Anthony Burgess on Converting Afflictions

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Anthony Burgess, Spiritual Refining: The Anatomy of True and False Conversions, Vol. 2, pp. 115-117:

A second branch of chastisements, are indeed for sin, and flow from God's anger, but they are wholly medicinal: They are to let blood, like the physician who intends health; not like the butcher, who is to destroy; because God would discipline us by them as children, not punish us as condemned malefactors.

And if you say, How can these be for conversion, when sometimes they fall upon those that are converted, such as are made God's children already?

To answer this, you must remember what was said heretofore, that even those who are converted, do yet need daily to draw nigher and nigher to God; they are to be converted daily from those frequent corruptions, which estrange them from God; and thus when God's own people have their afflictions, they are to consider, is not this to turn me nearer to God? Is there no such pride, such dulness and coldness in the service of God, that I am to be turned from? Well, it's clear, to God's own children, they are thus medicinal; but by the texts forementioned, and in several other places, it's also evident, even to those who are sinners, and remain in an unconverted estate, God reacheth out his gracious offer in their troubles: That as it is said of several Psalms, which more principally contain the subjects of affliction, A Psalm to give understanding; so shouldst thou write, as it were, upon every trouble, upon every affliction, An affliction to give understanding. Do not physicians command men distracted, and out of their wits, to be kept in dark dungeons, to be bound in straight chains and fetters, to have hard and miserable fare, that so by all this hardship, they may come to their understandings again? Thus God doth, men by their sins are turned mad, they are grown out of their right reason; they indeed think strictness and preciseness is the way to make men out of their wits; but thy lusts and thy wickedness, deprive thee of all sound judgment; now God, that he may recover thee, binds thee in chains, afflicts thee with several judgments, that so at last you may seriously consider of your self, and your condition; so that there was never any trouble befall you but you should make as good use of it, as ever you did of the best sermon you have heard. Hence Parisiensis will not call these afflictions evil, but good; and therefore divides God's dispensations into bona attractionis, and bona retractionis; good things drawing or attractive, these are God's mercies; good things withdrawing or retractive from sin, and these are afflictions.
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Secondly, Afflictions are converting, and not destructive, when God doth vouchsafe, inward teachings of the soul, inward melting and humiliations of the Spirit with them. God's judgments upon Pharaoh, had no gracious operation upon him, because his heart was more hardened every day. Hence the Psalmist, Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest and teachest thy way, Psalm 94:12, when God's chastening and God's teaching go together, then there is hope of an hearty conversion unto God: when God strikes on the back, and opens the eyes at the same time, then are afflictions blessed and happy to such men: The bitterness of them is quickly recompensed with the fruits of righteousness they bring forth, Consider then, doth the rod give thee wisdom and understanding: doth God speak wisdom to thy heart, while thy outward man is so sharply exercised? Then these things come from love, and will end in love: Oh this undoeth us in our calamities! We attend to the outward burden, and grievous nature of them, we ask, when will we be gone? We cry out, How long Lord? but we never remember that we are by our calamities in God's school; we consider not, neither do we hearken to what God saith unto us; look then to have teaching, as well as striking: Oh woe be to that man, whom God only beats and beats, but teacheth him not at all: This is a forerunner of sad destruction.
 

Don Kistler

Puritan Board Sophomore
No portrait of Burgess is known to exist. Even if the National Portrait Gallery does not have it, they have a book that lists all the portraits that were done. Burgess does not appear anywhere in their list. And none of his published works contains a portrait.

As an anecdote, one a trip to England I went to Anthony Burgess's church. I said to the curator, "So this is Anthony Burgess's church, eh?" And he replied, "No, this is a Christopher Wren church." Even though Burgess's name was listed on the wall as a rector there, the name meant nothing to him.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
That is a shame. I really like Anthony Burgess...

Me too. :pilgrim:

Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson, Meet the Puritans, p. 115:

Burgess has been seriously underestimated in church history. He is one of only a few of the main Puritan authors who did not have a nineteenth century reprint of their works. Many of his books are worthy of being reprinted today.

Well wonder if ole Beeke will be reprinting his works?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
No portrait of Burgess is known to exist. Even if the National Portrait Gallery does not have it, they have a book that lists all the portraits that were done. Burgess does not appear anywhere in their list. And none of his published works contains a portrait.

Thanks, Dr. Kistler!

As an anecdote, one a trip to England I went to Anthony Burgess's church. I said to the curator, "So this is Anthony Burgess's church, eh?" And he replied, "No, this is a Christopher Wren church." Even though Burgess's name was listed on the wall as a rector there, the name meant nothing to him.

Was that at Sutton Coldfield?
 
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