Posts Tagged ‘Puritan’
Tags: AntiChrist, God, Jesu, Matthew Henry, Papist, Protestantism, Puritan, Torbay
Tags: God, Imitation of Christ, Jeanne Guyon, Puritan, Self-love, Soul music, Thomas, Thomas à Kempis
WE must all admit that our soul is too narrow. It holds too little, knows too little, is deficient in willpower, and, above all, in capacity of love; and when we are called to run in the way of God‘s commandments, we break down in despair, and cry, “If I am to be a runner, Thou must first enlarge my heart.”
How little we know of the experience which Madame Guyon describes when she says: “This vastness or enlargedness, which is not bounded by anything, increases every day; so that my soul in partaking of the qualities of her Spouse seems also to partake of his immensity.”
“There is,” remarks one of the old Puritans, “a straitness, slavery, and narrowness, in all sin; sin crumples up our souls; which, if they were freely spread abroad, would be as large and wide as the whole universe. No man is truly free; but be that hath his will enlarged to the extent of God’s will, by loving whatsoever God loves, and nothing else, he enjoys boundless liberty, and a boundless sweetness.” God’s love embraces the universe. He “so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.” We who have partaken of the Divine nature must also love as He does.
Thomas a Kempis says, finally: “He who desires glory in things outside of God, or to take pleasure in some private good, shall many ways be encumbered and straitened; but if heavenly grace enter in, and true charity, there will be no envy, neither narrowness of heart, neither will self love busy itself, for Divine charity overcometh all things, and enlargeth all the powers of the soul.” Give unto us, 0 God, this largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.
Tags: Bible, Boston, God, Native American, Native Americans in the United States, Puritan, Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, Settler
On February 10, 1675, 50 colonial families in Lancaster, Massachusetts, feared possible Native American raids. Joseph Rowlandson, the Puritan minister of the village, was in Boston pleading with the government for protection, while Mary, his wife, stayed behind with their children. At sunrise, the settlers were attacked. After some of the settlers were killed, Mary and other survivors were taken captive.
Mary experienced both kindness and cruelty from her captors. The Native Americans, aware of the religious nature of the settlers, gave her a Bible they had confiscated. Later she would write in her memoirs about God’s “goodness in bringing to my hand so many comfortable and suitable Scriptures in my distress.” God’s Word was her great comfort until she was ransomed by the colonists on May 2.
As the nation of Judah waited to be taken into captivity by a foreign power (Isa. 39:5-7), the despair of its people must have been great. But even in that dreadful anticipation, God’s words brought comfort: “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” (v.8).
Have you been taken captive by circumstances beyond your control? If so, read and meditate on the Word. And experience God’s comfort.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Desiring God, Francis Rous, God, Oxford University Press, Puritan, White Witch
With most unmarried evangelicals in their 20s apparently having occasional or frequent sexual intercourse, some say pastors should offer contraceptives, and others say they should merely offer louder “Thou Shalt Nots.” Belden Lane’s Ravished by Beauty: The Surprising Legacy of Reformed Spirituality (Oxford University Press, 2011) suggests an alternative.
A bit of background: I’ve learned much from John Piper and his Desiring God ministry. Basing their approach on the work of Puritan Jonathan Edwards, Desiring God notes that “God designed humans to seek their happiness in Him.?…?Joy glorifies God.” Desiring God reaches secular, post-Christian Westerners by saying, “You are not nearly hedonistic enough,” and contrasting short-lived thrills with the “never-ending satisfaction in seeing and savoring Jesus Christ.”
Author Lane is unconnected with Desiring God, and he goes off on political tangents at times, but he aptly quotes Calvin’s comment about God: “We will never spontaneously and heartily sound forth His praises until He wins us by the sweetness of His goodness.” Jonathan Edwards also preached more about God’s glory mirrored in the beauty of the world—”Nature teaches us God’s beauty”—than about God’s anger.
Puritan Richard Baxter wrote in 1650, “What a pleasure it is to dive into the secrets of nature.” Lane dives, as in this example: “Ten miles deep in the ocean’s abyss are blind creatures illuminated with some of the most lustrous colors imaginable. And for what purpose? They can’t even see each other. It is almost as if their glory were created for its own sake”—and, more importantly, for God’s. Why else would “marvelous shades of color” be found inside abalone shells?
So much pleasure: The Blue Ridge mountains are beautiful and so are cities filled with people, all images of God. The Puritans’ “language of desire” honored God who created beauty in both nature and humanity. Most men four centuries ago and now feel the joy evident in Lewis Bayly’s declaration—The Practice of Piety (1611)—when he beheld “the lovely beauty of Women” and exclaimed “how fair is that God, that made these fair!”
Maybe because my wife and I celebrated on June 27 our 36th anniversary, I’m impressed that, as historian Amanda Porterfield wrote in 1980, Puritans often “loved their wives beyond measure.” The love was both spiritual and physical: Unlike killjoys who saw marital relations as matters of duty, Puritans said husbands and wives should “delight each in the other [during] mutual dalliances for pleasure’s sake.”
Wives often loved being loved. Margaret Dunham, wife of a Glasgow University professor, wrote in 1668 of the “love-faintings?…?high delightings … love-languishings?…?and heart-ravishings” that characterized both love of Christ and love of husband. She noted “those beautiful blushings [and] humble hidings?…?on the Bride’s part, and those urgent callings and compellings?…?on the Bridegroom’s part.”
Since it’s beyond us to know the depths of God’s love but not to grasp marital love, the Bible describes the former by the latter, and so did some pastors. Francis Rous, preaching on “Mystical Marriage,” noted “a chamber within us, and a bed of love in that chamber, wherein Christ meets and rests with the soul.” John Cotton of First Church in Boston, describing how we should long for Christ, wrote, “It will inflame our hearts to kiss him again.”
A satisfying marriage points us to the satisfactions of God. As the Desiring God website states, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in him.” And what if, instead of learning satisfaction in God and the good gifts He provides, we proceed on our own path? What if we have a run of encounters commemorated by sexting photographs and asterisking phone numbers on iPads? What if we cohabit without covenant in the way we might try out a variety of gods?
“You shall not commit adultery,” like all of God’s commands, has an implicit promise: “You shall enjoy the sweetness of God’s goodness in providing marriage.” In C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew, Digory arrives at an Edenic garden and finds Jadis there. She has gorged herself on one of the apples, despite a sign forbidding that. She could have relished goodness, but instead becomes the White Witch. Whenever we advise the unmarried, we need to ask: God, or Jadis?
Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit http://www.worldmag.com.