Thursday, June 28, 2007

Forsaking All

Extract from a sermon by the late Rev. Donald MacFarlane, Dingwall, on Mark 10:28-30.

It is always the duty of those who would follow Christ to forsake sin, but it is sometimes the duty of those who would follow Him to forsake those things that are lawful for them to have. It is lawful enough for us to have a house to dwell in, and friends to associate with, such as brethren, sisters, mothers, wives, children, and lands; but when these come in competition with following Christ, we are bound to forsake them. In the history of the Church, there were times when the Lord's people did this, while others did not. At the time of the Disruption in 1843, the evangelical ministers, to the number of over 400, left their manses and churches for Christ and the Gospel ... In 1893 the same test was put on the Free Church that came out at the Disruption, and of all the ministers in the Free Church, it was only two who stood the test. There was a godly man in Strathspey, named William Grant, who predicted that there would be another Disruption in the Free Church. After speaking to the Question at Moy on the Friday of a communion, he asked leave to speak again, which was readily agreed to. He said that since he sat down it was revealed to him that this would be the last communion he would be at in the world, and that there was something on his mind, that he wished to tell them before he died, and that was that there would be another Disruption in the Free Church, and that of all the ministers in the Church only two would follow Christ and the Gospel, and that if he were alive he would be with them. When, we made a stand in defence of the truth it was told to a man who had heard William Grant's prediction, that the disruption which he predicted took place. The man said that if there were more than two ministers it could not be the disruption predicted by William Grant. He was told that there were only two ministers, and then he said he believed it was what William Grant spoke of. It was lawful enough for the two ministers to have churches and manses, but they left these for the sake of Christ and His Gospel. The ministers and the people who followed them parted not only with churches and manses, but also with friends and near relations with whom they were formerly associated. Families were divided, some following the truth, and others following error. This was foretold by our Saviour when He said: "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law . . . He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." We were blamed for causing divisions in families — it was Christ's work. He kept some to His truth and permitted others to forsake the truth. There was good reason for the disruption that took place in 1893. This was acknowledged by some who failed to stand in defence of the truth when the trial came. When errors were coming to a height in the Free Church, Dr. Aird of Creich said that the cause of the Disruption in 1843 was small as compared with the cause we have now to separate for from the so-called Free Church. It was only one doctrine that was denied in 1843, but now all the fundamental doctrines of the Bible were either ignored or denied; but when the trial came, Dr. Aird remained in the Church which he so strongly condemned.