Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Credit Crunch viewed from the right perspective

Terrible is the crisis through which the commercial world is passing. Fearful are the throes of mental anxiety now visible on the countenances of its ardent votaries. Next to the tnmnlt of the craftsmen at Ephesus is the commotion around the doors of some Banking Establishments. And there are faces not a few which vividly call up the visage of Micah, when he cried to the relentless spoilers — "Ye have taken away my gods which I have made, and what have I more?"

In regard to temporal things, commercial men are thrown into the deepest alarm by a monetary panic, which may affect their social position for the present or for life; and yet the same individuals can hear of eternal death without a passing emotion, or of eternal life without having the currents of thought changed for a single hour! How shall we account for such a difference of feeling, unless on the ground that Mammon occupies the chief place, and that those things which are seen and temporal lie nearer the heart than those things which are unseen and eternal! Such callous indifference could never be, were not the glory of man placed above the glory of God.

The present crisis must be ranged in the category of divine judgments. It is altogether out of the ordinary course of human experience. It bears the impress of offended Deity. It proclaims the wrath of the "Governor among the nations." The present calamity is not local, neither is it confined to any one class of the community. In this dread crisis, the rich and poor meet together. It is thus that the panic is transferred from the marts of merchandise to the hearths and homes of every family. It is this especially that marks the footsteps of national judgment.

We have no intention of showing what legislative or commercial wisdom might have done to avert the calamity; nor by what expedients the effects of this crisis may be most efficiently met. There is enough of this elsewhere — yea, so much, that the minds of men seldom rise above the instruments, forgetful that the God of Nations is the Author. “Shall there be evil in the city, and the Lord hath not done it?" There are three patent facts, and to these we solicit attention. There is national judgment. National judgment is the consequence of national sin. Escape from national judgment can only be realised by national repentance.

In tracing some of the more prominent causes of the present crisis, commercial immorality holds a distinguished place. By this, we mean the violation of those principles of right and wrong which ought to regulate the business intercourse of man with man, firm with firm, and nation with nation. In the world which God has made so good, there is enough for all. In the development of trade and commerce, there ¡s labour and remuneration for all. In the social relations there are channels opened up by which the bounties of Divine Providence may be distributed to all. It is man's perversion — and man's perversion alone — that deranges the moral machinery, and stops the wheels of social progress. It is thus, as in the present case, that a period of prosperity abused, hastens on the gloomy season of adversity. Prosperity tends to excite pride ; pride produces the desire for display and luxury; extravagance exhausts legitimate resources; while exhausted resources, with pride unsubdued, tempt to rash speculation on the one hand, or fraudulent transactions on the other. All these, with their accompanying evils, are the characteristics of the present age.

Is not the God of all the earth now saying, as of old — "Hear this, O ye that swallow up the poor and the needy, even to make the poor of the land fail. Saying, when will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit ? that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes ; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat." These things are not uncommon, and are lightly esteemed; but the least of them escapes not the eyes of the moral Governor; hence he adds — " The Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, surely I will never forget their works. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one that dwelleth therein? ... I will darken the earth in a clear day. And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation, and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head, and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day."

The bitter day has come.

The penalty of extravagance is ultimate penury. The old proverb holds true, that “wilful waste brings woeful want." It is unnecessary to expatiate on the effects of extravagance in maturing the corruptions of the heart — in widening and deepening the streams of human depravity ! These are fearfully manifest in the immorality of our most prosperous cities. These seem of old to have brought the destruction of Sodom. “Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters." Similar causes produce similar results, and the nation is now reaping the bitter fruits.

There is still another cause of divine judgment, which, though generally overlooked, is by no means the least in the bill of indictment — the robbery of God ! — the repudiation of the claims of Jehovah ! This seems to all beyond the pale of the Church, and, to the majority within her, a light crime; but viewed in the light of Revelation, it appears the heaviest of all. In the cases previously noticed, the frauds practised are between man and man. In this latter case, it is the defrauding of the Universal Proprietor. If sin is represented as of infinite demerit, because committed against an infinitely holy God, it must be apparent that the sin of robbing God is one of the most heinous, as committed against His infinite justice.

They are blind who cannot see that the sin of Israel in the time of Haggai is the sin of Britain and America at the present day, and the punishment then inflicted the penalty now required of both. “Is it a time for you, 0 ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste ? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts: Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink ; ye clothe you, but there is none warm ; and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes." Could anything be more descriptive of our present position? Vast speculations and bitter disappointments ; extensive schemes of ambition and sudden bankruptcy ; good wages and wasting immorality ; wealth acquired, but even the Banks have become as bags with holes ! “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little ; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it, saith the Lord of hosts." And why? "Because of mine house that is waste, and ye did run every man to his own house. Therefore the heaven over you is stayed from dew, and the earth is stayed from her fruit. And I called for drought upon the land, and upon the mountains, and upon the corn, and upon the wine, and upon the oil, and upon that which the ground bringeth forth, and upon men, and upon cattle, and upon all the labour of the hands." Is not this a moral portrait of the nation's guilt, and also of her punishment? Here, also, we have the germs of the punishment nursed in the corresponding transgression. Withholding from God His due, the mind becomes more and more estranged, and communities, like individuals, become “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." If men are unjust to God in regard to service, or the dedication of offerings, how can they be just to their fellow-men?

If righteous claims on the part of God are disregarded, where is the security that any man will regard the claims of his neighbour? The violation of the Sabbath, the neglect of ordinances, and the pursuit of carnal pleasure, have mined the foundations of our social morality; and hence nothing more is requisite than a general panic to cause the destruction of the channels of national sustenance!

Such we esteem the present crisis! Human foresight could not prevent it, and human sagacity cannot avert its consequences. It is the work of God; yea, the "strange work” of righteous retribution! The cause is moral, and so must the remedy also be. Space will not permit its full development, but we shall simply at present indicate some of its leading characteristics. If fraud is the parent of distrust, then all fraudulent maxims and practices must be abandoned. If reckless speculation is the ruin of commerce, it must be completely checked. If encouragement to bold speculators is unjust to the legitimate trader, then all facilities for the false-credit system must be explicitly discarded by our banking establishments. If pride and extravagance tend directly to ruin domestic comfort and arrest social progress, the former must be humbled, and the latter rigidly restrained. If disregard of the precepts of the first table of the moral law is the cause of such flagrant violations of the precepts of the second, all relations and enterprises and transactions must be conducted with a regard to the glory of God.

Finally, if the robbery of God is declared in His Word to be the cause of national judgments, these cannot be removed until the claims of Jehovah are fully recognised and honoured. These are His own terms in dealing with nations; and "woe be to those who coveting an evil covetousness," disregard them!"

This is as true now as when it was published 150 years ago in the ORIGINAL SECESSION MAGAZINE. JANUARY, 1858.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Whose Voice? The Emerging Church rewrite the Bible

A(nother) new version has been produced and is being promoted. The Voice New Testament. One doesn't need to comment much on this. It speaks for itself. It is almost explicitly a version with the stamp of the Emerging Church Movement. (For a whole range of articles critiquing the Emerging Church click here)
"Any literary project reflects the age in which it is written. The Voice is created for and by a church in great transition. Throughout the body of Christ, extensive discussions are ongoing about a variety of issues including style of worship, how we separate culture from our theology, and what is essential truth. At the center of this discussion is the role of Scripture. Instead of furthering the division over culture and theology, it is time to bring the body of Christ together again around the Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers and Ecclesia Bible Society together are developing Scripture products that foster spiritual growth and theological exploration out of a heart for worship and mission. We have dedicated ourselves to hearing and proclaiming God’s voice through this project.

Previously most Bibles and biblical reference works were produced by professional scholars writing in academic settings. The Voice uniquely represents collaboration among scholars, pastors, writers, musicians, poets, and other artists. The goal is to create the finest Bible products to help believers experience the joy and wonder of God’s revelation. This is the first-ever complete New Testament in The Voice translation. Writers include Chris Seay, Lauren Winner, Brian McLaren, Greg Garrett, David B. Capes, and others.

Four key words describe the vision of this project:
Holistic: considers heart, soul, and mind
Beautiful: achieves literary and artistic excellence
Sensitive: respects cultural shifts and the need for accuracy
Balanced: includes theologically diverse writers and scholars

We have taken care that The Voice is faithful and that it avoids prejudice. As we partnered biblical scholars and theologians with our writers, we intentionally built teams that did not share any single theological tradition. Their diversity has helped each of them not to be trapped within his or her own individual preconceptions, resulting in a faithful and fresh rendering of the Bible.

Features include: bronze, highlighted text; screenplay-like format, ideal for public readings and group studies; devotional commentary; and book introductions."

It's literary qualities let alone it's fidelity to the inspired original are greatly in question as the following extract from John 1:1-5 shows.

"Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking. The Voice was and is God. 2This celestial Voice remained ever present with the Creator; 3His speech shaped the entire cosmos. Immersed in the practice of creating, all things that exist were birthed in Him. 4His breath filled all things with a living, breathing light. 5 Light that thrives in the depths of darkness, blazing through murky bottoms. It cannot, and will not, be quenched."

Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Marks of Grace

The following are some marks of grace by which we can examine ourselves whether we are in the faith and Christ is in us. More could be added and those that have been listed could be better expressed. I hope that the marks given are not too high so as to discourage any that are struggling as to their assurance of faith.

1. Love for Christ in His Person and not for His benefits only, and a desire for fellowship with Him above all other things.
2. Love for the Word of God as the Kingly Word of Christ, submitting entirely to His authority in every word.
3. Love for the Lord's Day as the Market Day for the soul and sincere spiritual delight in devoting it to the public and private exercises of the worship of God.
4. Love for all the means of grace where God meets those that remember Him in His ways.
5. Love for the Lord's people and spiritual fellowship with them because of their union with Christ.
6. Love for holiness and the desire to be holy, with a sincere hatred of every sin.
7. Love for the secret place of prayer and a mourning over our coldness and carnality in that exercise.
8. Love to the service of Christ in any way and a fear of dishonouring Him
9. Love for meditating on heavenly things and an estrangement from that which is worldly.
10.A fear that these marks are so faint within us as not to be genuine at all

The puritan John Flavel was very discerning in relation to marks of grace. He counselled that: 'Great heed ought also to be had in the application of marks and signs; we should first try them; before we try ourselves or others by them.'

He mentions that 'Marks and signs are by some distinguished into exclusive, inclusive, and positive:

Exclusive marks serve to shut out bold pretenders, by shewing them how far
they come short of a saving work of grace; and they are commonly taken
from some necessary common duty, as hearing, praying, &c. He that hath
not these things, cannot have any work of grace in him; and yet if he do them,
he cannot conclude from thence his estate to be gracious: He that so
concludes, he deceives himself.

Inclusive marks rather discover [declare] the degrees than the truth of grace, and are rather intended for comfort than for conviction: If we find them in ourselves,
we do not only find sincerity, but eminency of grace; They being taken from
some raised degree and eminent acts of grace in confirmed and grown

Betwixt the two former there is a middle sort of marks, which are called
positive marks, and they are such as are always, and only found, in regenerate
souls: The hypocrite hath them not; the grown Christian hath them, and that
in an eminent degree: The poorest Christian hath them in a lower, but saving
degree: Great care must be taken in the application of them. And it is past
doubt that many weak and injudicious Christians have been greatly
prejudiced by finding the experiences of eminent Christians proposed as rules
to measure their sincerity by. Alas! these no more fit their souls, than Saul’s
armour did David’s body'.

I leave it to the reader to discern into which category the marks listed above fall.

Christ the river by which His people are planted

The Works of Jonathan Edwards (many never published before from manuscript) are now online. The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online will digitally publish manuscripts and edited versions of all of the 100,000 pages that Jonathan Edwards produced in his lifetime.

Here are some notes of a lecture on the text Psalm 1:3 that I enjoyed particularly. It was delivered in 1751 in connection with the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. I have abridged and edited it to interpret the shorthand.
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Christ is to the Heart of a true saint like a River to the Roots of a tree that is planted by it.

In the following Respects

1. As the waters of a River run easily and freely so the love of Christ freely came into the World.

His blood was freely shed blood flowed as freely from his wounds as water from a spring.

All the Good Things that Christ bestows on his saints come to them as freely as water runs down in a River. The Chief and most excellent things that Christ bestows are the Influences of his Spirit on their hearts to Enlighten, sanctify and comfort. These all come freely from Christ like the waters of a River.

2. Christ is Like a River in the great plenty and abundance of his Love and Grace.

The Good things that are the Fruits of his Love are infinitely Great.

The Happiness that he gives worth more than all the silver and Gold in the world.

The Tree that spreads out its Roots by a River has water enough - no need of Rain or any other water, so the true saint finds enough in Christ. Great plenty of water. Enough to supply a great multitude of Persons with drink to satisfy all their Thirst. To supply the Roots of a multitude of trees.

3. The Water of a River does not fail. It flows constantly day and night.

Waters that Run upon the Ground [coming] from showers of Rain or melting of the snows soon dry up and little Brooks dry up in a very dry Time.

But the waters of a great River continue running continually and from one age to another and are never dry. The Grace of Christ in the Heart shall always Continue. Christ never will take away his Spirit from them. That inward Life and comfort that Christ gives the Hearts of his saints shall continue to all.

When the death comes that comfort and Happiness shall Continue. When the End of the World comes yet their Comforts shall still be like a River that shall not be dried up.

4. A Tree planted by a river is never dry[?]

The soul is joined to Christ and they are made one. As the water enters into the Roots, so Christ enters the Heart and soul of a Godly man and dwells there. The spirit of Christ comes into the very Heart of a saint as water to the Roots of a tree.

5. A river Refreshes. So Christ Refreshes and satisfies and makes the heart Rejoyce. Water gives Life and keeps it alive so makes it grow makes it grow beautiful and fruitful. A Tree planted is green in time of Great drought when others trees wither. So the soul of a true saint is green in time of affliction, at death, at the end of the World.


1. Examination. whether you are a true saint.

has your soul been ever like a tree planted by this River.

They that are saints have been the subjects of a great Change their souls are like a Tree digged up by the Roots out of a dry barren Ground and planted in a new Place. Hearts taken off from the this world and planted in God and Christ and heaven.

They no more trust in the world but put their Trust in God. They do not trust in themselves their own strength or Righteouesness but trust only in Christ.

If you are a saint then Christ is sweet and Refreshing to you as the water of a River to a man when He is very thirsty.

Is Christ sweeter and better than the sweetest food? Is he better than all the things of the world?
Has your mind been enlightened to see that there is enough in Christ?

Does your Religion continue Like a Tree planted or does your Religion come to nothing like a tree planted in a dry Barren ground? Is it the Religion that is like Puddles after a Rain which dry up. But the Religion of a truly Good man is like a River. Do you bring forth fruit?

2. Exhortation to sinners to seek an Interest in Jesus Christ if you are not in Christ thoough you you may be like green Trees, yet by and by you will wither. All your streams will fail you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Guarding against Wavering

It is good divinity to maintain that scepticism, fluctuation and wavering, concerning those things which God hath revealed to be believed or done by us, is a sin; and to be firm, fixed and established in the faith, is a duty commanded. I shall first prove it to be so; then give reasons for it; and, thirdly, some helps to this duty, and preservatives against this sin.

For proof of the thing, somewhat might be said from the very light of nature; for "hath a nation changed their gods?" Jer. 2.11...But, to set aside nature's light, there is not any of the primitive churches to which the apostles wrote epistles, but they were expressly warned, either positively, to stand fast in the faith, to hold fast their profession, or, negatively, to beware of, and to avoid false teachers, and not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Now it must needs be not only a truth, but a most special and necessary truth, which the apostles thought fit thus to press upon the churches in all their epistles written to them. See Rom. 16.17,18; 1 Cor. 16.13; 2 Cor. 11.3,4; Gal. 1.6,8; Eph. 4.14; Phil. 3.2,18; Col. 2.6-8; 2 Thess. 2.2,3; Heb. 10.23; 13.9; James 5.19,20; 2 Pet. 2.1-3; 3.16-18; 1 John 4. 1; Jude 3,4. All these texts are full and plain as to this point which I speak to, and in that respect most worthy of our frequent thoughts and observation, especially at such a time when this corner of the world is so full of new and strange doctrines.

As for the reasons, take these:
1. If we be not steadfast and immovable in the profession of our faith, we frustrate (as to us) the end for which the Scriptures were written. Luke gives this reason to his Theophilus why he wrote the story of Christ's birth, life and death, "That thou mightest know the certainty of those things wherein thou hast been instructed," Luke 1.4. When Peter hath mentioned the voice which came from heaven concerning Christ, he addeth the certainty of the Scripture as a greater certainty, "We have also a more sure word of prophesy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place," 2 Pet. 1.19. A voice from heaven might sooner deceive us than the written word of God.
2. To maintain and profess the true doctrine, and the true faith, is, by all protestant orthodox writers, made one, yea, the principal mark of a true visible church. Christ himself, John x. 4, 5, gives us this mark of his sheep, "The sheep follow him (their shepherd), for they know his voice, and a stranger will they not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers."
3. If once we forsake the way of truth, and go into an erroneous way, we shall not know where to find our paths, we shall wander from mountain to hill, and forget our resting place. As one wave comes after another, so doth one error come after another. As a canker spreadeth, so doth error, 2 Tim. 2.19; "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived," 2 Tim. 3.13: which hath made some, and I hope will make more, who were too inclinable to the new doctrine and practices of sectaries at first, now to fall off from them, when "they increase unto more ungodliness," and unto more error. And there is no end; one error breedeth a hundred, and a hundred will breed ten thousand. What was it that made so many fall off from the prelates who once joined with them? Was it not because they were growing from the old ceremonies to many new ones, and each year, almost, brought in some new superstition, and from popish rites they grew to popish doctrines?
4. If we waver and be led about with divers and strange doctrines, then the prophecies which have gone before of the true church shall not be made good in us. It was promised concerning the church and kingdom of Christ, Isa. 32.4,5, "The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly, the vile person shall no more be called liberal," &c., that is, those who simply and rashly were led about with every wind of doctrine shall be so wise and knowing as to distinguish between truth and error, between virtue and vice, and call each thing by its right name. So Isa. 33. 6, "And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation."
5. Instability and forsaking the way of truth makes us lose much that we had gained, 2 John 8; all the comfort we enjoyed, all the good that ever our souls received of such a truth, such a cause, such a ministry, all that ever we did, or spake, or suffered for the truth, all this we lose when we turn aside after an erroneous way. 6. It greatly hindereth our spiritual comfort and contentment. Col. 2.2, to be knit together in love is one mean, and to have all riches of the full assurance of understanding to the acknowledgment of gospel truths, is another mean by which the Apostle wisheth the hearts of Christians to be comforted. It added much to Paul's comfort that he could say, "I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown," &c., 2 Tim. 4.7,8.
7. We run a great hazard of our souls and our salvation when we turn aside from truth to error. It is said of the unstable, that they wrest the Scriptures "unto their own destruction," 2 Pet. 3.16. Like a man fallen into quicksands, the more he wrestles out the more he sinks. When the Apostle hath spoken of Christ's purchasing of our reconciliation, justification and sanctification, he addeth an if; Col. 1.23, "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard." Not that our persevering in the true faith was a condition in Christ's purchasing of these blessings, but it is a condition without which we cannot possess and enjoy what Christ hath purchased; that is, he that falls away from the true doctrine of the gospel, proves himself to have no part of the benefits of Christ.

Some errors are, in their own nature, damnable and inconsistent with the state of grace or a fellowship with God, 2 Peter 2. 9; so 2 John 9, "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." Sure it may be said of Arians, Socinians, Papists, Libertines, they have not God, because they abide not in the doctrine of Christ; so Gal. 5.4. Other errors there are, of which I may say, whatsoever they are comparatively, impenitency, and continuing in them, doth condemn, whence it is that the apostle James reckoneth him who errs from the truth to be in a way of death and danger of damnation, James 5.19,20.

Now, the preservatives against wavering, and helps to stedfastness in the faith, are these:
1. Grow in knowledge and circumspection; be not simple as children in understanding. There is "a sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" so speaks the Apostle of those that spread divers and strange doctrines, Eph. 4.14; and Rom. 16.18, he warns us that they do "by good words and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple." Thou hast, therefore, need of the wisdom of the serpent, that thou be not deceived, as well as of the simplicity of the dove, that thou be not a deceiver, Phil. 1. 9,10. Do not rashly engage into any new opinion, much less into the spreading of it. With the well-advised is wisdom. Pythagoras would have his scholars only to hear, and not to speak for five years. Be swift to hear, but not to speak or engage: "Prove all things," and when thou hast proved, then be sure to "hold fast that which is good," 1 Thess. 5.21; Matt. 7.15,17. There was never an heresy yet broached, but under some fair plausible pretence: "beguiling unstable souls," as Peter speaks, 2 Peter 2.14. Prov. 14.15, "The simple believeth every word. Be not like the two hundred that "went in the simplicity of their hearts" after Absalom in his rebellion, not knowing anything, but that he was to pay his vow in Hebron, 2 Sam. 15.11.
2. Grow in grace and holiness, and the love of the truth; for the stability of the mind in the truth, and the stability of the heart in grace, go hand in hand together, Heb. 13. 9. David's rule is good: Psal. 25.12, "What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall ye teach in the way that he shall choose;" which is also Christ's rule, John 7.17, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself;" see also Deut. 11.13,16. Elisha healed the unwholesome waters of Jericho by casting salt into the fountain, 2 Kings 2.21. So must the bitter streams of pernicious errors be healed by getting the salt of mortification and true sanctifying grace in the fountain.
3. Be sure to cleave to thy faithful and sound teachers. The sheep that follow the shepherd are best kept from the wolf. I find the exhortation to stability in the faith joined with the fruitful labours of faithful teachers, Phil. 3.16,17; Heb. 13.7,9. So the Apostle, Eph. 4.11-14, from the work of the ministry draweth this consequence, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine." The Galatians were easily seduced, as soon as they were made to disgust Paul.
4. Watch and be vigilant against the first beginnings of declining, against the first seeds of error, Gal. 5.9. It was "while men slept" that the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and when he had done, went his way, Matt. 13.25. Therefore "watch ye, stand fast in the faith," 1 Cor. 16.12; go hand in hand together.
5. Avoid and withdraw from the authors and spreaders of heresies and dangerous errors, Rom. 16.17; 1 Tim. 6.5; 2 John 10,11; Phil. 3.2. He that would be godly should not use ungodly company, and he that would be orthodox should not use heretical company, unless he have some good hopes to convert some who have erred from the truth, and come into their company only for that end, James 5.19,20. I remember Chrysostom, in divers places, warneth his hearers how much they endangered their souls by going into the Jewish synagogues, and there was a great zeal in the ancient church to keep Christians that were orthodox from the assemblies and company of heretics.
6. Get church discipline established and duly exercised, which is ordained to purge the church from false doctrine, Rev. 2.14,20.
7. "Lean not unto thine own understanding," and "be not wise in thine own eyes," Prov. 3.5,7. Let reason be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Cor. 10.5. That which made the Antitrinitarians and Socinians fall away from the belief of the trinity of persons in the Godhead, and of the union of the two natures of God and man in the person of Christ, was, because their reason could not comprehend these articles, which is the ground of their opinion professed by themselves. When I speak of captivating reason, I do not mean implicit faith. The eyes of my understanding must be so far opened by the Holy Ghost, that I may know such an article is held forth in Scripture to be believed, and therefore I do believe that it is, though my reason cannot comprehend how it is.
8. Count thy cost, and be well resolved beforehand what it will cost thee to be a disciple of Christ, to be a constant professor of the truth, Luke 14.26-34; Acts 14.22, "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." This is surer than to confirm ourselves with the hopes of a golden age of prosperity, in which we shall feel no affliction.
9. "Search the Scriptures," John 5.39; Acts 17.11. Do not take upon trust new lights from any man, be he never so eminent for parts or for grace, but to the law and the testimony.

The upshot of all is, that we ought to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, and be steadfast, and even immovable in the truth, and not to give place to the adversaries, no, not for an hour, Gal. 2.4,5. I do not mean pertinacy in the least error, nor a vain presumptuous overweening conceit of our knowledge, to make us despise any light which others may give us from Scripture. Pertinacy is an evil upon the one hand, and to be too tenacious of our own opinions; but that...that levity, inconstancy, wavering, scepticism, is an evil upon the other hand. 2 Thess. 2.2, "Be not soon shaken in mind." &c.

Of Stability and Firmness in the Truth, from Miscellany Questions by George Gillespie.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Reasons for not forsaking the assembling

The account is given of William Mackay, Diarachdcory near Tongue, Sutherland an eminently godly man of the nineteenth-century when Sutherland had many outstanding saints.

"He came one Sabbath to the church of Tongue on a day of drift and snow, during the ministry of old 'Mr. William', a distance of about sixteen miles, and there was no road at that time. After the close of the service the Minister asked him why had ventured out on such a stormy day, when only people in the near neighbourhood were at the service.

In reply, he stated that there were three things that moved him to attend the house of God:
1st- The Lord had given him strength and he considered it his duty to wait on Him in public worship.
2nd - He came to add to the number in the congregation and thus encourage the minister when he knew that many would absent themselves. 3rd-He came so that if the Spirit of God should be moving in the church that day, He might not find his pew empty."

From Records of Grace in Sutherland

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sedgwick on Preaching « James Durham Thesis

This is an excellent quotation from one of the Westminster Divines on true preaching and a true sermon. The true focus is the person and work of Christ.Sedgwick on Preaching « James Durham Thesis