Friday, January 12, 2007

Who said this?

"Many are the mistakes at present about religious matters; but none are more destructive than those, which concern the law and the gospel. The generality of our people confound them, and put one in the place of the other. Some suppose they are to be accepted of God for their works, and that they can be justified by the law in the sight of God. Others make their keeping of the law the condition of their receiving the blessings of the gospel, as if these were to be the purchase and reward of their partial obedience. Some are pursuaded that they must do all they can, and keep the law with all their might, and wherein they come short of the perfect demands of the law, Christ will out of his merits atone for their failings. And others again think that Christ has abated the rigour of the law, and that the gospel is nothing more than a new law-dispensation, in which the Lord has been pleased to declare that he will accept of sincere obedience instead of perfect. These and many more such like mistakes prevail in our times, and they are exceedingly dangerous, tending to the utter ruin both of body and soul. In the following discourses, I have endeavoured to distinguish, and precisely to settle the difference between the law and the gospel."

10 comments:

Margaret said...

Walther?

Peter said...

Benedict?

Father Hollywood said...

Both excellent guesses, but nope.

Pablo said...

Martin Luther?

Father Hollywood said...

It sure sounds like Luther, but it isn't! I'll see if anyone else has any guesses today, then I'll spill the beans.

Peter said...

Ok, one more shot. JP II?

Peter said...

A Catholic, if you like the quote. Or, if you don't, I'll suggest Calvin.

Father Hollywood said...

All good guesses. I'm afraid nobody wins the prize, and so the entire twelve cents will be rolled over into the grand prize of the next contest...

Anyway, the quote comes from the preface to a book called "Twelve Discourses Upon the Law and the Gospel" by William Romaine, a priest in the Anglican Church, associate rector at St. Dunstan's in West London.

I have never heard of Fr. Romaine (has anyone here heard of him?). His work could have been written by a Lutheran theologian - in fact, it reads very similar in both methodology and in content to C.F.W. Walther - only this book was published in 1760, and in English!

One has to wonder if Walther was influenced by Romaine (I don't know if Walther was able to read English, or if he had any access to British theological works, or even if anyone outside of London knew about Romaine) - but Romaine's book is really remarkable.

I picked it up in Ottawa at a second hand bookstore. It's an original copy (set in the archaic type with the long s that looks like an f), in outstanding condition, and only set me back $45 CDN - probably owing to a corner of the cover page having been cut out (lucky for me!).

So, this preacher and theologian from London whose life spanned 1714-1795 is now getting blogged on the world wide web in 2007 - and I'm reading a 247 year old original copy of a book on Law and Gospel, not written by a Lutheran, and penned a half century before Walther's birth.

That's pretty high on the "cool meter" as Grace's old calculus professor at Bryn Mawr would say.

Peter said...

Great story. And very interesting. Perhaps we should moves closer to the source, and teach a course on Romaine instead of Walther. (It seems there is still some more detective work to do. Perhaps you have your dissertation here?) And least then folks wouldn't mind so much if we offered a critique here or there.

David Clapper said...

FWIW, here's a Wikipedia link ==> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Romaine

And here's a link to a bio ==> http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product/?item_no=45629&p=1010575