Friday, January 25, 2019

Preparation for the Lord's Supper, part 1 of 6, from Wilhelmus a Brakel's The Christian's Reasonable Service

Wilhelmus a Brakel was a Dutch 2nd Reformation preacher--that is, essentially, a Dutch Puritan.  He wrote a great 4 volume systematic theology called The Christian's Reasonable Service, which has been made available in an indexed form online.  Unlike the large majority of systematic theologies, The Christian's Reasonable Service makes extensive application of Biblical doctrines, instead of just expounding them without making application.  Brakel's Calvinism is unbiblical, and the Reformed had serious problems on both baptism and the Lord's Supper, but if one watches out for standard problems with Reformed theology--including the very dangerous denial that everyone must be personally and consciously converted, even from Reformed homes-- his systematic theology can be very helpful and beneficial.  Wilhelmus a Brakel did not just set out to explain a theological system--he extensively applied the doctrines that he expounded. Thus, for example, his discussion of soteriology does not merely discuss the doctrinal aspects of that great subject, but also includes the following chapters about the life that adorns genuine salvation:

44. Sanctification and Holiness
45. The Law of God: General Considerations
46. The First Commandment
47. The Second Commandment
48. The Third Commandment
49. The Fourth Commandment
50. The Fifth Commandment
51. The Sixth Commandment
52. The Seventh Commandment
53. The Eighth Commandment
54. The Ninth Commandment
55. The Tenth Commandment
56. The Glorification of God
57. Love Toward God
58. Love Toward the Lord Jesus
59. The Fear of God
60. Obedience Toward God
61. The Exercise of Hope in God
62. Spiritual Strength or Courage
63. The Profession of Christ and His Truth
64. Contentment
65. Self-denial
66. Patience
67. Sincerity (or Uprightness)
68. Prayer
69. The Lord’s Prayer Explained and Applied; The Address and the First Petition: Hallowed Be Thy Name
70. The Second Petition: Thy Kingdom Come
71. The Third Petition: Thy Will be Done
72. The Fourth Petition: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
73. The Fifth Petition: Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors
74. The Sixth Petition: Lead Us not into Temptation, but Deliver Us from Evil
75. Fasting
76. Watchfulness
77. Secret Prayer
78. Spiritual Meditation
79. Singing Spiritual Songs
80. Vows
81. The Practice of Reflecting upon Previous Experiences
82. Love Toward Our Neighbor
83. Humility
84. Meekness
85. Peaceableness
86. Diligence
87. Compassion
88. Prudence
89. Spiritual Growth
90. Regression of Spiritual Life in the Godly
91. Spiritual Desertion
92. The Temptation Toward Atheism or the Denial of God’s Existence
93. The Temptation Whether God’s Word Is True
94. Unbelief Concerning One’s Spiritual State
95. The Assaults of Satan
96. The Power of Indwelling Corruption
97. Spiritual Darkness
98. Spiritual Deadness
99. The Perseverance of the Saints

 Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1992), viii–x.

A consideration of such subjects is fantastic, and systematic theology should not be expounded apart from the practice of life that accompanies it.

In addition to Brakel's The Christian's Reasonable Service making such applications in general, he has a very helpful discussion of the believer's preparation for the Lord's Supper.  Lord willing, we will be examining that material in future posts.


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