Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Devil is God's Ape

Martin Luther, Table Talk (Of God's Works, No. 67):

The Greeks and heathens in after times imitated this, and build temples for their idols in certain places, as at Ephesus for Diana, at Delphos for Apollo, etc. For, where God build a church there the devil would also build a chapel. They imitated the Jews also in this, namely, that as the Most Holiest was dark, and had no light, even so and after the same manner, did they make their shrines dark where the devil made answer. Thus is the devil ever God's ape.

Daniel Defoe, The True-Born Englishman:

Wherever God erects a house of prayer
the Devil always builds a chapel there;
And 't will be found, upon examination,
the latter has the largest congregation.

When people today think of catechism, they often think of the Roman Catholic catechism. When people think of missionaries from the past, images from the movie The Mission may come to mind, or stories about Jesuit missionaries. But Edward Leigh helps the reader to discern between Biblical catechizing and brainwashing, between Biblical missions and ungodly proselytizing (Matt. 23.15).

Edward Leigh, Prolegomena (p. 6) of A System or Body of Divinity (1654):

The Papists in the Preface to the Catechism of the Councel of Trent, confesse that all the ground which we [that is, Protestants] have got of them is by catechizing; and let us look that we lose not our ground again for want of it.

HT: Paul Korte

Edward Leigh, Three diatribes or discourses. First of travel, or A guide for travellers into forein parts. Secondly, of money or coyns. Thirdly, of measuring of the distance betwixt place and place. (1671), To The Reader:

The Jesuits themselves and others write much, how industrious the Jesuits were in the propagation of the Christian Fatih, and how they have sown the seed of saving truth in China or elsewhere.

Mr. Baxter in the 2d. part of his last Book of Christianity, c. 14. p. 488. saith, The attempts of the Jesuits in Congo, Japon and China were a very noble work, and so were the Portugal Kings encouragements: but two things spoiled their success.

First, That when they took down the Heathens Images, they set them up others in their stead; and made them think that the main difference was, but whose image they should worship.

Secondly, But especially, that they made them see, what while they pretended to promote Religion, and to save their souls, they came to promote their own wealth, or the Popes Dominion, and to bring their Kings under a Forein power.

The honest attempts of Mr. Eliots in New England, is much more agreeable to the Apostles way, and maketh more serious spiritual Christians.

Justus Heurnius (son to John Heurnius the learned Physician) left the study of Physick, and wholly gave himself to the study of Divinity, that thereby he might be the better inabled to promote the Conversion of the Indians, and taking an Evangelical Embassie to the Indies, he there abode above 14 Years, preaching to the Indians in their Mother Tongue, Catechising them, and admonishing them privately, and by his singular innocensie, humility and modesty, and daily fervent devotion, and great charity to the poor; He endeavoured to propagate the Kingdome of Christ among them.

For more on Justus Heurnius, see Lemuel Call Barnes, Two Thousand Years of Missions Before Carey, p. 99-100:

Justus Heurnius was one of the most distinguished of the early Dutch missionaries. Son of a medical professor in the newly founded University of Leyden, he took the medical course of study. After five years of travel in France and England he returned and took a theological course. He was eager to go to India as a missionary, but both the Dutch and the English East India Companies were opposed to missions until long after this time. He wrote a vigorous book to arouse his countrymen to their missionary duty. This was in 1618. Six years later the East India Company sent him to Batavia. He began at once to work for the natives, both Malays and Chinese. He translated the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and the Ten Commandments into Chinese, making also a Dutch-Latin-Chinese dictionary.

His earnest evangelistic spirit led him to advocate the independence of the church from the East India Company. On this account he was arrested and imprisoned. On release he went to the Island of Amboyna. Here and in neighboring islands he gave himself to work among the natives. He won many of the people for whom he toiled. Missionaries of Islam were active there at the same time and poisoned his food. Though it did not take his life immediately, he never entirely recovered from the effects of the poison and was obliged to return to Holland. There, before his death in 1652, he revised a version of the-Gospels and translated the Acts, the Psalms and a liturgy into Malayan. He also prepared a dictionary and put some of the Psalms into Malayan rhymes. He was a devoted missionary and an efficient advocate of missions one hundred years earlier than the Moravians.

No comments:

Post a Comment