Holiness Research

The following are selections of holiness writings from my current D.R.P degree dissertation research.

Clement of Rome (35 AD-99 AD)

First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians:

32:4 And we who through his will have been called in Christ Jesus are justified, not by ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or godliness, or the works that we have done in holiness of heart, but by faith, by which all men from the beginning have been justified by Almighty God, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.

33:1 What, then, shall we do, brethren? Shall we cease from well-doing, and abandon charity? May the Master never allow that this should happen to us! but let us rather with diligence and zeal hasten to fulfill every good work. 33:2 For the Maker and Lord of all things rejoiceth in his works.

Ignatius of Antioch (d. 108AD)

From Epistle of Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians:

9:1 But I have learned that certain persons passed through you from yonder, bringing evil doctrine; whom ye suffered not to sow seed in you, for ye stopped your ears, so that ye might not receive the seed sown by them; forasmuch as ye are stones of a temple, which were prepared beforehand for a building of God the Father, being hoisted up to the heights through the engine of Jesus Christ, which is the Cross, and using for a rope the Holy Spirit; while your faith is your windlass, and love is the way that leadeth up to God.
9:2 So then ye are all companions in the way, carrying your God and your shrine, your Christ and your holy things, being arrayed from head to foot in the commandments of Jesus Christ. And I too, taking part in the festivity, am permitted by letter to bear you company and to rejoice with you, that ye set not your love on anything after the common life of men, but only on God.

Clement of Alexandria (182 AD-202 AD)

From Paedagogus (The Instructor):

1.26 that those who run down created existence and vilify the body are wrong . . . . Whence this abode becomes receptive of the soul which is most precious to God; and is dignified with the Holy Spirit through the sanctification of soul and body, perfected with the perfection of the Saviour . . . The body too, is one sent on a distant pilgrimage, using inns and dwellings by the way, caring for the things by the way, of the place where he halts; but leaving his dwelling and property without excessive emotion giving thanks for the sojourn, and blessing God for his departure, embracing the mansion in heaven.

Irenaeus of Lyons (130 AD-202 AD)

From Against Heresies

5.1.6 And for this cause does the apostle, explaining himself, make it clear that the saved man is a complete man as well as a spiritual man; saying thus in the first Epistle to the Thessalonians, “Now the God of peace sanctify you perfect (perfectos); and may your spirit, and soul, and body be preserved whole without complaint to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Now what was his object in praying that these three-that is, soul, body, and spirit-might be preserved to the coming of the Lord, unless he was aware of the [future] reintegration and union of the three, and [that they should be heirs of] one and the same salvation? For this cause also he declares that those are “the perfect” who present unto the Lord the three [component parts] without offence. Those, then, are the perfect who have had the Spirit of God remaining in them, and have preserved their souls and bodies blameless, holding fast the faith of God, that is, that faith which is [directed] towards God, and maintaining righteous dealings with respect to their neighbours.

Jan Hus (1372-1415 AD)

From letter VIII: To the Church of Prague

Such has been towards us the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who recommended his disciples to say, into whatever house they entered, “Peace be with you!” And when he raised up the dead, he said to them also, “Peace be with you!” And before his death, when conversing with his disciples, “I leave you my peace!” Wherefore, dearly beloved, I implore him to accord you that same peace. May peace be with you from the Lord, that you may live honestly and soberly—in calm, in justice, and in piety; and that you may conquer your enemies and those of God—the devil, the world, and the flesh. Peace be with you from the Lord, that you may love each other, and your enemies also. Peace be with you, that you may listen to his Word with attention and humility. Peace be with you, that you may speak wisely and well, and that you may escape from your enemies. Peace be with you, that you may learn how to be silent with advantage; for whoever listens with humility never disputes evil-mindedly with any one; he who speaks prudently triumphs over the fool; and he who is silent in proper season, rarely acts against his conscience.

Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471 AD)

Prayer for Consolation

O most sweet and loving Lord,
you know my weaknesses,
and the needs I endure.
You know how many evils and sins I am involved in;
how often I am weighed down, tempted, and disturbed by them.
I ask for your consolation and support.
I speak to you, for you know all things,
to you all my inward thoughts are open,
and you alone can perfectly comfort and help me.
You know what things I stand in most need of.
Behold, I stand before you poor and naked,
calling for grace, and imploring mercy.
Refresh your hungry supplicant,
kindle my coldness with the fire of your love,
enlighten my blindness with the brightness of your presence.
Do not let me go away from you hungry and dry,
but deal mercifully with me,
as you always deal wonderfully with your saints.

Menno Simons (1496-1561 AD)

From: The Reason Menno Simons Does Not Cease Teaching and Writing:

For true evangelical faith is of such a nature that it cannot lie dormant; but manifests itself in all righteousness and works of love; it dies unto flesh and blood; destroys all forbidden lusts and desires; cordially seeks, serves and fears God; clothes the naked; feeds the hungry; consoles the afflicted; shelters the miserable; aids and consoles all the oppressed; returns good for evil; serves those that injure it; prays for those that persecute it; teaches, admonishes and reproves with the Word of the Lord; seeks that which is lost; binds up that which is wounded; heals that which is diseased and saves that which is sound. The persecution, suffering and anxiety which befalls it for the sake of the truth of the Lord, is to it a glorious joy and consolation.

John Calvin (1509-1564 AD)

From Institutes of Christian Religion

If we, then, are not our own [cf. I Cor. 6:19] but the Lord’s, it is clear what error we must flee, and whither we must direct all the acts of our life. We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us according to the flesh. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us therefore forget ourselves and all that is ours.

Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal [Rom. 14:8; cf. I Cor. 6:19]. O, how much has that man profited who, having been taught that he is not his own, has taken away dominion and rule from his own reason that he may yield it to God! For, as consulting our self-interest is the pestilence that most effectively leads to our destruction, so the sole haven of salvation is to be wise in nothing and to will nothing through ourselves but to follow the leading of the Lord alone.

Teresa of Avilla (1515-1582 AD)

From: The Way of Perfection

It will be a great help towards this if we keep constantly in our thoughts the vanity of all things and the rapidity with which they pass away, so that we may withdraw our affections from things which are so trivial and fix them upon what will never come to an end. This may seem a poor kind of help but it will have the effect of greatly fortifying the soul. With regard to small things, we must be very careful, as soon as we begin to grow fond of them, to withdraw our thoughts from them and turn them to God. His Majesty will help us to do this. He has granted us the great favour of providing that, in this house, most of it is done already; but it remains for us to become detached from our own selves and it is a hard thing to withdraw from ourselves and oppose ourselves, because we are very close to ourselves and love ourselves very dearly.

George Swinnock (1627-1673 AD)

From: The Christian Man’s Calling

Thirdly, The extent, in heart and life. Godliness is the worshipping God in the inward motions of the heart, and the outward actions of the life; where the spring of the affections is clear, and the stream of the conversation runs clear, there is true godliness. The Egyptians, of all fruits, would make choice of the peach to consecrate to their goddess, and they gave this reason for it, because the fruit thereof resembleth a heart, and the leaf a tongue. As they gave heart and tongue to the false god, we must to the true God. Heart-godliness pleaseth God best, but to the false god, we must to the true God. Heart-godliness pleaseth God best, but life-godliness honours him most; the conjunction of both make a complete Christian. In a godly man’s heart, though some sin be left, yet no sin is liked; in his life, though sin may remain, yet no sin reigns. His heart is suitable to God’s nature, and his life is answerable to God’s law, and thence he is fitly denominated a godly man.

John Owen (1616-1683 AD)

From: The Holy Spirit

Sanctification is a fruit of that peace with God which he has made and prepared for us by Jesus Christ. ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself’ (2 Con. 5:19).

God, by sanctifying our natures, keeps that peace which we have with him. It is holiness that keeps up a sense of peace with God, and prevents those spiritual sins which still tend to break out from the corrupt nature still left within us. So God, as the author of our peace, is also the author of our holiness.

He will sanctify us completely, that is, entirely. No part of us will be left sinful or under the power of sin. Our whole nature is the subject of this work. He will make holy every part of us. And this work will eventually be perfected.

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