Advent through the centuries: the seventeenth century

Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The seventeenth century of the Church

Scripture:
1 John 1:4-7

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Reading:

John Flavel, 17th century Presbyterian and early Puritan. From The Fountain of Life Opened Up, Sermon 18: The Necessity of Christ’s Humiliation.

For the sun to fall from its sphere, and be degraded into a wandering atom; for an angel to be turned out of heaven, and be converted into a silly fly or worm, had been no such great abasement; for they were but creatures before, and so they would abide still, though in an inferior order or species of creatures. The distance betwixt the highest and lowest species of creatures, is but a finite distance. The angel and the worm dwell not so far apart. But for the infinite glorious Creator of all things, to become a creature, is a mystery exceeding all human understanding. The distance between God and the highest order of creatures, is an infinite distance.

The Infant Jesus as Christ Redeemer, by Simone Cantarini
The Infant Jesus as Christ Redeemer, by Simone Cantarini

Prayer:
Unattributed 17th century Puritan prayer.

O my Savior,
help me.
I am slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb;
I am in the foothills when I should be on the heights;
I am pained by my graceless heart,
my prayer less days,
my poverty of love,
my sloth in the heavenly race,
my sullied conscience,
my wasted hours,
my unspent opportunities,
I am blind while light shines around me:
take the scales from my eyes,
grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief.
Make it my chiefest joy to study thee,
meditate on thee,
gaze on thee,
sit like Mary at thy feet,
lean like John on thy breast,
appeal like Peter to thy love,
count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be
more decision in my character,
more vigour in my purposes,
more elevation in my life,
more fervour in my devotion,
more constancy in my zeal.
As I have a position in the world,
keep me from making the world my position;
May I never seek in the creature
what can be found only in the creator;
Let not faith cease from seeking thee until it vanished into sight.
Ride forth in me, thou King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,
that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end.

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