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It is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God

Secondly, This doctrine may well put us upon examining ourselves, whether we have ever had this divine light let into our souls. If there be such a thing, doubtless it is of great importance whether we have thus been taught by the Spirit of God; whether the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, hath shined unto us, giving us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; whether we have seen the Son and believed on him, or have that faith which arises from a spiritual sight of Christ.

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.]

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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 174

WORDS OF SYMPATHY

WESTWOOD, May 24, 1884.

DEAR FRIEND, —

May you be sustained under your heavy trial! Now that you and your dear companion are most fully realizing the void which is made in your household, may you find living consolations flowing into your hearts! “It is well,” and faith knows it is so; and worships the Lord from under the cloud. How time has flown! It seems but the other day that you were married; and now you are an old father, bereaved of a daughter. Dear Caleb Higgs, too, is gone home long ago.

We shall meet above before long. Till then, in our Lord’s business we will find solace, and in Himself delight.

Yours ever heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

The Wednesday Word – Grace and Truth

“The law was given by Moses; grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” John 1:17.

Moses gave the Law, but the Law it did not come by Moses. Moses, for all his moral rectitude, was not the originator of Law. He gave the Law, but he didn’t invent it.

Moses had to receive the Law. It was not his own. It was not a part of his being. He was not Law incarnate. The Law was delivered to him and he, in turn, gave it to others.

Grace and truth, on the other hand, were not “given” to Christ, they came by Christ for grace and truth were His essence. He was grace and truth incarnate. It is interesting to note that Christ could have come as Law incarnate for, indeed, He was the quintessence of the Law. But when He came to us, He came as the embodiment of grace and truth.

The Law was given to, among other reasons, expose our inability to please God. Our hearts towards God had been frozen in a glacier of self-will and destruction. God, therefore, did not hope that we would keep the Law, He knew we couldn’t. Rather, He gave it so that every mouth would be stopped and all the world become guilty before Him (Romans 3:19).

But there’s good news! Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. When Christ appeared, grace and truth appeared in all its fullness. Grace and truth descended to earth in the person of Jesus the God/Man. He alone is our Gospel. We dare not add to or subtract from Him.

There are no two things in the Bible more different than Law and Gospel. Either we obtain salvation in all its facets by contributing our works, or we freely receive salvation by faith alone in the doing, dying and rising again of our Lord Jesus …plus nothing!

For a moment then, let’s consider some of the differences and contrasts between Law and Gospel!

The Law demands righteousness; the Gospel gives it.

The Law requires good works; the Gospel provides them.

Under the Law, the source of our blessings is from our obedience. But under the Gospel, blessings are a gift based upon Christ’s obedience.

“The Law threatens, the Gospel heals.

The Law shows us our wretchedness. The Gospel takes our misery away.

The Law was not given to save us but to damn us.

The Gospel, on the other hand, was given, not to damn us but to save us.

The Law was not given to bless us, but to curse us.

The gospel was given to set us free from the curse .

The Law puts on its black cap of damnation and sentences men to death. The Gospel, by contrast, put on the white cap of mercy and brings dead men to life.”

The Law tells us what we must do to get right with God. Grace, on the other hand, tells us what God has done for us to get us right with Himself.

When Moses gave the Law, his face shone. But when grace and truth came, the full light of the knowledge of the glory of God was revealed in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter V-The Providence of God

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter V

The Providence of God

God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures and all their actions.” (Shorter Catechism, answer to Question 11.) The Scriptures very clearly teach that all things outside of God owe not merely their original creation, but their continued existence, with all their properties and Powers, to the will of God. He upholds all things by the word of His power, Heb_1:3. He is before all things, and in Him all things consist, Col_1:17. “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their hosts, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all,” Neh_9:6. “In Him we live, and move and have our being,” Act_17:28. He is “over all, and through all, and in all,” Eph_4:6.

Throughout the Bible the laws of nature, the course of history, the varying fortunes of individuals, are ever attributed to God’s providential control. All things, both in heaven and earth, from the seraphim down to the tiny atom, are ordered by His never-failing providence. So intimate is His relationship with the whole creation that a care- less reader might be led toward pantheistic conclusions. Yet individual personalities and second causes are fully recognized, — not as independent of God, but as having their proper place in His plan. And alongside of this doctrine of His Immanence the Scripture writers also present the kindred doctrine of His Transcendence, in which God is distinctly set forth as entirely separate from and above the whole creation.

Yet as regards God’s providence we are to understand that He is intimately concerned with every detail in the affairs of men and in the course of nature. “To suppose that anything is too great to be comprehended in His control,” says Dr. Charles Hodge, “or anything so minute as to escape His notice; or that the infinitude of particulars can distract His attention, is to forget that God is infinite . . . . The sun diffuses its light through all space as easily as upon any point. God is as much present everywhere, and with everything, as though He were only in one place, and had but one object of attention.” And again, “He is present in every blade of grass, yet guiding Arcturus in his course, marshalling the stars as a host, calling them by their names; present also in every human soul, giving it understanding, endowing it with gifts, working in it both to will and to do. The human heart is in His hands; and he turneth it even as the rivers of water are turned.” 1

It is almost universally admitted that God determines when, where, and under what circumstances, each individual of our race shall be born, live, and die, whether it shall be male or female, white or black, wise or foolish. God is no less sovereign in the distribution of His favors. He does what He will with His own. To some He gives riches, to others honor, to others health, to others certain talents for music, oratory, art, finance, statesmanship, etc. Others are poor, unknown, born in dishonor, the victims of disease, and live lives of wretchedness. Some are placed in Christian lands where they receive all the benefits of the Gospel; others live and die in the darkness of heathenism. Some are brought through faith unto salvation; others are left to perish in unbelief. And to a very large extent these external things, which are not the result of individual choice, decide the person’s life course and eternal destiny. Both Scripture and every day experience teach us that God gives to some what He withholds from others. If it be asked why He does this, or why he does not save all, the only available answer is found in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Yea, Father, for so it was well – pleasing in thy sight.” Only the Scripture doctrine of the fall and redemption will give us any light on what we see about us.

It is to be remembered that those who receive these gifts, whether spiritual or temporal, receive them through pure grace, while in regard to the others God simply withholds those gifts which He was under no obligation to bestow. Nations, as well as individuals, are thus in the hands of God, who appoints the bounds of their habitation, and controls their destiny. He controls them as absolutely as a man controls a rod or a staff. They are in His hands, and He employs them to accomplish His purposes. He breaks them in pieces as a potter’s vessel, or He exalts them to greatness, according to His good pleasure. He gives peace and fruitful seasons, property and happiness, or He sends the desolations of war, famine, drought and pestilence. All of these things are of His disposing, and are designed for intelligent ends under His universal providence. God is no mere spectator of the universe He has made, but is everywhere present and active, the all-sustaining ground, and all-governing power of all that is.

Although the price of the sparrow is small, and its flight seems giddy and at random, yet it does not fall to the ground, nor slight anywhere without your Father. “His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough it shall perch upon; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live and where it shall die.” 2

Every raindrop and every snowflake which falls from the cloud, every insect which moves, every plant which grows, every grain of dust which floats in the air has had certain definite causes and will have certain definite effects. Each is a link in the chain of events and many of the great events of history have turned on these apparently insignificant things.

Throughout the whole course of events there is progress toward a predetermined end. Dr. Warfield has well written: “It was not accident that brought Rebecca to the well to welcome Abraham’s servant (Genesis 24), or that sent Joseph into Egypt (Gen_45:8; Gen_50:20,. ‘God meant it for good’), or guided Pharaoh’s daughter to the ark among the flags (Exodus 2), or that, later. directed the millstone that crushed Abimelech’s head (Jdg_9:53), or winged the arrow shot at a venture to smite the king in the joints of the armor (1Ki_22:34). Every historical event is rather treated as an item in the orderly carrying out of an underlying Divine purpose; and the historian is continually aware of the presence in history of Him who gives even to the lightning a charge to strike the mark (Job_36:32).” 3

“In the great railroad stations,” said Dr. Clarence E. Macartney, “you can see a metallic pencil come out and write in great characters on the wall the time of the arrival or departure of the trains. The metallic pencil seems to write of itself, but we know that hidden in an office somewhere the mind and hand of a man are operating the pencil. So in our own life, we note our own deliberations and choices and decisions, and yet in the fabric of our destiny there seem to be other strands, strands not of our own weaving. Apparently trivial events play their part in great issues.” 4

Man’s sense of moral responsibility and dependence, and his instinctive appeal to God in times of danger, show how universal and innate is the conviction that God does govern the world and all human events. But while the Bible repeatedly teaches that this providential control is universal, Powerful, wise, and holy, it nowhere attempts to inform us how it is to be reconciled with man’s free agency. All that we need to know is that God does govern His creatures and that His control over them is such that no violence is done to their natures. Perhaps the relationship between divine sovereignty and human freedom can best be summed up in these words: God so presents the outside inducements that man acts in accordance with his own nature, yet does exactly what God has planned for him to do.

This subject, as it relates to human responsibility, will be more fully treated in the chapter on Free Agency.

SCRIPTURE PROOF

That this is the Scripture doctrine of Providence is so plain that it is admitted by many whose philosophical views lead them to reject it for themselves. We shall now present a summary of Scripture proof, showing that all events have a divinely appointed place and purpose, that God’s providence is universal, and that He thus secures the complete fulfillment of His plans. God’s providential control extends over:

(a) Nature or the physical world. “Jehovah doeth His will in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet,” Nah_1:3. “Only in the land of Goshen where the children of Israel were, there was no hail,” Exo_9:26. “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust,” Mat_5:45. The famine in Egypt appeared to men to be only the result of natural causes; yet Joseph could say, “The thing is established of God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.” Gen_41:32. “And I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months before the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city,” Amo_4:7. “He gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your heart with food and gladness,” Act_14:17. “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?” Isa_40:12.

(b) The animal creation. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one of them shall fall to the ground without your Father,” Mat_10:29. “Behold the birds of the heavens, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them,” Mat_6:26. “My God hath sent His angel and hath shut the lions’ months, that they have not hurt me,” Dan_6:22. “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God,” Psa_104:21. “Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father (Laban) and given them to me” (Jacob), Gen_31:9.

(c) Nations. (Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliation was) “to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men,” Dan_4:17. “Behold, the nations are as a drop in the bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance; behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing,” Isaiah 40-15. “Let them say among the nation Jehovah reigneth,” 1Ch_16:31. “For God Is the King of all the earth,” Psa_47:7. “He changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth kings, and setteth up kings,” Dan_2:21. “Jehovah bringeth the counsel of the nations to naught; He maketh the thoughts of the people to be of none effect,” Psa_33:10. “And Jehovah gave them rest round about …. Jehovah delivered all their enemies into their hands,” Jos_21:44. “And the children of Israel did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah; and Jehovah delivered them into the hands of Midian seven years,” Jdg_6:1. ‘Shall evil befall a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?” Amo_3:6. “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the earth, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs,” Hab_1:6.

(d) Individual men. “The king’s heart is in the hand of Jehovah as the watercourses; He turneth it whithersoever He will,” Pro_21:1. “A man’s goings are established of Jehovah,” Psa_37:23. “A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps,” Pro_16:9. “For we ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this or that,” Jam_4:15. “Of Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things,” Rom_11:36. “Who maketh thee to differ? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” 1Co_4:7. “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, And delivereth them,” Psa_34:7. “If it be so our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thy hand,O king,” Dan_3:17. “Jehovah is on my side; I shall not fear; What can man do unto me?” Psa_118:6. But now, O Jehovah, thou art our Father; we are the clay and thou our potter; and we are the work of thy hands,” Isa_64:8. “And the hand of our God was upon us, and He delivered us (the returning exiles) from the hand of the enemy and the lier-in-wait by the way,” Ezr_8:31. “And God brought their counsel to naught,” Neh_4:15. “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or bent; that ye way know how Jehovah doth make a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel,” Exo_11:7. “And the Lord said unto Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee,” Act_18:9.

(e) The free acts of men. “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure,” Phi_2:13. “And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked.” Exo_12:36. “And the king (of Persia, Artaxerxes) granted him (Ezra) all his request, according to the hand of Jehovah his God upon him,” Ezr_7:6. “For Jehovah had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria unto them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the house of God” (rebuilding the temple), Ezr_6:22. “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them,” Ezekiel 36:27.

(f) The sinful acts of men. “For of a truth in this city against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel foreordained to come to pass,” Act_4:27, Act_4:28. “Jesus answered him (Pilate), Thou wouldst have no power against me, except it were given thee from above,” Joh_19:11. (David, rebuking Abishai, in regard to Shimei) “Because he curseth, and Jehovah bath said, Curse David…. Let him alone, and let him curse; for Jehovah bath bidden him” 2Sa_16:10, 2Sa_16:11. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; and the residue of wrath shalt thou gird upon thee’ (or restrain), Psa_76:10. “And I, behold I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians and they shall go in (the Red Sea) after them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, and upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen,” Exo_14:17. (g) To the fortuitous events or “chance happenings. “See section 4 (Ch. III).”

1 Systematic Theology, I, p. 583.

2 Toplady, Preface to Zanchius’ Predestination, p. 14.

3 Biblical Doctrines, p. 14.

4 Moderator’s sermon on Predestination, preached before the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 1924.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

There are many points of contrast between the first two books of the Bible

There are many points of contrast between the first two books of the Bible. In the former we have the history of a family; in the latter the history of a nation. In the one the descendants of Abraham are but few in number; in the other they have increased to hundreds of thousands. In Genesis the Hebrews are welcomed and honored in Egypt, whereas in Exodus they are hated and shunned. In the former we read of a Pharaoh who says to Joseph, “God hath showed thee all this” (41:39), but in the latter another Pharaoh says unto Moses, “I know not the Lord” (5:2). In Genesis we hear of a “lamb” promised (22:8), in Exodus of the “lamb” slain and its blood sprinkled. In the former we have recorded the entrance of Israel into Egypt; in the latter the exodus of them is described. In the one we behold the patriarchs sojourning in the land which flowed with milk and honey; in the other their descendants are wanderers in the wilderness. Genesis closes with Joseph in a coffin, while Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

And when has the Holy Ghost ceased to have an influence upon men?

And when has the Holy Ghost ceased to have an influence upon men? We find that still he deals with his ministers and with all his saints. Turn to the Acts, and you will find that the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Paul and Barnabas for the work.” I never heard of an attribute saying such a thing. The Holy Spirit said to Peter, “Go to the centurion, and what I have cleansed, that call not thou common. The Holy Ghost caught away Philip after he had baptised thee unuch, and carried him to another place; and the Holy Ghost said to Paul, “Thou shalt not go into that city, but shalt turn into another.” And we know that the Holy Ghost was lied unto by Ananias and Sapphira, when it was said, “Thou hast not lied unto man, but unto God.” Again, that power which we feel every day who are called to preach — that wondrous spell which makes our lips so potent — that power which gives us thoughts which are like birds from a far-off region, not the natives of our soul — that influence which I sometimes strangely feel, which, if it does not give me poetry and eloquence, gives me a might I never felt before, and lifts me above my fellow-man — that majesty with which he clothes his ministers, till in the midst of the battle they cry, aha! like the war-horse of Job, and move themselves like leviathans in the water — that power which gives us might over men, and causes them to sit and listen as if their ears were chained, as if they were entranced by the power of some magician’s wand — that power must come from a person, it must come from the Holy Ghost.

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

This doctrine may lead us to reflect on the goodness of God, that has so ordered it, that a saving evidence of the truth of the gospel is such, as is attainable by persons of mean capacities and advantages, as well as those that are of the greatest parts and learning

I will conclude with a very brief improvement of what has been said.

First, This doctrine may lead us to reflect on the goodness of God, that has so ordered it, that a saving evidence of the truth of the gospel is such, as is attainable by persons of mean capacities and advantages, as well as those that are of the greatest parts and learning. If the evidence of the gospel depended only on history, and such reasonings as learned men only are capable of, it would be above the reach of far the greatest part of mankind. But persons with an ordinary degree of knowledge are capable, without a long and subtle train of reasoning, to see the divine excellency of the things of religions they are capable of being taught by the Spirit of God, as well as learned men. The evidence that is this way obtained, is vastly better and more satisfying, than all that can be obtained by the arguings of those that are most learned, and greatest masters of reason. And babes are as capable of knowing these things, as the wise and prudent; and they are often hid from these when they are revealed to those. 1 Corinthians 1:26, 27. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world.”

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.]