by Richard Rogers
Lightly updated English
In "The Life of a True Believer," Richard Rogers (the second of seven treatises) considers the essence of genuine faith and its manifestation in daily life. Having established who qualifies as believers according to Scripture (in the first treatise), Rogers proceeds to unravel the intricacies of living as a true believer.
He argues that understanding the life of a true believer is essential for grasping the full scope of faith's beauty and efficacy. Without this understanding, believers risk idleness and unfruitfulness in their Christian walk. Rogers contends that faith must be accompanied by virtuous conduct, including virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.
Rogers confronts misconceptions about repentance and godliness, emphasizing the necessity of understanding God's will regarding these matters. He underscores the danger of erroneous beliefs and seeks to illuminate the path to genuine repentance and godliness.
In this treatise, Rogers meticulously delineates the components of a godly life, emphasizing its inseparable connection to faith. He asserts that a pure heart, a renunciation of sin, and a steadfast commitment to obedience are essential aspects of godliness.
Structured around four main themes, Rogers' treatise provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the life of a true believer. He persuades readers to embrace godliness wholeheartedly, addressing objections and offering encouragement along the way.
In "The Life of a True Believer," Richard Rogers offers a profound exploration of faith in action, guiding believers toward a more vibrant and authentic Christian life.
Richard Rogers (1550-1618) authored Seven Treatises, a seminal work in post-Reformation England. Unlike William Perkins' series of shorter treatises, Rogers compiled his comprehensive handbook on the spiritual life into a single volume, covering everything a reader might need to understand and grow in the Christian faith. The Seven Treatises address the identification of true believers, the Christian's life and conduct, the means of grace, the daily Christian walk, obstacles encountered in the pilgrimage of faith, privileges of believers, and objections readers might have.
Rogers's teaching on the means of grace reflects an early Reformed approach, tailored primarily for laypeople. He categorizes the means of grace into ordinary (commonly practiced) and extraordinary (special occasions) and further divides them into public (used in open assemblies) and private exercises. Public means include ministry of the Word, administration of sacraments, and prayer. Private exercises include watchfulness, meditation, armor of a Christian, experience, company through conference and family-exercise, private prayer, and reading.
Rogers’s purpose was to provide readers with one volume that addressed just about everything they might need in order to understand and grow in the Christian life. The Seven Treatises comprising his work treated:
- the identification of true (and false) believers;
- a general description of the Christian’s life and conduct, as intended by God;
- the means of grace;
- the manner in which the Christian should proceed through the days of the week;
- the obstacles that typically confront Christians in the course of their pilgrimage;
- the privileges Christians enjoy (and how to appropriate them); and
- the various objections “and cavils” readers might have against the work itself.
Table of Contents
Chap. 1. The sum and order of this second Treatise.
Chap. 2. That a godly life cannot be without unfeigned faith, nor this faith without it: which is the first point in the first general head to be handled.
Chap. 3. That for the leading of a godly life, is required faith in the temporal promises of God, and hearty assent and credit to the commandments also, and threatenings in the word of God, as well as faith to be saved.
Chap. 4. Of the heart, and how it should be cleansed and changed, and so the whole man, which is sanctification, tending to repentance and a godly life. Chap.
5. Of the renouncing of all sin: which is the first effect of a renewed heart in the true believer.
Chap. 6. Of the diverse kinds of evil to be renounced, and namely of inward against God and men.
Chap. 7. Of other evils and sins, most properly concerning ourselves.
Chap. 8. How the minds and hearts of the believers are taken up usually, seeing they renounce inward lusts.
Chap. 9. Of the second kind of evils or sins to be renounced, namely outward.
Chap. 10. Of four sorts of such as hope for salvation; and yet renounce not open sins, and outward offenses.
Chap. 11. Of certain objections raised from the former doctrine, and answers thereto: as why we should put difference betwixt men: whether the godly may fall reproachfully, and what infirmities they may have.
Chap. 12. Of the keeping of the heart once purged, in that good plight afterward.
Chap. 13. Of the sum and manner of handling this second part of a godly life: and particularly of the rules to be observed for the effecting of it: namely, knowledge and practice.
Chap. 14. Of the answering of some objections about the former doctrine, and of the other two virtues which help to a godly life.
Chap. 15. Of some particular duties pertaining to God directly in the first, second, third, and fourth commandments.
Chap. 16. Of certain duties to men, in the fifth, sixth, and seventh commandment, the obeying whereof is a part of a godly life.
Chap. 17. Of some duties to men in the 8, 9, and 10. commandments.
Chap. 18. Of certain reasons persuading to the practice of a godly life: which is the fourth general part of this treatise.
Chap. 19. Of answers to objections brought against the necessity of practicing this godly life. Chap. 20. The last objection against the godly life answered.
Chap. 20: The last objection against the godly life answered.