Archive | September 2018

Why Not Rather Proclaim His Clemency?

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 430:

“It is the Lord, let him do what he pleaseth.” This was enough to quiet the saints in old times. Should he give account of his matters to us? Shall the clay say to the potter, why is it thus? His absolute right by creation maketh him, beyond all exception, do what he pleases; but beside this, he is pleased and condescendeth to reason with us, and give account of his matters, to testify to our conscience that he is righteous in all his ways. It was the ground of Jeremiah’s settling, Lam 3, “It is of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed.” It should have allayed and stayed Job. Know this, thou art punished less than thy iniquities deserve. Who will set a time to plead with him? Shall any be found righteous before him? And this might stop all men’s mouths, and put them in the dust to keep silence; seeing he hath law to do infinitely more than he doth, why should not we rather proclaim his clemency, than argue him so very hard?

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/should-we-not-rather-proclaim-his-clemency.89938/

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Slight Slowdown

Hello blog readers!

You may have noticed that I have been posting less to this blog over the past few weeks.  Posting will be temporarily slowing down for the next little while due to the fact that I am struggling with a health issue that makes it impossible for me to prepare regular posts at this time.  I hope to get back to normal over the next month or so but please bear with me while I work towards that.

Many blessings,

Meg

An Invisible Grip

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 431:

The same power and virtue is required to the preserving of a thing, and the first being of it. Our faith and hope in God is too weak an anchor to abide all storms. Our cords would break, our hands faint and weary, but he is the everlasting God, who faileth not, and wearieth not. He holdeth an invisible grip of us. We are kept by his power unto salvation, and we are kept by his power in peace. “Thy right hand holdeth me,” saith David, and this helpeth me to pursue thee. What maketh believers inexpugnable, impregnable? Is it their strength? No indeed. But “salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.” Almighty power is a strong wall, though invisible, – this power worketh in us and about us.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/he-holdeth-an-invisible-grip-of-us.89943/, Comment 1

Who are the “All Men” Christ Desires to Save?

DTK on the Puritan Board on limited atonement and an early church writer:

Fulgentius, an early church writer, north African bishop, and disciple of Augustine, explains the meaning of God’s will to save all men, namely that it means not all men without exception, but all men without distinction.

Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532): For this reason regarding all those whom God wishes to save, we must understand that we do not think anyone can be saved apart from God who wills it. Further, let us not imagine that the will of the omnipotent God either is not fulfilled or is in any way impeded in certain people. For all whom God wishes to save are unquestionably saved, and they cannot be saved unless God wishes them to be saved, and each person whom God does not will to be saved is not saved, since our God “has done all things that he willed.” Therefore, all are saved whom he wishes to be saved, for this salvation is not born of the human will but is supplied by God’s good will. Nevertheless, these “all men” whom God wishes to save include not the entire human race altogether, but rather the totality of those who are to be saved. So the word “all” is mentioned because the divine kindness saves all kinds from among all men, that is, from every race, status, and age, from every language and every region. In all of these people, this message of our Redeemer is fulfilled where he says, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” Now he did not say this because he draws all men whatsoever, but because no one is saved unless he himself draws him. For he also says: “No one can come to me unless the Father who has sent me draws him.” He also says in another place: “Everything that the Father has given me will come to me.” Therefore, these are all the ones whom God wills to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 126, Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks, Correspondence on Christology and Grace, trans. Bob Roy McGregor and Donald Fairbairn (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013), p. 101. See Epistola XVII in PL 65.
Latin text: Quos omnes homines Deus vult salvos fieri. Per omnes homines non semper totum genus humanum intelligitur.—61. Quocirca illos omnes quos Deus vult salvos fieri, sic intelligere debemus, ut nec aliquem putemus salvum fieri posse nisi voluntate Dei, nec existimemus voluntatem omnipotentis Dei, aut in aliquo non impleri, aut aliquatenus impediri. Omnes enim quos Deus vult salvos fieri, sine dubitatione salvantur, nec possunt salvari, nisi quos Deus vult salvos fieri, nec est quisquam quem Deus salvari velit qui (al. et) non salvetur: quia Deus noster omnia quaecunque voluit fecit. Ipsi omnes utique salvi fiunt, quos omnes vult salvos fieri: quia haec salus non illis ex humana voluntate nascitur, sed ex Dei bona voluntate praestatur. Verumtamen in his omnibus hominibus quos Deus vult salvos facere non totum omnino genus significatur hominum, sed omnium universitas salvandorum. Ideo autem omnes dicti sunt, quia ex omnibus hominibus omnes istos divina bonitas salvat, id est, ex omni gente, conditione, aetate, ex omni lingua, ex omni provincia. In his omnibus ille sermo nostri Redemptoris impletur, quo ait: Cum exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. Quod non ideo dixit, quia omnes omnino trahit, sed quia nemo salvus fit, nisi quem ipse traxerit. Nam et alibi dicit: Nemo potest venire ad me, nisi Pater, qui misit me, traxerit eum. Item alibi: Omne quod dedit mihi Pater ad me veniet.Hi ergo sunt omnes quos vult Deus salvos fieri et ad agnitionem veritatis venire. Epistola XVII, Caput XXXI, §61, PL 65:489.

He goes on to state in the same letter…

Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe (c. 467-532): These are all those on whom God has mercy because they are preceded by his mercy so that they may believe and be freely saved through faith. The fact that they believe does not take its beginning from the human will, but faith is given to the will itself in accordance with the free generosity of the merciful God. Blessed Paul recorded this distinction between different senses of the word “all” (a distinction that a faithful understanding must preserve completely) at one place in his letter so that even when he says “all men” without noting any exceptions, he might still indicate all men of a certain kind while excluding others. Fathers of the Church, Vol. 126, Fulgentius of Ruspe and the Scythian Monks, Correspondence on Christology and Grace, Fulgentius’s First Letter to the Scythian Monks, trans. Bob Roy McGregor and Donald Fairbairn (Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013), p. 103.
Latin text: Hi sunt ergo omnes quorum Deus miseretur, quia misericordia ipsius praeveniuntur, ut credant et gratis salvi fiant per fidem. Eorum namque credulitas non ex humana voluntate sumit initium, sed ipsi voluntati fides gratuita Dei miserantis largitate donatur. Hanc omnium discretionem, quam fidelis debet intellectus omnino servare, beatus Paulus uno Epistolae suae loco sic posuit, ut omnes homines sine aliqua exceptione dicens, statim quosdam omnes homines exceptis aliis intimaret. Epistola XVII, Caput XXXI, §64, PL 65:490.

The citations above are simply two examples, but throughout this entire letter Fulgentius explains repeatedly to the Scythian Monks that the word “all” (with respect to those whom God desires to save) means all men without distinction, but not all men without exception.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/fulgentius-on-the-meaning-of-all-men-whom-god-desires-to-save.95274/, Comment 1

Why Not His Body?

Hugh Binning, Works, p. 430:

Oft times men’s souls are perplexed and tossed about future events, careful for to-morrow. This is a great torment of spirit, it cutteth and divideth it, – putteth a man to his own providence, as if there were no God; but he that trusteth in God is established in this, “His heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” He hath committed his soul to him, and why may he not his body? He hath nothing but his promise for eternal salvation, and may not that same suffice for temporal? He careth for me, saith faith, why then should we both care about one thing? He hath given his Son for me, the most precious gift which the world cannot match, and will he not with him give all these lesser things? And thus the believer encloseth himself within the Father’s love and providence, and is fixed, not fearing evil tidings; for what tidings can be evil, seeing our Father hath the sovereign disposing of all affairs, and knoweth what is best for us?

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/his-heart-is-fixed-trusting-in-the-lord.89932/, Comment 1

Are You a Wine Glass or a Coffee Mug?

Wine glass 300x531I really like this analogy by William Gairdner on how different people respond to God.  I have already quoted from his article on another blog and don’t want to violate copyright so I will paraphrase it here. The basic thought is this:

If you put a vibrating tuning fork near some dishes, a wine glass will vibrate in response to it whereas a coffee mug will not.

In the same manner, when it comes to God, some people vibrate to the divine. They are like spiritual wine glasses.  Other people do not vibrate to the divine. They are like spiritual coffee mugs. The coffee mugs can’t conceive of what the wine glasses experience.

You can read the original, more eloquent piece here: https://www.williamgairdner.ca/more-thoughts-on-god/

So, which are you? A wine glass or a coffee mug? Click your answer below:

 

A Laxity in Covenantal Obligations

Cymro on the Puritan Board discussing why the Reformed churches are so small these days. I have observed this laxity within my own denomination, where one generation not only fails to train up the next but also chastises people for even having children in the first place:

Another contributing factor is the abandonment by Confessional Presbyterianism of the principle that God perpetuates the Church from age to age, through the children of the Church. God in wisdom constituted society in family structures, and likewise in the church. There is an organic unity in both. The responsibility and privilege given to parents to train up the child in the way it should go, has suffered a laxity that has damaged the health of the church. It is regrettable that Presbyterianism seems to follow Edwards’ maxim that children are “little vipers” rather than Calvin’s belief that the seed of believers are little Christians. There is a lamentable ignorance amongst Presbyterian parents respecting the covenant obligations we have in raising our offspring not only in the fear and admonition of the Lord, but as citizens of His kingdom and heirs of the covenant. The present attitude is one of a general christian upbringing and leave it to the maturing child to decide for itself. Consequently many Presbyterian churches have very few young people in them. If I speak too generally I apologise, but my words are but my experience.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/why-are-reformed-churches-the-minority.95265/page-2, Comment 57