Monday, December 13, 2010

Walk Worthy of the Name

John Woolton, The Christian Manual: or, Of the Life and Manners of True Christians, p. 7-8:

And as the body endued with a living and reasonable soul receiveth, feeleth, and practiseth the actions thereof; so he that is engraffed in Christ, and is his member, cannot choose but be partaker of his Spirit, virtue, and holiness. Whereupon the apostolic and catholic faith nameth the body or society of the church "the communion of saints:" plainly importing thereby, that those men only appertain to that society, who meditate and study how they may live well, and labour with all their might, that they may be that whereunto the apostle exhorteth the Thessalonians, "altogether sanctified, perfect in spirit, and such as may be blameless against the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." And all those that are otherwise affected, and frame not their life to that end, and yet desire to be named Christians, they dissent from themselves, and with their life argue their tongue of untruth and falsehood.

Moreover, a man's profession is not so much to be weighed by his tongue and talk, as by his deeds and life. The apostle speaketh of such imposters, saying: "They that profess themself to know God, but with their deeds they deny him." and that holy martyr St Cyprian hath a fine saying, that "the testimony of man's life is more effectual than that of his tongue; and that works have after a sort their lively speech and eloquence, albeit the tongue be silent, and move never a deal." And he that professeth with his mouth, and walketh contrary in his life, may right well be compared to an unwise builder, who layeth on mortar with the one hand, and pulleth down stones with the other. Of such kind of builders our Lord and master Christ speaketh after this manner: "Therefore whosoever heareth my sayings and doth them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not, because it was grounded upon a rock. And every one that heareth of me these sayings, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it," &c. St Augustine, speaking against carnal and lip-gospellers, saith thus: "In vain doth he assume the name of Christ, that followeth not Christ. To what purpose is it, if thou be called that which thou art not, and to usurp a strange name? But if thou delight in that name, then do those things which appertain to Christianity, and then thou mayest with good cause challenge the name of a Christian."

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