The figure of John Owen (1616-1683) towers above – almost head and shoulders above – the galaxy of writers we know collectively as the English Puritans. His theological learning and acumen was unrivalled; his sense of the importance of doctrine for living was profound.
Everywhere he stepped Scotland shook. Whenever he opened his mouth a spiritual force swept in every direction. Thousands followed him to the feet of Christ (Courtland Meyers).
[As his teacher, Mr. Edward Kimball said of D.L. Moody:] I can truly say, and in saying it I magnify the infinite grace of God as bestowed upon him, that I have seen few persons whose minds were spiritually darker than was his when he came into my Sunday School class; and I think that the committee of the Mount Vernon Church seldom met an applicant for membership more unlikely ever to become a Christian of clear and decided views of Gospel truth, still less to fill any extended sphere of public usefulness.
Jim Boice had all the academic credentials a person could ever want to go to the top of the ladder in the academic world, but that was not his call. His call was to be a pastor. For over thirty years he broke open the Word of God in his preaching, in his teaching, and in his writings. Fidelity to Scripture is what drove him, and a more courageous Christian I have never met.
The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one “of whom the world was not worthy.”
Andrew Bonar, a great man of God, had three rules that he lived by. Rule 1 – Not to speak to any person before speaking to Jesus Christ. Rule 2 – Not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his knees. Rule 3 – Not to read the papers until he had read his Bible.
John Wesley preached over 44,000 sermons in his lifetime. He traveled by horseback and carriage nearly 300,000 miles, wrote grammar and theological textbooks in four languages, and yet always had time for a quiet time. While still in his childhood, Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning and evening to Bible study and prayer.
Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.
Mr. Muller began this work in such a manner that aid could not be expected from anyone but God. He did not, of course, expect God to create gold and silver and put them into his hands. He knew that God could incline the hearts of men to aid him, and he believed that if the work was of Him, He would meet every need. Thus, in childlike simplicity, he looked to God, and all that he needed was furnished as punctually as if he were a millionaire drawing regularly on his bank account.
When he preached, he would read a whole chapter or part of one and then proceed to draw out rich treasures that made it worth crossing the ocean to hear. His method of preaching caused the members of his congregation to become mighty in the Scriptures. They were better qualified to guide inquiring souls to Christ than many young ministers who had spent three years in a theological seminary.