[Papercut Press] 2005-06-27 - Memoirs

Exodus 33:6 So the sons of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments from Mount Horeb onward.

In the sermons I have been hearing lately at my church, there have been consistent mention of an old church divine named Thomas Halyburton by the pastor. So after hearing the name time and time again, I pulled down an old copy of his memoirs off the shelf and have been reading it for a couple of weeks. Memoirs are the personal reflections of the person writing them. They are a form of an autobiography.

Halyburton lived from 1674-1712. He was an influential divinity professor at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. When I was at St. Andrews about nine years ago, I even went and visited his grave near the University. His memoirs were taken from his personal papers after he died, and were never intended for publication. They detail his thoughts and his struggles throughout his life. They have had a wide influence in the Christian church.

What has struck me, as I have been reading his memoirs, has been the fluidity with which he uses Scripture. He seems so familiar with the Bible, that he is able to apply even obscure verses to his life as he writes about it. He easily takes his thoughts and life experiences and applies God's Word to them as he writes. It is rare to find a paragraph where he does not cite Scripture 2-4 times. I would like to give you an example of how he writes. This is no exaggeration. What I did was simply open up the book, and whatever page I landed on is the page I decided to use. I am giving you points 2-4 of how he feels about the guilt of his prior sins. See how even in his personal notes, or journal, Scripture flows through all he says:

  1. The Lord led me up even to the fountain, and discovered original sin as the source, and all, at least many of the other bitter waters that flowed from that bitter fountain, by the light whereby he discovered this one, he (as it was with the woman of Samaria) 'told me al that ever I did in my life.' John 4:29. 'Behold I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me.' Psalm 51:5.

  2. Very oft he laid before me, and brought me under an afflicting sense, even of the iniquities of my fathers, Leviticus 26:40, Ezra 9:7, and predecessors whom I never knew.

  3. He cut off all excuses, and made me self-convicted, and so stop'd my mouth quite, that I could neither deny nor excuse, and so I was guilty before God, Romans 3:19, being stripp'd of all my ornaments, Exodus 33:5,6.

I wish I could use Scripture so freely. Do you have a desire to have such a grasp of Scripture, that when you are just writing random thoughts you think no one will ever see, you could take them and interact with God's Word so easily? There is only one way for this to develop in our lives. We must seek to study God's Word, or we will never come to the point where we can freely use it in our lives. I encourage you to seek to spend some time in God's Word each day, if you don't already. Even a little time will help to get you more and more familiar with God's Word. If you already spend time with the Lord in His Word, hang in there, and keep on seeking the Lord. Progress might seem slow, but sometimes progress is real, and we are blind to its reality.

Soli Deo Gloria,

[email tim] godrulestb@aol.com