Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I want to bring a couple of books to your attention. Both are by the sainted Rev. Johann Gerhard and both are available from Repristination Press. Sacred Meditations is an excellent devotional written the theology of the cross and law and gospel in mind. The only major difficulty is that the translation reads like the KJV and could use some modernization. Even so, there is nothing anywhere close to like this in the modern Christian market, and it fills the need for good, confessional material. The second book is The Daily Exercise of Piety. It contains 46 prayers to be prayed daily. This book has 10 different prayers acknowledging our sinfulness, 15 prayers of thanksgiving, 13 prayers addressing our needs, and 7 prayers addressing the needs of our neighbors. All I can say is "Wow." What is even more amazing, these prayers distinguish law and gospel. How about this for a prayer.

O holy God, O just Judge, I know that I am conceived and born in sin [Psa. 51:7]. I know that I was formed from unclean seed [Job 14:4] in the mother of my womb. The poison of sin has so corrupted and spoiled my entire nature that no powers of my soul are free from its infection. The holy gift of the divine image entrusted to me in the first parent of our race has perished in me. I now have no powers for initiating a saving recognition, fear, trust, and love of you. I have no capability to obediently perform Your commands. My will is turned away from the law, and the law of sin in my members is opposed to the law of my mind [Rom. 7:23], so that my entire nature is corrupt and perverted. I am wretched and miserable and feel the assault of sin tenaciously clinging to every part of me. I feel the yoke of perverse desire weighing heavily upon me. I have been I have been regenerated and renewed in the washing of baptism through the Spirit of grace [Titus 3:5]. But I am not totally free from the yoke and captivity of sin, since that bitter root lurking in me always strives to shoot forth [Heb. 12:5]. The law of sin raging in my flesh fights to capture me. I am full of doubts, distrust, and the desire for my own honor. Depraved thoughts come forth from the heart [Matt. 15:9] which totally defile me in your sight. From poisoned spring flow forth poison streams.

Do not, O Lord, enter into judgment with your servant [Psa. 143:2], rather be gracious according to your great mercy [Psa. 51:3]. The depths of wrechedness [Psa. 42:8] calls out for help to the depth of Your mercy. For this foulness of my unclean nature I place before You the most holy conception of Your Son. For me he was born [Isa. 9:6], and so He was also conceived for me. For me He was made sanctification and righteousness [1 Cor. 1:30], and so He also was made my purification and purity. Through and on account of this Your Son, have mercy on me, O most High, and do not place the hidden evil corruption of my nature in the light of Your face [Psa. 90:8]. Look to Your beloved Son, my Mediator! May His most holy and unpolluted conception be the remedy for my miserable conception, Amen

How many of us pray like this on our own? We don't, usually, so this book could be a great help to anyone from new Christians to the most mature believers. I am thankful for Repristination Press for putting out these classics of Lutheran Piety.

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