XII—Of Good WorksAlbeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s Judgement; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
And although we be unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice, yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.And we most humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.
“Some have thought, that a wife in a family, may in some cases perform family duty, and that this honour may be given to the weaker vessel to do the office of religious exercise, as well as partake in the government of the family: doubtless she is to pray: and it hath been judged by learned men that she may and must pray in the family with her husband’s leave, and in her husband’s presence, only she should cover her face with a veil, in token of her subjection. This they think is meant by a woman praying or prophesying with her head covered, not in the church where she was not to speak, but in the family when she performed that piece of worship…But I am not positive herein, and leave it to the consideration of others.”
“Rule your dependants with love, and they will obey in love; if you shew good-will to their souls, with good-will they will do you service, as to the Lord; holiness creates reverence; tenderness produceth ingenuous subjection; affection maintains authority more than domineering rigour; let it appear that you rule your families under God, and for God.”
“Yet if thou art convinced that the party praying speaks nonsense or blasphemy, instead of praying, thou art bound in conscience to shew thy dislike of it, lest God be dishonoured and offended with the whole family, the man hardened in sin, thy own conscience defiled, and thyself in danger of playing the hypocrite, in pretending to join with what thy soul abhors; in this case thou must withdraw, and get alone, and mourn over it…And it is also thy duty, humbly and modestly to take a proper season to speak to thy master, as Naaman’s servants did to him, when they saw him wrong, and you know it did good; and Abigail told her husband Nabal of his fault and danger, and ‘his heart died within him.’ Who can tell what good such a word in season may do?”
Our friends at Eerdmans Publishing have given us two (2) giveaway copies of The Peril and Promise of Christian Liberty: Richard Hooker, the Puritans, and Protestant Political Theology. Deadline is Friday, August 18.
I shall close all with that of the apostle in Eph. iv. 3-6, wherein he draws this arrow to the very head: ‘Keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ Why? Because ‘there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all.’ Let me add, You are one with Christ the head: it is your duty, therefore, and it will be your privilege, honour, safety, to be one with another.”
XI—Of the Justification of ManWe are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings: Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
And the said benefits of God deeply considered, do move us for his sake also to be ever ready to give ourselves to our neighbours, and as much as lieth in us, to study with all our endeavor, to do good to every man. These be the fruits of true faith, to do good as much as lieth in us to every man; and above all things and in all things to advance the glory of God, of whom only we have our sanctification, justification, salvation, and redemption. To whom be ever glory, praise, and honor, world without end. Amen. (Bray, 30).
“1) You must be sure to pray for a blessing at meals, 1 Tim. 4:4, 5. 2) Take your family at meal time to seek God, and read his scriptures, to sing God’s praise, and to perform family duty, morning and evening. 3) Let it be a stated time, if possible, known to the family, that none may plead excuse for their absence: but that the whole family may attend. 4) Yet if some extraordinary accident intervene, you must not think yourselves so precisely bound to a time, as to be perplexed in conscience for omission, but take another more convenient time, which may more directly suit your occasions.” (Works, 4:407)
“But if possible, so arrange your worldly concerns, as not to hinder your family exercise, prudent foresight may be of great service here: but if your calling be such, that this cannot be, do as the Israelites did, gather double the day or night before, two omers for a man or family, lay in for the day following, what may stand you in stead by pleading with God, for what you will need.” (Works, 4:407-408)
“Attend upon a powerful ministry. There you will hear directions, motives, precepts, promises, scripture arguments to quicken and direct you in this practice; there you may gain knowledge of God the object of worship, of Christ the mediator and advocate, of the Holy Ghost that must assist you; there you will get a good understanding of God’s mind and will, which will furnish you with ability, and further your acquaintance with God.” (Works, 4:378)
“Frequent Christian society; converse with pious, praying persons, this will help you in family exercises and worship, not only as it is a good example, but as it assimilates you to them, and also as it provokes to a holy emulation, it will make you shame with yourselves, that such as had no better assistance or higher education than you, have yet attained to such knowledge, gifts, and elocution; this will make you admire the grace of God in them, and think it not impossible, but that the same grace may do as much in you.” (Works, 4:383)
“Dedicate your houses to the Lord. So did God’s servants of old, when they had built a new house they dedicated it, Deut. 20:5; when they had been banished from it, and were restored, they again dedicated it as David did, when Absalom had polluted it.” (Works, 4:372-373)
“The weaker you think yourselves…the more likely you are to depend on the right means of your acceptance, that is, the Spirit of Christ for assistance, and the merit and intercession of Christ for acceptance.” (Works, 4:418)
As you may know, our friends at Reformation Heritage Books are currently typesetting, editing, and re-publishing the The Works of William Perkins. Thanks to them, we have one (1) hardcover set and one (1) ebook set of the first 4 volumes to give away.
If you are in the U.S., enter here for the harcover set.
If you are outside the U.S., enter here, for the ebook set.
The deadline to register is Friday, August 4.
“A master of a family should teach all under his charge as a master, yet not usurp the office of a minister, without a due call,” he wrote. “His teaching must not be in opposition, but in subordination to ministerial instruction; as families are subordinate to churches” (402-403). Here again, we see how Heywood viewed the different spheres of Puritan worship – congregational, family, and private – and wished for them to complement one another rather than being in opposition. He firmly believed that “the more a Christian is conversant with God and his family, the more will he prize and improve public ordinances” (4:308).