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Many people are currently 'into' angels. If that's you then why not look a little deeper into their origin, what they do, how powerful they are, and even who is in charge of them...

Over the past couple of weeks I've heard quite a few people mention angels.

It's made me think about Tim Millen's series on the world of angels.
I have the transcripts from him for these, but i'm pretty sure there's audio knocking about as well, but i can't find it at the moment.

The World of Angels:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

I was chatting with Simon this morning and one of the passages we talked about was Luke 10:17-20 were the 72 disciples come back to Jesus all pumped up and excited cause they were even casting out demons.
They'd just had a blazing ministry campaign with miracles and signs and they were excited - understanbly so!

Yet Jesus responds by saying:

"Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Is that enough? Is it enough to have our name down?

The question we had to ask was then; is it enough for us, will we be content to go through life without any blaze of glory or amazing wonders and miracles, so long as our name is written in heaven?


Why am I seeking Christ?
For His earthly benefits or for His Kingdom?

Bang ... Bang ... Bang ... Went the door.

The guy banging at the door was in fancy dress.
Each bang caused a shudder to run through the strong doors. Rather than knocking the door on 31st October this guy had hammer in hand. He was nailing a list to the door.

Bang ... Bang ... Bang ... Went the door.


With the nailing of Martin Luther's 95 Theses of what was wrong with the roman catholic church, not only did the vibrations cause the door to shudder; but the ripple ran right across Europe, and history. Thus the reformation began. Biblical truths such as being saved by faith alone would shine a light on the dark practises of rome.

A huge part of the reformation was the fact that it's leaders and preachers did not want to keep people from reading the Bible for themselves, nor from reading it in their own languages. Where church said that commoners could not have it, reformers handed it out to all who would take it. They did not force it upon people, as the bishops and priests did with catholic doctrine and darkness. But preached Christ and grace and Christ alone!

On 31st October a more important event than halloween took place at a door. Rather than knocking for a gift this young monk came knocking with a gift. The gift of truth!

499 years later I sit here writing this thankful for the reformation of Biblical truths and pray for a revival of them in my own life.


Thomas Brooks was born in 1608, but we know very little about him except what can be gleaned from his writings. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1625 but left before graduating. In 1640 he took to sea as Chaplain to the parlimamentary fleet. After the civil war, and back in England Brooks became the minister of St. Thomas of the Apostle in London where he served until 1651. In 1652 he was asked a second time to preach at parliament and he took the pastorate of St Margarets, Fish-Street Hill

Since he held to a more congregational view of church government he lost his pastorate when the Act of Uniformity was passed in 1662. This didn't stop him, and he continued to preach around London with no or little opposition. While most fled London when the plague hit in 1665 Brooks bravley stayed to tend to the people of London's spiritual needs. This is deeply impressive, since law had it that this guy should not be preaching at that time.
During the time of the great plague he wrote a book called 'Heavenly Cordial' but most copies of this were destroyed during the fire.

His first wife Martha died in 1676 and he remarried to Patience Cartwright who was a young lady, causing a few people to talk about his age vs hers.

He died 27th September 1680 at the age of 72.

His books (sermons) are simple, practical and full of Scripture and while i've only read one (The Secret Key to Heaven, which is a great book on prayer), Spurgeon loved Brooks, so that is a greater reccommendation than I can give to look at his works.

He was described as a sweet, charitable, patient man with strong faith by John Reeve, who preached at Brooks' funeral, which is a great description i'm sure of how we'd all like to be remembered.


Tyndale was born in the western part of England in 1494.
In 1515 he graduated from Oxford, where he had studied the Scriptures in Greek. By the time he was thirty, Tyndale had committed his life to translating the Bible from the original languages into English. Nothing would distract him from this.

His heart’s desire is exemplified in a statement he made to a clergyman when refuting the view that only the clergy were qualified to read and correctly interpret the Scriptures. Tyndale said:

 “If God spare my life, ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”

English Bibles Refused
In 1523 Tyndale went to London seeking a place to work on his translation, after the bishop of London showed very little hospitality towards him, Tyndale stayed with Humphrey Munmouth, a cloth merchant. In 1524, Tyndale left England for Germany because the English church, which was still under the papal authority of Rome, strongly opposed putting the Bible into the hands of the common person in their own language.

Tyndale first settled in Hamburg, Germany. Quite possibly, he met Luther in Wittenberg, there is an entry during that time in the University's ledger for one 'Guillelmus Daltici ex Anglia which is a latin translation of yndale's name. Interestingly Tyndale would spend most of his life using fake names to protect his work from those who sought to stop it.

New Testament In England
Tyndale completed his translation of the New Testament in 1525.  1500 copies were smuggled into England between the years 1525 and 1530.

Church authorities did their best to confiscate copies of Tyndale’s translation and burn them, one such occasion was organized by one of Tyndales most bitter opponents Bishop Cuthbert Tunstall who gathered and burned Tyndale's New Testaments outside St. Paul's. But they couldn’t stop the flow of Bibles from Germany into England. In fact the money the church used to buy up the Bibles for this burning, filtered back to Tyndale and paid for a new edition to be printed in greater numbers.

Tyndale himself could not return to England because he was considered an outlaw at the same time his translation had been banned. But he continued to work at correcting, revising, and reissuing his translation until his final revision appeared in 1535.

After finishing the New Testament Tyndale started work on a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, but he did not live long enough to complete his task. He had, however, translated the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament), Jonah, and some historical books.

Danger
Throughout his time in Europe both the church and the monarchy of England (Henry VIII) at times sent assassins to kill Tyndale. Henry sent letters asking him to return to England as a ploy to capture him, and rewards were offered for information. Tyndale used false names and at one point went to live in Worms, where Luther had been called to answer only a few years before. He went to this dangerous place to learn Hebrew from the best scholars so that he could begin translating the Old Testament. He was willing to risk his life for the sake of translating a Bible everyone in England could read for themselves.


Martyrdom
In May 1535, a new friend, Henry Philips, who he'd been warned about, led Tyndale down an alleyway in Antwerp, where soldiers waited on him. Tyndale was arrested and carried off to a castle near Brussels, where he was imprisoned.

 While he was in prison, an associate of his named Miles Coverdale (1488–1569) brought to completion an entire Bible in English—based largely on Tyndale’s translation of the New Testament and other Old Testament books.

After being in prison for over a year, Tyndale was tried and condemned to death. He was strangled and burnt at the stake on October 6, 1536.

 His final words while tied to the stake were “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”


James Ussher was born to a wealthy family in Dublin on 4th January 1581. At age 13 he entered Trinity College and received his Bachelor of arts degree 4 years later and MA 2 years after that. At around 21 he was ordained as deacon of the chapel at Trinity and it is also reported that his uncle ordained him as a priest on the same day, who was at that time the primate of all Ireland. He was nominated to be Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of all Ireland.

Battle Front: Catholic Doctrines
With Charles I offering consessions (or graces) to the catholics of Ireland Ussher prominantly spoke out against the doctrines of the roman catholic church. He held secret meetings with other bishops and published a document against the catholic doctrine.

Battle Front: Arminian Doctrines
The Church of England at this time was growing in arminian doctrines and influence. When pressure came to the Church of Ireland to replace their articles of religion with the English articles, Ussher fought for a rewrite basing them on the English articles but not just replacing them with the English articles.

Battle Front: Civil War
With the 1641 uprising in Ireland Ussher found himself in England where both King and Parliament sought his favour. While parliament gave him a bursary of £400 (he'd lost him home etc in the uprising), the King gave him the property and income of the see of Carlisle.
Surprisingly when civil war broke out in England, the calvinistic Ussher chose not to side with his friends in Parliamnet, but with Charles I. My guess is that like David he would not harm God's annointed. He even asked parliament's permission to leave London and move to royalist held Oxford. That they gave permission shows something of the respect this man had from his peers.
When Cromwell beheaded Charles I, Ussher who was safe to return to London fainted before the axe fell.

Scholar
After this Ussher devoted himself to research and writing. He'd always been a huge collector of old manuscripts and a lover of Church history. This lead to his most famous book The Annals of the World which followed history (mainly using geneologies) to give a date for creation as being 22nd October 4004 BC. Interestingly he employed an 'agent' to accuire ancient manuscripts from the Middle East. Interestingly his huge library is now in the University of Dublin.

Death
On 19th March 1656 Ussher felt a sharp pain in his side, 2 days later on March 21st at age 75 and with the final prayer of "Oh Lord forgive me, especially for my sins of ommission" Ussher entered the Kingdom of Heaven. Funeral arrangements were made, but Cromwell stepped in and gave this man a State funeral and  burial at Westminster Abbey.

Peacemaker
That Cromwell honoured his friend, even though he'd taken thr royalis side during the civil war speaks
volumes about Ussher's character. He was not a man who set out for confrontation, but he did follow his convictions. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that Ussher sought consiliation, not confrontation, and when you read more about this guy it certainly seems that way between the lines. Even when he was being pushed out of his position of influence in the Church of Ireland by Bramwell and Laud, he didn't kick up a fuss.

Yes he would debate and dispute with those of different theology or religions but he seemed to have a gracious mannerism that overshadowed his firey and firm words. He was respected both religiously and politically by those he stood with and those he stood against, and that is not an easy thing to do.