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Those things which men call fortuitous events, are proofs of divine providence

August 7, 2013 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Also his providence, power, and wisdom.

8. To this purpose the Psalmist, (Psalm 107) mentioning how God, in a wondrous manner, often brings sudden and unexpected succor to the miserable when almost on the brink of despair, whether in protecting them when they stray in deserts, and at length leading them back into the right path, or supplying them with food when famishing for want, or delivering them when captive from iron fetters and foul dungeons, or conducting them safe into harbor after shipwreck, or bringing them back from the gates of death by curing their diseases, or, after burning up the fields with heat and drought, fertilizing them with the river of his grace, or exalting the meanest of the people, and casting down the mighty from their lofty seats: — the Psalmist, after bringing forward examples of this description, infers that those things which men call fortuitous events, are so many proofs of divine providence, and more especially of paternal clemency, furnishing ground of joy to the righteous, and at the same time stopping the mouths of the ungodly. But as the greater part of mankind, enslaved by error, walk blindfold in this glorious theater, he exclaims that it is a rare and singular wisdom to meditate carefully on these works of God, which many, who seem most sharp-sighted in other respects, behold without profit. It is indeed true, that the brightest manifestation of divine glory finds not one genuine spectator among a hundred. Still, neither his power nor his wisdom is shrouded in darkness. His power is strikingly displayed when the rage of the wicked, to all appearance irresistible, is crushed in a single moment; their arrogance subdued, their strongest bulwarks overthrown, their armor dashed to pieces, their strength broken, their schemes defeated without an effort, and audacity which set itself above the heavens is precipitated to the lowest depths of the earth. On the other hand, the poor are raised up out of the dust, and the needy lifted out of the dung hill, (Psalm 113:7,) the oppressed and afflicted are rescued in extremity, the despairing animated with hope, the unarmed defeat the armed, the few the many, the weak the strong. The excellence of the divine wisdom is manifested in distributing everything in due season, confounding the wisdom of the world, and taking the wise in their own craftiness, (1 Corinthians 3:19;) in short, conducting all things in perfect accordance with reason.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation 

The Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015This declared by the first class of works, viz., the admirable motions of the heavens and the earth, the symmetry of the human body, and the connection of its parts; in short, the various objects which are presented to every eye.

2. In attestation of his wondrous wisdom, both the heavens and the earth present us with innumerable proofs not only those more recondite proofs which astronomy, medicine, and all the natural sciences, are designed to illustrate, but proofs which force themselves on the notice of the most illiterate peasant, who cannot open his eyes without beholding them. It is true, indeed, that those who are more or less intimately acquainted with those liberal studies are thereby assisted and enabled to obtain a deeper insight into the secret workings of divine wisdom. No man, however, though he be ignorant of these, is incapacitated for discerning such proofs of creative wisdom as may well cause him to break forth in admiration of the Creator. To investigate the motions of the heavenly bodies, to determine their positions, measure their distances, and ascertain their properties, demands skill, and a more careful examination; and where these are so employed, as the Providence of God is thereby more fully unfolded, so it is reasonable to suppose that the mind takes a loftier flight, and obtains brighter views of his glory. Still, none who have the use of their eyes can be ignorant of the divine skill manifested so conspicuously in the endless variety, yet distinct and well ordered array, of the heavenly host; and, therefore, it is plain that the Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom. The same is true in regard to the structure of the human frame. To determine the connection of its parts, its symmetry and beauty, with the skill of a Galen, (Lib. De Usu Partium,) requires singular acuteness; and yet all men acknowledge that the human body bears on its face such proofs of ingenious contrivance as are sufficient to proclaim the admirable wisdom of its Maker.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation

Effects of the knowledge of God illustrated

April 10, 2013 4 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Effects of the knowledge of God illustrated by the examples,

1. of holy patriarchs;

2. of holy angels;

3. of the sun and moon.

Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. Frequent examples of this consternation occur both in the Book of Judges and the Prophetical Writings; so much so, that it was a common expression among the people of God, “We shall die, for we have seen the Lord.” Hence the Book of Job, also, in humbling men under a conviction of their folly, feebleness, and pollution, always derives its chief argument from descriptions of the Divine wisdom, virtue, and purity. Nor without cause: for we see Abraham the readier to acknowledge himself but dust and ashes the nearer he approaches to behold the glory of the Lord, and Elijah unable to wait with unveiled face for His approach; so dreadful is the sight. And what can man do, man who is but rottenness and a worm, when even the Cherubim themselves must veil their faces in very terror? To this, undoubtedly, the Prophet Isaiah refers, when he says, (Isaiah 24:23,) “The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign;” i. e., when he shall exhibit his refulgence, and give a nearer view of it, the brightest objects will, in comparison, be covered with darkness.

But though the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound together by a mutual tie, due arrangement requires that we treat of the former in the first place, and then descend to the latter.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation

Confession statement 15

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XV CONCERNING the prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby He hath revealed the will of God, whatsoever is needful for His servants to know and obey; and therefore He is called not only a prophet and doctor, and the apostle of our profession, and the angel of the covenant, but also the very wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who for ever continueth revealing the same truth of the gospel to His people.

John 1:18. 12:49,50, 17:8; Deut.18:15; Matt.23:10; Heb.3:1; Mal.3:1;1 Cor.1 :24; Col.2:3.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Question 4-Puritan Catechism

SpurgeonQ. What is God?

A. God is Spirit, (John 4:24) infinite, (Job 11:7) eternal, (Psalm 90:2; 1 Timothy 1:17) and unchangeable (James 1:17) in his being, (Ezekiel 3:14) wisdom, power, (Psalms 147:5) holiness, (Revelation 4:8) justice, goodness and truth. (Ezekiel 34:6,7)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Confession statement 6

December 26, 2012 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

VI. ALL the elect being loved of God with an everlasting love, are redeemed, quickened, and saved, not by themselves, nor their own works, lest any any man should boast, but, only and wholly by God, of His own free grace and mercy, through Jesus Christ, who is made unto us by God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and all in all, that he that rejoiceth, might rejoice in the Lord.

Jer.31:2; Eph.1:3,7, 2:8,9; 1 Thess.5:9; Acts 13:38; 2 Cor.5:21; Jer.9:23.24; 1 Cor.1:30.31; Jer.23:6.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46

Confession statement 5

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

V. GOD in His infinite power and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the end for which they were created; that neither good nor evil befalls any by chance, or without His providence; and that whatsoever befalls the elect, is by His appointment, for His glory, and their good.

Job 38:11: Isa.46:10,11; Eccles.3:14; Mark 10:29.30; Exod.21:13; Prov.16:33; Rom.8:28.

The First London Baptist Confession of 1644/1646

True wisdom that comes from God delivers us from evil

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Arthur Pink“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee” (Prov. 2:10, 11). For wisdom to enter into our hearts means that the things of God have such an influence upon us as to dominate our affections and move our wills. For knowledge to be pleasant to our souls, signifies that we delight in the Law of God after the inward man (Rom. 7:22), that submission to God’s will is not irksome but desirable. Now where such really be the case, the individual possesses a discernment which enables him to penetrate Satan’s disguises and perceive the barb beneath the bait, and is endowed with a discretion which makes him prudent and cautious, so that he shuns those places where alluring temptations abound and avoids the company of evil men and women. Thereby is he delivered from danger and secured from making shipwreck of the faith: see also Proverbs 4:6; 6:22-24.

Arthur W. Pink—Studies in the Scriptures April, 1937 The Spirit Preserving

Confession statement 1

November 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

I. THE Lord our God is but one God, whose subsistence is in Himself; whose essence cannot be comprehended by any but Himself, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light, which no man can approach unto; who is in Himself most holy, every way infinite, in greatness, wisdom, power,love: merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; who giveth being, moving and preservation to all creatures.

1 Cor.8:6; lsa.44:6. 46:9; Exod.3:14; 1 Tim.6:16; Isa. 43:15; Ps.147:5; Deut.32:3; Job 36:5; Jer.10:12; Exod.34:6.7; Acts17:28; Rom.11:36.

The First London Baptist Confession of 1644/1646

Changed into the same Image

Not only does the Spirit give that soul to behold “the glory of the Lord” as it shines first in the “glass” of the Law, and second in the “glass” of the Gospel, but He also causes him to be “changed into the same image,” that is, He begets within him corresponding principles and affections, to the one and to the other. In other words, He brings his heart to a conformity to the Law and to a compliance with the Gospel. He causes the believer to “set to his seal” (John3:33) to the whole Truth of God. He brings him to a full acquiescence with the Law, consenting to its righteous claims upon him, and working in him a desire and determination to adopt the Law as his rule of life or standard of conduct. So too the Spirit causes him to gladly embrace the Gospel, admiring the consummate wisdom of God therein, whereby the perfect harmony of His justice and mercy are blessedly exhibited. He brings him to renounce all his own works, and rest alone on the merits of Christ for his acceptance with God.

Arthur W. Pink-Studies in the Scriptures January, 1937  The Spirit Transforming.

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