Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Portentous Old Parishioner

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Charles Dickens, in his book "Our Mutual Friend," writes of a pastor and his wife traveling for a wedding. At the train station this happens:

"That worthy couple were delayed by a portentous old parishioner of the female gender, who was one of the plagues of their lives, and with whom they bore with most exemplary sweetness and good-humor, notwithstanding her having all infection of absurdity about her, that communicated itself to everything with which, and everybody with whom, she came in contact. She was a member of the Reverend Frank's congregation, and made a point of distinguishing herself in that body by conspicuously weeping at everything, however cheering, said by the Reverend Frank in his public ministration; also by applying to herself the various lamentations of David, and complaining in a personally injured manner (much in arrear of the clerk and the rest of the respondents) that her enemies were digging pitfalls about her, and breaking her with rods of iron. . .This very exacting member of the fold appeared to be endowed with a sixth sense, in regard of knowing when the Reverend Frank Milvey least desired her company, and with promptitude appearing in his little hall. . ."

pp 707-708, Wordsworth Classics Edition

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday Post for Shepherds - Be Certain

"Be certain all the hairs of your 
head are numbered. 
Be certain your good Father 
hath appointed bounds, 
over which the devil dare not look." 
John Bradford, Bradford's Works, Vol 2, page 79

Sunday Post for Shepherds - Remember

"Remember that all you have is at Christ's commandment. Remember He lost more for you than you can lose for Him. Remember you lose not that which is lost for His sake, for you shall find much more here and elsewhere. . .Remember you shall die; and when and where and how you cannot tell." John Bradford, quoted in Five English Reformers by JC Ryle, page 137

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Latimeric Philosophy

"If you will not die eternally, live not worldly." 
Hugh Latimer, English Reformer (1487-1555)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Post for Shepherds - While You Are In This World. . .

"Feed you tenderly, with all diligence, the flock of Christ. Preach truly the Word of God. Love the light, walk in the light, and so be you the children of light while you are in this world, that you may shine in the world to come, bright as the sun, with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." 
From Works, Vol 1 pp 50-57, by Hugh Latimer (1487-1555), 
English Reformer, Bishop, Chaplain, and Martyr

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Be Loving God

"The love of God is required no less than our conversion and the keeping of all the commandments; for the love of God is our true conversion." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, Revell edition, page 164

Take the Trouble

"Pray tell me, what can a man do in the realm of theology and the sacred writings, if he has not even reached the point of knowing what the law and the gospel are, or, if he does know, scorns to observe the distinction? He is bound to mix up everything, heaven with hell and life with death, and will not take the slightest trouble to know about Christ." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, Revell edition, pages 163-164

Get Ready for Grace

"The Diatribe constantly imagines a man who either can do what he is commanded, or at any rate knows that he cannot. But such a man is nowhere to be found. If there were such, then, in truth, either the commanding of impossibilities would be absurd, or the Spirit of Christ would be in vain. But the Scripture sets before us a man who is not only bound, wretched, captive, sick and dead, but who, through the operation of Satan his lord, adds to his other miseries that of blindness, so that he believes himself to be free, happy, possessed of liberty and ability, whole and alive. Satan knows that if men knew their own misery he could keep no man in his kingdom; God could not fail at once to pity and succour wretchedness that knew itself and cried to Him, for God is proclaimed with mighty praise throughout the Scripture as being near the broken-hearted. Thus Isaiah 61 bears witness that Christ was sent 'to preach the gospel to the poor, and to heal the broken-hearted'. Hence, the work of Satan is to hold men so that they do not recognize their wretchedness, but presume that they can do everything that is stated. But the work of Moses the lawgiver is the opposite of this--namely, through the law to lay open to man his own wretchedness so that, by thus breaking him down, and confounding him in his self-knowledge, he may make him ready for grace, and send him to Christ to be saved. Therefore, the function performed by the law is nothing to laugh at, but is most emphatically serious and necessary." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, the Revell editon, pages 161-162

The Blindness of Reason & Impotence of the Law

"So the words of the law are spoken, not to assert the power of the will, but to illuminate the blindness of reason, so that it may see that its own light is nothing, and the power of the will is nothing. 'By the law is knowledge of sin,' says Paul (Rom 3:20). He does not say: abolition, or avoidance, of sin. The entire design and power of the law is just to give knowledge, and that of nothing but sin; not to display or confer any power. This knowledge is not power, nor does it bring power; but it teaches and displays that there is here no power, and great weakness. What can 'knowledge of sin' be, but knowledge of our weakness and badness? He does not say: 'by the law comes knowledge of power or goodness'! All that the law does, on Paul's testimony, is to make sin known. It is from this passage that I derive my answer to you: that by the words of the law man is admonished and taught, not what he can do, but what he ought to do; that is, that he may know his sin, not that he may believe that he has any strength." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, the Revell editon, pages 158-159

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

On Fighting the Fight of Faith

"Let us not run away when it is most time to fight. Remember, none shall be crowned but such as fight manfully; and he that endures to the end shall be saved. You must now turn all your cogitations from the peril you see, and mark by faith what follows the peril, either victory in this world of your enemies, or else a surrender of this life to inherit the everlasting kingdom." - John Hooper, in a letter from prison to his friends, three weeks before being burned to death in Gloucester.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

To the Christian Rich - Your Wealth is Gift

"Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them." - Ecclesiastes 9:11-12