But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ Luke 12:20
The subject which I would like to discuss is the vanity of the world and all things here below, so we can cease our vain pursuit and set our affections on things above. These alone are valuable and the only permanent and stable good. Why is it that immortal and heaven-born souls can become so degenerate as to stake themselves down to perishing enjoyments? We should be soaring aloft with God on the wings of meditation and affection, and here we are groveling in the clay and muck of this world. We are like the serpent licking the dust of the earth. Do we not degrade ourselves when we stoop to admire what is so vastly below us, and barter away our precious souls? Our souls are worth more than ten thousand worlds and yet we seek to gain a small part of this one. The god of this world has blinded man’s eyes and cast a strange mist before them so that they cannot discern what is very evident: namely the instability and vanity of all earthly enjoyments. Whatever God has made is good, but if it is considered the greatest good, it turns into vanity. It is vain to expect happiness and contentment for the world whose crosses are greater than its comforts. There are two seasons especially when the souls need relief and comfort: When the conscience is troubled and in the hour of death. In each of these the world is vain and useless. Should the never-dying soul be neglected? Alas! Most busy themselves to heap up temporal riches. But this is giving the soul husks. Our Saviour brands the rich man a fool when he stuffed his barns with corn at the neglect of his soul. What folly it is to purchase a vain world at the loss of our precious souls! What great losers they are to gain the world, and then at last lose the world with their souls!
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