Crooked Finger (crookedfingers) wrote,
Crooked Finger
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the perpetual intercession of Christ

It is now in the snow flow 11:19 AM Wednesday morning Eastern Standard Time. As I mentioned earlier this morning I wanted to quote from Richard Baxter's treatise "A Christian Directory". Several years ago I came to see what attracted me to the writings of the 17th century English Puritans was their words/language. I am into the use of words to describe realities/spiritual realities/theological language/mystical language.
To me Richard Baxter is a master at describing biblical realities/spiritual realities. (read the chapter four 'The Practical Writings of the English Puritans' essay found in the book, "A Quest For Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life" by J. I. Packer). I will quote now Baxter (this spoke to me personally)-

"14. Sometimes, the guilt of renewed infirmities or decays doth renew distrust, and make us shrink; and we are like the child in the mother's arms, that feareth when he looseth his hold, as if his safety were more in his hold of her, than her hold of him. Weak duties have weak expectations of success. In this case, what an excellent remedy hath faith, in looking to the perpetual intercession of Christ. Is he praying for us in the heavens, and shall we not be bold to pray, and expect an answer? O remember that he is not weak, when we are weak; and that it concerneth us, that he prayeth for us; and that we have now an unchangeable Priest, who is able to save them to the uttermost, or to perpetuity, "that come (sincerely) to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them," Heb. vii.24,25. If you heard Christ pray for you, would it not encourage you to pray, and persuade you that God would not reject you? Undoubtedly it would." Richard Baxter pg. 68 Christian Ethics

I could quote Richard Baxter all day, but I will refrain myself. Go out and buy "The Practical Works of Richard Baxter" Four Volumes or read them online.

Check out these books that go along with the above-

"William Perkins" biography by Joel Beeke & Stephen Yuille

"Light and Heat: The Puritan View of the Pulpit" by Dr. R. Bruce Bickel

"Puritan Evangelism: A Biblical Approach" by Joel R. Beeke

"The experimental preaching of the Puritan focused on the preaching of Christ. As Scripture clearly shows, evangelism must bear witness to the record God has given of His only begotten Son (Acts 2:30-36; 5:42; 8:35; Rom. 16:25; 1 Cor. 2:2; Gal. 3:1). The Puritans thus taught that any preaching in which Christ does not have the preeminence is not valid experiential preaching. William Perkins said that the heart of all preaching was to "preach one Christ by Christ to the praise of Christ." According to Thomas Adams, "Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus." Think of Christ as the very substance, marrow, soul, and scope of the whole Scriptures," Isaac Ambrose said.

In this Christ-centered context, Puritan evangelism was marked by a discriminating application of truth to experience. Discriminatory preaching defines the difference between the non-Christian and the Christian. Discriminatory preaching pronounces wrath of God and eternal condemnation upon the unbelieving and impenitent. It likewise offers the forgiveness of sins and eternal life to all who embrace by true faith Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Such preaching teaches that if our religion is not experimental, we will perish-not because experience itself saves, but because Christ who saves sinners must be experienced personally as the Rock upon whom our eternal hope is built (Matt. 7:22-27; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2:2).

The Puritans were very aware of the deceitfulness of the human heart. Consequently, Puritan evangelist took great pains to identify the marks of grace that distinguish the church from the world, true believers from merely professing believers, and saving faith from temporary faith. Thomas Shepard in The Ten Virgins, Matthew Mead in The Almost Christian Discovered, Jonathan Edwards in Religious Affections, and other Puritans wrote dozen of works to differentiate imposters from true believers.

That kind of discriminatory preaching is extremely rare today. Even in conservative evangelical churches, head knowledge of scriptural truth is often a substitute for heart experience, or, what is equally unscriptural, heart experience is substituted for head knowledge. Experimental preaching calls for both head knowledge and heart experience; its goal, according to John Murray, is "intelligent piety." Experimental preaching is "Christianity brought home to men's business and bosoms," Robert Burns said. "The principle on which experimental religion rests is simply this, that Christianity should not only be known, and understood, and believed, but also felt, and enjoyed, and practically applied." pg, 18,19 Joel Beeke "Puritan Evangelism"
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