The Application of Redemption
Volume 4 of the Complete Works of Thomas Hooker
Perhaps the greatest work ever written on the conversion of a sinner to God. Thomas Hooker had a rich, God-given understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in conviction of sin, humbling the sinner, and breaking him of his pride in the conversion process that few before or since have possessed. To Hooker conversion was a process, wrought by Almighty God over a period of time, not something accomplished in a moment by the sinner repeating the words of a prayer.
If a typical pastor in our day were to communicate to us the modern view of conversion, we would hear nothing about the heart being made humble and contrite before the Lord would dwell in it; nothing about the necessity of a true sight of sin before the heart could be broken by it; and nothing about meditation on sin being a special means to break the heart of the sinner. Yet these topics alone comprise nearly half of the contents of The Application of Redemption.
The modern gospel offers a Christ without conviction of sin, the breaking of pride, or the humbling of the heart for sin. The Holy Spirit is not necessary for the conversion of sinners in the 21st century gospel. Contrition and humiliation for sin are unknown today. In The Application of Redemption, Thomas Hooker offers us some potent medicine so desperately needed by today’s church:
A quote from Hooker:
“If sinners love Christ merely for his favors, then nothing can induce them to love him for any thing else. No motives of temporal or spiritual good have the least tendency to alter the nature of their love, but only to increase it. Many preachers of the gospel seem to imagine that the hard selfish hearts of sinners may be melted into true love and contrition, by displaying before them the beauties of holiness, the loveliness of Christ, and the joys of heaven; but though these motives may awaken their selfish love, and gratitude, and penitence, yet they will not excite a spark of holy love, or joy, or godly sorrow. There is nothing in God, nor Christ, nor heaven, that sinners will love more than themselves. They lie beyond the reach of all objective light, or external motives. Paul may plant and Apollos water, without making any saving impressions upon their hearts. Though their love and joy may be raised ever so high by mercenary motives, still their hearts will remain totally selfish and impenitent.”
“Contrition loosens a man from his sin, makes him see an absolute necessity to be another man, or else he is a damned man. Humiliation loosens a man from himself, makes him see an utter insufficiency in what he hath or doth, for to procure the least spiritual relief unto his soul such as are of necessity required, that the heart may be fitted for the impression of faith, and by it for the entertainment of the Lord Christ.”
“You were never broken-hearted here for your abominations, know assuredly that you will burn for them one day; your proud hearts were never abased, and laid in the dust, the Lord will ruin both you and them. Never expect a good look from God, set your heart at rest for that, you may draw the eyes of others after you, make many of your deluded followers and favorites to look upon you, but the Lord will not come near, nor once cast a loving look towards you.”
Introductions by Thomas Goodwin and Phillip Nye
The Application of Redemption is Volume 4 in The Works of Thomas Hooker series. Other volumes by Hooker include:
- The Soul’s Preparation for Christ, Book 1
- The Christian’s Two Chief Lessons, Book 2
- The Soul’s Humiliation, Book 3
- The Application of Redemption, Book 4
- The Soul’s Implantation, Book 5
About the Author
Thomas Hooker (1586 – 1647) had a prominent ministry on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in England, he died in Connecticut, after becoming a prominent British-American colonial clergyman. Some have called Hooker “the father of Connecticut.
At the Church of St. Mary (Chelmsford, Essex) he was a Puritan who delivered passionate expositions of Scriptures, calls to conversion and a godly life. The Church of England put him on trial in 1629, after which he fled to Holland then to America, where he became a member of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. After sitting for a time under the ministry of John Cotton, he was called into the ministry of a church in Hartford, Connecticut, where he served until the end of his life.