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Lord’s Day 47, 2005

I reioyced, when they sayd to me, We wil go into the house of the Lord. Psalms 122:1, (Geneva Bible)

The Mover

O Supreme Moving Cause.

May I always be subordinate to thee,
be dependent upon thee,
be found in the path where thou dost walk,
and where thy Spirit moves,
take heed of estrangement from thee,
of becoming insensible to thy love.

Thou dost not move men like stones,
but dost endue them with life,
not to enable them to move without thee,
but in submission to thee, the first mover.

O Lord, I am astonished at the difference
between my receivings and my deservings,
between the state I am now in and my past gracelessness,
between the heaven I am bound for and the hell I merit.

Who made me to differ, but thee?
for I was no more ready to receive Christ than were others;

I could not have begun to love thee hadst thou not first loved me,
or been willing unless thou hadst first made me so.

O that such a crown should fit the head of such a sinner!
such high advancement be for an unfruitful person!
such joys for so vile a rebel!

Infinite wisdom cast the design of salvation
into the mould of purchase and freedom;

Let wrath deserved be written on the door of hell,
But the free gift of grace on the gate of heaven.

I know that my sufferings are the result of my sinning,
but in heaven both shall cease;

Grant me to attain this haven and be done with sailing,
and may the gales of thy mercy blow me safely into harbour.

Let thy love draw me nearer to thyself,
wean me from sin,
mortify me to this world,
and make me ready for my departure hence.

Secure me by thy grace as I sail across this stormy sea.

The Mover taken from The Valley of Vision - A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Arthur Bennett, editor. ©The Banner of Truth Trust 1975, 2002

Proverbs 17 (Geneva Bible)

1 Better is a dry morsell, if peace be with it, then an house full of sacrifices with strife.
2 A discrete seruant shall haue rule ouer a lewde sonne, and hee shall deuide the heritage among the brethren.
3 As is the fining pot for siluer, and the fornace for golde, so the Lord trieth the heartes.
4 The wicked giueth heed to false lippes, and a lyer hearkeneth to the naughtie tongue.
5 Hee that mocketh the poore, reprocheth him, that made him: and he that reioyceth at destruction, shall not be vnpunished.
6 Childres children are the crowne of the elders: and the glory of ye children are their fathers.
7 Hie talke becommeth not a foole, much lesse a lying talke a prince.
8 A rewarde is as a stone pleasant in the eyes of them that haue it: it prospereth, whithersoeuer it turneth.
9 Hee that couereth a transgression, seeketh loue: but hee that repeateth a matter, separateth the prince.
10 A reproofe entereth more into him that hath vnderstanding, then an hundreth stripes into a foole.
11 A sedicious person seeketh onely euill, and a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
12 It is better for a man to meete a beare robbed of her whelpes, then a foole in his follie.
13 He that rewardeth euil for good, euil shall not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is as one that openeth the waters: therefore or the contention be medled with, leaue off.
15 He that iustifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the iust, euen they both are abomination to the Lord.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of the foole to get wisdome, and he hath none heart?
17 A friende loueth at all times: and a brother is borne for aduersitie.
18 A man destitute of vnderstanding, toucheth the hande, and becommeth suretie for his neighbour.
19 He loueth transgression, that loueth strife: and he that exalteth his gate, seeketh destruction.
20 The froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a naughtie tongue, shall fall into euill.
21 He that begetteth a foole, getteth himselfe sorow, and the father of a foole can haue no ioy.
22 A ioyfull heart causeth good health: but a sorowfull minde dryeth the bones.
23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosome to wrest the wayes of iudgement.
24 Wisdome is in the face of him that hath vnderstanding: but the eyes of a foole are in the corners of the world.
25 A foolish sonne is a griefe vnto his father, and a heauines to her that bare him.
26 Surely it is not good to condemne the iust, nor that ye princes should smite such for equitie.
27 Hee that hath knowledge, spareth his wordes, and a man of vnderstanding is of an excellent spirit.
28 Euen a foole (when he holdeth his peace) is counted wise, and hee that stoppeth his lips, prudent.

Today’s exposition
is brought to us by
John Bunyan (1628-1688)

Today we will begin John Bunyan’s Exposition of Genesis, which covers the first ten chapters and part of the eleventh. It was incomplete at the time of his death. He begins his commentary with an exposition of the Trinity.

CHAPTER I.

I. Of God.

God is a Spirit (John 4:24), eternal (Deu 33:27), infinite (Rom 1:17-20), incomprehensible (Job 11:7), perfect, and unspeakably glorious in his being, attributes, and works (Gen 17:51; Isa 6:3; Exo 33:20). “The eternal God.” “Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jer 23:24). “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight” (Heb 4:13; Pro 15:11).

In his attributes of wisdom, power, justice, holiness, mercy, &c., he is also inconceivably perfect and infinite, not to be comprehended by things in earth, or things in heaven; known in the perfection of his being only to himself. The seraphims cannot behold him, but through a veil; no man can see him in his perfection and live.

His attributes, though apart laid down in the word of God, that we, being weak, might the better conceive of his eternal power and godhead; yet in him they are without division; one glorious and eternal being. Again, though sometimes this, as of wisdom, or that, as of justice and mercy, is most manifest in his works and wonders before men; yet every such work is begun and completed by the joint concurrence of all his attributes. No act of justice is without his will, power, and wisdom; no act of mercy is against his justice, holiness and purity. Besides, no man must conceive of God, as if he consisted of these attributes, as our body doth of its members, one standing here, another there, for the completing personal subsistence. For though by the word we may distinguish, yet may we not divide them, or presume to appoint them their places in the Godhead. Wisdom is in his justice, holiness is in his power, justice is in his mercy, holiness is in his love, power is in his goodness (1 John 1:9, Num 14:17,18).

Wherefore, he is in all his attributes almighty, all-wise, holy and powerful. Glory is in his wisdom, glory is in his holiness, glory is in his mercy, justice, and strength; and “God is love” (1 John 4:16).

II. Of the Persons or Subsistances in the Godhead.

The Godhead is but one, yet in the Godhead there are three. “There are three that can bear record in heaven” (1 John 5:7-9). These three are called “the Father, the Son [Word], and the Holy Spirit”; each of which is really, naturally and eternally God: yet there is but one God. But again, because the Father is of himself, the Son by the Father, and the Spirit from them both, therefore to each, the scripture not only applieth, and that truly, the whole nature of the Deity, but again distinguisheth the Father from the Son, and the Spirit from them both; calling the Father HE, by himself; the Son HE, by himself; the Spirit HE, by himself. Yea, the Three of themselves, in their manifesting to the church what she should believe concerning this matter, hath thus expressed the thing: “Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness” (Gen 1:26). Again, “The man is become as one of US” (Gen 3:22). Again, “Let US go down, and there confound their language” (Gen 11:6,7). And again, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for US?” (Isa 6:8). To these general expressions might be added, That Adam heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the midst of the garden: Genesis 3:8. Which voice John will have, to be one of the Three, calling that which Moses here saith is the voice, the word of God: “In the beginning,” saith he, “was the word”: the voice which Adam heard walking in the midst of the garden. This word, saith John, “was with God,” this “word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1,2). Marvellous language! Once asserting the unity of essence, but twice insinuating a distinction of substances therein. “The word was with God, the word was God, the same was in the beginning with God.” Then follows, “All things were made by him,” the word, the second of the three.

Now the godly in former ages have called these three, thus in the Godhead, Persons or Subsistances; the which, though I condemn not, yet choose rather to abide by scripture phrase, knowing, though the other may be good and sound, yet the adversary must needs more shamelessly spurn and reject, when he doth it against the evident text.

To proceed the, First, There are Three. Second, These three are distinct.

First, By this word Three, is intimated the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and they are said to be three, 1. Because those appellations that are given them in scripture, demonstrate them so to be, to wit, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 2. Because their acts one towards another discover them so to be.

Secondly, These three are distinct. 1. So distinct as to be more than one, only: There are three. 2. So distinct as to subsist without depending. The Father is true God, the Son is true God, the Spirit is true God. Yet the Father is one, the Son is one, the Spirit is one: The Father is one of himself, the Son is one by the Father, the Spirit is one from them both. Yet the Father is not above the Son, nor the Spirit inferior to either: The Father is God, the Son is God, the Spirit is God.

Among the three then there is not superiority. 1. Not as to time; the Father is from everlasting, so is the Son, so is the Spirit. 2. Not as to nature, the Son being of the substance of the Father, and the Spirit of the substance of them both. 3. The fulness of the Godhead is in the Father, is in the Son, and is in the Holy Ghost.

The Godhead then, though it can admit of a Trinity, yet it admitteth not of inferiority in that Trinity: if otherwise, then less or more must be there, and so either plurality of gods, or something that is not God: so then, Father, Son and Spirit are in the Godhead, yet but one God; each of these is God over all, yet no Trinity of Gods, but one God in the Trinity.

Explication.—The Godhead then is common to the three, but the three themselves abide distinct in that Godhead: Distinct, I say, as Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit. This is manifest further by these several positions.

First, Father and Son are relatives, and must needs therefore have their relation as such: A Father begetteth, a Son is begotten.

Proof.—“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in his fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? What is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” (Pro 30:4).

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” &c. (John 3:16).

“The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14).

Secondly, The Father then cannot be that Son he begat, nor the Son that Father that begat him, but must be distinct as such.

Proof.—“I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me” (John 8:17,18).

“I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world”; again, “I leave the world, and go to the Father” (John 16:28).

“The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father” (John 5:22,23).

Thirdly, The Father must have worship as a Father, and the Son as a Son.

Proof.—They that worship the Father must worship him “in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him” (John 4:23,24).

And of the Son he saith, and “when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Heb 1:6).

Fourthly, The Father and Son have really these distinct, but heavenly, relative properties, that discover them, as such, to be two as well as one.

Proof.—“The Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things” (John 5:20).

“Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again” (John 10:17). The Father sent the Son; the Father commanded the Son; the Son prayed to the Father, and did always the things that pleased him.

The absurdities that flow from the denial of this are divers, some of which hereunder follow.

1. Absurdity.—It maketh void all those scriptures that do affirm the doctrine; some of which you have before.

2. Absurdity.—If in the Godhead there be but one, not three, then the Father, Son, or the Spirit, must needs be that one, if any one only: so then the other two are nothing. Again, If the reality of a being be neither in the Father, Son, nor Spirit, as such, but in the eternal deity, without consideration of Father, Son, and Spirit as three; then neither of the three are anything but notions in us, or manifestations of the Godhead; or nominal distinctions; so related by the word; but if so, then when the Father sent the Son, and the Father and Son the Spirit, one notion sent another, one manifestation sent another. This being granted, this unavoidably follows, there was no Father to beget a Son, no Son to be sent to save us, no Holy Ghost to be sent to comfort us, and to guide us into all the truth of the Father and Son, &c. The most amounts but to this, a notion sent a notion, a distinction sent a distinction, or one manifestation sent another. Of this error these are the consequences, we are only to believe in notions and distinctions, when we believe in the Father and the Son; and so shall have no other heaven and glory, than notions and nominal distinctions can furnish us withal.

3. Absurdity.—If Father and Son, &c., be no otherwise three, than as notions, names, or nominal distinctions; then to worship these distinctly, or together, as such, is to commit most gross and horrible idolatry: For albeit we are commanded to fear that great and dreadful name, The Lord our God; yet to worship a Father, a Son, and Holy Spirit in the Godhead, as three, as really three as one, is by this doctrine to imagine falsely of God, and so to break the second commandment: but to worship God under the consideration of Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost, and to believe them as really three as one when I worship, being the sum and substance of the doctrine of the scriptures of God, there is really substantially three in the eternal Godhead.

But to help thee a little in thy study on this deep.

1. Thou must take heed when thou readest, there is in the Godhead, Father, and Son, &c., that thou do not imagine about them according to thine own carnal and foolish fancy; for no man can apprehend this doctrine but in the light of the word and Spirit of God. “No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son; and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Matt 11:27). If therefore thou be destitute of the Spirit of God, thou canst not apprehend the truth of this mystery as it is in itself, but will either by thy darkness be driven to a denial thereof; or if thou own it, thou wilt (that thy acknowledgment notwithstanding) falsely imagine about it.

2. If thou feel thy thoughts begin to wrestle about this truth, and to struggle concerning this one against another; take heed of admitting of such a question, How can this thing be? For here is no room for reason to make it out, here is only room to believe it is a truth. You find not one of the prophets propounding an argument to prove it; but asserting it, they let it lie, for faith to take it up and embrace it.

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor 13:14).

Heidelberg Catechism for Lord’s Day 47 from CoffeeSwirls.

Grace and peace to you this Lord’s Day.

2005-11-20 at 12:01 AM MT | |