"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Random stuff, Edwards, Augustine, Death & Penance. And Luther too.

Speaking of stern evil Protestant Puritan types what about that awful Jonathan Edwards and all of his silly resolutions. I was thinking about this one in relation to the death of Augustine.

"9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death. "
What a drag I know. Man how that can change your outlook though. What will hit me when I die? (Spiritually, I am not thinking Mack truck verses falling anvil) What will my thoughts be about? (Again spiritually, not wow that anvil is falling on me and really going to hurt). Well Augustine’s thoughts made my heart sink. His thoughts were of sin and penance.The ill Augustine: “had ordered the four Psalms of David that deal with penance copied out. From his sick bed he could see these sheets of paper every day, hanging on his walls, and would read them, crying constantly and deeply.” Few were allowed to see him so he could pray uninterrupted.
When commenting on his work “Confessions” around this time he was sensitive to those who criticized the work. “Therefore, what remains for me to do, is to judge myself under my single Master, whose judgment I desire to escape, for all my offenses.” This was a man who was deeply aware and broken hearted over his sins. Of his son he once said “I did nothing to profit that boy”. He analyzed his motives to the core. But he went deeper still trying to know his single Master. I have come to believe that anyone who would call Augustine’s God a “devil God” either does not understand Augustine, or actually worships a different God then me. I am committing myself to ponder Edwards’ resolution in the light of Saint Augustine’s last days.

Two other things come to mind as I try to balance this out in my head. Another resolution by Edwards
"19. Resolved, never to do anything that I should be afraid to do if I expect it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump. "
And good old Saint Martin Luther. While he would love Edwards’ resolution 19 and embrace it there is that famous quote that is so misunderstood.
For some reason my heart leap at typing that. For I know that I am a sinner still. It is not what I do it is what I am. Can I believe more boldly then I have sinned?! (Augustine gave it a good run.) I think I will go get a good night sleep to take on the next day. God go with us all.


Jared Nelson said...

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.
-The Heidelberg Catechism Question 1

I am a little leary of Luther's "believe boldly" ever since you posted on Packer's warning about faith in faith. That's what I love about the Heidelberg's language, "what is my only comfort in life and death" -I belong to Christ who is able to keep me. Thoughy I think that is partly what Luther was getting at...

Aaron said...

Bah! Luther was pretty darn good on the issue of assurance and having faith in Christ alone. When your sins crush you look to the cross he would say. Not to your faith. Yeah Luther tends to speak to BOLDLY at times, but I like it. My only regret is that I did not get it on a T-shirt when the movie was out. Those were cool.