Thomas Goodwin~




The Works of Thomas Goodwin, vol. 4: The Heart of Christ Towards Sinners on Earth (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1862), 95–96.

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Charles Hodge – What Is Regeneration?

1 May

1797-1898. Principal of Princeton Theological Seminary from 1851-1878.

It is a New Life

5. While denying that regeneration is a change either in the essence or acts of the soul, evangelical Christians declare it to be, in the language of Scripture, “a quickening,” a ζωοποιει̂ν, a communication of a new principle of life. It is hard, perhaps impossible, to define what life is. Yet every man is familiar with its manifestations. He sees and knows the difference between death and life, between a dead and living plant or animal. And, therefore, when the Bible tells us that in regeneration God imparts a new form of life to the soul, the language is as intelligible as human language can be in relation to such a subject. We know that when a man is dead as to the body he neither sees, feels, nor acts. The objects adapted to impress the senses of the living make no impression upon him. They awaken no corresponding feeling, and they call forth no activity. The dead are insensible and powerless. When the Scriptures declare that men are spiritually dead they do not deny to them physical, intellectual, social, or moral life. They admit that the objects of sense, the truths of reason, our social relations and moral obligations, are more or less adequately apprehended; these do not fail to awaken feeling and to excite to action. But there is a higher class of objects than these, what the Bible calls “The things of God,” “The things of the Spirit,” “The things pertaining to salvation.” These things, although intellectually apprehended as presented to our cognitive faculties, are not spiritually discerned by the unrenewed man. A beautiful object in nature or art may be duly apprehended as an object of vision by an uncultivated man, who has no perception of its esthetic excellence, and no corresponding feeling of delight in its contemplation. So it is with the unrenewed man. He may have an intellectual knowledge of the facts and doctrines of the Bible, but no spiritual discernment of their excellence, and no delight in them. The same Christ, as portrayed in the Scriptures, is to one man without form or comeliness that we should desire Him; to another He is the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely; “God manifest in the flesh,” whom it is impossible not to adore, love, and obey.

This new life, therefore, manifests itself in new views of God, of Christ, of sin, of holiness, of the world, of the gospel, and of the life to come; in short, of all those truths which God has revealed as necessary to salvation. This spiritual illumination is so important and so necessary and such an immediate effect of regeneration, that spiritual knowledge is not only represented in the Bible as the end of regeneration (Col. 3:10; 1 Tim. 2:4), but the whole of conversion (which is the effect of regeneration) is summed up in knowledge. Paul describes his conversion as consisting in Christ’s being revealed to Him (Gal. 1:16); and the Scriptures make all religion, and even eternal life, to be a form of knowledge. Paul renounced everything for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ (Philippians. 3:8), and our Lord says that the knowledge of Himself and of the Father is eternal life. (John 17:3). The whole process of salvation is described as a translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. There is no wonder, therefore, that the ancients called regeneration a φωτισμός, an illumination. If a man born blind were suddenly restored to sight, such a flood of knowledge and delight would How in upon him, through the organ of vision, that he might well think that all living consisted in seeing. So the New Testament writers represent the change consequent on regeneration, the opening the eyes on the certainty, glory, and excellence of divine things, and especially of the revelation of God in the person of his Son, as comprehending almost everything which pertains to spiritual life. Inseparably connected with this knowledge and included in it, is faith, in all the forms and exercises in which spiritual truths are its objects. Delight in the things thus revealed is the necessary consequence of spiritual illumination; and with delight come satisfaction and peace, elevation above the world, or spiritual mindedness, and such a sense of the importance of the things not seen and eternal, that all the energies of the renewed soul are (or, it is acknowledged, they should be) devoted to securing them for ourselves and others.

This is one of the forms in which the Bible sets forth the doctrine of regeneration. It is raising the soul dead in sin to spiritual life. And this spiritual life unfolds or manifests itself just as any other form of life, in all the exercises appropriate to its nature.

~Charles Hodge~


Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 144–145. Free PDF | $2.99 Kindle Version

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Charles Hodge – The Imputation of Righteousness

30 Apr

It seems unnecessary to remark that this does not, and cannot mean that the righteousness of Christ is infused into the believer, or in any way so imparted to him as to change, or constitute his moral character. Imputation never changes the inward, subjective state of the person to whom the imputation is made. When sin is imputed to a man he is not made sinful; when the zeal of Phinehas was imputed to him, he was not made zealous. When you impute theft to a man, you do not make him a thief. When you impute goodness to a man, you do not make him good. So when righteousness is imputed to the believer, he does not thereby become subjectively righteous. If the righteousness be adequate, and if the imputation be made on adequate grounds and by competent authority, the person to whom the imputation is made has the right to be treated as righteous. And, therefore, in the forensic, although not in the moral or subjective sense, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ does make the sinner righteous. That is, it gives him a right to the full pardon of all his sins and a claim in justice to eternal life.

~Charles Hodge~


Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 144–145. Free PDF | $2.99 Kindle Version

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John Calvin – The Medicine Doesn’t Feed The Disease

16 Apr

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What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? – Romans 6:1-2

Paul proceeds carefully to disprove the propounded slander. He, however, first rejects it by an indignant negative, in order to impress it on the minds of his readers, that nothing can be more inconsistent than that the grace of Christ, the repairer of our righteousness, should nourish our vices.

Who have died to sin, &c. An argument derived from what is of an opposite character. “He who sins certainly lives to sin; we have died to sin through the grace of Christ; then it is false, that what abolishes sin gives vigour to it.” The state of the case is really this,—that the faithful are never reconciled to God without the gift of regeneration; nay, we are for this end justified,—that we may afterwards serve God in holiness of life. Christ indeed does not cleanse us by his blood, nor render God propitious to us by his expiation, in any other way than by making us partakers of his Spirit, who renews us to a holy life. It would then be a most strange inversion of the work of God were sin to gather strength on account of the grace which is offered to us in Christ; for medicine is not a feeder of the disease, which it destroys.

~John Calvin~






Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 218–219.

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Thomas Boston – Union With the Unseen Christ

8 Apr
tbost

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

Now, since Christ cannot be seen with our eyes, nor touched with our hands, while he is in heaven and we are on earth, and that he is not known to us but by his word of the gospel, what other way can we unite with him, but believing on this unseen Christ? So that faith is the only mean on our part. And its fitness for this work appears, if ye consider,


(1.) That faith is a self-emptying and creature-emptying grace, throwing off and putting away all those things that might keep the soul at a distance from Christ, Phil. 3:8.

And,
 (2.) It is as much fitted to receive an unseen Christ and salvation, which appears to us only in the word, as the hand to receive what can he received into it. For in the word Christ offers himself and all his salvation to us, which we cannot lay hold of by any bodily action whatsoever; but faith crediting the testimony, consenting to, and resting on the offered Christ, with his salvation, does actually get the same, as sure as there is truth in the word of the gospel.

~Thomas Boston~






The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 1, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 1 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1848), 547-548.

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Thomas Boston – Three Unions In Our Religion

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

There are three mysterious unions in our religion. (1.) The substantial union of the three persons in one Godhead. (2.) The personal union of the divine and human natures in Jesus Christ. (3.) The mystical union betwixt Christ and believers, which is that wherein Christ and believers, are so joined, that they are one Spirit, and one mystical body, 1 Cor. 6:17 and 12:13.





~Thomas Boston~






The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: An Illustration of the Doctrines of the Christian Religion, Part 1, ed. Samuel M‘Millan, vol. 1 (Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1848), 546.

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