Fetch the Heavenly Fire

I am reading The Reformed Pastor aloud to my husband and discussing Pilgrim’s Progress with my son.  Although Baxter (1615-1691) and Bunyan (1628-1688) were contemporaries, I haven’t read anything that connected the two.   Time seems to be less available to me these days; I haven’t found the leisure to follow fun little rabbit trails lately. 

Baxter wrote The Reformed Pastor when he was too ill to speak at a ministerial conference.  Reading the Puritans is like climbing upward through thick bramble bushes into a clearing with a fantastic vista.  After reading through thick and creeping prose you come upon a clear and radiant sentence that rewards the effort.  In truth, after reading a few pages, you find your feet and make your way with greater ease.

The Puritans were much closer to our tidy medieval fathers; they are fond of enumerations and list-making.  There are handwritten notes in my copy which are sobering to read.  My brother-in-law bought an entire library from a pastor who left his pastorate and his faith.  His personal Ex Libris label is still in the flyleaf.  Sigh… 

I wanted to share some quotes about teaching that you might appreciate.

Theology must lay the foundation, and lead the way of all our studies.  If God must be searched after, in our search of the creature, (and we must affect no separated knowledge of them) then tutors must read God to their pupils in all; and divinity must be the beginning, the middle, the end, the life, the all, of their studies. p.58

Be much at home, and be much with God.  If it be not your daily business to study your own hearts, and to subdue corruption, and to walk with God–if you make not this a work to which you constantly attend, all will go wrong, and you will starve your hearers; or, if you have an affected fervency, you cannot expect a blessing to attend it from on high.  Above all, be much in secret prayer and meditation.  Thence you must fetch the heavenly fire that must kindle your sacrifices p.62

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4 thoughts on “Fetch the Heavenly Fire

  1. Carol, the principle that all learning must be based on knowledge of God is so right. And how many of our children these days are learning in that fashion? Only home-schooling mothers like yourself and some Christian schools are even coming close. 

  2. I love the second quote – “Be much at home and be much with God…be much in secret prayer and meditation.” I am more of a home-body these days and have some time to be “in secret prayer.” It keeps me going. I’ll have to write this one down to look at again later. Thanks.

  3. May I add a quote?
    Opening heading of chpt 3 in Ideas Have Consequences:
    Spinoza says: All ideas are in God, and in so far as they have reference to God, they are true and adequate.
    I mention him because of his dates (1632 – 1677) correspond with your authors.  Unfortunately, he is not a Believer

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