Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Other Blogs:

John Owen on the Necessity of Going Beyond the "Words" of Scripture to Express Its "Meaning"

In the declaration, then, of this doctrine unto the edification of the church, there is contained a farther explanation of the things before asserted, as proposed directly and in themselves as the object of our faith, — namely, how God is one, in respect of his nature, substance, essence, Godhead, or divine being; how, being Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, he subsists in these three distinct persons or hypostases; and what are their mutual respects to each other, by which, as their peculiar properties, giving them the manner of their subsistence, they are distinguished one from another; with sundry other 379things of the like necessary consequence unto the revelation mentioned. And herein, as in the application of all other divine truths and mysteries whatever, yea, of all moral commanded duties, use is to be made of such words and expressions as, it may be, are not literally and formally contained in the Scripture; but only are, unto our conceptions and apprehensions, expository of what is so contained. And to deny the liberty, yea, the necessity hereof, is to deny all interpretation of the Scripture, — all endeavours to express the sense of the words of it unto the understandings of one another; which is, in a word, to render the Scripture itself altogether useless. For if it be unlawful for me to speak or write what I conceive to be the sense of the words of the Scripture, and the nature of the thing signified and expressed by them, it is unlawful for me, also, to think or conceive in my mind what is the sense of the words or nature of the things; which to say, is to make brutes of ourselves, and to frustrate the whole design of God in giving unto us the great privilege of his word.

- John Owen, Brief Declaration and Vindication of The Doctrine of the Trinity [source]

More Quotations About the Trinity HERE

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moreland and Craig on the Two Minds View of the Incarnation

Some Christian philosophers, such as Thomas Morris, have postulated an independent conscious life for the incarnate Logos in addition to the conscious life of Jesus of Nazareth, what Morris calls a “
two minds” view of the Incarnation. He provides a number of intriguing analogies in which asymmetrical accessing relations exist between a subsystem and an encompassing system, such that the overarching system can access information acquired through the subsystem but not vice versa. He gives a psychological analogy of dreams in which the sleeper is himself a person in the dream, and yet the sleeper has an awareness that everything that he is experiencing as reality is in fact merely a dream.
Morris proposes that the conscious mind of Jesus of Nazareth be conceived as a subsystem of a wider mind which is the mind of the Logos. Such an understanding of the consciousness of the Logos stands in the tradition of Reformed theologians like Zwingli, who held that the Logos continued to operate outside the body of Jesus of Nazareth. The main difficulty of this view is that it threatens to lapse into Nestorianism, since it is very difficult to see why two self-conscious minds would not constitute two persons.
If the model here proposed makes sense, then it serves to show that the classic doctrine of the Incarnation of Christ is coherent and plausible. It also serves religiously to elicit praise to God for his self-emptying act of humiliation in taking on our human condition with all its struggles and limitations for our sakes and for our salvation.
-J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig in chapter 30 of their book The Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Quotes in Favor of Geocentrism

The following are quotes I've copied from Robert Sungenis' documentary Journey to the Center of the Universe. I don't know how accurate these quotations are; but for myself I've tried to meticulously reproduce them here (correcting only obvious typos like the misspelling of Friedrich Nietzsche's first name as "Fredrich"). At the very least the following quotes demonstrate that because the General Theory of Relativity requires all motion to be relative, that therefore relative geocentrism is a perfectly acceptable scientific position to hold. The controversial position is that of absolute Geocentrism (Geocentrism with a captical "G", if you will). For a defense of this latter position, I highly recommend Robert Sungenis' books and documentaries in its defense. Though, I myself don't take a dogmatic stand in favor of absolute Geocentrism (as intriguing as the case may be). I'll be emphasizing some quotations using bold and/or colored text.

"In order for the Earth to be at rest in the center of the system of the sun, planets, and comets, there is required both universal gravity and another force in addition that acts on all bodies equally according to the quantity of matter in each of them and is equal and opposite to the accelerative gravity with which the Earth tends to the sun...And thus celestial bodies can move around the Earth at rest, as in the Tychonic system."- Physicist, Isaac Newton

"I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment."- Physicist, Albert Einstein

"...to the question whether or not the motion of the Earth in space can be made perceptible in terrestrial experiments. We have already remarked...that all attempts of this nature led to a negative result. Before the theory of relativity was put forward, it was difficult to become reconciled to this negative result."- Physicist, Albert Einstein

"Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest..."- Physicist, Henrick Lorentz

"There was just one alternative; the earth's true velocity through space might happen to have been nil."- Physicist, Arthur Eddington

"The failure of the many attempts to measure terrestrially any effects of the earth's motion..."- Physicist, Wolfgang Pauli

"We do not have and cannot have any means of discovering whether or not we are carried along in a uniform motion of translation."- Physicist, Henri Poincaré

"A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth's movement. The results were always negative."- Physicist, Henri Poincaré

"This conclusion directly contradicts the explanation...which presupposes that the Earth moves."- Physicist, Albert Michelson

"The data [of Michelson-Morley] were almost unbelievable...There was only one other possible conclusion to draw — that the Earth was at rest."- Physicist, Bernard Jaffe

"We can't feel our motion through space, nor has any physical experiment ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion."- Historian, Lincoln Barnett

"Thus, even now, three and a half centuries after Galileo...it is still remarkably difficult to say categorically whether the earth moves..."- Physicist, Julian B. Barbour

"There is no planetary observation by which we on Earth can prove that the Earth is moving in an orbit around the sun."- Physicist, I. Bernard Cohen

"Thus, failure [of Michelson-Morley] to observe different speeds of light at different times of the year suggested that the Earth must be 'at rest'...It was therefore the 'preferred' frame for measuring absolute motion in space. Yet we have known since Galileo that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Why should it be at rest in space?"- Physicist, Adolph Baker

"...The easiest explanation was that the earth was fixed in the ether and that everything else in the universe moved with respect to the earth and the ether...Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by moving around it."- Physicist, James Coleman

"In the effort to explain the Michelson-Morley experiment...the thought was advanced that the Earth might be stationary...Such an idea was not considered seriously, since it would mean in effect that our Earth occupied the omnipotent position in the universe, with all the other heavenly bodies paying homage by revolving around it."- Physicist, Arthur S. Otis
[The second part of the above quote seems to be a repetition of the second part of the previous quote. Yet they are said to be by two different physicists. Either one of the quotes are in error (or misattributed), or they are from a work that was written by both Coleman and Otis. At Sungenis' website the attribution is to Otis [ (Arthur S. Otis, Light Velocity and Relativity, p. 58.)] http://galileowaswrong.com/critique-of-alec-macandrew-ph-d-topic-geocentrism/  . Whereas Sungenis attributes it to Coleman in one his comments at a blog on Discover magazine's website  [ (James A. Coleman, Relativity for the Layman, p. 37).]     http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/09/14/geocentrism-seriously/#.V1e_1OTqORY]

"The Michelson-Morley experiment confronted scientists with an embarrassing alternative. On the one hand they could scrap the ether theory which had explained so many things about electricity, magnetism, and light. Or if they insisted on retaining the ether they had to abandon the still more venerable Copernican theory that the earth is in motion. To many physicists it seemed almost easier to believe that the earth stood still than that waves - light waves, electromagnetic waves - could exist without a medium to sustain them. It was a serious dilemma and one that split scientific thought for a quarter century. Many new hypotheses were advanced and rejected. The experiment was tried again by Morley and by others, with the same conclusion; the apparent velocity of the earth through the ether was zero."- Historian, Lincoln Barnett

"So which is real, the Ptolemaic or Copernican system? Although it is not uncommon for people to say that Copernicus proved Ptolemy wrong, that is not true...one can use either picture as a model of the universe, for our observations of the heavens can be explained by assuming either the earth or the sun to be at rest."- Physicist, Stephen Hawking

"If we were to adopt a frame of reference like Tycho's in which the Earth is at rest, then the distant galaxies would seem to be executing circular turns once a year, and in general relativity this enormous motion would create forces akin to gravitation, which would act on the Sun and planets and give them the motions of the Tychonic theory."- Physicist, Steven Weinberg

"Let it be understood at the outset that it makes no difference, from the point of view of describing planetary motion, whether we take the Earth or the Sun as the center of the solar system. Since the issue is one of relative motion only, there are infinitely many exactly equivalent descriptions referred to different centers - in principle any point will do, the Moon, Jupiter...So the passions loosed on the world by the publication of Copernicus' book, De revolutionibus orbium caelestium libri VI, were logically irrelevant..."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"...we can take either the Earth or the Sun, or any other point for that matter, as the center of the solar system. This is certainly so for the purely kinematical problem of describing the planetary motions. It is also possible to take any point as the center even in dynamics, although recognition of this freedom of choice had to await the present century."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"It is possible to describe the entire universe using any chosen point as the unmoving center - the Earth will do very well - and no one can prove that choice is wrong....Scientists today prefer to picture everything in motion and nothing as being the center. If you haven't given much thought to the implications of twentieth-century science, you may be chagrined...to realize that because of the concept of relative motion, no one can prove that the Earth moves."- Kitty Ferguson, Science Writer

"...Thus we may return to Ptolemy's point of view of a 'motionless Earth' This would mean that we use a system of reference rigidly fixed to the Earth in which all stars are performing a rotational motion with the same angular velocity around the Earth's axis...one has to show that the transformed metric can be regarded as produced according to Einstein's field equations, by distant rotating masses. This has been done by Thirring. He calculated a field due to a rotating, hollow, thick-walled sphere and proved that inside the cavity it behaved as though there were centrifugal and other inertial forces usually attributed to absolute space. Thus from Einstein's point of view, Ptolemy and Copernicus are equally right. What point of view is chosen is a matter of expediency."- Physicist, Max Born

"I can construct for you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that."- Physicist, George F. R. Ellis

"If it [earth] isn't moving relative to the ether, then earth alone among the cosmos is at rest relative to the ether. Now that may be an absurd possibility but maybe it's true. I think you can see that this not going to be very philosophically satisfying, and it isn't satisfying physically either, but it violates the Copernican Principle that the earth isn't special. It is particularly absurd in light of what we know from modern cosmology namely that there are places in the universe, distant galaxies in particular, that are moving away from us at speeds very close to the speed of light. It's absurd to imagine that everything in the universe is pinned to earth when there are such a wide range of speeds relative to earth throughout the universe, but it suffices to rule it out on this philosophical ground."- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"The ancient argument over whether the Earth rotates or the heavens revolve around it (as Aristotle taught) is seen to be no more than an argument over the simplest choice of a frame of reference. Obviously, the most convenient choice is the universe....Nothing except inconvenience prevents us from choosing the Earth as a fixed frame of reference....If we choose to make the Earth our fixed frame of reference, we do not even do violence to everyday speech. We say that the sun rises in the morning, sets in the evening; the Big Dipper revolves around the North Star. Which point of view is "correct"? Do the heavens revolve or does the Earth rotate. The question is meaningless."- Physicist, Martin Gardner

the Earth-centered system "...is in reality absolutely identical with the system of Copernicus and all computation of the places of the planets are the same for the two systems."- Astronomer, J. L. E. Dryer

"...it is very important to acknowledge that the Copernican theory offers a very exact calculation of the apparent movements of the planets...even though it must be conceded that, from the modern standpoint practically identical results could be obtained by means of a somewhat revised Ptolemaic system....It makes no sense, accordingly, to speak of a difference in truth between Copernicus and Ptolemy: both conceptions are equally permissible descriptions. What has been considered as the greatest discovery of occidental wisdom, as opposed to that of antiquity, is questioned as to its truth value."- Physicist, Hans Reichenbach

"...I tell my classes that had Galileo confronted the Church in Einstein's day, he would have lost the argument for better reasons. You may use my name if you wish."- Mathematician, Carl E. Wulfman

"Whether the Earth rotates once a day from west to east, as Copernicus taught, or the heavens revolve once a day from east to west, as his predecessors believed, the observable phenomena will be exactly the same. This shows a defect in Newtonian dynamics, since an empirical science ought not to contain a metaphysical assumption, which can never be proved or disproved by observation."- Physicist, Dennis Sciama

"Before Copernicus, people thought that the Earth stood still and that the heavens revolved about it once a day. Copernicus taught that 'really' the Earth revolves once a day, and the daily rotation of the sun and stars is only 'apparent.' Galileo and Newton endorsed this view, and many things were thought to prove it - for example, the flattening of the Earth at the poles, and the fact that bodies are heavier there than at the equator. But in the modern theory the question between Copernicus and his predecessors is merely one of convenience; all motion is relative, and there is no difference between the two statements: 'the earth rotates once a day' and 'the heavens revolve about the Earth once a day.' The two mean exactly the same thing, just as it means the same thing if I say that a certain length is six feet or two yards. Astronomy is easier if we take the sun as fixed than if we take the Earth, just as accounts are easier in decimal coinage. But to say more for Copernicus is to assume absolute motion, which is a fiction. All motion is relative, and it is a mere convention to take one body as at rest. All such conventions are equally legitimate, though not all are equally convenient."- Philosopher, Bertrand Russell

"There is no planetary observation by which we on Earth can prove that the Earth is moving in an orbit around the sun. Thus all Galileo's discoveries with the telescope can be accommodated to the system invented by Tycho Brahe just before Galileo began his observations of the heavens. In this Tychonic system, the planets...move in orbits around the sun, while the sun moves in an orbit around the Earth in a year. Furthermore, the daily rotation of the heavens is communicated to the sun and planets, so that the Earth itself neither rotates nor revolves in an orbit."- Physicist, I. Bernard Cohen

"Descartes is, however, doubly interesting to us in the discussion of Relativity, for at one time when the Inquisition was becoming uneasy about his scientific researches, he gave them a reply that satisfied them, or perhaps he merely gained time, which was long, while they were trying to understand its meaning. He declared that the sun went around the Earth, and that when he said that the Earth revolved round the sun that was merely another manner of expressing the same occurrence. I met with this saying first from Henri Poincaré, and I thought then that it was a witty, epigrammatic way of compelling thought to the question; but on reflection I saw that it was a statement of actual fact. The movements of the two bodies are relative one to the other, and it is a matter of choice as to which we take as our place of observation."- Physicist, Arthur Lynch

"Tycho Brahe proposed a dualistic scheme, with the Sun going around the Earth but with all other planets going around the Sun, and in making this proposal he thought he was offering something radically different from Copernicus. And in rejecting Tycho's scheme, Kepler obviously thought so too. Yet in principle there is no difference."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"We know now that the difference between a heliocentric and a geocentric theory is one of motions only, and that such a difference has no physical significance, [the Ptolemaic and Copernican views], when improved by adding terms involving the square and higher powers of the eccentricities of the planetary orbits, are physically equivalent to one another."- Astronomer, Fred Hoyle

"What happened when the experiment was done in 1887? There was never, never, in any orientation at any time of year, any shift in the interference pattern; none; no shift; no fringe shift; nothing. What's the implication? Here was an experiment that was done to measure the speed of the earth's motion through the ether. This was an experiment that was ten times more sensitive than it needed to be. It could have detected speeds as low as two miles a second instead of the known 2mps that the earth as in its orbital motion around the sun. It didn't detect it. What's the conclusion from the Michelson-Morley experiment? The implications is that the earth is not moving..."- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"Michelson and Morley found shifts in the interference fringes, but they were very much smaller than the size of the effect expected from the known orbital motion of the Earth."- Physicist, John D. Norton

"This "null" result was one of the great puzzles of physics at the end of the nineteenth century. One possibility was that...v would be zero and no fringe shift would be expected. But this implies that the earth is somehow a preferred object; only with respect to the earth would the speed of light be c as predicted by Maxwell's equations. This is tantamount to assuming that the earth is the central body of the universe."- Physicist, Douglas C. Giancoli

"So if Earth is at rest relative to the ether, then it alone is at rest. That makes us pretty special...Do you really want to return to parochial, pre-Copernican ideas? Do you really think you and your planet are so special that, in all the rich vastness of the Universe, you alone can claim to be 'at rest.'"- Physicist, Richard Wolfson

"...all this evidence that the universe looks the same whichever direction we look might seem to suggest there is something special about our place in the universe. In particular, it might seem that if we observe all other galaxies to be moving away from us, then we must be at the center of the universe...There is, however, an alternative explanation: the universe might look the same in every direction as seen from any other galaxy, too. This, as we have seen, was Friedmann's second assumption. We have no scientific evidence for, or against, this assumption. We believe it only on grounds of modesty: it would be most remarkable if the universe looked the same in every direction around us, but not around other points in the universe."- Physicist, Stephen Hawking

"But when you look at CMB map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That's crazy. We're looking out at the whole universe.....That would say we are truly the center of the universe."- Physicist, Lawrence Krauss

"I have to confess that I was bothered by the fact that the Axis of Evil seemed linked to a special direction in our solar system......But now we have completely independent data......This is a hint of something really big."- Astrophysicist, Max Tegmark, MIT, The Principle

"The Earth is indeed the center of the Universe. The arrangement of quasars on certain spherical shells is only with respect to the Earth. These shells would disappear if viewed from another galaxy or quasar. This means that the cosmological principle will have to go. Also it implies that a coordinate system fixed to the Earth will be a preferred frame of reference in the Universe. Consequently, both the Special and General Theory of Relativity must be abandoned for cosmological purposes."- Astrophysicist, Yetendra P. Varshni

"No longer could astronomers hope that the Copernican dilemma would disappear with improved data. The data were in hand, and their implication inescapable: we are at the center of a spherically symmetric distribution of gamma-ray-burst sources, and this distribution has an outer edge."- Astrophysicist, Jonathan I. Katz

"Why is the solar system cosmically aligned?"- Astrophysicist, Dragan Huterer

"The apparent alignment in the cosmic microwave background in one particular direction through space is called 'evil' because it undermines our ideas about the standard cosmological model....the Copernican Principle seems to be in jeopardy."- Astrophysicist, Ashok K. Singal

"Looking into this anomaly more deeply we will find that it remains robust throughout all seven years of published WMAP data, and furthermore that it is very difficult to explain within the context of the canonical Inflationary Lambda Cold Dark Matter of cosmology [the Big Bang]....the observations disagree markedly with the predictions of the theory."- Astrophysicists, Glenn D. Starkman, Craig J. Copi, Dragan Huterer, Dominik Schwarz

"One of the most surprising findings is that the fluctuations in the cosmic microwave radiation temperatures at large angular scales do not match those predicted by the standard [Big Bang] model."- The European Space Agency, Planck Probe, 2013

"It is both amusing and instructive to speculate on what might have happened if such an experiment could have been performed in the sixteenth or seventeenth centuries when men were debating the rival merits of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems. The result would surely have been interpreted as conclusive evidence for the immobility of the Earth, and therefore as a triumphant vindication of the Ptolemaic system and irrefutable falsification of the Copernican hypothesis."- Physicist, G. J. Whitrow

"It will be proper to discuss this, in order that we may know whether the universe revolves and the Earth stands still, or the universe stands still and the Earth rotates. For there have been those who asserted that...risings and settings do not occur by virtue of the motion of the heaven, but that we ourselves rise and set. The subject is worthy of consideration...whether the abode allotted to us is the most slowly or the most quickly moving, whether God moves everything around us or ourselves instead."- Roman historian, Seneca

"But among all the discoveries and corrections probably none has resulted in a deeper influence on the human spirit than the doctrine of Copernicus...Possibly mankind has never been demanded to do more, for considering all that went up in smoke as a result of realizing this change: a second Paradise, a world of innocence, poetry and piety: the witness of the senses, the conviction of a poetical and religious faith. No wonder his contemporaries did not wish to let all this go and offered every possible resistance to a freedom of view and greatness of thought so far unknown indeed not even dreamed of."- Poet, Johann von Goethe

"The Copernican revolution outshines everything since the rise of Christianity and reduces the Renaissance and Reformation to the rank of mere episodes, mere internal displacements, within the system of medieval Christendom. Since it changed the character of men's habitual mental operations even in the conduct of the non-material sciences, while transforming the whole diagram of the physical universe and the very texture of human life itself, it looms so large as the real origin both of the modern world and of the modern mentality, that our customary periodisation of European history has become an anachronism and an encumbrance."- Historian, Herbert Butterfield

"Where has God gone?" he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the Earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning? Do we not hear anything yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we not smell anything yet of God's decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves?"- Philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche

"Christianity is dead and rotting since Galileo cut its throat."- Slote, The Winds of War

"If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"- Jesus Christ, Gospel of John, 5:46-47

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Luther Held No Ill-Will Towards His Theological Opponents But Rather Desired Their Salvation

The following excerpt is taken from Luther's commentary on the book of Galatians regarding chapter 4 verse 30.
[which can be accessed HERE at pages 329-330 within the scanned book]

Our correction is severe, and our manner of writing sharp and vehement; but, certainly, there is no bitterness in our heart, no envy, no desire of revenge against our adversaries; but there is in us a godly carefulness and sorrow of spirit. We do not so hate the Pope, and other erroneous spirits, that we wish any evil unto them, or desire their destruction; but rather we desire that they may return again to the right way, and be saved together with us. 

Luther's Concession that Some Were Probably Saved in the Catholic Church Before His Rediscovery of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone

The following excerpt is taken from Luther's commentary on the book of Galatians regarding chapter 4 verse 30.
[which can be accessed HERE at pages 368-369 within the scanned book]

And now they themselves do not defend their wicked life; nay, rather, they which are the best and the soundest of them all, do detest it; but they fight for the maintenance and defence of the doctrine of devils, for hypocrisy, and for the righteousness of works. Here they allege the authority of councils and the examples of holy fathers, whom they affirm to have been the authors of their holy orders and statutes. Therefore, we fight not against the manifest wickedness and abominations of the papacy, but against the greatest holiness and holiest saints thereof, which think they lead an angelic life, whilst they dream that they keep not only the commandments of God, but also the counsels of Christ, and do works of supererogation, and such as they are not bound to do. This, we say, is to labour in vain, except they take hold of that only and alone, which Christ saith is only necessary, and choose the good part with Mary, which shall not be taken from them.

This did Bernard, a man so godly, so holy, and so chaste, that he is to be commended and preferred above them all. He being once grievously sick, and having no hope of life, put not his trust in his single life, wherein he had lived most chastely; not in his good works and deeds of charity, whereof he had done many; but removed them far out of his sight, and, receiving the benefit of Christ by faith, he said: "I have lived wickedly. But thou, Lord Jesus Christ, by double right dost possess the kingdom of heaven: first, because thou art the Son of God; secondly, because thou hast purchased it by thy death and passion. The first thou keepest for thyself, by thy birth-right. The second thou givest to me, not by the right of my works, but by the right of of grace." He set not against the wrath of God his monkery, nor his angelic life; but he took hold of that one thing which was necessary, and so was saved. I think that Hierome, Gregory, and many other of the fathers, were saved after the same sort. And it is not to be doubted but that also, in the Old Testament, many kings of Israel and other idolaters were saved in like manner, who, at the hour of death, casting away their vain trust which they had in idols, took hold of the promise of God, which was made unto the seed of Abraham, that is to say, Christ, in whom all nations should be blessed. And if there be any of the papists which shall be saved, they must simply lean not to their own good deeds and deserts, but to the mercy of God offered unto us in Christ, and say with Paul: "I have not mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is by faith in Christ," (Phil. iii. 9.)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Martin Luther on Assurance and the Possession OF and BY the Holy Spirit

 The following is an excerpt from Martin Luther's commentary on the book of Galatians as can be found at this link HERE. The quote begins on page 296 (page numbering within the scanned book). The passage deals with the doctrine of assurance and related topics. My comments are in purple. I also emphasize some portions using differing combinations of underline, bold and use of blue text.

VERSE 6. And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts.

The Holy Ghost is sent two manner of ways. In the primitive church he was sent in a manifest and visible appearance. So he came upon Christ, at Jordan, in the likeness of a dove, (Matt. iii. 16.) and in the likeness of fire upon the apostles and other believers. (Acts ii. 3.) And this was the first sending of the Holy Ghost: which was necessary in the primitive church; for it was expedient that it should be established by many miracles, because of the unbelievers, as Paul witnesseth. "Strange tongues," saith he, "be for a sign and a token, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not," (1 Cor. xiv. 23.) But after that the church was gathered together, and confirmed with those miracles, it was not necessary that this visible sending of the Holy Ghost should continue any longer.

Secondly, the Holy Ghost is sent by the word into the hearts of the believers, as here it is said, "God sent the spirit of his Son," &c. This sending with without any visible appearance; to wit, when, by the hearing of the external word, we receive an inward fervency and light, whereby we are changed and become new creatures; whereby also we receive a new judgement, a new feeling, and a new moving. This change, and this new judgment, is no work of reason, or of the power of man, but is the gift and operation of the Holy Ghost, which cometh with the word preached, which purifieth our hearts by faith, and bringeth forth in us spiritual motions. Therefore, there is a great difference betwixt us and those which with force and subtilty persecute the doctrine of the gospel. For we, by the grace of God, can certainly judge by the word, of the will of God towards us: also of all laws and doctrines; of our own life, and of the life of others. Contrariwise, the Papists and sectaries cannot certainly judge of any thing. For they corrupt, they persecute, and blaspheme the word. Now, without the word, a man can give no certain judgment of any thing.

And although it appear not before the world, that we be renewed in spirit, and have the Holy Ghost, yet notwithstanding our judgment, our speech, and our confession do declare sufficiently, that the Holy Ghost with his gifts is in us. For before we could judge rightly of nothing. We spake not as now we do. We confessed not that all our works were sin and damnable, that Christ was our only merit, both before grace and after, as now we do, in the true knowledge and light of the gospel. Wherefore let this trouble us nothing at all, that the world (whose works we testify to be evil) judgeth us to be most pernicious heretics and seditious persons, destroyers of religion, and troublers of the common peace, possessed of the devil speaking in us, and governing all our actions. Against this perverse and wicked judgement of the world, let this testimony of our conscience be sufficient, whereby we assuredly know that it is the gift of God, that we do not only believe in Jesus Christ, but that we also preach and confess him before the world. As we believe with our heart, so do we speak with our mouth, according to that saying of the Psalmist, "I believed, and therefore have I spoken." (Psal. cxvi. 10.)

Moreover we exercise ourselves in the fear of God, and avoid sin as much as we may. If we sin, we sin not of purpose, but of ignorance, and we are sorry for it. We may slip, for the devil lieth in wait for us, both day and night. Also the remnants of sin cleave yet fast in our flesh: therefore, as touching the flesh, we are sinners, yea, after that we have received the Holy Ghost. And there is no great difference betwixt a Christian and a civil honest man. For the works of a Christian in outward shew are but base and simple. He doth his duty according to his vocation, he guideth his family, he tilleth the ground, he giveth counsel, he aideth and succoureth his neighbour. These works the carnal man doth not much esteem, but thinketh them to be common to all men, and such as the heathen may also do. For the world understandeth not the things which are of the spirit of God, and therefore it judgeth perversely of the works of the godly. But the monstrous superstition of hypocrites, and their will-works, they have in great admiration. They count them holy works, and spare no charges in maintaining the same. Contrariwise, the works of the faithful, (which, although in outward appearance they seem to be but vile and nothing worth, yet are they good works indeed, and accepted of God, because they are done in faith, with a cheerful heart, and with obedience and thankfulness towards God,) these works, I say, they do not only not acknowledge to be good works, but also they despise and condemn them as most wicked and abominable. The world, therefore, believeth nothing less than that we have the Holy Ghost. Notwithstanding, in the time of tribulation or of the cross, and of the confession of our faith, (which is the proper and principal work of those that believe) when we must either forsake wife, children, goods, and life, or else deny Christ, then it appeareth that we make confession of our faith, that we confess Christ and his word, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

We ought not, therefore, to doubt whether the Holy Ghost dwelleth in us or not; but to be assuredly persuaded that we "are the temple of the Holy Ghost," as Paul saith, (1 Cor. iii. 16.) For if any man feel in himself a love towards the word of God, and willingly heareth, talketh, writeth, and thinketh of Christ, let that man know, that this is not the work of man's will or reason, but the gift of the Holy Ghost: for it is impossible that these things should be done without the Holy Ghost. Contrariwise, where hatred and contempt of the word is, there the devil, the god of this world, reigneth, "blinding men's hearts, and holding them captive, that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should not shine unto them." (2 Cor. iv. 4.) Which thing we see at this day in the most part of the common people, which have no love to the word, but contemn it, as though it pertained nothing at all unto them. But whosoever do feel any love or desire to the word, let them acknowledge with thankfulness, that this affection is poured unto them by the Holy Ghost. For we bring not this affection and desire with us, neither can we be taught by any laws how we may obtain it; but this change is plainly and simply the work of the right hand of the Most High. Therefore, when we willingly and gladly hear the word preached, concerning Christ the Son of God, who for us was made man, and became subject to the law, to deliver us from the malediction of the law, hell, death, and damnation; then let us assure ourselves that God, by and with this preaching, sendeth the Holy Ghost into our hearts. Wherefore it is very expedient for the godly to know that they have the Holy Ghost.

This I say, to confute that pernicious doctrine of the Papists, which taught that no man can certainly know (although his life be never so upright and blameless) whether he be in the favour of God or no. And this sentence, commonly received, was a special principle and article of faith in the whole papacy, whereby they utterly defaced the doctrine of faith, tormented men's consciences, banished Christ quite out of the church, darkened and denied all the benefits of the Holy Ghost, abolished the whole worship of God, set up idolatry, contempt of God, and blasphemy against God in men's hearts.

Augustine saith very well and godly, that "every man seeth most certainly his own faith, if he have faith." This do they deny. God forbid (say they) that I should assure myself that I am under grace, that I am holy, and that I have the Holy Ghost, yea, although I live godly, and do all good works. Ye which are young, and are not infected with the pernicious opinion, (whereupon the whole kingdom of the Pope is grounded,) take heed and fly from it, as from a most horrible plague. We that are old men have been trained up in this error, even from our youth, and have been so nusled [sic, some texts have "nursled" or "misled." See HERE and HERE. or HERE. "Nursled" seems to be the correct word. It is an archaic word that means "to nurture, train, raise (up) (a person)."] therein, that it hath taken deep root in our hearts. Therefore it is to us no less labour to unlearn and forget the same, than to learn and lay hold upon true faith. But we must be assured and out of doubt that we are under grace, that we please God for Christ's sake, and that we have the Holy Ghost: "For if any man have not the spirit of Christ, the same is none of his." (Rom. viii. 9.)

Wherefore, whether thou be a minister of God's word, or a magistrate in the commonwealth, thou must assuredly think that thy office pleaseth God: but this thou canst never do, unless thou have the Holy Ghost. But thou wilt say, I doubt not but that my office pleaseth God, because it is God's ordinance; but I doubt of mine own person, whether it please God or no. Here thou must resort to the word of God, which teacheth and assureth us, that not only the office of the person, but also the person itself pleaseth God. For the person is baptized, believeth in Christ, is purged in his blood from all his sins, liveth in the communion and fellowship of his church. Moreover, he doth not only love the pure doctrine of the word, but also he is glad, and greatly rejoiceth when he seeth it advanced, and the number of the faithful increased. Contrariwise, he detesteth the Pope and all sectaries, with their wicked doctrine; according to that saying of the Psalm: "I hate them that imagine evil things, but thy law do I love." (Psal. cxix. 113.)

We ought, therefore, to be surely persuaded, that not only our office, but also our person pleaseth God; yea, whatsoever it saith, doth, or thinketh particularly, the same pleaseth God, not for our own sakes, but for Christ's sake, who was made under the law for us. Now, we are sure that Christ pleaseth God, that he is holy, &c. Forasmuch, then, as Christ pleaseth God, and we are in him, we also please God, and are holy. And although sin do still remain in our flesh, and we also daily fall and offend, yet grace is more abundant and stronger than sin. The mercy and truth of the Lord reigneth over us for ever. Wherefore sin cannot terrify us, and make us doubtful of the grace of God which is in us. For Christ, that most mighty giant, hath quite abolished the law, condemned sin, vanquished death, and all evils. So long as he is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us, we cannot doubt of the grace and favour of God towards us.

Moreover, God hath also sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, as Paul here saith. But Christ is most certain in his spirit that he pleaseth God, &c.; therefore we also, having the same spirit of Christ, must be assured that we are under grace for his sake which is most assured. This I have said concerning the inward testimony, whereby a Christian man's heart ought to be fully persuaded that he is under grace, and hath the Holy Ghost. Now, the outward signs (as before I have said) are, gladly to hear of Christ, to preach and teach Christ, to render thanks unto him, to praise him, to confess him, yea, with the loss of goods and life: moreover, to do our duty according to our vocation as we are able: to do it (I say) in faith, joy, &c. Not to delight in, nor to thrust ourselves into another man's vocation, but to attend upon our own, to help our needy brother, to comfort the heavy hearted, &c. By these signs, as by certain effects and consequents, we are fully assured and confirmed that we are in God's favour. The wicked also do imagine that they have the same signs, but they have nothing less. Hereby we may plainly perceive that the Pope with his doctrine doth nothing else but trouble and torment men's consciences, and at length driveth them to desperation. For he not only teacheth, but also commandeth men to doubt. Therefore, as the Psalm saith, "There is no truth or certainty in his mouth," (Ps. v. 9.) And in another place: "Under his tongue is iniquity and mischief," (Ps. x. 7.)

Here we may see, what great infirmity is yet in the faith of the godly. For if we could be fully persuaded that we are under grace, that our sins are forgiven, that we have the spirit of Christ, that we are the children of God, then, doubtless, we should be joyful, and thankful to God for this inestimable gift. But because we feel contrary motions, that is to say, fear, doubtfulness, anguish and heaviness of heart, and such-like, therefore we cannot assure ourselves hereof: yea, our conscience judgeth it a great presumption and pride to challenge this glory. Wherefore, if we will understand this thing rightly, and as we should do, we must put it in practice; for without experience and practice it can never be learned.

Wherefore, let every man so practise with himself, that his conscience may be fully assured that he is under grace, and that his person and his works do please God. And if he feel in himself any wavering or doubting, let him exercise his faith, and wrestle against this doubting, and let him labour to attain more strength and assurance of faith, so that he may be able to say, I know that I am accepted, and that I have the Holy Ghost: not for mine own worthiness, my work, my merit, but for Christ's sake, who, of his inestimable love towards us, made himself thrall and subject to the law, and took away the sins of the world. In him do I believe. If I be a sinner and err, he is righteous and cannot err. Moreover, I gladly hear, read, sign, and write of him, and I desire nothing more than that his gospel may be known to the whole world, and that many may be converted unto him.

These things do plainly witness, that the Holy Ghost is present with us and in us. For such things are not wrought in the heart by man's strength, nor gotten by man's industry or travel, but are obtained by Christ alone, who first maketh us righteous by the knowledge of himself in his holy gospel, and afterwards he createth a new heart in us, bringeth forth new motions, and giveth unto us that assurance, whereby we are persuaded that we please the Father for his sake. Also he giveth us a true judgment, whereby we prove and try those things which before we knew not, or else altogether despised. It behoveth us, therefore, to wrestle against this doubting, that we may daily overcome it more and more, and attain to a full persuasion and certainty of God's favour towards us; rooting out of our hearts this cursed opinion, that a man ought to doubt of the grace and favour of God, which hath infected the whole world.

VERSE 6.     Crying, Abba, Father.

Paul might have said, "God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts," calling, Abba, Father. He saith not so, but crying "Abba, Father," that he might shew and set forth the temptation of a Christian, which yet is but weak, and weakly believeth. In the eighth to the Romans, he calleth this crying an unspeakable groaning. Likewise he saith: "The spirit helpeth our infirmities: for we know not how to pray as we ought, but the spirit maketh intercession for us, with unspeakable groanings," &c.

And this is a singular consolation when he saith, "that the spirit of Christ is sent into our hearts, crying Abba, Father:" and again, "that he helpeth our infirmities, making intercession for us with unspeakable groanings." He that could assuredly believe this, should never be overcome with any affliction, were it never so great. But there are many things that hinder this faith in us. First, our heart is born in sin: moreover, this evil is naturally grafted in us, that we doubt of the good-will of God towards us, and cannot assure ourselves that we please God, &c. Besides all this, the devil our adversary rangeth about with terrible roarings, and saith: Thou art a sinner; therefore God is angry with thee, and will destroy thee for ever. Against these horrible and intolerable roarings, we have nothing whereupon to hold and stay ourselves, but only the word, which setteth Christ before us as a conqueror over sin and death, and over all evils. But to cleave fast to the word, in this temptation and these terrors of conscience, herein standeth all the difficulty. For then Christ appeareth to no sense. We see him not; the heart feeleth not his presence or succour in temptation; but rather it seemeth that he is angry with us, and that he forsaketh us. Moreover, when a man is tempted and afflicted, he feeleth the strength of sin, and the infirmity of the flesh, he doubteth, he feeleth the fiery darts of the devil, the terrors of death, the anger and judgment of God. All these things cry out horribly against us, so that we see nothing else but desperation and eternal death. But yet, in the midst of these terrors of the law, thunderings of sin, assaults of death, and roarings of the devil, the Holy Ghost (saith Paul) crieth in our hearts, "Abba, Father!" And this cry surmounteth the horrible cries of the law, sin, death, the devil, &c.; it pierceth the clouds and the heavens, and ascendeth up into the ears of God.

Paul signifieth, therefore, by these words, that there is yet infirmity in the godly: As he doth also in the eighth chapter to the Romans, when he saith, "the spirit helpeth our infirmities." Forasmuch, therefore, as the sense and feeling of the contrary is strong in us; that is to say, forasmuch as we feel more the displeasure of God, than his good-will and favour towards us, therefore the Holy Ghost is sent into our hearts, which doth not only sigh and make request for us, but mightily crieth, "Abba, Father!" and prayeth for us according to the will of God, with tears and unspeakable groanings. And how is this done? When we are in terrors, and in the conflict of conscience, we take hold of Christ, and believe that he is our Saviour; but then do the law and sin terrify and torment us most of all. Moreover, the devil assaileth us with all his engines and fiery darts, and goeth about with all his power to take away Christ and all consolations from us. Here we feel ourselves almost gone, and at the point of desperation: for then are we that bruised reed and smoking flax, which Isaiah speaketh of, chap. xlii. 3. Notwithstanding, in the mean season, the Holy Ghost helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with unspeakable groanings, (Rom. viii. 28.) and certifieth our spirits that we are the children of God. Thus is the mind raised up in terrors: it looketh unto his Saviour and high bishop, Jesus Christ; it overcometh the infirmity of the flesh; it conceiveth comfort again, and saith, "Abba, Father." This groaning which then we scantly feel, Paul calleth, a crying and unspeakable groaning, which filleth both heaven and earth. Moreover, he calleth it the crying and groaning of the spirit, because the Holy Ghost stirreth up the same in our hearts when we are weak, and oppressed with temptation and terror.

Although, then, the law, sin, and the devil cry out against us never so much, with great and terrible roarings, which seem to fill heaven and earth, and far to exceed this groaning of our heart, yet can they not hurt us. For the more fiercely they assail us, accuse, and torment us with their cryings, so much the more do we groan; and in groaning lay hold upon Christ, call upon him with heart and mouth, cleave unto him, and believe that he was made under the law, that he might deliver us from the curse of the law, and destroy both sin and death. And thus, when we have taken hold of Christ by faith, we cry through him, "Abba, Father." (Gal. iv. 6) And this our cry doth far surmount the roaring of the law, sin, the devil, &c.

But so far off is it that we think this groaning, which we make in these terrors and this our weakness, to be a cry, that scarcely we perceive it to be a groaning. For our faith, which in temptation thus groaneth unto Christ, is very weak, if we consider our own sense and feeling; and therefore we hear not the cry. "But he," saith Paul, "which searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the meaning of the spirit," &c. (Rom. viii. 27.) To this searcher of the hearts, this small and feeble groaning (as it seemeth unto us) is a loud and a mighty cry, and an unspeakable groaning; in comparison whereof, the great and horrible roarings of the law, of sin, of death, of the devil, and of hell, are nothing; neither can they be once heard. Paul, therefore, not without cause calleth this groaning of a godly afflicted heart, a cry and a groaning of the spirit, which cannot be expressed; for it filleth heaven, so that the angels think they hear nothing else but this cry.

But in us there is a clean contrary feeling. For it seemeth unto us that this our small groaning doth not so pierce the clouds, that there is nothing else heard in heaven of God or his angels. Nay, we think, and especially during the time of temptation, the devil horribly roareth against us, that the heavens thunder and the earth trembleth, that all will fall upon us, that all creatures threaten our destruction, that hell is open and ready to swallow us up. This feeling is in our heart; these horrible voices, and this fearful shew we hear and we see. And this is it that Paul saith, in 2 Cor. xii. 9, that "the strength of Christ is made perfect through our weakness." For then is Christ almighty indeed; then doth he truly reign and triumph in us, when we are so weak that we can scarcely groan. But Paul saith, that this groaning is, in the ears of God, a most mighty cry, which filleth both heaven and earth.

Christ also, in the eighteenth of Luke, in the parable of the wicked judge, calleth this groaning of a faithful heart, a cry, yea, and such a cry as ceaseth not day and night to cry unto God, where he saith: "Here what the unrighteous judge saith. Now shall not God avenge his elect, which cry day and night unto him, yea though he suffer long for them? yea, I tell you, he will avenge them quickly." We at this day, in so great persecution and contradiction of the Pope, of tyrants and sectaries, which fight against us both on the right hand and on the left, can do nothing else but utter such groanings. And these were our guns and artillery, wherewith we have so many years scattered the counsels and enterprises of our adversaries; whereby, also, we have begun to overthrow the kingdom of Antichrist. They also shall provoke Christ to hasten the day of his glorious coming, wherein he shall abolish all rule, authority, and power, and shall put all his enemies under his feet. So be it.

In the fourteenth of Exodus, the Lord speaketh unto Moses at the Red Sea, saying, "Why criest thou unto me?" Yet Moses cried not, but trembled and almost despaired, for he was in great trouble. It seemed that infidelity reigned in him, and not faith. For he saw the people of Israel so compassed and enclosed with the Egyptian host and with the sea, that there was no way whereby they might escape. Here Moses durst not once open his mouth. How, then, did he cry? We must not judge, therefore, according to the feeling of our own heart, but according to the word of God, which teacheth us that the Holy Ghost is given to those that are afflicted, terrified, and ready to despair, to raise them up and to comfort them, that they be not overcome in their temptations and afflictions, but may overcome them, and yet not without great terrors and troubles.

The Papists dreamed, "that holy men had the Holy Ghost in such sort that they never had nor felt any temptation." They spake of the Holy Ghost only by speculation and naked knowledge. But Paul saith, that "the strength of Christ is made perfect through our weakness." Also, that "the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and maketh intercession for us with unspeakable groanings." Therefore we have then most need of the help and comfort of the Holy Ghost; yea, and then is he most ready to help us, when we are most weak, and nearest to desperation. If any man suffer affliction with a constant and joyful heart, then hath the Holy Ghost done his office in him. And, indeed, he exerciseth his work specially and properly in those which have suffered great terrors and afflictions, "and have," as the Psalm saith, "approached nigh to the gates of hell." As I said of Moses, which saw present death in the waters, and on every side whithersoever he turned his face. He was therefore in extreme anguish and desperation; and (no doubt) he felt in his heart a mighty cry of the devil against him, saying, All this people shall this day perish, for they can escape no way; and of this great calamity thou only shalt be found to be the author, because thou hast led them out of Egypt? Besides all this, the people cried out against him, saying, "Were there no graves in Egypt? Thou has brought us out, that we should die here in the wilderness. Had it not been better for us to have served the Egyptians, than here wretchedly to die in the wilderness?" (Exod. xiv. 11.) The Holy Ghost was not here in Moses by bare speculation and knowledge only, but truly and effectually, who made intercession for him with an unspeakable groaning, so that he sighed unto the Lord and said, "O Lord, at thy commandment have I led forth this people: help us, therefore." This groaning or sighing unto God, the scripture calleth a crying.

This matter I have the more largely prosecuted, that I might plainly shew what the office of the Holy Ghost is, and when he specially exerciseth the same. In temptation, therefore, we must in no wise judge thereof according to our own sense and feeling, or by the crying of the law, sin, and the devil, &c. If we then follow our own sense, and believe those cryings, we shall think ourselves to be destitute of all help and succour of the Holy Ghost, and utterly cast away from the presence of God. Nay, rather let us then remember what Paul saith, "The Spirit helpeth our infirmities," &c. Also it crieth, "Abba, Father;" that is to say, it uttereth a certain feeble sighing and groaning of the heart, (as it seemeth unto us), which, notwithstanding, before God is a loud cry and an unspeakable groaning. Wherefore, in the midst of thy temptation and infirmity, cleave only unto Christ, and groan unto him: he giveth the Holy Ghost, which crieth, "Abba, Father." And this feeble groaning is a might cry in the ears of God, and so filleth heaven and earth that God heareth nothing else: and moreover it stoppeth the cries of all other things whatsoever.

Thou must mark also that Paul saith, that the Spirit maketh intercession for us in our temptation; not with many words or long prayer, but only with a groaning, which notwithstanding cannot be expressed. And that he crieth not aloud with tears, saying, "Have mercy on me, O God," &c. (Ps. li.1.) but only uttereth a little sound, and feeble groaning, as "Ah, father." This is but a little word, and yet, notwithstanding, it comprehendeth all things. The mouth speaketh not, but the affection of the heart speaketh after this manner: Although I be oppressed with anguish and terror on every side, and seem to be forsaken and utterly cast away from thy presence, yet am I thy child, and thou art my father, for Christ's sake. I am beloved, because of the Beloved. Wherefore, this little word, "father," conceived effectually in the heart, passeth all the eloquence of Demosthenes, Cicero, and of the most eloquent rhetoricians that ever were in the world. This matter is not expressed with words, but with groanings; which groanings cannot be expressed with any words or eloquence, for no tongue can express them.

I have used many words to declare that a Christian must assure himself that he is in the favour of God, and that he hath the crying of the Holy Ghost in his heart. This have I done, that we may learn to reject and utterly to abandon that devilish opinion of the whole kingdom of the Pope, which taught that a man ought to be uncertain, and to stand in doubt of the grace of and favour of God towards him. If  this opinion be received, then Christ profiteth nothing; for he that doubteth of God's favour towards him, must needs doubt also of the promises of God, and so, consequently, of the will of God, and of the benefits of Christ; namely, that he was born, suffered, died, and rose again for us, &c. But there can be no greater blasphemy against God, than to deny his promises, to deny God himself, to deny Christ, &c. Wherefore, it was not only an extreme madness, but a horrible impiety that the monks did so earnestly entice the youth, both men and women, to their monasteries, and to their holy orders, (as they called them) as to a most certain state of salvation; and yet, when they had thus done, they bade them doubt of the grace and favour of God towards them.

Moreover, the Pope called all the world to the obedience of the holy church of Rome, as to a holy state, in the which they might undoubtedly attain salvation; and yet, after he had brought them under the obedience of his laws, he commanded them to doubt of their salvation. So the kingdom of Antichrist braggeth and vaunteth, at the first, of the holiness of his orders, his rules, and his laws, and assuredly promiseth everlasting life to such as observe and keep them. But afterwards, when these miserable men have long afflicted their bodies with watching, fasting, and such-like exercises, according to the traditions and ordinances of men, this is all that they gain thereby, that they are uncertain whether this obedience please God or no. Thus Satan most horribly dallied in the death and destruction of souls through the Pope; and therefore is the papacy a slaughter-house of consciences, and the very kingdom of the devil.

Now, to establish and confirm this pernicious and cursed error, they alleged the saying of Solomon—"The just and the wise men are in the hands of God; and yet no man knoweth whether he be worthy of love or of hatred." (Eccles. ix. 1.) Some understand this of that hatred which is to come; and some again of that which is present; but neither of them understand Solomon, who in that place meaneth nothing less than that which they dream. Moreover, the whole scripture teacheth us, especially and above all things, that we should not doubt, but assure ourselves and undoubtedly believe that God is merciful, loving and patient; that he is neither a dissembler nor a deceiver; but that he is faithful and true, and keepeth his promise: yea, and hath performed that he promised in delivering his only begotten Son to death for our sins, that every one that believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. Here we cannot doubt but that God is pleased with us, that he loveth us indeed, that the hatred and wrath of God is taken away, seeing he suffered his Son to die for us wretched sinners. Although this matter is set out and often repeated throughout the whole gospel, yet it profited nothing at all. This one saying of Solomon, perversely understood, did more prevail (especially among the votaries and hypocrites of the straiter religion) than all the promises and consolations of the whole scripture, yea than Christ himself. They abused the scripture therefore, to their own destruction, and were most justly punished for despising the scripture, and rejecting the gospel.

It is expedient for us to know these things: first, because the Papists vaunt of their holiness, as if they had never committed any evil. Therefore they must be convinced by their own abominations, wherewith they have filled the whole word, as their own books do witness, whereof there is yet an infinite number. Secondly, that we may be fully certified that we have the pure doctrine of the gospel: of which certainty the Pope cannot glory, in whose kingdom, though all things else were sound and uncorrupt, yet this monstrous doctrine, of doubting of God's grace and favour, passeth all other monsters. And although it be manifest that the enemies of Christ's gospel teach uncertain things, because they command that men's consciences should remain in doubt, yet notwithstanding they condemn and kill us as heretics, because we dissent from them, and teach those things which are certain. And this they do with such devilish rage and cruelty, as if they were most assured of their doctrine.

Let us therefore give thanks unto God, that we are delivered from this monstrous doctrine of doubting, and can now assure ourselves that the Holy Ghost crieth, and bringeth forth in our hearts unspeakable groanings; and this is our anchor-hold, and our foundation. The gospel commandeth us to behold, not our own good works, our own perfection; but God the promiser, and Christ the mediator. Contrariwise, the Pope, commandeth us to look, not unto God the promiser, nor unto Christ our high bishop, but unto our works and merits. Here, on the one side, doubting and desperation must needs follow: but on the other side, assurance of God's favour and joy of the spirit. For we cleave unto God, who cannot lie. For he saith, Behold, I deliver my Son to death, that through his blood he may redeem thee from thy sins, and from eternal death. In this case, I cannot doubt, unless I will utterly deny God. And this is the reason that our doctrine is most sure and certain, because it carrieth us out of ourselves, that we should not lean to our own strength, out own conscience, our own feeling, our own person, and our own works; but to that which is without us, that is to say, the promise and truth of God, which cannot deceive us. This the Pope knoweth not, and therefore he wickedly imagineth that no man knoweth, be he never so just or so wise, whether he be worthy of love or of hatred. But if he be just and wise, he knoweth assuredly that he is beloved of God, or else he is neither just nor wise.

Moreover, this sentence of Solomon speaketh nothing at all of the hatred or favour of God towards men, but it is a moral sentence, reproving the ingratitude of men. For such is the perverseness and ingratitude of the world, that the better a man deserveth, the less thanks he shall have, and oftentimes he that should be his most friend, shall be his most enemy. Contrariwise, such as least deserve, shall be most esteemed. So, David, a holy man, and a good king, was cast out of his kingdom. The prophets, Christ, and his apostles were slain. To conclude, the histories of all nations witness, that many men, well deserving of their country, were cast into banishment by their own citizens, and there lived in great misery, and some also shamefully perished in prison. Wherefore Solomon in this place speaketh not of the conscience having to do with God, nor of the favour or judgement, the love or hatred of God; but of the judgments and affections of men among themselves. As though he would say, There are many just and wise men, by whom God worketh much good, and giveth peace and quietness unto men. But so far off are they from acknowledging the same, that oftentimes they requite them again most unkindly and uncourteously for their well-doings and deservings. Therefore, although a man do all things well, and never so well, yet he knoweth not whether by this his diligence and faithfulness he deserve the hatred or favour of men.

So we, at this day, when we thought we should have found favour among our own countrymen, for that we preach unto them the gospel of peace, life, and eternal salvation; instead of favour, we have found bitter and cruel hatred. Indeed, at the first, many were greatly delighted with our doctrine, and received it gladly. We thought they would have been our friends and brethren, and that with one consent, together with us, they would have planted and preached this doctrine to others. But now we find that they are false brethren and our deadly enemies, which sow and spread abroad false doctrine; and that which we teach well and godly, they wickedly pervert and overthrow, stirring up offences in the churches. Whosoever, therefore, doth his duty godly and faithfully, in what kind of life soever he be, and for his well-doing receiveth nothing again but the unkindness and hatred of men, let him not vex and torment himself therefore, but let him say with Christ, "They hated me without a cause." Again, "For that they should have loved me, they slandered me; but I did pray." (Ps. cix. 3, 4.)

The Pope, therefore, with this devilish doctrine, whereby he commanded men to doubt of the favour of God towards them, took away God and all his promises out of the church, buried all the benefits of Christ, and abolished the whole gospel. These inconveniences do necessarily follow; for men do not lean to the promises of God, but to their own works and merits. Therefore they cannot be assured of the good-will of God towards them, but must needs doubt thereof, and so at length despair. No man can understand what God's will is, and what pleaseth him, but in his good word. This word assureth us that God cast away all the anger and displeasure which he had conceived against us, when he gave his only-begotten Son for our sins, &c. Wherefore, let us utterly abandon this devilish doubting, wherewith the whole papacy was poisoned, and let us be fully assured that God is merciful unto us, that we please him, that he hath a care over us, that we have the Holy Ghost, which maketh intercession for us with such crying and groaning as cannot be expressed.

Now this is the true crying and groaning indeed, when a man in temptation calleth upon God: not as a tyrant, not as an angry judge, not as a tormentor, but as a father, although this groaning be so soft and so secret, that it can scarcely be perceived. For in serious temptations, and in the time of trial, where the conscience wrestleth with the judgment of God, it is wont to call God, not a father, but an unjust, an angry, a cruel tyrant and judge. And this crying, which Satan stirreth up in the heart, far passeth the cry of the spirit, and is strongly felt. For then it seemeth that God hath forsaken us, and will throw us down into hell. So the faithful complain oftentimes, in the Psalms: "I am cast down from the presence of God." (Ps. xxxi. 22.) Also, "I am become as a broken vessel, &c.) This is not the groaning that crieth, "Abba, Father;" but the roaring of God's wrath, which crieth strongly, O cruel judge, O cruel tormentor, &c. Here it is now time that thou turn away thine eyes from the law, from works, from the sense and feeling of thine own conscience, and lay hold by faith of the promise; that is to say, of the word of grace and life, which raiseth up the conscience again, so that it now beginneth to groan and say, Although the law accuse me, sin and death terrify me never so much, yet, O my God, thou promisest grace, righteousness and everlasting life through Jesus Christ. And so the promise bringeth a sighing and a groaning, which crieth, Abba, Father.