What is the chief and highest end of man?Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever. (Q&A 1)
In 2016, every two months (Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec) we will be producing a Meet the Puritans Resource, which you will be able to find linked under Our Resources. These will be classic texts with introductions, footnotes, and modernized language. The purpose is to introduce you to the treasures of the Reformed tradition.
February's Resource is John Geree's once popular tract, The Character of an Old English Puritan:
All of Christ is accepted by the sincere convert. He loves not only the wages but the work of Christ, not only the benefits but the burden of Christ. He is willing not only to tread out the corn, but to draw under the yoke. He takes up the commands of Christ, yea, the cross of Christ. The unsound convert takes Christ by halves. He is all for the salvation of Christ, but he is not for sanctification. He is for the privileges, but does not appropriate the person of Christ. He divides the offices and benefits of Christ.
...you are a people much upon my heart, whose welfare is the matter of my continual prayers, care, and study. And oh! that I knew how to do you good...Ah: how it pities me to think how so many of you should remain in your sins, after so many and so long endeavors to convert. Once more, Oh! my beloved, once more hear the call of the Most High God unto you. The prison preaches to you the same doctrine that the pulpit did. Hear, O people, hear; the Lord of life and glory offers you all mercy, and peace, and blessedness. Oh, why should you die? Whosoever will, let him take of the waters of life freely. My soul yearns for you (p. 11).
Christian zeal [is] indeed a flame, but a sweet one; or rather it is the heat and fervor of a sweet flame. For the flame of which it is the heat, is no other than that of divine love.—The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume 2: Religious Affections, ed. John E. Smith (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1959), 352.
How long shall we lie still under our formal complaints of the decay of Christian piety? How long shall we idly see the retirement of warm religion from the hearts and bosoms of its professors? Are we willing to yield to all the lukewarmness and degeneracy that has overspread us? [Even] the truly pious are dull and heavy in their religion, [and] march on wearily in their appointed race, as if either their Lord had lost His glory or His promise to them; or they [have lost] their faith and hope in Him.... Is it not time to proclaim among the churches, the message of the Mediator sent from heaven to the Church of Laodicea: Be zealous and repent?—John Reynolds, Zeal a Virtue: Or, A Discourse Concerning Sacred Zeal (London: John Clark, 1716), 1-2.
Did He descend into our mortal flesh, that we should be unconcerned whether we be translated from the world, and go to His glory, or no? Did He abase Himself, and make Himself of no reputation, that we might be made indifferent towards His name and honor? Did He employ thirty years on earth, in an unwearied zeal for His Father’s glory, to excuse us from an emulous ardor [a burning desire to imitate him] in design and love? Did He lay down His life for our salvation, that we may be unconcerned, whether we are saved or no? Did He rise from the dead, and seat Himself in heaven, to excuse us from a solicitude about affairs, that are above, where He sits at the right hand of God? Has He told us of His resolution to return, and judge the world, that we may be secure, and negligent about the issue of that decisive Day? How contradictory to all His love and work is our lukewarmness in His ways? What ingratitude to Him is contained in the bowels of it? What contempt does it pour upon His blood and grace; upon His light and revelation; as if we looked upon them all as unnecessary, impertinent things? Most justly may He say to a lukewarm church, I will spew thee out of my mouth except thou repent.—Reynolds, Discourse, 209–210.
It is the grand design of Satan to lessen our opinion of God’s goodness…He seeketh to hide God’s goodness, and to represent him as a God that delighteth in our destruction and damnation, rather than in our salvation; as if he were inexorable, and hardly entreated to do us good. And why? That we may stand aloof from God, and apprehend him as unlovely. Or if he cannot prevail so far, he tempteth us to poor, unworthy, mean thoughts of his goodness and mercy.
Christian saw a Picture of a very grave Person hang up against the wall, and this was the fashion of it, It had eyes lift up to Heaven, the best of Books in its hand, the Law of Truth was written upon its lips, the World was behind its back; it stood as if it pleaded with Men, and a crown of Gold did hang over its head. Then said Christian, What means this?