Monday, December 27, 2004
4. Thence also He says here, if thou turn thy attention to it, "No man cometh to me except he whom the Father shall draw." Do not think that thou art drawn against thy will. The mind is drawn also by love. Nor ought we to be afraid, lest perchance we be censured in regard to this evangelic word of the Holy Scriptures by men who weigh words, but are far removed from things, most of all from divine things; and lest it be said to us, "How can I believe with the will if I am drawn?" I say it is not enough to be drawn by the will; thou art drawn even by delight. What is it to be drawn by delight? "Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart." There is a pleasure of the heart to which that bread of heaven is sweet. Moreover, if it was right in the poet to ! say, "Every man is drawn by his own pleasure," --not necessity, but pleasure; not obligation, but delight,--how much more boldly ought we to say tthat a man is drawn to Christ when he delights in the truth, when he delights in blessedness, delights in righteousness, delights in everlasting life, all which Christ is? Or is it the case that, while the senses of the body have their pleasures, the mind is left without pleasures of its own? If the mind has no pleasures of its own, how is it said, "The sons of men shall trust under the cover of Thy wings: they shall be well satisfied with the fullness of Thy house; and Thou shalt give them drink from the river of Thy pleasure. For with Thee is the fountain of life; and in Thy light shall we see light"? Give me a man that loves, and he feels what I say. Give me one that longs, one that hungers, one that is travelling in this wilderness, and thirsting and panting after the fountain of his eternal home; give! such, and he knows what I say. But if I speak to the cold and indifferent, he knows not what I say. Such were those who murmured among themselves. "He whom the Father shall draw," saith He, "cometh unto me."
5. But what is this, "Whom the Father shall draw," when Christ Himself draws? Why did He say, "Whom the Father shall draw"? If we must be drawn, let us be drawn by Him to whom one who loves says, "We will run after the odor of Thine ointment." But let us, brethren, turn our minds to, and, as far as we can, apprehend how He would have us understand it. The Father draws to the Son those who believe on the Son, because they consider that God is His Father...
Photius said, "Christ is only a man, he is not also God." The Father hath not drawn him who thus believes. One whom the Father has drawn says: "Thou art Christ, Son of the living God." Not as a prophet, not as John, not as some great and just man, but as the only, the equal, "Thou art Christ, Son of the living God." See that he was drawn, and drawn by the Father. "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjonas: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven." This revealing is itself the drawing. Thou holdest out a green twig to a sheep, and thou drawest it. Nuts are shown to a child, and he is attracted; he is drawn by what he runs to, drawn by loving it, drawn without hurt to the body, drawn by a cord of the heart. If, then, these things, which among earthly delights and pleasures are shown to them that love them, draw them, since it is true that "every man is drawn by his own pleasure," does not Chris! t, revealed by the Father, draw? For what does the soul more strongly desire than the truth? For what ought it to have a greedy appetite, with which to wish that there may be within a healthy palate for judging the things that are true, unless it be to eat and drink wisdom, righteousness, truth, eternity?
Friday, December 03, 2004
Only ease me of my guilt;
Pleading at Your feet I lie,
Give me Christ, or else I die.
Why, then the Lord speaks to you this morning, to you if not to any other man in the church, he speaks to you and says-”Whosoever wishes, let him come.” You cannot say this does not mean you. When we give the general invitation, you may exempt yourself perhaps in some way or other, but you cannot now. You are willing, then come and take the water of life freely. “Shouldn’t I pray first?” It does not say so; it says, take the water of life. “But hadn’t I better go home and get better first?” No, take the water of life, and take the water of life now. You are standing by the fountain, and the water is flowing and you are willing to drink; you are picked out of a crowd who are standing about, and you are especially invited by the person who built the fountain. He says, “Here is a special invitation for you; you are willing; come and drink.” “Sir,” you say, “I must go home and wash my pitcher.” “No,” says he, “come and drink.” “But, sir, I want to go home and write a petition to you.” “I do not want it,” he says, “drink now, drink now.” What would you do? If you were dying of thirst, you would just put your lips down and drink. Soul, do that now. Believe that Jesus Christ is able to save you now. Trust your soul into his hands now. No preparation is needed. Whosoever will let him come; let him come at once and take the water of life freely. To take that water is simply to trust Christ; to rest in him; to take him to be your all in all. Oh that you would do it now! You are willing; God has made you willing.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Spurgeon on 1 tim 2:3 and 4:
It is quite certain that when we read that God will have all men to be saved it does not mean that he wills it with the force of a decree or a divine purpose, for, if he did, then all men would be saved. He willed to make the world, and the world was made: he does not so will the salvation of all men, for we know that all men will not be saved. Terrible as the truth is, yet is it certain from holy writ that there are men who, in consequence of their sin and their rejection of the Savior, will go away into everlasting punishment, where shall be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth...You must, most of you, be acquainted with the general method in which our older Calvinistic friends deal with this text. "All men," say they,—"that is, some men": as if the Holy Ghost could not have said "some men" if he had meant some men. "All men," say they; "that is, some of all sorts of men": as if the Lord could not have said "all sorts of men" if he had meant that. The Holy Ghost ! by the apostle has written "all men," and unquestionably he means all men...
I cannot tell you why God permits moral evil, neither can the ablest philosopher on earth, nor the highest angel in heaven.
This is one of those things which we do not need to know. Have you never noticed that some people who are ill and are ordered to take pills are foolish enough to chew them? That is a very nauseous thing to do, though I have done it myself. The right way to take medicine of such a kind is to swallow it at once. In the same way there are some things in the Word of God which are undoubtedly true which must be swallowed at once by an effort of faith, and must not be chewed by perpetual questioning. You will soon have I know not what of doubt and difficulty and bitterness upon your soul if you must needs know the unknowable, and have reasons and explanations for the sublime and the mysterious. Let the difficult doctrines go down whole into your very soul, by a grand exercise of confidenc! e in God.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Monday, November 08, 2004
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Monday, November 01, 2004
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Also, the following excerpt was found at http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintc07.htm
"On the morning of the 14th of September, a great crowd gathered at the Villa Sexti, in accordance with the order of the governor Galerius Maximus. That same day the governor commanded Bishop Cyprian to be brought before him for trial. After Cyprian was brought in, the governor asked him, "Are you Thascius Cyprian?"
The bishop replied, "Yes, I am."
The governor Galerius Maximus said, "You have set yourself up as an enemy of the gods of Rome and our religious practices. You have been discovered as the author and leader of these heinous crimes, and will consequently be held forth as an example for all those who have followed you in your crime. By your blood the law shall be confirmed." Next he read the sentence from a tablet. "It is decided that Cyprian should die by the sword."
Cyprian responded, "Thanks be to God!"
After the sentence was passed, a crowd of his fellow Christians said, "We should also be killed with him!" There arose an uproar among the Christians, and a great mob followed after him. Cyrprian was then brought out to the grounds of the Villa Sexti, where, taking off his outer cloak and kneeling on the ground, he fell before the Lord in prayer. He removed his dalmatic and gave it to the deacons, and then stood erect while waiting for the executioner. When the executioner arrived, Cyprian told his friends to give the man 25 gold pieces.
The most blessed martyr Cyprian suffered on the 14th of September under the emperors Valerian and Gallienus, in the reign of our true Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belong honor and glory for ever. Amen.
from the Acts of the Martyrdom of Saint Cyprian by Saint Pontius"
Finally, here's a great article summarizing the man, his writings/convictions, and death http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04583b.htm
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Thursday, September 30, 2004
The mysteries and allegories of the days of creation. Augustine undertakes to interpret Gen. 1:2-31 in a mystical and allegorical fashion so as to exhibit the profundities of God's power and wisdom and love. He is also interested in developing his theories of hermeneutics on his favorite topic: creation. He finds the Trinity in the account of creation and he ponders the work of the Spirit moving over the waters. In the firmament he finds the allegory of Holy Scripture and in the dry land and bitter sea he finds the division between the people of God and the conspiracy of the unfaithful. He develops the theme of man's being made in the image and likeness of God. He brings his survey to a climax and his confessions to an end with a meditation on the goodness of all creation and the promised rest and blessedness of the eternal Sabbath, on which God, who is eternal rest, "rested."
Thursday, September 23, 2004
The mode of creation and the truth of Scripture. Augustine explores the relation of the visible and formed matter of heaven and earth to the prior matrix from which it was formed. This leads to an intricate analysis of "unformed matter" and the primal "possibility" from which God created, itself created de nihilo. He finds a reference to this in the misconstrued Scriptural phrase "the heaven of heavens." Realizing that his interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2, is not self-evidently the only possibility, Augustine turns to an elaborate discussion of the multiplicity of perspectives in hermeneutics and, in the course of this, reviews the various possibilities of true interpretation of his Scripture text. He emphasizes the importance of tolerance where there are plural options, and confidence where basic Christian faith is concerned.
Friday, September 17, 2004
I really dug Rod's thesis on Augustine and the will. Considering the time and tradition that Augustine was in it is entirely possible that it is a correct theory. However I also think Augustine's language fits well with Spurgeon's explanation of choice and pre-destination. Thoughts?
I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and, I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures. Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once. For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy." I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will. Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once into Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other. If, then, I find taught in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and if I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity. They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Thursday, September 09, 2004
From autobiography to self-analysis. Augustine turns from his memories of the past to the inner mysteries of memory itself. In doing so, he reviews his motives for these written "confessions," and seeks to chart the path by which men come to God. But this brings him into the intricate analysis of memory and its relation to the self and its powers. This done, he explores the meaning and mode of true prayer. In conclusion, he undertakes a detailed analysis of appetite and the temptations to which the flesh and the soul are heirs, and comes finally to see how necessary and right it was for the Mediator between God and man to have been the God-Man.
The eternal Creator and the Creation in time. Augustine ties together his memory of his past life, his present experience, and his ardent desire to comprehend the mystery of creation. This leads him to the questions of the mode and time of creation. He ponders the mode of creation and shows that it was de nihilo and involved no alteration in the being of God. He then considers the question of the beginning of the world and time and shows that time and creation are cotemporal. But what is time? To this Augustine devotes a brilliant analysis of the subjectivity of time and the relation of all temporal process to the abiding eternity of God. From this, he prepares to turn to a detailed interpretation of Gen. 1:1, 2.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
I also think it important to notice the language Augustine consistently uses though his work. I can not readily think of any example of him taking credit for his conversion. All praise is given to God. This does not necessarily prove that Augustine sees no role for his free will in conversion. But rather he sees it better to ascribe all credit to God then to speculate to deeply on his own cleverness in figuring out God and discovering Him. When others turn to Christ, he thanks God. Speaking of his friend who loved the Gladiator games he said "Nevertheless, from This you delivered him by your most strong and merciful hand and you taught him to put his confidence not in himself but in you (Isa 57:13)."
What I find most interesting though is how unresolved the issue is when he deals with it directly. I can not make sense of his language on P148 section 22. He does not divide a person into different wills. He says, "the self which willed to service was identical with the self which was unwilling. It was I. I was neither wholly willing nor wholly unwilling. So I was in conflict with myself and was dissociated from myself. The dissociation came about against my will." As a modern Evangelical Calvinist I immediately think "Ah Ha! He is speaking of God's calling him out. Working him toward repentance. But as I read on I am not so sure. He then goes on to say, "Yet this was not a manifestation of the nature of an alien mind but the punishment suffered in my own mind. And so it was 'not I' that brought this about 'but sin which dwelt in me' (Rom. 7:17,20), sin resulting from the punishment of a more freely chosen sin, because I was a son of Adam." Yikes, that does not wrap up where I thought he was going with it. I will humbly submit the only place I can go with it to make a bit of sense with it. Sin is what dissociated himself from his true will at the fall. As it did Adam. We now live with sin dwelling within us. It is now part of us. But God in His sovereignty can restore us to our original state. So the dissociation that was against his will is because his will was in bondage to sin. He is dissociated from his true self "A child of God" and is instead a "Child of wrath" in need of redemption, because he "was a son of Adam". He is now after conversion a son of God, reunited to his creator. Romans 7, Paul is aware that while he is a new creation in Christ at conversion also realizes that sin still dwells in him. It is part into his body. But one day he will be free of it. Therefore it is not what is most true or what is eternal about him. Let us focus on the eternal and be about the business of Heaven, in total dependence on God, as much as possible right here and now. Sin wars against our members and bring with it bondage of the will so we desperately need Him who has power over it (Romans 7:23). Yet we are also responsible. It is a great mystery.
This was done on the fly and is the work of a layman trying hard to exegete a passage of scripture that there is great ambiguity and debate over what it means (Rom 7:17-20), and Augustine. So it may be fraught with error and heresies. But I humble submit it as a possible explanation as to one aspect of Augustinian and Biblical teaching on the subject of the will. Another one that I would like to understand to add clarity is what is Augustine getting at when he speaks of "not a manifestation of the nature of an alien mind". But no time or clue on how to go down that rabbit hole now.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Piper has a quote from one of Augustine's letters where Augustine states: "Who has it in his power to have such a motive present to his mind that his will shall be influenced to believe?...If those things delight us which serve our advancement towards God, that is due not to our own whim or industry or meritorious works, but to the inspiration of God and to the grace which he bestows." So I guess then Augustine is very Edwardsian or more properly, Jonathan Edwards is very Augustinian. A will is free to pursue that which it delights most in, but not to chose what it delights most in.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Question: Can freedom resist Grace?
Augustine writes on pg 13 - "Deliver also those who do not as yet pray, that they may call upon you and you may set them free." is this Compulsion? Effectual calling? Then on pg 141 - "I had no answer to make to you when you said to me 'arise, you who are asleep, rise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light." Was this delayed and resisted grace? Must we cooperate with grace?
Q: What is the Relationship of Grace and Free Choice?
138 - AUGUSTINE QUOTES LUKE 15:32 "who was dead and is alive again, was lost and is found."
I see the idea of freedom of choice introduced as a solution to the problem of evil. Grace is used in relation to Providence and Salvation. Thus there are two possible solutions to the relation of freedom of choice and grace:
1. Submission of will to Grace. Uncompulsed surrender
Grace may not necessarily move a "free will," but we are still chosen and pursued even if we do not surrender to the Pursuer. Grace may be emphasised as power here, as an outlet to plug our faculty of the will into, leaving the driving and directing of the will to us to follow or not follow God with that power. We are the riders on the back of Grace, able to direct its power. Grace fills the fuel tank of our engine of the will.
2. The parable of the Lost Sheep. Compulsed surrender.
We are sheep that wander off by our own free choice. We may rightly say it was our own free choice to wander, to sin, but our freedom to sin does not mean we have the freedom to find our way back. We have lost ourselves. But it takes someone else to "find" us. The coin was found by the widow, not by itself. The sheep is found by the shepard, it does not "find" itself. We are brought back by the Grace of the Shepard. The Shepard does not come nearer to the sheep who come nearest to Him, they are too stupid to know how. Found Sheep are found by the power and willing of the Shepard, not the sheep.
Augustine's Answer (?):
Pelagius described us as riders on the back of a horse of grace, an Uncompulsed surrender and submission to God's will. Augustine called this heresy and [I think rightly] deduced that this reduced Christianity to a morality religion. I think Augustine would shy away from saying election is "compulsed" but it certainly is orcestrated through Providence, Power, Revelation, and Faculty as to make the role of "free choice" seem more like bondage to ignorance than the true Liberty of a Christian Augustine finds with the gift of a "new will." But then again, I could be wrong.
1. The Creation of the Faculty of the Will
pg 131 - "[with your grace]...so that he who sees should 'not boast as if he had not received' both what he sees and also the power to see. 'For what has he which he has not received."
2. Energy of the Faculty of the Will [Grace as Power]
pg 32 - "No one who considers his frailty would dare to attribute to his own strength his chastity and innocence, so that he has less cause to love you."
pg 69 - "I wanted to stand still and hear you and rejoice with joy at the voice of the bridegroom. But that was beyond my powers."
pg 71 - "But when our support rests on our own strength, it is infirmity."
pg 138 - "Those who receive it obtain from you 'power to become your sons.' [John 1:9,12]"
pg 147 - "But I could have willed this and then not done it if my limbs had not possessed the power to obey. So I did many actions in which the will to act was not equalled by the power."
3. Object of the Faculty of the Will [Revelation]
pg 131, again - "[with your grace]...so that he who sees should 'not boast as if he had not received' both what he sees and also the power to see. 'For what has he which he has not received."
pg 74 - "By the proud you are not found, not even if their curiosity and skill number the stars and the sand, measure the constellations, and trace the paths of the stars"
4. Providence - Events in natural world leading to knowledge of Revelation
pg 74, again - "By the proud you are not found, not even if their curiosity and skill number the stars and the sand, measure the constellations, and trace the paths of the stars"
pg 72 - "But you melt that when you wish, either in mercy or in punishment."
5. Perserverence of the Will
pg 18 - "Deliver me from all temptation to the end."
pg 83 - "For your mercy is for ever."
pg 110 - AUGUSTINE QUOTES ISAIAH 46:4 - "Run, I will carry you, and I will see you through to the end, and there I will carry you."
1. Liberty to sin, Freedom of directing the Will - Free Choice
pg 16 -[God does not cause sinners to sin]- "but of sinners only the orderer."
pg 28 - "Lord, and by the law written in the hearts of men which not even iniquity itself destroys."
pg 38 -"The liberty I loved was merely that of a runaway."
pg 68 - "'why then does God err?' I used to argue that your unchangable substance is forced into mistakes rather than confess that my mutable nature deviated by its own choice and that error is its punishment."
pg 113 - "I directed my mind to understand what I was being told, namely that the free choice of the will is the reason why we do wrong and suffer just judgement."
pg 114 - "people suppose that evil is something that you suffer rather than an act by humanity."
pg 138 - "Human beings obtain normal pleasures of human life not as they come on us unexpectedly and against our will, but after discomforts which are planned and accepted by deliberate choice." [Our discomfort is chosen]
2. Liberty from sin
pg 13 - "Deliver also those who do not as yet pray, that they may call upon you and you may set them free"
pg 107 - "Like a man whose wound has been hit, I pushed aside the words of good advice like the hand loosing the bond."
pg 120 - "[I am] inferior to you, and you are my true joy if I submit to you."
pg 140 - [New will, old will free?] "The new will, which was beginning to be within me a will to serve you freely and to enjoy you..."
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
So far Augustine has tried just about everything to fulfill his desires and attain happiness. All has failed. Perhaps our hearts are created for something else?
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Ned Flanders "Bart, do you resist Satan and all his empty promises?"
Homer: "Noooooo!!!" Jumps on Bart and gets hit by the water intended for Bart. Gets up and looks at Bart.
Bart: "Wow Dad you took a baptismal for me! How do you feel?"
Homer with a serene look on his face and in calm voice: "Oh Bartholomew, I feel just like Saint Augustine of Hippo after he was converted by Ambrose of Milan."
Homer: Comes to senses "I said shut up Flanders!"
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Sunday, July 25, 2004
"The references given with the present translation are to Augustine's Latin Bible, so that from Psalm 10 to 148 the reader must add one to find the corresponding passage in an English Bible..."
Thursday, July 22, 2004
"You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."
This has certainly been a major theme in my life, and according to the footnotes that is a major theme in his work. I see so many things he says that I could sit and talk about for hours. This one being the first!
I see the importance of reading this book slowly. There is so much there to meditate on already.
"My faith, Lord, calls upon you. It is your gift to me"
"gathering to yourself but not in need"
"What has anyone achieved in words when he speaks about You?"
"yet it was not from then but through them. Indeed all good things come from you, O God, and 'from my God is all my salvation.'"
"Where can a living being such as an infant come from if not from you, God? Or can anyone become the cause of his own being?"
"Your years are one Today"