Thomas Watson – Gospel Piety + Moral Equity

21 May

(c. 1620 – 1686) an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

A good Christian makes gospel piety and moral equity kiss each other. Herein some discover their hypocrisy: they will obey God in some things which are more facile, and may raise their repute; but other things they leave undone. “One thing is lacking,” Mark 20:21. Herod would hear John Baptist, but not leave his incest. Some will pray, but not give alms; others will give alms, but not pray. “Ye tithes of mint and annise, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith.” Matt. 22:23. The badger has one foot shorter than the other; so these are shorter in some duties than in others. God likes not such partial servants, who will do some part of the work he sets them about, and leave the other undone.

~Thomas Watson~

 



A Complete Body of Divinity (Vestavia Hills, AL; Solid Ground Christian Books; 2016), 222-223.

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B.B. Warfield – Christ’s Self-Sacrifice and Our’s

5 May
1851-1921. Reformed Theologian in America and Principle of Princeton Seminary in the line of Charles Hodge.

1851-1921. Reformed Theologian in America and Principle of Princeton Seminary in the line of Charles Hodge.

Our self-abnegation is thus not for our own sake, but for the sake of others. And thus it is not to mere self-denial that Christ calls us, but specifically to self-sacrifice: not to unselfing ourselves, but to unselfishing ourselves. Self-denial for its own sake is in its very nature ascetic, monkish. It concentrates our whole attention on self—self-knowledge, self-control—and can therefore eventuate in nothing other than the very apotheosis of selfishness. At best it succeeds only in subjecting the outer self to the inner self, or the lower self to the higher self; and only the more surely falls into the slough of self-seeking, that it partially conceals the selfishness of its goal by refining its ideal of self and excluding its grosser and more outward elements. Self-denial, then, drives to the cloister; narrows and contracts the soul; murders within us all innocent desires, dries up all the springs of sympathy, and nurses and coddles our self-importance until we grow so great in our own esteem as to be careless of the trials and sufferings, the joys and aspirations, the strivings and failures and successes of our fellow-men. Self-denial, thus understood, will make us cold, hard, unsympathetic,—proud, arrogant, self-esteeming,—fanatical, overbearing, cruel. It may make monks and Stoics,—it cannot make Christians.

It is not to this that Christ’s example calls us. He did not cultivate self, even His divine self: He took no account of self. He was not led by His divine impulse out of the world, driven back into the recesses of His own soul to brood morbidly over His own needs, until to gain His own seemed worth all sacrifice to Him. He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others, to sacrifice self once for all upon the altar of sympathy. Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men. Wherever men suffer, there will we be to comfort. Wherever men strive, there will we be to help. Wherever men fail, there will be we to uplift. Wherever men succeed, there will we be to rejoice. Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows: it means absorption in them. It means forgetfulness of self in others. It means entering into every man’s hopes and fears, longings and despairs: it means manysidedness of spirit, multiform activity, multiplicity of sympathies. It means richness of development. It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives,—binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours. It means that all the experiences of men shall smite our souls and shall beat and batter these stubborn hearts of ours into fitness for their heavenly home. It is, after all, then, the path to the highest possible development, by which alone we can be made truly men. Not that we shall undertake it with this end in view. This were to dry up its springs at their source. We cannot be self-consciously self-forgetful, selfishly unselfish. Only, when we humbly walk this path, seeking truly in it not our own things but those of others, we shall find the promise true, that he who loses his life shall find it. Only, when, like Christ, and in loving obedience to His call and example, we take no account of ourselves, but freely give ourselves to others, we shall find, each in his measure, the saying true of himself also: “Wherefore also God hath highly exalted him.” The path of self-sacrifice is the path to glory.


~B.B. Warfield~


“Imitating the Incarnation,” The Person and Work of Christ, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Books, 2950), 574.

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New Book Alert: The Westminster Confession

2 May

A beautiful new copy of the 1646 Westminster Confession of Faith along with the catechisms and related documents has been produced by Banner of Truth. Well done! It is available today from WTS Books: The Westminster Confession


From the Publisher:

“This volume contains the Confession of Faith, the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the other principal documents to come out of the Westminster Assembly. The text is newly typeset, and biblical references are given in full. Later American revisions of the Westminster Confession are included in an appendix.”

About the Westminster Standards:
“On 1 July 1643, the Westminster Assembly of Divines, consisting of many of the foremost theologians of the English and Scottish churches, convened at Westminster Abbey in London. Their task from the English Parliament was ambitious to say the least: to reform the liturgy, discipline, and government of the Church of England; to promote church unity between England, Scotland, and the Continent; and to clarify and revise the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England.

Over the course of five politically tumultuous years, committees of the Assembly met and developed a set of documents that would have significant influence in defining the belief and practice of Presbyterian churches in Britain (especially in Scotland) and indeed the world. The doctrinal framework that the Assembly established in their Confession also provided the foundation of the central creedal documents of the Baptists and Congregationalists that were clarified in the decades following the Assembly.

Although the hoped-for unity between the English and Scottish churches did not materialise, nevertheless the documents produced by the Assembly, and especially the Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms, would become the touchstone for sound doctrine, cherished by generations of Christians as a well-honed summary of biblical truth.”

James Durham – Duty to God and Man

14 Apr

Our Lord Jesus sums up the whole law in these two words, which he calls the two great commandments (Matt. 22:37) — Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself — the two legs that piety and practice walk upon. The one comprehends our duty to God, which runs through all the ten commands, but does more eminently exert itself in the first four, whereof we have spoken. The other contains our duty to our neighbor, which is set down more particularly in the last six commands, whereof we are now to speak. And however many do ignorantly and wickedly look on duty to man as somewhat extrinsic to religion and duty to God, yet both have the same authority, both are put in one sum of the law, both are written on tables of stone with the Lord’s own finger, and put within the ark. And therefore we ought with a proportionable care to enquire what God requires of us as duty to others, as well as to himself; and we should make no less conscience of obedience to the one than to the other.

~James Durham~






A Practical Exposition of the Ten Commandments, (Dallas, TX: Naphtali Press, 2002), 291.

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Book of the Week: 2000 Years of Christ’s Power

5 Jul


2,000 Years of Christ’s Power


Nick Needham’s volumes on church history explain everything that someone new to the subject might not understand. At the same time, they achieve a depth of detail to interest those who already know something of the subject. – Robert Strivens


From the Publisher:

“The first volume of 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power covers the period from the 1st Century AD to the start of the Middle Ages. From the works of Saint Augustine of Hippo to the first apologetic ever penned, this time in history established the foundations of what we take for granted today.

In the second volume of 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power, another side of the Middle Ages shines through though: The continual workings of Christ as He built His kingdom through figures such as Thomas a Kempis and John Wycliffe, who lived and struggled during these centuries. This was far from a period of stagnation; rather it was the fire from which the Reformation was kindled.

The third volume of 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power, in showing the progression of the Reformation era, and the daring bravery of its figures, presents a period of history from which there are many lessons to be learnt – not least of all, the vibrancy of people’s lives and the courage with which they faced death.

The fourth volume of 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power spans from the 16th to the 18th century. It presents a time from which English Protestantism, Scottish Presbyterianism, and French Catholicism, to name only a few, were birthed and refined. Perhaps few eras have had such a direct impact on the characteristics of our own period of history.”

From Dr. Carl Trueman:
“For many years now I have said: if you want a thorough, learned but accessible and well-written history of the church, read Nick Needham’s 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power. Now, with the fourth volume finally available, Christians have an excellent resource for improving their knowledge of the history of their faith. Highly recommended.”


Get the 2,000 Years of Christ’s Power 4-Volume Set on sale for 50% from WTSBooks here.

Also, check out the individual volumes:
Volume 1: The Age of the Early Church Fathers
Volume 2: The Middle Ages
Volume 3: Renaissance and Reform
Volume 4: The Age of Religious Conflict

Augustine – The Heavenly City

3 Jul

st-augustine-of-hippo

Glorious beyond compare is the heavenly city. There, victory is truth, dignity is holiness, peace is happiness, life is eternity.

~Augustine~






The City of God, Books I-VII, Volume 8, The Fathers of the Church, ed. Hermigild Dressler, trans. Demetrius B. Zema and Gerald G. Walsh. (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1950), 127.

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Augustine – Charity, Peace, and Humility

28 Jun

st-augustine-of-hippo

Where there is charity there is peace, and where there is humility there is charity.

~Augustine~








Homilies on the First Epistle of John, The Works of Saint Augustine, ed. Daniel E. Doyle and Thomas Martin, trans. Boniface Ramsey (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2008), 20.

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John Owen: The Holy Spirit and Conviction of Sin

26 Jun

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

The principal efficient cause of this work [conviction of sin] is the Holy Ghost; the preaching of the word, especially of the law, being the instrument which be maketh use of therein. The knowledge of sin is by the law, both the nature, guilt, and curse belonging to it, Rom. 7:7. There is, therefore, no conviction of sin but what consists in an emanation of light, and knowledge from the doctrine of the law, with an evidence of its power and a sense of its curse. Other means, as afflictions, dangers, sicknesses, fears, disappointments, may be made use of to excite, stir up, and put an edge upon the minds and affections of men; yet it is, by one means or other, from the law of God that such a discovery is made of sin unto them, and such a sense of it wrought upon them, as belong unto this work of conviction. But it is the Spirit of God alone that is the principal efficient cause of it, for he works these effects on the minds of men. God takes it upon himself, as his own work, to “reprove men, arid set their sins in order before their eyes,” Ps 50:21. And that this same work is done immediately by the Spirit is expressly declared, John 16:8. He alone it is who makes all means effectual unto this end and purpose. Without his especial and immediate actings on us to this end, we may hear the law preached all the days of our lives and not be once affected with it.

~John Owen~





A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, The Works of John Owen, Volume 3 (ed. William H. Goold, Edinburgh: T&T Clark, n.d.), 351-352.

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John Calvin – All Truth is God’s Truth

23 Jun

john-calvin

As truth is most precious, so all men confess it to be so. And yet, since God alone is the source of all good, you must not doubt, that whatever truth you anywhere meet with, proceeds from Him, unless you would be doubly ungrateful to Him;

~John Calvin~






Letter CCXXXVI.—TO BUCER, Letters of John Calvin, Volume 2 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 198–199.

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Theodore S. Wright – Prejudice and Discouragement

22 Jun

1797-1847. Attended Princeton Theological Seminary. Pastored First Colored Presbyterian Church of New York.

But, sir, this prejudice goes farther. It debars men from heaven. While, sir, this slavery cuts off the colored portion of the community from religious privileges, men are made infidels. What, they demand, is your Christianity? How do you regard your brethren? How do you treat them at the Lord’s table? Where is your consistency in talking about the heathen; traversing the ocean to circulate the Bible everywhere, while you frown upon them at your door? These things meet us, and weigh down our spirits.

~Theodore S. Wright~





The Black Abolitionist Papers Volume III: The United States, 1830-1846 Edited by C. Peter Ripley (Chapel Hill, NC; The University of North Carolina Press, 1991), 185.

The Black Abolitionist Papers, Volumes I-V

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