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Much harm has been done by incompetent “novices” when treating of the subject of regeneration, by confining themselves to a single term—“born again”

February 23, 2016 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkMuch harm has been done by incompetent “novices” when treating of the subject of regeneration, by confining themselves to a single term—“born again.” This is only one of many figures used in Scripture to describe that miracle of grace which is wrought in the soul when he passes from death unto life and is brought out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. It is termed a new birth because a Divine life is communicated and there is the commencement of a new experience. But it is also likened to a spiritual resurrection, which presents a very different line of thought, and to a “renewing” (Colossians 3:10), which imports a change in the original individual. It is the person who is Divinely quickened and not merely a “nature” which is begotten of God: “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7), not merely something in you must be; “he is born of God” (1 John 3:9). The same person who was spiritually dead— his whole being alienated from God—is then made alive: his whole being reconciled to Him. This must be so, otherwise there would be no preservation of the identity of the individual. It is a new birth of the individual himself, and not of something in him. The nature is never changed, but the person is— relatively not absolutely.

If we limit ourselves to the figure of the new birth when considering the great change wrought in one whom God saves, not only will a very inadequate concept of the same be obtained, but a thoroughly erroneous one. In other passages it is spoken of as an illuminating of the mind (Acts 26:13), a searching and convicting of the conscience (Romans 7:9), a renovating of the heart (Ezekiel 11:19), a subduing of the will (Psalm 110:3), a bringing of our thoughts into subjection to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), a writing of God’s Law on the heart (Hebrews 8:10). In some passages something is said to be removed from the individual (Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:26)— the love of sin, enmity against God; while in others something is communicated (Romans 5:5; 1 John 5:20). The figures of creation (Ephesians 2:10), renewing (Titus 3:5) and resurrection (1 John 3:14) are also employed. In some passages this miracle appears to be a completed thing (1 Corinthians 6:11; Colossians 1:12), in others as a process yet going on (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 1:16). Though the work of grace be one, yet it is many-sided. Its subject is a composite creature and his salvation affects every part of his complex being.

Physical birth is the bringing into this world of a creature, a complete personality, which before conception had no existence whatever. But the one regenerated by God had a complete personality before he was born again. Regeneration is not the creation of an individual which hitherto existed not, but the spiritualizing of one who already exists—the renewing and renovating of one whom sin has unfitted for communion with God, by bestowing upon him that which gives a new bias to all his faculties. Beware of regarding the Christian as made up of two distinct and diverse personalities. Responsibility attaches to the individual and not to his “nature” or “natures.” While both sin and grace indwell the saint, God holds him accountable to resist and subdue the one and yield to and be regulated by the other. The fact that this miracle of grace is also likened to a resurrection (John 5:25) should prevent us forming a one-sided idea of what is imported by the new birth and “the new creature,” and from pressing some analogies from natural birth which other figurative expressions disallow. The great inward change is also likened to a Divine “begetting” (1 Peter 1:3), because the image of the Begetter is then stamped upon the soul. As the first Adam begat a son in his own image (Genesis 5:3), so the last Adam has an “image” (Romans 8:29) to convey to His sons (Ephesians 4:24).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

“A Comparison of Systems”

September 2, 2015 Leave a comment

by A. A. Hodge (1823-1886)

1. What, in general, was the state of theological thought during the first three centuries?

During the first three hundred years which elapsed after the death of the apostle John the speculative minds of the church were principally engaged in defending the truth of Christianity against unbelievers — in combating the Gnostic heresies generated by the leaven of Oriental philosophy — and in settling definitely the questions which were evolved in the controversies concerning the Persons of the Trinity. It does not appear that any definite and consistent statements were made in that age, as to the origin, nature, and consequences of human sin; nor as to the nature and effects of divine grace; nor of the nature of the redemptive work of Christ, or of the method of its application by the Holy Spirit, or of its appropriation by faith. As a general fact it may be stated, that, as a result of the great influence of Origen, the Fathers of the Greek Church pretty unanimously settled down upon a loose Semi-Pelagianism, denying the guilt of original sin, and maintaining the ability of the sinner to predispose himself for, and to cooperate with divine grace. And this has continued the character of the Greek Anthropology to the present day. The same attributes characterized the speculations of the earliest writers of the Western Church also, but during the third and fourth centuries there appeared a marked tendency among the Latin Fathers to those more correct views afterwards triumphantly vindicated by the great Augustine. This tendency may be traced most clearly in the writings of Tertullian of Carthage, who died circum. 220, and Hilary of Poitiers (368) and Ambrose of Milan (397).

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

“You Must Be Born Again”

February 23, 2015 1 comment

by Keith Mathison

I distinctly remember the birth of both of my children. Although they were born six years apart, I remember the preparation for each trip to the hospital. The drive there. Escorting my wife to the elevator. The rooms, the monitors, the nurses, doctors, and family members. The anticipation and waiting. Most of all I remember seeing my children for the first time and seeing the look on my wife’s face when the nurses handed her this tightly bundled little person. I look up now and see a photograph taken of me holding my newborn daughter twelve and a half years ago. The birth of a child is truly an amazing and unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Wednesday Word: Misunderstood Matters about Grace-Part 3

January 29, 2014 1 comment

The Wednesday Word: Misunderstood Matters about Grace-Part 3

When it comes to salvation, another misunderstood thing about grace is assuming that our faith creates the grace of God. However, the truth is that grace, righteous grace, already lived in the heart of God before anyone ever exercised faith. In our un-saved state, we were excluded from the life of God and lived in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind (Ephesians 2:1-4). But God graciously made us alive unto Himself (Ephesians 2:5). Faith came because of grace. In fact, faith is nowhere, in the scriptures, said to create grace; it’s quite the opposite. Our faith does not make God gracious. God’s righteous grace already existed before faith was given. For by grace you are saved (Ephesians 2:5).

Because of grace we are given faith. Faith will cause us to grasp that the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary is a righteous, finished sacrifice (John 19:30). As believers, faith continues to lead us to hug the truth that, in Christ crucified, righteousness and grace have already embraced and we are now covered, not merely by grace, but with the robe of righteousness.

When faith reads, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, (Isaiah 61:10) it says a vigorous amen! Faith sees that the reason God loved us and took delight in us was not discovered in some goodness or worth within us but found, rather, in the gracious good-pleasure of God Himself (Matthew 12:32). Faith sees that Christ’s destiny is our destiny. Faith sees that He was made alive and that we were made alive together with him. Faith believes that He was raised up and that we were raised up together with him. Faith reckons that He was made to sit at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places, and we have been made to sit together with him. Why? There is one answer and only one. It’s grace, pure grace, sovereign grace (Ephesians 2:5-7).

So let’s say it again, faith does not bring grace into existence. If we have received grace, then it not because we gave anything to deserve it … and that includes faith! Let’s face it, if we believe that our faith brought grace into existence then we must conclude that we are co-providers of salvation. Perish the thought!

God saves us by his grace, and not because of our faith! Although we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1), “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, quickened (made us alive) together with Christ — by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Nonetheless, someone objects saying, “But, we need faith.” I reply, “Of course we do; we are not suggesting that faith is not vital, but nowhere does God look and see if we have faith before He justifies us. We are saved “through” faith and not because of it (Ephesians 2:7). Faith is the instrument, the channel through which we receive salvation. Grace, on the other hand, is the very ground of our salvation.

We are dependent on Him, and not on our faith. He is completely reliable, He never fails. Our faith, on the other hand, often fails but the object of our faith, the Lord Jesus never does!

Faith receives salvation, but it is a very poor foundation on which to attempt to build our salvation. We build on Christ alone + nothing!

 

This God is the God we adore,

 Our faithful, unchangeable Friend,

Whose love is as great as His power,

And knows neither measure nor end!

’Tis Jesus, the First and the Last,

Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;

We’ll praise Him for all that is past,

And trust Him for all that’s to come.

 

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles

 

Miles McKee

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

www.milesmckee.com

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A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-12-Regeneration and Sanctification

January 9, 2014 2 comments

Regeneration and Sanctification

 

1. What is the first work that the Spirit accomplished in those who are saved?

The work of Regeneration.

2. What is meant by our Regeneration?

Our being born again.

3. What does the Spirit do in the act of Regeneration?

He gives us a new heart, inclined to love and practice holiness.

4. How does Regeneration affect the mind?

It enlightens the mind to understand savingly the Word of God.

5. Is Regeneration necessary to salvation?

Yes, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

6. Are we made perfectly holy in Regeneration?

No, this is only attained in our perfect Sanctification.

7. What is meant by our Sanctification?

It means our being made holy or free from sin.

8. Is such perfection attained in this life?

It is not.

9. What, then, is the Sanctification which we have experienced?

It is a change produced by the influences of the Spirit, by which we gradually increase in the love and practice of holiness.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

Faith is the work of the Spirit of God

August 19, 2013 2 comments

Spurgeon 1Here let me correct a mistake into which some people fall. They say, “Do you exhort us to believe?” I do, indeed, with all my heart. “But, sir, faith is the work of the Spirit of God.” Yes, did I ever say that it was not? I insist upon it continually that, wherever there is any faith, it is wrought in us by the Spirit of God. But listen. Did I ever tell you the Spirit of God believed for us, or did you ever read anything in Scripture approximating to that statement? No, the Spirit of God leads us to believe, but we distinctly believe, and it is our faith that saves us; it is not that the Holy Spiri believes instead of us, and we lie still, like a man under the surgeon’s knife. Oh, dear, no! Every faculty is awakened and aroused by the Spirit of God. We see that Christ can save, and we believe it. We believe that he will save, and we trust him to save us. It is our own act and deed, it cannot be anybody else’s act and deed. You cannot believe for another; there can be nothing like sponsorship here; and the Holy Ghost himself cannot believe for you. It is not written, “Let the Holy Ghost believe for you;” that would be absurd; but it is written,

 

“Believe thou,” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” With thine own proper mind and heart thou must believe in Jesus Christ if thou wouldst be saved.

 

Charles H. Spurgeon-Baptism Essential to Obedience-Metropolitan Tabernacle-Lord’s Evening-Oct. 13, 1889

John Tombes

November 16, 2012 Leave a comment

I am going to begin to blog a Catechism which was written in 1659 by an Anglican minister, who held primarily to Presbyterian views; with the exception of their views on infant baptism. It was herein, whereby he disagreed and wrote many treatises and papers against baptizing of infants. On top of his writings he also debated this subject with many a paedobaptist.

To give a brief introduction to John Tombes I will quote from wikisource. I understand that this information is provided by individuals, around the net, but seeing that it is hard to find concrete sources and seeing that what I have found seems to be in line with what is stated at wikisource, then I will use this internet source to provide my introduction.

 

TOMBES, JOHN (1603?-1676), baptist divine, was born of humble parentage at Bewdley, Worcestershire, in 1602 or 1603. He matriculated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, on 23 Jan. 1617-18, aged 15. His tutor was William Pemble [q. v.] Among his college friends was John Geree [q. v.] He graduated B.A. on 12 June 1621. After Pemble’s death he succeeded him in 1623 as catechism lecturer. His reputation as a tutor was considerable; among his pupils was John Wilkins [q. v.] He graduated M.A. on 16 April 1624, took orders, and quickly came into note as a preacher. From about 1624 to 1630 he was one of the lecturers of St. Martin Carfax. As early as 1627 he began to have doubts on the subject of infant baptism. Leaving the university in 1630, he was for a short time preacher at Worcester, but in November was instituted vicar of Leominster, Herefordshire, where his preaching was exceedingly popular, and won the admiration of so high an Anglican as John Scudamore, first viscount Scudamore [q. v.], who augmented the small income of his living. In June 1631 he commenced B.D. He left Leominster in 1643 (after February), having been appointed by Nathaniel Fiennes [q. v.] to supersede George Williamson as vicar of All Saints, Bristol. On the surrender of Bristol to the royalists (26 July), he removed to London (22 Sept.), where he became rector of St. Gabriel, Fenchurch, vacant by the sequestration of Ralph Cook, B.D. In church government his views were presbyterian. He laid his scruples on infant baptism before the Westminster assembly of divines, but got no satisfaction. Declining to baptise infants, he was removed from St. Gabriel’s early in 1645, but appointed (before May) master of the Temple, on condition of not preaching on baptism. He published on this topic ; for licensing one of his tracts, the parliamentary censor, John Bachiler, was attacked in the Westminster assembly (25 Dec. 1645) by William Gouge, D.D. [q. v.], and Stephen Marshall [q. v.] was appointed to answer the tract. As preacher at the Temple, Tombes directed his polemic against antinomianism. In 1646 he had an interview with Cromwell and gave him his books. His fellow-townsmen chose him to the perpetual curacy of Bewdley, then a chapelry in the parish of Ribbesford; his successor at the Temple, Richard Johnson, was approved by the Westminster assembly on 13 Oct. 1647.

At Bewdley Tombes organised a baptist church, which never exceeded twenty-two members (Baxter), of whom three became baptist preachers. He regularly attended Baxter’s Thursday lecture at Kidderminster, and tried to draw Baxter, as he had already drawn Thomas Blake [q. v.], into a written discussion. Baxter would engage with him only in an oral debate, which took place before a crowded audience at Bewdley chapel on 1 Jan. 1649-50, and lasted from nine in the morning till five at night. Wood affirms that ‘Tombes got the better of Baxter by far; ‘ Baxter himself says, ‘How mean soever my own abilities were, yet I had still the advantage of a good cause.’ The debate had the effect of causing Tombes to leave Bewdley, where he was succeeded in 1650 by Henry Oasland [q. v.] With Bewdley he had held for a time the rectory of Ross, Herefordshire; this he resigned on being appointed to the mastership of St. Catherine’s Hospital, Ledbury, Herefordshire.

After his encounter with Baxter, Tombes’s oral debates were numerous. In July 1652 he went to Oxford to dispute on baptism with Henry Savage, D.D. [q. v.] On the same topic he disputed at Abergavenny, on 5 Sept. 1653, with Henry Vaughan (1616?-1661?) and John Cragge. His pen was active against all opponents of his cause. He had not given up his claim to the vicarage of Leominster, and returned to it apparently in 1654, when he was appointed (20 March) one of Cromwell’s ‘triers.’ Preaching at Leominster against quakers (26 Dec. 1656), one of his parishioners, Blashfield, a bookseller, retorted, ‘ If there were no anabaptist, there would be no quaker.’ Against quakerism and popery he wrote tracts (1660), to which Baxter prefixed friendly letters.

At the Restoration Tombes came up to London, and wrote in favour of the royal supremacy in matters ecclesiastical as well as civil. Clarendon stood his friend. He conformed in a lay capacity, resigning his preferments and declining offers of promo- tion. After 1661 he lived chiefly at Salisbury, where his wife had property. Robert Sanderson (1587-1663) [q. v.], bishop of Lincoln, held him in esteem, as did a later occupant of the same see, Thomas Barlow [q. v.] Clarendon, in 1664, introduced him to Charles II, who accepted a copy of Tombes’s ‘Saints no Smiters.’ In July 1664 he was at Oxford, and offered to dispute in favour of his baptist views, but the challenge was not taken up. With Seth Ward [q. v.], bishop of Salisbury, he was on friendly terms. He communicated as an Anglican. Firmly holding his special tenet, he was always a courteous disputant, and a man of exceptional capacity and attainments.

He died at Salisbury on 22 May 1676, and was buried on 25 May in St. Edmund’s churchyard. He was a dapper little man, with a keen glance. By his first wife he had a son John, born at Leominster on 26 Nov. 1636. His second wife, whom he married about 1658, was Elizabeth, widow of Wolstan Abbot of Salisbury.

He published: 1. ‘Vae Scandalizantium; or a Treatise of Scandalizing,’ Oxford, 1641, 8vo; with title ‘Christ’s Commination against Scandalizers,’ 1641, 8vo (dedicated to Viscount Scudamore). 2. ‘Iehovah Iireh . . . two Sermons in the Citie of Bristoll . . . March 14, 1642, with a short Narration of that . . . Plot,’ 1643, 4to (8 May, dedicated to Fiennes). 3. ‘Fermentum Pharisseorvm, or … Wil-Worship,’ 1643, 4to (1 July). 4. ‘Anthropolatria,’ 1645, 4to (9 May). 5. ‘Two Treatises and an Appendix . . . concerning Infant Baptisme,’ 1645, 4to (16 Dec.; includes an ‘Examen’ of Marshall’s sermon on baptism). 6. ‘An Apology … for the Two Treatises,’ 1646, 4to; ‘Addition,’ 1652, 4to. 7. ‘An Anti-dote against the Venome of … Richard Baxter,’ 1650, 4to (31 May). 8. ‘Precursor . . . to a large view of … Infant Baptism,’ 1652, 4to. 9. ‘Joannis Tombes Beudleiensis Refutatio positionis Dris. Henrici Savage,’ 1652, 4to. 10. ‘Antipaedobaptism,’ 1652, 4to (28 Nov., dedicated to Cromwell); 2nd pt. 1654, 4to; 3rd pt. 1657, 4to (replies to twenty-three contemporary writers). 11. ‘A Publick Dispute . . . J. Cragge and H. Vaughan,’ 1654, 8vo. 12. ‘A Plea for Anti-Paedobaptists,’ 1654, 4to (26 May). 13. ‘Felo de Se. Or, Mr. Richard Baxter’s Self-destroying,’ 1659, 4to. 14. ‘A Short Catechism about Baptism,’ 1659, 8vo (14 May). 15. ‘True Old Light exalted above pretended New Light,’ 1660, 4to (against quakers; preface by Baxter). 16. ‘Serious Consideration of the Oath of . . .Supremacy ‘ [1660], 4to (22 Oct.) 17. ‘Romanism Discussed, or, An Answer to … H. T.,’ 1660 4to (30 Nov.; preface by Baxter; replies to Henry Turbervile’s ‘Manual of Controversies,’ Douay, 1654, 8vo). 18. ‘A Supplement to the Serious Consideration’ [1661], 4to (2 March). 19. ‘Sepher Sheba; or, The Oath Book,’ 1662, 4to. 20. ‘Saints no Smiters; or … the Doctrine … of … Fifth-Mon- archy-Men . . . damnable,’ 1664, 4to (dedicated to Clarendon). 21. ‘Theodulia, or Defence of Hearing . . . the present Ministers of England,’ 1667, 8vo (dedicated to Clarendon; licensed by the bishop of London’s chaplain). 22. ‘Emmanuel; or, God-Man,’ 1669, 8vo (against Socinians; licensed by the archbishop of Canterbury’s chaplain). 23. ‘A Reply to … Wills and … Blinman,’ 1675, 8vo. 24. ‘Animadversiones in librum Georgii Bullii,’ 1676, 8vo.

[Tombes’s Works; Anabaptists Anotamized (sic), 1654; Wood’s Athenae Oxon., ed. Bliss, iii. 1062 sq.; Wood’s Fasti, ed. Bliss, ii. 397, 415, 461; Reliquiae Baxterianae, 1696, i. 88,96; Calamy’s Account, 1713, pp. 353 sq.; Walker’s Sufferings of the Clergy, 1714, ii. 4, 36; Calamy’s Continuation, 1727, i. 521 sq.; Crosby’s Hist, of English Baptists, 1738, i. 278 sq.; Palmer’s Nonconformist’s Memorial, 1802, ii. 293 sq.; Ivimey’s Hist. of English Baptists, 1814, ii. 588 sq.; Neal’s Hist, of the Puritans, ed. Toulmin, 1822, iv. 440 sq.; Smith’s Bibliotheca Antiquakeriana, 1873, pp. 427 sq. ; Mitchell and Struthers’s Minutes of Westminster Assembly, 1874, pp. 172, 216; Foster’s Alumni Oxon. 1892, iv. 1492; information from the Rev. J. H. Charles, vicar of Leominster.]

The Perseverance of the Saints

November 14, 2012 2 comments

The Privileges of Believers In Christ Include Their Perseverance In Grace Unto the Attainment of Final, and Complete Salvation

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

To persevere in grace unto the attainment of final, and complete salvation, is another, and the last in the catalogue which I shall at present particularly consider, of the inestimable privileges growing out of the union of believers with Christ. I need not tell you that a result so glorious will not be achieved without a struggle. The utmost energies of minds renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, will be imperatively demanded. Battles are to be fought; victories are to be won; labors are to be endured; before the end is gained.

 . . . Not for thee Spreads the world her downy pillow; On the rock thy couch must me, While around thee chafes the billow.”

 But in every struggle, every conflict, Jehovah is your guide and support, and has promised that you shall be “more than conquerors,” through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many excellent christians however, in opposition to the doctrine maintained by us, hold, to use the language of one of their most distinguished divines, that―”A believer may totally lose his faith, and regeneration, and may continue in apostasy, and so eternally perish.”1

Either this proposition is not defensible, or that which asserts the final perseverance of the saints―in other words, the continuance of all believers “in a state of grace to a state of glory”―must be abandoned. Both cannot be true. To which shall we adhere? It is our interest, and our duty, to know the truth, on this, and all other topics; and thanks to our God, the means are accessible and at hand by which the whole inquiry may be fully and satisfactorily determined.

Before entering upon the argument however, whether in refutation of the opinion stated, or in defence of our own conclusion, it is necessary, if you would clearly comprehend the question to be examined, that several preliminary observations should be submitted.

In the first place, we predicate final perseverance in grace of those only who are “born again”―the saints of Christ Jesus―and not of mere professors of religion. Let this fact be kept constantly in memory. Professors of religion, members of the Churches, are not all, as a matter of course, the children of God, and followers of the Redeemer. Many, in every age, have assumed the outward forms of godliness, in whose hearts true piety had no dwelling place. In the estimation of enlightened christians of every class, such are expected to “fall away.” Their relations to the Church are not congenial; their spiritual duties are burdensome; they soon become weary; and in going back to the world, they return to a course of life which their hearts always preferred. Their apostasy is a natural consequence, and always to be anticipated.

R. B. C. Howell—Perseverance of the Saints

The Holy Spirit reveals Christ to a sinner

Sometimes in the meeting I stop, and while there is dead silence, I ask you if you hear a voice. I do not mean when I ask it, do you hear it with your natural ear. I mean is there some voice speaking to your soul, some power touching you inside? Is some one making you feel as you never felt before. and you see your sins as you never saw them before? Is there One holding up before you the Lord Jesus Christ in a way that you never saw Him before, so that now He is not without form and comeliness, and so that now when you see Him you do desire Him? That is the Holy Spirit. He is showing you the things of Christ. He is showing them to the eye of the mind. He is placing them within the range of your spiritual vision so that you feel them, and are conscious that some power is inexplicably touching your soul. That is the work of the Holy Ghost.

B. H. Carroll—The Faith that Saves—Triumphant Faith

There are a great number of people ignorant of the way of salvation

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas; and brought them out, and said: Sir, WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved.

Acts 16: 29-31.

That great number of people, even in this Christianized country, are ignorant of the way of salvation, is too evident to be denied. It is manifestly no part of their concern, any more than if they were in no danger of being lost, or such a thing as salvation had never been heard of. Nor is this true only of weak and illiterate people; men who in all other concerns are wise, in these things have no knowledge or sense to direct them. The evil therefore cannot be ascribed to simple ignorance, which, as far as it goes, tends to excuse; but to being willingly ignorant, saying unto God “Depart from us–we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.”

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered