“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
The glass is first emptied before you poured in wine. God first empties man of himself, before he pours in the precious wine of his grace. Until we see our own poverty, we will never see Christ’s value. Poverty of spirit makes Christ sweet to the soul. When a man sees himself as wounded to death, how precious is the balm of Christ’s blood. When he sees himself deep in arrears with God, how glad he is for the promise of payment. Some think they are rich if they fill their bags with gold, but the poor in spirit are the rich men. Reason laughs at it, but the poor in spirit are blessed, and the proud in spirit are cursed. There is a generation who commits idolatry with themselves. There is no idol like self. They admire their own moralities and self-righteousness, and upon this stock they graft the hope of their salvation. They have commodities of their own creation, and they scorn to be beholden to Christ. These balloons the devil has blown up with pride, and they are swelled in their own conceit (Luke 18:11). Before his conversion, Paul thought he was in a good condition, and he was building a tower of his own righteousness. God showed him the crack in this foundation and led him to the ‘rock of ages’. There is not a more dangerous precipice than self-righteousness. This was Laodicea’s attitude, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing’ (Rev. 3:17). How many does this damn! We see some ships that have escaped the rocks but are stranded on the sand. Some have escaped the rocks of gross sins, yet are cast away upon the sands of self-righteousness. How hard it is to convince such men of their danger! They believe they can be saved with these rotten rags. How many have perished by being their own saviours! O that this might drive the proud sinner out of himself!
Lovers of theology, and particularly of the Puritans, will welcome this English translation of John Owen’s Latin writings. The major portion of this volume is a history of theology from Adam to Christ. Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ.
Appendixed to this important work is Owen’s Defense of Scripture against Modern Fanaticism, which is a defense of the authority and proper interpretation of the Bible against the subjectivism of his day.
“Published in Latin in 1661 as a contribution to international Reformed scholarship, this treatise draws on a very wide range of learning. The final part, in particular, where Owen characterizes evangelical theology as a gift of the Holy Spirit generating faith in Christ, holiness through Christ, and worship of Christ, is pure gold. To have it now – at last! – in English is a great boon. Those with a taste for Owen, or for theology, or (best of all) for both, will read this Puritan proto-Biblical Theology with joy.”
– J.I. Packer