for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
Godliness is a work of the greatest moment, and calls for our utmost effort. The greatest folly of man is seen when he is busy about nothing. He is like the empty fellow that showed himself to Alexander. Having spent much time, and taken great pains beforehand, he boasted that he could throw a pea through a little hole, and he expected a great reward; but the king only gave him a bushel of peas for his recompense, suitable to his diligent negligence or his busy idleness. Vain and empty things are unworthy of our care and industry. On the other hand, wisdom presents itself in bright colours when it gives precedence of time and strength to that which is of the greatest importance. Godliness, of all man’s works, is of the greatest importance. Godliness, of all man’s works, is of the greatest importance, and the one thing truly necessary. Earthly business, honours, pleasures, or whatsoever, are but trifles and baubles compared to this. If it were a matter of small moment, you might be lazy and loiter about it; but it behoves you to set your heart to it. This work is like Goliath’s sword, there is none like it. It is soul-work, God-work, and eternal-work. One soul is worth ten thousand worlds. The body came from dust, but the soul from the breath of God. Soul-work is weighty work and not to be trifled with. It is the business of every man. Take godliness away, and the soul goes down to the grave with unspeakable sorrow. We must neglect other things for this one, and never take leave of it until it is finished. We must give double weight, measure, care, and diligence to it. The Lord is worthy of all our pains and diligence. We live and die for eternity. Let godliness sink deep into our affections and command all our actions. The affairs of time are trifles to the affairs of eternity.
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