Archive for the ‘Puritans’ Category

Edward Dering’s prayer for a gospel-centered, sin-hating, Christ-focused, Spirit-empowered Christian life

The following was written by Edward Dering, an English Puritan who lives from 1540-1576, as a prayer containing the sum and effect of the catechism he had written for the people of God (maybe I can post that catechism at a later date?). It is a beautiful summary of the Christian experience. Pray it today, and often!

O merciful and heavenly Father, since at every light occasion, I am withdrawn from your holy laws, to the vanities of this life, unto all sin and wickedness; I beseech you in mercy set before my eyes always the remembrance of your judgment seat, and my last end: whereby I may be daily stirred up to consider in what great danger I stand, through the horrible punishment due to my sins: that daily groaning under the burden of them, I may fly for succor to your beloved son Jesus Christ, who has fully paid, suffered & overcome the punishment due to them: and through the working of your holy Spirit in me, I may be fully assured in my soul and conscience, that the curse, condemnation, and death which these my sins deserve, is fully paid, suffered, and overcome in Christ, that his righteousness, obedience, and holiness is mine, and whatsoever he has wrought for man’s salvation is wholly mine.

Strengthen this faith in me daily more and more, that I may inwardly feel comfort and consolation in this, that I feel your holy Spirit bear record unto my spirit, that I am your child, grafted into the body of your Son, and made with him fellow heir of your everlasting kingdom. So work in me by your holy Spirit, that daily more and more I may feel sin die in me, that I do not delight therein, but daily may groan under the burden thereof, utterly hate, detest, and loath sin, set myself and all the powers of my soul and body against sin, and have my full delight, joy, comfort, and pleasure in those things which be agreeable to your will, that I may walk as becomes the Children of light, looking still for that good time, which it shall please you to call me to your everlasting kingdom, and joy eternal. This in mercy grant unto me for Jesus Christ’s sake, my only Lord and Savior, Amen.

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Double Your Pleasure

“Pleasure, unalloyed and unending, is God’s purpose for His people in every aspect and activity of their fellowship with Him. ‘In thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Ps. 16:11). I hold the heady doctrine that no pleasures are so frequent or intense as those of the grateful, devoted, single-minded, whole-hearted, self-denying Christian. I maintain that the delights of work and leisure, of friendship and family, of eating and of work and leisure, of friendship and family, of eating and mating, of arts and crafts, of playing and watching games, of finding out and making things, of helping other people, and all the other noble pleasures that life affords, are doubled for the Christian; for, as the cheerful old Puritans used to say (no, sir, that is not a misprint, nor a Fruedian lapse; I mean Puritans – the real, historical Puritans, as distinct from the smug sourpusses of last-century Anglo-American imagination), the Christian tastes God in all his pleasures, and this increases them, whereas for other men pleasure brings with it a sense of hollowness which reduces it.” — J. I. Packer, God Has Spoken, page 8.

SDG,
Ezra

The Balance of the Puritans

Why do modern Christians need the Puritans? J. I. Packer answers that question in the second chapter of his book, A Quest for Godliness. Here’s his first reason, one of my favorite, and the one that has most captured my heart:

“First, there are lessons for us in the integration of their daily lives. As their Christianity was all-embracing, so their living was all of a piece. Nowadays we would call their lifestyle holistic: all awareness, activity, and enjoyment, all ‘use of the creatures’ and development of personal powers and creativity, was integrated in the single purpose of honoring God by appreciating all his gifts and making everything ‘holiness to the Lord.’ There was for them no disjunction between sacred and secular; all creation, as far as they were concerned, was sacred, and all activities, of whatever kind, must be sanctified, that is, done to the glory of God. So, in their heavenly-minded ardour, the Puritans became men and women of order, matter-of-fact and down-to-earth, prayerful, purposeful, practical. Seeing life whole, they integrated contemplation with action, worship with work, labor with rest, love of God with love of neighbor and of self, personal with social identity, and the wide spectrum of relational responsibilities with each other, in a thoroughly conscientious and thought-out way. In this thoroughness they were extreme, that is to say  far more thorough than we are, but in their blending of the whole wide range of Christian duties set forth in Scripture they were eminently balanced. They lived by ‘method’ (we would say, by a rule of life), planning and proportioning their time with care, not so much to keep bad things out as to make sure that they got all good and important things in – necessary wisdom, then as now, for busy people! We today, who tend to live unplanned lives at random in a series of non-communicating compartments and who hence feel swamped and distracted most of the time, could learn much from the Puritans at this point.”

Amen. Lord, help me to be a Puritan. Help me to be balanced as the Bible is balanced.

SDG,
Ezra

What the Puritans Teach Us About Theology

“The Puritans made me aware that all theology is also spirituality, in the sense that it has an influence, good or bad, positive or negative, on its recipients’ relationship or lack of relationship to God. If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both; if it does not encourage the commitment of faith, it reinforces the detachment of unbelief; if it fails to promote humility, it inevitably feeds pride. So one who theologizes in public, whether formally in the pulpit, on the podium or in print, or informally from the armchair, must think hard about the effects his thoughts will have on people – God’s people, and other people. Theologians are called to be the church’s water engineers and sewage officers; it is their job to see that God’s pure truth flows abundantly where it is needed, and to filter out any intrusive pollution that might damage health.” — J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, page 15