29 November 2007

Mystery Quotation: right doctrines rightly treasured

by Dan Phillips

Well, folks, another week, another Mystery Quotation.

Remember, no tricks
  1. Use your memory (or guessing) alone
  2. No electronic tools
  3. No Googling
Here 'tis:
“…a diligent endeavor to have the power of the truths professed and contended for abiding upon our hearts, that we may not contend for notions, but what we have a practical acquaintance with in our own souls. When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth; when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us; when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the things abides in our hearts; when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for, — then shall we be garrisoned, by the grace of God, against all the assaults of men. And without this all our contending is, as to ourselves, of no value. What am I the better if I can dispute that Christ is God, but have no sense or sweetness in my heart from hence that he is a God in covenant with my soul? What will it avail me to evince, by testimonies and arguments, that he hath made satisfaction for sin, if, through my unbelief, the wrath of God abideth on me, and I have no experience of my own being made the righteousness of God in him, — if I find not, in my standing before God, the excellency of having my sins imputed to him and his righteousness imputed to me? Will it be any advantage to me, in the issue, to profess and dispute that God works the conversion of a sinner by the irresistible grace of his Spirit, if I was never acquainted experimentally with the deadness and utter impotency to good, that opposition to the law of God, which is in my own soul by nature, with the efficacy of the exceeding greatness of the power of God in quickening, enlightening, and bringing forth the fruits of obedience in me? It is the power of truth in the heart alone that will make us cleave unto it indeed in an hour of temptation. Let us, then, not think that we are any thing the better for our conviction of the truths of the great doctrines of the gospel, for which we contend with these men, unless we find the power of the truths abiding in our own hearts, and have a continual experience of their necessity and excellency in our standing before God and our communion with him.

Savor those thoughts for awhile, then have at it!

Dan Phillips's signature

33 comments:

beachbirdie said...

I'm actually somewhat clueless and this is a wild, off-the-wall guess. But I'm reading John Owen right now (and loving his work), and this (whether it's him or not) sure sounds like him. Too many words!

So...I'll throw his name in there just for fun. John Owen.

Daryl said...

I'll say Jonathan Edwards. But, wow, what a quote!!!

Does that not clearly define a major struggle in the Christian life?

Garet said...

Savoring indeed...

Jonathan Edwards. The fluidity and elegance of prose and the nature of imagery employed point me in his direction.

Kim said...

I'm with daryl. I think it's Edwards.

steve said...

I'm going with John Owen. His book on temptation sits on my "to read in 2008" shelf right now, next to The Sinfulness of Sin by Venning. I'm looking forward to reading both.

Ed Franklin said...

Sounds like John Owen to me, too.

donsands said...

An excellent quote. It was good to savor.
Thanks.

I'll guess John Stott.

"It is the power of truth in the heart alone that will make us cleave unto it indeed in an hour of temptation."

How I pray for a heart like this. Seems so many times I give into the temptation.

Benjamin Nitu said...

I'm going to guess JC Ryle.

This part of the quote sounds so much like His style:"when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for"

Hadassah said...

Wild guess: Martin Luther?

Kyle in Eau Claire, WI said...

Not really sure either, it does sound a lot like Jon Edwards, but I haven't read any of his works in a while so I am not really sure. I could be Spurgeon thounh, can't wait to find out.

DJP said...

So there's my ten minimum. And now the score:

Everyone who said "John" was right.

Those who followed it by "Owen" were the rightest.

Which means beachbirdie won, right off! Well-done.

steve said...

Thanks for such a superb selection, Dan. Those words of exhortation are so powerful, so true.

S.J. Walker said...

Truly well written and well quoted. I was guessing edwards or even Spurgeon. But alas, as is often the case with me, I was mistaken it seems.
Thanks Dan "Jael" Phillips

SW

Daniel said...

I was going to say MLJ, but I think I will say John Owen now that I know the answer.

Mike Riccardi said...

I was surprised. I thought there weren't enough Latin-based words in there for that to be Owen. I would have guessed Edwards.

Can we get the reference, Dan?

DJP said...

Smart move.

DJP said...

Although, we have had commenters that would still give the first answer and insist I was wrong.

DJP said...

Abbalooley, Mike.

I got it from my AGES electronic edition of Owen, in which it was vol. 12, p. 73.

You may now Google it, if you like.

(c;

steve said...

Daniel wrote: I was going to say MLJ, but I think I will say John Owen now that I know the answer.

I'm currently reading Iain Murray's bio of MLJ, who definitely wrote in the same spirit as Owen (and himself read Owen).

In volume 2 on page 421 is a letter MLJ wrote to a Mr Spears, in which he said, "With regard to books that have meant a great deal to me....I have...been much helped by the works of John Calvin, especially his Institutes, also by some of the Puritans such as Sibbes, Thomas Goodwin and John Owen. You will also find that C.H. Spurgeon will act as a great tonic and stimulus to you."

SolaMeanie said...

Google, google, google, gurgle. Blub blub. I'm going down for the third time . . . ;)

Strong Tower said...

Someone at Provocations and Pantings questioned Yarnell's use of experimental. In reference to Cent's piece yesterday it is funny how we pour into words definitions that do not belong there for the context that they are being used in.

When we ask if a person is born again, we are not just asking them if they have heard, or know from afar about Christ, we are asking if they have experienced Him, if we have vital union with him.

So being precontentious as I am I am proposing an new word: definitional. Definitionalism may be characterized as making a word mean what one wants it to mean and not what it really means.

Therefore, Christian can become what ever one wants to say it means. Just tip it over and pour it out, it's refillable, you know!

stratagem said...

Shoot, too late. I was going to guess Ernest P. Worrell, based on the flowery, archaic english.

Chris Roberts said...

Didn't Bill Hybels say this in a recent sermon?

*runs away before you all can catch me and beat me*

beachbirdie said...

(giggle) Who woulda thunk it? The church secretary (retired) nails it!

Seriously, thank you for sharing the quote. Something nice to chew on for the day...

Stefan said...

I would have guessed pre 1850 based on the style alone.

Since it's all the fashion these days among the emergent-friendly in the meta to discuss what non-Christians don't like about Christians, I do wonder if some of the dislike of Christians by non-Christians is due to some who call themselves Christians either Pharisaically maintaining the appearance of sinlessness, or actually presuming that they themselves are not sinners, or having never been brought to a place in their life where they have repented for their sins?

Stefan said...

...Since conviction of sins, repentance, and spiritual rebirth seem to go hand in hand, to which Owen seems to be alluding.

Martin Downes said...

Owen wrote those words in the preface to one of his great polemical works (Vindicae Evangelicae), where he smashed the arguments and exegesis of the open theists and penal substitution haters of his day...the Socinians.

That's the way to do polemics.

Jerry said...

Sounded like Spurgeon to me, which isn't surprising since he loved all things Puritan.

I remember Bruce Corley stating that he was able in short order to ascertain what one was reading if he could converse with you. I don't doubt it, especially as I see influences from what we read showing up in our conversations.

Biblically Reforming said...

That is a great quote, to be sure!

étrangère said...

Aw, I guessed Owen on reading it: sounded like Communion with God, etc, but was too late to get in there. But hey, when beachbirdie clocked that, I was hanging out with students in Revelation 21-22 (or possibly with other students in Romans 12 - not sure of the time difference), so what's to miss? :) Good quote.

steve said...

Waiting for the DJP quip that inevitably comes after etrangere's comment...

DJP said...

Look, you -- get out of my mind!

terriergal said...

Chris Roberts: Didn't Bill Hybels say this in a recent sermon?

Nah, Chris. Rob Bell. Had to be.

cough cough coughhhhh

It was a good one though! And I'm so far behind on my reading...!