The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation


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In the interview which, at Dr Cunningham's request, they had with him within a few hours of his death, he committed to them the charge of his whole writings and manuscripts connected with the College, to be deposited in the Library, and to be used and applied to any purpose they judged right; stating, that he gave them absolute power to do in the matter as they considered to be best for his character, and the good of the Church. The charge thus verbally intrusted to them was formally and legally confirmed by the Trustees acting under Dr Cunningham's settlement; so that the Editors became invested with the character of his Literary Executors, and with the full powers and responsibilities attaching to such an office.

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Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.

People who viewed this also viewed. Add to basket. Bestsellers in Christianity. Damascus Christos Tsiolkas. Dominion Tom Holland. The History of Philosophy A. Mere Christianity C. Christ Among Us Anthony Wilhelm. The Way of Wisdom Timothy Keller. Change Me Prayers Tosha Silver. But, in the second place, the history of the Reformers is fitted to teach a lesson, by exhibiting a striking example of unwearied activity and industry. They were not mere students and authors, they were diligent and laborious workers. As students they acquired a large stock of learning; as writers they have transmitted to us a great mass of valuable authorship; while at the same time most of them had a great amount of ordinary practical work and business to attend to, and to discharge, in the different situations in which they were placed.

Most of them were voluminous authors, and have left behind them productions, the mere transcription of which we, with our low standard of industry and labour, are apt to think might be work for a lifetime. The works of the different Reformers exhibit, of course, in different degrees, evidence of care and elaboration in point of thought and diction; but they have almost all bequeathed productions which must have occupied a great deal of time, and required a great deal of thought and pains.

And they were none of them retired students, with leisure to devote their time unbroken to reading, reflection, and composition. They were all busily engaged in the discharge of important public duties, as professors and teachers, as pastors of congregations, and organizers of churches, and in the ordinary administration of ecclesiastical affairs.

They had a great public cause in hand, in the defence and maintenance of which they were called upon to take a part; and this not only required of them the publication of works through the press, but must have entailed upon them a large amount of private correspondence and of personal dealing with men.

They did not in general Beza was an exception attain to a great age, but they lived while they lived; and amid much to distract and harass them, they performed an amount of labour, physical and intellectual, the contemplation of which is usefully fitted to humble us under a sense of our imbecility, inactivity, and laziness, and to stir up to more strenuous and persevering exertion. Zwingli was cut off at the age of forty-seven; and yet, besides doing a great deal of work, not only as pastor and professor of theology in Zurich, but as the leading Reformer of the German portion of Switzerland, he has left us four folio volumes of well-digested, well-composed matter, upon all the great theological topics that then occupied the public mind.

Though he lived only fifty-four years, and struggled during a large portion of it with a very infirm state of bodily health, and with much severe disease, half his life was well-nigh spent before the Lord brought him to Geneva, and called him to engage in the public service of His church.

But how much was he enabled during the remainder of his life to do and to effect!

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Reformers & the Theology of the Reformation by William Cunningham | Banner of Truth USA

The third and last lesson suggested by the history and conduct of the Reformers is, the necessity and importance of giving much time and attention to the study of the word of God. The Reformers were all led by God, at an early period in their history, to give careful attention to the study of the sacred Scriptures; and they were guided by His Spirit to form correct views of the great leading principles which are there unfolded.

They were led to continue ever after to study them with care and diligence; and they persevered in applying them to comfort their hearts amid all their trials and difficulties, and to guide them in the regulation of their conduct. They were familiar with the meaning and application of its statements, and they were deeply imbued with its spirit. We have eight or nine commentaries upon the whole, or large portions of, the Old and New Testaments, — the productions of as many of the most eminent and laborious of the Reformers; and this fact of itself, proves the large amount of thought and attention which they were accustomed to devote to the study of them, and the great familiarity which they had acquired with them.

4 Ways the Reformation Changed the Church

To write a commentary upon the Scriptures, which should really possess any value or utility, implies that they have been made the subject of much deep study and much careful meditation, as well as fervent prayer for divine direction. The commentaries of the Reformers upon the sacred Scriptures are, of course, possessed of different degrees of value and excellence, according to the different gifts and qualifications of the men, and the time and pains which they were able to bestow upon them, — and here, as in everything else connected with the exposition and application of the whole truth of God, Calvin towers far above them all; yet, as a whole, they fully vindicate what we have said of their talents, learning, and general character, and fully prove that they were eminently qualified for discerning and opening up the mind of God in His word, and that they devoted a large portion of time and attention to investigating the meaning of the sacred Scriptures, to forming clear and definite conceptions of the import of their statements, and to bringing them out for the instruction and improvement of others.

There is reason to fear, that, since the period of the Reformation, the careful study of the word of God itself has not usually received the share of time and attention which its importance demands. There has always been, and there still is, too much time and attention, comparatively, given to the perusal and study of other books connected with theological subjects, and too little to the study of the inspired volume.

We know in general but little of the word of God as it ought to be known, and we are very much disposed to remain in contented ignorance of what God has written for our instruction. We are dependent for all true knowledge of the word of God upon the agency of the Divine Spirit, but that Spirit we are but little concerned to implore. We are dependent also, for the attainment of this knowledge, upon our own personal study of the sacred Scriptures, — upon bringing all the powers of our minds to bear upon the investigation of their meaning, and giving to this study no inconsiderable portion of our time and attention.

But we almost all continue to be chiefly occupied with other pursuits, and with the perusal of other books, while but a fraction of our time is given to the study of the Bible; and this too often without much sense of the solemnity and responsibility of the occupation, and without even our ordinary powers of attention and application being brought into full and vigorous exercise.

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Now all this is, in the first place, a sin, because it is the neglect and violation of a plain and undoubted duty; and then it has a powerful tendency to diminish the vigour and check the progress of the divine life in the soul, and to enfeeble and paralyze all efforts, in commending with efficacy and success, divine truth to others. The Lord was pleased to lead the Reformers to a careful study of His word, and to guide them to correct views of its leading principles.

He qualified them largely for opening up and expounding its statements to others; He led them to give much time and attention to this occupation, and made their labours in this department, orally and by writing, the great means of their usefulness and success; and we may be assured that it will be to a large extent through our capacity to open up and understand the whole mind of God, as revealed in His word, — a capacity to be acquired only by fervent prayer and by diligent and continued study of the inspired volume itself, — that we shall best grow in grace and in the power of Christian usefulness.

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Reading Should be Fun and Informative The history of the Reformation is a demonstration of one of the greatest revolutions that has ever been accomplished in human affairs by the sovereignty of God. The Reformers and the Lessons From Their History , by William Cunningham Having spoken at length of the character of the Reformers, we mean to make a few general observations that may be fitted to suggest some useful practical lessons from the subject.

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The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation
The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation
The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation
The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation
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