“Consider the entertainment which he meets with when he comes to teach men outwardly by his word. His written word, the Bible, is slighted. Christ has left it to us, as the book of our instruction, to show us what way we must steer our course, if we would go to Immanuel’s land. It is a lamp to light us through a dark world, to eternal light. And he has enjoined us, to search it with that diligence wherewith men dig into mines for silver and gold, John 5:39. But, ah! how is this sacred treasure profaned by many! They ridicule that holy word, by which they must be judged at the last day; and will rather lose their souls than their jest, dressing up the conceits of their wanton wits in scripture phrases.
Many exhaust their spirits in reading romances, and their minds pursue them, as the flame does the dry stubble; while they have no heart for, nor relish to, the holy word; and therefore seldom take a Bible in their hands. What is agreeable to the vanity of their minds, is pleasant and exciting; but what recommends holiness to their unholy hearts, makes their spirits dull and flat. What pleasure they find in reading a profane ballad, or story-book, to whom the Bible is entirely tasteless! Many lay by their Bibles with their sabbath-day’s clothes; and whatever use they have for their clothes, they have none for their Bibles, until the return of the Sabbath. Alas! the dust on your Bibles is a witness now, and will, at the last day, be a witness of the enmity of your hearts against Christ as a Prophet.” – Thomas Boston Human Nature in its Fourfold State pg. 47
“What pain and difficulty do men often find in bringing their hearts to pious duties! and what a task is it to the carnal heart to abide at them! It is a pain to it–to leave the world but a little to come before God. It is not easy to borrow time from the many things–to spend it upon the one thing needful. Men often go to God in duties, with their faces towards the world; and when their bodies are on the mount of ordinances, their hearts will be found at the foot of the hill “going after their covetousness,” Ezek. 33:31.
They are soon wearied of well-doing; for holy duties are not agreeable to their corrupt nature. Take notice of them at their worldly business, set them down with their carnal company, or let them be enjoying a lust; time seems to them to fly, and drive furiously, so that it is gone before they are aware. But how heavily does it pass, while a prayer, a sermon, or a Sabbath lasts! The Lord’s day is the longest day of all the week, with many; therefore, they must sleep longer that morning, and go sooner to bed that night, than ordinarily they do; that the day may be made of a tolerable length—for their hearts say within them, “When will the Sabbath be gone?” Amos 8:5. The hours of worship are the longest hours of that day—hence, when duty is over, they are like men eased of a burden; and when sermon is ended, many have neither the grace nor the good manners to stay until the blessing is pronounced—but, like the beasts, their head is away, as soon as a man puts his hand to loose them; and why? because, while they are at ordinances, they are, as Doeg, “detained before the Lord,” 1 Sam. 22:7.” — Thomas Boston Human Nature in its Fourfold State pg. 41
A question was asked why it was that Thomas Boston was chosen as my theological mentor in the post below. Three reasons come directly to mind.
1) He was a Pastor.
While few theologians of note were not at least at some point Pastors in their own right Thomas Boston was a man well known for his preaching and like Samuel Rutherford well known for his care and devotion to his charge.
2) He was a Marrow Man.
Few may know anything about the Marrow Controversy in the Church of Scotland and why this would be important but suffice to say this is an important point of doctrine for a ecclesiastical descendant of Ebenezer Erskine.
3) His writing style is clear.
This may seem a bit obtuse but I think that we would all agree that this is an important point.
I once received advice from a Professor (advice he had received from his professor) that I should find a theologian that I enjoy reading and really get into him and make him a friend and conversation partner for life. I think I have found that theologian in Scottish theologian Thomas Boston.
“That the Doctrine concerning [the Trinity], being unfolded only by Revelation, we ought to use as few words as possible concerning it but such as are scriptural. We are certain that God perfectly knows himself, though we do not; and that his expressions concerning himself, though we should not understand them, are just and safe; whereas those of human invention may be neither; and may lead us, unawares, into blashphemous views or representations of Him.” – John Brown of Haddington, Systematic Theology pg. 145
“In answer to [those doubting the historicity of the Patriarchs] various constructions we must first of all emphasize that the historicity of the patriarchs can never be, to us, a matter of small importance.” — Biblical Theology, pg. 67 Geerhardus Vos
On this the annual American celebration of “Saint Patrick” where there are more faux-Irish per capita than any place on Earth let us Protestants remember for at least one day a year that there is a reason we are not Roman Catholic.
Being Protestant Means Something.
Rev. Larimer of Adiaphora asked in a previous post on my blogging schedule what it was I was going to read on the Sabbath Day. Well for the Sabbath Day I am reading through, seemingly for the first time, John Calvin’s Institutes of Christian Religion (Beveridge ed.). To get us started here is a heart-wrentching quote that will be the focus and purpose of this reading for the Lord’s Day.
“Such is pure and genuine religion, namely, confidence in God coupled with serious fear-fear, which both includes in it willing reverence, and brings along with it such legitimate worship as is prescribed by the law. And it ought to be more carefully considered that all men promiscuously do homage to God, but very few truly reverence Him. On all hands there is abundance of ostentatious ceremonies, but sincerity of heart is rare.”
— John Calvin, The Institutes of Christian Religion I.2.3