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Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 187

September 20, 2018 Leave a comment

TO YOUNG PEOPLE

MENTONE, Feb. 12, 1874.

DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS,—

I am full of delight at hearing of what the Lord is doing among you in saving souls; but will any of you be missed by the gracious visitation? Will the sacred rain leave some of you dry as the mountains of Gilboa? Is Jesus passing by, and will you not cry to Him? Is His grace felt by your brother, your sister, and your mother, and not by you? Unhappy soul, which shall manage to elude the blessed influences which are now abroad among us! Surely, such an one must be dexterous in resisting the Holy Spirit, and desperately resolved to perish! What reason can be urged for such a course? What excuse for such suicide? Let those who are saved, pray much for others who remain hardened.

I am rejoiced that those of you who have found Jesus are not ashamed to own Him. Why should you be? Only make sure that you are really converted; do not be content with shams. Seek the real thing. Lay hold, not on temporary hope, but on eternal life. True faith always has repentance for its twin brother, love for its child, and holiness for its crown. If you have looked to Jesus for life, be sure that you next look to Him for the pattern of life, so that you may walk as He also walked. As young Christians, you will be greatly tempted; pray, then, to be securely kept, that you may never dis-honor your Lord. We shall soon meet, if the Lord will; and till then, my love be with you all. Amen.

Yours heartily,

C. H. SPURGEON.

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The Wednesday Word: ‘Until’ (Part 2)

September 19, 2018 Leave a comment

Do you remember those dreaded words your Mother would say when you were a child? “Wait until your Father gets home!” It was a long, anxious, uneasy wait, wasn’t it?

We, likewise, are waiting, waiting for Jesus to come back. But, for us, there is no dread or fear. Jesus is coming back … to unite His family with Himself … forever! We don’t know just WHEN He will return but we know that He WILL.

Concerning the return of Jesus, Acts 3:21 gives us another precious UNTIL. It reads, ‘Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.’

This ‘until’ will herald the consummation of Salvation to His people but at the same time will announce the destruction of Christ- rejecters.

The destruction of Christ-rejecters?

Yes! But don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write it! Speaking of this last day’s ‘until’, Acts 3:23 declares; ‘And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.’

Oh but the redeemed of the Lord have no need to fret and worry about this. Those whom the Savior has rescued can never be lost again. Concerning people who believe that we can be saved and lost, Spurgeon said, and I paraphrase, ‘those who hold this view need to go up to heaven and set the angels straight on this matter. They need to tell them not to rejoice until the sinner dies and goes to heaven, because they may be rejoicing too soon. What if he repents but later falls away and is lost? The angels shouldn’t be so fast with their joy!’ (see Luke 15:10).

Salvation is the gift of God, and God’s gifts are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29).

The redeemed of the Lord cannot be unpurchased.

The blood can never lose its authority.

Eternal life cannot be temporary if it’s eternal.

It’s not provisional life, it’s everlasting life.

Remember, we are not secure in our salvation because of our grip on the Saviour, but rather because of His grip on us. He loved us before time began. He came here Himself in the person of His Son to secure our redemption with His blood. He sought us until He found us. Do you think that He will now let us go back into our sins and be lost again? Away with such nonsense! If a child of God ends in Hell, Jesus, the One who claimed to be the Truth, is made a liar because He has promised His sheep they will never perish (John 10:28).

May we learn patiently to wait for this next great ‘until’ that will bring the resurrection of our bodies and the consummation of His glorious salvation.

We have been justified, reconciled and set apart unto Him. And now we wait, resting on the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word (2 Peter 1:4).

Until He comes, we are Worshippers. We show His death (1 Cor. 11:26).

Until He comes, we are Warriors. We hold fast his truth, (Revelation 2:25).

Until He comes, we are Workers. We are occupied in His service (Luke 19:13).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

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The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XI-Unconditional Election-1-Statement of the Doctrine

September 19, 2018 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XI

Unconditional Election

1. Statement of the Doctrine. 2. Proof from Scripture. 3. Proof from Reason. 4. Faith and Good Works are the Fruits and Proof, not the Basis, of Election. 5. Reprobation. 6. Infralapsarianism and Supralapsarianism. 7. Many are Chosen. 8. A Redeemed World or Race. 9. Vastness of the Redeemed Multitude. 10. The World is Growing Better. 11. Infant Salvation. 12. Summary.

1. STATEMENT OF THE DOCTRINE

The doctrine of Election is to be looked upon as only a particular application of the general doctrine of Predestination or Foreordination as it relates to the salvation of sinners; and since the Scriptures are concerned mainly with the redemption of sinners, this part of the doctrine is naturally thrown up into a place of special prominence. It partakes of all the elements of the general doctrine; and since it is the act of an infinite moral Person, it is represented as being the eternal, absolute, immutable, effective determination by His will of the objects of His saving operations. And no aspect of this elective choice is more constantly emphasized than that of its absolute sovereignty.

The Reformed Faith has held to the existence of an eternal, divine decree which, antecedently to any difference or desert in men themselves separates the human race into two portions and ordains one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death. So far as this decree relates to men it designates the counsel of God concerning those who had a supremely favorable chance in Adam to earn salvation, but who lost that chance. As a result of the fall they are guilty and corrupted; their motives are wrong and they cannot work out their own salvation. They have forfeited all claim upon God’s mercy, and might justly have been left to suffer the penalty of their disobedience as all of the fallen angels were left. But instead the elect members of this race are rescued from this state of guilt and sin and are brought into a state of blessedness and holiness. The non-elect are simply left in their previous state of ruin, and are condemned for their sins. They suffer no unmerited punishment, for God is dealing with them not merely as men but as sinners.

The Westminster Confession states the doctrine thus: “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated to everlasting life, and others are foreordained to everlasting death.

“These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.

“Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

“As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Whereby they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

“The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His will, whereby He extendeth or withholdeth mercy as He pleaseth, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.” 1

It is important that we shall have a clear understanding of this doctrine of divine Election, for our views in regard to it determine our views of God, man, the world, and redemption. As Calvin rightly says, “We shall never be clearly convinced as we ought to be that our salvation flows from the fountain of God’s free mercy, till we are acquainted with this eternal election, which illustrates the grace of God by this comparison, that He adopts not all promiscuously to the hope of salvation but gives to some what he refuses to others. Ignorance of this principle evidently detracts from the divine glory, and diminishes real humility.”2 Calvin admits that this doctrine arouses very perplexing questions in the minds of some, for, says he, “they consider nothing more unreasonable than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestinated to salvation; and others to destruction.”

The Reformed theologians consistently applied this principle to the actual experience of spiritual phenomena which they themselves felt and saw in others about them. The divine purpose, or Predestination, alone could explain the distinction between good and evil, between the saint and the sinner.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The law of first mention

September 18, 2018 Leave a comment

28. The law of first mention. Very frequently this is of great help in arriving at the meaning of a wor or expression. Since there be but one Speaker throughout the entire Word, and He knew from the beginning all that He was going to say, He has so ordered His utterances as to forecast from the outset whatever was to follow. Thus, by noting its setting and associations, the initial occurrence of anything in the Scriptures usually intimates to us how it subsequently will be employed. In other words, the earliest pronouncement of the Holy Spirit on a subject very frequently indicates, substantially, what is found in the later references thereto. This is of real assistance to the expositor, supplying him with a kind of key to what follows. So far as we are aware, attention was originally directed to this canon of exegesis by Lord Bacon (1600), and for more than forty years this writer has made use of the same, putting it to the test in scores of instances; and while he has found a few cases where the first mention of a term failed to intimate clearly its future scope, he has never met with one that was out of harmony therewith; and the vast majority of them were invaluable in serving to define their significance and scope. This will appear from the illustrations which follow.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

But the last reason why worldly men laugh at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, is because they do not know it

September 17, 2018 Leave a comment

But the last reason why worldly men laugh at the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, is because they do not know it. If they knew it by heart-felt experience, and if they recognized its agency in the soul; if they had ever been touched by it; if they had been made to tremble under a sense of sin; if they had had their hearts melted; they would never have doubted the existence of the Holy Ghost.

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

The Covenants-Chapter 3a-The Covenant of Eden

September 14, 2018 Leave a comment

3. THE COVENANT OF EDEN.

The announcement of the seed of the woman a promise of Christ; this promise was a covenant; character and work of Messiah declared; further explained by sacrifices; influence of this covenant upon the faith, and piety of the patriarchs; lessons taught by this covenant.

The first announcement of a Deliverer for man, from the horrible position in which sin had placed him, was made in Eden, immediately after the fall, by God himself. It was addressed, in the presence of our first parents, to the malicious tempter. “I will put enmity,” said he, “between thee, and the woman; and between thy seed, and her seed. It shall bruise thy head; and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). May this declaration be accounted, and received, in any proper and correct sense, as a covenant? Why I ask, may it not? It was a stipulation, a promise, a declaration of the divine purpose, an appointment. Particularly, was it not “A settlement, or an establishment of things, wherein by means of’ a Mediator, God designed to reconcile men, and take them into a friendly relation with himself?” If the definition of a word may be properly substituted for the word itself, and that it may, no one will dispute, then is it shown by the exposition of the former chapter, that this announcement is unquestionably a covenant in the highest sense of that term. It contained within itself, a promise of Messiah, with a declaration as to the humanity of his nature, and as to the manner in which having his own heel, or humanity bruised, but at the same time, bruising the head, or overthrowing the power of Satan, he would achieve the redemption of men. That our first parents, and all the primitive saints fully so understood it, there can reasonably be no doubt. That your mind may be still more deeply impressed with these facts, let the whole passage in which this covenant occurs, be repeated. Speaking of our first parents, Moses says:- “They heard the voice of the Lord God, walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam, and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord, amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, [ashamed] because I was naked, and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the Lord said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly shall thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee, and the woman; and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head; and thou shalt bruise his heel. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow, and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband; and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for thy sake. In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also, and thistles, shall it bring forth unto thee. And thou shalt eat the herb of the field. in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Gen 3:8-19).

I pause not here further to consider the appalling curse pronounced; the withering blight which came over man, and over all earthly things. These have been sufficiently presented in our discussion of the “covenant of works,” in the previous chapter. Our only object is, to learn definitely, the true sense of the covenant of Eden, if I may so designate this transaction. I do not allege that it has been seriously misunderstood. There has in regard to it, been in every age, a remarkable unity of opinion. But that by Biblical Interpreters generally, it has not been properly estimated, is to me most evident. Some of our most popular divines speak of it as “obscurely intimating a Saviour;” others as “giving faint intimations of the divine goodness;” and even those who have attributed to it the highest importance, have not felt its full force and magnitude. Did it indeed, but “obscurely hint” a Saviour? Did it give forth of him “faint intimations” only? It was in truth, nothing less than the glorious “dawning of the gospel” day upon our world. So it was undoubtedly understood by the apostles. Paul refers it thus (Heb 10:5-10), “When he [Christ] cometh into the world he saith, Sacrifice, and offering, thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me. In burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin, thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo I come, in the volume”—. the head,3 the beginning— “of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, 0 God.” “By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all.” What does he mean by “the head,” or the beginning of the book, the Bible? What other passage there, but this, speaks of the mission, and work of Christ? Nor is this exposition peculiar to christians. The Jewish Rabbies, as is well known, understood the covenant in the same sense. Speaking of it the Targum of Jerusalem says:- “There will be a remedy for man, but not for the serpent, but he shall wound his heel, at the end of the days of the king Messiah.” The Targum of Jonathan, and numerous other Hebrew authorities, say substantially the same thing. They assert that “The seed of the woman is Messiah.”4 Did Scott then affirm too much, when he said,5 “This announcement comprises the whole gospel, with a prophetic history of the apposition with which it should meet, and the success with which it should be crowned, in all ages, and countries, until the end of time ?”

But why has this covenant failed to make its full impression upon so many minds? It may, perhaps, be on account of the singular relations in which it is found, and of the indirect manner in which it was announced. These circumstances are happily explained by Andrew Fuller. He says, “If man had been in a suitable state of mind, the promise might have been direct, and addressed to him. But he was in no such state. His heart, whatever it might have been afterwards, was yet hardened against God. It was fit, therefore, that whatever designs of mercy were entertained concerning him, or his posterity, they should not be given in the form of a promise to him, but of a threatening to Satan.”6 On these accounts God said to the serpent, and not to them, “I will put enmity between thee, and the woman; and between thy seed, and her seed. It shall bruise thy head; and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This peculiar relation of the covenant has also another excellency. It serves to reveal to us one at least, of the most precious truths in the divine word. It apprises us that the declaration of a Deliverer was made to man, before the sentence was pronounced which overwhelmed him with the consequences of his sins. He stood before his Creator a transgressor, criminal, ashamed, but still stout and unsubdued. He was not yet formally condemned. The sorrow, and suffering, and death, he had incurred, were withheld. They had not descended upon him. How full of kindness were these dealings of God! The remedy was thus made known, that man might not be utterly crushed by the blow. Then, and not till then, the curse came upon him.

It is now I trust, apparent to you that the announcement of a Deliverer for man in Eden, was a covenant, in the true gospel sense, and that it was so understood by all primitive saints, as well as by Christ, and his apostles. It was accompanied, also, by most important and impressive explanations of the character and work of the Deliverer, in the forms of divine worship then instituted.

The worship of God has always demanded, and ever must require, as to its essence, the homage as we have seen, of the heart. The forms of worship have, however, been different under different dispensations. That now instituted consisted mainly in the offering of slain beasts in sacrifice. These were wholly consumed upon the altar. The skins were reserved, and became the materials of which they prepared their necessary apparel. That such service was specifically enjoined by Jehovah, is sufficiently evinced by the subsequent offerings of Cain and Abel. If they had not been required, their presentation could not have constituted the worship of God, since no truth is more clear than that where there is no command there can be no obedience. The sacrifice of Abel, and those of many others afterwards, were accepted as obedience to Jehovah. They were therefore, commanded by him. That of Cain was not accepted because it consisted not in slain animals, but fruits of the earth, and therefore was in form, and matter, a violation of the divine ordinance. God kindly instructed personally, our first parents in his service; he himself primarily officiating. The narrative is brief, but peculiarly graphic. “Unto Adam, and unto his wife, did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen 3:21); coats of the skins of those animals he had slain for sacrifice. They could not have been slain for food, because it was not then lawful for men to eat flesh. The appointment of God on this subject immediately after the fall, is contained in a passage already before you. He said to our first parents, in relation to their subsistence, “Thou shalt eat the herb of the field” (Gen 3:18). It was not until after the flood that they were allowed animal food. God said to Noah and his family, after they had left the ark: “Every moving thing that liveth, shall be meet for you; even as the green herb [which alone had before been eaten] have I given you all things” (Gen 9:3). Would this grant now have been formally made, if it had previously existed? Animal food was not therefore eaten by men, previous to the flood. Consequently the beasts that were slain were as has been said, wholly consumed in sacrifice. How full of instruction are these facts! I may say, adopting the quaint language of Henry:7 “These coats of skin had a significancy. The beasts whose skins they were, must be slain; slain before their eyes; to show them [our first parents] what death is;” “that they may see themselves as mortal, and dying.” “They were slain not for food, but for sacrifice, to typify the great sacrifice which in the latter end of the world, should be offered for all. Thus the first thing that died was a sacrifice, or Christ in a figure;” a representation of “the woman’s seed,” whose heel was to be bruised, or who was to suffer death for the sins of men.” “These sacrifices,” he continues, “were divided between God and man, in token of reconciliation; the flesh to be offered to God, a whole burnt offering; the skins given to man for clothing; signifying that Jesus Christ having offered himself to God a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savor, we are to clothe ourselves with his righteousness as with a garment, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear.” Such were the explanations given in the forms of worship instituted in the beginning of the world, of the character and work of the Redeemer promised in the covenant.

And is it true, as has been asserted, that all the saints previous to the days of Abraham, understood these doctrines as they have now been explained? That they did, cannot be reasonably questioned. No other period of the world has been marked by instances of more devoted piety than that of which we now speak. But piety without intelligence is impracticable. It is an axiom in theology, that where there is no promise, or other divine declaration, there can be no faith. There is in fact, nothing to believe. Yet it is said, that “By faith Abel offered unto God, a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gift; and by it he being dead, yet speaketh.” Also that, “By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and be was not found, because God had translated him; for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Heb 11:4-5). Similar statements are true of Noah, and many more, who lived during that age. But what did they all believe? Than those contained in this covenant there were no other promises, no other divine declarations whatever. Their faith must therefore hare been predicated alone upon the divine declarations, and promises made in the covenant now under consideration.

3 En kephalidi biblion gegraptai peri emou.

4 Vide Gill in loco, et Paulus Fagius.

5 Com in loco.

6 Works. Vol 3, p. 15.

7 Comm. in loco.

R. B. C. Howell- The Covenants

Charles Spurgeon’s Letters-Letter 186

September 13, 2018 Leave a comment

TO YOUNG PEOPLE

MENTONE, Feb. 5, 1874.

DEAR YOUNG FRIENDS, —

I am greatly cheered to hear that you gather in such numbers, and shall be yet more glad when I hear or see that hearts are won for Jesus and that with your mouths you make confession of Him. I look with so much hope upon you, that it would be a bitter disappointment if I did not hear that some of you are saved in the Lord.

I have just limped up a high hill into the cemetery here, and there I saw a text which struck me. “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him.” Noah was her rest, as Jesus must be yours. Just notice that it is added, “he put forth his hand, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” She was too weak to get in, but Noah’s kind hand” pulled her in unto him.” Dear young friends, I pray the Lord Jesus to grasp those of you who are weary and weak, and pull you in. His promises are pulls, His invitations, and those of the kind friends who address you, are so many pulls. Yield yourselves unto them, and be pulled in unto Him. No rest is there, East, West, North, or South, for your soul’s foot, save in the ark of sovereign grace; but there is rest there. As the clove turned her eye, and then her wing, to the ark, so turn your desires and prayers to Jesus; and as she dropped into Noah’s hand, so fall into the hand which was pierced that sinners might live. I pray for each one of you, and have entreated the great High Priest to bear each one of your names before His Father’s face upon His own breastplate. May the Lord save, sanctify, and preserve every one of us till the great day of His appearing!

Your loving Pastor,

C. H. SPURGEON