Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some Highlights of Whitecross

More great moments from John Whitecross's The Shorter Catechism, Illustrated (see earlier post here) which I'm loving...

On who we serve:
'I remember,' says Dr Cotton Mather, 'what Calvin said when the order of his banishment from ungrateful Geneva was brought to him: "Most assuredly, if I had merely served man, this would have been a poor recompense; but it is my happiness that I have served Him who never fails to reward His servants to the full extent of His promises." (66)

Cardinal Wolsey, a great minister of state under King Henry VIII, having fallen under the displeasure of that monarch, made the following sad reflection a little before his death: 'Had I hut served my God as diligently as I have served my king, he would not have forsaken me now in my grey hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my indulgent pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my prince.' (71)
Newton quote (which is never quoted quite right!)
Two or three years before John Newton's death, when his sight was become so dim that he was no longer able to read, an aged friend and brother in the ministry called on him to breakfast. Family prayers following, the portion of Scripture for the day was read to him. It was taken from Boganky's Golden Treasury: 'By the grace of Cod I am what I am.' It was Newton's custom on these occasions, to make a short familiar exposition on the passage read. After the reading of this text, he paused for some moments, and then uttered the following affecting soliloquy: 'I am not what I ought to be. Ah! how imperfect and deficient. I am not what I wish to be. I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be; soon, soon, I shall put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection. Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was—a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, "By the grace of God, I am what I am." Let us pray.'
Just a great tale!
Archbishop Usher, being once on a visit to Scotland, heard a great deal of the piety and devotion of Samuel Rutherford. He wished much to witness what had been told him, but was at a loss how to accomplish his design. At length it came into his mind to dress himself like a pauper; and on a Saturday evening, when turning dark, he called at Rutherford's house, and asked if he could get quarters for a night. Rutherford consented to give the poor man a bed for a night, and desired him to sit down in the kitchen, which he cheerfully did. Mrs Rutherford, according to custom on Saturday evening, that her servants might be prepared for the Sabbath, called them together and examined them. In the course of the examination, she asked the stranger how many commandments there were. To which he answered, Eleven. On receiving this answer, she replied, 'what a shame is it for you! a man with grey hairs, in a Christian country, not to know how many commandments there are! There is not a child of six years old in the parish, but could answer this question properly.' She troubled the poor man no more, thinking him so very ignorant, but lamented his condition to her servants; and after giving him some supper, desired a servant to show him up stairs to a bed in a garret. Rutherford, on discovering who he was next morning, requested him to preach for him that day, which the bishop consented to do, on condition that he would not discover him to any other. Rutherford furnished the bishop with a suit of his own clothes, and early in the morning he went into the fields: the other followed him, and brought him in as a strange minister passing by, who had promised to preach for him. Mrs Rutherford found that the poor man had gone away before any of the family were out of bed. After domestic worship and breakfast, the family went to the church, and the bishop had for his text, John 13.34, 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.' In the course of his sermon, he observed that this might be reckoned the eleventh commandment: upon which Mrs Rutherford said to herself 'That is the answer the poor man gave me last night;' and looking up to the pulpit, said, 'It cannot be possible that this is he!' After public worship, the strange minister and Samuel Rutherford spent the evening in mutual satisfaction; and early on Monday morning, the former went away in the dress in which he came, and was not discovered. (pp. 67-8)
How God preserved the Irish!
Queen Mary Tudor having dealt severely with the Protestants in England, about the end of her reign signed a commission to take a similar course with them in Ireland, and, to execute the same with greater force, she nominated Dr Cole one of the commissioners. The doctor coming with the commission to Chester, the Mayor of that city, hearing that her Majesty was sending a messenger into Ireland, waited on the doctor, who, in discourse with the Mayor, took out of a cloakbag, a leather box, saying, 'Here is a commission that shall lash the heretics of Ireland,' calling the Protestants by that title. The good woman of the house, being well-affected to the Protestant religion, and also having a brother in Dublin named John Edmunds, of the same religious profession, was much troubled at the doctor's words; but watching her convenient time, while the Mayor took his leave, and the doctor accompanied him down stairs, she opened the box, took the commission out, and placed in lieu of it, a sheet of paper with a pack of cards wrapped up in it, the knave of clubs being faced uppermost. The doctor, coming up to his chamber, and suspecting nothing of what had been done, put up the box as formerly. The next day, going to the water side, wind and weather serving him, he sailed towards Ireland, and landed on the 7th of October 1558, at Dublin. When he arrived at the castle, the Lord Fitz-Walter, being Lord Deputy, sent for him to come before him and the privy council. He came accordingly, and after he had made a speech, relating on what account he had come over, he presented the box to the Lord Deputy, who causing it to be opened, that the secretary might read the commission, there was nothing, save a pack of cards, with the knave of clubs uppermost; which not only startled the Lord Deputy and council, but also the doctor, who assured them that he had a commission, but knew not how it was gone. The Lord Deputy made answer, 'Let us have another commission, and we will shuffle the cards in the meanwhile.' The doctor, being troubled in his mind, went away, and returned to England, and, coming into the court obtained another commission; but staying for the wind on the water side, news came to him that the queen was dead. Thus God preserved the Protestants of Ireland. Queen Elizabeth was so delighted with this story, which was related to her by Lord Fitz-Walter on his return to England, that she sent for Elizabeth Edmunds, and gave her a pension of £40 a year during her life.


Blogger diggim said...

hi, have just come across your blog after doing a google search for Boganky's Golden Treasury.
posted up my own entry to my blog last week and it struck me that I forgot to check out what this Boganky's GT actually is, and there I find your blog with this quote from John Newton also.
I have now bookmarked ur blog for regular reading..

best wishes


1:51 pm, June 08, 2008  

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