A Father’s Resolutions by Cotton Mather

Cotton_MatherCotton Mather, Puritan pastor in New England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, formed some resolutions regarding fatherhood. Here is the beginning of those challenging and faithful resolutions, followed by a link to a PDF of the whole…

PARENTS, Oh! how much ought you to be continually devising for the good of your children! Often device how to make them “wise children”; how to give them a desirable education, an education that may render them desirable; how to render them lovely and polite, and serviceable in their generation. Often devise how to enrich their minds with valuable knowledge; how to instill generous, gracious, and heavenly principles into their minds; how to restrain and rescue them from the paths of the destroyer, and fortify them against their peculiar temptations. There is a world of good that you have to do for them. You are without the natural feelings of humanity if you are not in a continual agony to do for them all the good that ever you can. It was no mistake of an ancient writer to say, “Nature teaches us to love our children as ourselves.”

RESOLVED— 1. At the birth of my children, I will resolve to do all I can that they may be the Lord’s. I will now actually give them up by faith to God; entreating that each child may be a child of God the Father, a subject of God the Son, a temple of God the Spirit—and be rescued from the condition of a child of wrath, and be possessed and employed by the Lord as an everlasting instrument of His glory.

2. As soon as my children are capable of minding my admonitions, I will often, often admonish them, saying, “Child, God has sent His son to die, to save sinners from death and hell. You must not sin against Him. You must every day cry to God that He would be your Father, and your Saviour, and your Leader. You must renounce the service of Satan, you must not follow the vanities of this world, you must lead a life of serious religion.

Read them all here (pdf).

 

Chrysostom's "Letters to the Fallen Theodore"

53854.pI was digging through some old files and came across this paper written on Chrysostom and his letters to a young man struggling with sin. It’s a long read as far as blog posts go but perhaps someone will find it interesting…and make it to the end.

Biography

In the fourth-century, the great city of Antioch, located in the southern region of modern Turkey, was positioned on an important commercial highway, possessed an intense intellectual tradition, was home to an important Roman military headquarters (serving as a base of operations against the Persians), and was populated by mostly Christian citizens, although paganism (especially in the intellectual circles) and Judaism were tenaciously practiced by many.1 Because of the good climate and amenities of Antioch (and its aforementioned military importance) Emperors frequently visited, including the following during the fourth-century: Constantius II, Gallus, Julian, Jovian, and Valens. No doubt the “amenities” which attracted many to Antioch included various worldly pursuits: baths, gaming, and the theatre. Perhaps in reaction to such worldliness, an extreme asceticism developed in the area with its adherents withdrawing from the city to set up communities in the surrounding countryside. Kelly describes the bifurcated cultural climate in this way:

The citizens of Antioch had a reputation for pleasure-seeking, worldliness, fickleness and cynicism; among other diversions they had a passion for horse-racing and the theatre, and in spring and summer they streamed out to Daphne for relaxation or amusement. By contrast the desert regions near the city, the higher slopes and peaks of Mount Silpios and the other mountains on its outskirts, were becoming populated by hermits and monks who, in obedience to what they conceived to be the call of Christ, had turned their backs on civilization and the vanities of the world.

Additionally, the results of the Council of Nicea (325) were still being worked out in the cities of the world, including Antioch. For many years, bishops sympathetic to Arianism controlled Antioch. But a small faction, lead by Diodore and Flavian, were promoting the Nicene doctrines. In other words, Antioch, like many cities of this time, was deeply divided between proponents and opponents of Nicene orthodoxy.

It was into this cultural climate that John Chrysostom was born—somewhere around 3492—to Secundus, a civil servant to the military governor of Syria, and Anthousa, a Christian woman… Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy…

The church must get serious about training the next generation—our five year-old sons and daughters—to suffer for the faith. Gone are going to be the days when Christian parents can cover their worldly ambitions for their children with a thin veneer of Christian conservatism and go happily on their way. The new pagan orthodoxy won’t allow such softness. For many parents this will be to die the worst kind of death. Their sons and (especially) daughters won’t be permitted to matriculate at an Ivy League college. They won’t be able to become Christian-ish investment bankers and Christian-ish lawyers and Christian-ish professors and Christian-ish Senators.

And the wheat will begin to be separated from the chaff… Continue reading

Why is it that so few fear God? (Thomas Watson)

Let us bewail the lack of the fear of God in our world. Why is it that so few fear God?

1. Men do not fear God—because they have not the knowledge of God. “They hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:29). Every sin is founded in ignorance of God. If only men knew God in his immense glory, they would be swallowed up with divine amazement. When the prophet Isaiah had a glimpse of God’s glory, he was struck with holy consternation: “Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty!” (Isaiah 6:6). Ignorance of God, banishes the fear of God.

2. Men do not fear God—because they presume on his mercy. God is merciful, and they do not doubt of the virtue of this sovereign balm. But who is God’s mercy for? “His mercy extends to those who fear him” (Luke 1:50). Such as do not fear God’s justice—shall not taste his mercy.

Let this be “for a lamentation”, that the fear of God is so vanished from our world. Why is it almost nowhere to be found? Some fear shame, others fear danger—but where is he who fears God?

And not only among the generality of people—but even among professing Christians, how few fear God in truth! Profession is often made a cloak to cover sin. Absalom palliated his treason with a religious vow (2 Samuel 15:7). The Pharisees made long prayer a cloak for oppression (Matt. 23:14). This is sordid—to carry on wicked designs—under a mask of piety. The snow covers many a dunghill. A snowy white profession covers many a foul heart! The sins of professors are more odious. Thistles are bad in a field—but worse in a garden. The sins of the wicked anger God—but the sins of professing Christians grieve him.

Thomas Watson, The Great Gain of Godliness, 1681

Manasseh repented…

But will God be a Father to me, who has profaned His name, and been a great sinner?

If you will at last seek God by prayer, and break of your sins, He has the heart of a Father for you, and will in nowise cast you out. When the prodigal arose and went to his father, ‘his father had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him.’ Luke 15:20. Though you have been a prodigal, and almost spent all upon your lusts, yet if you will give a bill of divorce to your sins, and flee to God by repentance, know that He has the heart of a Father; He will embrace you in the arms of His mercy, and seal your pardon with a kiss. What though your sins have been heinous? The wound is not so broad as the plaster of Christ’s blood. The sea covers great rocks; the sea of God’s compassion can drown your great sins; therefore be not discouraged, go to God, resolve to cast yourself upon His Fatherly compassion. He may be entreated of you, as He was of Manasseh. 2 Chron. 33:13.

-Thomas Watson, The Lord’s Prayer

Owen on temptation…

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation” (Matt. 26:41).

Every day we face temptations. Often we enter into those temptations. We allow them to gain a footing by giving them both attention and a voice. They reason with our minds and hearts, working to convince us that they are harmless, deserved, and delightful. When those arguments, usually lame, are convincing to our flesh, we sin: “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin” (James 1:14-15).

We do too little in recognizing, understanding, and fighting our temptations. There is a battle raging, bullets zinging everywhere, and we’ve exited the trench to have a leisurely smoke. Our self-examination gets about as deep as the coolness quotient of our profile picture. We don’t have time to examine ourselves because we have TV shows to watch. To that end, read old sermons from an age when the fear of God was not the doctrine your spoiled and narcissistic counselors were being paid to get you to hate.

Here, then, a few nuggets from a Banner of Truth Puritan Paperback, Temptation: Resisted & Repulsed by John Owen (originally published in 1658)…

…temptation may proceed either from Satan alone, from the world, from other men in the world, or from ourselves. Temptation may come from each of these individually, or they may join forces in various combinations (8).

Satan has in us an agreeable party within our own breasts, for most of his ends (James 1:14, 15) (9).

A temptation, then, in general is anything that, for any reason, exerts a force or influence to seduce and draw the mind and heart of man from the obedience which God requires of him to any kind of sin (10).

To clarify, I am considering temptation not just as the active force of seduction to sin, but also the thing itself by which we are tempted. Whatever it is, within us or without us, that hinders us from duty or provides an occasion for sin, this should be considered temptation. It could be business, employment,… Continue reading

Another day of witness at the abortuary in Greenville…

IMG_1060  IMG_1066

More preaching, more pleading, more witnessing…

More hard hearts, more idolatry, more babies torn apart…

Please pray for a young man who led his girlfriend to the abortuary to kill their baby. He claimed he was a Christian. He claimed his baby was just a five-week old clump of cells. He claimed they were too young and too broke. He claimed his pastor would not approve of what he was doing, or of pre-marital sex, or of the tattoo on his arm of the cross. He did not care to do what was right in the sight of a holy God. If you read this in the next few minutes, please pray that they do not go through with the murder of their child…

Father, have mercy on us.

A simple comparison…

Typical modern praise song:

“I Could Sing of Your Love Forever” by Delirious?

Over the mountains and the sea
Your river runs with love for me
And I will open up my heart
And let the Healer set me free
I’m happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands
For I will always sing
Of when Your love came down

I could sing
I could sing of your love forever

Over the mountains and the sea
Your river runs with love for me
And I will open up my heart
And let the Healer set me free
I’m happy to be in the truth
And I will daily lift my hands
For I will always sing
Of when Your love came down

I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever

Oh I feel like dancing
It’s foolishness I know
But when the world has seen the light
They will dance with joy like we’re dancing now

I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever
I could sing of Your love forever

Typical Scripture praise song:

Psa. 58:0 For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David.
 
1 Do you indeed speak righteousness, O gods?
Do you judge uprightly, O sons of men?
2 No, in heart you work unrighteousness;
On earth you weigh out the violence of your hands.
3 The wicked are estranged from the womb;
These who speak lies go astray from birth.
4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent;
Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
5 So that it does not hear the voice of charmers,
Or a skillful caster of spells.
 
6 O God, shatter their teeth in their mouth;
Break out the fangs of the young lions, O LORD.
7 Let them flow away like water that runs off;
When he aims his arrows, let them be as headless shafts.
8 Let them be as a snail which melts away as it goes along,
Like the miscarriages of a woman which never see the sun.
9 Before your pots can feel the fire of thorns
He will sweep them away with a whirlwind, the green and the burning alike.
 
10 The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;
He will wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.
11 And men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely there is a God who judges on earth!”