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“I do not think that a Christian is born for himself…”

June 3, 2013

John Hooper, the English Reformer and Bishop of Gloucester during the reign of Edward VI, was of the opinion that the Christian life is one that is to be lived in the worship of God and in the service of others.  He expressed this eloquently in a January 1546 letter to Henry Bullinger of Zurich, saying,

But being at length delivered by the goodness of God, for which I am solely indebted to him and to yourselves, nothing now remains for me in reference to the remainder of my life and my last hour, but to worship God with a pure heart, and know my defects while living in this body, since indeed the the tenure of life is deceitful, and every man is altogether as nothing; and to serve my godly brethren in Christ, and the ungodly for Christ: for I do not think that a Christian is born for himself, or that he ought to live to himself; but that, whatever he has or is, he ought altogether to ascribe, not to himself, but to refer it to God as the author, and regard every thing that he possesses as common to all, according as the necessities and wants of his brethren may require.  I am indeed ashamed beyond measure, that I have not performed these duties heretofore; but that like a brute beast, as the greater part of mankind are wont to do, I have been a slave to my own lusts: but is better to be wise late, than not at all.

– From Original Letters Relative to the English Reformation, 1537-1558, Parker Society, 1847 cited by George M. Ella in Henry Bullinger: Shepherd of the Churches, (Durham: Go Publications, 2007), 367.

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