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, January 30, 2019

Not our home

(David Harsha, "Immanuel's Land") 

"For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in Heaven, which is yet to come!" Hebrews 13:14 

We are strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 

This present world is not our home. We are coming up from the wilderness with our faces Zionward; we are traveling to the Celestial City! 

Our path is rough, but the Savior sustains us. 

Our pilgrimage lies through a wilderness, but faith cheers us with a view of the glorious rest of the redeemed in our Father's house, in mansions of blessedness! 

Let this consideration animate us amid the conflicts of life. In a little while we shall obtain a joyous entrance into the glorious rest above. Thestorms of life's ocean will soon carry us into thehaven of peace, where there is no trouble. 

The language of inspiration is, "Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined beyond all remedy!" Micah 2:10

Your Savior, pilgrim Christian, has prepared for you a nobler rest than this polluted world! 

In His Father's house are many spacious mansions, where your happy spirit, after tasting the bitter cup of life's sorrow, shall rest in eternal blessedness! 

"We would rather be absent from the body, andat home with the Lord!" 2 Corinthians 5:8 

"For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in Heaven, which is yet to come!" Hebrews 13:14

When a Nation Feeds Itself on Hate

It is difficult to contemplate that a nation (the USA) would actually do such a thing, but the evidence is there for those who have eyes to see. It has become rampant and out of control over the past few decades with no aspect of life escaping it's grip. It marches through the national scene with willing and screaming adherents who make demands on their detractors that were unthinkable just a few years ago, and all of this is done "in the name of love" and acceptance, and victimhood, and lust filled aberrant desires from people no longer capable of cogent thought and logic, who believe God to be dead and/or no longer a "player" on the world's stage. The rabid, incessant rants of those who murder children have what they consider to be a great victory in their quest for murder on demand granted them by the New York State Legislature who passed just last week a bill to legalize abortion up to the moment of birth. But if the infant survives the first attempt at murder, the bill also states that the new born infant, alive and outside the mother's womb may be killed in a manner left to the 'discretion' of the person that failed to kill the child before exiting the mother. There does not seem to be any concern for the child's suffering, with no prohibition on the time required to perform the deed. The bill also states that a doctor or any other 'medical professional' is not required to be even present, muchless to perform the murder. Only God knows the number of children that were sacrificed to Molech centuries ago and how many in our day meet the same fate, but all were the product and end result of a deep seated hatred for God and for human life. A nation that legalizes the murder of the innocent in order to satisfy the lust for power and the control over the helpless does not deserve to exist any longer: the inescapable and eternal judgment of the God these people so dearly hate will pass final judgment on them at a time and in a manner of HIS choosing without mercy, reprieve, appeal, or pardon-------------------HELL AWAITS.

There are other places this hatred is found, "race relations" is one. There was a time in the recent past (at the turn of the century) that things were at least going in the right direction. The rabid idiots on both sides were losing their audience, but the fires were rekindled by Obama and Hillary and such like. The supposed "race problem" was, according to them, the worst problem that we faced and without a quick and sweeping resolution only major trouble would be in our future. Instead of solving the problem that they imagined, their efforts served to inflame those on the fringe to a new and seemingly insurmountable level that found it's origin in hatred. To this day the hatred these two hold for those who have not succumbed to their babblings is easy to see. They manufacture imagined "problems" and offer untenable solutions for those that still retain some form of sanity. These, too, will meet a timely and righteous judgment from the Judge they hate, the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the other current day sins of choice by a growing number is that of sodomy and homosexual lusts. It's not just those who readily, willingly, and openly participate in this abomination, but it is those who accommodate them, make excuses for them, and encourage them to continue on in their quest to bring their form of insanity upon the whole world, thus making the rest of the world just as nuts as they are. Their 'appeal' is in the playing of the victim card, they have been so 'mistreated' by those evil straight people that they are now contemplating suicide (or some such nonsense as that). Who would dare to fight against the underdog? Why, that's just un-American! If one buys into this lie then they have you right where they want you, you are now their servant and you will do all their bidding. If you vacillate on this then take the time to imagine just what it is that sodomites do to one another and remember also what the Lord says about such people, not just that they are an abomination in His sight, but no such person practicing sodomy or any of it's off-shoots will be found in His Presence, or in His Heaven, only those who repented and forsaken this evil will be found with Him (1Cor.6:9-11).

The first "and God gave them up" of Rom. 1:24 resulted in these people dishonoring their own bodies. A man dishonors his own body when he lays with a harlot; much more when he lays with another man. But he does not see it like that because he is burning in his lusts for the strange flesh of another male. In similar fashion as the new craze is to change one's gender (atleast in the fantasy world) it only shows the disdain one has for himself and the God that created him either male of female. Oh, they may never come right out and say "I hate myself" but their actions betray their silence and the One who sees the heart and knows all is not fooled. "Gender reassignment surgery" is the same thing as taking a knife and slicing yourself on the arms, legs, or any other body part; it is a sign of self-hatred, it is also a sign of demonic possession. The "Gadarene Demonic" (Mark 5:1-20) cut himself (V.5); Luke (8:26-39) tells he was naked, in the tombs, (public nudity and being with the dead are also demonic activities), but when Jesus was finished casting out the 2000+/- demons he was found sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and IN HIS RIGHT MIND. These "transgender" dreamers have quite literally give themselves to satan, who can only emulate and produce hate and cause people to destroy themselves. Make no mistake about it, the changing of one's sexual organs and/or the claim to be a "gender" other than that with which one came out of their mother's womb will turn to dust when they face the Judge on the Last Day. He will judge them according to what He made them, by their words, thoughts, actions, and desires. There will be no escape, nor "pulling the wool" over God's eyes.

Sadly, America is feeding on hatred on too many levels. It has permeated ever fabric of our life, down to what has been called the bedrock of civilization: the family. Horror story after horror story can be recounted and who is it that has not this evil first hand, some multiple times over with no end in sight? As best as I can determine the beginning of this I believe it began when family members faced no consequences for their actions to others of their group, but were excused, some even praised, but always passed over and hidden from sight and especially conversion were their inexcusable actions and words. This is the same ploy of the wicked one successfully used by him throughout his existence (but it does not fly with God). May the Lord help His elect with His more than sufficient grace to see them through the episodes of hatred directed toward them, whatever the source. Thank You for being an ever present help in time of need.

Thank God for those He has chosen not to leave to their own devices, their own lusts, their own cherished sins and to deliver us from the world's hatred. He has lifted us up in Christ, and one day soon enough we shall see Him Face to face. Lord Jesus come.

Friday, January 25, 2019

the torments of hell

(Brian Schwertley, "The Biblical Doctrine of Hell Examined")

"The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment . . ." Luke 16:22-23

The doctrine of eternal punishment is probably the most unpopular, hated and feared teaching in the entire Bible. The thought of people burning in Hell for eternity is most repugnant to the human mind.

Yet in spite of the terrifying nature of the doctrine, and in spite of the fact that people find the idea of everlasting torment revolting, the strongest support of the doctrine comes from the lips of Jesus Christ. Think of it: the most terrifying imagery and detailed descriptions of Hell are found in the discourses of the Redeemer! Jesus continually warned men and women of the danger of going to Hell. Jesus Christ, who foretold that He would come again to judge the entire human race, spoke more about Hell and its terrors than all the prophets and apostles combined. To ignore and disregard the clear teaching of Jesus, is to deny Christ.

The Bible sets before us many differing aspects of the torments in Hell as a warning. The torments of Hell help us to understand how much God hates sin. Oh what dreadful torments await those who die without Christ!

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in Hell." Matthew 10:28

"They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!" Matthew 13:42

"Then He will say to those on His left: Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!" Matthew 25:41

With God is terrible majesty

I listened to this sermon twice - it really is excellent

The danger of Christian complacency

 by J. C. Ryle

The times require distinct and decided views of Christian doctrine. I cannot withhold my conviction that the professing Church is as much damaged by laxity and indistinctness about matters of doctrine within, as it is by skeptics and unbelievers without. Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with color–blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange and heterogeneous his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. The only positive thing about them is that they dislike distinctiveness and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong!
 These people live in a kind of mist or fog. They see things unclearly, and do not know what they believe. They have not made up their minds about any great point in the Gospel, and seem content to be honorary members of all schools of thought. For their lives they could not tell you what they think is truth about justification, or regeneration, or sanctification, or the Lord's Supper, or baptism, or faith or conversion, or inspiration, or the future state. They are eaten up with a morbid dread of controversy and an ignorant dislike of party spirit; and yet they really cannot define what they mean by these phrases. And so they live on undecided; and too often undecided; they drift down to the grave, without comfort in their religion, and, I am afraid, often without hope.
 The explanation of this boneless, nerveless, jelly–fish condition of soul is not difficult to find. To begin with, the heart of man is naturally in the dark about religion—has no intuitive sense of truth—and really needs instruction and illumination. Besides this, the natural heart in most men hates exertion in religion, and cordially dislikes patient, painstaking inquiry. Above all, the natural heart generally likes the praise of others, shrinks from collision, and loves to be thought charitable and liberal. The whole result is that a kind of broad religious "agnosticism" just suits an immense number of people, and specially suits young persons. They are content to shovel aside all disputed points as rubbish, and if you charge them with indecision, they will tell you: "I do not pretend to understand controversy; I decline to examine controverted points. I dare say it is all the same in the long run"—Who does not know that such people swarm and abound everywhere?
 Now I do beseech all to beware of this undecided state of mind in religion. It is a pestilence which walketh in darkness, and a destruction that wasteth at noonday. It is a lazy, idle frame of soul which, doubtless, saves man the trouble of thought and investigation but it is a frame of soul for which there is no warrant in the Bible. For your own soul's sake, dare to make up your mind what you believe, and dare to have positive, distinct views of truth and error. Never, never be afraid to hold decided doctrinal opinions; and let no fear of man and no morbid dread of being thought party–spirited, narrow, or controversial, make you rest contented with a bloodless, boneless, tasteless, colorless, lukewarm, undogmatic Christianity.
 Mark what I say. If you want to do good in these times, you must throw aside indecision, and take up a distinct, sharply–cut, doctrinal religion. If you believe little, those to whom you try to do good will believe nothing. The victories of Christianity, wherever they have been won, have been won by distinct doctrinal theology; by telling men roundly of Christ's vicarious death and sacrifice; by showing them Christ's substitution on the cross, and His precious blood; by teaching them justification by faith, and bidding them believe on a crucified Savior; by preaching ruin by sin, redemption by Christ, regeneration by the Spirit; by lifting up the brazen serpent; by telling them to look and live—to believe, repent, and be converted. This—this is the only teaching which for centuries God had honored with success, and is honoring at the present day both at home and abroad.
It is doctrine—doctrine, clear, ringing doctrine which, like the ram's horn at Jericho casts down the opposition of the devil and sin. Let us cling to decided doctrinal views, whatever some may please to say in these times, and we shall do well for ourselves, well for others, and well for Christ's cause in the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Beware of the love of money

Let us beware of the love of money! 

(J.C. Ryle)

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21 

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!" Mark 10:25 

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:10 

Let us beware of the love of money! It is possible to use money well, and do good with it. But for each one who makes a right use of money, there are thousands who make a wrong use of it, and do harm both to themselves and others. 

Let the worldly man, if he will, make an idol of money, and count him happiest who has most of it. 

But let the Christian, who professes to have "treasure in Heaven," set his face like a flint against the spirit of the world in this matter. Let him not worship gold. He is not the best man in God's eyes who has most money, but he who has most grace and likeness to Jesus.

"Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread." Proverbs 30:8 

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Conditions in the past

by Arthur W. Pink
When the superiority and supremacy of the bishop of Rome was acknowledged by the other bishops (at the beginning of the 7th century), the papacy rapidly developed and dominated the whole of Christendom. Romanism was a strange combination of Judaism and Paganism, thinly veiled by a Christian nomenclature. Idolatrous in doctrine, corrupt in practice, withholding from the people the pure Word of God, and making its appeal to the lusts of the flesh, millions of adherents were secured, but at the cost of quenching the Spirit. Most significant is it that men from within her own pale testified to Rome’s duplicity and wickedness. We quote from one such witness in the 11th century. “Woe to this generation which hath the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. If indeed that should be called hypocrisy, which now through its prevalence cannot be hid, and through its impudence seeks not to be hid. At present, rottenness and corruption affects the whole body of the Church, and the wider it spreads, the more desperate; and the more inwardly it spreads the more dangerous; for if an heretic, an open enemy, should rise up, he would be cast out; if a violent enemy, she (i.e., the Church), would perhaps conceal herself from him. But now, whom shall the Church cast out? or whom shall she hide herself from? All are friends, and all are enemies; all are in mutual connection as relations, yet in mutual contests as adversaries; all are fellow-members of one family, yet none are promoters of peace; all are neighbours, yet all are seekers of their own things; by profession servants of Christ, in reality they serve Antichrist; they make an honourable figure by the good things they have received from the Lord, while, at the same time, they give no honour to the Lord” (Bernard, sermon 33 on Canticles).
After the rise and domination of Romanism there followed what has been aptly termed “the Dark Ages,” for that Word of God which is to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, was publicly put out. Nevertheless, from the 7th to the 14th centuries God by no means left Himself without witnesses on earth. Claude in Italy and Gootschalk (old German for “the servant of God”) in Saxony preached the doctrine of grace in the 9th century. In the 11th century the Waldenses were active in evangelism all through the Alps. In England such men as Bede, King Alfred the Good, Anselm and Bradwardine (archbishops of Canterbury) in the 11th and 14th centuries and Wycliffe are well-known names. Peter Lombard and John Husse in Bohemia were mighty instruments in the hands of God long before the days of Luther and Calvin.
It is unnecessary for us to write about the grand Reformation of the 16th century, but it will be pertinent to give one brief quotation to show the almost incredible vileness of human nature as evidenced in the awful persecution to which the people of God were then subjected. Foxe’s book of Martyrs chronicles the murderous deeds of Rome in this country, but it is not so well-known what wholesale butchery took place in France. In his “History of Redemption,” Jonathan Edwards (a most cautious writer) says, “It is reckoned that about this time (1572) within thirty years there were martyred in France for the Protestant religion, 39 Princes, 148 Counts, 2,346 Barons, 147,518 Gentlemen, and 760,000 of the common people.” Were such a colossal tragedy to occur today how “students of prophecy” would make capital out of it! We spare our readers’ feelings by refraining from a detailed account of the barbarous methods employed in torture—far worse than any we have read that the Bolshevists use.
What we are now more concerned with is to observe the ebb of the Reformation tide and the rapid decay of piety which soon followed. “Go through all places, it shall be found that scarce one of a thousand in his dealings makes conscience of a lie: a great part of men get their wealth by fraud and oppression, and all kinds of unjust and unmerciful dealings...This doth appear to be true, by the practice and behaviour of men on the Lord’s day: if the number of those which come to hear God’s Word were compared with those which run about their worldly wealth and pleasure, I fear me the better sort would be found to be a little handful to a large heap, or as a drop to the ocean in respect of the other...Like to him (Herod) are many in these days, which gladly desire to hear the Gospel of Christ preached, only because they would hear speech of some strange things, laying aside all care and conscience to obey that which they hear. Yea, many in England delight to read the strange histories of the Bible, and therefore can rehearse the most part of it, yet come to the practice of it, the same persons are commonly found as bad in life and conversation, or rather worse than others...A rare thing it is to find the virtue of fidelity in the world now a-days: who is he that makes conscience of a lie? and is not truth banished out of our coasts?” (W. Perkins, 1595, Vol. 1, pp. 129, 154, 201, 275).
“Our lives shame us: open and manifest iniquities proclaim us unthankful. Fraud in our homes, drunkenness in our streets, oppression in our fields, adulteries in corners, corruption on benches...Irreligious and profane: other times have been notable for this, ours is notorious; the lusts of the flesh, if ever, are now manifest. Drunkenness reels in the streets, gluttony desires not to be housed. Bribery opens his hand to receive in the very courts. Robbery and murder swagger in the highways. Whoredom begins to neglect curtains, and grows proud of its impudence” (Thomas Adams, 1605, Vol. 1, pp. 131, 145).
“In 1623 Charles the First revived his father’s edict for allowing sports and recreations on Sunday to such as attended public worship, and he ordered his proclamation for that purpose to be read by the clergy after Divine service. Those who were puritanically affected refused obedience, and were suspended or deprived. Such encouragement and protection which the king and the bishops gave to wakes, church-ales, bride-ales, and other church festivals of the common people, were objects of scorn to the Puritan” (Hume the historian). There are few indeed today who have any conception of the fearful profligacy of that monarch’s court, the open immoralities which obtained in high places, the corruption of the law-courts, and the wickedness which abounded among the common people.
The servants of God who faithfully reproved and rebuked were no more popular then than they are now. Those who have uncompromisingly denounced wickedness, bade their hearers or readers repent of it, and threatened the everlasting wrath of God if they did not, have ever been unwelcome—thorns in the side of all who hate to have their consciences searched. “If a preacher reproves sin, he is thought to do it out of harshness or to be too bitter and uncharitable, and they say he should preach God’s love and mercy. Reprehension of sin is most condemned and least esteemed. But let a preacher preach dark mysteries and curious inventions, or odd conceits, and he will be widely welcomed” (Henry Smith, 1590, Vol. 2, p. 213).
In his comments upon “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness” (James 4:9), Thomas Manton (1660) said, “Frothy spirits love their pleasure and ease: ‘The fool’s heart is in the House of mirth’ (Eccl. 7:4). A loose, garish spirit doth not love to converse with mournful objects, or to be pressed to mourning duties. It showeth how instant and earnest we should be in pressing such duties as these: ‘weep,’ ‘mourn,’ ‘be afflicted.’ It is one of the fancies now in fashion that men would be altogether honeyed and oiled with grace; the wholesome severities of religion are distasteful. Some that would be taken for Christians of the highest form, are altogether prejudiced against such a doctrine as this is, and think we are legal when we press humiliation. How may the poor ministers of the Gospel go to God, and say as Moses did, ‘The children of Israel have not hearkened unto me, how then shall Pharaoh hear me?’ Lord, the professors will not brook such doctrine as this is, how shall we hope to prevail with the poor, blind, carnal world? Certainly it is very sad that that which was wont to be a badge of profaneness, men should now adopt it into their religion. I mean, scoffing at doctrines of repentance and humiliation” (Vol. 14, p. 374).
How shocked and saddened we are by what we now behold in the rising generation: their dislike of work, their mad craze for pleasure, their chaffing at all restraint. Yet the profligacy of youth and the present-day immodesty of the female sex, is no new thing. No, not even the modern craze of women bobbing their hair. Writing in 1620, Thomas Fuller, the Church Historian, said, “We see so many women so strangely disguised with fantastic fashions, yea, so many of them affecting man-like clothes and shorn hair, it is hard to discern the sex of a woman through the attire of a man.”
“I have often marveled at your youth, and said in my heart, What should be the reason that they should be so generally at this day debauched as they are? For they are now profane to amazement; and sometimes I have thought one thing, and sometimes another. At last I have thought of this: How if God, whose ways are past finding out, should suffer it to be so now, that He might make of some of them the more glorious saints hereafter? I know sin is of the Devil, but it cannot work in the world without permission; and if it happens to be as I have thought, it will not be the first time that the Lord hath caught Satan in his own design. For my part, I believe the time is at hand that we shall see better saints in the world than have been seen for many a day. And this vileness, that at present does so much swallow up our youth, is one cause of my thinking so” (John Bunyan, about 1655, out of “The Jerusalem Sinner Saved”).
In the account of her experiences, Mrs. Brine, wife of John Brine, minister at Cripplegate, wrote, “Thus I went on near fifteen years of age, about which time (A.D. 1700) it pleased God to awaken me, and bring me to consider what state I was in. One night, being in my usual manner at play with my companions, and hearing them sware at a sad rate, taking the Lord’s name in vain in almost every sentence they spoke; this I thought was not right in them, though I myself had much ado to keep from bad expressions” (from the collected writings of J. Brine, Vol. 1, p. 544). “Were children and youth ever more disposed to despise and abuse pious parental instruction, than at this day?” (about 1760). “Where is pious, parental instruction and faithfulness more despised and abused than in this place? Is there scarcely a pious child or youth to be found, even in religious families?” (Sermons of Nathaniel Emmons, Vol. 2, p. 122, Franklin, Mass., U.S.A.).
“Some of old thought that because they could cry, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,’ that therefore they were delivered, or had dispensation to do the abominations which they committed. For who (say they) have a right to the creatures, if not Christians, if not church members? and from this conclusion, let go the reins of their inordinate affections after pride, gluttony, pampering themselves without fear, daubing themselves with the lust-provoking fashions of the times; to walk with stretched out necks, naked breasts, frizzled foretops, wanton gestures, in gorgeous apparel” (John Bunyan from the “Barren Fig Tree”). “The Apostle biddeth the women to cover their heads because of the angels” (1 Cor. 11:10), their fashion being to come into the congregation with loose disheveled locks; he mindeth them of the presence of the angels. We may use a like argument to women to cover their naked breasts, now their immodesty is grown so impudent as to out-face the ordinances of God” (Manton, Vol. 5, p. 250).
Today the godly are grieved by the lack of reality and genuineness in so many bearing the name of Christ—bemoaning the fact that so very few who claim to believe His Gospel give evidence in their daily lives that they have taken His yoke upon them. But the abounding of empty professors is no new thing, as the following quotations will show. “In this respect may these also be called ‘the outward court,’ who with impudence do arrogate to themselves the name of the Church, and under that name do in some places cast out the true worshippers; and who, by reason of their number—the best congregations of the first Reformation consisting of many more apparently bad than good—and many of those churches having none but men unregenerate” (Thomas Goodwin, about 1680, Vol. 3, p. 126).
“This is that apostasy which the Christian world groans under at this day (about 1660), and which, as is it is to be feared, will bring the judgments of God upon it. The very profession of piety is much lost, yea, much derided amongst many. . . Duties of holiness, strictness of conversation, communication unto edification are not only neglected, but scorned. It is in many places a lost labour to seek for Christianity among Christians; and the degeneracy seems to be increasing every day” (John Owen, Vol. 17, p. 475). “How few among the many, yea, among the swarms of professors, have heart to make conscience of walking before God in this world, and to study His glory among the children of men! How few, I say, have His name lying nearer their hearts than their own carnal concerns! Nay, do not many make His Word, His name, and His ways, a stalking-horse to their own worldly advantages? God calls for faith, good conscience, moderation, self-denial, humility, heavenly-mindedness, love to saints, and to enemies, and for conformity in heart and life to His will: but where is it?” (John Bunyan from “The Strait Gate”). “In those who enjoy the Gospel, profess the embracement of it, and yet continue unfruitful, none of all this appears. The world may make use of such barren souls as arguments that the Gospel is no such excellent doctrine, has no such Divine power or efficacy, produces no such desirable effects. For why? No such thing is visible in the temper of multitudes who profess that they believe it. They are but like other men, and exceed not many who were never acquainted with the Gospel: no more humble, no more holy, no more self-denying, no more public-spirited, no more heavenly-minded, no more mortified as to many lusts and passions, no more crucified to the world as to the riches, delights, and splendour of it, no more candid and sincere in dealings, no more merciful, no more active to do good in the world, no more fruitful in good works; and where is then the singular excellency and power of the Gospel? The light of nature has been effectual in some to restrain them from those enormities, from which many that enjoy the Gospel abstain not. O what dishonourable reflections doth this cast upon the glorious Gospel of Christ” (David Clarkson, 1680, Vol. 2, p. 397).
“We seem to grow weary of the name of Christ; and in the end of time mockers and atheistical spirits swarm everywhere; and the holy, meek, sober, humble, heavenly spirit seemeth to be banished out of the Christian world, but that a few broken-hearted souls keep it up. Partialities and sects are countenanced, while unquestionable duties are little regarded, except by those few who have the courage to live in a counter-motion to the practices of a loose age, by their holiness and serious regard to the hopes of another world” (Thomas Manton, Vol. 15, p. 309). “Our times may very justly be esteemed ‘perilous’ —difficult, troublesome, and dangerous; for many, who are of the religious profession, are manifestly under the influence of such vices as the Apostle in that place (2 Tim. 3) enumerates. Some are captivated by one, and others by other vices...In my opinion, they who make pretences to religion in words but in their behaviour are any way irregular, are the most dangerous companions a good man can intimately converse with— because he may be tempted to think that there is not much evil in this or that irregular practice through a charitable judgment he forms of the persons addicted to those practices . . .
“We have lost the chief glory of the Reformation, and the very life and soul of popery greatly flourishes amongst us, to our great scandal and the satisfaction of the Romanists. This is the dreadful condition of a multitude of those who pass under the denomination of Protestant Dissenters; and what will be the issue of these things, the Lord only knows . . . But few are careful to keep up family worship. There is reason to fear that it is very rarely practiced by many who would be thought to be Christians. The late hours of our clubs, which call for our attendance almost every evening, will not allow us time to give God thanks for the mercies of the day, to confess our sins to Him, and entreat His protection in the night in the presence of our children and servants. If worship is performed in the family at all, it is on the evening of the Lord’s Day, when alehouses cannot enjoy our company with any decency. This was not always the case; Professors formerly did not behave themselves in this manner; we are much degenerated in our conduct” (John Brine, about 1740, Vol. 1, pp. 306, 7, 14, 27).
“The Apostle Paul complained of professors who walked not according to the Gospel. There has been occasion for the same complaint ever since; but never more than the present. Many walk at this day who make some profession of Christ and yet never attain to any steadfastness, but are tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine; and at last come to nothing. Others, pretending to be better settled, attain to some form of godliness, but are without the life and power of it; they appear to have some notions about the way of righteousness, but not being taught them of God, nor ever brought under the mighty influence of them their walk is very uneven, and generally in the end brings great scandal upon the name and cause of Christ. We have also many at this day who set out in the ways of religion who never felt the plague of their own hearts; these are commonly very confident and presumptuous; they make a shining profession and go on with great parade until they be tried, and then, in the time of temptation, they fall away” (William Romaine, about 1770, “The Walk of Faith,” p. 4).
“With all the preaching and printing ‘tis but few indeed who know Christ and the power of His resurrection. I have been, you are, tried to the heart, to see how few know Him and have their minds enlightened by the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Yet so it is, but here and there a person is really taken with the Lord” (S.E. Pierce’s Letters, 1796). “There are but few who have their minds enlightened so as to see the worth and beauty of the Lord Jesus. You may very easily discern it in conversation with the generality of professors: to get money is more with very many than to converse with Christ” (Ibid. 1808). “In some places I have found those who are alive to these great things, but the state of the Church of Christ is very low: truth very little known, less beloved and received than is commonly apprehended; anything and everything seems to go down except the truth as it is in Jesus. It is a great honour to live in such times as the present, when sin is rampant, and errors and heresies of all sorts abound—because the grace of God in preserving the feet of His saints, in keeping them alive in Christ, and delivering them from making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience, is the more clearly evidenced” (Ibid. 1820).
There is nothing more outstanding today in the sad state of Christendom than the abounding of empty professors (those with a non-saving or dead faith), and as so many suppose that this is a certain precursor of the Great Apostacy which will mark the terminal of this age, we give further quotations to show that identically the same feature has prominently marked other generations in the past. “Christ is a Lord to command us to walk in the way of life. The fault of our times is that multitudes profess Christ, yet many allow of no Christ but of their own devising, namely, a Christ that must be a Saviour to deliver from Hell, but not a Lord to command them; that they cannot brook...Faith was never more professed, yet there was never less true faith” (Perkins, Vol. 2, pp. 163, 230). And this, be it noted, was in the palmy days of the Reformation!
“These are days wherein we have as sad and tremendous examples of apostasy, backsliding, and falling from high and glorious pitches in profession, as any age can parallel. As many washed swine returning to their mire, and as many Demases going after the present evil world, and men going out from the church which were never truly and properly of it, as many sons of the morning and children of high illumination and gifts sitting in darkness, and that of all sorts; as ever in so short a space of time since the name of Christ was known upon the earth. What through the deviating of some to the ways of the world, and the lusts of the flesh; what of others, to spiritual wickedness and abominations; it is seldom that we see a professor to hold out in the glory of his profession to the end” (John Owen, Vo1. 6, p. 123).
“It were enough to excite a smile if the subject was not too serious for laughter, to behold the seeming zeal with which numbers in the present day (A.D. 1800) are hastening to convert others, many of whom, it is to be feared, were never converted themselves; and to hear the indignation expressed by many against infidels, who, as far as relates to any saving work of grace wrought upon their own souls, are no less infidels under a different bearing. All such Christians are Christians only by system. Their creed is derived from their fathers, and is either the effect of habit or education” (Robert Hawker, Vol. 7, p. 500). As it is now, so it was then; as it was then, so it is now—thousands of nominal Christians engaged in “personal” and “missionary” work, who are ignorant of some of the most rudimentary principles of the Faith, working merely in the energy of the flesh.
How the true servant of God bemoans the lack of response today unto faithful preaching, the stolid indifference of his hearers: neither the terrors of the Law nor the attractions of the Gospel making any impression. Elderly evangelists are complaining how much rarer genuine conversions are now than they were thirty years ago. But this is no new thing. “This age is miserable if we regard the practice of faith and repentance which God requireth: for men live in ignorance, without knowledge, they go on in looseness of life without reformation, which is both odious to God and scandalous to men; not one in an hundred turn to God at the preaching of His Word, renewing his ways by daily repentance” (Perkins, Vol. 3, p. 249). “How many have melting hearts when they hear God blasphemed and the religion of Christ wronged? How few are there that yield to the motions of the Spirit! We may take up a wonderful complaint of the hardness of men’s hearts in these days, who never tremble at the Word of God. Neither His promises, nor threatenings, nor commands, will melt their hearts” (R. Sibbes, about 1630, Vol. 6, p. 40).
“We are fallen into times in which the thing and doctrine of it is forgotten and laid aside, in which there are multitudes of professors but few converts, many that seem to walk in the way of life, but never came in at the strait gate. There is a zeal amongst us to advance this or that reformation in religion, and it hath been all the cry. But, my brethren, where is regeneration called for or regarded? We have seen the greatest outward alterations that ever were in any age; kingdoms turned and converted into commonwealths, the powers of Heaven and earth shaken; but men, although they turn this way and that, from this or that way, from this opinion to that, yet their hearts generally turn upon the same hinges they were hung upon when they came into this world. In this University of Oxford we have had puttings out and puttings in, but where is putting off the old man and putting on the new? Where do we hear (as we did formerly) of souls carrying home the Holy Spirit from sermons, of their being changed and made new, and of students running weeping to their studies crying out ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ This was heretofore a common cry. Conversion is the only standing miracle in the Church, but I may truly say this miracle is well-nigh ceased; we hear of few of them” (Thomas Goodwin, 1670, Vol. 6, p. 157).
Nor is the low state of spirituality which now obtains so generally amongst those we have reason to believe are the Lord’s people, any new thing. “O that this union among saints was more conspicuous and evident. But with grief of heart be it spoken, little is to see of that, whilst much of that which is the opposite to it is everywhere too apparent. What schisms, rents, divisions are to be found even amongst the Lord’s people” (J. Jacombe, 1647, p. 55). “The English Christians heretofore were famous for their strict walking, constant communion with God, undaunted zeal, sweet experiences, holy conferences and communications, whereas now we meet with but such as are, like the vain men of Israel, of a light spirit, loose conversation; given to vain wranglings and disputes, more than to practicing a holy life, and measuring religion not so much by the power of godliness as by form and faction, and siding with parties” (Thomas Manton, Vol. 5, p. 424).
“We are departed from the Lord, and the Lord is in great measure departed from us. What a woeful withering wind has blown upon God’s vineyard in the land! We are fallen from our first love, our former zeal for God and His precious truths, and the royalties of our Redeemer’s crown. And is there not a lamentable decay as to the power and life of godliness, which has dwindled away into an empty form with the most? To conclude, it is not with the nobles, gentry, ministers, or people in Scotland, as once in a day it has been; and the worst of it is, that though it be so, though gray hairs are here and there upon us, yet we do not perceive it: we make our faces harder than a rock, and refuse to return to the Lord” (Eb. Erskine, about 1760, Vol. 1, p. 112).
“We live in a day when the love of many (of whom we would hope the best), is, at least, grown very cold. The effects of a narrow, suspicious, censorious and selfish spirit are but too evident amongst professors of the Gospel. If I were to insist at large upon the offenses of this kind which abound amongst us, I should seem almost reduced to the necessity either of retracting what I have advanced, or of maintaining that a great part (if not the greatest part) of those who profess to know the Lord, are deceiving themselves with a form of godliness, being destitute of its power: for though they may abound in knowledge and gifts, and have much to say upon the subject of Christian experience, they appear to lack the great, the inimitable, the indispensable criterion of true Christianity, a love to the brethren; without which all other seeming advantages and attainments are of no good” (John Newton, 1770, Vol. 1, p. 180). “Whether the present age be worse than others which have preceded it, I shall not determine [wise man!], but this is manifest, that it abounds not only in infidelity and profligacy, but with great numbers of loose characters among professing Christians. Even of those who retain a decency of character, many are sunk into a Laodicean lukewarmness” (Andrew Fuller, 1810, Vol. 4, p. 355).
Reference has previously been made to the fearful profligacy of the court of Charles the First, and the open wickedness which prevailed generally in this land throughout his reign. Under the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell conditions greatly improved, but after his demise (in 1658) and upon the enthronement of Charles the Second, the rivers of evil soon broke their banks, spreading moral desolation far and wide. “Few have any idea of the flood of ungodliness and profanity which characterized the reign of Charles II. It was not merely libertinism and the most unblushing profligacy which stalked abroad in open day, but the most avowed infidelity and coarsest profaneness. It was as if all Hell had broken loose; and as if ungodliness, chained up by the iron hand of Cromwell, would now take its full swing, and make ample amends for past deprivations. The Puritans, called so derisively from their purity of principle and conduct, were hooted down, and driven from society as disturbers of the public peace” (The Gospel Standard, 1852, p. 334).
“Alas, do not many prop up themselves in some earthly thing, as if there were no God in Israel to be sought unto; strengthening themselves in their own righteousness, as if there were no Mediator...I am sore afraid that most of the knowledge of God and Christ we have in this age (1670) is a mere notion of faith without value, like a ring without the diamond” (S. Charnock, Vol. 4, p. 58). In his dedication of George Swinnock’s “The Beauty of Magistracy,” Thomas Hall, addressing “All the prudent, zealous, and magnanimous Magistrates, Judges, and Gentry in England, Scotland, and Ireland, in September, 1659, began: ‘My Lords, and Gentlemen—The dedication of this treatise was intended for the Parliament, but that being dissolved, it most properly falls to you, who are, under God, the pillars of the state. Such is the corruption of the times we live in, that we are put to dispute every inch of the way with enemies of truth—Magistracy, ministry, Sabbaths, sacraments, Trinity, Scriptures: all things are now questioned, nothing believed or practiced by many’ ” (Swinnock’s Works, Vo1. 4, p. 147).
“How is this land filled with sin, yea, with the worst of sins, against the Holy One of Israel. Hell seems to be broken loose, and men try to exceed, and excel one another in all kinds of wickedness. Oh the scarlet sins that are now to be found under many scarlet robes! [Romanist Bishops.] Oh the black transgressions that are now to be found under many black cassocks! [Priests.] Oh the new-found oaths, the hellish blasphemies, the horrible filthiness, and abominable debaucheries that are committed daily in the face of the sun! How shameless, how senseless are sinners grown in these days! Sin everywhere now appears with a whore’s forehead. What open opposition does Christ meet with in His Gospel, offices, members, ways, worship, and works! How does all iniquity abound, and how bold and resolute are multitudes now in dishonouring of God, in polluting His ordinances, in destroying their own souls, and in treasuring up of wrath against the day of wrath (Rom. 2:5)! But the worse the times are, the better every Christian must labour to be; the more profane the age is wherein we live, the more holy must we endeavour to be” (T. Brooks, 1650, Vol. 4, p. 364).
“Wickedness like a flood is like to drown our English world; it begins already to be above the tops of the mountains; it has almost swallowed up all: our youth, our middle age, old age. O debauchery, debauchery, what hast thou done in England! Thou hast corrupted our young men, hast made our old men beasts; thou hast deflowered our virgins, and hast made numerous whores; thou hast made our earth to reel to and fro like a drunkard; it is in danger to be removed like a cottage; yea, it is, because transgression is so heavy upon it, like to ‘fall and rise no more’ (Isa. 24:20). O that I could mourn for England, and for the sins that are committed therein, even while I see that, without repentance, the men of God’s wrath are about to deal with us (Ezek. 9:1, 2). Well, I have written, and by God’s assistance shall pray, that this flood may abate in England; and could I but see the tops of the mountains above it, I should think these waters were abating. “It is the duty of those that can, to cry out against this deadly plague; yea, to lift up their voice as with a trumpet against it, that men may be awakened about it, fly from it, as from that which is the greatest evils. Sin pulled angels out of Heaven, pulls men down to Hell, and overthroweth kingdoms. Who that sees the land in danger, will not set the beacons on a flame? Who that sees the devils as roaring lions continually devouring souls, will not make an outcry? But above all, when we see sin, sinful sin, swallowing up a nation, sinking of a nation, and bringing its inhabitants to temporal; spiritual, and eternal ruin, shall we not cry out, ‘They are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink; they are intoxicated with deadly poison of sin, which will, if its malignity be not by wholesome means allayed, bring soul and body, estate and country, and all, to ruin and destruction’ ” (John Bunyan, 1660, from “The Life and Death of Mr. Badman”). And for such faithful witnessing Bunyan was cast into prison.
One of the saddest features of our day is the blatant and almost universal desecration of the Holy Sabbath. Yet other ages besides ours have been cursed with the same fearful sin. “Men make this their business: they will be rich, and hence it is they are not only unmerciful to themselves in wearing and wasting their own spirits with carking cares, but to such also as they employ; neither regarding the souls or bodies of men: scarce affording them the liberty of the Lord’s Day (as has been too common in our Newfoundland employments), or if they have it, yet they are so worn out with incessant labours that that precious time is spent either in sleep or idleness. It is no wonder God gives you more rest than you would have, since that day of rest hath been no better improved. This over-doing hath not been the least cause of our undoing” (John Flavell, 1660, Vol. 5, p. 272). It has long been our own conviction that the frequent spectacle of millions of artisans, in different countries, being out of work, is a Divine judgment for so much labour upon His day.
“In these late years how has profaneness, like a flood, broke in upon us on the Lord’s Day! And therefore it highly concerns all the profaners of God’s Sabbath to lay their hands upon their hearts, and to say, The Lord is righteous, the Lord is righteous, though He has laid our habitations desolate. Who is so great a stranger in our English Israel as not to know that God was more dishonoured on the Sabbath, within and without the walls of London, than He was in all the other six days of the week? and therefore let us not think it strange that such a fire (the terrible fire of London in 1666) was kindled on that day as has reduced all to ashes. What antic habits did men and women put on, on this day! What frothy, empty discourses and intemperance was to be found at many men’s tables this day! How were ale-houses, stews, and Moorfields filled with debauched sinners this day! No wonder then if London be laid desolate” (Thomas Brooks, 1667, Vol. 6, p. 114).

We are not unmindful of the fact that some evilly-minded persons may be inclined to turn to a wrong use of what has been advanced, making the same a cloak for their own carnality, arguing that they are no worse, nay, not so bad as many who lived in by-gone days. Nor must Christians persuade themselves that they are obliged to swim with the tide, that in view of the degeneracy of our days it cannot be expected that they should be as godly and fruitful as if they had lived during a time of spiritual revival. Let each of us earnestly endeavour to take to heart and turn into fervent prayer those timely words of Thomas Brooks, “The worse the times are, the better every Christian must labour to be; the more profane the age wherein we live, the more holy must we endeavour to be.”

Nor are we unmindful of another danger. In discovering that the evils of our decadent age are but fresh outbursts of those moral and spiritual diseases which have often plagued previous generations, we lose or lessen our horror and sorrow over the wickedness which now stalks through the world. May God graciously deliver us from stoical indifference at the sad sights which now stare us in the face on every hand. God has promised a special blessing to those who “sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done” in our land (Ezek. 9:4). Let us seek to drink more deeply into the spirit of Him who wept over Jerusalem. Finally, let us marvel and adore the infinite patience of Him who “bears with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Fie on thee O silly heart!

“Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?” Ezekiel 15:2

 These words are for the humbling of God’s people; they are called God’s vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God’s goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord hath trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to his glory; but what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them? O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that thou hast no ground for it. Whatever thou art, thou hast nothing to make thee proud. The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God; and thou shouldst not be proud of that which renders thee a debtor. Consider thine origin; look back to what thou wast. Consider what thou wouldst have been but for divine grace. Look upon thyself as thou art now. Doth not thy conscience reproach thee? Do not thy thousand wanderings stand before thee, and tell thee that thou art unworthy to be called his son? And if he hath made thee anything, art thou not taught thereby that it is grace which hath made thee to differ? Great believer, thou wouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O thou who art valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon thee. Therefore, be not proud, though thou hast a large estate—a wide domain of grace, thou hadst not once a single thing to call thine own except thy sin and misery. Oh! strange infatuation, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, shouldst think of exalting thyself; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, one who hath a life which dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud! Fie on thee, O silly heart!

C.H. Spurgeon

Monday, January 21, 2019

Hold your peace

Three days before he was killed at Airsmoss {July 18, 1680} because of the gospel he preached, Pastor Richard Cameron preached from Psalm 46 and made this statement: "Be still and know that I am God."
This text forbids us to quarrel or murmur against God. All of us need to be afraid of this. Beware of it; for it is a dreadful thing to find fault with God's dealings with us or to say unto Him, 'What doest Thou?' It is a good account of Aaron that when God destroyed his sons, AARON HELD HIS PEACE. Let us then (while we bear the yoke) sit still and keep silence and put our mouth in the dust. God gives no account of His matters to anyone. There are so many things we cannot see through nor understand; but the Lord is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."

Henry Mahan

The gospel of grace

The same gospel of the grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ, which saves sinners, also sanctifies them and makes them obedient sons. A faith which does not produce obedience to God's word and godliness of character is not saving faith at all.
Spurgeon once said, "There was no need for special conventions and camp meetings on 'sanctification and holiness' until preachers left the gospel of sovereign grace and arminian message and methods prevailed in evangelism." The Westminster Confession teaches, "Faith is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces.'"
The Calvinistic message of God's electing love in Christ Jesus has produced generations of serious, God-fearing and persevering, obedient lovers of Christ and one another; for it is by that love for Christ, His word, and His people that we know that we have "passed from death unto life," and by which we make "our calling and election sure."

Henry Mahan

Sunday, January 20, 2019

My heart bleeds

"My heart bleeds for America! There is a deep laid plot against your civil and religious liberties--and they will be lost. Your golden days are at an end. You have nothing but trouble before you. Your liberties will be lost!" (George Whitefield, 1764)--- spoken just before Great Britain passed the sugar act following the seven years' war.  With that said, these words are still relevant in our day. 

They will not endure sound doctrine

(Arthur Pink1886-1952)

"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of His appearing and His kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths!" 2 Timothy 4:1-4 

That time has arrived! Church-goers today will not endure sound doctrine. Those who . . . 
  preach the total depravity of man, 
  insist upon the imperative necessity of the new birth, 
  set forth the inflexible righteousness and holiness of God, and warn against the eternal and conscious torment awaiting every rejecter of Christ, find it almost impossible to obtain a hearing. Such preachers are regarded as puritanic pessimists, and are not wanted. 

In these degenerate times, the masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road! The multitude is affected with itching ears which crave novelty and that which is sensational. They have ears which wish to be tickled, ears which eagerly drink in the songs of professional and unsaved soloists and choristers, ears which are well pleased with the vulgar slang of our modern evangelists!

The things which are now done in so many churches--the socials, the fund-raisers, the bazaars, the concerts, the moving picture shows and other forms of entertainment--what are these but idolatrous commercialization of these houses of prayer! No wonder that such places are devoid of spirituality and strangers to the power of God. The Lord will not tolerate an unholy mixture of worldly things with spiritual.

"Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father's house into a marketplace!" John 2:16 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Is Isaiah 55:1 an invitation to 'all'?

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1

Is this an 'invitation' to all sinners as so many try and claim? Let's take a closer look.

The word 'ho' is omitted from various translations like the NIV, ESV and Net bible, these are the more popular ones. This is a huge error, for this word is of great significance to the text. The word 'ho' is an interjection, designed to call attention to the subject as one of great importance. {A. Barnes commentary} . It calls attention to what follows.
Does this text address everyone, the whole world, every sinner ever born? It would appear not, for what follows narrows it down to who is being addressed, 'everyone that thirsteth'.  I will use cross references here to get a clearer understanding of who it is that thirsts, from Psalm 42:1,2, " To the chief Musician, Maschil, for the sons of Korah. As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" The only ones who pant and thirst after God are those He has called, those He saves.
A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is"  Psalm 63:1
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  John 7:37
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.  Rev. 22:17
None of the cross reference texts refer to an unregenerate sinner who is still dead in trespasses and sin, who love darkness more than light. It doesn't refer to those who haven't had the Spirit of God work in the heart, who haven't been drawn by God {John 6:44}.
David was a man after God's own heart. He was saved by grace.  He suffered a great trial and that suffering caused him to cry out to his God. We see no verses that speak of Pharaoh, a lost sinner, thirsting for God. Judas Iscariot never stated he thirsted after the Lord either.

Take note of Christ's words in John 7:37, first of all He directs His words toward a particular person/people, 'if any man thirst'.  Those who thirst are told to come to the waters, the fountain, all of which means Christ. BUT, you will only come IF you 'thirst'. This word indicates an intense desire, a great suffering of sort. No unregenerate sinner thirsts after the living God until the Spirit first does a work in the heart. It is impossible to thirst for something you have NO desire for.  I agree with Robert Hawker when he says "If they do but thirst for Jesus, it is a proof that he hath made them willing in the day of his power".
In Revelation 22:17 ask yourself who is being addressed? Those that hear, those that thirst, the whosoever, which means 'as many as'. Again, it speaks to a certain kind of person/people.

The word 'come' is a verb, in the imperative mood. This means the word is expressing a positive command or instruction, which is a far cry from a generalized 'invitation'. {source - }
The command/instruction is to those with an intense thirst  to come, buy and eat. No money is needed, for you cannot buy what is being stated. Knowing you have no money is key to understanding you cannot buy this living water. "None are so poor that they cannot procure it; none are so rich that they can purchase it with gold. If obtained at all by the poor or the rich, it must be without money and without price. " A. Barnes
You cannot earn it, you cannot work for it. Come poor, come broken, come knowing you are a beggar in need of being 'fed' by One greater than yourself.
"What is the qualification required in those that shall be welcome - they must thirst. All shall be welcome to gospel grace upon those terms only that gospel grace be welcome to them. Those that are satisfied with the world and its enjoyments for a portion, and seek not for a happiness in the favour of God, - those that depend upon the merit of their own works for a righteousness, and see no need they have of Christ and his righteousness, - these do not thirst; they have no sense of their need, are in no pain or uneasiness about their souls, and therefore will not condescend so far as to be beholden to Christ. But those that thirst are invited to the waters, as those that labour, and are heavy-laden, are invited to Christ for rest. Note, Where God gives grace he first gives a thirsting after it; and, where he has given a thirsting after it, he will give it". Matthew Henry
"Come, and buy wine and milk, which will not only quench the thirst” (fair water would do that), “but nourish the body, and revive the spirits.” The world comes short of our expectations. (1.) That the gifts offered us are invaluable and such as no price can be set upon. Wisdom is that which cannot be gotten for gold. (2.) That he who offers them has no need of us, nor of any returns we can make him. He makes us these proposals, not because he has occasion to sell, but because he has a disposition to give. (3.) That the things offered are already bought and paid for. Christ purchased them at the full value, with price, not with money, but with his own blood, 1Pe_1:19. (4.) That we shall be welcome to the benefits of the promise, though we are utterly unworthy of them, and cannot make a tender of any thing that looks like a valuable consideration. We ourselves are not of any value, nor is any thing we have or can do, and we must own it, that, if Christ and heaven be ours, we may see ourselves for ever indebted to free grace." M. Henry
Notice how this Gospel is given freely? We add not one thing to the equation; not our 'works', not our 'wills', any an all things of man are omitted from this command to come, buy, and eat.  All has been taken care of by Another. The grace of God saves sinners, and we add nothing to that. God forbid we attempt to share in His glory by thinking our will enables us to help get us saved,  or our works are ever worthy before a holy God that requires perfection!

  If you are athirst, if you hear, then continue on. Go to the Fountain, keep on the course you've been called to and drawn to. Stay moving on that narrow path that leads to the Gate of life. Enter through the true Gate. You will find Christ, you will find eternal life given freely to you at the cost of Another. Praise His holy name! He has made salvation possible for His people, and we lay ourselves in the dust in praise and adoration of what He has done.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

salvation from hell, or sin?

(Charles Spurgeon)

"You shall call His name Jesus--for He will save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:21 

The mere professor loves a salvation from Hell.

The true Christian loves a salvation from sin. 

Everyone desires to be saved from the bottomless pit--but only a child of God pants to be saved from every false way. We love the Gospel because it saves us . . .
  from selfishness,
  from pride,
  from lust,
  from worldliness,
  from bitterness,
  from malice,
  and from sloth.

"Because I consider all Your precepts to be right,I hate every wrong path." Psalm 119:128 


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Chance, accident, luck--or Divine Providence!

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid--you are worth more than many sparrows!" Matthew 10:29-31

Charles Spurgeon: "Blessed is that man who is done with chance, who never speaks of luck--but believes that from the least, even to the greatest, all things are ordained by the Lord. We dare not leave out the least event! The creeping of an aphid upon a rosebud is as surely arranged by the decree of Providence--as the march of a pestilence through a nation! Believe this, for if the least thing is omitted from the supreme government, so may the next be, and the next--until nothing is left in the divine hands. There is no place for chance, since God fills all things."

J.C. Ryle: "There is no such thing as chance, luck or accident in the Christian journey through this world. All is arranged and appointed by God. And all things are working together for the believer's good!"

Charles Spurgeon: "God's Providence not only extends to mankind in general, and to the beasts of the field, and the birds of the air, and the innumerable fish in the sea--but also to every atom of matter in the universe!"

Charles Spurgeon: "All things are ordained of God and are settled by Him, according to His wise and holy predestination. Whatever happens here on earth--happens not by chance, but according to the counsel of the Most High!"

Matthew Henry: "God who feeds the sparrows--will not starve His saints! God controls all the concerns of His people, even of those that are most minute, and least regarded. This is an encouragement to live in a continual dependence upon God's providential care! If God numbers our hairs, much more does He number our heads. He takes care of our lives, our needs, our concerns, and our souls. God's universal providence extends itself to all creatures, and to all their actions--even the smallest and most minute!"

Charles Spurgeon: "Providence may be seen as the finger of God, not merely in those events which shake nations and are duly emblazoned on the page of history--but in little incidents of common life. Yes, in the motion of a grain of dust, the trembling of a dew-drop, the flight of a swallow, or the movements of a fish!"

Charles Spurgeon: "We talk of God's providence when we have hairbreadth escapes. But are they not quite as much divine providences, when we are preserved from danger?"

Charles Spurgeon: "It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence--as the most momentous events! He who counts the stars--has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined--but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up."

Louis Berkhof: "Scripture everywhere teaches that even the minutest details of life are of divine ordering!"

Charles Spurgeon: "Jesus rules the whole world for the good of His people. All the arrangements of Providence are under His control. Nothing is done in the entire universe, without His command or His permission."

Charles Spurgeon: "The best remedy for affliction, is sweet submission to God's providence. What can't be cured, must be endured!"

J.C. Ryle: "If God has given His Son to die for us--let us beware of doubting His kindness and love in any painful providence of our daily life."

Charles Spurgeon: "Divine Providence is a downy pillow for an aching head--and a blessed salve for the sharpest pain. He who can feel that his times are in the hand of God--need not tremble at anything that is in the hand of man!"


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The world's pleasures are often curses in disguise

(John MacDuff, "Ripples in the Twilight" 1885)

"Jabez called on the God of Israel saying: 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed!'
So God granted him what he requested." 1 Chronicles 4:10 

There is much apparent good not worth calling by the name. What the world speaks of as blessings are, some of them, often worthless; and many of them are undoubtedly evil and detrimental. They are counterfeits--they do not bear upon them the coinage and currency of Heaven. Satan has disguised them--stamped them as true metal--while they are base alloy!

Let us leave our blessings, and the method of their bestowal, with the Giver of every good and perfect gift--into His hand committing our earthly all, with this prayer of intense fervor yet of simple faith, "Oh that You would bless me indeed!" I want nothing which the world calls a blessing, unless You think it proper for me. I want no shadows--no baubles. I do not ask for riches--they may be a snare to me. I do not ask for . . .
  the cup running over,
  the barns full,
  the fig-tree blossoming,
  the home-nest without the thorn.
These might alienate me from Yourself, and bind me only closer to earth!

I want blessings indeed. God, I am no judge of this. Whatever YOU give, will be a true blessing to me. And even if You take it away--I will strive to believe that the dark and painful dealing, is Your kindness to me also.

Yes, we repeat, the world's pleasures are often curses in disguise--like Cleopatra's viper, which was hidden in a basket of flowers. There is often . . .
  an adder lurking in the bed of roses,
  a fly in the ointment,
  poison in the wine-cup!

But the blessings of God are blessings bearing His own divine seal and signature. They may come . . .
  in frowning providences,
  in baffling dispensations,
  in strokes of the chastening rod.
For the present they may seem not joyous, but grievous. But I am content to be in His hands--joyful or sorrowful, in health or in sickness, living or dying. O my Father, give Your own blessing, and I shall bow my heart in submission; for I can only hear in it accents of paternal love!