Puritans as Pilgrims
Chapter 52 - Puritan Theology Shaped by a Pilgrim Mentality
The Puritans had a strong sense of not being of the world. We are walking through Vanity Fair and need to steel ourselves against the allures of the world that will draw us away from Christ.
Their sermons and lives were soaked in the Bible. This gave them a spine to oppose worldly things.
This is a GOOD word, meaning (Calvin said) reverence and love for God. We apply the means of grace for our sanctification, cultivating an inward life of devotion, not just a mental knowledge or emotional feeling.
"The church is the center of the purposes of God" (850). They were committed to the church and its regulation by only the Word. They disagreed with allowing traditional things to be imposed on the church. Their zeal for pure worship according to the Word is commendable for us today.
Romans 7 describes the titanic and high-stakes battle we are in with sin.
They ordered their time and lives with strict regimen to tend to the means of grace personally and in family life.
They had "heaven 'in your eye' the whole time you are walking on earth" (855).
Maybe some are so heavenly minded they are no earthly use, but "we can be of no earthly use unless we are heavenly minded" (856). Don't give your heart to this world, since an eternal destiny in one of two very different places awaits us.
This is an excellent chapter, and a good balance to my mileiu for the last 10 years or so. That atmosphere has been one to scorn the pilgrim theology that ignores the world and doesn't take it seriously in a Gnostic fashion (spirit good, physical stuff bad). While that danger remains, there is also a danger of giving your heart more to the world than to Christ.
"Salvation by grace goes hand in hand with godly living and the pursuit of practical holiness, without falling into the trap of legalism" (843). This is the goal!
Facet 4, the warfaring outlook of the Puritans, is one that I think encapsulates them all. They were driven more than anything to mortify sin in their lives.