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Entries in Puritans (2)


A Usable Past

Why study Church history?  Well, there are many reasons, but the fact that, as Michael Haykin says, it offers us a usable past is a very good one:

Here then is the key reason for the study of church history.  The Christian past is indeed a "usable past" for it contains mentors for the living of the Christian life.  It is vital to note that this is not hagiography, for undergirding the command to imitate past leaders and mentors is the object of those individiuals' faith:  "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).  It is because Christ Jesus was at the very centre of their preaching and living that their lives can be imitated today, for the Christ never changes.  Their Lord is our Lord.  Hebrews 13:8 is not an ontological statement, as some have taken it, but an assertion that the faith of the preachers can be imitated since the one they proclaimed, and in whom they had put teir faith namely, Jesus Christ, was ever the same.

I just started Dr. Haykin's book.  It's been a while since I read a church history book; I'm really looking forward to this one.


Can you stand a little more Owen?

These readings by John Owen are just too good. 

Because I have a rather busy day today,  and because these are just so good, I thought I'd share yet another entry from Voices from the Past.  This is from John Owen's Works, VI:134-135:

Be alert that you might discover temptation early.  Most men do not perceive their enemy until they have been wounded.  Yes, and others are engaged in temptation unaware.  They are asleep without a sense of danger until others awaken them because their house is on fire.  Few take notice of temptation until it is too late, and find themselves entangled.  Be careful, then, to watch for and seek to understand early the snares that are laid for you, and to understand the advantage your enemy might have against you, before he gains strength and casts concentrated poison into your soul.  Two things actively unite in temptation:  Satan and lust.  Our lust rises with purpose to express itself in the extreme.  Every expression of it would be a settled enmity against God.  Look at it in its first attempts as your mortal enemy.  Hate it; it is the greatest enemy you have.  O that it were killed and destroyed!  O that I were delivered out of its power!  Satan does not have a friendly intention towards you any more than your lust.  Is he not a participant in every one of your temptations?  Is he a friend when he seeks to beguile you as a serpent, and to devour you as a lion?  When Satan tempts you to break the law he also seeks to divert you away from the gospel itself.  He uses sin as a bridge to worse ground, to assult your interest in Christ.  He will say today, 'You may venture on sin, because you have an interest in Christ', but tomorrow he will tell you that you no interest in Christ because of your sin.  Meet your temptation in its entrance with the thoughts of faith concerning Christ on the cross; this will make it sink before you.  Entertain no parley with sin.  Say, 'It is Christ that died - that died for sins such as these!'

 "Poison into your soul."  Now, that's descriptive.