A Summary of Henry Scougal's 'The Life of God in the Soul of Man'
By Justin Taylor
The short classic The Life of God in the Soul of Man originated as a private letter of spiritual counsel to a friend, but Scougal allowed it to be published in 1677, a year before his death. Sixty-eight years later, in the spring of 1735, Charles Wesley (1707-1788), whose mother Susanna had commended it to her sons, gave a copy of this little book to his friend George Whitefield (1714-1770). Upon reading it, Whitefield was convinced: “I must be born again, or be damned.” Whitefield testified that he “never knew what true religion was” until he read this book.
Who Was Henry Scougal?
Henry Scougal (1650-1678) was a Scottish minister, theologian, and author. Upon his graduation in 1665 from King’s College, University of Aberdeen, the 19-year-old was appointed professor of philosophy at the school. In 1673, after a one-year pastoral stint, he became professor of divinity at King’s, where he served until he died of tuberculosis five years later, just shy of his 28th birthday.
What Scougal Means by “True Religion”
By “true religion” Scougal means something like authentic spirituality or genuine Christianity. He is at pains to defend the term from common misconceptions among Christians. “I cannot speak of religion,” he writes, “but I must lament that, among so many pretenders to it, so few understand what it means.”
3 Places Where Religion Does Not Reside
Scougal identifies three places where religion is incorrectly located.
(1) Theological correctness. Some place religion “in the understanding, in orthodox notions and opinions; and all the account they can give of their religion is, that they are of this or the other persuasion, and have joined themselves to one of those many sects whereinto Christendom is most unhappily divided.”
Test Your View of the Cross
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Cross does not merely tell us that God forgives, it tells us that that is God’s way of making forgiveness possible. It is the way in which we understand how God forgives. I will go further: how can God forgive and still remain God? — that is the question. The Cross is the vindication of God. The Cross is the vindication of the character of God. The Cross not only shows the love of God more gloriously than anything else, it shows his righteousness, his justice, his holiness, and all the glory of his eternal attributes. They are all to be seen shining together there. If you do not see them all you have not seen the Cross. That is why we must totally reject the so-called ‘moral influence theory’ of the Atonement — the theory which says that all the Cross has to do is to break our hearts and to bring us to see the love of God.
This is the God Whom we Adore!
by John Newton
“I know that the Lord is great — that our Lord is greater than all gods. The Lord does whatever pleases Him — in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths!” Psalm 135:5-6
God rules all! And though He is concealed by a veil of second causes from common eyes, so that they can perceive only the means, instruments, and contingencies by which He works, and therefore think He does nothing; yet, in reality, He does all according to His own counsel and pleasure, in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
Who can enumerate all the beings and events which are… incessantly before His eye, adjusted by His wisdom, dependent on His will, and regulated by His power!
If we consider the heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained; if we call in the assistance of astronomers to help us in forming a conception of the number, distances, magnitudes, and motions of the heavenly bodies — the more we search, the more we shall be confirmed that these are but a small portion of His ways! Without His continual energy upholding them — they would rush into confusion, or sink into nothing! They are all dependent upon His power, and obedient to His command.
Directions for Profitable Scripture Reading
by Thomas Watson
“It shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them” (Deuteronomy 17:19)
Heaven Taken by Storm (eBook)
BY THOMAS WATSON
Many modern Christians view the Christian life as one of ease and worldly blessings. Building on Jesus's words that "the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12), the Puritans saw it, rather, as warfare, as wrestling, as "holy violence" against one's own self, against Satan, the world, and even heaven. We are called to take up the full armor of God in our daily battles.
As Watson puts it, "Our life is military. Christ is our Captain, the gospel is the banner, the graces are our spiritual artillery, and heaven is only taken in a forcible way." In his typically heart-searching style, replete with practical illustrations and gripping remarks, Watson describes how the Christian is to take the kingdom of heaven by holy violence through the reading and exposition of Scripture, prayer, meditation, self-examination, conversation, and the sanctification of the Lord's Day. Soldiers of Christ will find this a practical handbook on Christian living.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Taking Heaven by Violence
Offering Violence to Ourselves
The Christian Must offer Violence to Satan
The Christian Must Offer Violence to Heaven
Arrows of Reproof and Apostasy