Standing on their shoulders

Edifying Words

Richard Sibbes (1577 – 1635)

The tenets of the Christian life seem paradoxes to carnal men; as first, that a Christian is the only freeman, and other men are slaves; that he is the only rich man, though never so poor in the world; that he is the only beautiful man, though outwardly never so deformed; that he is the only happy man in the midst of all his miseries.

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Zacharias Ursinus (1534 – 1583)

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“The doctrine of the church is the entire and uncorrupted doctrine of the law and gospel concerning the true God, together with his will, works, and worship …. The doctrine of the church consists of two parts: the Law, and the Gospel; in which we have comprehended the sum and substance of the sacred Scriptures …. Therefore, the law and gospel are the chief and general divisions of the holy scriptures, and comprise the entire doctrine comprehended therein …. For the law is our schoolmaster, to bring us to Christ, constraining us to fly to him, and showing us what the righteousness is, which he has wrought out, and now offers unto us. But the gospel, professedly, treats of the person, office, and benefits of Christ. Therefore, we have, in the law and gospel, the whole of the Scriptures comprehending the doctrine revealed from heaven for our salvation …. The law prescribes and enjoins what is to be done, and forbids what ought to be avoided; whilst the gospel announces the free remission of sin, through and for the sake of Christ …. The law is known from nature; the gospel is divinely revealed …. The law promises life upon the condition of perfect obedience; the gospel, on the condition of faith in Christ and the commencement of new obedience.”

– From “The Heidelberg Catechism”

Their Final Words

IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH – Ignatius (67-110) was ordered by the emperor to be arrested and was sentenced to be thrown to the wild beasts in Rome. He longed for giving his life for his Savior, saying, “May the wild beasts be eager to rush upon me. If they be unwilling, I will compel them. Come, crowds of wild beasts, come, tearings and manglings, wracking of bones and hacking of limbs, come, cruel tortures of the devil, only let me attain unto Christ”

POLYCARP, BISHOP OF SMYRNA – Polycarp was the last to be taught  personally by the apostles. He was arrested and brought into an amphitheater filled with a great multitude of people. Wood was collected and made into a pile. Polycarp asked not to be fastened to the stake. “Leave me thus. He who strengthens me to endure the flames will also enable me to stand firm at the stake without being fastened with nails”. The woodpile was lighted. While Polycarp prayed with a loud voice, “Lord God Almighty, Father of our lord Jesus Christ, I praise Thee that Thou hast judged me worthy of this day and of this hour, to participate in the number of thy witnesses, and in the cup of Thy Christ”, the flames consumed him. Polycarp’s martyr death took place in the year 156.

JUSTIN MARTYR – Justin Martyr (100-165) was scourged and beheaded in Rome with 6 other Christians. His last words were, “We desire nothing more then to suffer for our Lord Jesus Christ, for this gives us salvation and joyfulness before His dreadful Judgement Seat.”

Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748)

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When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

– “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”

Ignatius of Antioch (35 – 107)

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In the light of the Divine Goodness, it seems to me, though others may think differently, that ingratitude is the most abominable of sins and that it should be detested in the sight of our Creator and Lord by all of His creatures who are capable of enjoying His divine and everlasting glory.

Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

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“Some say, ‘I would feel better about God hearing my prayer if I were more worthy and lived a better life.’ I simply answer: If you don’t want to pray before you feel that you are worthy or qualified, then you will never pray again. Prayer must not be based on or depend on your personal worthiness or the quality of the prayer itself; rather, it must be based on the unchanging truth of God’s promise. If the prayer is based on itself or on anything else besides God’s promise, then it’s a false prayer that deceives you—even if your heart is breaking with intense devotion and you are weeping drops of blood. We pray because we are unworthy to pray. Our prayers are heard precisely because we believe that we are unworthy. We become worthy to pray when we risk everything on God’s faithfulness alone. So go ahead and feel unworthy. But know in your heart that it’s a thousand times more important to honor God’s truthfulness. Yes, everything depends on this alone. Don’t turn his faithful promise into a lie by your doubts. For your worthiness doesn’t help you, and neither does your unworthiness hinder you. A lack of faith is what condemns you, but confidence in God is what makes you worthy.

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
– Luke 18:13

Ulrich Zwingli (1484 – 1531)

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“We cannot but admit that not even the least thing takes place unless it is ordered by God. For who have ever been so concerned and curious as to find out how much hair he has on his head? There is no one. God, however, knows the number. Indeed, nothing is too small in us or in any other creature, not to be ordered by the all-knowing and all-powerful providence of God.”

John Knox (1510 – 1572)

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“The testimony of scripture is so plain that to add anything were superfluous, were it not that the world is almost now come to that blindness, that whatsoever pleases not the princes and the multitude, the same is rejected as doctrine newly forged, and is condemned for heresy.”

John Owen (1616 – 1683)

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“Be always at it whilst you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

Sinclair Ferguson (1948 – )

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“The way in which God leads us is the way of following Christ in bearing the cross. Any “guidance” which contradicts this principle will lack the familiar autograph of Christ. Any “voice” which beckons us to forsake this pathway we will silence. For we will have come to recognize the accents of our Master. There is no voice like the voice of the One who has been crucified.”

– “Discovering God’s Will”