Category Archives: The Church

“A Collect for Peace” – The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

“Most holy God,

the source of all good desires, all right judgments, and all just works:

Give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give,

so that our minds may be fixed on the doing of Your will,

and that we, being delivered from the fear of all enemies,

may live in peace and quietness;

through the mercies of Christ Jesus our Savior.

Amen.”

The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (New York: Church Publishing Incorporated, 2007), 123.

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“There we shall see” by Thomas Boston

“In the general assembly of the firstborn in heaven, none of all the saints, whoever were or will be on the earth, shall be missing.

They will all be together in one place, all possess one kingdom, and all sit down together to the marriage supper of the Lamb.

There we shall see Adam and Eve in the heavenly paradise freely eating of the tree of life.

There we shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the holy patriarchs, no more wandering from land to land, but come to their everlasting rest.

There we shall see all the prophets feasting their eyes on the glory of Him, of whose coming they prophesied.

There we shall see the twelve apostles of the Lamb, sitting on their twelve thrones.

There we shall see all the holy martyrs in their long white robes, with their crowns on their heads.

There we shall see the godly kings advanced to a kingdom which cannot be moved.

There we shall see those that turn many to righteousness, shining as the stars forever and ever.

There we shall see our godly friends, relations, and acquaintances, pillars in the temple of God, to go no more out from us.

There we shall have society with the Lord Himself in heaven, glorious communion with God in Christ, which is the perfection of happiness.

There we shall not only see, but ‘eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God,’ (Rev. 2:7).

There we shall behold the Mediator’s glory, and be satisfied with His goodness. No flaming sword shall be there, to keep the way of that tree of life; but we shall freely eat of it, and live forever.

We shall ‘drink of the river of pleasures,‘ (Psalm 36:8) the sweetest and purest pleasures which Immanuel’s land affords.

And we shall swim in an ocean of unmixed delight forevermore.

Who can conceive the happiness of the saints in the presence chamber of the great King?

There we shall see Jesus Christ, God and man with our bodily eyes, as He will never lay aside the human nature.

There we shall behold that glorious blessed body, which is personally united to the divine nature, and exalted above principalities and powers, and every name that is named.

There we shall see, with our eyes, that very body which was born of Mary at Bethlehem, and crucified at Jerusalem between two thieves.

There we shall see the blessed head that was crowned with thorns, the face that was spit upon, the hands and feet that were nailed to the cross, all shining with inconceivable glory.

Were each star in the heavens shining as the sun in its meridian brightness, it might possibly be some faint resemblance of the glory of the man Christ.

The wise men fell down, and worshipped Him, when they saw Him ‘a young child, with Mary His mother in the house.’ But O what a ravishing sight will it be to see Him in His kingdom, to see Him on His throne, to see Him at the Father’s right hand!

The Word was made flesh,’ (John 1:14), and the glory of God shall shine through that flesh, and the joys of heaven spring out from it, unto the saints, who shall see and enjoy God in Christ.

There we shall behold Him, who died for us, that we might live forevermore, whose matchless love made Him swim through the Red Sea of God’s wrath, to make a path in the midst of it for us, by which we might pass safely to Canaan’s land.

Then we shall see what a glorious one He was, who suffered all this for us, what entertainment He had in the upper house, what hallelujahs of angels could not hinder Him to hear the groans of a perishing multitude on earth, and to come down for their help, and what glory He laid aside for us.

Then we shall be more ‘able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,’ (Eph. 3:18, 19).

There we shall remember the waters of wrath which He was plunged into, and the wells of salvation from whence we draw all our joy.

There we shall remember we received the cup of salvation in exchange for the cup of wrath His Father gave Him to drink, which His sinless human nature shivered at.

Then shall our hearts leap within us, burn with seraphic love, like coals of juniper, and the arch of heaven ring with our songs of salvation!”

–Thomas Boston, The Whole Works of Thomas Boston: Human Nature in Its Fourfold State and a View of the Covenant of Grace (ed. Samuel M‘Millan; vol. 8; Aberdeen: George and Robert King, 1850), 8: 328, 330, 326, 331, 332-333, 333-334.

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“It is my business, as best I can, to kill dragons, and cut off giants’ heads, and lead on the timid and trembling” by Charles Spurgeon

“I am occupied, in my small way, as Mr. Great-heart was employed in Bunyan’s day. I do not compare myself with that champion, but I am in the same line of business.

I am engaged in personally-conducted tours to Heaven; and I have with me, at the present time, dear Old Father Honest: I am glad he is still alive and active.

And there is Christiana, and there are her children.

It is my business, as best I can, to kill dragons, and cut off giants’ heads, and lead on the timid and trembling.

I am often afraid of losing some of the weaklings. I have the heart-ache for them; but, by God’s grace, and your kind and generous help in looking after one another, I hope we shall all travel safely to the river’s edge.

Oh, how many have I had to part with there! I have stood on the brink, and I have heard them singing in the midst of the stream, and I have almost seen the shining ones lead them up the hill, and through the gates, into the Celestial City.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, by His Wife and His Private Secretary, 1854–1860 (vol. 2; Chicago; New York; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1899), 2: 131.

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“The great disease of our age” by Herman Bavinck

“Inconstancy is the great disease of our age— agitation, restlessness.

This is manifested in many forms:

in seeking distraction and diversion,

in chasing exciting pleasure,

in pursuing recreation over solitude,

in being bored with oneself.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Ethics: Created, Fallen, and Converted Humanity, Vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2019), 1: 126.

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“A pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God” by Sinclair Ferguson

“Beloved, men who have only a conditional offer of the gospel, will have only a conditional gospel.

The man who has only a conditional gospel knows only conditional grace.

And the man who knows only conditional grace knows only a conditional God.

And the man who has only a conditional God will have a conditional ministry to his fellow men.

And at end of the day, he will only be able to give his heart, and his life, and his time, and his devotion to his people… on condition.

And he will love and master the truth of the great doctrines of grace, but until grace in God Himself masters him, the grace that has mastered him will never flow from him to his people.

And he will become a Jonah in the 20th century, sitting under his tree with a heart that is shut up against sinners in need of grace, because he thinks of God in conditional terms.

And that, you see, was the blight upon the ministry in the Church of Scotland of those days, men who were thoroughly Reformed in their confessional subscription, but whose bowels, whose hearts, were closed up to God’s people and to the lost in all the nations.

Wasn’t it Alexander Whyte of Freesen Georges that used to say there was such a thing as sanctification by vinegar that makes men accurate and hard? And that’s what they were.

When your people come and have been broken by sin, and have been tempted by Satan, and are ashamed to confess the awful mess they have made of their life, it is not a Calvinistic pastor who has been sanctified by vinegar that they need.

It is a pastor who has been mastered by the unconditional grace of God, from whom ironclad orthodoxy has been torn away, and the whole armor of a gracious God has been placed upon his soul — the armor of One who would not break the bruised reed or quench the dimly burning wick: the God of free grace.

It’s the pastor who will say, ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has demanded to have you, but I have prayed for you; and when you are converted, strengthen the brethren.’

You see, my friends, as we think together in these days about a godly pastor… What is a godly pastor?

A godly pastor is a pastor who is like God, who has a heart of free grace running after sinners.

The godly pastor is the one who sees the prodigal returning, and runs and falls on his neck and weeps and kisses him; and says, ‘This my son was dead; he was lost and now he is alive and found.’

So that we discover, even in the stretching of our minds over this Marrow Controversy, that the first pastoral lesson we learn is really a question:

What kind of pastor am I to my people? Am I like the Father? Or am I like the elder brother, who would not go in?

–Sinclair B. Ferguson, “The Marrow Controversy Lecture #1: Historical Details,” p. 13. Consider taking a few minutes to listen to this powerful exhortation from Dr. Ferguson, that I trust will serve your soul.

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“We may be satisfied that our constitution of church order is the very best in the world, and yet be lamentably cold in the feelings of our hearts towards Him” by John Newton

“I hope your soul prospers. That is, I hope you are less and less in your own eyes and that your heart is more and more impressed with a sense of the glory and grace of our Lord.

Oh, with what emotions of shame and grief, or wonder, love, and joy should we look first at ourselves and then at Him. We may be very orthodox, skilled in defence of the five points, satisfied that our constitution of church order is the very best in the world, and yet be lamentably cold and formal in the feelings of our hearts towards Him.

Indeed the Congregationalists and Baptists, who are both equally satisfied that they possess the perfect model of the tabernacle to a single loop or pin, need a double portion of grace to prevent their over admiring the supposed excellency of their forms.

There are a few of them however who know that the best forms are but forms still and remember that the Lord abhorred His most express and positive institutions, when the worshippers rested in them. They are sensisible that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth ANY THING but a new creature (Galatians 6:15).

And are therefore hungering, thirsting, and pressing after the substance, life, and unction of the truth, that it may influence their whole spirit and conduct, fill them with humility, love, benevolence and peace, and subdue every angry and selfish temper.

I hope you are of the number of these.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 128.

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“Every Christian family ought to be a little church” by Jonathan Edwards

“Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “A Farewell Sermon Preached at the First Precinct in Northampton, after the People’s Public Rejection of Their Minister … on June 22, 1750,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1743–1758 (ed. Wilson H. Kimnach and Harry S. Stout; vol. 25; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), 25: 484.

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