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An interesting book: “The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion”

January 16, 2019

Recently I came across another interesting book on the Anglican doctrine of the Eucharist – The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion: Restated as a Guide at the Current Time.  This text was written by the Rev. Frederick Meyrick of Norfolk in 1885, and features a preface by the Right Reverend Edward Harold Browne!  You can read more about Frederick Meyrick here; he was quite a prolific writer.

In his book on The Doctrine of the Church of England on the Holy Communion, Meyrick takes what one could describe as an evangelical view, and Dr. Brian Douglas in his excellent article on Meyrick indicates he was ‘nominalist” for the most part in his position on the Eucharist.  Meyrick was quite an interesting man, and this book is worth taking a look at if you are studying views of the Eucharist.

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For the First Sunday after the Epiphany: a reading from Augustine of Hippo

January 13, 2019

One of the readings for the First Sunday after Epiphany is the account of Jesus being found in the Temple by His parents (Luke 2:41), and in the book Faith and Life, there is a quote from St. Augustine that addresses this, which I have quoted before:

When our Lord Jesus Christ was in regard to His Manhood twelve years old, while in regard to His Godhead He is before all times and independent of time, He tarried behind Joseph and Mary in the temple, and talked with the doctors, and they were astonished at His understanding. But His parents returning from Jerusalem sought Him in their company,—and, not finding Him, returned in distress to Jerusalem, and found Him talking in the temple with the doctors, when He was, as I said, twelve years old. But what marvel? The Word of God is never silent; but He is not always heard. He is then found in the temple, and His Mother says to Him, “Why hast Thou thus dealt with us? Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.” He answers, “Did ye not know that I must be in what belongs to My Father?” This He said, because He, the Son of God, was in the temple of God; nor did He wish to be in such a sense their son as not to be understood to be the Son of God. For the Son of God was always the Son of God, the Creator of those very parents of His.

–St. Augustine, Sermon li.

An interview with Os Guinness, by John Anderson

January 11, 2019

In the past I have mentioned interviews that John Anderson, former prime minister of Australia, has done with various people.  Here is another one very much worth watching: here, John Anderson speaks with Os Guinness, the great-great-great grandson of the Dublin brewer. Os has written or edited more than 30 books and is an expert on the Judeo-Christian foundations of Western Civilisation. His grasp of our present predicament is unprecedented.

Dr. Steven Lawson: “High Theology Produces High Doxology”

January 9, 2019

From Dr. Steven Lawson, who I believe is associated with Ligonier Ministries, we have this message titled “High Theology Produces High Doxology.”  That certainly makes sense if one thinks about it.

For the Feast of the Epiphany: an excerpt from Leo the Great’s Sermon XXXVI

January 6, 2019

This being the Feast of the Epiphany, here is a most fitting quote from Leo the Great:

The day, dearly-beloved, on which Christ the Saviour of the world first appeared to the nations must be venerated by us with holy worship: and today those joys must be entertained in our hearts which existed in the breasts of the three magi, when, aroused by the sign and leading of a new star, which they believed to have been promised, they fell down in presence of the King of heaven and earth. For that day has not so passed away that the mighty work, which was then revealed, has passed away with it, and that nothing but the report of the thing has come down to us for faith to receive and memory to celebrate; seeing that, by the oft-repeated gift of God, our times daily enjoy the fruit of what the first age possessed. And therefore, although the narrative which is read to us from the Gospel properly records those days on which the three men, who had neither been taught by the prophets’ predictions nor instructed by the testimony of the law, came to acknowledge God from the furthest parts of the East, yet we behold this same thing more clearly and abundantly carried on now in the enlightenment of all those who are called, since the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled when he says, the Lord has laid bare His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the nations upon earth have seen the salvation which is from the Lord our God; and again, and those to whom it has not been announced about Him shall see, and they who have not heard, shall understand. Hence when we see men devoted to worldly wisdom and far from belief in Jesus Christ brought out of the depth of their error and called to an acknowledgment of the true Light, it is undoubtedly the brightness of the Divine grace that is at work: and whatever of new light illumines the darkness of their hearts, comes from the rays of the same star: so that it should both move with wonder, and going before lead to the adoration of God the minds which it visited with its splendour. But if with careful thought we wish to see how their threefold kind of gift is also offered by all who come to Christ with the foot of faith, is not the same offering repeated in the hearts of true believers? For he that acknowledges Christ the King of the universe brings gold from the treasure of his heart: he that believes the Only-begotten of God to have united man’s true nature to Himself, offers myrrh; and he that confesses Him in no wise inferior to the Father’s majesty, worships Him in a manner with incense.

I really like those last two sentences – may we all offer Him our threefold gifts.

Be miserable in the new year

January 5, 2019

If you have been wondering when the “Miserable Offenders” podcast would return, here it is!

We see through a mirror darkly

With the return of the Miserable Offenders Podcast, presented by the fine people of The North American Anglican.

Episode 6 dropped today on iTunes and other podcast services or may be streamed at the TNAA website. Additionally, be sure to like the new Facebook page for the podcast and subscribe and rate us on iTunes.

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This month’s free audiobook from christianaudio: Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

January 3, 2019

For January 2019, the free audiobook from christianaudio.com is the devotional book by Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening.  As christianaudio says, “Since the penning of Morning and Evening over 100 years ago, this devotional classic has become hugely popular and been a favorite for millions worldwide.”  Here is a chance to hear why this is indeed a classic – for free.

 

Bishop J.C. Ryle: a New Year’s sermon – “Are You Ready?”

January 1, 2019

As has become a tradition on this blog, I am posting this again–a New Year’s sermon by J.C. Ryle, “Are You Ready?” and I think it is a good way to begin a new year:

I ASK you a plain question at the beginning of a new year: Are you ready?

It is a solemn thing to part company with the old year. It is a still more solemn thing to begin a new one. It is like entering a dark passage: we know not what we may meet before the end. All before us is uncertain: we know not what a day may bring forth, much less what may happen in a year. Reader, are you ready?

Are you ready for sickness? You cannot expect to be always well. You have a body fearfully and wonderfully made: it is awful to think how many diseases may assail it.

“Strange that a harp of thousand strings
Should keep in tune so long!”

Pain and weakness are a hard trial. They can bow down the strong man and make him like a child. They can weary the temper and exhaust the patience, and make men cry in the morning, “Would God it were evening,” and in the evening, “Would God it were morning.” All this may come to pass this very year. Your reason may be shattered,-your senses may be weakened, your nerves may be unstrung: the very grasshopper may become a burden. Reader, if sickness comes upon you, are you ready?

Are you ready for affliction? “Man,” says the Scripture, “is born to sorrow.” This witness is true. Your property may be taken from you, your riches may make themselves wings and flee away, your friends may fail you, your children may disappoint you, your servants may deceive you; your character may be assailed, your conduct may be misrepresented: troubles, annoyances, vexations, anxieties, may surround you on every side, like a host of armed men; wave upon wave may burst over your head; you may feel worn and worried, and crushed to the dust. Reader, if affliction comes upon you, are you ready?

Are you ready for bereavements? No doubt there are those in the world that you love. There are those whose names are graven on your heart, and round whom your affections are entwined: there are those who are the light of your eyes, and the very sunshine of your existence. But they are all mortal: any one of them may die this year. Before the daisies blossom again, any one of them may be lying in the tomb. Your Rachel may be buried,-your Joseph may be taken from you,-your dearest idol may be broken: bitter tears and deep mourning may be your portion. Before December you may feel terribly alone. Reader, if bereavement comes upon you, are you ready?

Are you ready for death? It must come some day: it may come this year. You cannot live always. This very year may be your last. You have no freehold in this world,-you have not so much as a lease: you are nothing better than a tenant at God’s will. Your last sickness may come upon you, and give you notice to quit,-the doctor may visit you, and exhaust his skill over your case,-your friends may sit by your bedside, and look graver and graver every day: you may feel your own strength gradually wasting, and find something saying within, “I shall not come down from this bed, but die.” You may see the world slipping from beneath your feet, and all your schemes and plans suddenly stopped short. You may feel yourself drawing near to the coffin, and the grave, and the worm, and an unseen world, and eternity, and God. Reader, if death should come upon you, are you ready?

Are you ready for the Second Coming of Christ? He will come again to this world one day. As surely as He came the first time, 1800 years ago, so surely will He come the second time. He will come to reward all His saints, who have believed in Him and confessed Him upon earth. He will come to punish all His enemies,-the careless, the ungodly, the impenitent, and the unbelieving. He will come very suddenly, at an hour when no man thinketh: as a thief in the night. He will come in terrible majesty, in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels. A flaming fire shall go before Him. The dead shall be raised,-the judgment shall be set,-the books shall be opened! Some shall be exalted into heaven: many, very many, shall be cast down to hell. The time for repentance shall be past. Many shall cry, “Lord, Lord, open to us!” but find the door of mercy closed forever. After this there will be no change. Reader, if Christ should come the second time this year, are you ready?

O reader, these are solemn questions! They ought to make you examine yourself. They ought to make you think. It would be a terrible thing to be taken by surprise. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

But shall I leave you here? I will not do so. Shall I raise searchings of heart, and not set before you the way of life? I will not do so. Hear me for a few moments, while I try to show you the man that is ready.

He that is ready has a ready Saviour. He has Jesus ever ready to help him. He lives the life of faith in the Son of God. He has found out his own sinfulness, and fled to Christ for peace. He has committed his soul and all its concerns to Christ’s keeping. If he has bitter cups of affliction to drink, he knows they are mixed by the hand that was nailed to the cross for his sins. If he is called to die, he knows that the grave is the place where the Lord lay. If those whom he loves are taken away, he remembers that Jesus is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother, and a husband who never dies. If the Lord should come again, he knows that he has nothing to fear. The Judge of all will be that very Jesus who has washed his sins away. Happy is that man who can say, with Hezekiah, “The Lord was ready to save me” (Isaiah xxxviii. 20).

He that is ready has a ready heart. He has been born again, and renewed in the spirit of his mind. The Holy Ghost has shown him the true value of all here below, and taught him to set his affections on things above. The Holy Ghost has shown him his own deserts, and made him feel that he ought to be thankful for everything; and satisfied with any condition. If affliction comes upon him, his heart whispers, “There must be a needs be. I deserve correction. It is meant to teach me some useful lesson.” If bereavement comes upon him, his heart reminds him that the Lord gave and the Lord must take away, whenever He sees fit. If death draws near, his heart says, “My times are in Thy hand: as Thou wilt, when Thou wilt, and where Thou wilt.” If the Lord should come, his heart would cry, “This is the day I have long prayed for: the kingdom of God is come at last.” Blessed is he who has a ready heart.

He that is ready has a home ready for him in heaven. The Lord Jesus Christ has told him that He is gone “to prepare a place” for him. A house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, awaits him. He is not yet come to his full inheritance: his best things are yet to come. He can bear sickness, for yet a little time he shall have a glorious body. He can bear losses and crosses, for his choicest treasures are far beyond the reach of harm. He can bear disappointments, for the springs of his greatest happiness can never be made dry. He can think calmly of death: it will open a door for him from the lower house to the upper chamber,-even the presence of the King. He is immortal till his work is done. He can look forward to the coming of the Lord without alarm. He knows that they who are ready will enter in with Him to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Happy is that man whose lodging is prepared for him in the kingdom of Christ.

Reader, do you know anything of the things I have just spoken of? Do you know anything of a ready Saviour, a ready heart, and a ready home in heaven? Examine yourself honestly. How does the matter stand?

Oh, be merciful to your own soul! Have compassion on that immortal part of you. Do not neglect its interest, for the sake of mere worldly objects. Business, pleasure, money, politics, will soon be done with forever. Do not refuse to consider the question I ask you,-ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU READY?

Reader, if you are not ready, I beseech you to make ready without delay. I tell you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that all things are ready on God’s part for your salvation. The Father is ready to receive you,-the Lord Jesus is ready to wash your sins away,-the Spirit is ready to renew and sanctify you,-angels are ready to rejoice over you,-saints are ready to hold out the right hand to you. Oh, why not make ready this very year?

Reader, if you have reason to hope you are ready, I advise you to make sure. Walk more closely with God,-get nearer to Christ,-seek to exchange hope for assurance. Seek to feel the witness of the Spirit more closely and distinctly every year. Lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets you. Press towards the mark more earnestly. Fight a better fight, and war a better warfare every year you live. Pray more, read more, mortify self more, love the brethren more. Oh that you may endeavour so to grow in grace every year, that your last things may be far more than your first, and the end of your Christian course far better than the beginning!

May we all grow in grace this year, and walk more closely with God–and please know I wish each and all of you a blessed New Year!

Cyprian of Carthage on the Incarnation

December 29, 2018

Here is another excerpt from one of the Fathers we posted some years ago–Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage around 250 A.D., had these insights about the Incarnation:

…Christ is both man and God, compounded of both natures, that He might be a Mediator between us and the Father. In Jeremiah: “And He is man, and who shall know Him? Also in Numbers: “A Star shall arise out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up from Israel.” –from Treatise XII

Moreover, God had previously foretold that it would happen, that as the ages passed on, and the end of the world was near at hand, God would gather to Himself from every nation, and people, and place, worshippers much better in obedience and stronger in faith, who would draw from the divine gift that mercy which the Jews had received and lost by despising their religious ordinances. Therefore of this mercy and grace the Word and Son of God is sent as the dispenser and master, who by all the prophets of old was announced as the enlightener and teacher of the human race. He is the power of God, He is the reason, He is His wisdom and glory; He enters into a virgin; being the holy Spirit, He is endued with flesh; God is mingled with man. This is our God, this is Christ, who, as the mediator of the two, puts on man that He may lead them to the Father. What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man also may be what Christ is. –from Treatise VI

…although from the beginning He had been the Son of God, yet He had to be begotten again according to the flesh.

In the second Psalm: “The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the bounds of the earth for Thy possession.” Also in the Gospel according to Luke: “And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Also Paul to the Galatians: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, born of a woman.” Also in the Epistle of John: “Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. But whosoever denies that He is come in the flesh is not of God, but is of the spirit of Antichrist.” –from Treatise XII

One thing that has impressed me about Cyprian’s writings has been his use of the Scriptures to prove his points. Note that in both quotes from Treatise XII he shows a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures; may we follow his example in reading, learning, and applying the Word.

A Christmas message from Dr. Peter Jensen of GAFCON

December 27, 2018

Here is a Christmas message from Dr. Peter Jensen, former Archbishop of Sydney and currently General Secretary of GAFCON.  This is quite a warm message and grounded in Scripture.