Bogatzky's Daily Devotions
Some spiritual meditations to help along the journey of life.
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Extract from the Preface.
That this book may be better understood, and prove a means of edifying every reader, let the following remarks be particularly attended to
1. The Petitions and Divine Answers, which are found among several of the Scripture texts in the titles, may be of admirable use to many. The questions generally run in a complaining inquiry strain, for information and redress under the painful anxieties of a wounded conscience; and the answers are calculated to relieve and inform the distressed soul. They generally consist of gracious promises of Scripture, which may be easily turned into petitions: and if relief does not immediately come, yet the soul gets ease by thus pouring out its complaints, and reminding the Lord of his promises. Faith in the word is hereby strengthened, and the soul is led to see that trouble and anxiety must lead the way to rejoicing and triumph.
2. The distinction that is made in several parts of the book between bare morality and true Christianity, respecting the true motives of actions, the principle from which they are done, and the degree, and extent of them, may be also useful. Morality is not Christianity, though there can be no true Christianity without morality. Moral actions may be done from natural principles, and will certainly centre in self in some shape or other: but a truely Christian act must proceed from a gracious principle in the heart. A moral man, and a true Christian, may both give something to the poor, - the poor is relieved by each, but the benevolence of the one may proceed from a natural generosity of spirit, while that of the other come from a sense of divine favour and bounty already bestowed upon himself. They both may join in the same ordinances, pray to the same Supreme Being, and yet the one continue in self-righteous and vainly confident, while the other is humbled, and lives upon Divine Grace: the principle within makes the difference between them: and they who are only moral would do well to consider the difference.
3. In almost every page there are different portions of Scripture put together, which serve to throw a light upon each other; so that what in one is obscure, is generally opened by it parallel, which will be found very useful, if diligently compared: and serve to show the abundance, the suprabundance, of light, promises, privileges and advantages there are in the word of God: and how they become "profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be throughly furnished unto every good work," and, through the Divine blessing upon himself, be made "wise unto salvation."
4. Let the reader be careful to distinguish between a state of safety by faith in Christ, and a state of assurance arising from sensible comforts in the heart. The best Christians experience great changes in the frame of their minds; sometimes they are lively and comfortable, then they are low and depressed; now they have sensible tokens of Divine favour, the again these are withdrawn, and they begin to question the safety of their state before God. The enemy often takes advatages of their uncomfortable frames, and would have them question the reality of grace in their hearts; the consequences is generally great anxiety and distress. In order to remove this, it is necessary to consider what is the true foundation of hope, and to distinguish between what is durable and what is changeable.
The work of the Redeemer is a perfect work: nothing can be added to it, and nothing must be taken away from it. It is everlasting in its duration and efficacy; upon this the eye of faith should be invariably fixed, and from thence comfort and support in every state is to be drawn. Christ's blood is a constant propitiation, his righteousness is a perfect covering; to these reader, have daily recourse for cleansing and recommendation before God; by these you may silence all the accusations of Satan, all the clamours of conscience, all the threatenings of the law; for in Christ the believer is complete, and here may he safely rest in his dullest and heaviest moments. Happy frames, on the contrary, are bestowed and withheld, as it pleases God; you may safely pray for them, because great peace is promised to the children of God; and, generally speaking, the diligent and watchful are most frequently favoured in them; and when you are blessed with them, be thankful; but be beware of depending on them, for this the readiest way to have them withdrawn. Spiritual pride may arise from this quarter, while feeling a sense of weakness and unworthiness keeps the soul humble, and continually dependent upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for pardon, strength and salvation.
Lastly, dear reader, beware of formality in the use of this book; it will be of little service barely to read it over; see that its truths be brought home by thy conscience, and beg of the Almighty that he would be pleased to apply them by his Holy Spirit; then they will be blessed indeed to thy soul. Examine your experience as you go along, particularly how you hate and fight against sin; how you maintain communion with God through the Spirit; what it is to live by faith in Christ Jesus; which are subjects much insisted on in this work, and in the knowledge and experience of which consists the greatest part of a Christian's happiness. See if your graces are lively and vigorous; if they are kept in exercise. The kingdom of heaven is a growing kingdom: the seeds of grace must bring forth fruit.
Biography: Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky was born on September 7, 1690, on his father's estate of Jankowe, near Militsch, in Silesia. His father, J.A. von Bogatzky, was descended from a noble Hungarian family. Bogatzky's early education was picked up at various places. He was for some time page at the Ducal Court of Weissenfels. From there he went to Breslau, to prepare him for entering the army. During a long illness at Breslau he became convinced that God had other work for him to do. Receiving an offer of assistance from Count Heinrich XXIV, of Reuss-Kastriz, towards the expenses of an University course, he entered the University of Jena in 1713; but moved from there to the University of Halle at Easter, 1715, still as a student of law. Before Christmas he received notice that his mother had died in Silesia, and that he must return. During the week that elapsed before setting out, while attending divine service, he received what he regarded as his first true views of Justification by Faith.
Disowned by his father for objecting to enter the army, he returned from Silesia to Halle, and enrolled himself, at Easter 1716, as a student of Theology. At Halle, he began for his own edification his best known work, The Golden Treasury, first published at Breslau in 1718. During 1718 his health failed, and his voice became so seriously affected that he was unable to take any parochial charge. From thenceforth he devoted himself to religious authorship, and speaking in private gatherings. He left Silesia in 1740, and for five years resided at Saalfeld, where he wrote many works, including that on True Conversion, 1741.The most important of his publications at this time was his Meditations and Prayers on the New Testament, 7 volumes, 1755-61. He died at Halle on June 15, 1774.
Bogatzky seems to have begun hymn-writing about 1718, and in all composed 411 hymns, some of which appeared in part, in his devotional works. His hymns have little poetic fire or glow of imagination; but in his better productions there is stimulating zeal, warmth of religious feeling, and simplicity of religious faith, linking rather with the earlier Halle School.
Second Version of Biography. Karl Heinrich von Bogatzky was born on September 7, 1690 in Jantkawe (Hansdorf), Hungary. When only fourteen, Bogatzky served as a page in the court of the Duke of Sachsen-Weissenfels and was then sent to Breslau to train for the army. While suffering because of a long-term illness, Bogatzky came to realize that God had other plans for him and he gave up a military career and joined the Pietists. However, this was not what his father was hoping for him, and the result was that Karl was disowned. After joining the Pietist movement, Bogatzky studied law at the Universities of Jena and Halle, and then in 1716 he took up theological studies. Unable to take up his own parish because of his poor health, Bogatzky devoted his time to religious writing and speaking at private meetings. He was very influential in the conversion of nobility in Bohemia, Silesia, and Saxony. In 1740, he left Silesia and lived in Sallfeld for five years, and then in an orphanage at Halle, until his death on June 15, 1774.
Hymn #494 from The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:1
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1855, alt.
Titled: "Wach auf, du Geist der ersten Zeugen"
Tune: "All Ehr' und Lob"
1st Published in: Kirchengesangbuch
Town: Strassburg, 1541