Wednesday, August 12, 2009

God's Plot

Thomas Shepard wrote in his Journal of meditations in the night. One such concerned his own end, along with "God's main plot and end of all." This particular Journal entry is recorded in, for example, Thomas Shepard, Meditations and Spiritual Experiences (1847), pp. 98-99; Charles E. Hambrick-Stowe, The Practice of Piety: Puritan Devotional Disciplines in Seventeenth-Century New England (1982), p. 231; and in Michael McGiffert, ed., God's Plot: Puritan Spirituality in Thomas Shepard's Cambridge (1972, 1994), pp. 99-100:

September 13 [1641]. In my meditations at night I found my heart desirous to live in this world and do good here and not to die. Hence I asked my heart the reason why I should not be desirous to die. And in musing on it I saw that Christ was ascended up to heaven that not here, but there, all his elect might one day behold his glory and love him and glorify him forever. And I saw that this was God's main plot and the end of all, to make Christ very glorious and so beloved in heaven forever, where that which I desired most in this world (viz., that Christ might not only be precious but very dear and precious) should be perfectly accomplished. And hereupon I secretly desired this mercy and desired it for my children and brethren and all the churches, that though we were blind here and knew him not, loved him little, yet that this might be our portion at last. And I did feel my desires stirred up after this out of a secret love to Christ Jesus. It would do me good if he might be at last magnified thus. Then I inquired, What is the great thing I should desire in this world? And I saw that it was the beginning of that which shall be perfected in heaven, viz., (1) to see and know Christ, though obscurely; (2) to take Christ and receive him and possess him; (3) to love him; (4) to bless him in my heart, with my mouth, by my life. And in this last clause I saw that I should study and stand for discipline and all the ways of worship, out of love to Christ, viz., to show my thankfulness.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this portrait of Shepard's spirituality, Andrew.