God’s Puritan

January 31, 2011

‘Gods Puritan’, claimed Ussher, ‘is hee, that Purifies himself as God is Pure’. This is the only positive use of the term that I can find in the surviving sermons, the word usually being placed in the mouth of the detractor or in the apprehensive thoughts of the double-minded who fear that zeal for good works will attract nicknames. In context, Ussher was speaking of the spotless purity of Christ in his active obedience on our behalf. No charge of sin could be made against him, neither sins of omission nor commission. Christ’s perfect righteousness is that with which one must be clothed to stand before God’s judgement. This is one of many reminders in Ussher’s sermons that one must not rely on one’s own good works for acceptance with God but keep looking to Christ. It is also possible, perhaps, to hear faint reverberations of taunts about Puritan self-righteousness behind this subversion of that odious name.


Yet More Theses Online

January 23, 2011

I stumbled across a very tasty morsel yesterday, a doctoral thesis on the Parliament fast days: Thomas Doumaux, ‘Fast Days and Faction: The Struggle for Reformation, Order, and Unity in England 1558 – c. 1640’. I have only dipped into it having chanced upon it on a Google search for one specific fast day sermon. Looks good.

It is in the Vanderbilt University archive. The only other thesis/dissertation currently on the site that will likely appeal to readers of this blog is Gregory Selmon, ‘John Cotton: The Antinomian Calvinist’. But worth bookmarking the archive and checking it once in a while. Great to have these available without the hassle and expense of going through UMI or the inter-library loans system.

Re-reading Hooker on justification. This snippet is deservedly famous:

The righteousnes wherewith we shalbe clothed in the world to comme, is both perfecte and inherente: that whereby here we are justefied is perfecte but not inherente, that whereby we are sanctified, inherent but not perfecte. This openeth a way to the plaine understandinge of that graund question, which hangeth yet in controversie betwene us and the churche of Rome, aboute the matter of justefying righteousness.

More Theses Online

January 8, 2011

There is a small online archive of theses at Duke Divinity School. The two that would be more likely to interest readers of this blog are a rather old one by Earl T. Farrell entitled ’The Doctrine of Man and Grace as held by the Reverend John Flavel’. Of greater interest to me was David C. Fink’s doctoral dissertation, entitled ‘Divided by Faith: The Protestant Doctrine of Justification and the Confessionalization of Biblical Exegesis’, which I have dipped into and am finding thought-provoking. I really enjoyed his 2007 article on Bucer and triplex iustificatio and it is good to see someone getting deeper into the exegesis that lies behind the doctrinal formulations of the sixteenth century.

Found on the Internet

January 2, 2011

I recently came across searchable PDFs of two useful books. Not sure what they are doing online! How long they will be there, I cannot say.

The first is Alister McGrath’s  Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification which I have found indispensible over the years.

The second is his The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation. I read this years ago as I was getting more interested in historical theology. Whilst I have some quibbles, this is one of McGrath’s most helpful books. It is also one his least annoying, perhaps because he doesn’t get onto the subject of Protestant scholasticism!