Zeal for God’s House Quickened by Oliver Bowles B.D. (1574-1664?)
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Oliver Bowles B.D. (1574-1664?) was one of the oldest members of the Westminster Assembly, a learned scholar, celebrated tutor and a man of great piety.
As Bowles explains from John 2:17, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, “The zeal of thy house hath eaten me up,”” zeal is the manner that preachers and Christians must do all things for the glory of God. It is a hearty soul-work, for without true biblical zeal, there is no pleasing service rendered to the Christ. What will a cold, lazy, indifferent reformer accomplish? What would a group of cold, lazy, indifferent reformers ever accomplish?
Annexed to this inspiring word on enacting zealous reformation, and setting down the character and work of zealous reformers, Bowles shows how church-reformation is a work of the largest extent, as that which concerns all professing churches, whose eternal happiness or misery will be the outcome of either exercising biblical zeal for the glory of God, or not. For biblical zeal, as it mimics the Lord Jesus Christ, is a holy ardor kindled by the Holy Spirit of God in the affections, improving a man to the utmost for God’s glory, and the church’s good; and it is without a doubt that church reformation calls for utmost zeal.
Though Bowles spoke to the Assembly in this work, he took time, afterwards, to, as he said, “make bold a supply of that which at the time of the delivery he could not do.” So, this work is the expanded piece turned from a sermon into a treatise, which he enlarged. This work is not solely for the historical assembly, but all that would take up the mantle of reformation for the glory of Christ’s church. He covers what zeal is in church reform, over and against false zeal; how zeal is manifested in true reformers, what practical aspects zeal plays for the work of reformation, and then gives some uses to the doctrine. His word to preachers as reformers, the concluding section of the work, is something every preacher should hear. That preachers who desire to see Christ’s church flourish under the work of the Spirit ought to take up preaching that is zealous, compassionate, convincing (with conviction), sensible to the needs of the people, as frequent as possible, and with all gravity, to the glory of God and the good of the saints.
This work is not a scan or facsimile, has been carefully transcribed by hand being made easy to read in modern English, and has an active table of contents for electronic versions.
Table of Contents
Spurious Faith and False Zeal
Meet Oliver Bowles
PART 1: The Text Opened
PART 2: Defining Zeal
PART 3: The Doctrine
PART 4: Zeal in Church Reformation
PART 5: Zeal in Reformers
PART 6: How Zeal Must Be Qualified
PART 7: Uses to Reformers
PART 8: The Best Way to be Zealous in Preaching