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Nature of Christian union; the principles upon which it is maintained; incompatible with infant baptism

CHAPTER 17

INFANT BAPTISM IS AN EVIL BECAUSE IT IS THE

GREAT BARRIER TO CHRISTIAN UNION

Nature of Christian union; its importance; the principles upon which it is maintained; incompatible with infant baptism.

CHRISTIAN union, and infant baptism, never can exist together. Between the millions of Baptists and pedobaptists this rite interposes a barrier which is, and must forever remain impassable. But Christian union is imperative upon us all. Whatever prevents it is an evil. Infant baptism prevents it. Therefore infant baptism is an evil.

It is in the very nature of true religion to produce, and perpetuate Christian union. God is one; his religion is one; and his people are one. All who love Christ are guided by the same gospel; are partakers of the same Spirit; have in view the same great ends; and are heirs of the same immortal inheritance. How can they be otherwise than united? In asserting these scriptural propositions, I am not unmindful of the fact that diversities of sentiment on nearly every subject, will exist. They arise inevitably, from the differences in natural capacity, in acquired knowledge, and the modes of thought, of different minds. These, however, will always refer to minor considerations, and therefore be unimportant in their nature, extent, and influence. They will be such as intelligent and holy men may indulge without offense, without alienation of affection, and without detriment to the most perfect Christian union. Nor is the requisition met when all who compose one particular church, or denomination, are in harmony. Christian union embraces all Christians throughout the whole universe. All who are one with Christ, and governed by his word, are inevitably one with each other. The law of gravitation in the natural world, does not more certainly attract to its center the objects within its range, than does the religion of Christ bring into unity all those who are within the circle of its influence. It knows no names, or distinctions. It is complete. It is universal.

Christian union, I have said, is imperative upon us all. Our Savior himself commands it, as an object to be sought, with unremitted earnestness. He deemed it also of such importance as to receive a place in that memorable last prayer offered by him in behalf of his ministers and people.

“I pray,” said he, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” (John 17.)

Christian union among all the people of God is therefore essential to the glory of the Redeemer, to the honor of his truth, to the spread of the gospel among the nations, and to elicit and confirm the faith of believers, Well then did an apostle thus admonish us:

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” (2 Corinthians 1:10.)

How imperative! Dare any of us disregard this injunction?

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 17- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it is the Great Barrier to Christian Union

THE KIND OF LABORERS WANTED

WHAT kind of men does the Master mean to use? They must be laborers. The man who does not make hard work of his ministry will find it very hard work to answer for his idleness at the last great day. A gentleman who wants an easy life should never think of occupying the Christian pulpit, he is out of place there, and when he gets there the only advice I can give him is to get out of it as soon as possible; and if he will not leave the position voluntarily, I call to mind the language of Jehu concerning Jezebel, “Fling her down,” and think the advice applicable to a lazy minister. An idler has no right in the pulpit. He is an instrument of Satan in damning the souls of men. The ministry demands brain labor; the preacher must throw his thought into his teaching, and read and study to keep his mind in good trim. He must not weary the people by telling them the truth in a stale, unprofitable manner, with nothing fresh from his own soul to give force to it. Above all, he must put heart work into his preaching. He must feel what he preaches it must never be with him an easy thing to deliver a sermon, he must feel as if he could preach his very life away ere the sermon is done. There must be soul work in it, the entire man must be stirred up to effort, the whole nature that God has endowed him with must be concentrated with all its vigor upon the work in hand. Such men we want. To stand and drone out a sermon in a kind of articulate snoring to a people who are somewhere between awake and asleep must be wretched work. I wonder what kind of excuse will be given by some men at last for having habitually done this. To promulgate a dry creed, and go over certain doctrines, and expound and enforce them logically, but never to deal with men’s consciences, never to upbraid them for their sins, never to tell them of their danger, never to invite them to a Savior with tears and entreaties! What a powerless work is this! What will become of such preachers? God have mercy upon them! We want laborers, not loiterers. We need men on fire, and I beseech you ask God to send them. The harvest never can be reaped by men who will not labor; they must off with their coats and go at it in their shirt-sleeves; I mean they must doff their dignities and get to Christ’s work as if they meant it, like real harvest men. They must sweat at their work, for nothing in the harvest-field can be done without the sweat of the face, nor in the pulpit without the sweat of the soul.

But what kind of laborers are required? They must be men who will go down into the wheat. You cannot reap wheat by standing a dozen yards off and beckoning to it you must go up close to the standing stalks; every reaper knows that. And you cannot move people’s hearts, and bring men to Christ, by imagining yourself to be a superior being, who condescends wonderfully when he shakes hands with a poor man. There is a very genteel order of preaching which is as ridiculous as reaping with a lady’s ivory-handled pocket knife, with kid gloves on; and I do not believe in God’s ever blessing it. Get among the wheat, like men in earnest! God’s servants ought to feel that they are one with the people; whoever they are they should love them, claim kinship with them, feel glad to see them, and look them in the face and say, Brother. Every man is a brother of mine; he may be a very bad one, but for all that I love him, and long to bring him to Jesus. Christ’s reapers must get among the wheat.

Now, see what the laborer brings with him. It is a sickle. His communications with the corn are sharp and cutting. He cuts right through, cuts the corn down, and casts it on the ground. The man whom God means to be a laborer in His harvest must not come with soft and delicate words, and flattering doctrines concerning the dignity of human nature, and the excellence of self-help, and of earnest endeavors to rectify our lapsed condition, and the like. Such mealy-mouthedness may God curse, for it is the curse of this age. The honest preacher calls a sin a sin, and a spade a spade, and says to men, “You are ruining yourselves; while you reject Christ you are living on the borders of hell, and ere long you will be lost to all eternity. There shall be no mincing the matter, you must escape from the wrath to come by faith in Jesus, or be driven for ever from God’s presence, and from all hope of joy.” The preacher must make his sermons cut. He is not to the off the edge of his scythe for fear it should hurt somebody. The gospel is intended to wound the conscience, and to go right through the heart, with the design of separating the soul from sin and self, as the corn is divided from the soil. Our object is to cut the sinner right down, for all the comeliness of the flesh must be slain, all his glory, all his excellence must be withered, and the man must be as one dead ere he can be saved. Ministers who do not aim to cut deep are not worth their salt. God never sent the man who never troubles men’s consciences. Such a man may be an ass treading down the corn, but a reaper he certainly is not. We want faithful ministers; pray God to send them.

But then a laborer has only begun when he cuts the corn much more is wanted. As he cuts, he lets the corn fall on to his arm, and then he lays it along in rows, but afterwards he binds it together and makes it into bundles that it may be ingathered. So the laborer whom God sends into the field must be a gathering laborer; he must be one who brings God’s people together, who comforts those that mourn, and picks up from the earth those who were cut down by the sharp sickle of conviction. He must bind the saints together, edifying them in their most holy faith.

Remember also that the laborer’s work is never done in harvest time till he sees the corn housed, — until it is made into a stack or put into a barn, his toil is not over; and the Christian minister, if God has truly anointed him to His work, never leaves caring for souls till they get to heaven. He is like Mr. Greatheart, with Christiana and Mercy, and the children; he goes with them from the City of Destruction, right up to the River Jordan; and if he could he would go through the river with them. It is his business to march in front with his shield, to meet the dragons and giants with his sword, and protect the little ones. It is his to be tender to them as a shepherd with the lambs and a nurse with her children, for he longs to present them at the last to his Master and say, “Here am I, and the children that Thou hast given me.”

We are to pray to the Lord, for it is the Lord’s business. Only the Lord can send us the right men. He has a right to send whom He pleases, for it is His own harvest, and a man may employ whom he wills in, his own field. It would be all in vain to appeal to anybody else. It is of no use to appeal to bishops to find us laborers. God alone has the making of ministers, and the raising up of true workers, and therefore the petition must be addressed to Him. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,” The Lord’s Prayer, in its first three petitions, contains this prayer: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth, as it is in heaven.” Does not that mean, “Lord, send forth men who may teach this world to hallow Thy name, that they through Thy Spirit’s power may be the means of making Thy kingdom come, and causing Thy will to be done in earth as it is in heaven.” We ought to pray continually to the great Lord of the harvest for a supply of earnest laborers.

And do you notice the expression used here, “that he would send forth laborers.” Now, the Greek is much more forcible, it is that He would push them forward, and thrust them out; it is the same word which is used for the expulsion of a devil from a man possessed. It takes great power to drive a devil out, it will need equal power from God to drive a minister out to his work. I always say to young fellows who consult me about the ministry, “Don’t be a minister if you can help it;” because, if the man can help it, God never called him, but if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man. May the Lord push men out, thrust them out, drive them out, and compel them to preach the gospel; for unless they preach by a divine compulsion, there will be no spiritual compulsion in their ministry upon the hearts of others. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would thrust out laborers into his harvest.”

Our Lord said, “into His harvest.” I like that, because the harvest is not ours. If that harvest shall perish, it is our heavenly Father’s harvest that perishes. This makes it weigh upon my soul. If they told me that the harvest of some harsh, overbearing tyrant was perishing, I might say, “Let it! If he had it, what good would it be to him or anybody else? He grinds the faces of the poor; who wants to see him rich?” But when it is our gracious God, our blessed loving Father, one cannot bear the thought, and yet Jesus puts it before us that it is God’s harvest which is perishing for want of reaping. Suppose an angel should take you upon his wing and poise you in mid-space some hundreds of miles above the earth, where you could look down on the globe with strengthened eyesight; suppose you rested there and the world revolved before you in twenty-four hours, the sunlight gradually coming upon all portions of it, and suppose that with the sunlight there should be rendered visible certain colors which would mark where there was grace, where there was idolatry, where there was atheism, where there was popery; you would grieve to see only here and there upon our globe, like little drops of dew, bright marks of the grace of God, but various shades of darkness would show you that the whole world lieth in the Wicked One still. And if the vision changed, and you saw the two hemispheres spread out like a map and transformed into a corn-field with corn all white for the harvest; how sad would you be to see here and there men reaping their little patches, doing the best they can, but the great mass of the corn untouched by the sickle. You would see leagues of land where never an ear was reaped that we know of, from the foundations of the world. You would be grieved to think that God’s corn is spoiling, men whom He has made in His own image, and made for immortality, perishing for lack of the gospel. “Pray ye,” that is the stress of the whole text — “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would, thrust forth laborers into his harvest,” that these fields may not rot before our eyes.

But I shall never preach,” saith one. If you do not preach you can serve God somehow else. Could you not start a prayer-meeting in your house? Some of you live in different parts of London, could not you commence new interests? Do something for Jesus. Some of you, good women, could you not get young women together and talk to them about the Savior? Ay, but perhaps some brother has been smothering in his heart a desire to go into the missionary field. Do not quench the Spirit. You may be missing your vocation while trying to suppress that desire. I would sooner you should burst into fanaticism, and become right-down fools in enthusiasm, than remain in a dead coolness, caring little for the souls of men. What do Christian people nowadays think of? If they hear about Japan, they say, “Oh, we shall have a new trade there;” but do they say, “Who among us can go to Japan to tell them of the gospel?” Do you not think that merchants, and soldiers, and sailors, and such-like people who trade with distant parts of the world, are the very persons to spread the gospel? Should not a Christian man say, “I shall try and find a trade for myself which will bring me into contact with a class of persons that need the gospel, and I will use my trade as the stalking-horse for Christ; since hypocrites use religion as a stalking-horse for gain, I will make my trading subservient to my religion.” “Oh,” says one, “we can leave that to the society.” God bless the society, and, I was going to say, smother the society, rather than allow it to smother personal effort. We want our godly merchants, working men, soldiers, and sailors everywhere to feel, “I cannot go and get a proxy in the shape of a society to do this for me; in the name of God, I will do it myself, and have a share in this great battle.” If you cannot labor yourself, the society is the grandest thing conceivable, for you may help others thereby; but still the main cry from Christ is that you yourself should go into the highways; and hedges, and as many as you find compel them to come in to the gospel feast.

Charles H. Spurgeon – Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, ‘The Kind of Laborers Wanted’

The Wednesday Word: The God Who is not in Hiding

In Christ Jesus, God has brought His righteousness near (Isaiah 46:13). Therefore, when telling others of His salvation we need to stress that salvation is not some distant and mysterious thing that we have to work hard to obtain. We don’t have to coax God to come near to us. We don’t have to, for example, experience the ‘warm fuzzies’ about God in order to get saved. ‘Warm Fuzzies’ will not bring salvation any nearer than it already is. Waiting until we feel good about God before we receive salvation is just another form of legalism. Salvation has already been accomplished (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is finished!

God Himself tells us to call upon His name (Psalm 105:1) for to call upon Him is to believe on Him and to believe on Him is to rest in Him. (Romans 10:13; Romans 4:24; Acts 16:31).

As we gossip the gospel, we don’t offer people a long list of duties to do, or feelings to be formed to make God think well of us. The gospel is not about our work; rather it is the good news of the work and person of the cross, apart from and outside of us in history. Our saving work, if you would like to call it that, is to believe on Him … the One who has accomplished salvation on our behalf. (John 6:29).

God has already brought His salvation near. God is not in hiding. He has declared Himself in the person and work of the Lord Jesus (John 1:18).

When faith activates, it causes us to cease working to earn God’s favour. Faith sees that, for favour, we do nothing other than rest on the fact that all has been already accomplished on behalf of the believer.

Faith, however, does not complete our salvation; rather it embraces the salvation that has already been accomplished. Faith embraces the fact that Jesus Christ alone has paid for us and rescued us at the cross. Faith sees that this work has been successfully finished (Matthew 1:21; John 19:30).

Again, we must stress that salvation is not a matter of Christ plus faith (Acts 4:12). We must continually stress this truth because it is on this very point that so many depart from the gospel. Such people are sincere, they call themselves Christians, but they are not in the gospel. They believe that their faith makes them acceptable to God. It’s a common error. Nevertheless, to believe in Christ plus faith for acceptance is to nullify the finished work.

So, let’s say it again, although we are saved through faith, faith is not our Saviour. Our Saviour is Jesus Christ plus nothing. (John 14:6)! He is the object of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2). He alone is our rescuer. What faith does is to take hold of Jesus and His accomplishments and makes them our own. Faith grasps that our saving righteousness is not in us, but outside of us in Christ Jesus.

Faith does not bring salvation into existence, nor does it produce the righteousness by which God justifies us. What faith does, however, is to take something that is already in existence and enables us to reckon it as being our own!

Some years ago an aging Christian lady lay dying in hospital. The new minister of a certain church came on visitation to the ward and mistakenly thought this dying lady was a member of his flock. Approaching her he said, “My dear lady, I’m here to absolve you of your sins,” to which the woman sternly replied, “Let me see your hands” “My hands?” questioned the astonished priest. Reluctantly the priest proffered his hands and the old lady examined them. At length she released them, looked at the man and said, “Sir I perceive you to be an impostor: the only man who can absolve me of my sins has nail scars in his hands.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

May we not fly in a time of persecution?

And now for two or three objections:-

Object. 1. But may we not fly in a time of persecution? Your pressing upon us, that persecution is ordered and managed by God, makes us afraid to fly.

Answ. First, having regard to what was said afore about a call to suffer; thou mayest do in this even as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly: if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Any thing but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled (Exo 2:15), Moses stood (Heb 11:27). David fled (1 Sam 19:12), David stood (24:8). Jeremiah fled (Jer 37:11,12), Jeremiah stood (38:17). Christ withdrew himself (Luke 9:10), Christ stood (John 18:1-8). Paul fled (2 Cor 11:33), Paul stood (Acts 20:22,23).

There are therefore few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly. I should be loath to impose upon any man in these things; only, if thou fliest, take two or three cautions with thee:-

(1.) Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word (Matt 10:23).

(2.) When thou art fled, do as much good as thou canst in all quarters where thou comest, for therefore the door was opened to thee, and thou bid to make thy escape (Acts 8:1-5).

(3.) Do not think thyself secure when thou art fled; it was providence that opened the door, and the Word that did bid thee escape: but whither, and wherefore, that thou knowest not yet. Uriah the prophet fled into Egypt, because there dwelt men that were to take him, that he might be brought again to Jerusalem to die there (Jer 26:21).

(4.) Shouldest thou fly from where thou art, and be taken in another place; the most that can be made of it-thy taking the opportunity to fly, as was propounded at first-can be but this, thou wast willing to commit thyself to God in the way of his providence, as other good men have done, and thy being now apprehended has made thy call clear to suffer here or there, the which before thou wert in the dark about.

(5.) If, therefore, when thou hast fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good. Hast thou escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which way soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand.

(6.) But fly not, in flying, from religion; fly not, in flying, for the sake of a trade; fly not, in flying, that thou mayest have ease for the flesh: this is wicked, and will yield neither peace nor profit to thy soul; neither now, nor at death, nor at the day of judgment.

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers

It may be objected that this reduces the covenant of grace to one and the same level with the covenant of works

Arthur PinkOnce again we would point out that any covenant necessarily signifies a mutual agreement, with terms to be carried out by both parties. A vivid but most solemn example of this is found in the case of Judas and the chief priests of the Jews, concerning whom we read: “they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” (Matthew 26:15). That is to say, in return for his fulfilling the contract to betray his Master into their hands, they would pay him this sum of money, which, in Acts 1:18, is denominated “the reward of iniquity.” It is only by paying close attention to all the expressions used in Scripture of God’s covenant and of our relation thereto, that we can obtain a right and full conception thereof. We read of those “that take hold of my covenant” (Isa. 56:4, 6); “that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God” (Deut. 23:12); “those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice” (Ps. 50:5); “mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies” (Ps. 25:10); “be ye mindful always of his covenant” (1 Chron. 16:15); “Ye break my covenant” (Lev. 26:15); “them that forsake the holy covenant” (Dan. 11:30).

Against what has been said above, it may be objected that this reduces the covenant of grace to one and the same level with the covenant of works. Not so, we reply; for though those covenants have something in common, yet there is a real and radical difference between them. Each of them maintains the claims of God’s righteousness by enforcing the requirements of the law, but the covenant of works had no mediator, nor was any provision made for those who failed under it; whereas the covenant of grace supplies both. Moreover, under the covenant of works obedience was rendered unto an absolute God, whereas under the covenant of grace it is given to God in Christ, and there is a world of difference between those two things. The application of these principles to the case of Abraham we must consider next.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Four-The Abrahamic Covenant

The gospel is to some men “a savor of death unto death”

Spurgeon1. The gospel is to some men “a savor of death unto death.” Now, this depends very much upon what the gospel is; because there are some things called gospel that are “a savor of death unto death” to everybody that hears them. John Berridge says he preached morality till there was not a moral man left in the village; and there is no way of injuring morality like legal preaching. The preaching of good works, and the exhorting men to holiness, as the means of salvation, is very much admired in theory; but when brought into practice, it is found not only ineffectual, but more than that-it becomes even “a savor of death unto death.” So it has been found; and I think even the great Chalmers himself confessed, that for years and years before he knew the Lord, he preached nothing but morality and precepts, but he never found a drunkard reclaimed by strewing him merely the evils of drunkenness; nor did he find a swearer stop his swearing because he told him the heinousness of the sin; it was not until he began to preach the love of Jesus, in his great heart of mercy-it was not until he preached the gospel as it was in Christ, in some of its clearness, fullness, and power, and the doctrine, that “by grace ye are saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” that he ever met with success. But when he did preach salvation by faith, by shoals the drunkards came from their cups, and swearers refrained their lips from evil speaking; thieves became honest men, and unrighteous and ungodly persons bowed to the scepter of Jesus. But ye must confess, as I said before, that though the gospel does in the main produce the best effect upon almost all who hear it either by restraining them from sin, or constraining them to Christ; yet it is a great fact, and a solemn one, upon which I hardly know how to speak this morning, that to some men the preaching of Christ’s gospel is “death unto death,” and produces evil instead of good.

Charles H. Spurgeon- The Two Effects of the Gospel, A Sermon Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 27, 1855; at Exeter Hall Strand.

Infant baptism injures the credit of religion because it is a well-arranged sectarian device

It is irrational; it is without authority; it throws suspicion upon all religion; its purposes are sectarian.

THE honor of religion is dear to every true Christian. To cherish and to love it, is both his duty, and his interest. He can never see it tarnished, but with deep pain. The gospel is consistent both with itself, and with reason. It is to be proposed to men of the world. Their salvation depends upon their believing, embracing, and obeying it. They are not always ignorant of its truths. The utmost care should be exercised that they be not repelled from its teachings. They are capable of reasoning on religious subjects. What you attempt to teach them must correspond with the divine word. Otherwise Christianity will, in their minds, be discredited, and your approaches will be resisted. To honor the cause of Christ, therefore, and to gain men to truth and salvation, such must be your faith, and your practice, that none may be able to point to them, and say, this is irrational; this is without authority; this is suspicious in its character; this is a sectarian device. You must be above reproach. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” But infant baptism does not honor, it inevitably injures the credit of religion, with intelligent reflecting men of the world.

4. Finally, infant baptism, as practiced among us, is a well-arranged sectarian device.

It appeals not to the judgment, but to the feelings; not to reason, but to prejudice in favor of an old and venerable custom. It wears very much the appearance of an essay to take undue advantage of all the parties concerned. You receive the babes into the church! You then have certainly such a hold upon the parents as commits them to that particular denomination of which their cherished loved ones are thus made members. If the children go, the parents will follow them. Thus both are secured. But how? Not by reason; not by the force of religion; but by a mere sectarian fiction! The whole proceeding seems to argue a consciousness that religion will not bear the test of examination! Otherwise why do they impose what implies a profession of it, upon these children, before they are capable of exercising their reason? Why not allow all parties an opportunity to study the Bible before their dogmas are forced upon their acceptance? Why hurry parents and children into the church in violent haste, as if they could not otherwise be saved? Can men of the world, can any class of men, believe that an intelligent, a holy, a reasonable religion, a religion that addresses the judgment and the heart, can be propagated, and honored, by means like these? They cannot. Infant baptism among us is a sectarian device, and as such unworthy of the religion of Christ.

From all these facts and considerations it is most evident that infant baptism injures the credit of religion with reflecting and unprejudiced men of the world, and is therefore a great evil. They must see that it is irrational in itself, that it is wholly without authority from the word of God; they must be led by it to suspect, in all its other departments, the integrity of religion; and they will thus be tempted to regard as compatible with its morals, and honor, any sectarian trap, or management which may swell the numbers of an ecclesiastical party. Need we be surprised, therefore, that among persons of this class, so strong a tendency to skepticism should prevail; that they should feel inclined to repel the gospel of Christ; and that they should so often want confidence in the ministers of religion? Infant baptism is inimical to the honor and prevalence of the gospel of Christ. With regard to it, therefore, we may with emphasis repeat the divine admonition: “Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare ye the way, take up the stumbling-block out of the way of my people.”

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 16- Infant Baptism is an Evil because it injures the credit of religion with reflecting men of the world

ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH

NOTHING is impossible to the man who knows how to overcome heaven by wrestling intercession. When we have seen one, two, or ten, or twenty penitents converted, and when we have sometimes been heartily thankful that a hundred have been added to the church in a month, ought we ever to have been satisfied? Should we not have felt that the prayer which was blessed to the conversion of a hundred, had it been more earnest, might, in the Divine purpose, have been answered with the conversion of a thousand? Why not? I do not know why London should not be shaken from end to end with gospel truth before this day twelve months. You will say, “We have not enough ministers.” But God can make them. He can find ministers for His truth — ay, if He willed it, among the very offscourings of the earth. He can take the worst of men, the vilest of the vile, and change their hearts, and make them preach the truth, if He pleases. We are not to look to what we have. The witness of the senses only confuses those who would walk by faith. See what He did for the Church in the case of Saul of Tarsus. He just went up to the Devil’s army, and took out a ringleader, and said to him, “Now, sir, you preach the gospel which once you despised.” And who preached it better? Why, I should not wonder if ere long in answer to prayer we see the Ritualistic clergy preaching the gospel! Who can tell — the Romish priests may yet do it, and repeat the tale of Luther and Melancthon. Were not Luther, and Melancthon, and Calvin, and their comrades, brought out of Papal darkness to show light unto the people? We have heard with our ears, why may we not see with our eyes, the mighty works of God? The Lord can find His men where we know nothing about them. “Of these stones,” said the Baptist, as he pointed to the banks of the Jordan, “of these stones God can raise up children unto Abraham”; and as He could then, so He can now. Let us not despair. If we will but pray for it, our heavenly Father will deny His children nothing. Come, do but come, in simplicity of heart, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.

There are two persons yonder. They are both alive, but one of them lies in bed. He wakes, but he says, with the sluggard —

You have woke me too soon, I must slumber again,”

and when he gets up he gazes round with vacant wonder and strange bewilderment. He has no energy, he is listless, and we say of him, “What a lifeless creature he is! He is living, but with how little vitality?” Now, you see another man. His sleep is short; he wakes soon; he is out to his business; takes down the shutters; he is standing behind the counter waiting upon this customer and that; he is all active; he is here, there, and everywhere, nothing is neglected; his eyes are wide open, his brain is active, his hands are busy, his limbs are all nimble. Well, what a different man that is! You are glad to get this second man to be your servant; he is worth ten times the wages of the first. There is life in them both, but what a difference there is between them! The one is eagerly living, the other is drawling out an insipid existence. And how many Christians there are of this sort! They wander in on a Sunday morning, sit down, get their hymn book, listen to the prayer without joining in it, hear the sermon, but might almost as well not have heard it, go home, get through the Sunday, go in to business. With them there is never any secret prayer for the conversion of men; no trying to talk to children, or servants, or friends, about Christ; no zeal, no holy jealousy, no flaming love, no generosity, no consecrating of the substance to God’s cause! This is too faithful a picture of a vast number of professing Christians. Would it were not so? On the other hand, we see another kind of man — one that is renewed in the spirit of his mind; though he has to be in the world, his main thoughts are how he can use the world to promote the glory of Christ. If he goes into business, he wants to make money that he may have wherewith to give bountifully for the spread of the gospel. If he meets with friends, he tries to thrust a word in edgeways for his Master; and whenever he gets an opportunity, he will speak, or write, but he will be aiming to do something for Him who has bought him with His precious blood. Why, I could pick out, if it were right to mention names, some here who are all alive, till their bodies seem scarcely strong enough for the real vitality and energy of their souls. Oh! These are the cream of the Church, the pick and choice of the flock, the men who are true men, and the women who are the true daughters of Jerusalem.

So, it is not the great man who is loaded with learning that will achieve great work for God; it is the man who, however small his ability, is filled with force and fire, and who rushes forward in the energy which heaven has given him, that will accomplish the work — the man who has the most intense spiritual life, who has real vitality at its highest point of tension, and living, while he lives, with all the force of his nature for the glory of God. Put these three or four things together, and I think you have the means of prosperity.

Charles H. Spurgeon – Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, ‘According to your Faith’

The Wednesday Word: Jesus: Our Gospel!

The Lord Jesus is God’s good news from heaven about Himself. (Titus 2:13). He is our gospel.

Listen to the good news in its fullness. Christ was prophesied. Christ was born. Christ was sinless. Christ lived. Christ was crucified. Christ died. Christ was buried. Christ rose again from the dead. Christ ascended to heaven. Christ sat down in cosmic authority as our ever-living High Priest and Christ is coming back (see, 1 Corinthians 15:1ff; Romans 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12; 1John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25).

These are the great facts of the good news. They are few and simple; so simple that any among us can understand them. Yet these statements, although unassuming, have profound meaning. They are treasure chests that contain the riches of heaven. They are brief statements, but God’s wisdom is bound up in them. Indeed, these facts of the gospel are so simple that a child can grasp them, yet they are so deep that the intelligence of the world cannot refute them.

The gospel of Christ alone brings eternal salvation. (Romans 1:16). With respect, the collective wisdom of Confucius, Buddha and Mohamed could not cause one guilty person to be acquitted before God. But the gospel is different. In the gospel, we see that there are no lengths to which the Lord will not go to rescue His people powerfully and effectively. (Titus 2:13).

We, as believers, have the privilege to daily preach the gospel to ourselves. When we hear this gospel, something deep inside us reaches out to trust the truths that are unfolded therein. As we listen to the gospel, we learn to rest our total confidence on the risen Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

In the gospel we discover the revelation of the name (the character and essence) of God. It is written, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.”(Psalm 9:10). How can anything be simpler? Salvation is in Christ alone. He Himself is the good news. He Himself is the exegesis of God. (John 1:18). He is God in human flesh appearing. (1 Timothy 3:16). In short, He is our gospel!

There’s an excellent text in 2 Timothy 1:12 where the apostle says, “… for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Notice the phrase, “I know whom I have believed.” Many years ago, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan the then Professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, was discussing this particular text with his class. One of the students quoted it saying, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded.”

Immediately, Professor Duncan stopped him and said, “Repeat that text.”

The student said, “I know in whom I have,”

“My dear sir,” interrupted ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, “you must never let even a preposition come between you and your Saviour.” It’s “I know whom I have believed.”

Yes indeed! We must never let even a preposition come between us and our Saviour!

He is our Saviour. He is our gospel.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

Since the rod is God’s as well as the child, let us not look upon our troubles as if they came from, and were managed only by hell

From what has been thus discoursed, many things will follow; as,

3. Since the rod is God’s as well as the child, let us not look upon our troubles as if they came from, and were managed only by hell. It is true, a persecutor has a black mark upon him, but yet the Scriptures say that all the ways of the persecutor are God’s (Dan 5:23). Wherefore as we should, so again we should not, be afraid of men: we should be afraid of them, because they will hurt us; but we should not be afraid of them, as if they were let loose to do to us, and with us, what they will. God’s bridle is upon them, God’s hook is in their nose: yea, and God has determined the bounds of their rage, and if he lets them drive his church into the sea of troubles, it shall be but up to the neck, and so far it may go, and not be drowned (2 Kings 19:28; Isa 37:29; 8:7,8). I say the Lord has hold of them, and orders them; nor do they at any time come out against his people but by his licence and commission how far to go, and where to stop.

John Bunyan- Seasonable Counsel or Advise to Sufferers