Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Puritans’ Category

I have just started to read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in its original unabridged old English style (and with no divisions into chapters). The copy I am reading was given to my grandmother’s sister in 1934 by my great-grandparents. I like the idea of reading a book that almost 80 years ago and four generations ago came into my family. I value that. The book has that old smell of dusty pages. I think reading this book is going to be really enjoyable. The first line is great! So is the first paragraph.

 

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den , and I laid me down in that place to sleep: and, as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I dreamed, and behold, I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I looked, and saw him open the book, and read therein; and, as he read, he wept, and trembled; and, not being able longer to contain, he brake out with a lamentable cry, saying, "What shall I do?"

 

source: John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

We are pilgrims on a journey
We are brothers and sisters on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile, and bear the load.

Read Full Post »

Temptation

Temptations, when we meet them at first, are as the lion that roared upon Samson; but if we overcome them, the next time we see them, we shall find a nest of honey within them.

Encouragement

The milk and honey are beyond this wilderness. God be merciful to you, and grant that you be not slothful to go in to possess the land.

John Bunyan warns against being "settled and rooted" in sin.

This (sermon), for that instant did benumb the sinews of my best delight, and embitter my former pleasures to me; but behold, it lasted not, for before I had well dined, the trouble (conviction) began to go off my mind, and my heart returned to its old course: but oh! How glad was I, that this trouble was gone from me, and that the fire was put out, that I might sin again without control! Wherefore, when I had satisfied nature with my food, I shook the sermon out of my mind, and to my old custom … I returned with great delight.

A work of power by abounding grace

But how it came to pass, I know not; I did from this time forward so leave my swearing, that it was a great wonder to myself to observe it; and whereas before, I knew not how to speak unless I put an oath before, and another behind, to make my words have authority; now, I could, without it, speak better, and with more pleasantness, than ever I could before.

source: Selected quotes from John Bunyan, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

Read Full Post »

Introduction

May he guide us in the ways of faith and obedience, enable us to serve Him while we live, smile upon us when we die, and after death take us to himself. AMEN

Freedom

Christ freed us from the wrath of God, from the devil’s power, by purchase. By a strong hand He delivers us from Satan, just as He delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt by a strong hand.

We are freed from sin, by which I mean the guilt, the defilement and the dominion of sin. … It would not be righteous of God to require payment from Christ, nay, to receive the full satisfaction of Christ, and to require anything from you. AMEN (Both eternal and temporal judgments are removed by the cross although God may still afflict those he pardons but in fatherly discipline not in divine wrath.)

Christ has also freed the believer from the dominion of sin … that dominion was a voluntary, a willing, a free subjection and resignation of ourselves to the motions and services of sin. Then we went down stream, wind, and tide. There was both the power of lust, and lustful inclinations, to carry us: this was the tide, the other was the wind.

We still have the presence of sin, nay, the stirrings and workings of corruptions. These make us to have many a sad heart and wet eye. AMEN Yet Christ has thus far freed us from sin; it shall not have dominion. There may be the turbulence, but not the prevalence of sin.

The Law

Comment: Samuel Bolton argues that obedience to the Law cannot be viewed as part of our bondage. Our bondage was not to obedience and conformity to the Law but rather to the covenant accusations and curses. In fact the Law is part of our freedom and glory and therefore cannot be part of our bondage.

(The Papists) preach obedience as a means to justification; we preach justification as a means to obedience.

The law is subservient to the Gospel. Its purpose is to convince and humble us, and the Gospel is to enable us to fulfil the obedience of the law. The law sends us to the Gospel for our justification; the Gospel sends us to the law to frame our way of life. Our obedience to the law is nothing else but the expression of our thankfulness to God who has freely justified us, that ‘being redeemed, we might serve Him without fear’ (Luke 1.74).

The ends (of the Law) before were for justification and life; now they are for other ends – to glorify God, to dignify the Gospel, to declare our sincerity, to express our thankfulness.

Chastisement of Believers

That which the believer suffers for sin is not penal, arising from vindictive justice, but medicinal, arising from a fatherly love. It is his medicine, not his punishment; his chastisement, not his sentence; his correction, not his condemnation.

God chastises (his people) to make them partakers of his holiness here and of his glory hereafter; and, indeed, to sweeten heaven and glory to them. AMEN

Performance of Duty

But for the godly, God says he will write his laws on the tables of the heart; he will transplant them into the soul; they become the believer’s nature. And then obedience becomes a natural thing, arising from a law within the heart, the godly man’s very nature. From this source springs that abundance of delight in the law which we see throughout Psalm 119. Delight in obedience to God in his law becomes the nature of the man, and so far as that new nature acts, it acts with delight. AMEN AND AMEN

source: Samuel Bolton (c.1645), The True Bounds of Christian Freedom.

Read Full Post »

Joseph Alleine’s Sinner’s Prayer is printed below. The prayer is not a simple quick response to a simple quick gospel presentation. Alleine ensures the unbeliever understands the conversion process. Notice his advice to how the unbeliever should prepare him or herself before the prayer is paryed.

Set apart some time, more than once, to be spent in secret before the Lord – in seeking earnestly His special assistance and gracious acceptance of you – in searching your heart, whether you are sincerely willing to forsake all your sins, and to resign yourself, body and soul, unto God and His service; to serve Him in holiness and righteousness all the days of your life.

Compose your spirit into the most serious frame possible, suitable to a transaction of so high importance. Lay hold on the covenant of God, and rely on His promise of giving grace and strength, by which you may be enabled to perform your promise. Do not trust to your own strength, to the strength of your own resolutions; but take hold on His strength.

Being thus prepared, on some convenient time set apart for the purpose, enter upon the work, and solemnly, as in the presence of the Lord, fall down on your knees and spreading forth your hands towards heaven open your heart to the Lord in these, or the like words:

O most holy God, for the passion of Your Son, I beseech You accept Your poor prodigal now prostrating himself at Your door. I have fallen from You by mine iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousandfold more the child of hell by wicked practice. But of Your infinite grace You have promised mercy to me in Christ, if I will but turn to You with all my heart. Therefore upon the call of Your gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to Your mercy. And because You requirest, as the condition of my peace with You, that I should put away my idols, and be at defiance with all Your enemies, which I acknowledge I have wickedly sided with against You, I here from the bottom of my heart renounce them all, firmly covenanting with You, not to allow myself in any known sin, but conscientiously to use all the means that I know You have prescribed for the death and utter destruction of all my corruptions. And whereas formerly I have inordinately and idolatrously set my affections upon the world, I do here resign my heart to You who madest it, humbly declaring before Your glorious Majesty, that it is the firm resolution of my heart, and that I do unfeignedly desire grace from You, that when You shall call me hereunto, I may practise this my resolution through Your assistance, to forsake all that is dear unto me in this world, rather than to turn from You to the ways of sin; and that I will watch against all its temptations, whether of prosperity or adversity, lest they should withdraw my heart from You. I beseech You also to help me against the temptations of Satan, to whose wicked suggestions I resolve by Your grace never to yield myself a servant. And because my own righteousness is but as filthy rags, I renounce all my confidence therein, and acknowledge that I am of myself a hopeless, helpless, undone creature, without righteousness or strength.

And forasmuch as You have of Your bottomless mercy offered most graciously to me, a wretched sinner, to be again my God through Christ, if I would accept You; I call upon heaven and earth to record this day, that I do here solemnly avouch You for the Lord my God, and with all possible veneration, bowing the neck of my soul under the feet of Your most sacred Majesty, I do here take You the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my portion and chief good, and do give myself, body and soul, to be Your servant, promising and vowing to serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

And since You have appointed the Lord Jesus Christ the only means of coming unto You, I do here solemnly join myself in a marriage covenant to Him.

O Blessed Jesus, I come to You hungry and thirsty, poor and wretched, miserable, blind and naked, a most loathsome polluted wretch, a guilty condemned malefactor, unworthy to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord, much more to be solemnly married to the King of Glory. But such is Your un­paralleled love, I do here with all my power accept You, and do take You for my Head and Husband, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for all times and conditions, to love, honour and obey You before all others, and this to the death. I embrace You in all Your offices. I renounce my own worYouss, and do here avow You to be the Lord my Righteousness. I renounce my own wisdom, and do here take You for my only Guide. I re­nounce my own will, and take Your will for my law.

And since You have told me that I must suffer if I will reign, I do here covenant with You to take my lot, as it falls, with You, and by Your grace assisting to run all hazards with You, verily supposing that neither life nor death shall part between You and me.

And because You have been pleased to give me Your holy laws, as the rule of my life, and the way in which I should walk to Your kingdom, I do here willingly put my neck under Your yoke, and set my shoulder to Your burden; and subscribing to all Your laws as holy, just, and good, I solemnly take them as the rule of my words, thoughts, and actions; promising that though my flesh contradict and rebel, yet I will endeavour to order and govern my whole life to Your direction, and will not allow myself to neglect anything that I know to be my duty.

Only because through the frailty of my flesh, I am subject to many failings, I am bold humbly to request, that unintentional shortcomings, contrary to the settled bent and resolution of my heart, shall not make void this covenant, for so You have said.

Now, Almighty God, Searcher of hearts, You knowest that I make this covenant with You this day, without any known guile or reservation, beseeching You, that if You espiest any flaw or falsehood therein, You wouldst reveal it to me, and help me to do it aright.

And now, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this day forward to look upon as my God and Father, glory be to You for finding out such a way for the recovery of undone sinners. Glory be to You, O God the Son, who have loved me and washed me from my sins in Your own blood, and art now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to You, O God the Holy Ghost, who by the finger of Your almighty power have turned about my heart from sin to God.

O high and holy Jehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, You art now become my covenant Friend, and I through Your infinite grace am become Your covenant servant. Amen, so be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

Read Full Post »

Joseph Alleine discusses his difficulty in trying to convert a person. His solution is to speak the gospel but because he believes in total depravity and effectual calling he also prays a certain way.

… this is yet the more perplexing difficulty, that I am to speak to them that are without spiritual sense. Alas! this is not the least part of man’s misery, that he is dead, dead in trespasses and sins.

Could I bring paradise into view, or represent the kingdom of heaven to as much advantage as the tempter did the kingdoms of the world, and the glory thereof, to our Saviour; or could I un­cover the face of the deep and devouring gulf of Tophet in all its terrors, and open the gates of the infernal furnace; alas, he has no eyes to see it. Could I paint the beauties of holiness or the glory of the Gospel; or could I expose to view the more than diabolical deformity and ugliness of sin; he can no more judge of the loveliness and beauty of the one, and the filthy and hatefulness of the other, than a blind man of colours. He is alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in him because of the blindness of his heart (Eph 6:18). He neither knows nor can know the things of God, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14). His eyes cannot be savingly opened but by con­verting grace (Acts 26:18). He is a child of darkness, and walks in darkness. Yea, the light in him is darkness .

Shall I ring his knell, or read his sentence, or sound in his ear the terrible trump of God’s judgments, that one would think should make both his ears tingle, and strike him into Belshazzar’s fit, even to change his countenance, loose his joints, and make his knees smite one against another? Alas, he perceives me not; he has no ears to hear. Or shall I call up the daughters of music, and sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Yet he will not be stirred. Shall I allure him with the joyful sound, and lovely song, and glad tidings of the Gospel; with the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, and cordials of the divine promises so exceedingly great and precious? It will not affect him savingly unless I could find him ears as well as tell him the news.

What then shall I do? Shall I show him the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; or shall I open the box of spikenard, very precious, that fills the whole house of the universe with its perfume, and hope that the savour of Christ’s ointments and the smell of His garments will attract him? Alas! dead sinners are like the dumb idols; they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not; neither speak they through their throat. They are destitute of spiritual sense and motion.

O Thou all-powerful Jehovah, who workest, and none can hinder Thee, who has the keys of death and hell, pity Thou the dead souls that lie here entombed, and roll away the grave-stone, and say as to the dead body of Lazarus, Come forth. Lighten Thou this darkness, O inaccessible Light, and let the day-spring from on high visit the dark regions of the dead, to whom I speak; for Thou canst open the eye that death itself hash closed. Thou that formedst the ear, canst restore the hearing; say Thou to these ears, Ephphatha, and they shall be opened. Give Thou eyes to see Thy excel­lencies, a taste that may relish Thy sweetness, a scent that may savour Thy ointment, a feeling that may discern the privilege of Thy favour, the burden of Thy wrath, the intolerable weight of unpardoned sin; and give Thy servant order to prophesy to dry bones, and let the effects of this prophecy be as of Thy prophet when he prophesied the valley of dry bones into a living army exceeding great.’

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

Read Full Post »

The author of conversion is the Spirit of God.

If you have no more than you had by your first birth, a good nature, a meek and chaste temper etc., you are a stranger to true conversion. This is a supernatural work.

The efficient cause of conversion is both internal and external.

The internal cause is free grace alone.

God finds nothing in man to turn his heart, but enough to turn his stomach; he finds enough to provoke his loathing, but nothing to excite his love. … What but free grace could move God to love you?

The external cause is the merit and intercession of the blessed Jesus.

He has obtained gifts for the rebellious, and through him it is that God worketh in us that which is well-pleasing in his sight.

The instrument of conversion is personal and real.

The personal instrument is the ministry (of God ordained persons).

The real instrument is the Word.

You that are unconverted, read the Word with diligence; flock to where it is powerfully preached. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the Word. Come from your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees. The sermon does not prosper because it is not watered by prayers and tears, nor covered by meditation.

The final cause or end of conversion is man’s salvation and God’s glory.

The subject of conversion is the elect sinner

And that in all his parts and powers, members and mind. Whom God predestinates, them only he calls (Rom 8:30). None are drawn to Christ by their calling, nor come to him by believing, but his sheep, those whom the Father has given him (Joh 6:37,44). Effectual calling runs parallel with eternal election (2Pe 1:10).

The Mind

Conversion turns the balance of the judgment, so that God and his glory outweigh all carnal and worldly interests. It opens the eyes …

Conversion turns the bias of the will. The intentions of the will are altered. Now the man has new ends and designs. … He does not take holiness as the stomach does loathed medicine, which a man will take rather than die, but as a hungry man does his beloved food. No time passes so sweetly with him, when he is himself, as that which he spends in the exercises of holiness.

Conversion turns the bent of the affections. These all run in a new channel. … The first of his desires is not after gold, but grace. … His joys are changed. … His cares are quite altered.

The Members

These that before were instruments of sin, are now become the holy utensils of Christ’s living temple. He that before dishonoured his body, now possesses his vessel in sanctification …

The eye, that was once a wandering eye, a wanton eye, a haughty, a covetous eye, is now employed, as Mary’s, in weeping over its sins, in beholding God in his works, in reading his Word, or in looking for objects of mercy and opportunities for his service.

The ear …

The head, that was full of worldly designs, is now filled with other matters, and set on the study of God’s will, and the man employs his head, not so much about his gain as about his duty. The thoughts and cares that fill his head are, principally, how he may please God and flee sin.

His heart, that was a sty of filthy lusts, is now become an altar of incense, where the fire of divine love is ever kept burning, and from which the daily sacrifice of prayer and praise, and the sweet incense of holy desires, ejaculations and prayers, are continually ascending.

The mouth …

The objects from which we turn in conversion are sin, Satan, the world, and our own righteousness.

The object to which we turn in conversion is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Every man’s vote is for salvation from suffering, but they do not desire to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved, but still would have their lusts. Indeed, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed, but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand. O be infinitely careful here; your soul depends upon it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes Him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserve. He is willing to have Christ upon any terms; he is willing to have the dominion of Christ as well as deliverance by Christ. He says with Paul, ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ Anything, Lord. He sends the blank for Christ to set down His own conditions.

Source: ‘The Nature of Conversion’ in Joseph Alleine’s Alarm to the Unconverted. Joseph Alleine (8 April 1634 – 17 November 1668) was a nonconformist Puritan pastor.

Read Full Post »

Richard Sibbes warns that for some Christians, due perhaps to disposition and a deep sense of sin, they can become overly depressed and weighed down by their sinfulness. He says that the remedy for this is to remember that “there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us“.

source: Richard Sibbes (1577-1635), The Bruised Reed

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: