Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On Time-Traveling

A funny thing happened to me on my way to the 21st Century. I traveled back in time. The advent of the World Wide Web introduced me to the writings of the English Puritans-the original Oxford university men, many of whom studied for 16 hours a day before they emerged into their pastorates. Once discovered, I immersed myself deeply in their writings. I had been a doctrinally-starved Christian seeking depth for 25 years— reading the 17th Century Puritans was like eating spiritual steak every day. Thomas Vincent, Thomas Brooks, Thomas Watson, and Thomas Manton became my daily, joyfully serious companions. John Flavel and Richard Baxter introduced concepts I’d never conceived. I bewildered friends and co-workers with a new emphasis on the Providence of God and the importance of affliction for “growth in grace.” In this therupeutically-charged century I was talking about the curing of souls, the importance of “self-abasement, and the dangers of prosperity. I embarassed my Sunday School class talking about “ejaculatory” prayer. The spirit of the age I was living in was jarring to the spirit of this age. I love being curled in my easy chair, imagination yoked upon precept-on-precept wafting me back to my 17th Century companions. They are such learned men, expressing deep truth one sermon after another:
1) Text
2) Doctrine
3) Application,

and again
1) Text
2) Doctrine
3) Application

and yet again
1) Text
2) Doctrine
3) Application, on &on... insight upon insight in the verities of spiritual life.

My practical, pragmatic wife lives firmly in the 21st Century – I like visiting her, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Sometimes, I travel in time 20,000 years hence to that place where me and all the Thomases are dancing together …shining like stars in the light of the Lord…

3 comments:

Beth said...

Hey Eddie,
I sometimes think I should have been born in the 19th century and lived on a pioneer farm somewhere or traveled across the country on a wagon - but not for such exalted reasons as yours. And you know I have to object a little to saying that Lindele is planted firmly in the 21st century. I think she's far too much of a reader, thinker, and lover of things beautiful to say that! Aren't we blessed, however, that we live when we do and have unlimited access to such riches of wisdom and truth. Applying them to daily life is the challenge. Thanks for helping me to do that by giving me rich words to ponder.

ed elliott said...

Hey Beth,
Thanks for visiting and I'm glad you are enjoying the rich words.

Tim Challies referred to a post here, so my traffic REALLY sped up. I've been trying to post more, several times a week and treat blogging as a spiritual discipline. Again, I'm very glad that it is a blessing. I always figure my crown that I give to Jesus will be more beautiful if I can bless St. Beth.

Beth said...

I don't know about your crown, but St. Beth (the humble, I hope) is certainly blessed. If that gives you a few more jewels to cast before the king...well, all praise to Him!

Lots of love to all the Elliotts!