Item description for Christian's Great Interest (Puritan Paperbacks) by William Guthrie & W. Guthrie...
Overview Describes in a clear and attractive style what it means to be a Christian, and how to become one. Its author William Guthrie was described by John Owen as 'one of the greatest divines that ever wrote'.
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Studio: Banner of Truth
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.14" Width: 4.76" Height: 0.72" Weight: 0.45 lbs.
Release Date Dec 1, 1996
Publisher BANNER OF TRUTH #535
Series Puritan Paperbacks
ISBN 0851513549 ISBN13 9780851513546
Availability 0 units.
More About William Guthrie & W. Guthrie
William Guthrie was born in 1620 and died in 1665.
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The Christian's Great Interest Nov 15, 2006
How do we know whether we have a special saving interest in Jesus Christ and how can we obtain it if we find that we don't? These are the two questions William Guthrie concerns himself with in the book, "The Christian's Great Interest." This book is a classic work on assurance of salvation and evangelism by a seventeenth century Presbyterian author.
To Guthrie, how we answer the question about our salvation is of the greatest interest to all people. It is "not a vain thing because it is your life", and it is "the one thing needful." Our salvation is discernable if we examine our case from the scripture. "To the law and to the testimony if they speak not according to his word, it is because there is no truth in them." The bible commands us "examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own self", "give diligence to make your calling and election sure."
The first mark of our salvation is the experience of a preparatory work of the Law. Receiving the Spirit "unto bondage" Ro 8:15. Although many do not experience this, as those called from the womb or from early childhood (John the Baptist, Timothy) or in a "sovereign gospel" way (as Zaccheus) or on their death bed (as the theif on the cross), most people are brought low through sight of the Law, "when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died". The Holy Spirit awakens their conscience and they see they are compased about by innumerable iniquities. Jesus by his Spirit brings them through an intense internal process to make them "dead to the law" and without "confidence in the flesh" in order that they may see they are lost, sick and in need of a Physician.
The second mark is faith. Faith is the grand and only condition of the covenant of grace and the instrument of salvation. "It is of faith that it might be by grace." Therefore it is evident that he who can discover his own faith is saved. Guthrie explains that faith is not a difficult thing even though it is the "gift of God." It is not believing that you are elect or that Christ died for you or any other proposition but it is simply the hearts satisfaction with God's plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Scripture describes the acts of faith variously as receiving, staying, believing on, desiring, thirsting, looking on, waiting and other actions that indicate faith is not primarily an act of the understanding but of the heart and the will.
The third mark is a renewed state. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." Guthrie outlines the evidences of those who are new creatures. The man must be renewed in his understanding, believing and trusting in the truths of scripture. His affections must be renewed, he must have a "new heart" and he must love God and His Law. He must "yield his members servants to righteousness unto holiness." In his interests, worship, outward calling, and relations he must all be renewed. He must do all to the glory of God, "whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever ye do."
Guthrie then takes some space to contrast the attainments of hypocrites with the children of God and to address some other difficulties. Hypocrites, he says, may advance very far in religion without a true interest in Christ. They may have the "form" of godliness, they may "taste" the truth, they may even be to some extent "enlightened by the Holy Ghost" but they never choose Jesus as their soul's one satisfying choice nor are they content to make him their savior but all their outward holiness is of some base motive. He then alieves the doubts of those who fear they are excluded from the Kingdom of God because of the power of their prevailing sin. He points out to them that David confessed to God, "iniquities against me do prevail but as for our transgressions thou shalt surely purge them away" and that Paul could say he served "the law of sin" with his "flesh" but despite their sins they still delighted in the Law of God after the inward man. Next, Guthrie shows that the sensible internal operations of the Holy Spirit are the special gift of God but are not the substance of the new man.
In the second part of the book Guthrie leads those who have failed the trial of a saving interest to close with Christ. He begins this section by going through the basic tenets of Christianity. The covenant of works has failed by Adam's sin but God has graciously restored communion with man by providing a sacrifice for sin in his Son Jesus. God covenants with all those who submit themselves and their children to his ordinances and he requires them to seek salvation in Christ. Unfortunately, many in the covenant do not transact with God thusly but they flatter him with their lips, "They are not all Israel which are of Israel." This is the case with most in the Church, "strait is the gate and narrow is the way." For none can do it except they are made willing and able in the day of his power, being effectually called by the Holy Spirit.
To accept the offer of the gospel is to set aside the covenant of works, renounce self-righteousness and to choose Christ as a precious treasure sufficient for the salvation of sinners. It is the command of all those who hear the gospel to do so and none will be saved except those that do. "Ho everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat." He must take to heart that the wrath of God abides on him for the very sins he is guilty of and that his only escape is through Jesus Christ, who, if he comes to him, will in no wise cast him out for, "all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven of men."
To motivate unbelievers to so close with Christ Guthrie discloses to us some native effects of saving faith. Namely, union and communion with God. Through Jesus we have oness with God who is afflicted with our affliction and who is "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." Through Jesus we belong to God and he belongs to us and we can share intimacy with him through prayer.
Next, Guthrie succors poor sinners too afraid to acquiese to Christ with sweet promises and examples from scripture. He shows us how the saints of the bible were guilty of the most heinous sins under the most aggravating circumstances yet still found pardon. He assures us that God will forgive any one and any sin and encourages us that he will be pleased with those that come to Jesus because this is the means he has himself appointed to save sinners.
The last chapter of the book Guthrie enjoins us to make an explicit verbal covenant with God. After the pattern of many men in the bible he recommends simply expressing in words before God what is the substance of the covenant of grace. This cannot save us if we do not have a heart work (contra the Arminian invitation system) and is not necessary to salvation if we do but it will help clear up for us what our state is with God. Guthrie then gives a very thurough example of such a verbal covenant and he recommends not just taking it once but renewing it on special occasions such as after backsliding or before the Lord's Supper.
Finally, Guthrie concludes with a catechism summarizing the whole book. In the Banner of Truth Paper Back ed. there are also excerpts from some of Guthrie's sermons.
Life changing Jan 4, 2002
Do I really believe? Can I really know? These are questions that every Christian must ask themselves, again and again. Certainty of our salvation is not just a nice thing to have, it is commanded. Peter tells Christians to make our calling and election sure. This is the entire purpose of Guthrie's book.
This book is not for the casual reader. Guthrie labors hard to show the believer, and the unbeliever, his true state, and I suspect he expected the same type of intense labor from the reader. Like many puritan writers, Guthrie's style is foreign to us today. He writes logically and completely exhausts his subject. The effect of this is that it allows the reader full certainty of the point the author was actually trying to make and it gives readers conclusive arguments for that point. However, a secondary effect is that it requires the reader to study the work intently and to really examine the evidence and conclusions the author makes.
This book is worth every bit of effort. Being sure of our salvation is not something to take lightly and an intense study of Guthrie's work will give the reader enormous insight into their own eternal condition.
Simple and Powerful Jun 9, 2001
This is an incredible book! It's a shame so few people know about it. William Guthrie, a Scottish minister, published this, his only book in 1658. Some men only need to write one book in their entire lifetime. "The Christian's Great Interest" is one of those books. Although the reader will have to get used to some 17th-Century language and expressions, the book comes across as a generally easy read. Guthrie masterfully describes the characteristics of people who have a genuine interest in Christ. What is the evidence that a person knows Christ? Do you have doubts? What is the difference between true believers and pretenders? Guthrie answers these and many more questions. This is an essential book for all Christians.