Posted tagged ‘Puritans’

Sappy Assurance from the Spirit

February 2, 2012

I don’t know of any contemporary author who lays open the heart of God to us like the Puritans. I know they get a bad wrap from some circles today, but perhaps no other literature has affected me more outside Scripture than the writings of the Puritans. To give you a taste of what I’m talking about, let me provide you a brief excerpt from the man who succeeded Richard Sibbes at Holy Trinity Church, Thomas Goodwin.

In his book, The Heart of Christ in Heaven Toward Sinners on Earth (first published 1651), Goodwin writes about the heart of Christ being communicated to us through the comforting work of the Spirit indwelling us.  Of the Spirit, Goodwin writes, “he is the greatest token and pledge of Christ’s love that ever was” (18).  Consider the following words from the pen of Goodwin on the heart of Christ opened to us through His Spirit.

“Him I (Jesus) shall send on purpose to be in my room, and to execute my place to you, my bride, spouse, and he shall tell you, if you will listen to him, and not grieve him, nothing but stories of my love.

[ . . .] All his speech in your hearts will be to advance me, and to greaten my worth an love unto you, and it will be his delight to do it.  And he can come from heaven in an instant where he will, and bring you fresh tidings of my mind, and tell you the thoughts I last had of you, even at the very minute when I am thinking of them, what they are at the very time wherein he tells you them.

[. . .] He dwelleth in Christ’s heart, and also ours, and lifts up from one hand to the other what Christ’s thoughts are to us, and what our prayers and faith are to Christ. So that you shall have my heart as surely and as speedily as if I were with you; and he will continually be breaking your hearts, either way with my love to you, or yours to me, or both; and if either, you may be sure of my love thereby.

[ . . .] He will tell you, where I am in heaven, that there is as true conjunction between me and you, and as true a dearness of affection in me towards you, as is between my Father and me, and that it is as impossible to break this knot, and to take off my heart from you, as my Father’s from me, or mine from the Father” (18-20).

I know this sounds a little sappy, but that’s the point. I believe Goodwin knows something of the succor of Christ’s love that I have not tasted, and instead of getting embarrassed by his writings, I should be overwhelmed by Christ’s love and embarrassed of how little I have truly known and experienced it.

Goodwin is right to elaborate on the communicative nature of the Spirit’s comforting work, so as to daily assure us of Christ’s love and our status as no longer orphans but adopted sons and daughters of the greatest lover the world has ever known.  I want to be known as the greatest recipient of the greatest love the world has ever known.  And Goodwin is, especially for that aspiration, a worthy guide.

Love Lustres at Calvary

April 20, 2011

This prayer from the Valley of Vision ministered to me this morning.

My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections,
open my lips,
supply words that proclaim ‘Love Lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens
and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man,
thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst
that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclothed brightness,
expired that I might forever live.

O Father, who spared not thine own Son
that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight,
as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me
the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

~ Love Lustres at Calvary, in The Valley of Vision

In Prayer

March 28, 2010

This prayer from the Valley of Vision is working me over. Had to pass it along to you.

“In Prayer”

O LORD,

In prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality.
Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments, never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing;
I find my heart going after thee with intensity,
and long with vehement thirst to live to thee.
Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit
that speeds me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish,
and nothing seems important
but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear,
and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts
at what thou art doing for thy church,
and I long that thou shouldest get thyself a great name
from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life,
and taste heavenly joys;
entering into the eternal world
I can give myself to thee with all my heart,
to be thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands,
to be entirely at thy disposal,
having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners,
the church, thy kingdom to come, with great freedom, ardent hopes,
as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

The Works of John Bunyan – First Edition

May 4, 2008

While browsing the internet looking for resources on John Bunyan (who happens to be the Puritan of the month), I came across something I found quite fascinating. Check it out:

According to dking.org.uk, they are selling a first edition of Bunyan’s Works for a measly price of only 585.00 GBP (pounds). According to the current exchange rates, that is roughly $1155.00 in American dollars. Here’s the detail info they have provided:

Author Name: Bunyan, John
Title
: The Works of John Bunyan in 3 Vols
Binding:
Full-Leather
Book Condition:
Very Good
Size
: 4to – over 9¾” – 12″ tall
Publisher:
London Blackie 1862
Description: No marks or inscriptions. Gilt lettering to spine. Nice and clean internally and externally. The Whole Works of John Bunyan, accurately reprinted from the authors own editions with editorial prefaces, notes and life of Bunyan by George Offer Esq. Tissue guarded frontis. Numerous illustrative engravings. A most impressive set. A heavy set. First edition means first edition, first printing, unless otherwise clearly stated.

In case you might be wondering, no, this will not be the giveaway this month. Sorry to get your hopes up, but perhaps one of you out there might be sitting on oh a thousand or so dollars and dying to get your hands on the first edition of Bunyan’s Works. So there, my public service announcement for the week. 🙂