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Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - VII - H. C. G. Moule

Continuing Chapter 2: Such is the holy burden of this Ephesian passage. The highly privileged and endowed Christian is to walk with all lowliness, and to put aside all bitterness. True to its divine practicality, the Gospel here presses home its Total Abstinence just where we might be tempted most easily to forget it. It does not speak of “some great thing.” It says nothing about a total abstinence from murmuring when some great desolation falls upon life, or from resentment when some unusual and phenomenal wrong is inflicted on property or person. It speaks of the little things of the common day, the present day. It touches on our feelings and temper this hour about other people, and the outcome of those feelings in the tiny things which in their millions make up life. The Apostle makes the humiliating and instructive, yet loving, assumption that these supremely privileged believers will yet need, amongst themselves, to “bear and forbear”; and

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - VI - H. C. G. Moule

Such is the general complexion of this delightful passage. And now one leading and most important detail in it is the absoluteness, the totality, which marks its gracious precepts. I venture, in view of this, to entitle this chapter “The Total Abstinence of the Gospel”; total abstinence from allowed sinning, and particularly now from sinning against the law of lowliness, meekness, patience, and kindness, in word, work, and will. The words Total Abstinence have a familiar reference to one form of philanthropic effort in face of a great and terrible need. But I do not speak of this here. I claim the phrase for this yet greater and nobler application, in the light of the word of God. I use it, for myself and for my reader, in regard not of strong drink but of allowed sin. Total Abstinence from this is the very watchword of the true Christian’s daily rule. It has sometimes been said that we, who firmly believe in the Christian’s need to the very last to confess himself a si

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - V - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter II THE TOTAL ABSTINENCE OF THE GOSPEL. Eph. iv. 1, 2, 31. – I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love … Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. At the opening of the previous chapter we recollected in passing, among the facts of the Spiritual Life, the spotless purity of the rule and standard of its exercise. Some reflections on this may fitly follow at once on what we have seen of the way of reception of its power, and the self-discipline that must surround such reception. Our view shall be very simple and practical. Behind it all, above it all, shall be remembered that word of the Apostle, “even as He is pure.” But we will look for application at some of the plainest and homeliest regions of Christian practice. Th

I Corinthians 11:2-16 Issues

Issue 1: While most people, in my experience, seem to think this passage is about how women should be attired when attending church, the passage is actually limited to a woman praying in a congregation or prophesying in a congregation. If one believes the kind of prophesying which occured before the closing of the canon has ceased, then the passage applies only to the former. The pertinent principle at hand is how the church represents to the world her beliefs about her calling and identity in the forms and practices of her public assembly. The hierarchical and patriarchical truths of Scripture must be maintained with a decorum that reflects our faith. Should anyone, man or woman, "lead" the congregation in a prayer, he or she should be attired in a fashion commensurate with the dignity of the temple of God. That "fashion" has to be determined by what seems "natural" according to the culture in which the people live; it has to be something the on-look

Matthew Poole on Apostolic Tradition

While preparing a sermon on I Cor. 11, I ran across this comment by Matthew Poole on verse 2 and had to pass it on: The apostle doth not command them to keep any traditions, which others should to the end of the world deliver to them, he only praiseth them for keeping those which he had delivered. There is a great question betwixt us and the papists, about the obligation that lieth upon Christians to observe unwritten traditions; that is, such rites and observances as they tell us were apostolical, and the traditions of the primitive church, though they can show us no Scripture for them; but no Christian disputes his obligation to keep apostolical traditions; only we are at a loss to know how to prove those traditions apostolical, of which we find nothing in the writing of the apostles: it is praiseworthy to keep apostolical traditions; but for others, or such as do not appear to us to be so, it is but a work of supererogation: where hath God required any such thing at peoples' h

Moule plaque

Since I'm transcribing a book by Bishop Moule here, I thought some of my readers might like to see the lovely plaque that can be viewed at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, in the bishop's memory. Sorry about the flash; it was the best I could do. Click on the picture for a larger view.

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life IV - H. C. G. Moule

iii. Such work, and this is my main point in the present chapter, is right, and rightly directed, when it protects and guides the exercise of faith. On the other hand, and this must be reiterated with most earnest emphasis, such work is not identical with faith; it has not the function of faith; it cannot for one moment take the place of faith. Within the protective circle of such diligence faith is to live and act in its divine simplicity; submissive trust in the Son of God, personal reliance upon and reception from Him whose Person and Work we thus diligently hold in holy “recollection.” Not work but trust is our organ, so to speak, for contact with Him, whether as to His righteousness for our acceptance, or as to His Spirit for our power. Yes, faith, in its simplest definition; that faith of which almost every miracle in the Gospels supplies a practical description. Faith, in the view of Jesus Christ, is personal trust. It is no mere condition which entitles us to touch Him. It is i

Recollection

I was not created and redeemed to despair, sadness and hopelessness. I was created and redeemed for worship and praise, for a free service, and for love, joy and peace. Isaiah 61. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. The LORD redeemeth the souls of his servants, and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate. (Psalm 34:19,22) Amen.

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life III - H. C. G. Moule

ii. But where then is the place for effort? Such a place there is, as we have seen, amply recognized in the Word of God, and never to be discredited in our teaching or thinking. Perhaps the word “effort” is not the best; let us rather say “work.” In the case of the body it is, I believe, a medical maxim that what wears and kills is not work, but effort; fitful, acute, abnormal exertion. And the word “work” is sanctioned by our blessed Lord Himself, in the passage quoted at the head of this chapter; Joh. vi. 29. What sort of work is indicated there by the divine Teacher? It is the work, the labour, involved in getting to know, and to remember, what and why to believe. It is the mental and spiritual work of inquiry, judgment, recollection, applied to the subject of Jesus Christ, with a view to trust. This, I am persuaded, is the bearing of our Lord’s words at Capernaum . But even should the reader think otherwise about that passage, the truth which

Thoughts On the Spiritual Life - II - H. C. G. Moule

Chapter 1, cont’d. In the passages quoted at the head of this chapter we find some divine suggestions of the true connexion between the repose of faith and resolute spiritual exertion. i. In the words to the Galatians St. Paul puts before us, from his own experience, that delightful truth, dear to saints of all times and very specially called to remembrance in our own – the truth that the believer’s life “in the flesh,” amidst concrete conditions and surroundings in a fallen world, is to be continuously lived by faith. He is to “act, and grow, and thrive,” to deny self, and bear the cross, and bring forth fruit, by faith; by repose and reliance on his Lord and Head, by a perpetual turning to, and looking to, and receiving from, the Lord Jesus Christ, in all the fulness, and glory, and beauty, of His Person and Work. The divine method of spiritual victory and service lies in this, that our life is by faith, by submissive trust. By submissive

Thoughts on the Spiritual Life - I - H. C. G. Moule

Friends: Years ago, I happened upon an 1888 copy of Thoughts on The Spiritual Life by then Principal of Ridley Hall, H. C. G. Moule; later Bishop of Durham. It is an excellent work, aimed especially at those active in "direct work for the kingdom of our Lord." I plan to publish the whole here on this blog. Below is the first installment; a little less than 1/3rd of the first chapter. I hope it's a blessing to you. --- Chapter I Work and Faith. Gal. ii.20-The life which I live in the flesh I live by the faith of ( i.e. , by faith in) the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Joh. vi.29. – This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent. We are about to engage in some thoughts on the principles and practice of the Spiritual Life. That Life, as to its source and secret, is “in the Son of God,” the Gift of the Father; in Him who is “the Life,” as well as “the Way and the Truth.” As to its reception, it is received in receiving Him; “he that ha

2007 C. S. Lewis Conference

Pictured left to right: myself, Dr. Dorsett, and Dr. DeHart. I am so thankful to the Lord for his manifest presence at our conference this past weekend. Lyle Dorsett's words to us were enlightening and spiritually helpful. Dr. DeHart's address will be posted on our Society website (see the link). We had almost 50 people attending, which was a real encouragement. By the way, if you know anyone interested in ministering to kids in Mexico on a long-term basis, let me know so I can pass on the info to Dr. Dorsett.