March 18, 2014

John Williams sermon for Lent on Persevering in Affliction (1628) now online

Bishop John Williams: A Sermon of Persevering in Patience and Repentance, in time of Afflictions (1628)

We are happy to bring this timely sermon of Bishop John Williams (1628) online. Just in time for the somber Lenten Season, this phenomenal sermon aims to teach with unparalleled clarity the duties and the correct state of mind for a true and penitent Christian. The holy Job, the Evangelicus ante Evangelia as the bishop himself notes, the Christian before Christ, is taken as a high model of Christian life, and all of the circumstances surrounding his riches and high importance, partnered with his subsequent humbling and chastisement, are seen as the normative courses for a Christian life. Farbeit from Job losing his faith, he retains and even grows within it, as he suffers and the more of all he held dear becomes lost. The bishop unpacks this pattern as the high epitome of a Christian response to suffering, and culminates it with the observation in Scripture, that God offered a blessing to Job after he passed through his sufferings, a blessing he did not have at the beginning.

This rich, textured, Scriptural and deeply Patristic sermon exemplifies high Anglican preaching. As bishop Williams says the entire lesson of Christianity can be seen in the one book of Job, and within it in the one passage, and within it in the one fragment of the sentence. In this astounding manner the whole swath of Christian history, from insights in the Old Testament, to the Church fathers, through to the Scholastics, and finally to Williams own era, becomes funneled into one short sermon, wherein the true and whole nature of Christianity is revealed.

May you too be blessed by blissful suffering and persevere in Humiliation and Repentance unto Easter.