grow in knowledge

“To increase in divine knowledge is also a duty which we owe to [Christ] our prophet. While there is in his revelation of God a depth which the profoundest of human minds can never fathom, an extent which the most capacious of human understandings can never fully comprehend, … there is also a simplicity by which even little children may be nourished up unto everlasting life; and the Holy Spirit, by whose agency our prophet teaches us, can render the Holy Scriptures, the means by which he teaches us, as efficacious to them as to those of riper years. But while the Christian will feel that he has indeed enjoyed a rich privilege if he has from a child known the Holy Scriptures, he will also feel that when he becomes a man, it will be proper that he should put away childish things, and grow in the knowledge of God. Not a few who call themselves Christians seem to consider, not how they may most effectually increase their knowledge of God, but with how little knowledge of him they may be safe. But if to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent, be life eternal, then the Christian will feel that it is not so much his duty as his privilege to be continually growing in that knowledge. The desire which he feels after this knowledge cries unceasingly, ‘Give, give,’ and every acquisition which he makes only stimulates his desires after further acquisitions, and increases his power to make them. … The man who thinks that he has acquired as much knowledge of God as is necessary, is proving that as yet he knows not God at all.”

‘On the Incarnation of the Eternal Word’ by Marcus Dods (the good one), p95-96.

6 thoughts on “grow in knowledge

  1. Ha! I found *another* Marcus Dods (1918-1984) – this one was a film composer: “Murder on the Orient Express” (1974), “The Life of Brian” (1979), “The Dark Crystal” (1982), etc. He, also, hailed from Scotland. Is it possible that *all* of these Dod’s are related somehow? (I think I’m done now.)


  2. I always get mixed up whether he was Sr or Jr and chickened out of putting either in case it gave orthodox readers apoplexy :-) No idea if Dods the composer was related. Someone told me Gordon Brown (Prime Minister as was) is descended from the eminent John Brown of Haddington, but whether it’s true or not I couldn’t say.


  3. Actually this para is very incidental to the point of the book, which is to demonstrate that when the Word was made flesh, he was not made sinful flesh. But it struck me as a useful reminder that what we should aim to know is not primarily ourselves, or our providences, or our spiritual experiences, but God. Specifically God in Christ, and God in Christ as he reveals himself in the Scriptures (more than in providence or religious experience, which can both be rightly interpreted only by Scripture).


    • As I understand it, the book was written to rebuke one of Edward Irving’s heretical ideas.

      You should check out “Reminiscences” (1881) by Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). Carlyle knew Edward Irving well when both were young adults, and he devotes an entire chapter (nearly 150 pages) to Irving in his memoirs. In spite of a lot of side-tracking and stream-of-consciousness style writing, Carlyle speaks quite a bit about both Irving and Thomas Chalmers, who I think Carlyle also knew slightly. “Reminiscences” is available as an Oxford World’s Classics paperback (published in 1997), the first time the book has been published in its complete, unexpurgated form.


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