Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Apostate's doom

I copied and pasted this from a pdf format which does not automatically put paragraph indents in. The link to the original is at the bottom if you desire a more readable format.


by A.W. Pink

The verses, which are now to be before us, complete the section begun in Hebrews 10:26, the sum of which is the apostates’ doom. They fall naturally into two parts, the one containing a description of their sin, the other, a declaration of their punishment. For the purpose of solemn emphasis, each of these is repeated. In Hebrews 10:26 and in verse 27, the punishment of it is affirmed. In verses 28-29, the apostle confirms the equity of the forenamed judgment by an argument drawn from the Mosaic law, under which he shows the terrible character of the sin which is here in view. In Hebrews 10:30-31, he establishes the certainty of the punishment by an appeal to the character of God as revealed in His Word. This repetition, in a subject so solemn, is well calculated to awe every thoughtful reader, and ought to produce the most searching effect upon his conscience and heart. As we have pointed out in preceding articles, this section (Heb 10:26-31) was introduced by the apostle for the purpose of enforcing the exhortation found in verses 22- 24, the sum of which is, a call unto Christians to persevere in a state and practice of godliness. Grossly has this passage been perverted by theological factions belonging to two extremes. The one has misused it in the endeavour to bolster up their false doctrine of regenerated people falling from grace and being eternally lost. Without now going into that subject, it is sufficient to say that Hebrews 10:26-31 contains not a word which directly supports the chief contention of the Arminians. What we have in this passage is only hypothetical, “For if we sin willingly,” i.e. deliberately, fully, and finally abandon the profession of Christianity—not that the Holy Spirit here says any of the regenerate Hebrews had or would do so. A similar, and still more pointed case, is found in those words of Christ’s, “Yet ye have not known him: but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you” (Joh 8:55). The second party, of those who have misunderstood this passage, are Calvinists possessing more zeal than wisdom. Anxious to maintain their ground against the Arminians, most of them have devoted their energies to show that regenerated Christians do not come within the scope of Hebrews 10:26 at all. That instead, it treats only of nominal professors, of those having nothing more than a head-knowledge of the truth, and making merely a lip-profession of the same. And thus has the great enemy of souls succeeded in getting some of the true servants of God to blunt the sharp edge of this solemn verse, and nullify its searching power over the conscience of the saints. It is sufficient refutation of this theory to point out that the apostle is here addressing those who were “partakers of the heavenly calling” (Heb 3:1), and in the “we” of Hebrews 10:26, included himself! We will not take any notice of a third theory of modern “dispensationalists,” who affirm that none but Jews could commit the sin here mentioned, beyond saying that our space is too valuable to waste in exposing such trifling with Holy Scripture. But what has been pointed out above presents a serious difficulty to many. We may state it thus—If it be impossible for truly regenerated people to ever perish, then why  should the Holy Spirit move the apostle to so much as hypothetically describe their irremediable doom if they should apostatize? Such a difficulty is occasioned, in the first place, through a one-sided conception of the Christian—through considering him only as he exists in the purpose of God, and not also remembering what he still is in himself. Unless the latter be steadily held in mind, we are in grave danger of denying, or at least ignoring, the Christian’s responsibility. That the Christian is to be viewed in this twofold way is abundantly clear from many Scriptures. For example, in the purpose of God, the Christian is already “glorified” (Rom 8:30), yet he certainly is not so in himself! Here, in Hebrews 10:26, etc. (as in many other passages) the Christian is not addressed from the viewpoint of God’s eternal purpose, but as he yet is in himself—in need of solemn warnings, as well as exhortations. Again, the difficulty which so many one-sided thinkers find in this subject is to be attributed to their failure in duly recognizing the relation which God has appointed between His own eternal counsels and the accomplishment of the same through wisely ordained means. There are some who reason (most superficially) that if God has ordained a certain soul to be saved, he will be, whether he exercised faith in Christ or no. Not so! 2 Thessalonians 2:13 clearly proves the contrary—the “end” and the “means” are there inseparably joined together. It is quite true that where God has appointed a certain individual “unto salvation,” He will infallibly give him a saving faith, but that does not mean that the Holy Spirit will believe for him. No, the individual will, must, exercise the faith which has been given him. In like manner, God has eternally decreed that every regenerated soul shall get safely through to heaven, yet He certainly has not ordained that any shall do so whether or not they use the means which He has appointed for their preservation. Christians are “kept by the power of God through faith” (1Pe 1:5). There is the human responsibility side. Looked at as he still is in himself, the Christian is eminently liable to make shipwreck of the faith (1Ti 1:19). He still has within him a nature which craves the vanities of the world, and that craving has to be denied, or he will never reach heaven. He is yet in the place of terrible danger, menaced by deadly temptations, and it is only as he constantly watches and prays against the same that he is preserved from them. He is the immediate and incessant object of the devil’s malice, for he is ever going about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. And it is only as the Christian takes unto himself (appropriates and uses) the armour of God’s providing, that he can withstand the great enemy of souls. It is because of these things that he urgently needs the exhortations and warnings of Holy Writ. God has faithfully pointed out to us what lies at the end of every path of self-will and self-indulgence. God has mercifully placed a hedge across each precipice which confronts the professing Christian, and woe be to him if he disregards those warnings and pushes through that hedge. In this solemn passage of Hebrews 10, the apostle is pointing out the sure and certain connection there is between apostasy and irrevocable damnation, thereby, warning all who bear the name of Christ to take the most careful and constant pains in avoiding that unpardonable sin. To say that real Christians need no such warning because they cannot possibly commit that sin is, we repeat, to lose sight of the connection which God Himself has established between His predestined ends and the means whereby they are reached. The end unto which God has predestined His people is their eternal bliss in heaven, and one of the means, by which that end is reached, is through their taking heed to the solemn warning He has given against that which would prevent their reaching heaven. It is not wisdom, but madness, to scoff at those warnings. As well might Joseph have objected that there was no need for him and his family to flee into Egypt (Mat 2), seeing that it was impossible for the Christ Child to be slain by Herod! What each of us needs to watch against is the first buddings of apostasy, the first steps which lead to that sin of sins. It is not reached at a single bound, but is the fatal culmination of a diseased heart. Thus, while the writer and the reader may be in no immediate danger of apostasy itself, we are of that which, if allowed and continued in, would certainly lead to it. A man who is now enjoying good health is in no immediate danger of dying from tuberculosis, yet if he recklessly exposed himself to the wet and cold, if he refrained from taking that nourishing food which supplies strength to resist disease, or had he a heavy cough on the chest and made no effort to break it up, then would he very likely fall a victim to consumption. So it is spiritually. Nay, in the case of the Christian, the seed of eternal death is already in him. That seed is sin and it is only as grace is daily and diligently sought, for the thwarting of its inclinations and suppressing of its activities, that it is hindered from fully developing to a fatal end.
  A small leak neglected will sink a ship just as effectually as the most boisterous sea. So one sin indulged in and not repented of, will terminate in eternal punishment. Well did John Owen (1616-1683) say, “We ought to take heed of every neglect of the Person of Christ and of His authority, lest we enter into some degree or other of the guilt of this great offense.” Or, still better, well may both writer and reader earnestly cry unto God, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression” (Psa 19:13). Rightly did C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892) say on this verse, “Secret sin is a steppingstone to presumptuous sin, and that is the vestibule of ‘the sin which is unto death’” (Treasury of David). To sin “presumptuously” is to knowingly and deliberately ignore God’s commandments, defying His authority, and recklessly going on in a course of self-pleasing regardless of consequences.
When one has reached that terrible stage, he is but a short step indeed from committing the sin for which there is no forgiveness, and then to be abandoned by God both in this world and in that which is to come. As this solemn subject is so vitally related to our eternal welfare, and as the pulpit and religious press of today maintain a guilty silence thereon, let us briefly point out some of the steps which inevitably lead to “presumptuous” sinning.
When a professing Christian ceases to maintain a daily repentance and confession to God of all known sins, his conscience is already asleep and no longer responsive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. If over and above this, he comes before God as a worshipper, to praise and thank Him for mercies received, he is but dissembling, and mocking Him. If he continues in a state of impenitence, thus allowing and siding with the sin into which, at first, he was unwittingly and unwillingly betrayed, his heart will be so hardened that he will commit new sins deliberately, against light and knowledge, and that with a high hand, and thus be guilty of presumptuous sins, of openly defying God.
 The terrible thing is that, in these degenerate times, the consciences of thousands have been drugged by preachers (whom it is greatly to be feared are themselves spiritually dead, and helping forward the work of Satan) that have presented “the eternal security of the saints” in such an unscriptural way, as to convey to their poor hearers the impression that, provided they once “accepted Christ as their personal Saviour,” heaven is now their certain portion, that guilt can nevermore rest upon them, and that no matter what sins they may commit, nothing can possibly jeopardize their eternal interests. The consequence has been—and this is no imaginary fear of ours, but a patent fact of observation on every side—that a carnal security has been imparted, so that in the midst of fleshly gratification and worldly living, it is, humanly speaking, quite impossible to disturb their false peace or terrify their conscience.

All around us are professing Christians sinning with a high hand against God, and yet suffering from no qualms of conscience. And why? Because while they believe that some “millennial crown” or “reward” may be forfeited should they fail to deny self and daily take up their cross and follow Christ, yet they have not the slightest realization or fear that they are hastening to hell as swiftly as time wings its flight. They fondly imagine that the blood of Christ covers all their sins. Horrible blasphemy! Dear reader, make no mistake upon this point, and suffer no false prophet to cause you to believe the contrary, the blood of Christ covers no sins that have not been truly repented of and confessed to God with a broken heart. 
But presumptuous sins are not easily repented of, for they harden the heart and make it steel itself against God. In proof note, “But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the LORD of hosts hath sent” (Zec 7:11-12). Rightly then does Thomas Scott (1747-1821) say on Hebrews 10:26, “We cannot too awfully alarm the secure, self-confident, and presumptuous, as every deliberate sin against light and conscience, is a step towards the tremendous precipice described by the apostle.”
Alas, alas, Satan has, through the “Bible teachers,” done his work so well that, unless the Holy Spirit performs a miracle, it is impossible to “alarm” such. The great masses of professing Christians of our day regard God Himself much as they would an indulgent old man in his dotage, who so loves his grandchildren as to be blind to all their faults. The ineffably holy God of Scripture is no longer believed in. But multitudes will yet find, to their eternal sorrow, that it is “a fearful thing” to fall into His hands. We make no apology for this lengthy introduction, for our aim is not so much to write a commentary on this epistle, as it is to reach the consciences and hearts of poor, misguided, and deluded souls, who have been fearfully deceived by the very men whom they have regarded as the champions of orthodoxy.

 “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:28- 29). Having named the principal means for the Christian’s maintenance of constancy in the faith (Heb 10:22-25), the apostle proceeded to enforce his exhortations to perseverance, and against backsliding and apostasy, by some weighty considerations. First, from the terrible character of the sin of apostasy. It is a sinning willingly after a knowledge of the truth has been received and assented to, verse 26. Second, from the dreadful state of such, no sacrifice avails for them, naught but judgment awaits them, verses 26-27. Third, from the analogy of God’s severity in the past, verses 28-29. Fourth, from what Scripture affirms of God’s vindicative justice, verses 30-31. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.” The apostle proceeds to confirm the sentence passed upon the apostate Christian in Hebrews 10:26-27, by an appeal to God’s awful, but righteous, justice in the past. If the despiser of the Mosaic law was dealt with so unsparingly, how much more severe must be the punishment meted out to those who scorn the authority of the Gospel! The Greek word for “despise” means to utterly reject a thing, to set aside or cast it off, to treat it with contempt. The one, who thus flouted the divine legislation through Moses, was he who renounced its authority, and determinately and obstinately refused to comply with its requirements. Such a one suffered the capital punishment. Probably such passages as Deuteronomy 13:6-9 and 17:2-7 were before the apostle’s mind. “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God?” (Heb 10:29). The apostle’s inspired logic here is the very reverse of that which obtains in the corrupt theology of present-day Christendom. The popular idea in these degenerate times is that, under the Gospel regime (or “dispensation of grace”), God has acted, is acting, and will act much more mildly with transgressors, than He did under the Mosaic economy. The very opposite is the truth. No judgment from heaven one-half as severe, as that which overtook Jerusalem in A.D. 70, is recorded in Scripture from Exodus 19 to Malachi 4! Nor is there anything in God’s dealings with Israel, during Old Testament times, which can begin to compare with the awful severity of His “wrath” as depicted in the book of Revelation! Every despiser of the Lordship of Christ shall yet discover that a far hotter place has been reserved for him in hell, than what will be the portion of lawless rebels who lived under the old covenant. “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God?” There are degrees of heinousness in sinning (Joh 19:11), and so there are degrees in the punishment of their perpetrators (Luk 12:47-48). Here, this solemn truth is presented in the interrogative form (cf. Heb 2:3) so as to search the conscience of each reader. If I have been favoured with a knowledge of the Gospel (denied to half the human race), if I have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit (which is more than multitudes of Romanists are), if I profess to have received Christ as my Saviour and have praised Him for His redeeming grace—what punishment can fitly meet my crimes if I now despise His lordship, flout His authority, break His commandments, walk with His enemies, and go on sinning presumptuously, till I end by committing the “great transgression”? “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith He was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” (Heb 10:28-29). Instead of contenting himself with a general declaration of the equity of God’s dealings with apostates, the apostle here adduces additional particulars of the crime before him. In this verse, we have brought before us the awful aggravations of the sin of apostasy, showing what is implied and involved in this unpardonable transgression. Three things are specified, at each of which we shall briefly glance. First, “who hath trodden under foot the Son of God.” Once more, we would call attention to the varied manner in which the Holy Spirit refers to the Saviour in this epistle. Here, it is not “Jesus,” or “Christ,” but the “Son of God,” and that, because His purpose is to emphasize the infinite dignity of the One slighted. It is not a mere man, nor even an angel, but none less than the second Person of the holy Trinity who is so grievously insulted! Backsliding and apostasy is a treating of the Lord of glory with the utmost contempt. What could be worse? The figure here employed is very expressive and solemn. To “tread under foot” is the basest use to which a thing can be put. It signifies a scornful spurning of an object as a thing that is worthless, and is applied to swine trampling pearls under their feet (Mat 7:6). O my reader, when we deliberately ignore the claims of God’s Son and despise His commandments, we are treading His authority beneath our feet. Second, “and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing.” Here, as John Owen rightly pointed out, “The second aggravation of the sin spoken of is its opposition to the office of Christ, especially His priestly office, and the sacrifice He offered thereby, called here ‘the blood of the covenant.’” In our exposition of chapter 9, we sought to show in what sense the blood of Christ was “the blood of the covenant.” It was that whereby the new covenant and testament were confirmed and made effectual unto all its grace, to those who believe, being the foundation of all God’s actings toward Christ in His resurrection, exaltation, and intercession (cf. Heb 13:20). Now, the backslider and apostate does, by his conduct, treat that precious blood as though it were a worthless thing. There are many degrees of this frightful sin. But, O my reader, whenever we give rein to our lusts and are not constrained by the love of Christ to render Him that devotion and obedience which are His due, we are, in fact, despising the blood of the covenant. Third, “and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace.” (Heb 10:29). This is the greatest aggravation of all. “Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Spirit it shall not be forgiven him” (Luk 12:10). It is by the Spirit the Christian was regenerated, enlightened, convicted, and brought to Christ. It is by the Spirit the Christian is led and fed, taught and sanctified. What reverence is due Him as a divine Person! What gratitude as a divine benefactor! How dreadful the sin, then, which treats Him with insolence, which scorns to attend unto His winsome voice, which despises His gracious entreaties! While the grossest form of the sin here referred to is malignantly imputing unto Satan the works of the Spirit, yet there are milder degrees of it. O my reader, let us earnestly endeavor to keep from grieving Him (Eph 4:30), and more completely yield ourselves to be “led” (Rom 8:14) by Him along the highway of practical holiness. Saith the Lord Almighty, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor [in spirit] and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa 66:2). Surely if there is a passage anywhere in Holy Writ which should cause each of us to “tremble,” it is the one now before us! Not tremble lest we have already committed this unpardonable sin, for they who have done so are beyond all exercise of conscience, being given up by God to hardness of heart. No, but tremble lest we should begin a course of backsliding, which, if unarrested, would certainly lead thereto. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1Co 10:12). O my reader, make this your daily prayer, “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not” (Psa 17:5). “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the LORD. And again, The Lord shall judge His people” (Heb 10: 30) In this verse, further confirmation is supplied of the awful severity and the absolute certainty of the punishment of apostates. Once more, we have an example of a most important principle which regulated the apostle in his ministry, both oral and written. In Hebrews 10:28-29, he had given a specimen of spiritual reasoning drawing a clear and logical inference from the less to the greater. Yet decisive and unanswerable as this was, he rested not his case upon it, but instead, established it by quoting from the Holy Scriptures. Let servants of God today act upon the same principle, and give a definite “Thus saith the Lord” for all they advance. “For we know him that hath said” (Heb 10:30). Here, our attention is directed unto the divine character, what God is in Himself. Nothing behoves us more than to frequently and fully consider who it is with whom we have to do. Our conception of the divine character plays an important part in moulding our hearts and regulating our conduct. Therefore it is that we find the apostle, in another place, praying that the saints may be “increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col 1:10). It is a most profitable exercise for the soul to be often engaged in contemplating the divine attributes, pondering God’s all-mighty power, ineffable holiness, unimpeachable veracity, exact justice, absolute faithfulness, and terrible severity. Christ Himself has bidden us, “Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28). The better God’s character be known, the more we heed that exhortation of Christ’s, the clearer shall we perceive that there is nothing unsuited to the holiness of God in what Scripture affirms concerning His dealings with the wicked. It is because the true nature of sin is so little viewed in the light of God’s awful holiness that so many fail to recognize its infinite demerits. “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense saith the LORD.” The reference is to Deuteronomy 32:35, though the apostle does not quote word for word as we now have that text. Moses was there reminding of the office which God holds as the Judge of all the earth. As such, He enforces His righteous law and inflicts it’s just punishment on wilful and impenitent sinners. Though, in His unsearchable wisdom, He is often pleased to forbear for a while—for He “endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Rom 9:22). Nevertheless, God will yet pay to every transgressor the full wages which their sins have earned. God bore long with the Antediluvians, but at the end, He destroyed them by the flood. Wondrous was His patience toward the Sodomites, but at His appointed season, He rained down fire and brimstone upon them. With amazing forbearance, He tolerates the immeasurable wickedness of the world, but the day is swiftly approaching when He will avenge Himself upon all who now so stoutly oppose Him. “And again, The Lord shall judge his people” (Heb 10:30). A most important example is here given as a guide to teach us how Scripture is to be applied. The reference is to what is recorded in Deuteronomy 32:36, but there it is God’s care exercised on behalf of His people, while here it is His vengeance upon their enemies. Some have caviled at the appositeness of the apostle’s quotation. Yet they should not. Each particular Scripture has a general application, and is not to be limited unto those first addressed. If God undertakes to protect His people, He will certainly exercise judgment on those who apostatize. He did so in the past (see 1Co 10:5), He will do so in the future (2Th 1:7-8). The rule which is established by this quotation from Deuteronomy is that all Scripture is equally applicable unto all cases of the like nature. What God says concerning those who are the enemies of His people, becomes applicable to His people should they break and reject His covenant. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). Here is the unescapable conclusion which must be drawn from all that has been before us. This word “fearful” ought to make every trifler with sin tremble as did Belshazzar when he saw the hand writing upon the wall. To “fall into the hands of” is a metaphor denoting the utter helplessness of the victim when captured by his enemy. The One into whose hands the apostate falls is “the living God.” “A mortal man, however incensed he may be, cannot carry his vengeance beyond death; but God’s power is not bounded by so narrow limits” (John Calvin, 1509-1564). No, forever and ever will God’s wrath burn against the objects of His judgment. Nor will the supplications of sinners prevail upon Him. See Proverbs 1:28, Ezekiel 8:18. By the penitent and obedient, God is loved and adored. But by the impenitent and defiant, He is to be dreaded. The wicked may now pride themselves that, in the day of judgment, they will placate God by their tears, but they will then find that, not only His justice, but His outraged mercy also calls aloud for His vengeance upon them. Men may now be beguiled by visions of a “larger hope,” but in that day, they shall discover it is only another of Satan’s lies. O how the “terror of the Lord” (2Co 5:11) ought to stir up God’s servants to warn and persuade men before the day of grace is finally closed. And how it should make each one of us walk softly before God, sparing no pains to make our calling and election “sure.” It is only as we “add” to our faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly-kindness, and love that we have scriptural assurance that we shall “never fall” (2Pe 1:5-10).

A.W. Pink, 1932, studies in the scriptures

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Unrewarded labor

Here is another excellent teaching from A.W. Pink...



"The only satisfactory evidence that you are truly resting in Christ is a daily walk which is pleasing to Him"  ---- How this truth needs to be grasped by those who claim Christ!!!!!

This is the doctrine we preach


If a man is saved--all the honor is to be given to Christ.
If a man is lost--all the blame is to be laid upon himself. 

You will find all true theology summed up in these two short sentences:
  Salvation is all of the grace of God!
  Damnation is all of the will of man!

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9


Charles Spurgeon

Sunday, October 28, 2018

what is your life?

DELIVERED ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, MARCH 30, 1884,
 BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.

“For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears  for a little time, and then vanishes away.” James 4:14.

 WHEN a prince dies they toll the great bell of the cathedral that the entire city may hear it, and that for miles around the tidings may spread. Swift messengers of the press bear the news through the length and breadth of the land, and all men’s ears are made to tingle. A royal death is a national warning. A death in any of our families is a loud call to our own household, a call which I trust we hear. But a death in the royal family has a voice to the whole nation. It will be heard, it must be heard. In this great city the crowds who care not to come to the house of God, will nevertheless hear of this lamented death, and think of it, and speak of it each man to his fellow. Death is an orator whose solemn periods demand attention, especially when he preaches from the steps of the throne. “The Lord’s voice cries unto the city,” let believers be quick to hear the call to humiliation, to awakening, and to prayer that the visitation may be overruled for great and lasting good.

 A sudden death is an especially impressive warning. If men die of old age we regard it as coming in the common course of things, but when a young man is suddenly snatched away, then we understand that though the old must die, the young may die, and that no one among us may reckon upon any long day of life, since in a moment our sun may go down before it is yet noon. So falls the grass beneath the mower’s scythe, so fades the leaf from the tree. In a moment our strength is turned to weakness, and our comeliness into corruption. Then, in accents as plain as they are terrible, the Lord says, “Because I will do this unto you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

continue reading here...

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sound the alarm

I posted this a few years back, it needs to be posted again...

SOUND THE ALARM
Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
The saddest feature to us which is now presented by the worldwide "Depression," is not the material destitution which has overtaken millions of our fellow creatures, but the spiritual poverty of so many of our dear Brethren and Sisters in Christ. They seem to be as helpless as the poor worldlings, and while no doubt they all have faith that God will not let them starve to death, yet they apparently know of nothing better than simply to ask Him to be merciful, and give them patience to wait until times get better again. While they cannot be entirely innocent with the Word of God to their own hand, yet we are convinced that they are more to be pitied than blamed. By far the greater part of the guilt rests upon the preachers and "Bible teachers" whom they have sat under during the past twenty years. If those who were so zealous in denouncing "Modernism," "Higher Criticism," "Evolution," ad lib., ad nauseam, had devoted their energies unto teaching their hearers what it means to walk with God, He would have been more honored, and they had been more helped. If those who so loudly and so constantly warned against "Russellism," "Pentecostalism," "Eddyism" etc., etc., had been faithful in warning the professing people of God against the sins of covetousness, luxury, and extravagance, and had emphasized the teaching of Scripture upon mortification and the denying of self, though they had not been so popular, far more real good had been accomplished. If those who were so diligent in bidding people "rightly divide the Word of Truth," and adopt their arbitrary methods of sectioning the Scriptures — allocating this part to a company in the remote past, and another part to some company in the distant future—had shown their congregations how to apply the Scriptures practically unto all the varied details of their lives, we would not now witness the pathetic sign which we do.
Were we to follow our own inclinations, we had much prefer writing along different lines from what we are now doing, but we dare not remain silent any longer. While so many of God's people are still in danger of being deceived by blind leaders, it is high time to warn those whom our pen can reach. So many seem to think that because a preacher is "sound" on all the "fundamentals," that his messages must be helpful: that because they hear "faithful" sermons on the Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures, the Virgin birth of Christ, and so on, that their souls are getting just the food they need. This by no means follows. There is "a time to every purpose under the heaven" (Eccl. 3:1), there is "the present truth" (2 Peter 1:12), there is such a thing as "a word in season" (Isaiah 50:4). The tragic thing is that scarcely any of the present-day preachers recognize or are experimentally equipped to give out such.
We are well aware that the above language is strong and sweeping, but the published programs of the "Bible conferences," the "subjects" being taken at the "Bible Institutes," the titles of religious books now being published, all illustrate and demonstrate the truth of what we have said. When we hear of those that are without work and reduced to almost the lowest point of existence, being entertained with lectures on "Daniel's seventy weeks" and interpretations of the symbols of the Apocalypse, it makes us think of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning! When we hear of the homes of Christians being seized and sold, and of other saints being dependent upon unsaved relatives, it seem high time that some voice was raised asking the question, Is that a testimony which honors Christ? Is that an experience which witnesses unto the faithfulness of God to undertake for His own? Instead of the poor, suffering, bewildered children of God having explained unto them what is signified by the "four horses" of Revelation 6, or who is represented by the "two beasts" of Revelation 13, they need to be shown how to pray down temporal blessings, how to have God working miracles for them, how to bring about the fulfillment of some of His wondrous promises. But who is there that is engaged in such a ministry today? Are there none who are now proving for themselves the sufficiency of God, and can point the way for others to do likewise?
Yes, here and there, there is one who is experimentally acquainted with the God of Elijah; but O how pathetically few is their number! Has not God declared that He is ready to "show Himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2 Chron. 16:9)? Certainly He has, and He cannot lie. If then God has not shown Himself "strong" on your behalf, and if He is not now doing so, then it must be because your heart has not been and is not now "perfect toward Him." Ah, it is at the heart God ever looks! Nor does a "perfect" heart here signify a sinless one. No, a "perfect" heart is one which genuinely trusts, loves, and obeys God. A "perfect" heart is one which has been weaned from all idols, and finds its satisfaction in the Lord Himself.
"Six days shall you labor" (Exo. 20:9). But there is many a Christian man who is not working at all. Why? "Because there is none available for him." Ah, that is the answer a worldling would give: "Because God is providing none for him" is better, for that places the emphasis where it rightly belongs. And why is not God obtaining an opening for honorable employment? There must be some reason: nothing happens by chance. If you have asked Him to undertake for you, and He has not done so, may not that show you have not His ear!
"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Josh. 1:7, 8). How many have not "prospered" and do not enjoy "good success"! True, and is the reason far to seek? Have they fulfilled the terms which God has here specified? If not, is not the fault their own? Perhaps someone says that promise does not concern us. But why not? Is not Joshua 1:5 applied to all Christians in Hebrews 13:5! It is the devil who seeks to persuade us that such searching promises as these do not pertain unto Christians today. "Truly I say unto you, There is no man who has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the Gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:29, 30). Here is a New Testament promise which relates to material blessings. But mark, it is also a conditional one; it is only for those who genuinely put Christ first in their lives; who, at His call, are willing to forsake all things for Him.
Now three things are indispensable if we are to enjoy God's blessings, rather than suffer His chastisements.
First, all known sin—past as well as present—must be repented of, confessed, and forsaken (Proverbs 28:13). It is unpardoned sins which withhold good things from us (Jer. 5:25). This principle has always obtained, and will unto the end of time.
Second, real trust in the Lord: "According unto your faith be it unto you" (Matt. 9:29). Even the promises of God avail us not unless they be personally "embraced" (Heb. 11:13). "You have not, because you ask not" (James 4:2)—ask not with a real, living, expectant, persistent faith.
Third, an honest effort to serve Him: God will not place a premium upon disobedience. In keeping His commandments there is "great reward" (Psalm 19:11). True, we do not purchase God's favors; nevertheless, in His moral government of the world, He stands pledged to recompense the righteous "in the earth" (Proverbs 11:31).
The whole history of Israel supplies an illustration of what we have been saying above. God prospered or chastened them in accord with their conduct toward Him. And the principles of His governmental dealings have not changed. When Israel fasted, repented, reformed, and served the Lord wholeheartedly, His rod was removed and His smile again bestowed. There is much in Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah that is most pertinent for us today. He who has ears to hear, let him hear (2 Chron. 7:14).

Friday, October 26, 2018

Observations of the Judgments of God

As the era of "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" has long ago given way to "free love" and "god is dead" it is nonetheless difficult to watch our Lord's judgments play out right before our eyes in an up close and personal manner. Micah 7:6 and Matt. 10:34-36 bring the stark reality of this to light whether seen at a distance or 'in your face' style. Our nation, even the whole world is teetering on the cliff overlooking the abyss and all too many are more than eager to take the final plunge into what they perceive as the promised utopia never realizing that it is their last step before the Second Death.

Family divisions are nothing new---Cain and Abel, David and Absalom, Christ and His brothers for a time---with the common thread of all being the ego whether deflated or enflamed, lust for power over others, money, and an endless list of all manner of things based solely on a convenient lie that "assassinates" the character of another in order to gain some perceived upgrade in the estimation of his fellows. Such will play the 'victim' to the hilt as they blame their target for all their woes. It becomes a 'no holds barred' situation with no one being exempt from the hatred being spread to all who get in their way. This includes infants who are used repeatedly in divorce cases as the tool to disparage the opponent; the elderly who refuse to take the side of the one spreading the lies and hatred; and everyone else who does not see things as demanded by the aggressor. Who has not seen this from afar or all too closely?

Instead of dealing with this problem head on nearly all will take the 'easy way out' by ignoring the underlying problem, giving a pass to the trouble maker, and welcome such with open arms when no attempt to make things right has gotten even a cursory look. After all, an apology would mean that someone was wrong and in today's "family" that is not an acceptable set of circumstances. So the real bad guy gets away with it one more time only to redouble his efforts in the near future to open yet another chapter and why not? There were no consequences for his first lie and he reasons that there will not be any for the second, or the third, the fourth, etc. The newly elected 'bad guy' is the one who brought all of the lies, the hatred to light and he is the one ostracized from the family. "Family" is everything, right? So it doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong, you're family and therefore can do no wrong---unless you are the whistleblower. How many families, 'church families', have this attitude? Nearly all with few exceptions.

Before the objections blossom into bitterness consider Eli's sons in 1 Samuel 3 who were not restrained by their father for their life-long wickedness, their mockery of God as seen in 1 Sam  2, their father did not love them enough to discipline them and set them on the right path. "And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever." 1 Sam. 3:14. It was bad enough what the sons did, but perhaps even worse the lack of consequences from the father which shows agreement with the actions of his sons (v. 13). Why should anyone expect God to change His principles (His Character) to accommodate the wimps who oversee their families by allowing lies, hatred, and sin to continue unchallenged? No one said this was the easy road, but it is the right road.

The Lord always uses the trials of the elect to bring them closer to Him. What a privilege to walk with Him even for a moment!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Stand fast

FAILURE at a crucial moment may mar the entire outcome of a life. A man who has enjoyed special light is made bold to follow in the way of the Lord, and is anointed to guide others therein. He rises into a place of love and esteem among the godly, and this promotes his advancement among men. What then? The temptation comes to be careful of the position he has gained, and to do nothing to endanger it. The man, so lately a faithful man of God, compromises with worldlings, and to quiet his own conscience invents a theory by which such compromises are justified, and even commended. He receives the praises of “the judicious”; he has, in truth, gone over to the enemy. The whole force of his former life now tells upon the wrong side. If the Lord loves him well enough, he will be scourged back to his place; but if not, he will grow more and more perverse, till he becomes a ring-leader among the opposers of the gospel. To avoid such an end it becomes us ever to stand fast.
C.H.S.

Restoration of truth and revival

By C. H. Spurgeon.
The Sword and the Trowel
Dec. 1887


OH for a great and general revival of true religion! Not a burst of mere excitement, but a real awakening, a work of the Eternal Spirit. This would be a glorious reply to skepticism, and would act like a strong wind in clearing the air, and driving away the miasmata which lurk in the stagnant atmosphere. There would then be small honor paid to men who mar the gospel of our Lord, and truth, which has fallen in our streets, would again ascend her throne. Let us pray for such a visitation of the Holy Ghost with our whole souls. It is not only desirable, it is essential; we must either be revived by the Lord himself, or the churches will descend until error and ungodliness swallow them up. This calamity shall not happen but only divine grace can avert it.
At the same time, we cannot expect a gracious revival till we are clear of complicity with the deadening influences which are all around us. A man of God writes us: “You cannot well overstate the spiritual death and dearth which prevail in the provinces. Where the ‘minister is successful’ no Unitarian would be offended with the preaching, and where ‘not successful,’ we see a miserably superficial handling of the Word, without power. Of course there are valuable exceptions. What can be expected as to spirituality in the church when deacons are better acquainted with ‘Hamlet,’ and Irving’s actings, than with the Word of God? And what about the next age, when the children are treated to pantomimes, and a taste is created for these things?” This brother’s lamentation is of a piece with hosts of others which load our table. They come from men who are second to none in spiritual weight. Either these brethren are dreaming, or they are located in specially bad places; or else there is grievous cause for humiliation. We will not go deep into this question, it is too painful. The extent to which sheer frivolity and utterly inane amusement have been carried in connection with some places of worship would almost exceed belief. We call the attention of our readers to the fact that doctrine has been the ground of battle in the Down-Grade struggle which has been chosen by our opponents, but on the matter of prayer-meetings and worldliness they have been prudently silent. Certain of them have in this affair exhibited that discretion which is the better part of valor.
If any of our churches have been guilty in this respect, how can they expect the divine Spirit to work with them? Wherever the statement which we have quoted, or a similar one, can be proved, we are at a loss to know how conversions can be looked for. The Lord our God is holy, and he cannot compromise his own glorious name by working with persons whose groveling tastes lead them to go to Egypt—we had almost said to Sodom—for their recreations. Is this walking with God? Is this the manner in which Enochs are produced?
It is a heart-sorrow to have to mention such things, but the work of the Lord must be done faithfully, and this evil must be laid bare. There can be no doubt that all sorts of entertainments, as nearly as possible approximating to stage-plays, have been carried on in connection with places of worship, and are, at this present time, in high favor. Can these things promote holiness, or help in communion with God? Can men come away from such things and plead with God for the salvation of sinners and the sanctification of believers? We loathe to touch the unhallowed subject; it seems so far removed from the walk of faith, and the way of heavenly fellowship. In some cases the follies complained of are even beneath the dignity of manhood, and fitter for the region of the imbecile than for thoughtful men.
Brethren in Christ, in every church let us purge out the things which weaken and pollute. It is clear to every one who is willing to see it that laxity of doctrine is either the parent of worldliness, or is in some other way very near akin to it. The men who give up the old faith are the same persons who plead for latitude as to general conduct. The Puritan is not more notorious for his orthodoxy than for his separateness from the world. Liberal divines do not always command the respect of the public, but they gain a certain popularity by pandering to prevailing tastes. The ungodly world is so far on their side that it commends them for their liberality, and rails at the orthodox as bigots and kill-joys. It is a very suspicious circumstance that very often the less a man knows of the inner life, and the less he even cares to speak of it, the more heartily he is for the new theology, the theory of evolution, and the condemnation of all settled doctrine. Those who would have a blessing from the Lord must avoid all this, and determine to follow the Lord fully. Not only must they quit false doctrine, but they must receive the gospel, not as dogma, but as vital truth. Only as the truth is attended with living faith will it prove its own royal power. Believers must also sweep the house of the leaven of worldliness, and the frivolities of a giddy generation. The evil which is now current eats as doth a canker, and there is no hope for healthy godliness until it is cut out of the body of the church by her again repenting, and doing her first works.
Those who through divine grace have not defiled their garments must not content themselves with censuring others, but must arouse themselves to seek a fuller baptism of the Spirit of God. Perhaps these evils are permitted that they may act as a sieve upon the heap gathered on the Lord’s threshing-floor. Possibly they are allowed that our apathetic churches may be aroused. We know already of several cases in which true ministers have gone over the foundation truths again with their people, and have preached the saving Word with clearer emphasis. In other cases churches have been summoned to special prayer about this matter. This is a good beginning: let it be carried out on the widest scale. As one man let us cry mightily unto the Lord our God, that he would arise and plead his own cause. Now, if never before, let those who are loyal to Jesus and his Word be up and doing. A boundless blessing is waiting for the asking. We believe in prayer.

LET US PRAY LIKE ELIJAHS.

In reference to the Down-Grade controversy and the Baptist Union, we are urged to further action; but it would be far easier to take a foolish step than to retrace it. We will move when we are moved, and not before. Conferences, societies, and leagues are proposed: all are admirable, no doubt; but which out of many suggestions is the most suitable? We do not see our way. May the Lord himself direct his people! Meanwhile, to redouble our prayers, and to seek a revival in all our churches, cannot possibly be a mistake. Prayer, mighty prayer, can do wonders. This is the work of the present hour. Pray without ceasing, and preach the faithful Word in clearer terms than ever. Such a course of conduct may seem to some to be a sort of standing still and doing nothing, but in very truth it is bringing God into the battle; and when HE comes to avenge the quarrel of his covenant, he will make short work of it. “Arise, O Lord, plead thine own cause!”

Another word concerning the downgrade

By C. H. Spurgeon

THE SWORD AND THE TROWEL.
AUGUST, 1887


NO lover of the gospel can conceal from himself the fact that the days are evil. We are willing to make a large discount from our apprehensions on the score of natural timidity, the caution of age, and the weakness produced by pain; but yet our solemn conviction is that things are much worse in many churches than they seem to be, and are rapidly tending downward. Read those newspapers which represent the Broad School of Dissent, and ask yourself, How much farther could they go? What doctrine remains to be abandoned? What other truth to be the object of contempt? A new religion has been initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for gospel preaching. The Atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Spiritual pride

This is an excerpt from J.C. Philpot's sermon on pride-http://www.biblebb.com/files/philpot/pride.htm ...may our Lord keep us from such a vile sin as pride.


Some, however, of Zion's watchmen, and no one more than the writer of the work before us, have lifted up her veil, found out her real character, and, having first branded her on the forehead, "SPIRITUAL PRIDE," have labored hard, though hitherto ineffectually, to cast her out of the congregation of the saints. But as all their labors have hitherto been ineffectual, and she still dwells in our midst, it may be well to describe some of the features of this dangerous intruder.
1. Ignorance, and that worst species of it—ignorance of one's own ignorance—is evidently a main feature in her face. In this point she wonderfully resembles that stolid brother of hers who is so much in every company—worldly pride. We are all ignorant, sadly ignorant of everything that belongs to our peace; but the first step out of ignorance is to be conscious of it. No people are so thoroughly impracticable, so headstrong, so awkward to deal with, so deaf to all reason, so bent on their own will and way, so self-conceited, and so hopelessly disagreeable, as those unhappy people, whether in the world or in the church, who are ignorant of their own ignorance. Touchy, sensitive, quarrelsome, always grumbling and complaining, unable to lead and yet unwilling to follow, finding fault with everything and everybody, tyrannical where possessed of power, though abject enough where any advantage is to be gained, bungling everything they do and yet never learning to do any better, making up in a good opinion of themselves for the general ill opinion of them by others—such people are the plague of families, workshops, churches, and congregations. When people of this stamp become, as it is called, religious, being all the time really destitute of grace, their pride runs in a new channel, and with a strength in proportion to the narrowness of the banks. In them we see the disease at its height.

But there are many of the Lord's people who exhibit strong symptoms of the same evil malady. Yet what can be more opposed to grace or to the spirit and example of Him who said, "Learn of me, for I am gentle and humble in heart?" Where the true light shines into the soul there is a discovery of the greatness and majesty of God, of his holiness, purity, power, and glory; and with this there is a corresponding discovery of our own nothingness, insignificance, sinfulness, and utter worthlessness. This divine light being accompanied by spiritual life, there is raised up a tender conscience as well as an enlightened understanding. Thus is produced self-abasement, which every fresh discovery of the holiness of God and of our own vileness deepens and strengthens. This lays the foundation for true humility; and when God's mercy meets man's misery, and Christ is revealed to the soul, it cannot too much abase itself before his blessed Majesty, nor lie low enough in the dust of self-loathing and self-abhorrence. Humility is the daughter of grace, as pride is the child of ignorance.
2. Another marked feature in this impostress, is her self-deceptiveness. She may not succeed in deceiving others, but she rarely fails in deceiving herself. Thus she usually hides her real character most from those who are under her special influence. They are 'patterns of humility' externally to others—and patterns of humility internally to themselves. Sweet is the incense which regales their nostrils from the admiration of others; but sweeter far is the odor of their own admiration of themselves. Other sins are not so self-deceptive, so self-blinding, so self-bewitching. Sensual thoughts, blasphemous or rebellious imaginations, anger, carnality, prayerlessness, deadness, coldness, unbelief—these and similar sins wound conscience, and are, therefore, at once detected as essentially evil.

But the swellings of spiritual pride, though not hidden from a discerning eye and a tender conscience, are much concealed from those very religious people whose 'amazing humility' and undeviating obedience are ever sending forth a sweet savor to delight their approving nostrils.

3. The grossness and universality of her appetite is a no less prominent feature. Other sins feed only on a limited and appropriate diet. Covetousness is confined to the love of money; sensuality, drunkenness, gluttony, to their peculiar gratifications. But pride is omnivorous! To her greedy appetite, no food comes amiss. Like the eagle, she can strike down a living prey; or, like the vulture, banquet on putrid carrion. Some are proud of their knowledge, others of their ignorance; some of their consistency, others of their freedom from all tight restraints; some of their gifts, others of their very graces; some of their ready speech, others of their prudent silence; some of their long profession, others of their deep experience; some of their Pharisaic righteousness, others of their Antinomian security.

The minister is proud of his able sermons; the deacon of his wise and prudent government; the church member of his privileges above the rest of the congregation. Some are proud because they attend to the ordinances, others because they are not tied up in the yoke of church discipline; some are proud of the world's contempt, and others of the world's approbation; some are proud of their sophistication and culture, and others of their vulgarity; some of their learning, and not a few of their lack of it; some of their boldness to reprove, and others of their readiness to forgive; some of their amiability, and others of their austerity; some because others think well of them, and others because nobody thinks well of them, but themselves.

Thus, as some weeds flourish in every soil, and some animals feed on every food, so does pride flourish in every heart, and feast on every kind of food. When an apostle was caught up into the third heaven, pride assailed him as soon as he came back to earth, so that it was needful for a thorn to be given him to rankle in his flesh for the remainder of his life, in order to let out its venom. Pride would have been too much even for Paul's grace, but for this messenger of Satan daily to buffet him. Pride set the twelve disciples to argue who would be the greatest; and pride widened, if it did not originate, the breach between Paul and Barnabas.

Pride was the pest of the first Christian churches as well as of our own. The pride of gifts was the besetting sin of the Corinthian church; the pride of legal observances the sin of the Galatian church, the pride of vain philosophy of the Colossian church. Timothy was not to allow novices to preach, for pride was their besetment; and he is especially cautioned against those who will not consent to wholesome words as being "proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness." (1 Tim. 6:4, 5.)

None are exempt from pride's baneful influence. She works in the highest Calvinist as well as in the lowest Arminian; swells the bosom of the poorest, most illiterate dissenting minister, as well as puffs up the lawn sleeves of the most lordly bishop. And, what is far worse, even in those who know, love, and preach the truth, spiritual pride often sets brother against brother, friend against friend, minister against minister. She is full of cruel jealousy and murderous envy, greedily listens to the slanderous tales of whisperers and backbiters, drinks down flattery with insatiable thirst, measures men's grace by the amount of their approbation, and would trample in the mire the most honored of God's servants, that by standing upon them she might raise herself a few inches higher!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Professors of religion

Professors of religion have always been the deadliest enemies of the children of God. Who were so opposed to the blessed Lord as the Scribes and Pharisees? It was not the people generally, but their religious teachers and leaders who crucified the Lord of glory. And so in every age the religionists of the day have been the hottest and bitterest persecutors of the Church of Christ. Nor is the case altered now. The more the children of God are firm in the truth, the more they enjoy its power, the more they live under its influence, and the more tenderly and conscientiously they walk in godly fear, the more will the professing generation of the day hate them with a deadly hatred.

Let us not think that we can disarm it by a godly life; for the more that we walk in the sweet enjoyment of heavenly truth and let our light shine before men as having been with Jesus, the more will this draw down their hatred and contempt.
 
J.C. Philpot, from https://gracegems.org/Philpot/faiths_standing_ground.htm

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A fight of faith

By A.W. Pink

How a true minister of God reacts to a false church- and excellent piece

From J.C. Philpot. This is an excellent example of how a true man of God should react when he is engulfed in a false system of religiosity. This was a blessing to read!


Philpot's letter of resignation from the
Church of England
, March 28, 1835.
Mr. Provost:
I beg leave to resign the Fellowship of Worcester College, to which I was elected in the year 1826. This step I am compelled to take because I can no longer with a good conscience continue a Minister or a Member of the Established Church.
After great and numerous trials of mind, I am, as I trust, led by the hand of God thus to separate myself from that corrupt and worldly system, called the Church of England. Her errors and corruptions, as well as her utter contrariety to a Gospel Church as revealed in the New Testament, have been for two or three years gradually opening upon my mind. But though I have thus slowly and by degrees obtained light from above to see the Established Church somewhat in her true colors, it is, I confess, only but very lately that the sin of remaining in her has been forcibly laid upon my conscience. I have felt of late that, by continuing one of her ministers, I was upholding what in the sight of the holy Jehovah is hateful and loathsome.
I have felt that, by standing up in her pulpit, I was sanctioning a system in principle and practice, in root and branches, corrupt before God. I have felt that I was keeping those children of God who sat under my ministry in total darkness as to the nature of a true Gospel Church. I have felt that both I myself, and the spiritual people that attended my ministry, were, in principle and system, mixed up with--the ungodly, the Pharisee, the formalist, the worldling, and the hypocrite. And thus, while I remained in the Church of England, my principles and my practice, my profession and my conduct, my preaching and my acting, were inconsistent with each other. I was building up with the right hand what I was pulling down with the left.
I was contending for the 'power'--while the Church of England was maintaining the 'form'. I was, by my preaching, separating the people of God from 'the world lying in wickedness'--and the Church of England, in her Liturgy and Offices, was huddling together the spiritual and the carnal, the regenerate and the unregenerate, the sheep and the goats. I was contending for regeneration as a supernatural act wrought upon the souls of the elect alone by the Eternal Spirit--and the Church of England was thanking God for regenerating every child that was sprinkled with a little water. True prayer I was representing as the Spirit's work upon the soul, as the groanings of a burdened heart, as the pouring out of a broken spirit, as the cry of a child to his heavenly Father, as the hungering and thirsting of a soul that panted after God. The Church of England tied me down to cold, hackneyed, wearisome forms, in which I prayed for the Royal Family, the Parliament, the Bishops, and all sorts and conditions of men, with scarcely one petition that the Spirit would rule in a regenerate heart.
My soul was pained and burdened within me at hearing the wicked and the careless take into their lips the sweet petitions of David in the Psalms. I heard around me those who I knew from their life and conversation had never for a moment spiritually felt the pangs of a wounded conscience, say, 'I stick fast in the deep mire where no ground is; I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me'. I heard those who never desired or longed after anything but the gratification of their own lusts and covetousness, repeat aloud, 'Like as the deer desires the water-brooks, so longs my soul after you, O God'. Those that were dressed up in all the colors of the rainbow, I heard saying, 'As for me, I am poor and needy'. Graceless men who had never felt a drop of the Spirit's teachings, and who outside of the Church swore, jeered, and scoffed, would cry in my hearing, 'Take not your Holy Spirit from me'. Adulterers and adulteresses repeated aloud, 'I will wash my hands in innocency, and so will I go to Your altar'. While the self-righteous Pharisee would sound in my ears, 'I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God, and will make mention of Your righteousness only'.
Thus the gracious and blessed experience of God's saints was mocked and trampled upon, and the fervent prayers and breathings of the Spirit in contrite souls were profaned by the ungodly taking them into their unhallowed lips. And all this I was conscious was not a casual occurrence, or such as arose from the unsuggested will of individuals, but was the deliberate principle and system of the Church of England. I saw it was so by her teaching every child to say he was made in his baptism 'a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of Heaven'. I saw it was so by that system of responses which she enjoins upon all the congregation to make, and again and again has my soul been burdened at hearing the wicked little children around me mock God by shouting out the responses, as they had been systematically trained to do by ignorant ministers, parents, school-masters and school mistresses.
Being for the last three years a hearer and not a reader of the Liturgy, I have been compelled at times to close my ears with both my hands, that I might not hear the mechanical cries of the children, one of whose responses they always thus worded, 'We have left undone those things which we ought not to have done'. I have groaned within me at hearing the ungodly around me thus mock God, and so far was I from joining in the dead and spiritless forms of the Prayer Book, that I could only secretly pray, 'Lord, deliver me from this worldly and unholy system'.
Every dull and dry prayer seemed to lay a fresh lump of ice on my heart, and when I got into the pulpit, nothing but the hand of God, to whom I cried for help, could take off that deadness and barrenness which these wearisome forms had, in a great measure, laid upon me. At times, too, when I viewed the gettings up and sittings down, the bowings, the turnings to the East, the kneeling in this place and standing in that, and the whole routine of that 'bodily service' with which the blessed Jehovah was mocked, I could not but look on the whole as a few degrees only removed from the mummery of a Popish mass-house.
But though I felt, and at times could groan beneath the wretched formality of the Church of England, I was from two motives chiefly kept within her. One was, that I desired to be useful to the children of God in a dark neighborhood, with whom I had been connected for nearly seven years, and of whom some professed to derive profit from my ministry. The other was altogether carnal, and, though hiding itself in the secret recesses of my heart and therefore unperceived, was doubtless of much weight with me. This was the desire of retaining that comfortable competence which my Fellowship secured. My heart, I freely confess, has often sunk within me at the prospect of my already weak health terminating in confirmed illness, with poverty and need staring me in the face. I was also praying for an opening from the Lord to show me my path clearly, as, though I was determined neither to accept preferment, nor take another curacy, I was unwilling to throw up my ministry until the 'death of the very aged incumbent.' Lately, however, I have been brought to see 'that I must not do evil that good may come', and that if my conscience was fully convinced of the sin of remaining in the Church of England, no clearer or more direct intimation of the will of God was needed.
Thus have I laid open the inward workings of my heart, and the experience through which I have been led, in order to show that the resignation of my Fellowship and Curacy, and secession from the Church of England, is no sudden and hasty step, but the gradual and deliberate conviction of my soul.
But besides these particular evils under which I especially 'groaned, being burdened', as being brought into continual contact with them, I have felt that by continuing in the Establishment I sanction and uphold every other corruption that is mixed up with so worldly a system.
Thus I must sanction--the union of Church and State; the putting of the King in the place of Christ as Head of the Church; the luxury and pomp of the bishops; the giving away of livings for electioneering purposes; the heaping of office by ungodly parents on ungodly children; the system of tithes (I cannot but wonder how men who profess spiritual religion, and call themselves Evangelical ministers, can take tithes from carnal and ungodly farmers; no, as I have known some do, screw them up to the highest pitch, and even employ legal means to enforce their payment; while others of the same name and pretension exact tithes from gardens watered by the sweat of the laborer, and enforce burial and similar fees from the poor, when they themselves ride about in their carriages and phaetons. Of this I am confident, that they are not taught thus to act by the Blessed Spirit, who guides the regenerate into all truth, makes the conscience tender, and gives compassion towards the poor and needy. The New Testament authorizes no other payment to ministers but free and voluntary offerings; and thus all tithes, fees, and dues are part of that 'mystery of iniquity' of which Babylon, the mother of harlots, is the head); the principle and practice of Ecclesiastical Courts; the manufacturing of ministers by the gross at the Bishops' ordinations, and all that mass of evil which has sprung out of a worldly and wealthy Establishment. When Christ has bidden me 'call no man Father on earth', and not to be called myself 'Rabbi', and 'Master', and consequently by no title distinctive of priesthood or ministerial office, I must sanction the decking out of His professed ministers with the trappings of Antichrist, such proud titles, I mean, as Reverend, Very Reverend, Right Reverend, Most Reverend, Father in God, My Lord, Your Grace, and the like.
As a minister of the Establishment I must also sanction that abominable traffic in livings whereby 'the souls of men' are bought and 'sold' (an especial mark of Babylon, Rev. 18:13), and knocked down to the highest bidder by the auctioneer's hammer. Thus the whole system, in its root, stem, and branches, manifests itself to a renewed and spiritual mind as part and parcel of that Antichrist and Babylon which the Lord foreshowed His servants should arise, and from which He calls them to come out and be separate.
As a member, too, of the University, and Fellow of the College, I am unavoidably and necessarily mixed up with many evils, which I am convinced are equally hateful to God. Thus, in this capacity, I must sanction the whole principle of a University, as needful to qualify men to become ministers of Jesus Christ. But who that knows experimentally the sovereignty of Jehovah in choosing His ministers will not feel it to be dreadful presumption thus to train up unregenerate men to stand forth in His holy name?
The call to the ministry is as sovereign as the call by grace. And Jehovah will take the tinker from his barrow, and the cobbler from his stall, and send them to preach His Word, as he took Elisha from the plough, and Amos from 'gathering sycamore fruit'. By continuing, therefore, a member of the University I tacitly set aside the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, which can alone qualify a man for the ministry, and substitute a knowledge of Latin and Greek, and such mere 'letter-learning' as is called Divinity. But by doing this I necessarily reject as ministers some of God's most eminent and deeply-taught servants, as Bunyan, Deer, and Huntington; and exalt in their room unregenerate men, who were never taught a single truth by the Eternal Spirit.
And as, by continuing a member of the University, I sanction its principle, so in some measure do I sanction its practice. What that practice is, let those testify who have passed through the various stages of Undergraduate, Bachelor, and Master of Arts. But where in all that practice do I see the marks of Christ, or 'the footsteps of His flock'? Can they be traced in the drawing rooms and dining rooms of the Heads of Houses? in the Common-rooms of the Fellows? in the breakfasts, wine-parties, and suppers of the Undergraduates? What, I would ask, is usually heard in the latter but shouting, and singing of unclean songs, or conversation on the boat-race, the steeple-chase, or the fox-hunt? And what is commonly heard in the former but the news and politics of the day, and all such trifling, and sometimes even unseemly conversation, as is the mark of the soul that is 'dead in sins'? Where among all these, either professed ministers of Jesus Christ or such as are training to be so, is the name of the Savior, or the voice of prayer heard? If anywhere, it is among a few despised undergraduates, who have enough religion to see the open evils around them, but not enough grace or faith to separate from the system altogether.
And who that knows the University will not allow the following to be a faint sketch of the course run by most of her children? Initiated in boyhood in wickedness at one of the public schools, those dens of iniquity, or at a private school, in some cases but a shade better and in others worse, the youthful aspirant to the ministry removes to College, where, having run a career of vanity and sin for three years, he obtains his degree. Fortified with this, and his College testimonials, procured without difficulty except by the very notoriously immoral, and those who have shown some symptoms of spiritual religion, he presents himself to the Bishop for ordination. Examined by the Bishop's Chaplain on a few commonplace topics of divinity, and approved, he is ordained amid a heap of other candidates, without one question of a spiritual nature, one inquiry as to his own conversion to God, or one serious admonition as to his motives and qualifications for so dreadful a work. The cold heartlessness and technical formality usually displayed by Bishop, Chaplain, Archdeacon, and Registrar, with the carelessness and levity of most of the candidates, can never be forgotten by one whose heart God has touched, and who has witnessed the solemn mockery of a semi-annual ordination.
But further, as a Fellow of a College, I am connected with a body of men, who, however amiable and learned they may be (and if I forget the kindness of some of them I would be ungrateful indeed), are yet ignorant of Jesus Christ. Their acts as a body I am a party to, and indirectly, if not directly, sanction. Thus I help to give away college livings to unregenerate men, though I may know in my own conscience that they are not even called by grace, much less to the work of the ministry. I am a party also to giving testimonials indiscriminately of good life and conduct to be presented to the Bishop by the candidates for ordination (the document requiring the college seal), as well as to the electing of Fellows and Scholars for their classical attainments, and thus thrusting them into the ministry, and, in a word, to the whole system of education pursued, which, as a means of qualifying men to be ministers, I believe to be hateful to God.
In short, I am mixed up with a society of men whose life and conduct, however amiable, moral, and honorable, are not those of 'the poor and afflicted' family of God. No other way, then, have I to escape these evils, to 'keep myself pure, and not to be partaker of other men's sins,' than by fleeing out of Babylon.
Lastly, I secede from the Church of England because I can find in her scarcely one mark of a true church. She tramples upon one ordinance of Christ by sprinkling infants, and calling it regeneration (the Word of God allowing no other than the baptism of believers, and that by immersion); and profanes the Lord's Table by permitting the ungodly to participate. The true Church is despised; but she is honored. The true Church is persecuted; but she is a persecutor. The true Church is chosen out of the world; but she is part and parcel of it. The true Church consists only of the regenerate; but she embraces in her universal arms all the drunkards, liars, thieves, and immoral characters of the land. She christens them, she confirms them, she marries them, she buries them. And she pronounces of all for whom she executes these offices, that they are regenerate, that 'all their sins are forgiven them', that they are 'the servants of God'.
If perhaps on a dying bed any doubts and convictions should arise that all is not right for eternity, she sends her minister to visit them, and 'to absolve them from all their sins'. And having thus lulled their fears, and deluded them to die in peace, she quiets the rising doubts of their friends at the mouth of the grave, by assuring those who 'this our brother is delivered out of the miseries of this sinful world', and is 'committed to the dust in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life'
Oh! could the dreadful veil that hides eternity be for a moment lifted up, we would see that thousands, whom the Church of England is blessing, God is cursing; and that tens of thousands whom she is asserting to be 'in joy and felicity', are at that moment 'lifting up their eyes in hell, being in torment'. And while she thus speaks peace and comfort to all that will call her 'Mother', although unregenerate and dead in sins, she in her canons excommunicates and pronounces 'guilty of wicked error' all that are enlightened of the Spirit to declare she is not a true church, and separate from her communion. What is this but to remove the ancient landmarks of truth and error; 'to call evil good, and good evil; to put darkness for light, and light for darkness, bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter'?
At the same time, she shuts up and seals the mouth of all her ministers, and ties them down to say what she says, and to deny what she denies, by compelling them to 'give their sincere assent and consent to all and everything contained and prescribed in and by the Common Prayer Book, and to promise that they will 'conform to the Liturgy as by law established'. And if any of them are haply taught of God the things of Christ in their own souls, and having grace and faithfulness to preach what they have tasted, felt, and handled; contradict in the pulpit what they assert in the desk, they are frowned on by Bishops, despised by the clergy around them, and hated by all the worldly part of their parish, until at length the powerful convictions of an enlightened conscience force them to deliver their souls by fleeing out of Babylon.
But I am told that the Church of England is the only true church; that she derives her sacraments and ministers in a direct, uninterrupted line from the apostles, and that to secede from her is to be guilty of schism. But where are the outward marks of this only true church? Where are the 'signs' of these successors of the apostles, as 'wrought among us in all patience, in signs and wonders, and mighty deeds'? (2 Cor. 12:12). Are they to be found in lordly Bishops, proud and pampered dignitaries, fox-hunting, shooting, dancing, and card-playing clergy? Or are they to be discovered in those mere moral and outwardly decent ministers, who, after their solemn vow 'to lay aside the study of the world and the flesh', busy themselves in classics, mathematics, history, modern languages, natural philosophy, divinity, and everything and anything but to know Christ in their own souls?
Where are the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit visible in men, who, not being able to utter a word but what is written down, either copy their sermons from books, or forge out of their own heads a weekly lecture on stale morality? Where are the seals of their commission, whereby they 'approve themselves as ministers of God, by pureness, by knowledge, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left'? (2 Cor. 6 : 6, 7).
But, perhaps, these outward marks of the successors of the apostles may be discovered in the Evangelical clergy, by some esteemed so highly. What are these, however, as a body, now generally doing but making common cause with the worldly clergy, whom in their hearts they consider to be neither Christians nor ministers, to uphold an unholy system? They are for the most part compounding their sermons out of Simeon's dry and marrowless 'Outlines', looking out for preferment, buying and selling livings, training up their unregenerate sons for the ministry, and 'putting them into the priest's office that they may eat a piece of bread'.
Who among them can give a clear and decisive account of his call by grace, or of his call to the ministry? What description can they give of the entrance of the law into their conscience, bringing with it guilt, condemnation, and death, and of a deliverance by the inward revelation of Christ and the application of the 'blood of sprinkling'? The greater part are violently opposed to the fundamental doctrines of unconditional election, particular redemption, imputed righteousness, and man's helplessness. And those who do set forth the doctrines of free and sovereign grace preach them with such dryness and deadness as clearly show that they were never wrought into their experience by the blessed Spirit. Under their ministry the 'spiritual children' of God will not sit; for knowing little or nothing of the work of regeneration, and the trials, temptations, or consolations of the people of Christ, they cannot approve themselves to the consciences of the spiritual, either as called by grace or as sent to preach the gospel.
Thus, with perhaps a few and rare exceptions, the Clergy of the Church of England, whether Orthodox or Evangelical, correspond to that description given by the Holy Spirit, Micah 3: 11: "Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they lean upon the Lord and say--Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us."
And need we wonder if, as is the priest, so is the people? The congregation of the High church, or Orthodox clergy, as they proudly call themselves, consists, with possibly a few exceptions, of none but open sinners, self-righteous pharisees, and dead formalists. In this 'congregation of the dead' the blind lead the blind, and all their weekly confessions, absolutions, prayers, praises, services, and sacraments are, as they will one day find, but one continual mockery of the blessed God, who requires of His worshipers that they 'should worship Him in spirit and in truth'.
Of those who sit under the ministry of the Evangelical clergy, the greater part in no wise differ from 'the congregation of the dead' described above, being attracted there by the superstitious charm of the Parish Church. Of the remaining part, there may be a few seeking souls who range over these barren heaths, until fairly driven from them by starvation, or brought off by tasting the green pastures and still waters of gospel grace under an experimental minister. The rest are mere formalists, with an evangelical creed in their heads, but without any grace in their hearts; or, if the minister be a high Calvinist, such 'twice dead' doctrinal professors as never felt the plague of their own hearts, never had their consciences ploughed up by the law, never loathed themselves in their own sight, and were never 'plunged in the ditch until their own clothes abhorred them'.
Humble, lowly, contrite souls, who are deeply acquainted with the workings of grace and of corruption, whose consciences have been made tender, and who have landmarks of the dealings of God with them, cannot long continue where they have fellowship with neither minister nor people. And, indeed, so opposed is the whole principle and practice of the Church of England to the work of grace upon the souls of the elect, and 'to simplicity and godly sincerity', that a minister, who is not a hypocrite or a formalist, must, when he has reached a certain point in Christian experience, either flee out of her or awfully sin against the convictions of his own conscience. He may remain in her as a presumptuous dead Calvinist; he may take the highest tone of doctrine, and preach Sunday after Sunday about assurance of personal salvation; but if once he describes the work of the Spirit on the soul he must, at a certain point, either come out of her or, by remaining contentedly within her pale, manifest himself a hypocrite in experience, of all hypocrites and of all hypocrisies the most deceiving and the most dreadful.
Can a man, for instance, who has known the work of regeneration in his own soul, and whose conscience is made tender by the blessed Spirit, go on long to lie unto God by thanking Him for regenerating infants? Can he who has been sprinkled with the blood of Christ, and been fed with His flesh, continue long to give the elements of His body and blood to the unbeliever, the self righteous, and the ungodly? Can he who has tasted the covenant of grace, and experimentally entered into the everlasting distinction between the sheep and the goats, go on long to mock God by declaring at the grave's mouth of every departed unbeliever, swearer, and drunkard, that he is a 'brother', and is 'taken to be with God'?
Notions in the head, however correct, doctrines, however high, a presumptuous confidence of salvation, however loud and lofty, may allow a man thus to trifle with the living JEHOVAH. But a tender conscience, a godly fear, and a trembling sense of God's holiness and majesty, such as the blessed Spirit works in the soul, must sooner or later bring a man out of this dreadful mockery.
From this worldly and unholy system I now SECEDE; and blessed be the name of God Most High, who has poured light on my eyes to see these abominations, and given me, I trust, a small portion of that faith of Moses whereby 'he was willing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season'. For sooner far would I die in a workhouse, under the sweet shinings-in of the eternal Comforter, and His testimony to my conscience that I am born of God, than live and die in ease and independence, without following Jesus in that path of trial and suffering which alone leads to eternal life.
But my long relationship with yourself, as Head of Worcester College, and with my brother Fellows, will not allow me thus to dissolve my connection with you without faithfully WARNING both you and them of your present state before God. What marks, then, are there in you, or them, of that new birth, without which none can enter the kingdom of heaven? What signs have you, or they, of a broken and contrite spirit? What marks of 'the faith of God's elect'? What inward discoveries have you, or they, had of the blood and righteousness of Christ? What testimony of the blessed Spirit to the pardon of your sins, and to your adoption into the family of God? 'If any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His', though a sound classic, an acute mathematician, or a learned divine. And to have been professed ministers of Jesus Christ will only add to your condemnation, if you and they live and die in your present state of unbelief and unregeneracy.
I am weak and ignorant, full of sin and compassed with infirmity, but I bless God that He has in some measure shown me the power of eternal things, and by free and sovereign grace stopped me in that career of vanity and sin in which, to all outward appearance, I was fast hurrying down to the chambers of death.

With all due respect to you as Provost of Worcester College,
Yours faithfully,
J. C. Philpot