Quoting the Ancients.
Still on the theme of using spiritual giants from the past to buttress our theology, I have found a very telling and useful sermon of Dr Lloyd-Jones. It was from his great Friday series on Romans. I heard the tape first from a collection I brought from Westminster Chapel in the days of R T Kendall, so then hunted it down in the books. The Doctor (Lloyd-Jones not Jebb) was addressing the great and glorious theme of the Sealing of the Spirit with regard to assurance, so in a sense I am killing two birds with one stone because he has some absolutely awesome quotes from the Puritans, some known and some older Puritans that I have never heard before but will definately hunt down their books!! Listen, bask and revel in the weight of glory!! This is the Doctor speaking first.
"It will be well for us to look at further testimonies to this teaching (the Sealing of the Spirit) which are to be found in the writings of prominent children of God in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. This is important because many imagine that what I have been saying in exposition of this verse (Romans 8:16) is something new and strange.
I want to show therefore that, far from being an innovation, it has been taught regularly throughout the centuries; and it is chiefly in this present century that it has been dropped into the background and has been neglected and forgotten.
I do not hesitate to assert that the main explanation and cause of the present state of the Christian church - and I am referring particularly to Evangelical churches - is the neglect of this doctrine, and the influence of false doctrines that would have us 'take it by faith' and not be concerned at all about our feelings. The same applies to the teaching that all receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit at regeneration and that it is non-experimental".
The first quote he brings is from the successor of John Knox in Scotland:
"His Spirit has testified to my spirit not only by real joys, spiritual and elevated light, but by vocal speeches within me in the daylight that I heard so sensibly with great effusion of tear, so far not only by approbation but to my commendation that I admire how He should bestow such gracious speeches upon so wretched a creature as I was".
Dr Lloyd-Jones comments: "That from a dour Scotsman! That is how he describes the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit and you notice it is full of emotion and of feeling - highly experimental!".
The next quote is extremely significant, it is from John Preston - an early Puritan from his writings; "The Saint's Portion";
"My beloved, it (the Sealing of the Spirit) is a thing that we cannot express; it is a certain divine expression of light, a certain inexpressible assurance that we are the sons of God, a certain secret manifestation that God hath received us and put away our sins. I say it is such a thing that no man knows but they that hath it".
The third quote is of another Puritan, Thomas Horton who preached a mere forty-six sermons on the eight chapter of Romans;
"Whenever it comes in the reality and the fulness of it, and so long as it remains upon the soul, it silences all temptations, removes all scruples and doubts whatsoever to the contrary, and sets the heart at perfect rest".
The fourth quote is from a sermon I am desperately trying to get hold of - from the Works of Richard Sibbes; "A Fountain Sealed".
"The heart is stirred up and comforted with joy inexpressible ... the Spirit doth not always witness unto us (note that) ... This is greater than the promise, as a seal is more than our hand, and as an oath is more than a man's bare word".
We must finish this blog entry with the great Thomas Goodwin, who Dr L-J regarded as a real authority in this matter of the Sealing of the Spirit and quoted often:
"There is light that cometh and over-powereth a man's soul and assureth him that God is his and he is God's and that God loveth him from everlasting ... It is a light beyond the light of ordinary faith ... it is the next thing to heaven; you have no more, you can have no more, till you come thither ... It is faith elevated and raised up above its ordinary rate, it is the electing love of God brought home to the soul".
I cannot commend this sermon tape (available from the DML-J Recording Trust) or the chapter enough ... it is simply jewel after jewel ... the chapter is 27 and is pages 338 - 355. There are far more and longer quotes than I had time to write, I hopefully will get to them tomorrow night. These include Jonathan Edwards, Howell Harris, George Whitfield ... and just for Phil Johnson's benefit ... yes, C H Spurgeon!!
Until tomorrow ...