Puritans Part 2: Puritan Principles

Proverbs 28:1
      The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

 A. W. PINK (1886-1952): Where the fear of God rules the heart, man cannot intimidate. Paul before Agrippa, Luther before the Diet of Worms, John Knox before the bloody Queen Mary, are cases in point. My reader, if you tremble before worms of the dust, it is because you do not tremble before God.

 ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER (1772-1851): The silver trumpets of Luther, Melancthon, Calvin, Knox, and Cranmer, shook and melted Europe in a great portion of its Church…With few exceptions the Reformers were mighty preachers, and some of them wielded an influence in this way which far surpassed all their efforts with the pen, and was felt over half Europe. In the British isles the power of the Word was particularly felt. Cranmer, Latimer, and Jewell, in their several varieties of eloquence, awakened an interest in the new doctrines which nothing else was able to allay. The fearless tongue of John Knox, even against princes, has been noted as fully by foes as friends.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): You cannot think of John Knox in Scotland for a moment without thinking of his great preaching and of the way in which Mary Queen of Scots would tremble as she listened to him. She was more afraid of his preaching than of the troops which the English sent to take her captive…Do you think that John Knox could make Mary Queen of Scots tremble with some polished little essay? These men did not write their sermons with an eye to publication in books, they were preaching to the congregation in front of them, anxious and desirous to do something, to effect something, to change people. It was authoritative.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We want again Luthers, Calvins, Bunyans, Whitefields, men fit to mark eras, whose names breathe terror in our foemen’s ears. We have dire need of such. Where are they? Whence will they come to us? We cannot tell in what farmhouse or village smithy, or school house such men may be, but our Lord has them in store. They are the gifts of Jesus Christ to the church, and will come in due time. He has power to give us back again a golden age of preachers, a time as fertile of great divines and mighty ministers as was the Puritan age, which many of us account to have been the golden age of theology. He can send again the men of studious heart to search the word and bring forth its treasures, the men of wisdom and experience rightly to divide it, the golden-mouthed speakers who, either as sons of thunder or sons of consolation, shall deliver the message of the Lord with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven—Oh, that we had more men like John Knox, whose prayers were more terrible to Queen Mary than ten thousand men!

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We come now to consider John Knox as “the founder of Puritanism.”
       In what sense?―The first answer is provided by his originality of thought, his independence. The Puritan, by definition, is a man of independence, of independent thought. The Puritan is never “an establishment man.” I mean that not only in terms of “the establishment of religion,” but in terms of any aspect of establishment. This is, to me, a most important point. There are some people who seem to be born “establishment men.” Whatever sphere of life they are in, they are always on the side of the authorities, and of what has always been done, and conditions as they are. They are found in the Free Churches as commonly in the Anglican Communion and other forms of Christianity. They are establishment men; and they always start from that position. Now I maintain that the Puritan, by his very nature and spirit, is never an “establishment man” because of his independence and originality, his reading of the Scriptures for himself, and his desire to know the truth irrespective of what others may have said or thought.

 JOHN BUNYAN (1628-1688): Expositors I reverence, but I must live by mine own faith (Habakkuk. 2:4). God hath nowhere bound Himself to them more than others, with respect to the revelation of His mind in His Word.

 WILLIAM GURNALL (1617-1679): Labour to see truth with thy own eyes…Truth and error are all one to the ignorant man, so it hath but the name of truth.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: We must not swallow automatically everything we read in books, even from the greatest men. We must examine everything; and Knox did so and, as I say, when he disagreed he was very ready to say so.

 JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): The Papists have boldly affirmed that the Mass is the ordinance of God, and the institution of Jesus Christ, and a sacrifice for the sins of the quick and the dead. We deny both the one and the other. We affirm that the Mass, as it is now used, is nothing but the invention of man, and, therefore, is an abomination before God, and no sacrifice that ever God commanded.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Secondly, Knox is “the founder of Puritanism” because he brings out so clearly the guiding principles of Puritanism. That is, first and foremost, the supreme authority of the Scriptures as the Word of God.

 JOHN KNOX: Ye shall believe God, that plainly speaketh in His Word…The Word of God is plain in itself. If there appear any obscurity in one place, the Holy Ghost, which is never contrarious to Himself, explaineth the same more clearly in other places; so that there can remain no doubt, but unto such as obstinately will remain ignorant.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: [Knox] believed in a “root and branch” reformation. That is not my term; it is his term, and it became the term of others. In other words, Puritans were not content with a reformation in doctrine only. This is where Knox, and they, disagreed with the leaders in England. All were agreed about the changes in doctrine. They were all Calvinists and so on, but the differentia of Puritanism is that it does not stop at a reformation in doctrine only, but insists that the reformation must be carried through also into the realm of practice.

 JOHN KNOX: All worshipping, honouring, or service invented by the brain of man in the religion of God without His own expressive commandment is idolatry…What our Master Jesus Christ did, we know by His Evangelists; what the priest doeth at his Mass, the world seeth. Now, doth not the Word of God plainly assure us, that Christ Jesus neither said Mass, nor yet commanded Mass to be said, at His Last Supper, seeing that no such things as their Mass is made mention of within the whole Scriptures?

 WILLIAM TYNDALE (1490-1536): Antichrist’s dumb ceremonies preach not the faith that is in Christ.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: If you have once seen the face of God, there is nothing else worth seeing as far as you are concerned. All these other things merely obscure the vision, therefore they must be swept away…Oh! how far we have wandered from this! “Plain living and high thinking” are no more! The church is no longer distinct from the world, for instead of the church going out into the world we have allowed the world to capture the church from the inside. We nearly all recognize the position. When will we return to Puritanism? Let us be up and clear the brushwood and the thorns that have overgrown the face of our spiritual world! Let us take unto ourselves the whole armour of God, that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand—yes, stand—face to face with God.


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