November 15, 2007

John Howe (1630–1705) Speaking to the Devil's Captives About the Redeemer

And when thou so fallest in with the world, how highly dost thou gratify the pretending and usurping god of it! The great fomenter of the sensual, worldly genius; The spirit itself that works in the children of disobedience, and makes them follow the course of the world, holds them fast bound in worldly lusts, and leads them captive at his will; causes them (after his own serpentine manner) to creep and crawl in the dust of the earth. He is most intimate to this apostate world; informs it (as it were) and actuates it in every part; is even one great soul to it. The whole world lies in that wicked one; as the body, by the best philosophers, is said to be in the soul. The world is said to be convicted when he is judged. He having fallen from a state of blessedness in God, hath involved the world with himself in the same apostacy and condemnation; and labours to keep them fast in the bands of death. The great Redeemer of souls makes this his business, to loose and dissolve the work of the devil. With that wicked one thou compliest against thy own soul and the Redeemer of it, while thou neglectest to desire and pursue this blessedness. This is thy debasement, and his triumph; the vile succumbency gives him the day and his will upon thee. He desires no more than that he may suppress in thee all heavenly desires, and keep thee thus a slave and a prisoner (confined in thy spirit to this low, dark dungeon) by thy own consent. While thou remainest without desire after heaven, he is secure of thee, as knowing then thou wilt take no other way, but what will bring thee unto the same eternal state with himself in the end. He is jealous over thee, that thou direct not a desire nor glance an eye heaven-ward. While thou dost not so, thou art entirely subject, and givest as full obedience to him, as thy God requires to himself in order to thy blessedness. But is it a thing tolerable to thy thoughts, that thou shouldst yield that heart-obedience to the devil against God? And this being the state of thy case, what more significant expression canst thou make of the contempt of Divine goodness? О the love that thou neglectest, while the most glorious issue and product of it is with thee an undesired thing! Yea, this the thing itself speaks, were there no such competition. What, that when eternal love hath conceived, and is travailing to bring forth such a birth; that when it invites thee to an expectation of such glory shortly to be revealed, the result of so deep counsels and wonderful works, this should be the return from thee, I desire it not? Is this thy gratitude to the Father of glory, the requital of the kindness, yea, and of the blood, of thy Redeemer? If this blessedness were not desirable for itself, methinks the offerer's hand should be a sufficient endearment. But thou canst not so divide or abstract, it consists in beholding and bearing his glorious likeness who invites thee to it; and therefore in the neglect of it thou most highly affrontest him.
John Howe, "The Blessedness of the Righteous," in The Works of the Rev. John Howe (New York: John P. Haven, 1838), 1:258.

John Howe, The Blessedness of the Righteous Opened (New York: John P. Haven, 1835), 262–263.



David Ponter said...

I already have this one too.

Any more common grace ones you find I will combine them into a single file and post them as one.

So having already had these two on the death of Christ, I still believe Charnock is better and more important. :-)

The John 3;16 one was very interesting. I will blog it under my 3:16 archive later.


Anonymous said...

thanks for the site. i typed in devils captive as thats how i feel.

Tony Byrne said...

Hi Paul,

I am not sure what you mean by "that's how I feel." Anyway, if that is the case, I hope you can see the remedy in Howe's words and the passion of God's love toward you through Christ.

Grace to you,