Saturday, 23 November 2013

The Perfect Law of Liberty - William Gadsby

Ok, so it's taken me three weeks to get to the book at the top of the pile that I mentioned in my last post The Perfect Law of Liberty' by William Gadsby (I got diverted by The New Calvinism Considered - Jeremy Walker, but that's another blog post!). Without giving a full review, I wanted to highlight some excellent passages...

This blessed gospel is a divine chest which contains all the Christian’s treasure, and its riches are durable riches and glory. “Where the treasure is there will the heart be also.” As ye prize your liberty and privileges, may you continue to look into the perfect law of liberty, and be earnest with God, at a throne of grace, that he would grant you fresh discoveries of the real excellences of the truth; for, just in proportion as your mind is drawn aside from the gospel, and you are left to look elsewhere, so you will be brought into bondage and distress; and despite all that men or devils say, just in proportion as the Holy Ghost enables you to look into the perfect law of liberty, so you will find a holy joy in believing, and a solid rest to your mind. Therefore, continue steadfast in the faith, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith, and ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful. As heirs of God, anticipate your inheritance, and daily examine the contents of your Father’s will. God grant that it may be our happiness to be much in the gospel and to daily enjoy its contents.

Show me a man who is looking into the perfect law of liberty, and, by faith, living on its divine contents, and I will show you a man who is living in the fear of God, abhorring sin, and giving proof that the truth of God does not lead to licentiousness, but to holiness and godliness; for to this are the heirs of promise called. To such a man, the precepts which Christ has taught his church, the ordinances he has instituted, and the means of grace he has appointed, will be attended to with pleasure and delight; nor does he ever find himself at home when this is not the case.

God's beauty and glory are the saints eternal delight; and, fired with a feeling sense of this, they are concerned to walk in all well-pleasing before God, and unblameably among men.

That God may enable us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, in all things showing ourselves a pattern of good works; that we may live in the blessed enjoyment of the true liberty of the gospel; that we may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breath, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God; and that we may live not unto ourselves, but unto the Lord; may the Lord grant it, for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen and Amen.

This little treatise is well worth reading, very relevant and not at all difficult to get through especially considering it was written in the 1800's!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Too Much Grace?

Earlier this year I read 'Christ in the Chaos' by Kimm Crandall and loved it.  A few months later I read 'Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in your Home' by Gloria Furman and really enjoyed that too. I still stand by these reviews and consider these to have both been helpful books but I now have another 3 or 4 books sitting on my bedside table all dealing with the struggles women can face in the home and the need to rely on grace.  I have scanned only one of them and have started to feel uneasy.  As I commented recently to a friend, there are so many of these books being published now it starts to feel a little like grace is becoming an excuse for licentiousness (i.e. don't worry about shouting at your kids/having a messy house/arguing with your husband, grace covers all your failings, just hear how bad I am...).
Interestingly I have now come across a blogger who has written about many of the same concerns that I have felt but been unable to clearly express.  These concerns are expressed as part of a book review (a book I have not heard of or read) and although I don't agree with all his points a lot of what he writes is helpful. Have a read...
(some of the comments on the post are also interesting)

Grace is not a new (or dare I say American) invention.  Grace is infinite.  Everyone knows Newton's famous hymn 'Amazing Grace! (how sweet the sound!), That saved a wretch like me...'.  In my (ancient) hymnbook, Newton shares a page with 3 other hymnwriters and each has something precious to say about grace:
(click on the picture and it will enlarge big enough to read)
I'm not wanting to suggest that all books on this topic should be banned(!)  But perhaps we need to be careful that we do not, by over-using the term grace, begin to think too lightly of it.
By the way, the book that has jumped to the top of my pile has just been recommended by Jeremy 'The Perfect Law of Liberty' by William Gadsby.