“The most intrepid revolutionary is the one who has a fear greater than anything his opponents can inflict upon him.” by Roland Bainton

“The most intrepid revolutionary is the one who has a fear greater than anything his opponents can inflict upon him. Luther, who had so trembled before the face of God, had no fear for the face of a man.”

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

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Luther’s “Glowing Discovery” by Roland Bainton

“But he did feel constrained to declare himself more fully to the general public. The Ninety-Five Theses had been given by the printer to all Germany, though intended only for professional theologians. The many bald assertions called for explanation and clarification, but Luther could never confine himself to a mere reproduction or explication of what he had said previously. The sermons written out by request on Monday do not correspond to the notes taken by hearers on Sunday. Ideas were so churning within him that new butter always came out of the vat. The Resolutions Concerning the Ninety-Five Theses contain some new points. Luther had made the discovery that the biblical text from the Latin Vulgate, used to support the sacrament of penance, was a mistranslation. The Latin for Matt. 4:17 read penitentiam agite, ‘do penance,’ but from the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, Luther had learned that the original meant simply ‘be penitent.’ The literal sense was ‘change your mind.’ ‘Fortified with this passage,’ wrote Luther to Staupitz in the dedication of the Resolutions, ‘I venture to say they are wrong who make more of the act in Latin than of the change of heart in Greek.’ This was what Luther himself called a ‘glowing’ discovery. In this crucial instance a sacrament of the Church did not rest on the institution of Scripture.”

Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther

“… I say, they often hear these things and yet remain as they were before…” by Jonathan Edwards

“There are many that often hear of the glorious perfections of God, his almighty power and boundless wisdom, his infinite majesty, and that holiness of God, by which he is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity, and the heavens are not pure in his sight, and of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, and hear of the great works of God’s wisdom, power and goodness, wherein there appear the admirable manifestations of these perfections; they hear particularly of the unspeakable love of God and Christ, and of the great things that Christ has done and suffered, and of the great things of another world, of eternal misery in bearing the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God, and of endless blessedness and glory in the presence of God, and the enjoyment of his dear love; they also hear the peremptory commands of God, and his gracious counsels and warnings, and the sweet invitations of the gospel; I say, they often hear these things and yet remain as they were before, with no sensible alteration in them, either in heart or practice, because they are not affected with what they hear; and ever will be so till they are affected.”

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

“…he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.” by Jonathan Edwards

“And as in worldly things, worldly affections are very much the spring of men’s motion and action; so in religious matters, the spring of their actions is very much religious affection: he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.”

Jonathan Edwards, Religious Affections

“If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? by John Owen

“So that sin is always acting, always conceiving, always seducing and tempting. Who can say that he had ever anything to do with God or for God, that indwelling sin had not a hand in the corrupting of what he did? And this trade will it drive more or less all our days. If then, sin will be always acting, if we be not always mortifying, we are lost creatures. He that stands still and suffers his enemies to double blows upon him without resistance, will undoubtedly be conquered in the issue. If sin be subtle, watchful, strong, and always at work in the business of killing our souls, and we be slothful, negligent, foolish, in proceeding to the ruin thereof, can we expect a comfortable event? There is not a day but sin foils or is foiled, prevails or is prevailed on; and it will be so whilst we live in this world.”

John Owen, “Mortification of Sin in Believers”

“… should they earnestly inquire how they are to obtain a genuine and saving faith, we answer… use the means which God has prescribed.” By Arthur W. Pink

“Should the Lord be pleased to use this article in shattering the false confidence of some deluded souls, and should they earnestly inquire how they are to obtain a genuine and saving faith, we answer, use the means which God has prescribed. When faith be His gift, He gives it in His own way; and if we desire to receive it, then we must put ourselves in that way wherein He is wont to communicate it. Faith is the work of God, but He works it not immediately but through the channels of His appointed means. The means prescribed cannot effect faith of themselves. They are no further effectual than in instruments in the hands of Him who is the principal cause. Though He has not tied Himself to them, yet He has confined us. Though He be free, yet the means are necessary to us.

The first means is prayer. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you” (Ezek. 36:26). Here is a gracious promise, but in what way will He accomplish it, and similar ones? Listen, “Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them”’ (Ezek. 36:3 7). Cry earnestly to God for a new heart, for His regenerating Spirit, for the gift of saving faith. Prayer is a universal duty. Though an unbeliever sin in praying (as in everything else), it is not a sin for him to pray.

The second means is the written Word heard (John 17:20; 1 Cor. 3:5) or read (2 Tim. 3:15). Said David, “I will never forget Thy precepts: for with them Thou hast quickened me” (Psalm 119:93). The Scriptures are the Word of God; through them He speaks. Then read them, asking Him to speak life, power, deliverance, peace, to your heart. May the Lord deign to add His blessing.

“A genuine Christian fears no test… He is anxious to know the worst as well as the best.” by Arthur W. Pink

“A genuine Christian fears no test; he is willing, yea, wishes, to be tried by God Himself. He cries, ‘Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart’ (Psalm 26:2). Therefore he is willing for his faith to be tried by others, for he shuns not the touchstone of Holy Writ. He frequently tries for himself, for where so much is at stake he must be sure. He is anxious to know the worst as well as the best. That preaching pleases him best which is most searching and discriminating. He is loath to be deluded with vain hopes. He would not be flattered into a high conceit of his spiritual state without grounds. When challenged, he complies with the apostle’s advice in 2 Corinthians 13:5.”

“… for they saw him spiritually whom the world saw not, and whom they themselves had never seen with bodily eyes.” by Jonathan Edwards

“The world was ready to wonder, what strange principle it was, that influenced them to expose themselves to so great sufferings, to forsake the things that were seen, and renounce all that was dear and pleasant, which was the object of sense. They seemed to the men of the world about them, as though they were beside themselves, and to act as though they hated themselves; there was nothing in their view, that could induce them thus to suffer, and support them under, and carry them through such trials. But although there was nothing that was seen, nothing that the world saw, or that the Christians themselves ever saw with their bodily eyes, that thus influenced and supported them, yet they had a supernatural principle of love to something unseen; they loved Jesus Christ, for they saw him spiritually whom the world saw not, and whom they themselves had never seen with bodily eyes.”

-Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections

“True virtue never appears so lovely, as when it is most oppressed…” by Jonathan Edwards

“And then, these trials are of further benefit to true religion; they not only manifest the truth of it, but they make its genuine beauty and amiableness remarkably to appear. True virtue never appears so lovely, as when it is most oppressed; and the divine excellency of real Christianity, is never exhibited with such advantage, as when under the greatest trials: then it is that true faith appears much more precious than gold! And upon this account is ‘found to praise, and honour, and glory.'”

-Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections