Known

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” Psalm 139.1-4

Jesus is willing to love you, knowing everything about you

The Cross of Calvary

“Here we commemorate the greatest and deepest demonstration of true love the world has ever known. For God looked down upon sorrowing, struggling, sinning humanity and was moved with compassion for the contrary, sheep-like creatures He had made. In spite of the tremendous personal cost it would entail to Himself to deliver them from their dilemma He chose deliberately to descend and live amongst them that He might deliver them.incarnation

This meant laying aside His splendor, His position, His prerogatives as the perfect and faultless One. He knew He would be exposed to terrible privation, to ridicule, to false accusations, to rumor, gossip and malicious charges that branded Him as a glutton, drunkard, friend of sinners and even an imposter. It entailed losing His reputation. It would involve physical suffering, mental anguish and spiritual agony.

In short, His coming to earth as the Christ, as Jesus of Nazareth, was a straightforward case of utter self-sacrifice that culminated in the cross of Calvary. The laid-down life, the poured-out blood were the supreme symbols of total selflessness. This was love. This was God. This was divinity in action, delivering men from their own utter selfishness, their own stupidity, their own suicidal instincts as lost sheep unable to help themselves.” – A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

O Jerusalem

Baruch 5:1-9Baruch

5Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on for ever the beauty of the glory from God. 
2 Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting; 
3 for God will show your splendour everywhere under heaven. 
4 For God will give you evermore the name,
‘Righteous Peace, Godly Glory’.


5 Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height;
look towards the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them. 
6 For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne. 
7 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. 
8 The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God’s command. 
9 For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

Calvin’s Institutes

Christianbook.com has the single volume edition of Calvin’s Institutes on sale for $15.99. Years ago I purchased the two volume set by McNeill and Battles and read it through a few times. More recently a good friend sent me the sinlge volume, unabridged, 1845 Beveridge calvintranslation (with the older styled cover) and I do prefer it over the two volume set. A few quotes from Amazon will help explain why one might prefer Bereridge over other editions.

Reformed Christian scholar and theological philosopher Paul Helm:

“Incidentally, if you have the need of a translation of the Institutes, then the reissue of the Beveridge translation (newly published by Hendrickson) may be just the thing. It has new indexes, and has been ‘gently edited’, which means, I hope, only the removal of typos and other detritus. (I have not yet had the chance to check). Beveridge is superior to Battles in sticking closer to the original Latin, and having less intrusive editorial paraphernalia.”

Richard A. Muller, on the two translations (from the preface of The Unaccommodated Calvin):

“I have also consulted the older translations of the Institutes, namely those of Norton, Allen and Beveridge, in view of both the accuracy of those translation and the relationship in which they stand to the older or ‘precritical’ text tradition of Calvin’s original. Both in its apparatus and in its editorial approach to the text, the McNeill-Battles translation suffers from the mentality of the text-critic who hides the original ambience of the text even as he attempts to reveal all its secrets to the modern reader.”

from J.I. Packer in the foreword to A Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes:

“No English translation fully matches Calvin’s Latin; that of the Elizabethan, Thomas Norton, perhaps gets closest; Beveridge gives us Calvin’s feistiness but not always his precision; Battles gives us the precision but not always the punchiness, and fleetness of foot; Allen is smooth and clear, but low-key.”

David Calhoun:

“Let me just say a few words about English translations. The first was Thomas Norton back in the sixteenth century. Calvin was very fortunate with his first English translator. Norton did an exceptionally good job. Very soon after the completion of the Institutes in 1559, which was written in Latin, it was translated by Calvin into French and then quite soon into English. John Allen was the second translator. John Allen and Henry Beveridge were both nineteenth-century translators. The Beveridge translation is still in print. It was until fairly recently anyway. Those are not bad but not very good either. Ford Lewis Battles’ 1960 translation is the one that we are using. Even though it has been criticized some, it is by far the most superior translation that we have at present.”

Joshua Butcher’s Amazon review:

The recent reissue of Beveridge’s 19th century translation of Calvin’s Institutes is a very nice complement to the more comprehensive scholarly edition by McNeil (translated by Battles). If you are trying to decide between the Battles and the Beveridge translation here are a few things to consider.

1. The Battles has extensive editing, which includes a thorough cross-referencing of the pertinent quotations that Calvin refers to, as well as the pertinent Biblical texts and intertextual references. McNeil is a quality editor, but as with any editing, the view of the editor is never without a measure of bias. If you are looking to get a fresh interpretation of Calvin, you try reading the Beveridge first, or skip over the footnotes in the Battles.

2. The Beveridge provides alternative readings based upon the French edition of the Institutes. I’ve found this aspect to be quite interesting. Calvin’s style in French tends to be a bit more expansive and colorful than his Latin.

3. The Beveridge has the benefit of being a one-volume hardback, as opposed to the two-volume hardback of the Battles. The one-volume has a bit more heft to carry around, but you always have the complete work with you if you are out and about.

4. The subject headings are different in the two editions. The Beveridge provides a full sentence overview outline at the beginning of each chapter division, whereas the Battles provides subheadings for each minor section. There are pros and cons to each approach, of course.

Whatever edition you decide to get, you will not be disappointed. Calvin’s Institutes is a masterpiece of Western literature, and one of the most important works of the Christian Church of all time.

This edition has some nice features as well:

– An eight-page, four-color insert on coated stock, including a frontispiece featuring the title page of the original publication and a timeline of the Reformation and of John Calvin’s life

– Two ribbon markers

– Gold foil and embossing

– Linen end sheets

Even if you disagree with Calvin…you should read him. His influence on the church cannot be ignored.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Sin

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is not the absence of sin but the grieving over it which distinguishes the child of God from empty professors”  A.W. Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Faith

silasgrave

“The faith which was once delivered unto the saints,” is not that grace of faith which “is the fruit of the Spirit,” but that doctrine and order of the gospel in which the salvation of God is made known to the saints in the world. This is that “mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, but now is made manifest unto his saints,” and this mystery “is Christ in them the hope of glory.” (Eph. iii. 5; Col. i. 26, 27.) This doctrine of salvation by grace, and the order of the gospel, was delivered unto the saints on the day of Pentecost, when the gospel church was established. The apostles were charged with the authority to teach it to the saints, and to set all the commands of Jesus concerning the church in order, as judges sitting upon thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

All this gospel system is made known to the faith of God’s people. It is not understood by the natural mind, but by an understanding especially given for this purpose. (1 John v. 20; Eph. i. 17-23.) This doctrine of God is spoken of as “the faith of the gospel.” Paul uses the word faith in this sense, as a system of faith, in Romans i. 5; xvi. 26; Gal. i. 23, and in other places. This faith, or doctrine, in which the eternal salvation of the saints is declared and made manifest in the world, is of the utmost importance and value to the saints. It is more than all the world to them. It sets forth and declares “the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”–I Cor. ii. 7.

It declares the ways and wisdom of God in salvation, as contrasted with the ways and wisdom of men. It was once delivered unto the saints in the morning of the gospel dispensation, and it is needful that they earnestly contend for it, for the whole world, and all the influences of the world, are opposed to it.” – Silas Durand

Who Are These Anglicans in TGC?

A quote from the article:cropped-crosses3.jpg

“Many have rediscovered the beauty of Anglican worship and been surprised by the strong Reformation doctrines that permeate the Book of Common Prayer and its Thirty-Nine Articles. The Anglican Reformers of the 16th century were closely linked with the continental Reformers, and Thomas Cranmer—martyr and author of the first Anglican prayer book—was not only greatly influenced by Calvin and Bucer, but also married the niece of Luther’s disciple Osiander.”

Read the rest here.

Detachment, Reconstruction & Purity

mystic

When I preach, I usually speak of detachment and say that a man should be empty of self and all things; and secondly, that he should be reconstructed in the simple good that God is; and thirdly, that he should consider the great aristocracy which God has set up in the soul, such that by means of it man may wonderfully attain to God; and fourthly, of the purity of the divine nature. – Meister Eckhart

Back to Basics

IMG_20180429_101655_648.jpg

This morning I attended First Baptist Church in Chatham Ontario. The congregation was founded in 1841 by freed blacks from the Southern United States and was used by John Brown, the man who lead the raid on Harper’s Ferry, to hold meetings. Rumour has it John Brown met with some Prince Hall Freemasons living in the Chatham area to plan the raid but,

“Those who feed on rumours are small, suspicious souls.” Charles R. Swindoll

There does seem to be some truth to the rumour, at least about Prince Hall Masons being blogger-image-712569089prominent or founding members of First Baptist, in my research for the Lodge I found some evidence that Brothers from St. John’s Lodge No. 9 laid the cornerstone to the old and new buildings, but I digress.

Attending Anglican worship services for the last while I didn’t realize how much I missed the energy found in Baptist congregations. People were in and out, greeting one another, sharing a kind word and encouraging each other to love Jesus. In the Anglican parish I’ve been attending the name of Jesus seems to be revered for the Priest and layreaders. The Book of Common Prayer service is said, not sung, so that means no singing.

IMG_20180429_123951_210.jpg

I really missed congregational singing!

At the end of the service a couple stood up and gave a short testimony of Jesus in their lives and how, after 55 years of service at First Baptist, they had to step down. Can you believe it…55 years! What a testimony.As much as I enjoy Anglican worship, I have to admit, I really, really miss the simple heartfelt Baptist service.

Yours in the Lord – jm

Mourning the Departed

Image result for wisdom of sirach

I’ve posted this before but I thought it may be of some use to my brothers and sisters who have trouble grieving.
“My son, let tears fall down over the dead, and begin to lament, as if thou hadst suffered great harm thyself; and then cover his body according to the custom, and neglect not his burial.

Weep bitterly, and make great moan, and use lamentation, as he is worthy, and that a day or two, lest thou be evil spoken of: and then comfort thyself for thy heaviness.

For of heaviness cometh death, and the heaviness of the heart breaketh strength. In affliction also sorrow remaineth: and the life of the poor is the curse of the heart.

Take no heaviness to heart: drive it away, and member the last end. Forget it not, for there is no turning again: thou shalt not do him good, but hurt thyself. Remember my judgment: for thine also shall be so; yesterday for me, and to day for thee. When the dead is at rest, let his remembrance rest; and be comforted for him, when his Spirit is departed from him.” Ecclesiasticus (Wisdom of Sirach) Chapter 38.16-23 Authorized King James Version

From The Orthodox Study Bible, “Proper mourning for the dead is essential to the healing of our grief. An honorable burial for the departed was considered a great work of mercy in the ancient Church. Each parish had its volunteers who washed and dressed the body, making preparation for burial. We are warned not to allow our hearts to be grief-stricken (v.18) so grief overpowers us, for some have even died from grief. Thus, St. Paul says we grieve, but not as those “who have no hope” (1 Th. 4:13) (END QUOTE)

John Gill on 1 Th. 4.13, “the apostle’s view is not to encourage and establish a stoical apathy, a stupid indolence, and a brutal insensibility, which are contrary to the make of human nature, to the practice of the saints, and even of Christ and his apostles, and our apostle himself; but to forbid excessive and immoderate sorrow, and all the extravagant forms of it the Gentiles ran into; who having no notion of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, had no hope of ever seeing their friends more,

but looked upon them as entirely lost,

as no longer in being,

and never more to be met with, seen, and enjoyed;

this drove them to extravagant actions, furious transports, and downright madness; as to throw off their clothes, pluck off their hair, tear their flesh, cut themselves, and make baldness between their eyes for the dead; see Deuteronomy 14:1 practices forbidden the Jews, and which very ill become Christians, that believe the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead:

the words are to be understood not of other Christians, who have no hope of the eternal welfare of their deceased friends; not but that the sorrow of those who have a good hope of the future Well being of their dear relatives, must and ought to be greatly different from that of others, who have no hope at all: it is observed by the Jews on those words in Genesis 23:2 and “Abraham came to mourn for Sarah”

“it is not said to weep for Sarah, but to mourn for her; “for such a woman as this, it is not fit to weep”, after her soul is joined in the bundle of life, but to mourn for her, and do her great honour at her funeral; though because it is not possible that a man should not weep for his dead, it is said at the end, “and to weep for her”:’

but here the words are to be understood of the other Gentiles that were in a state of nature and unregeneracy, who had no knowledge of the resurrection of the dead, or and hope of a future state, and of enjoying their friends in it: they are called οι λοιποι, “the rest”; and the Syriac version renders it, “other men”. (END QUOTE)

Grieve passionately for a time but keep in mind the hope we have in Christ.

Yours in the Lord,

jm