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

Christian Soldier

“In the midst of battle, it is easy to get discouraged by the bumps, bruises, and wounds that we suffer. When we see other Christians fail, fall, or pass away, it can be devastating. So, we must be reminded that our Captain has already conquered sin and death. He is risen indeed! His strategies will never fail, and all of His soldiers will triumph. Let us look upward and forward to the time when He will dwell in the midst of His perfected church and will make all things new (Rev. 21:1–4).” Robert VanDoodewaard

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

The Day of the Lord?

When does the “Day of the Lord” take place? What say ye?

dayofthelord

Revelation 6:9-17

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;

16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Redemption all is ours!

“If sinless innocence be theirs, Redemption all is ours.”

“O the riches of the love of God!

The redemption of the soul by the blood of the God-man-mediator is all ours; and the angels cannot even sip it. It is out of the reach of their pure lips and holy hearts; but the Lord, in the riches of his grace, bestows that especial favour, with all the blessings connected with it, upon the objects of his precious choice, of his love, his own love.

Have you, my friends, been brought, as poor sinners, poor broken down sinners, to gadsbybelieve in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Have we been brought to cast our cares upon Christ, to feel a little measure of his love and blood?

O how amazing, then, how wonderfully amazing the feeling, when sometimes we have been drawn up by the power of God the Spirit to behold the glory of the workings of a faith entering into the bosom and the love of the God-man, and saying, “My Lord and my God!”

How amazing!

Reason is confounded; even Unbelief is obliged to skulk away for a moment; but it is such a devil it will soon come again; but it is obliged for a moment to skulk away, while the soul has solemn, sweet, and blessed intercourse with God in Christ Jesus.

To speak of a millionth part of the blessings that God’s people have secured to them, which are causes for thankfulness, we never can. Just let us drop a hint or two, if we can, upon the suggestion, and then leave it.”

William Gadsby

Request for prayer

TBS posted the following prayer request October 19th. Please offer prayer for the Trinitarian Bible Society who remains a consistent witness to the word of God. For many of us Reformed folks who hold to the old Reformed confessions, the Protestant Bible, especially the Authorized Version holds a special place in our churches.

As the Westminster and Second London Baptist Confessions so clearly state,

“immediately inspired by God, and by his singular care and providence kept pure in all ages, are therefore authentic; so as in all controversies of religion, the church is finally to appeal to them.” (article 1:8)

TBS

At the time of writing the Lord has not yet seen fit in His infinite wisdom to send a tenant for the Society’s investment property, John Wycliffe House, after nearly a year of advertising. This matter is becoming an increasing concern because the Society is around £210,000 per annum worse off without a tenant, meaning the Society’s General Fund budget will be significantly impacted in 2019.  We seek your prayers that a suitable tenant may be provided, but if it is not His will to do so that the General Committee and Senior Management would be given much wisdom to know what to do.

In addition, the Society in the UK is facing another significant financial challenge: whereas historically legacy income has averaged around £400,000 per annum, there has been an almost complete absence of legacy income in 2018. Normally this income would have been carried forward and used to support the 2019 budget. This, combined with the matter of John Wycliffe House, has left us with severe challenges in reaching a sustainable budget for 2019. We seek your urgent prayers that the Lord would appear for us financially once again, and also that He would grant much wisdom to the Society’s Trustees and Senior Management.

Effort in the Flesh

burden“In the great majority of cases, professing Christians are too puffed up by a sense of what they suppose they are doing for God, to earnestly study what God has promised to do for and in His people. They are so occupied with their fleshly efforts to “win souls for Christ” that they feel not their own deep need of the Spirit’s anointing. The leaders of “Christian” (?) enterprise are so concerned in multiplying “Christian workers” that quantity, not quality, is the main consideration. How few today recognize that if the number of “missionaries” on the foreign field were increased twenty-fold the next year, that that, of itself, would not ensure the genuine salvation of one additional heathen? Even though every new missionary were “sound in the faith” and preached only “the Truth,” that would not add one iota of spiritual power to the missionary forces, without the Holy Spirit’s unction and blessing! The same principle holds good everywhere. If the orthodox seminaries and the much-advertised Bible institutes turned out 100 times more men than they are now doing, the churches would not be one bit better off than they are, unless God given a fresh outpouring of His Spirit. In like manner, no Sunday School is strengthened by the mere multiplication of its teachers.

O my readers,

face the solemn fact that the greatest lack of all in Christendom today is the absence of the Holy Spirit’s power and blessing. Review the activities of the past 30 years. Millions of dollars have been freely devoted to the support of professed Christian enterprises.

Bible institutes and schools have turned out “trained workers” by the thousands.

Bible conferences have sprung up on every side like mushrooms.

Countless booklets and tracts have been printed and circulated.

Time and labors have been given by an almost incalculable number of “personal workers.” And with what results? 

Has the standard of personal piety advanced? Are the churches less worldly? Are their members more Christ-like in their daily walk? Is there more godliness in the home? Are the children more obedient and respectful? Is the Sabbath Day being increasingly sanctified and kept holy? Has the standard of honesty in business been raised?

The Need:

Those blessed with any spiritual discernment can return but one answer to the above questions. In spite of all the huge sums of money that have been spent, in spite of all the labors which has been put forth, in spite of all the new workers that have been added to the old ones, the spirituality of Christendom is at a far lower ebb today than it was 30 years ago. Numbers of professing Christians have increased, fleshly activities have multiplied, but spiritual power has waned. Why? Because there is a grieved and quenched Spirit in our midst. While His blessing is withheld there can be no improvement. What is needed today is for the saints to get down on their faces before God, cry unto Him in the name of Christ to so work again, that what has grieved His Spirit may be put away, and the channel of blessing once more be opened.

Until the Holy Spirit is again given His rightful place in our hearts, thoughts, and activities, there can be no improvement. Until it be recognized that we are entirely dependent upon His operations for all spiritual blessing, the root of the trouble cannot be reached. Until it be recognized that it is “‘Not by might, (of trained workers), nor by power (of intellectual argument or persuasive appeal), but by MY SPIRIT, says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6), there will be no deliverance from that fleshly zeal which is not according to knowledge, and which is now paralyzing Christendom. Until the Holy Spirit is honored, sought, and counted upon, the present spiritual drought must continue. May it please our gracious God to give the writer messages and prepare the hearts of our readers to receive that which will be to His glory, the furtherance of His cause upon earth, and the good of His dear people.

Brethren, pray for us.”

A. W. Pink