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Thoughts From Edward Pearse

Dear Friends,

One of the key truths of the Gospel is our “union” with Christ by faith. It’s a union (or joining of the soul to Jesus) which is so real that the Bible can call believers (the Church universal, and all who truly make it up) the “Bride of Christ.” Therefore, I wanted to share an excerpt today from a book entitled, ‘The Soul’s Marriage (Espousal) to Christ.” The author, Edward Pearse (who died at 40 years of age from Tuberculosis) pastored St. Margaret’s Church, Westminster, next to Westminster Abbey, in London. I send this out as a way of helping answer his dying prayer – explained at the end. Enjoy.

The Three Acts of Faith by Which We Are Joined to Christ in a Marriage Covenant.
1st) An act of choice or election. In the act or work of believing, the soul is, by the Spirit of God, made solemnly and deliberately to choose Christ as its only Head and Husband, Lord and Savior, as He is offered in the Gospel… We may conceive of this act of faith in this way: The will is, by the Spirit of God, sweetly and powerfully compelled to embrace Christ, preferring Him for a Head and Husband, a Lord and Savior, before all others. It singles Him out, as it were, from all others, whether persons or things in heaven or earth, and embraces Him as the best Husband, the best Savior, the best Lord.

There are others who offer themselves to the soul out of the desire that it love and embrace them – such as sin, self, the law, and the world with all its enticements. But the believer passes by them all. In fact, he rejects them all with loathing and indignation, and leans upon Christ as the One who is infinitely best, saying to Him, ‘I will have none in heaven but you, and there is none on earth that I desire more than you.” …Of Christ the soul says, ‘There is none like Christ. No Head like this Head. No Husband like this Husband. No Savior like this Savior for my soul… No love like His love; no beauty like His beauty; no blood like His blood; no righteousness like His righteousness; no fullness like His fullness. He, therefore, and He alone, shall be my Head, my Husband, my Savior, and my all forever.’

2nd) An act of trust or dependence. As in the work of faith the soul is, by the Spirit of God, made to choose Christ, so also it is made to trust and depend upon Him for all grace, righteousness, and salvation. This faith is grounded upon Christ, it is anchored in Christ, it rests and relies upon Christ for all life and peace, and for all grace on earth and glory in heaven… Christ is the object of our hope and trust in regard to life and salvation. The soul has no hope in the law, or the first covenant; no hope in anything, not in heaven or on earth…

Christ bids me look to Him and be saved, and invites all those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for the promised rest. Why should I not rest and rely upon Him? I am a mighty sinner, but He is a mightier Savior. Have I sinned to the utmost? He has saved to the utmost. What shall I say? I am death, but Christ is life. I am darkness, but Christ is light. I am sin, but Christ is holiness. I am guilt, but Christ is righteousness. I am emptiness and nothingness, but Christ is fullness and sufficiency. I have broken the law, but Christ has fulfilled the law, and His life is infinitely able to swallow up my death; His light, my darkness; His holiness, my sin; His righteousness, my guilt; His fulness, my emptiness. On Him, therefore, I will lean and live and hope.

3rd) An act of resignation or submission. As in the work of faith the soul chooses Christ, and then depends on Him, so also the believer is, by the Spirit of God, made kindly and unreservedly to resign himself unto Christ, to be ruled and governed by Him as He should choose. By faith the soul relinquishes its own power and possession and gives itself into the power and possession of Jesus Christ, to be ruled, governed, and saved by Him as He sees good, which is properly that act of faith which we call resignation… The soul says, ‘Sweet Lord Jesus, I have been my own, and have lived too much in my own will, and to my own ends and interests; but now I desire to be yours, and to live in your will, and to your ends. Take possession of me and save me; rule me; lead me; and dispose of me as you please. Do all your pleasure in me; pull down and set up what you will. I will be, do, and suffer what you would have me to be, do, and suffer.

And this act is properly that act of faith whereby we surrender to Christ as Lord and King, and is, indeed, the evidence of the first two acts of faith. For although faith’s first aspect is to Christ as a Savior, yet faith must come to eye Him as Lord and King also. As faith is grounded on the saving work of Christ, so it freely bows to the scepter of Christ… To Christ the soul says, ‘I resign myself to you. I have no Lord but you. Take the whole throne within me to yourself. I know your yoke is an easy yoke, and I desire to bear it. Your sceptre is a righteous sceptre, and I desire to bow to it. Your kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, and I heartily desire to come under the power of it. I want to be sanctified as well as justified. I desire your Spirit to subdue my corruptions for me and to make me holy, as well as your blood to wash away my guilt for me and make me completely acceptable to You.’”

I have taken the liberty to update the language, since Pearse (a Puritan) wrote between 1660-1673. Yet, his pastoral heart and affectionate love for Jesus was so profoundly visible in what he writes here that I wanted to share it with you. As one who died at the relatively early age of 40, he did not get to do as much as he had hoped for Jesus, and as he saw the end coming, his dying prayer to God was that something of his might be useful after he died. I share this as part of making his desire come true – even 350 years after his passing.

In His Grace, Pastor Jeff


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