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Here we learn what is the formal ground of man’s judicial condemnation before God

December 31, 2019 Leave a comment

Here, then, we learn what is the formal ground of man’s judicial condemnation before God. The popular idea of what renders man a sinner in the sight of heaven is altogether inadequate and false. The prevailing conception is that a sinner is one who commits and practices sin. It is true that this is the character of a sinner, but it certainly is not that which primarily constitutes him a sinner. The truth is that every member of our race enters this world a guilty sinner before he ever commits a single transgression. It is not only that he possesses a sinful nature, but he is directly “under condemnation.” We are legally constituted sinners neither by what we are nor by what we are doing, but by the disobedience of our federal head, Adam. Adam acted not for himself alone, but for all who were to spring from him.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

Recollect to go home and read your Bibles

December 30, 2019 Leave a comment

I have done. Let us go home and practice what we have heard. I have heard of a woman, who, when she was asked what she remembered of the minister’s sermon, said, “I don’t recollect anything of it. It was about short weights and bad measures, and I didn’t recollect anything but to go home and burn the bushel.” So if you will remember to go home and burn the bushel, if you will recollect to go home and read your Bibles, I shall have said enough. And may God, in his infinite mercy, when you read your Bibles, pour into your soul, the illuminating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, by the agency of the ever-adorable Spirit; then you will read to your profit and to your soul’s salvation.

We may say of THE BIBLE:-

God’s cabinet of revealed counsel ‘tis!

Where weal and woe, are ordered so

That every man may know which shall be his;

Unless his own mistake, false application make

It is the index to eternity.

He cannot miss of endless bliss

That takes this chart to steer by

Nor can he be mistook, that speaketh by this book.

It is the book of God.

What if I should Say, God of books, let him that looks

Angry at that expression, as too bold,

His thoughts in silence smother, till he find such another.”

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Bible, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning March 18, 1855

Preface

December 27, 2019 Leave a comment

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

MY gratitude is due to God, and to his people, for the kindness with which this little work has been received. A second edition is demanded at a much earlier period than I had anticipated. I have prepared it with as much attention as my circumstances would permit. Some portions of the book, as will be seen, have been recast, and a new Chapter has been added, on Infant Salvation. More perspicuity and con-elusiveness have, as I think, been thus given to some of the arguments, and the whole work made much more complete. Again I send it forth, with the earnest prayer that it may prove a blessing to the cause of true religion.

ROBERT BOYT C. HOWELL.

Richmond, Virginia, Dec. 17th, 1851.

PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION

THE following pages were written with the specific design of considering, not the “mode of baptism,” nor “the subjects of baptism”, but the EVILS of INFANT baptism.” What baptism is, and who are authorized to receive it, have been questions of controversy during fifteen hundred years. The last two centuries have been especially prolific of essays and books on these subjects. Great learning and zeal have been called in requisition on both sides of the discussion. The conflict, as time passes, loses nothing of its interest, but grows each year, more and more warm. Nor will it ever cease until all Christians fully understand the divine teaching in the premises, and submit themselves to the guidance of the word of God. The evils of infant baptism seem, however, to be a topic which has attracted heretofore, but very little attention. I have seen an occasional allusion to it in books, and periodicals, and sometime a paragraph or two, affirming and sustaining the mischievous results of the rite. I myself wrote a small tract on the subject, more than twenty-five years ago, entitled “Plain Things for Plain Men,” suggesting most of the propositions contained in this work. Beyond these almost nothing, so far as I know, has been published.[1] Consequently the advocates of infant baptism, driven from every other quarter, have here felt themselves safe. They affirm, and expect us to admit, that “If it does no good, it does no harm.” It is innocent, and therefore may be practiced. It was this very apology, offered in its behalf lately, by a friend in my presence, and which I had before so often heard, that called forth the book now before you. I thought it wrong to permit the public mind longer to remain involved in this error; and as I knew of no one who was likely soon to expose it, I determined to undertake the task myself. I have attempted, with what success my readers will judge, to show that infant baptism is far from being harmless. On the contrary, that it is one of the most calamitous evils with which the church has ever been visited.

Permit, if you please, a word of explanation in the outset, regarding some terms, and phrases, of frequent occurrence. I have spoken of it as baptism, when only sprinkling was used, and infants were the subjects, not that I suppose any such thing really baptism, or that others than believers are capable of the ordinance, but simply as a matter of courtesy, and in compliance with common usage. In the same sense I have spoken of the church, “the churches,” and “the churches of Christ.” In the use of these, and like expressions, I shall certainly, by all intelligent people, be perfectly understood. One other prefatory remark will be pardoned. In this, as in every other book I have written, I have carefully sought the utmost simplicity and plainness. I write for “the million,” and I have determined that “the million” shall understand me. I am unwilling to sacrifice force and directness to elegance of style. I do not enter in the presence of my readers, into labored criticisms, nor abstruse disquisition’s, but give them the results simply, without fatiguing them with the process; and they have them in the plainest Saxon I can command. It has been my purpose to present the truth fully, fairly, and candidly, but at the same time, with all proper respect for the opinions of others. I have not introduced an argument which I do not believe to be logical and conclusive, a single passage of scripture which I am not persuaded is relevant, nor an authority from any writer, ancient or modern, which I am not assured is justly adduced, and applicable to the subject. My sole desire is the honor of truth, and the salvation of men.

With these observations premised, I send forth this little volume, earnestly praying that God our Heavenly Father, may make it a blessing to his cause and people.

ROBERT BOYT C. HOWELL

Richmond, Virginia, March 24th, 1851

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Innfant Baptism

 

[1] Since the first edition of this work went to press, I have seen Dr. Gill’s Tract, “Infant Baptism a Part and Pillar of Popery,” edited by George B. Ide, D. D., and published in a handsome little volume, by the American Baptist Publication Society. This volume has a chapter by Dr. Ide on “The Influence of Infant Baptism on Protestant Churches, Historically considered.” This is an able and conclusive chapter, of which, in this second edition, I have fully availed myself.

Have you faith?

December 26, 2019 Leave a comment

I must ask you another question, Have you faith? By this question you will be helped to answer the previous one, for believers are in Christ. In the Epistle to the Galatians, you will find that the mark of those who are in Christ is that they believe in Christ. The mark of all that are saved is not, confidence in work, but faith in Christ. In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul insists upon it, “ The just shall live by faith,” and the law is not of faith. Over and over again he puts it so. Come, then, do you believe in Jesus Christ with all your heart? Is he your sole hope for heaven? Do you lean your whole weight, the entire stress of your salvation, on Jesus? Then you are, in him, and the covenant is yours; and there, is not a blessing which God hath decreed to give but what he will give to you. There is not a boon which, out of the grandeur of his heart, he has determined to bestow upon his elect, but what he will bestow it upon you. You have the mark, the seal, the badge of his chosen if you believe in Christ Jesus.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Covenant,” A Sermon Published on Thursday, Aug 3rd, 1911, (Spurgeon had passed away by now, having died in 1892), Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon, upon the same text, is No. 2,681 in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, “Covenant Blessings.”

The Wednesday Word: When the Spirit Moves!

December 25, 2019 Leave a comment

Salvation is by the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Redemption and Reconciliation, not rules and regulations, are the heart of the Gospel; … nothing else will do (Ephesians 2:8-9).

I contend, therefore, that if the preaching of Christ crucified once more becomes the dominant theme of our pulpits, we will see revival. My friend Joseph Terrell nails it when he describes good churches like this, “Preaching Christ and Him crucified…nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!”

We all want to see a revival and a genuine moving of God´s Spirit. Indeed, many theories are being advanced for the accomplishment of such a move. Exciting music, for example, is touted by many as the way forward … but this is a silly notion. Singing endless verses about ourselves and our feelings will not bring an outpouring from heaven.

BTW, I´m not advocating that our services should be cold and heartless. Some people, it seems, mistakenly think they are more spiritual and dignified when they sit in silence without so much as a flinch. Sometimes, however, the problem with those dear folk is they don’t know the difference between dignity and rigour mortis.

May our times of fellowship glorify God with, not just any music, but with the music of the Gospel … the music of thanksgiving for the Saviour and His blood. The Holy Spirit is resident in such praises. He is the Master Conductor of the Music of Grace. He tunes our hearts to love the sound of the Good News.

Also, when the Spirit moves, we will once more hear from our pulpits the old, old story of a finished salvation. In this way, Jesus will be again discovered as Redeemer, Friend, Brother, Advocate, Intercessor, Forerunner and All-in-all.

When the Spirit moves, we will not hear of a work which is half of the believer and half of God. Such an unholy alliance is not discovered in the Bible. As the old-time preacher, John Berridge, said, such a work, if it were possible, would be like yoking a snail to an elephant.

The Lord did not come half-way and say, “I will help with your efforts.” That´s absurd. The work has already been completed at Calvary. A half and half salvation will damn its adherents, but Christ’s taking 100 % responsibility for us saves to the uttermost. It is grace, grace, grace from first to last. In Christ, we have complete salvation.

“Perish every human story,

Every system taught or tried;

God forbid that I should glory,

Save in Jesus crucified.”

When the Spirit moves, our pulpits will once more ring with the good news of the Lamb and His blood. This is the way of revival. We will again hear of the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1) and of that precious blood which “cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7) and purges the conscience (Hebrews 9:14).

When the Spirit moves, we will once more be thrilled with scriptures like this, “I, even I says Jehovah, am He that blots out your transgressions for My own sake and will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Think of it, our sins, no matter what their depth or filth, are forgotten … they are all cast behind His back (Isaiah 38:17). They are completely gone! Sing it loud and preach it often. Such a truth is worthy of our attention.

“My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part, but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XIX- That it represents God as a respecter of persons, or as unjustly partial

December 25, 2019 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XIX

That It Represents God as a Respecter of Persons, or as Unjustly Partial

4. GOD’S PARTIALITY IS PARTLY EXPLAINED BY THE FACT THAT HE IS SOVEREIGN AND THAT HIS GIFTS ARE OF GRACE

It cannot be said that God acts unjustly toward those who are not included in this plan of salvation. People who make this objection neglect to take into consideration the fact that God is dealing not merely with creatures but with sinful creatures who have forfeited every claim upon His mercy. Augustine well said: “Damnation is rendered to the wicked as a matter of debt, justice and desert, whereas the grace given to those who are delivered is free and unmerited, so that the condemned sinner cannot allege that he is unworthy of his punishment, nor the saint vaunt or boast as if he were worthy of his reward. Thus, in the whole course of this procedure, there is no respect of persons. They who are condemned and they who are set at liberty constituted originally one and the same lump, equally infected with sin and liable to vengeance. Hence the justified may learn from the condemnation of the rest that that would have been their own punishment had not God’s grace stepped in to their rescue.” And to the same effect Calvin says, “The Lord, therefore, may give grace to whom He will, because He is merciful, and yet not give it to all because He is a just Judge; may manifest His free grace by giving to some what they never deserve, while by not giving to all He declares the demerit of all.” “Partiality,” in the sense that objectors commonly use the word, is impossible in the sphere of grace. It can exist only in the sphere of justice, where the persons concerned have certain claims and rights. We may give to one beggar and not to another for we do not owe anything to either. The parable of the talents was spoken by our Lord to illustrate the doctrine of the Divine sovereignty in the bestowment of unmerited gifts; and the regeneration of the soul is one of the greatest of these gifts.

The central teaching in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard is that God is sovereign in the dispensation of His gifts. To the saved and the unsaved alike He can say, “Friend, I do thee no wrong… Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Or is thine eye evil, because I am good?” Mat_20:13-15. It was said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”; and Paul adds, “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that hath mercy . . . . . So then He hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth,” Rom_9:15-18. He will extend mercy to some, and inflict justice on others, and will be glorified by all. Just as a man may give alms to some and not to others, so God may give His grace, which is heavenly alms, to whom He pleases. Grace, from its own nature, must be free; and the very inequality of its distribution demonstrates that it is truly gratuitous. If any one could justly demand it, it would cease to be grace and would become of debt. If God is robbed of His sovereignty in this respect, salvation then becomes a matter of debt to every person.

If ten men each owe a certain creditor one thousand dollars and he for reasons of his own forgives the debts of seven but collects from the other three, the latter have no grounds for complaint. If three criminals are sentenced to be hanged for having committed murder and then two of them are pardonedperhaps it is found that they have rendered distinguished service to their country in time of war—does that render the execution of the third unjust? Plainly, No; for in his case there is no intervening cause as to why he should not suffer for his crime. And if an earthly prince may .justly do this, shall not the sovereign Lord of all be allowed to act in the same manner toward His rebellious subjects? When all mankind might have been punished, how can God be charged with injustice if He punishes only a part of them? — and that no doubt a comparatively small part.

Warburton gives a very fitting illustration here. He supposes a case in which a lady goes to an orphans’ home and from the hundreds of children there, chooses one, adopts it as her own child and leaves the rest. “She might have chosen others; she had the means to keep others; but she chose one. Will you tell me that woman is unjust? Will you tell me that she is unfair, or unrighteous, because in the exercise of her undisputed right and privilege she chose out that one child to enjoy the comforts of her home, and become the heir of her possessions, and left all the others, possibly to perish in want, or sink into the wretched condition of gutter-children? . . . . Have you ever heard any lay the charge of injustice, or of unrighteousness against the one who has done such an action? Do men not rather hold such an action up to praise? Do they not speak in the highest terms of the love, the pity, and the compassion of such a person ? Now why do they do this? Why do they not condemn the taking of the one, and the leaving of the rest? Why do they not complain that it was unjust for this particular one to be chosen, and not another, or not all? . . . . The reason is this— because men know — as we also know— that all those children were in exactly the same plight and that not one of them had a single claim, or the least vestige of a claim, upon the person whose will and pleasure it was to adopt one as her own . . . . Do you, or can you, see anything different in this act of God’s from that of my neighbor’s? The children in that foundling home had no claim upon my neighbor. Neither had fallen man any claim upon God; and God’s choice, therefore, just as it was free and unmerited, so was it also righteous and just. And this free and unmerited fore-choice of God in view of man’s self-procured ruin, is all that is meant by the Calvinistic doctrine of Predestination.”

Since the merits of Christ’s sacrifice were of infinite value, the plan which usually first suggests itself to our hearts is that God should have saved all. But He chose to make an eternal exhibition of His justice as well as His mercy. If every person had been saved, it would not have been seen what sin deserved; if no person had been saved, it would not have been seen what grace could bestow. Furthermore, the fact that salvation was provided, not for all, but only for some, makes it all the more appreciated by those to whom it is given. All in all, it was best for the universe at large that some should be permitted to have their own way and thus show what a dreadful thing is opposition to God.

But some one may ask, What about this unregenerate man, this one of the non-elect who is left in sin, subject to eternal punishment, unable even to see the kingdom of God? We reply, Go back to the doctrine of original sin,— in Adam, who was appointed the federal head and representative of all his descendants, the race had a most fair and favorable opportunity to gain salvation, but lost it. The justification for the election of some and the passing by of others is that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Doubtless there are the best of reasons for the choosing of some and the passing by of others, but these have not been made known to us. We do know, however, that none of the lost suffer any unmerited punishment. In this world they enjoy the good things of providence in common with the children of God, and very often in a much higher degree. Conscience and experience testify that we are members of an apostate race, and every man who comes short of eternal life knows that the responsibility rests primarily upon himself. Furthermore, if all men are in their present lost and ruined condition by the operation of just principles on the part of God (and who will say that they are not?), they may justly be left to deserved punishment. It is absurd to say that they are justly exposed to eternal misery, and yet that it would be unjust for them to suffer; for that is the same as saying that the execution of a just penalty is unjust. It may also be added that man in his fallen state has no desire for salvation, and that from this corrupt mass God “hath mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth.” This is the uniform teaching of Scripture. He who denies this denies Christianity and calls in question God’s government of the world.

As a matter of fact all of us are partial. We treat the members of our own family or our friends with great partiality, although at the time we may know that they are no more deserving, or perhaps even less deserving than are many others with whom we are associated. It does not follow that if we grant favors to some, we must grant the same or equal favors to all. Yet the Arminian absolutely prescribes it as a rule to the Most High, that He ought to extend His bounty to all equally as from a public treasury. “Should an earthly friend,” says Toplady, “make me a present of ten thousand pounds, would it not be unreasonable, ungrateful and presumptuous in me, to refuse the gift, and revile the giver, only because it might not be his pleasure to confer the same favor on my next door neighbor?”

Hence, then, to the objection that the doctrine of Predestination represents God as “partial,” we answer, It certainly does. But we insist that it does not represent Him as unjustly partial.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

God did not deal with mankind as with a field of corn, where each stalk stands upon its own individual root

December 24, 2019 Leave a comment

Let us borrow a simple illustration. God did not deal with mankind as with a field of corn, where each stalk stands upon its own individual root; but He dealt with it as with a tree, all the branches of which have one common root and trunk. If you strike with an axe at the root of a tree, the whole tree falls not only the trunk, but also the branches: all wither and die. So it was when Adam fell. God permitted Satan to lay the axe at the root of the tree, and when Adam fell, all his posterity fell with him. At one fatal stroke Adam was severed from communion with his maker, and as the result “death passed upon all men.”

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant