Friday, April 27, 2007

William Perkins on theological humility ...

Believers' or pedobaptism? Pre-, post- or amillennial? Covenants or dispensations? Charismata or cessation? High liturgy or low? Instrumental or vocal worship? I have my own convictions, but I still appreciated the following reminder from Perkins's treatise on "The Combat of the Flesh and the Spirit", in his Two Treatises of 1593:

"In the mind there is a double combat. The first is between knowledge of the word of God and natural ignorance or blindness. For seeing [that] we do in this life know in part, therefore knowledge of the truth must needs be joined with ignorance in all that are enlightened, and one of these being contrary to another, they strive to overshadow and overcast each other.

Hence we may learn the cause why excellent divines do vary in diverse points of religion: and it is, because in this combat, natural blindness yet remaining, prevails more or less. Men that are dim-sighted and cannot discern without spectacles, if they should be set to discry [describe] a thing afar off, the most of them would be of diverse opinions of it. And men enlightened and regenerate in this life do but see as in a glass darkly.

Again, this must teach all students of divinity often to suspect themselves in their opinions and defences,
seeing in them that are of soundest judgment the light of their understanding is mixed with darkness of ignorance. And they can in many points see but as the man in the Gospel, who when our Saviour Christ had in part opened his eyes, saw men walking not as men, but in the form of trees [Mark 8:22-26]. Also this must teach all that read the scriptures to invocate and call upon the name of God, that he would enlighten them by his Spirit, and abolish the mist of natural blindness."

1 comment:

Bridges said...

A great, and much needed post. Thanks, Chris!



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