…in reformed churches, where free grace is proclaimed loud and clear, blessings joined to obedience should never be called law-preaching. I tend to think it is only a soul stricken by the law that could construe it that way; where grace reigns every precept is a precious promise of God’s goodness to His people.
…not that that ever happens to me, of course.
Thomas Decker, quoted in Dorothy Sayer’s “Gaudy Night”
Do but consider what an excellent thing sleep is: it is so inestimable a jewel that, if a tyrant would give his crown for an hour’s slumber, it cannot be bought: of so beautiful a shape is it, that though a man lie with an Empress, his heart cannot beat quiet till he leaves her embracements to be at rest with the other: yea, so greatly indebted are we to this kinsman of death, that we owe the better tributary, half of our life to him: and there is good cause why we should do so: for sleep is that golden chain that ties health and our bodies together. Who complains of want? of wounds? of cares? of great men’s oppressions? of captivity? while he sleepeth? Beggars in their beds take as much pleasure as kings: can we therefore surfeit on this delicate Ambrosia? Can we drink too much of that whereof to taste too little tumbles us into a churchyard, and to use it but indifferently throws us into Bedlam? No, no, look upon Endymion, the moon’s minion, who slept three score and fifteen years, and was not a hair the worse for it.
G. Campbell Morgan, The Crises of the Christ, Part Three — The Temptation, Conclusion
In the last temptation there is an intimation of the devil’s estimate of the worth of Jesus. After showing Him the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, he declared his conviction that to capture the soul of Christ would be a greater victory than all his conquests. He reckoned this perfect Man to be worth all over which he claimed to have gained authority. “All these,” said the enemy, and the offer included the result of the dreadful persistency of diabolical endeavour through long centuries, the evolution of evil through tedious processes. The spotless Son of God was, in the estimate of the devil, of more value than all. In effect the enemy said, I will give to Thee all that has cost so much, if I may but gain for one moment Thy homage. It is a stupendous and startling revelation, the devil’s estimate of the worth of Christ. There are persons who say that they cannot understand the expiatory work of Christ on the Cross, because of the difficulty of believing that the suffering and death of One could possible be sufficient for the redemption of the world. Those who speak of this difficulty evidently hold Christ at lower valuation than did the devil. He, comparing the world with the Master, tacitly acknowledged the greater worth of Jesus. Satan evidently reckoned that unless he could bring Christ into subjection, nothing he had, would he be able to hold. He evidently recognised the infinite value of this second man; and understood, moreover, the relation of that undepreciated value to the redemption of the world.
It is very easy to assume that if someone does not agree with us it must be because they do not understand what we have to say. Now that is certainly an option; many times people do misunderstand. But I doubt that we would be content to have that criticism applied to ourselves. Both credo and paedo baptists feel to some degree that the other side doesn’t get it. Yet, whichever side of that debate we may be on, we probably would not accept that we don’t understand the other side.
And so it is helpful to distinguish between understanding and appreciating. I may have a grasp of the essential details of an argument, and yet it fails to have weight with me: I do not appreciate it. I remember reading in one of Bernard Shaw’s prefaces one of the most clear statements of the Gospel that I had encountered up to the time; it would have been silly for me to lay a charge of misunderstanding. The problem was not intellectual, on his part; although he grasped, he did not like it, he did not appreciate.
Now, when you add to that the fact that there are areas where we might be wrong, it becomes clear that disagreement is not always due to ignorance or stupidity on the part of the other guy. I am aware that we don’t feel wrong; but we didn’t feel wrong several years ago, either, and yet look how that turned out.
So in controversy, the problem is not always with them.
Yet that statement also needs to be balanced. Rejecting some things does show ignorance, stupidity, or moral turpitude. If someone does not believe that Jesus is the Christ, then that really is their problem. And of course, to some degree, all error is the result of sin and the damage that sin has wrought on our noetic faculties. But here we would do well to distinguish, between what must necessarily be a failing on the part of the adversary, and what may be a failing on our part (or what is a less significant difference). Failure to do so not only puts us in company with Calovius and leaves us in danger of a tu quoque: it is also a violation of the Golden Rule. There is no doubt that in controversy, at least on certain points, we would like the other side to listen carefully and entertain the possibility that we might be right; but then would Jesus’ words not obligate us to treat them likewise?
The observation of Bernard well deserves to be remembered: The name of Jesus is not only light but food also, yea, oil, without which all the food of the soul is dry; salt, without which as a condiment whatever is set before us is insipid; in fine, honey in the mouth, melody in the ear, joy in the heart, and, at the same time, medicine; every discourse where this name is not heard is absurd. Calvin’s Institutes II.16.1
On the internal/external covenant membership distinction: De Doctrina Christiana, book 3, ch. 32
THE SECOND RULE OF TICHONIUS
The second rule is about the twofold division of the body of the Lord; but this indeed is not a suitable name, for that is really no part of the body of Christ which will not be with Him in eternity. We ought, therefore, to say that the rule is about the true and the mixed body of the Lord, or the true and the counterfeit, or some such name; because, not to speak of eternity, hypocrites cannot even now be said to be in Him, although they seem to be in His Church. And hence this rule might be designated thus: Concerning the mixed Church. Now this rule requires the reader to be on his guard when Scripture, although it has now come to address or speak of a different set of persons, seems to be addressing or speaking of the same persons as before, just as if both sets constituted one body in consequence of their being for the time united in a common participation of the sacraments.
If you haven’t yet, you should read this article.
A good quote from it:
It is not so much that Christ fulfills what the temple means; rather Christ is the meaning for which the temple existed.
Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p.308 (Hendrickson:1993)
As the Hebrew was not generally understood, the Methurgeman, or Interpreter, stood by the side of the reader (comp. 1 Cor. 14:27,28), and translated into the Aramaean verse by verse, and in the section from the Prophets, or Haphtarah, after every three verses (Megill. 24a). But the Methurgeman was not allowed to read his translation, lest it might popularly be regarded as authoritative. This may help to us in some measure to understand the popular mode of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament. So long as the substance of a text was given correctly, the Methurgeman might paraphrase for better popular understanding. Again, it is but natural to suppose, that the Methurgeman would prepare himself for his work by such materials as he would find to hand, among which, of course, the translation of the Septuagint would hold a prominent place. This may in part account alike for the employment of the Septuagint, and for its Targumic modifications, in the New Testament quotations.