Simply Let Them Go

-Beloved, have unity of spirit in prayer...- 1 Peter 3.8

How should one pray? John Tauler answers the question:

Every good person, when he intends to pray, should gather together to himself his external senses and look into his heart and mind to see that they are well focused on God. A person can do this in the highest, lowest, or intermediate manner. and to this end it is good for a person to examine very carefully what is most suitable and what most moves him to proper, true devotion; and let him then make use of his manner of work. But you should realize that whatever good person wants to engage in true, proper prayer, so that his prayer will truly be heard, must have already turned his back on all temporal and external things and on whatever is not divine, whether it be friend or foe, and on all vanity, whether it be clothes or jewels or anything of which God is not the true source. And he must separate his words and actions from all disorder, internal or external.

Often we are caught up in temporal matters and forget to set temporal things aside and focus on God. That has been happening to me over the last year. My study of the scriptures and historic theology became an idol and obscured my view of Jesus Christ and with Christ obscured my prayer life suffered. Pride in my own ability to hash out the deeper meaning of a text or passage left my soul barren and lifeless. Being focused on temporal things, like dispelling doubt or proving to others the truthfulness of the Reformed Confessions, was causing me to doubt and lack faith. The last few months I’ve focused my time on prayer instead of polemics, devotion instead of study, and just as He promised I was graciously brought back to prayer. 

This is how a person should prepare himself for true prayer. This is what St. Peter calls being one of spirit – that the heart and mind are attached completely to God alone, and that a person have the focus of his ground and spirit completely turned to God as present, and have a tender, benevolent attachment to God.

Children, everything we have, after all, we have from God. And how could it ever be otherwise than that we offer back completely everything that we have ever received from him with our interior focus and spirit, undivided and simple, turned toward him. And then one should engage all one’s facilities, interior and exterior, and should carry them up entirely into God.

A warning against ritualism and lack of zeal in prayer:

This is the proper manner of true prayer. And do not imagine that true prayer is when one babbles away outwardly with the mouth, reads the Psalter a lot, keeps vigils often, and fingers a rosary while one’s heart is running hither and yon. You should realize truly: all prayers or actions that hinder your spirit from praying should simply be let go, whatever they might be or be called, or however great or good they might seem, with the sole exception of prayers prescribed for those obliged by order or holy church.  Except for that, simply let go whatever else keeps you from true, essential prayer.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

“A 14th century Dominican, John Tauler was a renowned preacher of the middle ages. Although not as speculative or poetic as some of his contemporaries, Tauler’s sermons are among the noblest, showing his gift for clearly expressing spiritual truths. Inner Way is a collection of his festival sermons. Often called a Christian mystic, Tauler emphasized the “blessed contemplation” of God. However, his emphasis on divine contemplation was always tempered with practical advice for daily Christian living. Inner Way is consequently a true gem. It is historically valuable, spiritually enriching, and ideal for the liturgical season. Many believers–including Martin Luther–have found these sermons engaging and instructive. They are well worth the read.” Tim Perrine CCEL Staff Writer

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The Mystery of Godliness

John Gill’s comments on 1 Timothy 3.16 help to drive home the mystery of the incarnation, of Christ’s holiness and the power of the Gospel to save wretched sinners.

the mystery of godliness,

What follows is so, the incarnation of Christ, his birth of a virgin, the union of the two natures, divine and human, in his person; this is a mystery, which though revealed, and so to be believed, is not to be discerned nor accounted for, nor the modus of it to be comprehended by reason: and it is a great one, next, if not equal, to the doctrine of a trinity of persons in the divine essence; and is a mystery of godliness, which tends to encourage internal and external religion, powerful and practical godliness in all the parts prayerholyand branches of it; and is so beyond all dispute and doubt.

God was manifest in the flesh;

not God essentially considered, or Deity in the abstract, but personally; and not the first nor the third Person; for of neither of them can this or the following things be said; but the second Person, the Word, or Son of God; see ( 1 John 3:8 ) who existed as a divine Person, and as a distinct one from the Father and Spirit, before his incarnation; and which is a proof of his true and proper deity: the Son of God in his divine nature is equally invisible as the Father, but became manifest by the assumption of human nature in a corporeal way, so as to be seen, heard, and felt: and by “flesh” is meant, not that part of the body only, which bears that name, nor the whole body only, but the whole human nature, consisting of a true body and a reasonable soul; so called, partly to denote the frailty of it, and to show that it was not a person, but a nature, Christ assumed; and the clause is added, not so much to distinguish this manifestation of Christ from a spiritual manifestation of him to his people, as in distinction from all other manifestations of him in the Old Testament, in an human form for a time, and in the cloud, both in the tabernacle and temple. This clause is a very apt and full interpretation of the word “Moriah”, the name of the mount in which Jehovah would manifest himself, and be seen, ( Genesis 22:2 Genesis 22:14 ) .

Justified in the Spirit;

either by the Spirit of God, making his human nature pure and holy, and preserving it from original sin and taint; and by descending on him at his baptism, thereby testifying that he was the Son of God; and by the miracles wrought by his power, which proved Jesus to be the Messiah against those that rejected him; and by his coming down upon the apostles at Pentecost; and who in their ministry vindicated him from all the aspersions cast upon him: or else it is to be understood of the divine nature of Christ, in distinction from his flesh or human nature; in the one he was manifest and put to death for the sins of his people, which were put upon him, and bore by him; and by the other he was quickened and declared to be the Son of God; and being raised from the dead, he was justified and acquitted from all the sins of his people, and they were justified in him; he having made full satisfaction to justice for them.

Seen of angels;

meaning not ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, who are sometimes so called; but the blessed spirits, the inhabitants of heaven: by these he was seen at his birth, who then descended and sung praise to God on that account; and in the wilderness, after he had been tempted by Satan, when they ministered unto him; and in the garden upon his agony and sweat there, when one appeared and strengthened him; and at his resurrection from the dead, who rolled away the stone from the sepulchre, and told the women he was risen from the dead; as also at his ascension to heaven, when they attended him thither in triumph; and now in heaven, where they wait upon him, and worship him, and are ministering spirits, sent forth by him to do his pleasure; and he is seen by them the ministry of the Gospel; into the truths of which they look with pleasure, and gaze upon with unutterable delight and admiration; especially those which respect the person and offices of Christ. Some copies read, “seen of men”, but that is implied in the first clause:

preached unto the Gentiles;

the worst of men, and that by the express orders of Christ himself; and which was foretold in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and yet was a mystery, hid from ages and generations past:

believed on in the world;

among the Jews, and in the nations of the world, so that he was preached with success; and faith in Christ is the end of preaching; though this is not of a man’s self, but is the gift of God, and the operation of his power: and it was a marvellous thing, considering the reproach and ignominy Christ lay under, through the scandal of the cross, that he should be believed on as he was. This can be ascribed to nothing else but to the power of God, which went along with the ministry of the word.

Received up into glory;

he was raised from the dead, and had a glory put upon his risen body; he ascended in a glorious manner to heaven, in a cloud, and in chariots of angels, and was received there with a welcome by his Father; and is set down at his right hand, and crowned with glory and honour, and glorified with the glory he had with him before the world was.

Reformation Heritage Study Bible Premium Hardcover

Ok, I’m back…for a minute.

Bought a new Bible and wanted to share some pics of it since I was unable to find any online, except from the publisher and they were not very detailed.

From 2009 until December of 2015 I used a reference Bible only. In December I started reading The Orthodox Study Bible and found the “study notes1” helpful so I decided to go for it and get the Reformation Heritage Study Bible. The regular hardcover, IMO, looked a little tacky and I wanted just a plain jane cover. The black hardcover was listed as “Premium” for a few bucks more so I took a chance and ordered it.

Why hardcover?

The first two “leather” Bibles I purchased were bonded and felt worse in the hand than any of the high quality imitation leather covers I had seen on the market. After looking around online I ordered a Bible through Trinitarian Bible Society, printed by Cambridge, but straight out of the box the text block had pulled away from the cover. I didn’t complain, just sucked it up, TBS is a good organization worth supporting. It has lasted me seven years so I guess the issue is just cosmetic. When the Westminster Reference Bible was released from TBS I ordered the hardcover and came to prefer it over the limp leather or paperback bindings. The price was also a lot better which means I could save the money for more theological and devotional works. I am still happy with my Westminster Reference Bible and will continue to use it but I wanted a few notes to aid my study when I’m talking with folks at the coffee shop.

Google provided me with a few reviews for the Reformation Heritage Study Bible but nothing for the “Premium” hardcover so I thought I would post a few pictures so folks can see how nice it really is. I am not disappointed and highly recommend the Premium edition. This Bible is substantial with just over 2200 pages, and has a good Smyth sewn binding with heavy cover boards. Compared to the Westminster it is much better bound and the boards are thicker, with a leather look and feel, as well as gold gilding on the pages. The paper seems fine to me by the way. That’s all I’m going to say about the looks of the Bible since, for me, the Bible must be functional and durable rather than pur-tee.

The Notes

The real meat and potatoes can be found in the notes. The notes are taken from the works of the Puritans as well as modern Reformed Christians who have been influenced by Puritanism. The editors of the Reformation Heritage Bible have mined the works of William Ames, Geoff Banister, Charles Barrett, Brian Borgman, Wilhelmus A Brakel, Anthony Burgess, John Calvin, Stephen Charnock, Jonathan Edwards, Christopher Love, John Owen, William Perkins, Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, etc.  to provide us with a study Bible that is theological deep as well as practical. With this Bible you won’t have to worry about any modern controversies, modern textual criticism, etc. just time tested exegetical wisdom from solidly biblical Christians. The back of the Bible contains articles, creeds and confessions along with introductions, theological articles and practical questions for rumination. This Bible will help you anchor your biblical faith in the historical church.

Details From the publisher.

Product Description

A Study Bible to Feed Your Soul . . .

Thoughts for personal and family devotions for every chapter
Three dozen articles on how to live the Christian life
Guidance on how to experience the truths of the Bible

A Study Bible to Instruct Your Mind . . .

Thousands of study notes with integrated cross-references
Introductions to each section and every book of the Bible
Classic Bible text with explanations of difficult words
More than fifty articles on key Christian teachings
Concordance, color maps, daily reading plan, and more!

A Study Bible to Discover Your Roots . . .

Overview of twenty centuries of church history
Ancient creeds, confessions, and catechisms with introductions

Specifications

Size: 6 ½ x 9 ¼

Page Font:

Bible: 9.8 pt. Minion Font

Notes: 8 pt. Myriad SemiCondensed Font

All Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bibles are Smyth Sewn for lasting durability. These editions of The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible are being printed by Jongbloed, a Dutch printer reputed as the world’s finest publisher of Bibles.

With the purchase of the Bible, you will receive a free access code to create an account at http://www.holybible.com. This will allow access to all the study notes from the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible online.

Each Bible is packaged in an elegant presentation box.

Smyth Sewn bindings use thread to sew through folded signatures of a book. Signatures are made by printing on large sheets and then folding into groups of pages, usually 16 or 24 at a time. Each signature is sewn individually with threads going through each page several times. The threads are then tied off. All of the signatures are likewise attached together with thread creating what is called the book block. The book block is further strengthened using flannel and adhesive on the spine.

Editors

General Editor: Joel R. Beeke is pres­i­dent and Pro­fes­sor of Sys­tem­atic The­ol­ogy and Homilet­ics at Puritan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary, a pas­tor of the Her­itage Nether­lands Reformed Con­gre­ga­tion in Grand Rapids, Michi­gan, edi­tor of Ban­ner of Sov­er­eign Grace Truth, edi­to­r­ial direc­tor of Ref­or­ma­tion Her­itage Books, pres­i­dent of Inher­i­tance Pub­lish­ers, and vice-president of the Dutch Reformed Trans­la­tion Soci­ety.

Old Testament Editor: Michael Barrett is Aca­d­e­mic Dean and Pro­fes­sor of Old Tes­ta­ment at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He is a min­is­ter in the Free Pres­by­ter­ian Church of North Amer­ica. For­merly, Dr. Bar­rett served as pres­i­dent of Geneva Reformed Sem­i­nary. For almost thirty years, he was pro­fes­sor of Ancient Lan­guages and Old Tes­ta­ment The­ol­ogy and Inter­pre­ta­tion at Bob Jones Uni­ver­sity.

New Testament Editor: Gerald Bilkes is Pro­fes­sor of New Tes­ta­ment and Bib­li­cal The­ol­ogy at Puri­tan Reformed The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He com­pleted a PhD (2002) from Prince­ton The­o­log­i­cal Sem­i­nary. He was recip­i­ent of the United States Infor­ma­tion Agency Fel­low­ship at the Albright Insti­tute (ASOR) in Jerusalem dur­ing the 1997–1998 year.

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1) not really study notes but Eastern Orthodox opinions on the text…but anyway

Union with Christ

philpotYou will observe, then, that when the apostle speaks of these Corinthian believers as being “in Christ Jesus, ” he intends thereby to set forth their personal standing in the Son of God under two distinct points of view:

1. As originating in eternity;

2. As taking place in time. In other words, every believer has a twofold union with Christ; one from all eternity, which we may call, an eternal, or election-union; the other in time, through the Spirit s operation in his heart, which we may call a time, or regeneration-union. Let us attempt to unfold these two kinds of union separately.

1. Every soul, then, that ever had, has now, or ever will have a standing in Christ, had this standing in Him from all eternity. Just in the same way as the vine, according to the Lord s own figure, puts forth the branches out of the stem; not a single branch comes out of the stock but what previously was in the stock: so, not a single soul comes manifestatively into spiritual existence which had not first an invisible and eternal union with the Son of God. This eternal, immanent, and invisible union with the Person of Christ, God blessed his people with before all worlds, by his eternal purpose, and according to his own eternal counsel.

2. Now, out of this eternal and immanent union springs the second union that we have spoken of, which is a time union -a union in grace: a vital union betwixt a living soul and a living Head. Until the Lord quickens elect vessels of mercy they have eternal union, but they have not time union. Their eternal union never can be altered: that never can be dissolved: that accompanies them all through their unregenerate state: but their vital, spiritual, and experimental union takes place in time, through the teaching, and under the operations of the blessed Spirit.

But what a mercy it is for God’s people that before they have a vital union with Christ, before they are grafted into him experimentally, they have an eternal, immanent union with him before all worlds. It is this eternal union that brings them into time existence. It is by virtue of this eternal union that they come into the world at such a time, at such a place, from such parents, under such circumstances, as God has appointed. It is by virtue of this eternal union that the circumstances of their time-state are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union they are preserved in Christ before they are called; they cannot die till God has brought about a vital union with Christ. Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land, fall they will not, fall they cannot, till God s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of his love. Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood, watched over them till the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to his eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory.

But this time union, this vital, experimental union, we may speak of also under two distinct points of view.

– J. C. Philpot

Psalms 51

roberthawkerREFLECTIONS on Psalm 51 from Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary:

READER! let you and I look at this man after God’s own heart, and tremble in the recollection of what man is in his highest attainments, if left for one moment void of grace. Oh! what an important truth it is, and must be, to be impressed upon the mind, that our poor fallen nature is the same in all men: there is, there can be no difference: a corrupt stock must produce a corrupt generation; and this in an endless succession from father to son. And that the seeds of sin do not produce an equal degree of blossom and fruit in all men, doth not arise from any difference in our nature, but from the preventing and restraining grace of God. Oh! how blessed is it to see this and to be convinced of it, that we may not only ascribe all the praise where that praise is alone due, but also may walk with such holy fear and caution, amidst the numberless temptations arising both from our own nature and the dangers everywhere around, as to be always on the watch-tower, and while we think we stand, to take heed lest we fall. And above all, to be forever looking up for grace from above, knowing that they that are kept are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Reader, let us not dismiss the contemplation of a subject in which we are so highly interested, without gathering from the review, under divine teaching, another improvement, namely, that as the best of men are but men, and cannot keep themselves from falling; so when, from the strength of temptation without, and the weakness of our own powers within, we are at any time overtaken in a fault, it is well to be convinced that no exertions of our own can restore us to the divine favour. David knew this and therefore, in another of his Psalms, gives the glory to God for his recovery by grace. “Thou restorest my soul (saith he) thou leadest me in the paths of righteousness, for thy name’s sake.” Hence, therefore, from the Lord let us seek grace, and the renewings of the Holy Ghost, to raise us up when fallen, and to restore to our souls the light of his countenance.

And lastly, and above all, let us remember, and everlastingly keep in view, that all our pardons, all our recoveries after backslidings, our perseverance in grace, our final preservation to God’s kingdom, as well as our first awakenings from sin; all and everyone is the sole result of God’s covenant love in Christ, and the merits of his blood and righteousness. Yes! thou precious, blessed Jesus, thou who art the Lord our righteousness! it is thy Father’s merciful engagement to thee, and the efficacy of thy obedience and death, which become the everlasting cause and security of all our mercies. God is a pardoning God to all thy redeemed, because there is an everlasting acceptableness in thy Person and thy work, notwithstanding our manifold departures, backslidings, and sins. And though those departures wound our souls, though those backslidings daily testify our poor corrupt nature, though those sins plead against us, and Satan is ready to accuse; yet, precious Jesus, thy blood is a speaking blood, and speaketh more for us than all that are against us.

Oh! grant our souls the daily, hourly benefit of thy great salvation! Lord, let this be the continued joy of all thy redeemed, that we have redemption through thy blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of thy grace.

Amen.

A divine religion

philpotBy J. C. Philpot

Our great desire for ourselves in personal experience and in all that we bring before our readers, either as written by our own pen or that of others, is a faith which stands not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. We dearly love vital religion; we embrace, with all the affections of our heart, the power of God, as put forth in a sinner’s soul; we see more and more the deceitfulness and hypocrisy of a religion in the letter and in the flesh, and we see more and more the beauty and blessedness, the grace and glory of a revealed Christ, and of his divine kingdom set up in the heart. Husks and shells are all that the letter gives. Marrow, fatness, honey, milk, wine, yes, more, the very flesh and blood of the Lamb—this heavenly food in the eating and drinking of which is eternal life, the Holy Spirit gives to the hungry and thirsty saints of God, when he applies the living word with a divine power to their hearts.

Get, dear friends, a taste of the sweetness and blessedness of a divine religion, and it will kill you to all other. It will be a light in your understanding, to see the miserable end of a graceless profession; a life in your soul, to stir you up to seek more and more of the inward kingdom of God; a power in your affections, to fix them more on things above; and feeling in your conscience, to depart more and more from evil.

Honey Out of the Rock

Let sin break your heart, but not your hope in the gospel. – Thomas Wilcox

…just wanted to draw your attention to a short, free epub written by Thomas Wilcox found on Monergism Books.

psalm

A short Biography provided by Monergism.com:

Thomas Wilcox was born in August, 1621 at Lyndon, Rutland, and probably was well educated. He was a Particular Baptist elder of a small congregation, which met at his house in London before the Plague. In those days of persecution, he was known for moderation, and preached frequently among the Presbyterians and independents. He was imprisoned in Newgate more than once, and suffered much for the sake of Nonconformity. After 1665, he pastored a Particular Baptist church, whose meeting-house was a small wooden building in Three Cranes Alley, Tooley Street in the Borough of Southwark. He labored lovingly, with pen as well as tongue, until his death on May 17, 1687 at the age of 65, leaving a widow and three children.

Wilcox’s well-known tract, “A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ,” often reprinted, and also translated, was much used of God. In the early 18th century there lived in central Finland a farmer named Paavo Ruotsalainen; here in the wilderness of Savo he had no other schooling apart from attending confirmation classes, but he loved reading, and in his early years was given a Bible, a very rare gift in those days; he had read it through three times by the time he was sixteen. For a long time he was unable to find peace for his soul, so much so that his family feared for his mind. Then Willcox ’s tract came his way,and showed him the one thing needful. Also he heard of a smith who might help him, and having found him, he was given the news that Christ would make himself known to him, a needy sinner; and it was but a short time before the Lord granted peace.

Soon we find that Ruotsalainen was going about preaching; it is estimated that if all of his journeys were added together,it would amount to a voyage around the world, and all the time he was a farmer needing to attend to his fields, and making most journeys by foot. He found that communion with Christ is not only made a reality to those alone who recognize their own wretchedness, but also that only by the same acknowledgement can this communion be maintained. For many, the sweet sensations of forgiveness are experienced solely in the early stages of conversion. One of his much quoted statements goes like this: “You started on your way with honey, but now have pitch and tar for food.” He feared a false security based on a dead faith. Only in the school of the cross is grace given; only the re, is the Christian assured of his salvation.

In his old well-thumbed Bible, preserved in Aholans aari, the farm in Nilsia where he spent the last years of his life, he had someone write the following words: “In this book lies the secret and kernel of the whole of life, and no one, neither the good nor the clever, can know or understand this great and precious secret, when his eyes have not been opened to his own wretchedness.” Taught thus by the Lord, he thought deeply and knew well what was in the heart of man. He became the Huntington of Finland. Many valued his counsel, and he saw the Lord raise up a generation of preachers, and many communities of the Lord’s people gathered as a result of his ministry; and so much stemmed in the first place, under God’s blessing to the reading of “A Choice Drop of Honey from the Rock Christ.” We now send forth his tract, which was recommend ed by William Romaine in his day, desiring the Lord’s rich blessing upon it. [end quote]

A few pithy quotes:

“Apply what you will besides the blood of Christ, it will poison the sore.”

“All temptations, Satan’s advantages, and our complainings, are laid in self-righteousness, and self-excellency.”

“Whatever comes in when you go to God for acceptance, besides Christ, call it anti-Christ; bid it begone…”

“Christ alone did tread the winepress, and there was none with Him, Isa. 63:3”

“You complain much of yourself. Does your sin make you look more at Christ, less at yourself? That is right, or else complaining is but hypocrisy.”

“In all your temptations be not discouraged Jam1:2.Those surges may be not to break you but to heave you off yourself upon theRock Christ.”

“…Christ is our temple, sacrifice, altar, high priest, to whom none must come but sinners, and that without any offering, but His own blood once offered, Hebrews 7:27.”

“When you mourn for sin, if you do not see Christ then, away with it, Zech. 12:10.”

Holy Resolutions

sibbesRichard Sibbes;

“Let us then bring our hearts to holy resolutions, and set ourselves upon that which is good, and against that which is ill, in ourselves or others, according to our callings, with this encouragement, that Christ’s grace and power will go along with us. What would have become of that great work of reformation of religion in the latter spring of the gospel if men had not been armed with invincible courage to overcome all hindrances, with this faith, that the cause was Christ’s, and that he would not fail to help his own cause? Luther ingenuously confessed that he often acted inconsiderately and moved by various passions. But when he acknowledged this, God did not condemn him for his errors, but, the cause being God’s, and his aims being holy, to promote the truth, and being a mighty man in prayer, and strong in faith, God by him kindled that fire which all the world shall never be able to quench. According to our faith, so is our encouragement to all duties, therefore let us strengthen faith, so that it may strengthen all other graces. The very belief that faith shall be victorious is a means to make it so indeed. Believe it, therefore, that, though it is often as smoking flax, yet it shall prevail. If it prevails with God himself in trials, shall it not prevail over all other opposition? Let us wait a while, `stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD’ (Exod. 14:13).

The Lord reveal himself more and more to us in the face of his Son Jesus Christ and magnify the power of his grace in cherishing those beginnings of grace in the midst of our corruptions, and sanctify the consideration of our own infirmities to humble us, and of his tender mercy to encourage us. And may he persuade us that, since he has taken us into the covenant of grace, he will not cast us off for those corruptions which, as they grieve his Spirit, so they make us vile in our own eyes. And because Satan labors to obscure the glory of his mercy and hinder our comfort by discouragements, the Lord add this to the rest of his mercies, that, since he is so gracious to those that yield to his government, we may make the right use of this grace, and not lose any portion of comfort that is laid up for us in Christ. And may he grant that the prevailing power of his Spirit in us should be an evidence of the truth of grace begun, and a pledge of final victory, at that time when he will be all in all, in all his, for all eternity.”

Amen.

God’s Sovereigny and Prayer

John Gill, “…it should be said that God’s will is immutable, and cannot be altered by our crying. When the mind of God is not toward a people to do them good, it cannot be turned to them by the most fervent and importunate prayers of those who have the greatest interest in Him—”Then said the Lord unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before Me, yet My mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth” (Jer. 15:1). The prayers of Moses to enter the promised land is a parallel case.

Our views respecting prayer need to be revised and brought into harmony with the teaching of Scripture on the subject. The prevailing idea seems to be, that I come to God and ask Him for something that I want, and that I expect Him to give me that which I have asked. But this is a most dishonoring and degrading conception. The popular belief reduces God to a servant, our servant: doing our bidding, performing our pleasure, granting our desires. No; prayer is a coming to God, telling Him my need, committing my way unto the Lord, and leaving Him to deal with it as seemeth Him best. This makes my will subject to His, instead of, as in the former case, seeking to bring His will into subjection to mine. No prayer is pleasing to God unless the spirit actuating it is, “not my will, but thine be done”.

“When God bestows blessings on a praying people, it is not for the sake of their prayers, as if He was inclined and turned by them; but it is for His own sake, and of His own sovereign will and pleasure. Should it be said, to what purpose then is prayer? it is answered, This is the way and means God has appointed, for the communication of the blessing of His goodness to His people. For though He has purposed, provided, and promised them, yet He will be sought unto, to give them, and it is a duty and privilege to ask. When they are blessed with a spirit of prayer, it forebodes well, and looks as if God intended to bestow the good things asked, which should be asked always with submission to the will of God, saying, Not my will but Thine be done”

Lay Down Your Crown

Be assured, that, if ever you are saved, you must ascribe that salvation entirely to the free grace of God. If, guilty and miserable as you are, you are not only accepted, but crowned, you must “lay down your crown,” with all humble acknowledgment, “before the throne.” (Rev. 4:10.)

“No flesh must glory in his presence; but he that glorieth must glory in the Lord; for of him are we in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:29,30,31) And you must be sensible you are in such a state, as, having none of these in yourself; to need them in another.

You must therefore be sensible that you are ignorant and guilty, polluted and enslaved; or, as our Lord expresses it, with regard to some who were under a Christian profession, that as a sinner “you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul

Quote:

Doddridge’s Theology

Doddridge’s theology can be compared with that of his contemporary, John Gill, whom most scholars believe was a very “high” Calvinist. Doddridge was certainly far “higher” than Gill in his doctrine of election and reprobation but disagreed with Gill on eternal justification, modifying Gill’s view somewhat. He agreed fully, however, with Gill concerning the scope of the atonement as being limited savingly to the elect and that Christ’s death nevertheless provides, indirectly, some non-saving, universal benefits.

Doddridge was freer in his comments on Calvin than most Calvinists, telling his students, “Calvin has a multitude of judicious thoughts; but they are generally intermingled with a great many that are little to the purpose.” This criticism has hurt many Calvinistic commentators who feel that their hero has thus been removed from his pedestal. They retaliate unfairly by pointing out that Doddridge’s theology must have been shaky as a number of his pupils turned liberal. Doddridge maintained an open college and several charity schools for anyone seeking a general education, so he can hardly be blamed if some of those under his care did not honor the gospel. The truth is that anyone looking for metaphysical speculations, theological systems, and philosophical applications in Doddridge’s works will be utterly disappointed. Those who wish for a deeper interest in Christ and are prepared to accept an evangelical and experimental exposition of the good “old-time religion” cannot do better than read Doddridge’s works. {end quote}

Source: Philip Doddridge