For Lord’s Day, October 8, 2023
In our last devotion, we saw how Augustine began to come close to God by slowly losing hold of himself in sickness of himself until he came to the end of himself. Next, in Book IX of his Confessions, he resigns from his worldly and important professorship and begins the days of preparation for baptism. Notice his complete change from melancholy to merriment:
“How sweet it seemed to me to be without the sweetness of trifles! It had now become joy to me to put away the things that I had once feared to lose. You cast them away from me, O true and highest sweetness, and in their place, You entered in Yourself.”
“I had now been ransomed by You, and so, I would not put myself up for sale again.”
“O my God, how I cried to You when I read the psalms of David, those songs of praise and hymns of devotion that leave no room for a swelling pride … Oh, what cries I used to send up to You through those Psalms. I was set on fire for You through those Psalms … the sacraments, Your medicine and antidote against the serpent.”
“ … in You we find rest and oblivion to the distress of the world.”
“The happy life is this: to rejoice to You, in You, and for You. This is what happiness is, and there is no other happiness to be found.”
All these expressions of joyous resolve in his new, abundant, eternal life as a new creation in Jesus causes us to recall what we quote by Augustine in the closing of our radio program, Man’s Chief End:
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
And of course this quote illustrates what we recite in Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 1—but let me quote its parallel Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 1 that is slightly more robust: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and fully to enjoy Him forever.
Indeed, beloved, can we not also sing these sweet words of the Psalmist about Christ Who saved us from ourselves and our empty sinful hearts?:
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever … But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalm 73:25-26, 28)
Tomorrow we will enjoy a brief hiatus in our sermons to focus on God Himself and His infinite, eternal, and unchangeable glory guided by the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 4 (and Robert Reymond’s study of its structure and focus in his, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, which also on the whole wonderfully walks systematically through the Westminster Confession of Faith).
PS: We told you Wednesday night about the likelihood of this plan, but now we have confirmed plans and so officially announce the following: