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Archive for May, 2018

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 170

TO MESSRS. FULLERTON AND SMITH

WESTWOOD, Nov. 8, 1890.

DEAR FRIEND, —

Hearty thanks for notes better than those of the Bank. I shall try to issue notes on Genesis like your notes. Any on the first six chapters greatly valued.

My head! My head!

Yours heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

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The Wednesday Word: The Overcoming Blood

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” (Revelation 12:11).

Satan knows that if he can cause us to be occupied more with our failures than with the Gospel, he can destroy our peace and thus our effectiveness. The Lord, however, wants us to know that those old sins, those sins that cast long shadows, those particular, shameful, embarrassing sins that loom up in the rear view mirror to condemn us are all done away with through the blood. It is crucial that we grasp this truth and let it soak into our thinking. We must continually remember that God has dealt graciously and justly with all our failures through the blood of Jesus Christ.

But, how do we make this knowledge work practically?

Let’s say you are a believer in Jesus Christ, but you have just sinned. You disobeyed a clear command in God’s Word. Maybe it was anger or lust or swearing or stealing or whatever. The Holy Spirit immediately convicts you of sin. So, you repent and confess to God and appropriate His cleansing (1 John 1:9).

So far so good!

But, then the enemy comes and whispers, “A fine Christian you are! Do you really think your sins are forgiven? Ha! You’re not even saved! You’re guilty my friend, and you know it. Forget all of this nonsense about being saved by grace!”

How do we answer him? It would seem that he is right. We claim to be Christians and yet we deliberately and knowingly sinned against God. Here’s what we do. Respond to the devil’s accusations by the Gospel. Tell him, “You’re right, Satan, I did that sin. Nevertheless, my salvation does not rest on my performance, but on the perfect performance of the Lord Jesus who shed His blood for me. I’m trusting in Him and His shed blood. So the Lord rebuke you, Satan!” (Zechariah 3:1-5).

Now notice what our text says about overcoming the devil, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony!”

Did they overcome by ceaseless incantations? No!

Was it by the casting out of demons? No!

“But what formula did they use to overcome?” None!

“Did they overcome by binding and loosing?” No!

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by making their testimony what the blood had done. They testified that their sins had been taken away by the Lamb.

No accusation against us can stand before the throne of God because all Satan’s charges against us fall on deaf ears in heaven. That’s the power of the blood!

The blood of the Lamb is sufficient for our victory over Satan. Throughout the ages, the blood of Christ, the sacrificial lamb, has been the refuge and fortress to those who believe. By faith, we know and claim that the blood of Christ is entirely effective. It’s like this, either the Lord Jesus put away sin, or He didn’t. If He did not, how will it ever be put away? If He did, then Believers are in the clear.

By the way, when the enemy attacks us and accuses us, we shouldn’t take it personally. The attack is not against us. It’s against the Lord Jesus and His honour. The Devil always loves to attack the integrity and effectiveness of the blood as he insinuates that the Cross has not done enough for us. How he delights to cast aspersions on the Lord Jesus. How he enjoys trying to get believers to lose confidence in the blood of the Lamb.

However, the blood of the Lord Jesus is the conquering weapon. Had He not poured out His soul unto death, had He not been numbered with the transgressors we should have had no weapon with which to overcome the evil one.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter I-Introduction

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter I

Introduction

The purpose of this book is not to set forth a new system of theological thought, but to give a re-statement to that great system which is known as the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, and to show that this is beyond all doubt the teaching of the Bible and of reason.

The doctrine of Predestination receives comparatively little attention in our day and it is very imperfectly understood even by those who are supposed to hold it most loyally. It is a doctrine, however, which is contained in the creeds of most evangelical churches and which has had a remarkable influence both in Church and State. The official standards of the various branches of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches in Europe and America are thoroughly Calvinistic. The Baptist and Congregational Churches, although they have no formulated creeds, have in the main been Calvinistic ff we may judge from the writings and teachings of their representative theologians. The great free church of Holland and almost all the churches of Scotland are Calvinistic. The Established Church of England and her daughter, the Episcopal Church of America, have a Calvinistic creed in the Thirty-nine Articles. The Whitefield Methodists in Wales to this day bear the name of “Calvinistic Methodists.”

Among the past and present advocates of this doctrine are to be found some of the world’s greatest and wisest men. It was taught not only by Calvin, but by Luther, Zwingli, Melanchthon (although Melanchthon later retreated toward the Semi-Pelagian position), by Bullinger, Bucer, and all of the outstanding leaders in the Reformation. While differing on some other points they agreed on this doctrine of Predestination and taught it with emphasis. Luther’s chief work, “The Bondage of the Will,” shows that he went into the doctrine as heartily as did Calvin himself. He even asserted it with more warmth and proceeded to much harsher lengths in defending it than Calvin ever did. And the Lutheran Church today as judged by the Formula of Concord holds the doctrine of Predestination in a modified form. The Puritans in England and those who early settled in America, as well as the Covenanters in Scotland and the Huguenots in France, were thorough-going Calvinists; and it is little credit to historians in general that this fact has been so largely passed over in silence. This faith was for a time held by the Roman Catholic Church, and at no time has that church ever openly repudiated it. Augustine’s doctrine of Predestination set against him all the half-hearted elements in the Church and arrayed him against every man who belittled the sovereignty of God. He overcame them, and the doctrine of Predestination entered the belief of the universal Church. The great majority of the creeds of historic Christendom have set forth the doctrines of Election, Predestination, and final Perseverance, as will readily be seen by any one who will make even a cursory study of the subject. On the other hand Arminianism existed for centuries only as a heresy on the outskirts of true religion, and in fact it was not championed by an organized Christian church until the year 1784, at which time it was incorporated into the system of doctrine of the Methodist Church in England. The great theologians of history, Augustine, Wycliffe, Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Zanchius, Owen, Whitefield, Toplady, and in more recent times Hodge, Dabney, Cunningham, Smith, Shedd, Warfield, and Kuyper, held this doctrine and taught it with force. That they have been the lights and ornaments of the highest type of Christianity will be admitted by practically all Protestants. Furthermore, their works on this great subject have never been answered. Then, too, when we stop to consider that among non-Christian religions Mohammedanism has so many millions who believe in some kind of Predestination, that the doctrine of Fatalism has been held in some form or other in several heathen countries, and that the mechanistic and deterministic philosophies have exerted such great influences in England, Germany, and America, we see that this doctrine is at least worthy of careful study.

From the time of the Reformation up until about one hundred years ago these doctrines were boldly set forth by the great majority of the ministers and teachers in the Protestant churches; but today we find far the greater majority holding and teaching other systems. It is only rarely that we now come across those who can be called “Calvinists without reserve.” We may quite appropriately apply to our own churches the words of Toplady in regard to the Church of England: “Time has been when the Calvinistic doctrines were considered and defended as the Palladium of our Established Church; by her bishops and clergy, by the universities, and the whole body of the laity. It was (during the reigns of Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth, James I, and the greater part of Charles I) as difficult to meet with a clergyman who did not preach the doctrines of the Church of England, as it is now to find one who does. We have generally forsaken the principles of the Reformation, and Ichabod, or ‘the glory is departed,’ has been written on most of our pulpits and church-doors ever since.”1

The tendency in our enlightened age is to look upon Calvinism as a worn-out and obsolete creed. At the beginning of his splendid article on “The Reformed Faith in the Modern World,” Prof. F. E. Hamilton says, “It seems to be tacitly assumed by a large number of people in the Presbyterian Church today that Calvinism has been outgrown in religious circles. In fact, the average church member, or even minister of the gospel, is inclined to look upon a person who declares that he believes in Predestination, with a glance of amused tolerance. It seems incredible to them that there should exist such an intellectual curiosity as a real Calvinist, in an age of enlightenment like the present. As for seriously examining the arguments for Calvinism, the idea never enters their heads. It is deemed as out of date as the Inquisition, or the idea of a fiat world, and is looked upon as one of the fantastic schemes of thought that men held before the age of modern science.” Because of this present day attitude toward Calvinism, and because of the general lack of information concerning these doctrines, we regard the subject of this book as one of great importance.

It was Calvin who wrought out this system of theological thought with such logical clearness and emphasis that it has ever since borne his name. He did not, of course, originate the system but only set forth what appeared to him to shine forth so clearly from the pages of Holy Scripture. Augustine had taught the essentials of the system a thousand years before Calvin was born, and the whole body of the leaders of the Reformation movement taught the same. But it was given to Calvin with his deep knowledge of Scripture, his keen intellect and systematizing genius, to set forth and defend these truths more clearly and ably than had ever been done before.

We call this system of doctrine “Calvinism,” and accept the term “Calvinist” as our badge of honor; yet names are mere conveniences. “We might,” says Warburton, “quite as appropriately, and with equally as much reason, call gravitation ‘Newtonism,’ because the principles of gravitation were first dearly demonstrated by the great philosopher Newton. Men had been fully conversant with the facts of gravitation for long ages before Newton was born. These facts had indeed been visible from the first days of creation, inasmuch as gravitation was one of the laws which God ordained for the governing of the .universe. But the principles of gravitation were not fully known, and the far-reaching effects of its power and influence were not understood until they were discovered by Sir Isaac Newton. So, too, was it with what men call Calvinism. The inherent principles of it had been in existence for long ages before Calvin was born. They had indeed been visible as patent factors in the world’s history from the time of man’s creation. But inasmuch as it was Calvin who first formulated these principles into a more or less complete system, that system, or creed, if you will, and likewise those principles which are embodied in it, came to bear his name.”2 We may add further that the names Calvinist, Lutheran, Puritan, Pilgrim, Methodist, Baptist, and even the name Christian, were originally nicknames. But usage has established their validity and their meaning is well understood.

The quality which gave such force to Calvin’s teaching was his close adherence to the Bible as an inspired and authoritative book. He has been referred to as preeminently the biblical theologian of his age. Where the Bible led, there he went; where it failed him, there he stopped short. This refusal to go beyond what is written, coupled with a ready acceptance of what the Bible did teach, gave an air of finality and positiveness to his declarations which made them offensive to his critics. Because of his keen insight and power of logical development he has often been referred to as merely a speculative theologian. That he was a speculative genius of the first order is, of course, not to be denied; and in the cogency of his logical analysis he possessed a weapon which made him terrible to his enemies. But it was not on these gifts that he depended primarily when forming and developing his theological system.

Calvin’s active and powerful intellect led him to sound the depths of every subject which he touched. In his investigations about God and the plan of redemption he went very far, penetrating into mysteries concerning which the average man seldom if ever dreams. He brought to light a side of Scripture which had as yet been very much in the shade and stressed those deep truths which in the ages preceding the Reformation had comparatively escaped notice in the Church. He brought to light forgotten doctrines of the apostle Paul, and fastened them in their full and complete sense upon one great branch of the Christian Church.

This doctrine of Predestination has perhaps raised a greater storm of opposition, and has doubtless been more misrepresented and caricatured, than any other doctrine in the Scriptures. “To mention it before some,” says Warburton, “is like shaking the proverbial red flag before an enraged bull. It arouses the fiercest passions of their nature, and brings forth a torrent of abuse and calumny. But, because men have fought against it, or because they hate it, or perhaps misunderstand it, is no reasonable or logical cause why we should turn the doctrine adrift, or cast it behind our backs. The real question, the all-important question, is not: How do men receive it? but, Is it true?”3

One reason why many people, even supposedly educated people, are so quick to reject the doctrine of Predestination is because of pure ignorance of what the doctrine really is and of what the Bible teaches in regard to it. This ignorance is not at all surprising when one considers the almost complete lack of Bible training in our day. A careful study of the Bible would convince many people that it is a very different book than they assume it to be. The tremendous influence which this doctrine has exerted in the history of Europe and America should at least entitle it to a respectful hearing. Furthermore, we submit that according to all the laws of reason and logic a person has no right to deny the truth of a doctrine without first having studied in an unprejudiced manner the evidence on both sides. This is a doctrine which deals with some of the most profound truths revealed in Scripture and it will abundantly repay careful study on the part of Christian people. If any are disposed to reject it without first making a careful study of its claims, let them not forget that it has commanded the firm belief of multitudes of the wisest and best men that have ever lived, and that there must, therefore, be strong reasons in favor of its truth.

Perhaps a few words of caution should be given here to the effect that while the doctrine of Predestination is a great and blessed Scripture truth and a fundamental doctrine of several churches, it must never be looked upon as the sum and substance of the Reformed Faith. As Dr. Kuyper has said, “It is a mistake to discover the specific character of Calvinism in the doctrine of Predestination, or in the authority of Scripture. For Calvinism all these are logical consequences, not the point of departure — foliage bearing witness to the luxuriousness of its growth, but not the root from which it is sprouted.” If the doctrine is detached from its natural association with other truths and exhibited alone, the effect is exaggerated. The system is then distorted and misrepresented. A statement of any principle, in order to be true, must present it in harmony with all the other elements of the system of which it forms a part. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a balanced statement of this system as a whole, and it gives due prominence to those other doctrines, such as the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the personality of the Holy Spirit, the Inspiration of the Scriptures, Miracles, the Atonement, Resurrection, the personal return of Christ, and so forth. Furthermore, we do not deny that the Arminians hold many and important truths. But we do hold that a full and complete exposition of the Christian system can be given only on the basis of the truth as set forth in the Calvinistic system.

In the minds of most people the doctrine of Predestination and Calvinism are practically synonymous terms. This. however, should not be the case, and the too close identification of the two has doubtless done much to prejudice many people against the Calvinistic system. The same is true in regard to a too close identification of Calvinism and the “Five Points,” as will be shown later. While Predestination and the Five Points are all essential elements of Calvinism, they by no means constitute its whole.

The doctrine of Predestination has been made the subject of almost endless discussion, much of which, it must be admitted, was for the purpose of softening its outlines or of explaining it away. “The consideration of this great doctrine,” says Cunningham, “runs up into the most profound and inaccessible subjects that can occupy the minds of men, — the nature and attributes, the purposes and the actings of the infinite and incomprehensible Jehovah, — viewed especially in their bearings upon the everlasting destinies of His intelligent creatures. The peculiar nature of the subject certainly demands, in right reason, that it should ever be approached and considered with the pro-foundest humility, caution, and reverence, as it brings us into contact, on the one side, with a subject so awful and overwhelming as the everlasting misery of an innumerable multitude of our fellow men. Many men have discussed the subject in this spirit, but many also have indulged in much presumptuous and irreverent speculation regarding it. There is probably no subject that has occupied more of the attention of intelligent men in every age. It has been most fully discussed in all of its bearings, philosophical, theological, and practical; and if there be any subject of speculation with respect to which we are warranted in saying that it has been exhausted, it is this.

“Some, at least, of the topics comprehended under this general head have been discussed by almost every philosopher of eminence in ancient as well as in modern times. * * * All that the highest ability, ingenuity, and acuteness can effect, has been brought to bear upon the discussion of this subject; and the difficulties attaching to it have never been fully solved, and we are well warranted in saying that they never will, unless God gives us either a fuller revelation or greatly enlarged capacities, — although, perhaps, it would be more correct to say that, from the very nature of the case, a finite being can never fully comprehend it since this would imply that he could fully comprehend the infinite mind.”4

In the development of this book much use has been made of other books in order that this one may contain the very cream and quintessence of the best authors on the subject. Consequently many of the arguments found here are from men very superior to the present writer. Indeed, when he glances at the whole he is inclined to say with a celebrated French writer, “I have culled a bouquet of varied flowers from men’s gardens, and nothing is my own but the string that binds them.” Yet much is his own, especially as regards the organization and arrangement of materials.

Throughout this book the terms “predestination” and “foreordination” are used as exact synonyms, the choice being deterrained only by taste. If a distinction be desired the word “foreordination’ can perhaps better be used where the thing spoken of is an event in history or in nature, while “predestination” can refer mainly to the final destiny of persons. The Scripture quotations have been made from the American Standard Version of the Bible rather than from the King James Version since the former is more accurate.

The author wishes particularly to thank Dr. Samuel G. Craig, Editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY, Dr. Frank H. Stevenson, President of the Board of Trustees of Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Cornelius Van Til, Professor of Apologetics in Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. C. W. Hodge, Professor of Systematic Theology in Princeton Theological Seminary, under whose supervision this material in much shorter form was originally prepared, and Rev. Henry Atherton, General Secretary of the Sovereign Grace Union, London, England, for valuable assistance.

This book, we repeat, is designed to set forth and defend the Reformed Faith, commonly known as Calvinism. It is not directed against any particular denomination, but against Arminianism in general. The author is a Presbyterian,5 but he is well aware of the radical departure that the rank and file of Presbyterians have made from their own creed. The book is sent forth with the hope that those who profess to hold the Reformed Faith may have a better understanding of the great truths which are here treated and may value their heritage more highly; and that those who have not known this system, or who have opposed it, may be convinced of its truth and come to love it.

The question which faces us then, is. Has God from all eternity foreordained all things which come to pass ? If so, what evidence do we have to that effect. and how is the fact consistent with the free agency of rational creatures and with His own perfections?

1 Preface to Zanchius’ Predestination. p. 16.

2 Calvinism, p. 23.

3 Calvinism, p.23.

4 Cunningham, Historical Theology II, pp. 418, 419.

5 The author, a layman, is a member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. This is one of the smaller denominations, but one that seeks faithfully to maintain the Reformed heritage.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The law of comparison and contrast

27. The law of comparison and contrast. While this rule is much less important to the expositor than many of the others, it is of deep interest; and though little is known, yet this principle is accorded a prominent place in the Word. And in view of what has been termed “the pair of opposites” which confront us in every sphere, it should occasion us no surprise to find this canon receiving such frequent illustration and exemplification in the Scriptures, and that in several ways. God and the Devil, time and eternity, day and night, male and female, good and evil, heaven and hell, are set one over against the other. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth has its two hemispheres, the northern and the southern. So also there are the Old and New Testaments, the Jew and the Gentile, and after the days of Solomon the former were split into two kingdoms; while throughout all Christendom we find the genuine possessor and the graceless professor. Whatever be the explanation, we are faced everywhere with this mysterious duality: the visible and the invisible, spirit and matter, land and sea, centrifugal and centripetal forces at work, life and death.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Every one who is baptized according to the true form laid down in Scripture, must be a Trinitarian: otherwise his baptism is a farce and a lie

The first proof we shall gather from the pool of holy baptism Let me take you down, as I have taken others, into the pool, now concealed, but which I wish were always open to your view. Let me take you to the baptismal font, where believers put on the name of the Lord Jesus, and you shall hear me pronounce the solemn words, “I baptize thee in the name,” — mark, “in the name,” not names, — “of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Every one who is baptized according to the true form laid down in Scripture, must be a Trinitarian: otherwise his baptism is a farce and a lie, and he himself is found a deceiver and a hypocrite before God. As the Father is mentioned, and as the Son is mentioned, so is the Holy Ghost, and the whole is summed up as being a Trinity in unity, by its being said, not the names, but the “name” the glorious name, the Jehovah name, “of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Let me remind you that the same thing occurs each time you are dismissed from this house of prayer. In pronouncing the solemn closing benediction, we invoke on your behalf the love of Jesus Christ, the grace of the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and thus, according to the apostolick manner, we make a manifest distinction between the persons showing that we believe the Father to be a person, the Son to be a person, and the Holy Ghost to be a person. Were there no other proofs in Scripture, I think these would be sufficient for every sensible man. He would see that if the Holy Spirit were a mere influence, he would not be mentioned in conjunction with two whom we all confess to be actual and proper persons.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Personality of the Holy Ghost,” A Sermon Delivered On Sabbath Morning, January 21, 1855

Updated Links: Reformed Baptist and Particular Baptist Links

Over the past year, I have been away from my home and thus, away from my blog. During that time I have received countless emails, from those who follow my blog and website, of which have notified me that many links were broken on my sites. I am putting this post out today to let everyone know that all links, except for the Free Ebooks Page (1), have been fixed or deleted. Those links that were deleted will be discussed below.

Sometimes in life a man must make a decision that will cause him to leave the comforts of his home, in order to better provide for his family. When a job plays out, a job which a man has been used to doing for many years, a man must seek out a job that will make him valuable in other fields of industry. That being said, I chose to go back to driving a big rig or tractor trailer for a year. Now mind you, I had not driven a big rig in 17 years however, I knew that a shortage in this industry would readily provide me with a job and after a year would make me valuable as a local driver. I have driven all over the United States in the last year. I have been in California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Florida; from one corner of the US to another. I have endured: driving in extreme weather conditions, loneliness, being away from family, missing birthdays and holidays, and being away from what I enjoy most; namely: studying theology and updating my blog and website. I have missed interacting with those, with whom I have had discussions concerning theology on the internet. So that being said, I am now back at home and seeking that local driving position. I am asking everyone to be in prayer for me that I will find a local driving job that will provide for my family and allow me to get back to studying the things of God.

Deleted Links

When I left a year ago Reformed Baptists were making strides in recovering a covenantal heritage which had been obscured or lost over time. Articles were being written, sermons preached, and Ebooks made available online, which defended what we believe, concerning faith and practice of that faith within the local Church. Articles which defended believers-only-baptism and that showed infant baptism to be an erroneous position not supported by scripture were only a click away. Sadly, this is not now the case.

I have links on my website from Reformed paedobaptists. Also on my Apologetics page I have links from Catholic Apologists(2) that defend God’s existence. These links, for the most part, were still working and have not been deleted. However, among my Particular Baptists brethren, things have changed quite a bit within a year.

Reformed Baptist, Particular Baptist, Sovereign Grace Baptist (5 Point Baptist those called Calvinistic Baptist) and Primitive Baptist links no longer work. (From now on I will just use the term Particular Baptist because all these branches, of what is known as Baptist, have this doctrine in common; although not all adhere to covenant theology). Articles that argued from a covenantal Baptist position or articles which proved infant baptism to be an erroneous position, not supported by scripture, have disappeared. Some articles which can be found with a search of the internet are no longer free, but one must buy some book in order to gain access to these materials. I am not saying that just articles have disappeared, whole websites which have been up and running for years, of which had free Ebooks from Spurgeon, Pink, Gill, etc… have completely shut down. Blogs that I followed which supported and defended the Particular Baptist position have been deleted. So you will notice, on my sidebar to the right, that my Blog Roll has decreased drastically.

What caused these blogs and websites to completely shut down or what caused articles to be taken down and concealed inside books that require a reader to purchase them? I do not know. Did someone at the top of the ladder fall into sin and have to be disciplined? Did a huge controversy over doctrine breakout in the Particular Baptist movement? At the present time, I have no answers.

The large majority of books or articles, which I thought defended our positions concerning doctrine, I possess within my own personal library. Even though I have much space within my own website to upload these materials, nevertheless to keep from infringing on copyrights, I had no choice but to remove the broken links and just allow what remains on my sites to suffice any student of theology.

So to close, I welcome everyone back to my sites, as the links have been restored or deleted.

God bless,

Hershel Lee Harvell Jr.

(1) The Free Ebooks page links will be fixed within the next few weeks. I appreciate your patience.

(2) I can hear the critics now. You mean you provide links to Roman Catholic Apologists? Yes, I most certainly do. Most of them defend a Christian worldview from a Classical Apologetics position and have some good articles against: moral relativism, the problem of evil, atheism and the defense of God’s existence, etc… Someone might say, “Well Classical Apologetics is not a good or true apologetic methodology for defending the Christian worldview.” However, this is an in-house debate, even among Protestants themselves. There is not a mutual agreement among Protestant theologians concerning epistemology.

As a disclaimer: Every link on my site is not there because I agree with every position that the writer of the article holds, but is there to provide a student of theology access to topics which will increase his knowledge in all areas of theology. For instance: On my Baptismal Debates Page, I have articles linked which defend a credo-Baptist position. I also have articles linked which either critic the credo-Baptist position or that defend a paedo-baptist position. The reason being, is that a student of theology can read both sides of the argument and decide for himself which position he will take. About 6 months after I came to the knowledge of Calvinism, I made an appointment with a PCA Pastor and questioned him concerning what I was learning. I wanted to make sure that I had a right understanding of the doctrines of grace. This Pastor did not rail on me and tell me that his position was the correct one concerning all that he believed, but instead encouraged me to keep studying and told me that I needed to study baptism and church government and decide whether or not I was going to hold to credo-baptism and congregationalism or whether I was going to hold to paedo-baptism and a Presbyterian form of church government.(a) So I studied both sides of the doctrinal positions and came to a point where I decided that the Reformed Baptist position was the correct one.

(a) The advise of this PCA Pastor was unlike that of the Pentecostal Pastor I sat under after I first got saved. The Pentecostal Pastor I sat under, after I first got saved, was adamant in stating that if I did not hold to every doctrine he does or if I did not interpret every scripture as he does, then I was a heretic. This is brainwashing and was not the signs of a true Pastor of a Church, but instead was the signs of a cult. I have come to realize, through study, that he was holding heretical positions. He even thinks that Martin Luther was wrong concerning being saved by faith alone. He believes, as Roman Catholics do, that salvation is through faith plus works. That was straight out of his mouth.

To show the truth of the doctrine, that is, to show that there is such a thing as that spiritual light that has been described, thus immediately let into the mind by God

III. To show the truth of the doctrine, that is, to show that there is such a thing as that spiritual light that has been described, thus immediately let into the mind by God. And here I would show briefly, that this doctrine is both scriptural and rational.

First, It is scriptural. My text is not only full to the purpose, but it is a doctrine with which the Scripture abounds. We are there abundantly taught, that the saints differ from the ungodly in this, that they have the knowedly, of God, and a sight of God, and of Jesus Christ. I shall mention but few texts out of many: 1 John 3:6. “Whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, nor known him.” 3 John 11. “He that doth good, is of God: but he that doth evil, hath not seen Gods’ John 14:19. “The world seeth me no more, but ye see me.” John 17:3. “And this is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” This knowledge, or sight of God and Christ, cannot be a mere speculative knowledge, because it is spoken of as that wherein they differ from the ungodly. And be these scriptures it must not only be a different knowledge in degree and circumstances, and different in its effects; but it must be entirely different in nature and kind.

And this light and knowledge is always spoken of as immediately given of God, Matthew 11:25-27. “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto

babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Here this effect is ascribed exclusively to the arbitrary operation and gift of God bestowing this knowledge on whom he will, and distinguishing those with it who have the least natural advantage or means for knowledge, even babes, when it is denied to the wise and prudent. And imparting this knowledge is here appropriated to the Son of God, as his sole prerogative. And again,

“For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6.)

This plainly shows, that there is a discovery of the divine superlative glory and excellency of God and Christ, peculiar to the saints; and also, that it is as immediately from God, as light from the sun: and that it is the immediate effect of his power and will. For it is compared to God’s creating the light by his powerful word in the beginning of the creation, and is said to be by the Spirit of the Lord, in the 18th verse of the preceding chapter. God is spoken of as giving the knowledge of Christ in conversion, as of what before was hidden and unseen, Galatians 1:15,16. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me.” — The Scripture also speaks plainly of such a knowledge of the word of God, as has been described, as the immediate gift of God;

“Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18.)

What could the psalmist mean, when he begged of God to open his eyes? Was he ever blind? Might he not have resort to the law and see every word and sentence in it when he pleased? And what could he mean by those wondrous things? Were they the wonderful stories of the creation, and deluge, and Israel’s passing through the Red sea, and the like? Were not his eyes open to read these strange things when he would? Doubtless by wondrous things in God’s law he had respect to those distinguishing and wonderful excellencies, and marvellous manifestations of the divine perfections and glory, contained in the commands and doctrines of the word, and those works and counsels of God that were there revealed. So the Scripture speaks of a knowledge of God’s dispensation and covenant of mercy and way of grace towards his people, as peculiar to the saints, are given only by God,

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will show them his covenant.” (Psalm 25:14.)

And that a true and saving belief of the truth of religion is that which arises from such a discovery, is also what the Scripture teaches. As John 6:40. “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one who seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life;” where it is plain that a true faith is what arises from a spiritual sight of Christ. And, John 17:6, 7, 8. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gayest me out of the world. — Now they have known that all Things whatsoever thou hast given me, are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gayest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me,” where Christ’s manifesting God’s name to the disciples, or giving them the knowledge of God, has that whereby they knew that Christ’s doctrine was of God, and that Christ himself proceeded from him, and was sent by him. Again, John 12:44, 45, 46. “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that seeth me, seeth him that sent me. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me, should not abide in darkness.” There believing in Christ, and spiritually seeing him, are parallel.

Christ condemns the Jews, that they did not know that he was the Messiah, and that his doctrine was true, from an inward distinguishing taste and relish of what was divine, in Luke 12:56, 57. He having blamed the Jews, that though they could discern the face of the sky and of the earth, and signs of the weather, that they could not discern those times — or as it is expressed in Matthew, the signs of those times — adds, “yea, and why even of your own selves, judge ye not what is right?” i.e. Without extrinsic signs. Why have ye not that sense of true excellency, whereby Ye may distinguish that which is holy and divine? Why have ye not that savour of the things of God, by which you may see the distinguishing glory, and evident divinity, of me and my doctrine?

The apostle Peter mentions it as what gave him and his companions good and well-grounded assurance of the truth of the gospel, that they had see the divine glory of Christ.

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16.)

The apostle has respect to that visible glory of Christ which they saw in his transfiguration: that glory was so divine, having such an ineffable appearance and semblance of divine holiness, majesty, and grace, I that it evidently denoted him to be a divine person. But if a sight of Christ’s outward glory might give a rational assurance of his divinity, why may not an apprehension of his spiritual glory do so too? Doubtless Christ’s spiritual glory is in itself as distinguishing, and as plainly shows his divinity, as his outward glory, — nay, a great deal more: for his spiritual glory is that wherein his divinity consists: and the outward glory of his transfiguration showed him to be divine, only as it was a remarkable image or representation of that spiritual glory. Doubtless, therefore, he that has had a clear sight of the spiritual glory of Christ, may say, I have not followed cunningly devised fables, but hale been an eye witness of his majesty, upon as good grounds as the apostle, when he had respect to the outward glory of Christ that he had seen. But this brings me to what was proposed next, viz. to show that,

Jonathan Edwards- A Divine And Supernatural Light Immediately Imparted To The Soul, By The Spirit Of God, Shown To Be Both A Scriptual And Rational Doctrine. [Preached at Norhampton, and published at the desire of some of the hearers, in the year 1734.]