To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7
Paul writes to weak saints, strong saints, rich saints, and to poor saints, because every saints has something that is lovely in them. The least grace deserves respect from the greatest apostle. All have one head, one hope of glory, and all are redeemed with the same precious blood (1Pet. 1:19). All believers are called ‘saints’. Are they really so? Are all who are in the visible church saints? All should be, but some are not inwardly so. Scripture speaks of the church as a field where there is a mixture of good and bad seed (Matt. 13:19-20). True believers have new life and have been called out of darkness into marvelous light (1Pet. 2:9). A saint is a new creature n shows it by his life, or else he is not a true saint. A mere moral man is smooth in his outward behavior with men but negligent in his service to God. He looks to his outward deportment but makes no conscience of secret sins. He is not holy in all his conduct (1Pet. 1:15). A hypocrite makes no conscience of his thoughts, affections, desires, and lusts. He is not concerned about small oaths, or about rotten speech. What belongs to the new creation he does not care about. A true saint is altered in the inward frame of his soul. There is planted a spring of better thoughts, desires, and aims than in other men. He labours more for the inward frame of heart than for his outward carriage. What he is ashamed to do, he is also ashamed to think. Whatever he desires, he desires to do it with love in his heart. He labours that all good may be truly found in the inward man. A hypocrite never cares for this. His care is for the outward parts only. If his outward behavior is acceptable to others, he has his desire. He lives to the view, to the appearance only.
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