Monday, August 23, 2010

Newly Translated Turretin Sermon

A sermon by Francis Turretin titled "The Happiness of the People of God" has been very recently translated into English from the original french by Riley from, and it is truly one of the most incredible sermons I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Actually, the scope of the sermon is most remarkable, because it is in a sense a tremendous overview of the work of God among covenant Israel and the promises of Israel being for the Church today. It is indeed one of the grandest, most epic, and comprehensive sermons I can recall in all my history of reading and listening to great sermons. One thing which stood out immediately to me was that Turretin over and over again repeats the central claim of John Piper's book God is the Gospel, that God's greatest gift to the Church is Himself. Throughout the sermon, Turretin repeatedly refers to him as "the happy Lord," and talks continually of God Himself as the source of the Christian's joy, and he anchors this happiness in God's own happiness within the Trinity before the creation of the world.
But, with God one never fails to find in his possession all the contentment and joy for which one could wish, because there is none but he, who being an eternal and infinite Being, is able to fill the vast capacity of our desires and grant to us in the enjoyment of sovereign good.
Had this sermon been around when John Piper wrote Desiring God, I could almost guarantee that Piper would have quoted Turretin. In one particularly remarkable section, which I am about to quote, Turretin refers to our union with God, and in particular discusses our union with each person of the Trinity. Read it slowly and take it in, because what Turretin has to share is worth two minutes of concentration.
[T]his marvelous union does not only take place with regard to the general Divinity, but also with each Person of the Holy Trinity in particular, with whom we have a communion so intimate, that as we glory in belonging to them, we may also assure ourselves that they belong to us.  That is why baptism, which is the seal of this covenant, is administered to us in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to teach us that by this sacrament we are engaged to the service of these three divine Persons to whom we are consecrated.  They also promise to us their blessing and their grace, and all Three engage themselves, if one must speak so, to work to accomplish our salvation.  In effect they each work according to the unique manner which is attributed to them: the Father by his grace, the Son by his merit, and the Holy Spirit by his efficacy.

The Father elects by his counsel, the Son redeems us on the cross, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies us in our hearts.

The Father gives us his promises, the Son signs them in his blood, and the Holy Spirit seals them with his signet.

The Father ordains salvation to us, the Son acquires it, and the Holy Spirit applies it.

The Father adopts us to be his children, the Son purchases us to be his members, and the Holy Spirit regenerates us to be his temples.

So we become objects of the love of these three adorable Persons, and as the Father takes particular care of us as his children, the Son and the Holy Spirit give themselves to us with all their graces.

Jesus Christ makes himself ours in all his offices.  He is our Surety to make satisfaction for us, our Head to give us life, our Prophet to promise us salvation in his word, our Priest to merit it by his blood, and our King to apply it to us by his power.

The Holy Spirit is ours with all his gifts.  He is our Doctor to teach us in our ignorance, our Comforter to gladden us in our afflictions, our Sanctifier to cleanse us of our stains, and our Life to deliver us from our death.  In short, we find nothing in the Holy Trinity which is not ours, and which does not work for our good. 
This is actually my own first exposure to Turretin. I know that his Institutes were only recently translated into English, and now more than ever, I want to read them.

In addition to "The Happiness of the People of God," also have another Turretin sermon translated, and it is his sermon "Jesus' Tears for Jerusalem," which I have yet to read; though you can guarantee I will be reading it soon. My only other thought is that we need to encourage our friends at to keep up the good work and to continue translating these Turretin sermons, for it is a great service to the Church.

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