Martin Bucer (1491-1551): How those are to be strengthened who have somewhat greater affection for the world than the Lord desires

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“When there are those who value the world’s favour and disfavour too highly, so that they do not acknowledge and praise Christ our Lord and his word joyfully enough, they must always have it clearly impressed upon them that the Father has given Christ our Lord all power and jurisdiction in heaven and on earth, that he alone can and will bestow on us everything that is good and turn away all that is evil, and that the whole world is nothing and can do nothing of itself. And also that on that day he will acknowledge before his heavenly Father and his holy angels those who have acknowledged him here before this adulterous world, and will disown those who have disowned him before this world.”

– Martin Bucer (1491-1551), Concerning the True Care of Souls (Von der waren Seelsorge), p. 170

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Richard Sibbes (1577–1635): Pardon leads to obedience

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“This may serve for a trial to discern who may lay just claim to Christ’s mercy. Only those that will take his yoke and count it a greater happiness to be under his government than to enjoy any liberty of the flesh; that will take whole Christ, and not single out of him what may stand with their present contentment; that will not divide Lord from Jesus, and so make a Christ of their own, may make this claim. None ever did truly desire mercy for pardon but desired mercy for healing. David prays for a new spirit, as well as for a sense of pardoning mercy (Ps. 51:10).”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 80

Richard Sibbes (1577–1635): We must consider ourselves as Christ does

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“…in case of discouragement, we must consider ourselves as Christ does, who looks on us as those he intends to fit for himself. Christ values us by what we shall be, and by what we are elected unto. We call a little plant a tree, because it is growing up to be so. ‘Who has despised the day of small things?’ (Zech. 4:10). Christ would not have us despise little things.”

– Richard Sibbes (1577–1635), The Bruised Reed, p. 17

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): It is God’s revealed will for all Christians to excel in the knowledge of divine things – Series on why all Christians must endeavour to become proficient in theology (part 12 of 12)

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This is the final part of a 12-post series from Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon on Hebrews 5:12, titled The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.  The first part covered Edwards’ definition of divinity (theology), the second focused on what kind of knowledge is included in divinity, the third considered the usefulness and necessity of knowing divinity, the fourth discussed knowledge in divinity as the chief end of man’s faculty of understanding, the fifth asserted that there is nothing more worthy to be studied than divinity, the sixth declared why divinity is of infinite importance to all people, the seventh argued for the infinite worth of divinity based on God’s great works of revelation, the eighth asserted that God gave us the Bible to be studied, the ninth declared that the subject matter of divinity is inexhaustible, the tenth focused on knowledge of divinity as an essential part of our high calling, and the eleventh discussed God’s appointment of teachers to help us grow in knowledge of divinity. Now we finally turn to his discussion of God’s revealed will for all Christians to excel in the knowledge of divine things:

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It is God’s revealed will for all Christians to excel in the knowledge of divine things.

God hath in the Scriptures plainly revealed it to be his will, that all Christians should diligently endeavor to excel in the knowledge of divine things. It is the revealed will of God, that Christians should not only have some knowledge of things of this nature, but that they should be enriched with all knowledge1 Corinthians 1:4-05, “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God that is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge.” So the Apostle earnestly prayed, that the Christian Philippians might abound more and more, not only in love, but in Christian knowledge. Philippians 1:9, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, and in all judgment.” So the apostle Peter advises to “give all diligence to add to faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5). And the apostle Paul, in the next chapter to that wherein is the text, counsels the Christian Hebrews, leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, to go on to perfection. He would by no means have them always to rest only in those fundamental doctrines of repentance, and faith, and the resurrection from the dead, and the eternal judgment, in which they were indoctrinated when they were first baptized, and had the Apostle’s hands laid on them, at their first initiation in Christianity.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): God has appointed teachers to help us grow in knowledge of theology – Series on why all Christians must endeavour to become proficient in theology (part 11 of 12)

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This is the eleventh part of a 12-post series from Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon on Hebrews 5:12, titled The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.  The first part covered Edwards’ definition of divinity (theology), the second focused on what kind of knowledge is included in divinity, the third considered the usefulness and necessity of knowing divinity, the fourth discussed knowledge in divinity as the chief end of man’s faculty of understanding, the fifth asserted that there is nothing more worthy to be studied than divinity, the sixth declared why divinity is of infinite importance to all people, the seventh argued for the infinite worth of divinity based on God’s great works of revelation, the eighth asserted that God gave us the Bible to be studied, the ninth declared that the subject matter of divinity is inexhaustible, and the tenth focused on knowledge of divinity as an essential part of our high calling. Now we turn to his discussion of God having appointed teachers to help us grow in knowledge of divinity:

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God has appointed teachers to help us grow in knowledge of divinity.

It may be argued from this, that God hath appointed an order of men for this end, to assist persons in gaining knowledge in these things. He hath appointed them to be teachers. 1 Corinthians 12:28, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers.” Ephesians 4:11-12, “He gave some, apostles; some, prophets; some, evangelists; some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” If God hath set them to be teachers, making that their business, then he hath made it their business to impart knowledge. But what kind of knowledge? Not the knowledge of philosophy, or of human laws, or of mechanical arts, but of divinity.

If God have made it the business of some to be teachers, it will follow, that he hath made it the business of others to be learners; for teachers and learners are correlates, one of which was never intended to be without the other. God hath never made it the duty of some to take pains to teach those who are not obliged to take pains to learn. He hath not commanded ministers to spend themselves, in order to impart knowledge to those who are not obliged to apply themselves to receive it.

The name by which Christians are commonly called in the New Testament is disciples, the signification of which word is scholars or learners. All Christians are put into the school of Christ, where their business is to learn, or receive knowledge from Christ, their common master and teacher, and from those inferior teachers appointed by him to instruct in his name.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): The knowledge of theology is an essential part of our high calling – Series on why all Christians must endeavour to become proficient in theology (part 10 of 12)

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This is the tenth part of a 12-post series from Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon on Hebrews 5:12, titled The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.  The first part covered Edwards’ definition of divinity (theology), the second focused on what kind of knowledge is included in divinity, the third considered the usefulness and necessity of knowing divinity, the fourth discussed knowledge in divinity as the chief end of man’s faculty of understanding, the fifth asserted that there is nothing more worthy to be studied than divinity, the sixth declared why divinity is of infinite importance to all people, the seventh argued for the infinite worth of divinity based on God’s great works of revelation, the eighth asserted that God gave us the Bible to be studied, and the ninth declared that the subject matter of divinity is inexhaustible. Now we turn to his discussion of knowledge of divinity as an essential part of our high calling:

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Knowledge of divinity as an essential part of our high calling.

It doubtless concerns everyone to endeavor to excel in the knowledge of things which pertain to his profession or principal calling. If it concerns men to excel in anything, or in any wisdom or knowledge at all, it certainly concerns them to excel in the affairs of their main profession and work. But the calling and work of every Christian is to live to God. This is said to be his high callingPhilippians 3:14. This is the business, and, if I may so speak, the trade of a Christian, his main work, and indeed should be his only work. No business should be done by a Christian, but as it is some way or other a part of this. Therefore certainly the Christian should endeavor to be well acquainted with those things which belong to this work, that he may fulfill it, and be thoroughly furnished to it.

It becomes one who is called to be a soldier, and to go a warfare, to endeavor to excel in the art of war. It becomes one who is called to be a mariner, and to spend his life in sailing the ocean, to endeavor to excel in the art of navigation. It becomes one who professes to be a physician, and devotes himself to that work, to endeavor to excel in the knowledge of those things which pertain to the art of physic. So it becomes all such as profess to be Christians, and to devote themselves to the practice of Christianity, to endeavor to excel in the knowledge of divinity.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758): The subject matter of theology is inexhaustible – Series on why all Christians must endeavour to become proficient in theology (part 9 of 12)

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This is the ninth part of a 12-post series from Jonathan Edwards’ (1703-1758) sermon on Hebrews 5:12, titled The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth.  The first part covered Edwards’ definition of divinity (theology), the second focused on what kind of knowledge is included in divinity, the third considered the usefulness and necessity of knowing divinity, the fourth discussed knowledge in divinity as the chief end of man’s faculty of understanding, the fifth asserted that there is nothing more worthy to be studied than divinity, the sixth declared why divinity is of infinite importance to all people, the seventh argued for the infinite worth of divinity based on God’s great works of revelation, and the eighth asserted that God gave us the Bible to be studied. Now we turn to his discussion of the inexhaustibility of the subject matter of divinity:

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The inexhaustibility of the subject matter of divinity.

However diligently we apply ourselves, there is room enough to increase our knowledge in divine truth, without coming to an end. None have this excuse to make for not diligently applying themselves to gain knowledge in divinity, that they know all already; nor can they make this excuse, that they have no need diligently to apply themselves, in order to know all that is to be known. None can excuse themselves for want of business in which to employ themselves. There is room enough to employ ourselves forever in this divine science, with the utmost application. Those who have applied themselves most closely, have studied the longest, and have made the greatest attainments in this knowledge, know but little of what is to be known. The subject is inexhaustible. That Divine Being, who is the main subject of this science, is infinite, and there is no end to the glory of his perfections. His works at the same time are wonderful, and cannot be found out to perfection; especially the work of redemption, which is that work of God about which the science of divinity is chiefly conversant, is full of unsearchable wonders.

The Word of God, which is given for our instruction in divinity, contains enough in it to employ us to the end of our lives, and then we shall leave enough uninvestigated to employ the heads of the ablest divines to the end of the world. The Psalmist found an end to the things that are human; but he could never find an end to what is contained in the Word of God. Psalms 119:96, “I have seen an end to all perfection: but thy command is exceeding broad.” There is enough in this divine science to employ the understandings of saints and angels to all eternity.