More Joy in Forgiveness Than Holiness

“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”” (Luke 10:17-20)

Our Lord, seeing that “the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few” sent his disciples out to the fields to do his work (Luke 10:2). He gave them specific instructions about what they were going to do and how they were going to behave. They would go out to do this task without Christ, but they wouldn’t go out without power. Matthew’s account tells us that Jesus “gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness” (Matthew 10:1).

Our verses record their return. It’s been a good missions trip, so good that they come with stories. As good storytellers, the disciples begin with their grandest one. “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” What a marvelous thing! Demons, those fallen angels of Satan were the constant enemy of our Lord during his ministry on earth. It was Satan who came to him in the desert and tempted him to turn away from his path of suffering and shame he needed to go down to accomplish our salvation. It was the demons who sought to reveal Christ’s identity to hasten his demise before all could be accomplished. In their mission to their neighbours, the disciples have struck a great blow against the kingdom of darkness and shone forth the kingdom of light. This is big stuff.

But Jesus replies: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” What the disciples did was great, but our Lord’s deeds are greater. The disciples cast out only some demons afflicting the people, our Lord was there when Satan was cast out of heaven. Jesus was there when Satan’s rebellion was crushed and the divine verdict was given. In fact, Christ has always been there, he’s God. Christ will go on to do far more than the disciples have done; he’ll go on to defeat Satan and all his works at the cross and defeat him definitively on the last day by casting Satan and all his angels into the lake of fire.

In bending the knees of the demons, the disciples have brought themselves into Christ’s work of cosmic redemption (Romans 8:22). Christ is redeeming the world, bringing all things into subject to God (1 Corinthians 15:20-28). Every advance of truth, holiness, and purity in the world is an advance of the kingdom of heaven.

This isn’t only a battle out there, however, it’s also in our own lives. Those familiar with Abraham Kuyper’s theology and/or are familiar with the idea of Antithesis should know that the antithesis between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent began in Genesis 3:15 cuts through individuals as much as societies and cultures. In us lies two men: an old and a new man, and the fight between them in us is just as severe as the conflict in the world. Every personal advance towards holiness and Godliness is an advance of the kingdom of heaven.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Christ has equipped his people. At Pentecost, he’ll give the church his Holy Spirit so that they may do even greater works than he did while on earth (John 14:12). The church has no reason to fear because it possesses power and authority over even the demons. Christians have to reason to fear with their own sanctification since it is God’s good pleasure to sanctify them, making them perfect as Christ is perfect.

“However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Here’s the point. Even though we’ve been given such wonderful power and authority, the power to live holy lives and to grow into Christlike-ed-ness, we should first rejoice that “our names are written in heaven.”

Sanctification can be encouraging, but it can also be discouraging. The fight to overcome sin leads to many disappoints, and even despair. Some popular teachers, even in Reformed circles, encourage us to look to the fruit of our sanctification as a source of comfort and assurance. However, our fruit can never do that. Luther was right, the law always accuses (Lex Semper Accusat). Whenever we look at ourselves, we can only find despair.

Therefore, for the sake of Christian comfort, for the sake of sanity, we need to look outside of ourselves and to another. “What is your only comfort in life and in death?” In these verses, it’s that “our names are written in heaven.” Our comfort in these verses is that our names are written in the book of life, and they’ll never be blotted out. Our comfort is that we are forgiven all of our sins, not that we are growing out of our sins. It’s in this truth we should first and ultimately look, above all other things.

This is important to grasp, failure to grasp this can only lead to despair and fruitlessness. How can we be fruitful for God if we’re asking our deed of faith to do that which they can’t, to comfort us?

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing

“Not only was the Teacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Teacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails—given by one shepherd. Be warned, my son, of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-14)

Among the books often known as “wisdom books”, Ecclesiastes sits like a crown jewel. Whoever finds this book finds a good thing. The woman who applies the truths of this book is the greatest philosopher. The word “philosophy” is a compound word, coming from the Greek words for “love” and “wisdom”. A philosopher, then, is a lover of wisdom.

The world is full of wisdoms, so-called. We can think of evolutionary theories of human origins, the LGBT theories on gender and sexuality, the materialism of the day pushed by marketing agencies, etc. The world is full of philosophers and philosophies that can appeal and tantalize, offering new experiences and ideas.

Should we shy away from philosophy? Certainly not. Paul’s words in Colossians 2:8 in no way prohibit Christian philosophy, these words simply warn against “hollow and deceptive philosophy” (NIV). Christians ought to be philosophers, building upon and applying Biblical principles in the world that we live in. There must be a Christian worldview.

Recently I was listening to a podcast hosted by Reformed scholars. One of them, a Dutchman, said that in the Netherlands, at some time in the middle of the 20th century, the old word for “world view” (wereldbeeld) was replaced with a new word: “life view” (levensbeschouwing). This reflected what was going on in the churches at the time. Christians began to take what was abstract: ideas about what the world is, what humanity is for, and where everything is pointing, and put it into practice. Abstract theories don’t help us. Wisdom, what philosophy is actually about, isn’t abstract but practical.

Our verses above end the book of Ecclesiastes. Reading through the book, you find many threads of wisdom that fascinate and inspire. Yet, reading them (like all Scripture), we cannot let them remain in the abstract. What does it all mean?

“Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”

It’s that simple. Here is the Christian’s philosophy and “lifeview” (levensbeschouwing). We obey God. What separates us from the world is that we listen to God and take what he says seriously. The world regards the Bible as a fantasy book of novelties, we regard it as serious business; we regard it as God’s word.

Friends, when you read the Bible, what are you trying to get out of it? It’s good to fill our heads with the doctrines of the faith, but without the practical, we only have knowledge without love. When we read the Bible, let us keep the main thing the main thing: “Fear God and keep his commandments.”

We Are Fools

“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NKJV)

When you look around the congregation on Sunday, what kind of people do you see? You may see friends, family, and loved ones. You might see strangers or visitors. You’ll see rich and poor, you’ll see educated and uneducated. However, what’s common to all of us is that we’re all fools.

We’re fools because we believe a foolish message. The message of the cross makes no sense to the world. It states that He who was in “the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6–8). That’s absurd, what kind of message is that? Muslims mock the doctrine of the incarnation, stating that it’s far too undignified for God to humble himself. But that’s the point! Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” We shouldn’t expect that the world who crucified the Messiah would understand his message, as much sense as it might make to us.

For us this foolishness is wisdom. Paul says that Jesus Christ is God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:24). It was wise in God’s eyes to turn the world on its head. Behold, a child who is a king! Behold, death defeated by death! Behold, the kings of the earth humbled by the words of Galilean fishermen! Mary sang of this in Luke 1: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.” What we might expect God’s plan to be like has been totally inverted. A delicious irony wends its way through our faith.

Who does this foolish message come to? It comes to us fools. Jesus said: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:1). Our passage says that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. Why? Why did Christ say “Blessed are you poor, For yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20)? He did so to ensure humility. He’s given the victory to fools so that “no flesh should glory in His presence”, and that he who glories may glory in the Lord. Fools who know they’re fools can’t claim anything for themselves. Sinners who know their helpless condition can’t claim their salvation is of themselves.

Brethren, we are fools. Our message is absurd, and in that is the beauty of it. The beauty of the Gospel shines out of its many ironies. Let us embrace this and rejoice. Christ is our wisdom. Christ is our righteousness. Christ is our sanctification. And Christ is our redemption. Let us glory in the Lord and his wisdom, and “lean not on our own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Trusting All of God’s Promises

“Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.” (Matthew 5:42 NKJV)

Few commands of Jesus are as difficult as this. One would think that the human eye is more easily plucked out and cast away (Matthew 5:21) than for us to willingly part with our money. All reason screams against the kind of generosity that Jesus commends to us in this verse, calling it foolishness. But the Bible says that “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17). What sense is there in this? God has made himself the guarantor of the debts of the poor. Jesus tells us to “lend, hoping for nothing in return” (Luke 6:35). This is the calling, this is the expectation.

In his sermon Against Those Who Lend at Interest, St. Basil the Great notes that with this promise and this command, the Christian is unable to bring any reasonable objection to refuse charity. If the wealthiest man in the town agrees to provide security for a loan to the poorest man, only a fool would refuse to do so. And yet, hesitancy to do the good work of charity when we ought to is common enough. Why is this?

To Basil, the answer is that it’s simply a lack of faith. Faith itself is the hand that appropriates and grabs a hold of God’s promises. Faith undergirds all works of the Christian. When the Christian prays, he prays in proportion to his faith, asking for the things he is confident he shall receive. When the Christian buries the dead, he does so in the faith of the resurrection of the dead. To pray and to bury the dead with hope would be absurd things indeed if it were not for faith! And yet, though we trust God that after our skin is destroyed, that in our flesh we shall see God (Job 19:26), and though we trust that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) despite our constant sense of our indwelling sin disagreeing with such a notion—in short, we trust God’s Covenant of Grace—despite this we find ourselves doubting that God is faithful to this promise to repay what we give the poor.

Much talk is had about whether it is appropriate to give petty cash to the poor if we are reasonably assured that they’ll spend it on booze and drugs. While there’s undeniable wisdom in not giving our coins to the man sitting outside the liquor store, one has to ask why we believe that only now the poor spend their wealth foolishly and on sin. Wasn’t this so in Jesus’ day? Do we believe that the poor didn’t drink themselves silly with the alms of the pious at the time of this commandment? They certainly did, but that sin remained squarely on the wasteful and sinful, and not on those who sought to keep to the Master’s teaching and give to those who ask from them. The Apocryphal Book of Sirach—of which the Belgic Confession Art. 6 says: “The church may certainly read these books and learn from them as far as they agree with the canonical books”—rightly states it this way: “Many refuse to lend, not because of maliciousness, but from fear of being defrauded needlessly (Sirach 29:7). This hesitancy is understandable but unacceptable.

“Help the poor for the commandment’s sake, and in their need do not send them away empty-handed. Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost. Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold” (Sirach 29:9-11). Indeed, it is far wiser and more believing for us to “lay up for [ourselves] treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20). Do we trust God? If so, let us give generously to those who ask from us! “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). This is God’s promise, one that we can rest in.

Peter’s Denial of Christ and Our Denial

Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times. (Mark 14:30 NKJV)

“While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.” (Mark 14:66-72 NKJV)

At this point in Mark’s Gospel Jesus has been betrayed by his erstwhile disciple Judas, been abandoned by the rest of the twelve, and been judged by the Jewish Sanhedrin court. All of this happened in a single terrible night, a night of the worst tragedies. Betrayal, abandonment, injustice at the hand of the courts, and physical abuse all visit Christ our Lord on this night. Was he deserving of it? Absolutely not, but this was his burden to bear for the sake of his people. Having eaten the last Passover with his disciples, and having declared that he would “no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when [he] drink[s] it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25), Jesus will have no more joy, but only tragedies, leading up to his crucifixion.

Despite the immense tragedy happening to Jesus up above, in Mark 14:66-72 the focus shifts to Peter down below. The disciples had fled from Jesus, just as he said they would (Mark 14:27), but where did they go? Did they go home to Gallilee, trying to forget all that they’ve experienced for the last 3 years? No, that would be impossible! Even if the shepherd is struck, the sheep never wander far. Peter sticks close, warming himself by a fire just below in the courtyard of the Sanhedrin’s council chambers where Jesus is being abused (Mark 14:66a).

Only the night before he boldly declared to Jesus that “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be” (Mark 14:29). Despite his initial boldness, it was not to be, he too fell away. Indeed, he wasn’t even able to “watch and pray” that he might not fall into temptation just like Jesus asked him to in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:37). When Jesus was taken, Peter stood in his own strength and failed to keep the faith.

A servant girl of the high priest walks by, and noticing him, she says that he was with Jesus. Here Peter has a chance to reassert his faith in his Lord. A servant girl is hardly a threat, but nevertheless, he caves and denies understanding what the girl is talking about. Moving on, he overhears the girl discussing Peter with the others around. Without even being spoken to, Peter takes it upon himself to reassert his ignorance rather than his faith in his Lord. Again, a third and final time, the little band bystanders ask him if he was with Jesus, pointing out that he’s a Galilean. At this point, tragically, Peter takes the final step: he denies his Lord for the third time and invokes curses upon himself. When this happens, the rooster crows the second time, and Peter realizes what he’s done. He breaks down and weeps.

It’s tragic to see those who once stood strong in the faith deny the God they once claimed. Far too often we have seen young people fail to persevere in their profession of faith. However, let’s consider ourselves. Do we deny the Lord? Christ said in Matthew 10:33: “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Are our denials of our Lord as dramatic as Peter’s? Certainly not, though they are often equally as tragic.

Take for example the temptation to downplay our faith in the public sphere. Whether before our neighbors or coworkers, the temptation is to minimize the appearance of our faith. Nobody wants to be “that guy”, the guy who won’t laugh at the jokes, listen to blasphemy, engage in the sin; that reluctance puts a target on our back for mockery and ridicule. We reason that it’s far better to keep our faith hidden to avoid trouble. Peter was confronted by a servant girl: what power did she have over him? She could gloat over the Master’s death if she was so inclined, but beyond that, she had no power. What power do our coworkers and neighbors have over us? Nothing. The tragedy is that we so often fold for peasants rather than kings.

What about our failure to evangelize as we know we ought? We know we do this. How many times have we come away from the Scriptures impressed with the need to evangelize, make plans and intentions to reach out to so-and-so, and see said desires wither away when confronted with the person in question? “Maybe next time, when the time is right.” There will never be a right time! In the end, we intend much but do little, and in so doing deny our Lord who bids us speak of him.

Peter was given a wide-open door to talk to this servant girl and the bystanders about Christ. They were the ones to ask about Christ. He very well could have relayed to them all that Christ had taught him, instead he minimized Christ to try and save his hide from those who posed no real threat to him. That is the tragedy of this passage. Like Esau, Peter sold his inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven for a bowl of lentils, and in the end, they left him broken and weeping.

It is of the utmost necessity that we take seriously our Lord’s words: “But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” In the end, by sheer grace, our Lord restored Peter. Denying Christ may be forgiven. Right after telling us that “if we deny Him, He also will deny us”, Paul says that “If we are faithless, He remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:12-13). After all, at the time of Peter’s final denial of Christ, Christ was on his way to the cross where he would pay for all the sins of Peter, even the denial he was at that time enacting. There is grace for the penitent sinner, however, we must never allow it to become a license to sin.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Preface to his Bible-in-a-Year Plan

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Being January 1st, many Christians around the world are beginning a new season of Bible reading. Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s plan remains immensely popular and is found in many Bibles and in many pamphlets. Only recently did I learn that the Reverend wrote a preface to his Bible reading plan, where he lays out what he calls the “dangers” and “advantages” of such a Bible reading plan.

You might not be planning on using the M’Cheyne plan, you may be using another plan (or maybe you’ve only thought about committing to one). Regardless, I hope that reading through the Reverend’s preface might help orient your thinking on the discipline of the daily reading of Scripture.

MY DEAR FLOCK, — The approach of another year stirs up within me new desires for your salvation, and for the growth of those of you who are saved. “God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” What the coming year is to bring forth who can tell? There is plainly a weight lying on the spirits of all good men, and a looking for some strange work of judgment upon this land. There is a need now to ask that solemn question — “If in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”

Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon
creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our
Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day. Then we shall be able to say, like David – “The proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from Thy law.” “Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart standeth in awe of Thy word.”

It has long been in my mind to prepare a scheme of Scripture reading, in which as
many as were made willing by God might agree, so that the whole Bible might be read once by you in the year, and all might be feeding in the same portion of the green pasture at the same time.

I am quite aware that such a plan is accompanied with many DANGERS:

(1.) Formality. – We are such weak creatures that any regularly returning duty is apt to degenerate into a lifeless form. The tendency of reading the Word by a fixed rule may, in some minds, be to create this skeleton religion. This is to be the peculiar sin of the last days – “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” Guard against this. Let the calendar perish rather than this rust eat up your souls.
(2.) Self-righteousness. – Some, when they have devoted their set time to reading of the Word, and accomplished their prescribed portion, may be tempted to look at
themselves with self-complacency. Many, I am persuaded, are living without any
Divine work on their soul – unpardoned and unsanctified, and ready to perish – who spend their appointed times in secret and family devotion. This is going to hell with a lie in their right hand.
(3.) Careless reading. – Few tremble at the Word of God. Few, in reading it, hear the voice of Jehovah, which is full of majesty. Some, by having so large a portion, may be tempted to weary of it, as Israel did of the daily manna, saying – “Our soul
loatheth this light bread;” and to read it in a slight and careless manner. This would
be fearfully provoking to God. Take heed lest that word be true of you – “Ye said,
also, Behold what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of
(4.) A yoke to heavy to bear. Some may engage in reading with alacrity for a time, and afterwards feel it a burden, grievous to be borne. They may find conscience
dragging them through the appointed task without any relish of the heavenly food. If this be the case with any, throw aside the fetter, and feed at liberty in the sweet
garden of God. My desire is not to cast a snare upon you, but to be a helper of your

If there be so many dangers, why propose such a scheme at all? To this I answer, that the best things are accompanied with danger, as the fairest flowers are often gathered in the clefts of some dangerous precipice. Let us weigh the ADVANTAGES:

(1.) The whole Bible will be read through in an orderly manner in the course of a year. – The Old Testament once, the New Testament and Psalms twice. I fear many of you never read the whole Bible; and yet it is all equally Divine, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect.” If we pass over some parts of Scripture, we shall be incomplete Christians.
(2.) Time will not be wasted in choosing what portions to read. Often believers are at a loss to determine towards which part of the mountains of spices they should bend their steps. Here the question will be solved at once in a very simple manner.
(3.) Parents will have a regular subject upon which to examine their children and servants. – It is much to be desired that family worship were made more instructive than it generally is. The mere reading of the chapter is often too like water spilt on the ground. Let it be read by every member of the family before-hand, and then the meaning and application drawn out by simple question and answer. The calendar will be helpful in this. Friends, also, when they meet, will have a subject for profitable conversation in the portions read that day. The meaning of difficult passages may be inquired from the more judicious and ripe Christians, and the fragrance of simpler Scriptures spread abroad.
(4.) The pastor will know in what part of the pasture the flock are feeding. – He will thus be enabled to speak more suitably to them on the Sabbath; and both pastor and elders will be able to drop a word of light and comfort in visiting from house to house, which will be more readily responded to.
(5.) The sweet bond of Christian love and unity will be strengthened. – We shall be often led to think of those dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, here and elsewhere, who agree to join with us in reading those portions. We shall oftener be led to agree on earth, touching something we shall ask of God. We shall pray over the same promises, mourn over the same confessions, praise God in the same songs, and be nourished by the same words of eternal life.

John 19:17-22, The Eye of the Storm

Readings: John 12:32, 19:17-22

As we read this text we enter into the climax of a story.  This is Christ’s story.  From the beginning of the Scriptures to the end it is all Christ’s story, but for much of it, in fact, most of it, Christ seems notably absent.  Christ, who is the very center of the whole Bible, for whom the entirety of redemptive history is for, seems to be absent.  

But as Christians, we cannot help but see Christ in the Scripture.  All over the Scripture, he is present.  One needs only to read the book of Hebrews in order to see that Christ is, and always has been, the essence of the narrative of the entire world.  1 Corinthians 8:6 tells us that there is “one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.”  All of creation, yes even all that was and is and will be is for Christ.  In this way we are but accessories to his story, bearing it aloft and presenting it to the world for it to sing “Glory, glory, glory.”  When we read the Scriptures, we remember Christ, and we embrace him as the lord of all.

And yet in this text, in John 19:17-22, we see Christ rejected by the world.  He, who the world exists for has been rejected and disposed of.  He has been stripped bare and made desolate.  And he has been crucified, cursed, and forsaken.  He has been cast into the pit of hell along with two common criminals (both nameless), testifying that the world regards him, who 1 Corinthians 2:8 identifies as “the Lord of Glory”, as no better than a sinner, and worth forgetting.

This is a terrible contradiction is it not?  Creation itself has forgotten its role.  The Lord, full of grace and truth, has condescended to meet her and grant her peace, and she has taken him by sinful hands and crucified him, “the Lord of Glory.”  Earth has issued a hateful divorce against heaven, forsaking God’s plan and redemption.

The worst has yet to come though, Christ has not yet died, and so the wicked deed has yet to be finalized.  And so this moment in the story in between the crucifixion of Christ and his death, in the midst of this most hateful act, is the eye of the storm, where a weary peace settles. At this moment we see a flicker of light.  This light comes to us in verses 19-20 which read:

Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:


Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was 

crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

This flicker of light comes to us in the form of Pilate unknowingly naming Christ as king.  As Christ hangs here, a crown of thorns upon his sacred brow, wounded for the sake of the world, he is named king, and declared to the world to be king, and for the briefest of moments, the Christ is vindicated.

Now nobody who looks upon Christ can fail to remember who he is, that he is king.  Though he bears the common form of a man, though he is being disposed of by the world as a common criminal, nameless amongst the nameless, his claim to his kingdom is plain for all to see, and an invitation to join his kingdom is posted for all.

Something to briefly note about the sign that Pilate posted.  It is written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  The presence of these three languages upon this sign means that not a single soul that went by would fail to see that Christ was king.  These three languages were the most widespread, the most commonly used.  Any Jew or Gentile who walked by could read it, and so they all would be confronted by the Christ, and invited by the Christ.

What is the Christ inviting us to?  Nothing less than his kingdom, nothing less than the heavenly family, nothing less than justification unto life, and nothing less than sweet communion with him.  In short, Christ invites us to peace through his broken body, hung upon the tree.

And so friends, I now likewise confront you with Christ and invite you, seeking to comfort you who believe.  You who do not believe, Christ reigns now as king against you, and not for you.  He comes with a sword in his hand, and he will make himself known upon the earth.  Believe in him, and he shall greet you in peace at his coming.

But you who believe, rejoice!  Christ has been named king, and his kingship has been confirmed by his resurrection from the dead.  Therefore, all who trust in him will not find their faith to be in vain.  He is the mighty king, God of the angels.  Though the world has seemingly forgotten him in this age of secularism and apostasy, he is still named king, that sign on the cross still stands.  Trust and believe, and you shall be comforted, for he shall be your king and lord, and he will return in the last day for you.


The Development of the Cult of Mary Between 100-200 AD

This post was initially a research paper that I wrote for my Church History Class. A copy with footnotes is available upon request.

The Virgin Mary, though minimally spoken of throughout the New Testament, has become the most well-recognized supporting character in literary history.  Her likeness may be found among household shrines in India, murals plastered upon the walls of the slum houses of Brazil, and upon the brown scapulars of Carmelite nuns.  Likewise, her presence is felt by as many as feel the beads of a Rosary between their fingers, and as many as appeal to her mercy in times of danger and fear.  Her names are many: New Eve, Ever-Virgin, Immaculate, Queen of Heaven, Help of the Afflicted, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Mother of God.  This last name especially enraptures the mind: “Who was this woman who has so captured the world through her Son?”  

Has Mary’s character always possessed this draw on people?  Has she always been this popular?  Is what Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theologians teach about Mary the same today as it was yesterday?  These questions are worth asking.  Much is said of Mary by these groups, but not by John.  Much is said by the Bishop of Rome, but not much by Matthew, Mark, or Luke.  Comparatively, the Ecumenical Patriarch speaks of Mary far more often than Paul. Thus, there seems, prima facie, to be a great disconnect between what the Bible tells us about Mary and what we hear from many Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox clergy.  Sacred Scripture speaks of her so little, while the tradition of the church seems utterly obsessed.

This paper will seek to provide an in-depth examination of Marian theology during the first two centuries of the church’s history.  Special attention will be given to the earliest extant primary sources, notably the canonical Gospels as well as early apocryphal works.  Next, this paper will exhaustively consider the Marian theology of key Apostolic Fathers who lived between 100-200 AD.  Finally, a brief conclusion on the state of Marian theology at the beginning of the 200s will be given, comparing the Marian theology present then to what would develop later.

The earliest sources that we have that speak of Mary are the four canonical Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life: the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  It would be improper to call these books “Marian literature” however, as their obvious purpose and intent is to introduce the reader to the life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.  Despite Mary playing only a side role within these works of literature, they constitute the earliest written accounts of Mary’s character and life, and so they reveal the authentic Apostolic teaching on Mary, giving an “initial” state of Marian theology.

The Gospel of Mark, the earliest of the Synoptic Gospels, shows a marked disinterest in the life of Mary, and indeed the infancy of Christ in general.  The single explicit and unambiguous reference to Mary found in Marks’ Gospel is Mark 6:3, which reads: “‘Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.”  A “Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses” appears near the end of the Gospel, being present at the crucifixion of Christ, appearing at his tomb, and being a witness of the resurrection.  It is possible that this Mary is Jesus’ mother, though this is unclear.

In contrast to Mark, the Gospel according to St. Luke shows a keen interest in recording the life of Christ before he began his public ministry.  It is from the Gospel of Luke that we derive the most complete account of Mary’s life within the canonical Scriptures.  Within the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke Mary plays an important role.  Firstly, Mary receives the annunciation of her miraculous conception of Christ from the angel Gabriel.  Secondly, Mary has her conception of Christ confirmed through the leaping of John in the womb of Elizabeth, an event that causes Mary to burst into song and sing the hymn Magnificat.  Thirdly, the holy family journeys to Bethlehem to be registered for Quirinius’ census, with the birth of Christ occurring while they are in Bethlehem.  The same event sees angels declare the birth of Christ to nearby shepherds, who come to worship the child.  Fourthly, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus up to Jerusalem for the sake of a temple ritual.  During this trip, the holy family encountered the righteous man Simeon and the prophetess Anna.  Fifthly and finally, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus up to the Passover festival and lose the child in the temple.  Later he is found to be conversing with the teachers.  Tim Perry, writing on the role of Mary in Luke 1-2 says: “In the infancy narrative (Lk 1—2), she is the center of all narrative action.  She stands ahead of Joseph (Lk 2:5).  Joseph is named after her (Lk 2:16).  Although Simeon blesses the family, he speaks directly to Mary (Lk 2:33-34).  Mary even speaks for her husband (Lk 2:48).  Luke names Mary twelve times and alludes to her two more.  Once the birth narrative is finished, however, Luke hurries Mary offstage.  Still, careful readers know the important role she plays in Luke’s Gospel.”

The Pauline literature is also notable for its near-total failure to mention Mary.  The only occurrence of the name “Mary” within the Pauline corpus is an anonymous woman which Paul commends the Roman church to greet, she being noted for her hard work.  There is no good reason to believe that this woman is the same Mary that gave birth to Christ.  Only one, seemingly accidental reference is made to Mary in the Pauline corpus in Galatians 4:4 where it says: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law.”  Even within this quote, the focus is upon Christ and not Mary.

As for early non-canonical or apocryphal sources, stories about Mary abound.  Luigi Gambero writes: “In every age, religious souls have yearned to know Jesus and the other important characters in the story of our salvation.  The Virgin Mary has always had a privileged place in this kind of understandable and legitimate curiosity.  The silence of the New Testament writings and the Apostolic Fathers concerning her person left a knowledge gap that Christians have been trying to fill since the first centuries.  In response to this need, the so-called New Testament apocrypha proliferated—works that, with their sometimes fantastic and picturesque accounts, went overboard in making up for the extremely scarce information in the inspired books of Scripture.”

The chief example of an apocryphal work with a heavy Marian emphasis from the 100s would be the Protogospel of James.  This work was most likely written sometime around the middle of the second century, most likely by a non-Jew or by a Jew living outside of Palestine.  This work is notable for four unique ideas that it promulgates:  Firstly, that Mary herself had a miraculous conception.  Secondly, that Mary remained a virgin, both during her pregnancy as well as after the birth of Christ.  Thirdly, that Christ’s birth was wholly unnatural, with Mary not pushing Christ through her birth canal, but him being seemingly teleported to her breast. Fourthly, that Joseph’s marriage to Mary was not a normal one, Joseph being more of a protector to Mary than a husband.  Due to the rather porous nature of the canon in the very early church, the Protogospel of James would have been read by both the orthodox and the unorthodox, it being only officially declared to be apocryphal in the sixth century.  This usage by the orthodox is not speculative, as Clement of Alexandria alludes to the Protogospel in his Stromata, treating it as though it were Scripture.  The early date of the Protogospel, it’s late condemnation, and widespread readership doubtlessly contributed to the spread of its unique Marian teachings, normalizing the notion of a spectacular Mary, as opposed to the relatively normal woman we see in the Gospels.

Two other, less important apocryphal works of the 1st century stand out for what they say about Mary, and for their similarities to the Protogospel of James.  The first of these is the Ascension of Isaiah.  In this book, like in the Protogospel of James, Mary’s birth of Christ occurs unnaturally, with Christ being seemingly teleported outside of her womb, with Mary suffering no birth pain.  The second apocryphal work is the Odes of Solomon.  The 19th Ode in the book affirms that Mary gave birth without suffering pain, and without seeking a midwife.  Both of these works then seem to be furthering the same set of Marian beliefs that are present in the Protogospel of James.  Unlike the Protogospel, Mary is not the main focus of these works, but rather a single character amongst many.  These works appear to be furthering an already present Marian tradition, possibly beginning with the Protogospel of James itself.

As has been seen above, the earliest extant Christian material shows a noticeable ambivalence towards Mary.  Speaking of the presence of Mary in Christian literature from the first couple of centuries of the church, Stephen J. Shoemaker says: “In light of the prominence to which Mary would later rise in the Christian tradition, it is perhaps a bit surprising how little she figures in the New Testament and other early Christian literature from the first century or so.”  Those apocryphal works which do possess a strongly Marian element seem to have been influential, though novel in their presentation of Mary.  Within these apocryphal works lies much of later Marian theology in seed form, as J.K Elliot argues: “[The Protogospel of James’] stories reflect the developing tradition that was ultimately expressed in Christian teaching regarding the perpetual virginity of Mary.  In addition, it gave support and impetus to feasts such as the Immaculate Conception of Mary and the Presentation in the Temple.”

Thus, we see two strands of Marian thinking presented by both the canonical works and early apocryphal works.  From the canonical literature, we see a relatively unremarkable woman, greatly blessed by God, whose purpose was to give birth to Christ and raise him amongst his other siblings.  Having accomplished this task, she seemingly retires from significance.  From the apocryphal literature of the time, we see a very remarkable woman.  We see a Mary whose conception greatly mirrors Christ’s, a Mary who was always destined for greatness, a Mary who possessed a most holy and pure demeanor.  These two visions for who Mary was would coexist for a time, both being represented in the Apostolic Fathers, though the apocryphally-derived vision would come to dominate in later centuries.

Leaving the earliest periods of the church, it is worth considering the Marian doctrines promulgated by the Apostolic Fathers.  For the sake of this paper, an Apostolic Father is a writer or a written document dating between 100-200 AD.

Luigi Gambero, noting the lack of a Marian emphasis during the time of the Apostolic Fathers, writes:  “The name of Mary rarely appears in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers.”  There appears to be a general silence about the life and character of the blessed Virgin.  However, when Mary is spoken of by these men, we see a strong divergence in opinion amongst them.  Four Apostolic Fathers stand out for what they said regarding Mary: Clement of Alexandria, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus.  Tertullian is also worth investigating, as he presents perhaps the most unique picture of Mary amongst early authors.

As was previously mentioned, Clement of Alexandria cited the Protogospel of James and treated it as Scripture.  As The Stromata (where he cites the Protogospel) is one of the earliest pieces of extant theological literature, this means that an affirmation of the perpetual virginity of Mary is present in one of the earliest extant discussions of Marian theology.  Clement also makes a parallel between Mary and the church in Paedagogus 1.6, noting that as Mary nourished Christ with the milk of her breasts, so also the church is nourished by Christ.  Clement shows no devotional interest in Mary.  Not much more can be said regarding Mary in Clement’s thinking, however, as he makes no further reference to Mary in his surviving works.

Ignatius of Antioch, being one of the earliest of the Apostolic Fathers, gives us great insight into early Marian beliefs through his epistles.  Ignatius’ epistle To the Ephesians references Mary the most, with her name occurring three times.  Firstly, Ignatius says: “There is one physician, both fleshly and spiritual, born and unborn, God in man, true life in death, both of Mary and God, first subject to suffering and then free of suffering, Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Secondly, he says: “For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived  by Mary according to the plan of God, both from the seed of David and the Holy Spirit, who was born and was baptized so that by his suffering he might purify the water.”  Thirdly he says: “And the virginity of Mary and her giving birth escaped the notice of the ruler of this age; likewise also the death of the Lord. Three mysteries to be loudly acclaimed  which were accomplished in the silence of God.”  In his epistle To the Trallians, Ignatius makes reference to Mary when he says: “Therefore be deaf whenever anyone speaks to you apart from Jesus Christ,  the one of the family of David, the one of Mary, he who truly was born, both ate and drank, truly was persecuted by Pontius Pilate, truly was crucified and died, being seen by those in heaven and on earth and under the earth…”  Finally, in his epistle To the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius writes: “Having been fully convinced about our Lord that he is truly from the family of David according to the flesh, the Son of God according to the will and power of God, having been born truly of a virgin…” Speaking of Ignatius’s Marian doctrine, Tim Perry says: “For Ignatius, Mary is first of all the guarantor of the union of divinity and humanity in Jesus’ person.”  In Ignatius, we see a very simple understanding of Mary as the mother of Christ.  Her purpose was to provide the human nature of Christ, something eminently necessary for the salvation of all mankind.  In this regard, Ignatius stands in perfect conformity to the picture of Mary given to us in the canonical Scriptures.

Justin Martyr is the next significant Apostolic Father who speaks of Mary.  Two of his works stand out for their comments regarding Mary: his First Apology, and his Dialogue with Trypho.  In his First Apology, Justin examines Isaiah 7:4 and the prophecy of the virginal conception contained therein.  In this work, Justin strongly stresses that Jesus was not conceived through normal intercourse, but instead by the Spirit.  The second work that speaks of Mary is more intriguing, however.  In his Dialogue with Trypho, Justin conceives of Mary’s life as a recapitulation of Eve’s fall into sin.  He parallels the disobedience of Eve with the obedience of Mary.  Notably, however, though Justin seems to have a high view of Mary, he shows no devotional appreciation for her.

The fourth Apostolic Father of significance is Irenaeus, who goes further than Justin in his association of Mary as the new-Eve.  Speaking of Ireneaus’ thoughts on Mary, Tim Perry says: “Mary is no mere passive instrument in Irenaeus’s thought.  She actively, if subordinately, assists Christ in the accomplishment of salvation.  She is ‘that pure womb which regenerates men unto God, and which he [Jesus] himself made pure.’  This exalted language clearly exceeds the restraint of both Ignatius and the New Testament.”  Jaroslav Pelikan notes that Irenaeus’ matter-of-fact assumption of the Mary/Eve parallel strongly suggests that it was a widespread opinion during his time, as he does not seek to prove it, but rather asserts it.  However, just like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus never ventures into a devotional appreciation of Mary.  Stephen Shoemaker notes: “For Irenaeus, then, as for Justin, Mary seems to be a figure primarily of dogmatic rather than devotional concern.”

Tertullian is also worth examining, as he seems to sharply disagree with many of his contemporaries, especially with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.  Though Tertullian affirms the Mary/Eve parallel as taught by Irenaeus and Justin Martyr, Tertullian seems to strongly reject any notion of Mary remaining a virgin after the birth of Christ through his belief that the “brothers” of Jesus in the Gospels were in fact blood relatives.  Tertullian consistently shows a low view of Mary, even going so far as to include Mary as an opponent of Christ before the resurrection.  Commenting on Tertullian’s Marian theology, Stephen J. Shoemaker makes the observation: “In Tertullian, we meet the opposite end of the spectrum from the Protoevangelium [of James].”  Needless to say, Tertullian also lacks any devotional appreciation for Mary.

The Letter to Diognetus has one reference to the Virgin Mary in 12:8, where it reads: “Bearing this tree and picking its fruit, you will always harvest the things desired by God, which the snake cannot touch and deceit cannot defile, and Eve is not corrupted but a virgin is trusted.”  This implicit reference to Mary appears to be paralleling Mary to the character of Eve, yet another manifestation of this trend.

Besides the above-cited works, there are no other references to Mary in the literature of the Apostolic Fathers.  There are no references in other works such as the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Letter of Polycarp, the Letter of Barnabas, or the Martyrdom of Polycarp.

Thus, having given the testimony of the Apostolic Fathers, what can be said?  It would seem that the two previously mentioned visions of Mary still stand in contest with each other. On the one side, the apocryphally-derived picture of Mary seems to be gaining strength amongst the orthodox authors, especially in places such as Egypt, where several of the noted authors resided.  On the other side rests the canonically-derived picture of Mary, represented by a minority of orthodox authors.  The apocryphally-derived picture seems to be best represented by Clement of Alexandria, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and the Letter to Diognetus.  However, men such as Ignatius of Antioch and Tertullian seem to best represent the canonical image of the Virgin Mary.  Despite this split of opinion, all of the authors are united in their lack of appreciation of Mary as a devotional figure.

In conclusion, the first two centuries of Christian thought show a remarkable disinterest in the person of Mary, especially when compared with the later medieval era.  Early apocryphal literature, best represented by the Protogospel of James, shows a keen interest in Mary, especially regarding her own conception and the supernatural birth of Christ, as well as her perpetual virginity.  Belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary appears to be common, though not absolute nor universal.  The beginning of the search for Mary in the Old Testament was well underway, stemming from an allegorical method of interpretation.  Mary’s role in salvation was greatly restricted, being limited to the role of her being the mother of Christ, providing the humanity of Christ, and (amongst some authors) paralleling Eve’s disobedience through her own obedient response to the angel Gabriel.  There seem to be no hints of any devotional value attached to Mary, though she was greatly respected by all, with the notable exception of Tertullian.  The doctrine of the immaculate conception appears to be completely absent, though the basis for such a doctrine was beginning to be set.  The bodily assumption of Mary also appears to be totally absent from the first 200 years of the church.

This situation would rapidly deteriorate within a few centuries.  Tertullian’s interpretation of “brothers” as referring to the biological children of Mary would have its last champions under Jovian and Helvidius in the west, who would be rebuked by Jerome, who himself rejected the Protogospel of James and sought to prove the perpetual virginity of Mary from the canonical Scriptures.  The earliest extant prayer to Mary, Sub Tuum Praesidium, would be written in Egypt, dating from the end of the 3rd century.  Gregory Nazianzus would be found writing prayers to Mary for protection during the 4th century, demonstrating the widespread nature of the practice of praying to Mary.  Augustine would affirm that Mary was free from personal sin during the 5th century.  As for the doctrine of the assumption of Mary into heaven, Miri Rubin writes: “By the year 500 Mary was endowed with an end in a variety of narratives that emerged in parallel.”  Finally, in the 12th century, Eadmer, a pupil of Anselm of Canterbury, would become the first advocate of the immaculate conception of Mary.  This doctrine would be disputed by men such as Albert the Great, though resistance was weak.

And so in the first two centuries of the church what is seen is a Marian theology begotten from apocryphal sources owing to the porous nature of the early canon, sustained through allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament, and left to come unto its own in later centuries in alienation from the Scriptures.  The first two centuries would plant the seed, so to say, of later Post-Nicene and Medieval doctrines, something that would only begin to be appraised at the time of the Reformation, when a truly canonical vision of Mary would again be sought.

Psalm 34:1-3, Coloured Memories

Readings: 1 Samuel, 21:10-15, Psalm 34:1-3, Romans 8:28

Understanding the background to this Psalm is essential to fully appreciating it, as the background draws out the power of David’s words when they are contrasted with what led up to the writing of Psalm 34.  In 1 Samuel 21, David flees from before Saul, who has become David’s enemy, to the court of Gath, a Philistine city.  The servants of the king of Gath recognize him there and recall his reputation as a fearsome warrior.  David, fearing those words from the servants, chooses to pretend to be insane to save his own life.  The king, reluctant to keep an insane man in his court, sends him away.  This Psalm then serves as a mature reflection on this event.

In this Psalm we have David: a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14), exalted from the sheepfold of his father (1 Sam 16:11), anointed by the great prophet Samuel in the midst of his brothers (1 Sam 16:13), brought into the palace of the King (1 Sam 16:19), made a war-hero (1 Sam 17), greatly praised by the women of Israel in song (1 Sam 18:7).  We have here a man who has been greatly exalted amongst his own kin, nation, and before the face of his God.  Now, however, we have David in a worse state than before his exaltation: Hunted by Saul (1 Sam 18:29), hiding in the court of an ancestral enemy of God’s people, unwelcomed, and unwanted.  To save his own life, David pretends to be insane, casting off all the youthful beauty for which he was known to save his own life.  David has now been brought lower than when he first began.

One would expect his reflection after-the-fact to be sounded by the tones of sadness, regret, and callousness.  However, contrary to human expectations, contrary to his own humiliation, David’s mature reflection on his humiliation in Psalm 34 begins:

    I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

    My soul shall make its boast in the LORD;

    The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,

    And let us exalt His name together.

Contrary to sense, we are greeted with the sounds of worship, constant praise, and great boasting in the LORD.  The first section of this Psalm seems to be bursting with as many different words as possible to describe worship: blessing, praising, boasting, magnifying, exalting.  David’s worshipful joy is hardly containable as he pours out his very being into praising God.  All of this adoration is on account of God’s great act of salvation that he worked in David’s life.

It would have been very easy for David to have dwelt upon his former humiliation in these verses, but instead, his heart was captured by the grace of God, radically changing the entire value of the event for him.  In truth, David had still been humiliated, he was still put to shame before his enemies, but that didn’t matter for him, he saw God’s grace, God’s grace had totally recoloured the image for him.  The entire significance of the event had changed into something worth praising God for, for he had been saved.  That which was black was made white.

Many Christians are tempted to view their past in a way where they fail to see God’s deliverance, seeing only blackness, causing them to despair.  Perhaps a nagging sense of regret follows them around, stifling whatever joy that they have due to its noxious presence.  Perhaps there is a sense that previous failures, sins, disappointments, and mess-ups disqualify us from a true and abiding Christian joy.  We say to ourselves: “How can I praise God?  He has saved my soul, yes, but I have done X, and Y has happened to me, and I failed to do Z, perhaps Christian joy isn’t for me.”

This mindset occurs when we look to the past through the Law instead of the Gospel.  When seen through the Law, we can only see our failures, we can only see the sin that we have done or has been done to us, we can only see black.  Through the Gospel, we see Christ, and Christ alone.  We see his mercy, his grace, and his hand in all things, especially our pains.  In short, we see white.

Christian, by the grace of Christ and the ever-present aid of the Holy Spirit, regard yourself and all things through the Gospel, and not the law, for his law shows you black, but his gospel shows you white.

Heinrich Bullinger on the Purity of the Apographa

“Also the books of Moses and the prophets through so many ages, perils, and captivities, came sound and uncorrupted even until the time of Christ and his apostles. For the Lord Jesus and the apostles used those books as true copies and authentical; which undoubtedly they neither would, nor could, have done, if so be that either they had been corrupted, or altogether perished. The books also, which the apostles of Christ have added, were throughout all persecutions kept in the church safe and uncorrupted, and are come sound and uncorrupted into our hands, upon whom the ends of the world are fallen. For by the vigilant care and unspeakable goodness of God, our Father, it is brought to pass, that no age at any time either hath or shall want so great a treasure.”

Bullinger, H. (1849). The Decades of Henry Bullinger: The First and Second Decades. (T. Harding, Ed.) (p. 55). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.