True Zeal has Much Self-Denial in It

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), Works, p. 574:

Zeal is a vehemency of affection in any earnest pursuit, or opposition of a thing; and to make it good, it must not only be fixed upon a commendable and good object, but must run in the right channel, between the banks of moderation, charity, and sobriety. If it overflows these, certainly that excess proceeds not simply and purely from the love of God, or the truth, but from some latent corruption or lust in our members, which takes occasion to swell up with it. I find in scripture the true zeal of God hath much self-denial in it. It is not exercised so much concerning a man’s own matters, as concerning the matters that are purely and merely concerning God’s glory. It is the most flexible, condescending, and forbearing thing in those things that relate to ourselves and our own interests. Thus Moses is commended as the meekest man, when Aaron and Miriam raise sedition against him, Num. 12:3. He had not affections to be commoved upon that account. But how much is he stirred and provoked upon the apprehension of the manifest dishonour of God, by the people’s idolatry? How many are lions in their own cause, and in God’s as simple and blunt as lambs? And how much will our spirits be commoved when our own interest lies in the business, and hath some conjunction with God’s interest; but if these are parted, our fervour abates, and our heat cools? I lay down this, then, as the fundamental principle of true zeal: it is like charity that seeketh not its own things.

Source:, Comment 1


The Father of the English Bible

at Credo Magazine:

William Tyndale (1494-1536) dedicated his life to the translation of the Bible into English. It was the pioneering efforts of Bible-translators like Tyndale, along with the martyr-fires of those such as Ridley and Latimer, of Lady Jane Grey and Anne Askew that helped transform England into a Protestant nation. Born into an important family in the west of Gloucestershire, Tyndale studied at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge between 1510 and 1521. As Cambridge was teeming with Lutheran ideas at the time, Tyndale may have then adopted his Protestant convictions. He later complained that the universities taught heathen studies while neglecting serious study of Scripture until most had lost their appetite to understand such spiritual truth. After his time at university Tyndale was ordained at some point…

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Pictet on the marks of Divine Inspiration

“Now the attentive inquirer will find the following marks or characters of the divine origin of any writing.
1. To speak nothing but the truth.
2. To reveal those mysteries, which cannot proceed from the human mind, which yet are in strict harmony with the natural ideas God has impressed on the mind.
3. To direct our thoughts and our worship wholly to the true God.
4. So to instruct the mind, as to satisfy and set at rest the most insatiable desire after knowledge.
5. To teach men by the most holy precepts to love God above all things, and to renounce every species of iniquity.
6. To be always consistent with itself, and to exhibit no contradiction.
7. To teach those things, which calm all the passions of the mind, and fill it with indescribable peace and joy, bringing it into such subjection, that it is compelled under a sweet, yet most powerful influence, to obey the laws of God.
8. To predict those things, which no human being could foreknow, and which were fulfilled in due time. If the book in which all these characters exist, is not divine, I know not what can be divine.”

– Benedict Pictet – “Christian Theology”

Source:, comment 1

The Decree of Preterition


IV.—On the contrary, reprobation denotes either (1) God’s eternal preterition of some men, when He chose others to glory, and His predestination of them to fill up the measure of their iniquities and then to receive the just punishment of their crimes, even “destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” This is the primary, most obvious and most frequent sense in which the word is used. It may likewise signify (2) God’s forbearing to call by His grace those whom He hath thus ordained to condemnation, but this is only a temporary preterition, and a consequence of that which was from eternity. (3) And, lastly, the word may be taken in another sense as denoting God’s refusal to grant to some nations the light of the Gospel revelation. This may be considered as a kind of national reprobation, which yet does not imply that every individual person who lives in such a country must therefore unavoidably perish for ever, any more than that every individual who lives in a land called Christian is therefore in a state of salvation. There are, no doubt, elect persons among the former as well as reprobate ones among the latter. By a very little attention to the context any reader may easily discover in which of these several senses the words elect and reprobate are used whenever they occur in Scripture.

We distinguish between preterition, or bare non-election, which is a purely negative thing, and condemnation, or appointment to punishment: the will of God was the cause of the former, the sins of the non-elect are the reason of the latter. Though God determined to leave, and actually does leave, whom He pleases in the spiritual darkness and death of nature, out of which He is under no obligation to deliver them, yet He does not positively condemn any of these merely because He hath not chosen them, but because they have sinned against Him. (See Rom. 1.21-24; Rom. 2.8,9; 2 Thess. 2.12.) Their preterition or noninscription in the book of life is not unjust on the part of God, because out of a world of rebels, equally involved in guilt, God (who might, without any impeachment of His justice, have passed by all, as He did the reprobate angels) was, most unquestionably, at liberty, if it so pleased Him, to extend the sceptre of His clemency to some and to pitch upon whom He would as the objects of it. Nor was this exemption of some any injury to the non-elect, whose case would have been just as bad as it is, even supposing the others had not been chosen at all. Again, the condemnation of the ungodly (for it is under that character alone that they are the subjects of punishment and were ordained to it) is not unjust, seeing it is for sin and only for sin. None are or will be punished but for their iniquities, and all iniquity is properly meritorious of punishment: where, then, is the supposed unmercifulness, tyranny, or injustice of the Divine procedure?
Now, in the matter of election and preterition, God is influenced by no such motives, nor indeed by any exterior inducement or any motive, extra se, out of himself. He does not, for instance, condemn any persons on account of their poverty, but, on the reverse, hath chosen many who are poor in this world (James 2.5). Nor does He condemn any for being rich, for some, even of the mighty and noble, are called by His grace (1 Cor. 1.26). He does not respect any man’s parentage or country, for the elect will be “gathered together from the four winds, from under one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24.31), and He hath redeemed to Himself a select number “out of every kindred and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5.9; 7.9). So far is God from being in any sense a respecter of persons, that in Christ Jesus, there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female (Gal. 3.28). He does not receive one nor reject another merely for coming or not coming under any of these characters. His own sovereign will, and not their external or internal circumstances, was the sole rule by which He proceeded in appointing some to salvation and decreeing to leave others in their sins. So that God is not herein a respecter of their persons, but a respecter of Himself and His own glory.

Source:, comment 2

Thomas Aquinas and Eating Blood

Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Titus:

41. Another objection is that in Acts the apostles commanded to abstain from blood and from things strangled (Acts 15:29). Consequently, it does not seem lawful to partake of such things. And so, all things are not clean to the clean.

I answer that some believe that this commandment should be interpreted literally, but in a mystical sense, so that by blood is understood homicide, and by strangling, the oppression of the poor. And this is good, but it is not the whole truth. Therefore, I say that literally it is a commandment, but we are not obliged to it. For some things are forbidden because they are evil; and these must simply be avoided. But other things are not evil absolutely, but for a time, and these must be observed so long as a reason exists. But the apostles forbade these things, not because they were evil in themselves, because in Matthew the Lord says the opposite (Matt 15:17). The reason behind them was that some had been converted from Judaism and some from paganism; consequently, it was necessary, if one people was to be formed, that one should condescend to another. In this matter the Jews were to be condescended to, because it was abominable to them to eat blood and anything suffocated. Therefore, to maintain peace, the apostles declared that this law was to be observed for that time.

Thomas Aquinas, Super ad Titum, C. 1, L. 4, 41.

Source:, comment 1

When Prayer is Sinful

Augustine (354-430):

For prayer is not righteous except through Christ, whom he sold in his atrocious sin: but the prayer which is not made through Christ, not only cannot blot out sin, but is itself turned into sin.

NPNF1: Vol. VIII, Exposition on the Book Psalms, Psalm 109, §9.

Source:, comment 1

Like the Light of the Sun

Hugh Binning (Practical Sermons), Works, p. 572:

“Let your light” (says Christ) “so shine before men.” What is the shining beauty of Christian light? It is the works of piety, charity, equity, and sobriety. These glorify the Father, and beautify all his children. You may easily conceive what that is, that chiefly commends religion to the ignorant world. Is it not the meekness of Christian wisdom? Is it not this harmless simplicity, that divine-like candour, that shines in every true Christian? Will rigidity, severity, passion, blood, violence, persecution, and such like, ever conciliate the hearts of men? Have such persons any beauty, any light in them, except a scorching consuming light? The light of a good Christian is like the light of the sun, of a sweet, gentle, and refreshing nature, conveying influence to all, doing good to the household of faith. Peter will tell you what that is, that will most engage the hearts of the world, to a reverend esteem of true religion, 1 Pet. 2:12. It is a conversation honest, and void of offence, giving to every one their own due, honouring all men, loving the brotherhood, not using our liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, and not overstretching it, to the loosing of other natural or civil bands. When men see Christianity making us do that really and cheerfully, which even nature itself teacheth all to do, that makes the light of it shining and beautiful.

Source:, Comment 1