Archive

Archive for April, 2014

Dwight L. Moody’s Arminian Ministry Pt 2-The error of thinking conversion is in the power of the minister

April 28, 2014 1 comment

“The novelty of the ‘inquiry room’ was another effective aid in advancing the movement. It is declared to be desirable to come into close personal contact with the hearers of the gospel immediately after a sermon, in order to ascertain their state of feeling, to deepen impressions, that may have been made, and to give a helping hand to the anxious. Such is the plea for ‘the inquiry room.’ In order that it may be supplied, hearers are strongly urged, after a sensational address, to take the position of converts or
inquirers. They are pressed and hurried to a public confession….

“Why are men so anxious to keep the awakened in their own hands? They, at any rate, seem to act as if conversion was all their own work. They began it, and they seem determined to finish it. If it is at all out of their hand, they seem to think that it will come to nothing. They must at once, and on the spot, get these inquirers persuaded to believe, and get them also to say that they do. They may fall to pieces if they are not braced round by a band of profession. Their names or numbers must, ere the night passes, be added to the roll of converts. They are gathered into the inquiry room, to act in a scene, that looks more like a part of a stage-play than anything more serious and solemn. Oh, what trifling with souls goes on in these inquiry rooms, as class after class is dealt with in rude haste, very often by teachers who never ‘knew the grace of God in truth.’ The inquiry room may be effective in securing a hasty profession of faith, but it is not an institution which the Church of Christ should adopt or countenance.

William MacLean-Arminianism-Another Gospel

Advertisements

God’s predestination is most certain and unalterable, so that no elect person can perish nor any reprobate be saved

April 25, 2014 1 comment

Chapter IV

OF REPROBATION OR PREDESTINATION AS IT RESPECTS THE UNGODLY.

FROM what has been said in the preceding chapter concerning the election of some, it would unavoidably follow, even supposing the Scriptures had been silent about it, that there must be a rejection of others, as every choice does, most evidently and necessarily, imply a refusal, for where there is no leaving out there can be no choice. But beside the testimony of reason, the Divine Word is full and express to our purpose; it frequently, and in terms too clear to be misunderstood, and too strong to be evaded by any who are not proof against the most cogent evidence, attests this tremendous truth, that some are “of old fore-ordained to condemnation.” I shall, in the discussion of this awful subject, follow the method hitherto observed, and throw what I have to say into several distinct positions supported by Scripture.

POSITION 9. -Notwithstanding God’s predestination is most certain and unalterable, so that no elect person can perish nor any reprobate be saved, yet it does not follow from thence that all precepts, reproofs and exhortations on the part of God, or prayers on the part of man, are useless, vain and insignificant.

(1) These are not useless with regard to the elect, for they are necessary means of bringing them to the knowledge of the truth at first, afterwards of stirring up their pure minds by way of remembrance, and of edifying and establishing them in faith, love and holiness. Hence that of St. Augustine:* “The commandment will tell thee, 0 man, what thou oughtest to have, reproof will show thee wherein thou art wanting, and praying will teach thee from whom thou must receive the supplies which thou wantest.”

* De Corrept. et Grat., chap. 3.

(2) Nor are these vain with regard to the reprobate, for precept, reproof and exhortation may, if duly attended to, be a means of making them careful to adjust their moral, external conduct according to the rules of decency, justice and regularity, and thereby prevent much inconvenience to themselves and injury to society. And as for prayer, it is the duty of all without exception. Every created being (whether elect or reprobate matters not as to this point) is, as such, dependent on the Creator for all things, and, if dependent, ought to have recourse to Him, both in a way of supplication and thanksgiving.

(3) But to come closer still. That absolute predestination does not set aside, nor render superfluous the use of preaching, exhortation, etc., we prove from the examples of Christ Himself and His apostles, who all taught and insisted upon the article of predestination, and yet took every opportunity of preaching to sinners and enforced their ministry with proper rebukes, invitations and exhortations as occasion required. Though they showed unanswerably that salvation is the free gift of God and lies entirely at His sovereign disposal, that men can of themselves do nothing spiritually good, and that it is God who of His own pleasure works in them both to Will and to do, yet they did not neglect to address their auditors as beings possessed of reason and conscience, nor omitted to remind them of their duties as such; but showed them their sin and danger by nature, and laid before them the appointed way and method of salvation as exhibited in the Gospel.

Our Saviour Himself expressly, and in terminis, assures us that no man can come to Him except the Father draw him, and yet He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour,” etc. St. Peter told the Jews that they had fulfilled “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” in putting the Messiah to death (Acts 2:), and yet sharply rebukes them for it. St. Paul declares, “It is not of him that willeth nor of him that runneth,” and yet exhorts the Corinthians so to run as to obtain the prize. He assures us that “we know not what to pray for as we ought” (Rom 8:), and yet directs us to “pray without ceasing” (1Th 5:). He avers that the foundation or decree of the Lord standeth sure, and yet cautions him who “thinks he stands, to take heed lest he fall” (1Ti 2:). St. James, in like manner, says that “every good and perfect gift cometh down from above,” and yet exhorts those who want wisdom to ask it of God. So, then, all these being means whereby the elect are frequently enlightened into the knowledge of Christ, and by which they are, after they have believed through grace, built up in Him, and are means of their perseverance in grace to the end; these are so far from being vain and insignificant that they are highly useful and necessary, and answer many valuable and important ends, without in the least shaking the doctrine of predestination in particular or the analogy of faith in general. Thus St. Augustine:* “We must preach, we must reprove, we must pray, because they to whom grace is given will bear and act accordingly, though they to whom grace is not given will do neither.”

* De Bon. Persev., cap. 14.

Jerome Zanchius-The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination Stated and Asserted-Translated by Augustus Montague Toplady

Question 68-Puritan Catechism

April 24, 2014 1 comment

Spurgeon 6Q. How may we escape his wrath and curse due to us for sin?

A. To escape the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin, we must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, (John 3:16) trusting alone to his blood and righteousness. This faith is attended by repentance for the past (Acts 20:21) and leads to holiness in the future.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Chapter 20-Creation of Man Pt 1

Creation of Man

I. THE SCRIPTURE ACCOUNT.

THE Scripture account of the creation of man is given in four places in Genesis. The first, in Gen. 1:26-28, is of both male and female. The second is of Adam only, in Gen. 2:7. The third is of the creation of the woman, whom Adam at that time called Isha (woman), because she was taken out of man (Ish). Gen. 2:18-23. Subsequently, ch. 3:20, he called her Eve because she was “the mother of all living.” The fourth is found in Gen. 5:1, 2, and states that God called them Adam. There are allusions to the statements thus made in two other places in this book, namely, ch. 3:19, 23 and ch. 9:6, 7. The other Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testaments, endorse the correctness of all the facts stated in Genesis by frequent allusions to one or another of them as undoubted truths. See Ps. 100:3; 103:14; Ecc. 7:29; 12:7 ; Isa. 64:8; Mal. 2:10, 15; Matt. 19:4, 5; Mark 10:6, 7; Acts 17:25-29; Rom. 9:20; 1 Cor. 11:7-9; 15:45-47; Col. 3:10. The Scripture doctrine thus revealed is that man was created by God, being formed, as to his body, from earthy material, and as to his soul, by direct creation; that he was made male and female, one Adam, in the image after the likeness of God. The Adam thus made, the Scriptures also teach, was the progenitor of all the present race of men. Indeed they appear to allude to him as the embodiment of that race. Adam is not given as a proper name, as are Cain, and Abel, and Noah, but is used to express the creature God proposed to male, (Gen. 1:26), as both male and female. Gen. 5:2. “In all the other instances in the second and third chapters of Genesis, which are nineteen, it is put with the article, the man or the Adam. It is also to be observed that though it occurs very frequently in the Old Testament, and though there is no grammatical difficulty in the way of its being declined by the dual and plural terminations and the pronominal suffixes (as its derivative dam blood is), yet it never undergoes those changes; it is used abundantly to denote man in the general and collective sense, mankind, the human race, but it is never found in the plural number. When the sacred writers design to express men distributively, they use either the compound term sons of men (benei adam), or the plural of enosh, or ish.” [Kitto’s Cyc., Art. Adam, par. 3.] The importance of this fact will hereafter be seen. It is confirmed by the title of “the second Adam” given to Christ.

II. THE UNITY OF THE RACE.

The expression above, “the present race of men,” was not intended to intimate a belief that there have been more races of men than one. This, however, has been contended for; but, while the possibility of other races before Adam or contemporaneous with him may he admitted, the unity of the present race and its common descent from Adam must be maintained.

The idea of a Praeadamite race “was first raised to notice by Isaac Peyrere, who in 1655 published his book styled ‘Praeadamitae.’ He pretended to find his Praeadamites in Rom. 5:l2-14. The heathen, according to him, are the Praeadamites, being, as he supposed, created on the same day with the beasts, and those whose creation is mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. Adam, the father of the Jews, was not created until a century later, and is the one who is mentioned in the second chapter. Since the time of Peyrere, this hypothesis has been exhibited more connectedly; and has been asserted independently of the authority of Moses; or in other words it has been asserted that the human race is older than Moses represents it.” [Knapp’s Chris. Theol., p. 185.]

So far as this hypothesis is confined to the past existence of other races of men who had passed away when Adam was created, or who were at least destroyed before or at the flood, it may be admitted as a possibility. There is no direct statement of Scripture to the contrary. Any proof which would make it certain, or even probable, may be admitted. But while this is possibly, it is not probably true. Nothing in Scripture, not even with great violence, can be wrested to its support. The account of creation and the manner in which the Adam there created is spoken of is contrary to any idea that the creations in the first and second chapters of Genesis are of any but the one race. The scientific evidence as to the method of God’s creations concurs with the biblical in furnishing no proof that God has ever created the same animals at different periods, or from any other than one original source of each species. While these facts, therefore, are not conclusive against the possibility of more than one creation of human beings, they render it highly improbable.

But so far as this is intended to deny the unity of the present race, and to declare that any portion of it is not of Adamic origin, it is directly contrary to the Word of God.

1. Because the Scriptures trace the race of men now existing back to Noah, and through him to Adam.

2. Because they teach also that all others, except the eight saved in the Ark, were destroyed by the flood. If any other races of men existed before that time, which is not probable, they must then have been destroyed with the others of the Adamic race.

3. They not only speak of all mankind in general as though of this one race, but declare expressly that God “made of one every nation of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation.” Acts 17:26. The King James version has “Made of one blood.” This is especially emphatic because spoken to the Athenians, who claimed a special, separate origin from others.

4. The Scriptures account for the universal sinful condition of men, by not only a representative, but natural relation to Adam.

5. Salvation from sin is offered through Christ as the second Adam, whose fitness for his work was secured, not only by his representative relation, but also by his assumption of the same nature with man. Therefore his genealogy in Luke is traced back to Adam. It was also to “the whole creation,” Mark 16:15, that Christ commanded his gospel to be preached, and “of all the nations,” Matt. 28:19, that he ordered disciples to be made.

Science accords with Revelation in teaching the unity of the race.

1. It shows that among all men are the same essential characteristics which make a man. This is denied by none. There is the same outward form and inward structure, and also like mental and moral characteristics.

2. While variations in each of these respects unquestionably exist, they are all within the limits of a single species.

The science of Comparative Zoology shows:

(1.) That species are capable of great variations.

(2.) That the variations may become permanent.

(3.) That under favourable circumstances, with the lapse of time, this permanence becomes more and more fixed, and incapable of return to the original type.

(4.) That, however, there is after all a tendency to return, which develops itself under similar conditions with those of the original state.

(5.) That while offspring from parents of different species is possible, that offspring is itself either altogether unfruitful, or, as Dr. Cabell says, “the fertility is partial and temporary, rarely, if ever, extending through more than two generations.” [Unity of Mankind, p.77.]

(6.) That the variations in man are at least equalled by those in other species.

Dr. Bachman asserts that “every vertebrated animal, from the horse down to the canary bird and gold-fish, is subject, in a state of domestication, to very great and striking varieties, and that in the majority of species these varieties are much greater than are exhibited in any of the numerous varieties of the human race.” [Doctrine of the Unity of the Human Race, p. 181, quoted by Dr. Cabell in Unity of Mankind, p.34.] “Blumenbach,” says Cabell, p. 33, “long ago pointed out the great difference between the cranium of the domestic swine and that of the primitive wild boar, and remarked that this difference is quite equal to that which has been observed between the skull of the Negro and the European.”

(7.) That the various races of men, when they intermarry, produce offspring which is itself continuously fruitful.

(8.) That while the Negro type of man, the most distinct, and the one showing the greatest variety from the Caucasian or white race, may be traced far back in the monumental history of Egypt, then is no delineation of it in the earliest records for nearly fifteen hundred years. This is admitted by Nott and Gliddon in their Types of Mankind, p. 259, though these writers speak of the Negro “as contemporary with the earliest Egyptians.” [See Cabell, p. 91-92.]

3. The science of Comparative Philology also supports the doctrine of the unity of the human race. This science is as yet in its infancy, but has grown vigorously daring the short period of its existence. Already the languages of men have been reduced by some to four, by others to three, and yet by others to two different forms, and the tendency is to connect all language with some one common source. Whether this can be done or not is uncertain. The position is at least conceded that variety in language does not militate against the unity of mankind. It may be impossible to establish absolute unity of speech. The confusion at Babel renders this not improbable. But the investigations of this science show that the idea of several separate physical origins of the race is not true, because the grouping of men, as to physical race, does not correspond with the grouping rendered necessary by their different languages.

Prof. Whitney, who believes that the science of philology cannot now, or ever, decide either for or against this unity, says “it does not seem practicable to lay down any system of physical races which shall agree with any possible scheme of linguistic races. Indo-European, Semitic, Scythian and Caucasian tongues are spoken by men whom the naturalist would not separate from one another as of widely diverse stock; and on the other hand, Scythian dialects of close and indubitable relationship, are in the mouths of people who differ as widely in form and feature, as Hungarians and Lapps, while not less discordance of physical type is to be found among the speakers of various dialects belonging to more than one of the other great linguistic families.” [Language and the Study of Language, p. 370.] The fact of this intermingling of dialects and races shows a common origin beyond the time of physical and linguistic changes. Thus do the two sciences, which were once so antagonistic to the doctrine of the unity of mankind, combine with each other to establish its truth.

III. THE NATURE OF MAN.

The nature of man is composite. It is usually considered as a union of body and soul.

The body is material, and is the highest form in this world of material existence.

Matter is presented in creation in different forms. It is impossible to say whether it exists, or has ever existed, without special form and substance. Science only knows it as found in different materials, which are called primary, because we cannot reduce them to any more simple form common to more than one. Of these materials, all things that we know are composed. Matter is called inorganic in these simple forms, and yet there is a kind of organism even here. Some of this so-called inorganic matter attains to living organism in plants, which have what is called vegetable life. It exists in a still higher form in conscious, sentient being, known as animal life. The highest organism is in man as an animal. He partakes with other animals of bodily firm, appetites, desires and passions. His bony structure is analogous to theirs, which approaches it closely, and yet with marked distinctions which manifest his yet higher life, with nobler capabilities. So, also, is it with his muscular covering or flesh, and his nervous system especially culminating in a brain of superior size and weight. Through the latter, man has capacity for superior intellectual powers over other animals, for the exercise of which his bodily shape is peculiarly fitted. In their mere animal life, the instincts of the lower animals are much stronger than in man, and more reliable. In man instinct is feeble because its place is more than supplied by his higher intellectual nature. It is only when his moral nature is involved, that instincts appear which approach in strength and unerring guidance those of the brute creation.

The personality of man, by which is meant his individual conscious existence, is distinctly associated with his higher nature, the intellectual and the moral. The brute evidently lives in itself and is what it is solely because of its animal life. It cannot go beyond it. There is no outward development in it of itself and even the utmost training by man can carry it no farther than to the development of memory, and obedience through fear, which belong to this animal existence. Even in these only such faint resemblances to man’s higher faculties can be reached as man himself attains through self-training in the realm of animal instinct.

It is evident, therefore, that the higher nature of man, so far from being a part of his animal life, either accompanies it or takes its place, and dwells in the body, using it as a means of contact with the external world, in which man, as a spiritual being, is thus enabled to live, and exercise the faculties of his higher nature.

We have already learned the existence of spiritual beings, which, if they have, or can have, form and body at all, have only those of a spiritual nature. Man alone is possessed of both spirit and body. He is, therefore, the link which binds together the world of spirit and that of matter. His existence is not one only, but twofold. Nor is it made so by such a composition as confounds the two elements by mingling them into a third substance differing from each of these two. It is such as makes a union in one personality of both the natures, so that a man is as truly animal as though he were not spirit, and as truly spiritual as though he were not animal. Each nature retains in a mysterious union its own attributes, and properties, absolutely, so that one is merely animal, and the other purely spiritual, and the one personal conscious being is personal and conscious in each, in different or in the same moments, and is also conscious of being at the same time Man, or all that is involved in the united possession of both natures. The consequence of this also is a peculiar possession by Man of all the results of a communication of the properties of one nature to the other without any actual communication. Thus matter, which in itself is without self-motion, or feeling, and only becomes so in animal life, and in that life is without capacity for self-training and skilful manipulation through self-imposed habits, and which especially is not capable of sinful, or holy acts or habits, attains to each of these through the union with a spiritual person; and in a peculiar way, otherwise not possible, becomes receptive of punishment or reward for right or wrong doing. So also a personal spirit, which cannot through his spiritual nature be affected by matter, and cannot act upon it or use it, is through this union operative in it, and by means of the bodily powers is brought into contact with the world of material forces, and becomes a voluntary force in connection with the mechanical laws and forces of the universe. Thus is it, that through this union, man, probably alone, with the exception of God, introduces and accomplishes direct results of conscious purpose in the material universe. Good or evil angels, if they would there operate, must do it through the influences they can exert upon man.

The union of both body and soul is necessary to constitute man. Of necessity, his conscious individuality is inseparably associated with his spiritual nature, for in him there is no separate animal life in the body from that of the spirit which is united with it. Without that spirit, therefore, the body is but a form of clay. But the spirit alone is but a spirit. It has not all of human nature. It is not a man. To make man, the body is necessary, not necessarily the same body always, neither of the same size, nor with all its parts perfect, nor of the same ever continuing materials, nor without change, but such a body as belongs to human nature, and is fitted for the contact of the conscious personal spirit with the world of matter. If, at any time, therefore, the spirit and body shall be separated, the spirit will not properly be called man until a subsequent reunion. Until then it would be known and spoken of as the spirit of the man, or the soul of the man, but not as the man himself. Accordingly the Scriptures speak thus of all men during the period intervening between death and the resurrection of the judgement day. See Rev. 6:9; 20:4; Heb. 12:23, and, according to the interpretation which supposes Christ preached to departed spirits, 1 Pet. 3:19. It is thus also that the resurrection of the body, and its reunion with the soul become necessary to carry out the purposes of God, both as to the rewards and the punishments of the eternal future.

A question here naturally arises as to the nature of the contact between the personal spirit and the body. This we have no means of answering. It is a mystery which, as a fact, is both known and revealed, but of the manner of which we have no revelation, and no knowledge. All must be conjecture. Dr. J. Pye Smith gives in his “First Lines,” p. 342, three theories: “(1.) That it is through physical influence materially of mental volitions, and cerebral and nervous action producing muscular motion; (2.) that it is due to occasional cause by which God’s omnipotent and universal agency produces all the motions of the body to correspond with the volitions of the mind; and (3.) that it results from pre-established harmony by which it is arranged that they take place at the same time and space, without any influence upon each other.” But these are all objectionable. The last makes the body and soul entirely without connection with each other. The second makes God, and not man, operate the body, and that too without the soul’s agency in any respect, for that operation of God over the body only accompanies the action of the soul with which it has no connection except that of co-existence. The first is no explanation, for it accepts the physical connection, but does not state how it arises.
Both body and soul are by nature pure in their original condition, sin being found essentially neither in the one, nor in the other. There is nothing in matter that is corrupting, and nothing in the lower nature which of itself begets sin in an innocent soul. On the contrary, while temptation may present itself through the body, the actual sin is committed by the soul either separately or in union with the body. The sinlessness of the soul in its primeval state has been universally admitted.

Each of these constituents of man is a unit. The body is one, though composed of several members, and is affected through one sense only, namely, contact, though that one sense because of its different forms, is usually and conveniently divided into five. The soul also is one, and itself brings the man into contact with the world of mind and spirit. Its powers, likewise, though many, are not separate and independent faculties, but it is the soul that thinks, that feels, that purposes and that loves. For convenience these powers are in Intellectual Philosophy divided into and discussed under the three heads of the Understanding, the Will and the Affections. These are exercised about all mental and moral truths. Even the knowledge of what is right and wrong is not attained by a different power from that by which we learn what is wise and great. What is called conscience, or the moral faculty, is concerned only with impressing upon us our duty to do the right, and not to do the wrong. But even this is simply the soul recognizing the nature of obligation to God.

Some have supposed that man has more than the twofold elements of body and soul. “Pythagoras, and after him, Plato, and subsequently the mass of Greek and Roman philosophers, maintained that man consists of three constituent elements, the rational spirit (nous or pneuma, mens), the animal soul (psuche, anima), and the body (soma, corpus). Hence this usage of words became stamped upon the Greek popular speech. And consequently the apostle uses all three when intending to express exhaustively in popular language the totality of man and his belongings. “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame.” 1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 4:12; 1 Cor. 15:44. Hence some theologians conclude that it is a doctrine given by divine inspiration that human nature is constituted of three distinct elements.

The use made of these terms by the apostles proves nothing more than that they used words in their current popular sense to express divine ideas. The word pneuma designates the one soul emphasizing its quality as rational. The word psuche designates the same soul emphasizing its quality as the vital and animating principle of the body. The two are used together to express popularly the entire man.

“That the pneuma and psuche distinct entities cannot be the doctrine of the New Testament, because they are habitually used interchangeably and often indifferently. Thus psuche, as well as pneuma, is used to designate the soul as the seat of the higher intellectual faculties. Matt. 16:26; 1 Pet. 1:22; Matt. 10:28. Thus also pneuma, as well as psuche, is used to designate the soul as the animating principle of the body. James 2:26. Deceased persons are indifferently called psuche, Acts 2:27, 31; Rev. 6:9; 20:4; and pneuma, Luke 24:37, 39; Heb. 12:23.” [Hodge’s Outlines, pp. 299, 300.]

Other passages, not mentioned above, upon which light is supposed to be thrown by this distinction, are 1 Cor. 2:14, 15; James 3:15; and Jude 19.

Others, which show a promiscuous use of these words, and thus that the distinction is incorrect, are Matt. 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30; Acts 7:59.

This apparent teaching of the New Testament is also that of the Old. The account of man’s coming into a living condition is given in Gen. 2:7; “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The word nephesh here translated “living soul” means ordinarily mere animal life. It is the same word that occurs in Gen. 1:20, translated “creature that hath life,” in 1:24 “living creature,” in 1:30 “life,” in 2:19 ” living creature,” in 9:12, 15, 16 “living creature.” Gen. 2:7, therefore teaches that man attained his animal life by the inbreathing of God. But Deut. 4:29 uses this same word for the rational spiritual part of man. So also does Deut. 30:10. See also Job 16:4 and 1 Sam. 1:15. Gesenius Lexicon, Sec. 3, says: “To it are ascribed love, Isa. 42:1; Cant. 1:7; 3:1-4; Gen. 34:3; joy, Ps. 86:4; fear, Isa. 15:5; Ps. 6:4; piety towards God, Ps. 86:4; 104:1; 143:8, and confidence, Ps. 57:1. * * * The soul is said to weep, Ps. 119:28; to be poured out in tears, Job 30:16; to cry for vengeance, Job 24:12; and also to invoke blessings, Gen. 27:4, 25. More rarely things are attributed to the soul, mind, nephesh which belong, (a) to the mode of feeling and acting, as pride, Prov. 28:25; patience and impatience, Job 6:11; (b) to the will or purpose, Gen. 23:8; 2 Kings 9:15; 1 Chron. 28:9; (c) to the understanding or faculty of thinking, Ps. 139:14; Prov. 19:2; 1 Sam. 20:4; Deut. 4:9; Lam. 3:20.” Also, Sec. 5, he says: “with suffixes it is put very frequently for: I myself, thou thyself, &c.” In Sec. 2, par. 3, he had already said as to the relation between this word and ruwach, that “they are sometimes opposed, so that nephesh is ascribed to brutes, and ruwach to men, Job 12:10; but ruwach is also ascribed to beasts in Ecc. 3:21.” This word ruwach is that which is especially used of the spirit of God; but it is also “spoken both of man and beasts. Ecc. 3:19, 21; 8:8; 12:7; Job 12:10 * * * *.” Once the human spirit is called the ruwach of God, Job 27:3, as being breathed into man from God, and again returning to God. Gen. 2:7; Ecc. 12:7; Ps. 104:29. [Gesen. Lex. under ruwach See. 2.]

It is manifest from these facts that the two words are both used in the Old Testament to express both animal life and the higher spiritual nature, and, therefore, that no radical distinction exists between them. The same word which expresses the animal life of beasts is applied to man as a rational and moral being, as well as to his animal life. And the same which usually expresses the higher spiritual nature is also used even of brutes. It is also plain that the same act by which the spiritual nature was conferred upon man brought his animal life into being. In man, therefore, it would seem that the spirit becomes the actual living animating principle, and needs not to have superadded to it the mere animal life, but embraces it within the life which is that of the spirit. The doctrine of the Old Testament on this subject therefore corresponds with that of the New. The constituent parts of man are simply body and soul. When the animal life is the predominant idea, nephesh and psuche are most apt to be used, because the spiritual man is regarded especially in that aspect. When the idea of the higher nature is the main feature, ruwach and pneuma are used, because reference to that peculiarity of it is most prominent. But the use of all of the words for either aspect shows that it is, after all, the one principle in man simply differently contemplated.

The powers of both soul and body are unlimited within their respective spheres; the word unlimited being taken not in the sense of infinite, but in the greatly more restricted one of indefinite. What man can physically accomplish, either as an individual over his own person or over others, or by combination with others over the world of matter, is so great that no one can ever say the limit has been reached. This is even more true of the soul in its intellectual and moral nature, in the exercise of thought and reason, and in the perception of moral truths and the attainment of holy perfection.

The soul of man, as a true spirit, possesses all the qualifications which belong to spirit. It has individual personality, consciousness, intellectual powers, free agency, capacity of moral action, is subject to law, is capable of voluntary sin, arid is accountable to God for its actions, and for any self-caused spiritual condition of sin. It has natural ordained immortality, by which is meant not that God could not have deprived it of life had he chosen so to have ordained,–for no created nature can have of itself any power, much less any right of continued immortality; but that God has conferred immortality upon the nature of spirits, and that they are thus immortal through his ordination.

Rev. James Petigru Boyce, D. D., LL. D.,–Abstract of Systematic Theology–First published in 1887

Evening Renewal

My Father, if Thy mercy had bounds, where would be my refuge from just wrath? But thy love in Christ is without measure. Thus, I present myself to Thee with sins of comission and omission, against Thee, my Father, against Thee, adorable redeemer, against Thee and Thy strivings, 0 Holy Spirit, against the dictates of my conscience, against the precepts of Thy Word, against my neighbours and myself. Enter not into judgment with me, for I plead no righteousness of my own, and have no cloak for iniquity. Pardon my day dark with evil.

This night I renew my penitence. Every moniing I vow to love Thee more fervently, to serve Thee more sincerely, to be more devoted in my life, to be wholly Thine; Yet I soon stumble, backslide, and have to confess my weakness, misery and sin. But I bless Thee that the finished work of Jesus needs no addition from my doings, that His oblation is sufficient satisfaction for my sins.

If future days be mine, help me to amend my life, to hate and abhor evil, to flee the sins I confess. Make me more resolute, more watchful, more prayerful. Let no evil fruit spring from evil seeds my hands have sown; Let no neighbour be hardened in vanity and folly by my want of circumspection. If this day I have been ashamed of Christ and His Word, or have shown unkindness, malice, envy, lack of love, unadvised speech, hasty temper, let it be no stumbling block to others, or dishonour to Thy name. 0 help me to set an upright example that will ever rebuke vice, allure to goodness, and evidence that lovely are the ways of Christ.

Taken from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett. Reformatted by Eternal Life Ministries.

Making visible shapes or images of God is rebellion against him

April 23, 2014 2 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Reasons for this prohibition from Moses, Isaiah, and Paul. The complaint of a heathen. It should put the worshipers of idols to shame.

This may easily be inferred from the reasons which he annexes to his prohibition. First, it is said in the books of Moses, (Deuteronomy 4:15,) “Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude in the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure,” etc. We see how plainly God declares against all figures, to make us aware that all longing after such visible shapes is rebellion against him. Of the prophets, it will be sufficient to mention Isaiah, who is the most copious on this subjects (Isaiah 40:18; 41:7,29; 45:9; 46:5,) in order to show how the majesty of God is defiled by an absurd and indecorous fiction, when he who is incorporeal is assimilated to corporeal matter; he who is invisible to a visible image; he who is a spirit to an inanimate object; and he who fills all space to a bit of paltry wood, or stone, or gold. Paul, too, reasons in the same way, “Forasmuch, then, as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device,” (Acts 17:29.) Hence it is manifest, that whatever statues are set up or pictures painted to represent God, are utterly displeasing to him, as a kind of insults to his majesty. And is it strange that the Holy Spirit thunders such responses from heaven, when he compels even blind and miserable idolaters to make a similar confession on the earth? Seneca’s complaint, as given by Augustine De Civit. Dei, c. 10, is well known. He says “The sacred immortal, and invisible gods they exhibit in the meanest and most ignoble materials, and dress them in the clothing of men and beasts; some confound the sexes, and form a compound out of different bodies, giving the name of deities to objects, which, if they were met alive, would be deemed monsters.” Hence, again, it is obvious, that the defenders of images resort to a paltry quibbling evasion, when they pretend that the Jews were forbidden to use them on account of their proneness to superstition; as if a prohibition which the Lord founds on his own eternal essences and the uniform course of nature, could be restricted to a single nation. Besides, when Paul refuted the error of giving a bodily shape to God, he was addressing not Jews, but Athenians.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 11-Henry Beveridge Translation

Free Ebook

April 22, 2014 2 comments

Christ The Resurrection And The Life by Ebenezer Erskine

 

 

Contents

Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

1. What Is Implied in This Title, By Which Christ Reveals Himself to You and Me? ……………… 3

2. To Whom Is Christ the Resurrection and the Life?………………………………………………………… 6

3. Of What Is He the Resurrection and the Life? ………………………………………………………………. 7

4. To What Life Is It We Are Raised Up by Him? ………………………………………………………….. 12

5. How Does Christ Come to Be the Resurrection and the Life to Dead Sinners?………………….. 14

6. Why Did He Become the Resurrection and the Life to Us?……………………………………………. 15

7. The Application…………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 15