Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
Bookmark and Share

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

Rev. Angus Stewart
Lord’s Day, 11 December, 2011

"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord
shall flourish in the courts of our God" (Ps. 92:13)

Morning Service - 11:00 AM

God’s Glorious Perfections (7)
The Omnipresence of God   [download]  [youtube]
Scripture Reading: Psalm 139
Text: Psalm 139:7-10

I. The Profound Meaning
II. The Doctrinal Significance
III. The Vital Lessons
Psalms: 145:1-8; 117:1-2; 16:6-11; 139:7-14

Evening Service - 6:00 PM

The True Grace of God   [download]  [youtube]

Scripture Reading: I Peter 1
Text: I Peter 5:12

I. The Meaning
II. The Calling
Psalms: 34:1-10; 118:1-9; 116:9-19; 34:11-18

For CDs of the sermons and DVDs of the worship services, contact Stephen Murray
If you desire a pastoral visit, please contact Rev. Stewart

CPRC website:
CPRC YouTube:
CPRC Facebook:

Quotes to Consider:

Augustine: "Do not think, then, that God is present in certain places. With you he is such as you have been. What is the sort of person which you have been? He is good, if you have been good; and he seems evil to you if you have been evil; a helper if you have been good, an avenger if you have been bad. There you have a judge in your own heart. When you want to do something bad, you withdraw from the public and hide in your house where no enemy may see you; from those parts of the house that are open and visible you remove yourself to go into your own private room. But even here in your private chamber you fear guilt from some other direction, so you withdraw into your heart and there you meditate. But he is even more deeply inward than your heart. Hence, no matter where you flee, he is there. You would flee from yourself, would you? Will you not follow yourself wherever you flee? But since there is One even more deeply inward than yourself, there is no place where you may flee from an angered God except to a God who is pacified. There is absolutely no place for you to flee to. Do you want to flee from him? Rather flee to him" (Expositions on the Psalms, on Ps. 74).

Announcements (subject to God’s will)

Back table: Booking forms for the BRF Conference to be held 28 July - 4 August, 2012, at Lorne House near Bangor in Co. Down, are now available.

This evening, we will have a preparatory service with a view to partaking of the Lord’s Supper next Lord’s Day morning (18 December).

Everyone is welcome to stay for tea after this evening’s service. Tonight is Anga’s last Lord’s Day with us. She is moving to Limerick at the end of this week to start a new job there in anticipation of her marriage to Sam Watterson of the LRF on 2 March, 2012. We wish her the Lord’s blessing in her new spiritual home.

Sunday Catechism: 10 AM - O.T. Juniors

Monday Catechism: 6 PM - O.T. Beginners (Alex & Nathan) 6:45 PM - O.T. Juniors (Jacob & Joseph) 7:30 PM - Heidelberg (Timothy, Zoe, Amy & Lea)

Our Tuesday morning Bible study meets at 11 AM. We will study Revelation 13:16-18 on the mark of the beast.

Belgic Confession Class meets Wednesday at 7:45 PM. Continuing Article 12, we will consider the fall of the devil.

The Reformed Witness Hour broadcast next Lord’s Day (Gospel 846MW at 8:30 AM) will be "A Highway Through the Desert" (Isaiah 35).

Ballymena Lecture: Friday, 30 December, 7:30 PM on "Scripture Alone!"

Reserve Friday, 27 January, for our congregational dinner at the Adair Arms.

Offerings: General Fund: £462.60. Building Fund: £298.50. Donations: £250.

Augustine’s Confessions on God’s Presence

1. Augustine’s early erroneous pagan views of God’s presence

"... as I increased in years, the fouler became I in vanity, who could not conceive of any substance but such as I saw with my own eyes. I thought not of Thee, O God, under the form of a human body. Since the time I began to hear something of wisdom, I always avoided this; and I rejoiced to have found the same in the faith of our spiritual mother, Thy catholic church. But what else to imagine Thee I knew not. And I, a man, and such a man, sought to conceive of Thee, the sovereign and only true God; and I did in my inmost heart believe that Thou wert incorruptible, and inviolable, and unchangeable; because, not knowing whence or how, yet most plainly did I see and feel sure that that which may be corrupted must be worse than that which cannot, and what cannot be violated did I without hesitation prefer before that which can, and deemed that which suffers no change to be better than that which is changeable. Violently did my heart cry out against all my phantasms, and with this one blow I endeavoured to beat away from the eye of my mind all that unclean crowd which fluttered around it. And lo, being scarce put off, they, in the twinkling of an eye, pressed in multitudes around me, dashed against my face, and beclouded it; so that, though I thought not of Thee under the form of a human body, yet was I constrained to image Thee to be something corporeal in space, either infused into the world, or infinitely diffused beyond it,—even that incorruptible, inviolable, and unchangeable, which I preferred to the corruptible, and violable, and changeable; since whatsoever I conceived, deprived of this space, appeared as nothing to me, yea, altogether nothing, not even a void, as if a body were removed from its place and the place should remain empty of any body at all, whether earthy, terrestrial, watery, aerial, or celestial, but should remain a void place—a spacious nothing, as it were. I therefore being thus gross-hearted, nor clear even to myself, whatsoever was not stretched over certain spaces, nor diffused, nor crowded together, nor swelled out, or which did not or could not receive some of these dimensions, I judged to be altogether nothing. For over such forms as my eyes are wont to range did my heart then range; nor did I see that this same observation, by which I formed those same images, was not of this kind, and yet it could not have formed them had not itself been something great. In like manner did I conceive of Thee, Life of my life, as vast through infinite spaces, on every side penetrating the whole mass of the world, and beyond it, all ways, through immeasurable and boundless spaces; so that the earth should have Thee, the heaven have Thee, all things have Thee, and they bounded in Thee, but Thou nowhere. For as the body of this air which is above the earth preventeth not the light of the sun from passing through it, penetrating it, not by bursting or by cutting, but by filling it entirely, so I imagined the body, not of heaven, air, and sea only, but of the earth also, to be pervious to Thee, and in all its greatest parts as well as smallest penetrable to receive Thy presence, by a secret inspiration, both inwardly and outwardly governing all things which Thou hast created. So I conjectured, because I was unable to think of anything else; for it was untrue. For in this way would a greater part of the earth contain a greater portion of Thee, and the less a lesser; and all things should so be full of Thee, as that the body of an elephant should contain more of Thee than that of a sparrow by how much larger it is, and occupies more room; and so shouldest Thou make the portions of Thyself present unto the several portions of the world, in pieces, great to the great, little to the little. But Thou art not such a one; nor hadst Thou as yet enlightened my darkness" (7.1.1-2).

2. Augustine comes to see that the church held the true view of God’s presence

"[I wrongly thought that the church] believed and imagined Thee to be bounded by human form,—although what was the nature of a spiritual substance I had not the faintest or dimmest suspicion,—yet rejoicing, I blushed that for so many years I had barked, not against the catholic faith, but against the fables of carnal imaginations. For I had been both impious and rash in this, that what I ought inquiring to have learnt, I had pronounced on condemning. For Thou, O most high and most near, most secret, yet most present, who hast not limbs some larger some smaller, but art wholly everywhere, and nowhere in space, nor art Thou of such corporeal form, yet hast Thou created man after Thine own image, and, behold, from head to foot is he confined by space. As, then, I knew not how this image of Thine should subsist, I should have knocked and propounded the doubt how it was to be believed, and not have insultingly opposed it, as if it were believed. Anxiety, therefore, as to what to retain as certain, did all the more sharply gnaw into my soul, the more shame I felt that, having been so long deluded and deceived by the promise of certainties, I had, with puerile error and petulance, prated of so many uncertainties as if they were certainties. For that they were falsehoods became apparent to me afterwards. However, I was certain that they were uncertain, and that I had formerly held them as certain when with a blind contentiousness I accused Thy catholic church, which though I had not yet discovered to teach truly, yet not to teach that of which I had so vehemently accused her. In this manner was I confounded and converted, and I rejoiced, O my God, that the one church, the body of Thine only Son (wherein the name of Christ had been set upon me when an infant), did not appreciate these infantile trifles, nor maintained, in her sound doctrine, any tenet that would confine Thee, the Creator of all, in space—though ever so great and wide, yet bounded on all sides by the restraints of a human form" (6.3.4-6.4.5).