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All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God-examples, with answers to objections

March 30, 2016 1 comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015All hidden movements directed to their end by the unseen but righteous instigation of God. Examples, with answers to objections.

2. With regard to secret movements, what Solomon says of the heart of a king, that it is turned hither and thither, as God sees meet, certainly applies to the whole human race, and has the same force as if he had said, that whatever we conceive in our minds is directed to its end by the secret inspiration of God. And certainly, did he not work internally in the minds of men, it could not have been properly said, that he takes away the lip from the true, and prudence from the aged — takes away the heart from the princes of the earth, that they wander through devious paths. To the same effect, we often read that men are intimidated when He fills their hearts with terror. Thus David left the camp of Saul while none knew of its because a sleep from God had fallen upon all. But nothing can be clearer than the many passages which declare, that he blinds the minds of men, and smites them with giddiness, intoxicates them with a spirit of stupor, renders them infatuated, and hardens their hearts. Even these expressions many would confine to permissions as if, by deserting the reprobate, he allowed them to be blinded by Satan. But since the Holy Spirit distinctly says, that the blindness and infatuation are inflicted by the just judgment of God, the solution is altogether inadmissible. He is said to have hardened the heart of Pharaoh, to have hardened it yet more, and confirmed it. Some evade these forms of expression by a silly cavil, because Pharaoh is elsewhere said to have hardened his own heart, thus making his will the cause of hardening it; as if the two things did not perfectly agree with each other, though in different senses viz., that man, though acted upon by God, at the same time also acts. But I retort the objection on those who make it. If to harden means only bare permission, the contumacy will not properly belong to Pharaoh. Now, could any thing be more feeble and insipid than to interpret as if Pharaoh had only allowed himself to be hardened? We may add, that Scripture cuts off all handle for such cavils: “I,” saith the Lord, “will harden his heart,” (Exodus 4:21.) So also, Moses says of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, that they went forth to battle because the Lord had hardened their hearts, (Josh. 11:20.) The same thing is repeated by another prophet, “He turned their hearts to hate his people,” (Psalm 105:25.) In like manner, in Isaiah, he says of the Assyrian, “I will send him against a hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge to take the spoil, and to take the prey,” (Isaiah 10:6;) not that he intends to teach wicked and obstinate man to obey spontaneously, but because he bends them to execute his judgments, just as if they carried their orders engraven on their minds. And hence it appears that they are impelled by the sure appointment of God. I admit, indeed, that God often acts in the reprobate by interposing the agency of Satan; but in such a manner, that Satan himself performs his part, just as he is impelled, and succeeds only in so far as he is permitted. The evil spirit that troubled Saul is said to be from the Lord, (1 Samuel 16:14,) to intimate that Saul’s madness was a just punishment from God. Satan is also said to blind the minds of those who believe not, (2 Corinthians 4:4.) But how so, unless that a spirit of error is sent from God himself, making those who refuse to obey the truth to believe a lie? According to the former view, it is said, “If the prophet be deceived when he has spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet,” (Ezekiel 14:9.) According to the latter view, he is said to have given men over to a reprobate mind, (Romans 1:28,) because he is the special author of his own just vengeance; whereas Satan is only his minister, (see Calv. in Psalm 141:4.) But as in the Second Book, (Chap. 4: sec. 3, 4,) in discussing the question of man’s freedom, this subject will again be considered, the little that has now been said seems to be all that the occasion requires. The sum of the whole is this, — since the will of God is said to be the cause of all things, all the counsels and actions of men must be held to be governed by his providence; so that he not only exerts his power in the elect, who are guided by the Holy Spirit, but also forces the reprobate to do him service.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 18-Henry Beveridge Translation

Why repentance is attributed to God

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Why repentance attributed to God.

13. What then is meant by the term repentance? The very same that is meant by the other forms of expression, by which God is described to us humanly. Because our weakness cannot reach his height, any description which we receive of him must be lowered to our capacity in order to be intelligible. And the mode of lowering is to represent him not as he really is, but as we conceive of him. Though he is incapable of every feeling of perturbation, he declares that he is angry with the wicked. Wherefore, as when we hear that God is angry, we ought not to imagine that there is any emotion in him, but ought rather to consider the mode of speech accommodated to our sense, God appearing to us like one inflamed and irritated whenever he exercises judgment, so we ought not to imagine any thing more under the term repentance than a change of action, men being wont to testify their dissatisfaction by such a change. Hence, because every change whatever among men is intended as a correction of what displeases, and the correction proceeds from repentance, the same term applied to God simply means that his procedure is changed. In the meantime, there is no inversion of his counsel or will, no change of his affection. What from eternity he had foreseen, approved, decreed, he prosecutes with unvarying uniformity, how sudden soever to the eye of man the variation may seem to be.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 17-Henry Beveridge Translation

Though human life is beset with innumerable evils, the righteous, trusting to Divine Providence, feel perfectly secure

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Meditation continued.
15. Though human life is beset with innumerable evils, the righteous, trusting to Divine Providence, feel perfectly secure.

10. Here we are forcibly reminded of the inestimable felicity of a pious mind. Innumerable are the ills which beset human life, and present death in as many different forms. Not to go beyond ourselves, since the body is a receptacle, nay the nurse, of a thousand diseases, a man cannot move without carrying along with him many forms of destruction. His life is in a manner interwoven with death. For what else can be said where heat and cold bring equal danger? Then, in what direction soever you turn, all surrounding objects not only may do harm, but almost openly threaten and seem to present immediate death. Go on board a ship, you are but a plank’s breadth from death. Mount a horse, the stumbling of a foot endangers your life. Walk along the streets, every tile upon the roofs is a source of danger. If a sharp instrument is in your own hand, or that of a friend, the possible harm is manifest. All the savage beasts you see are so many beings armed for your destruction. Even within a high walled garden, where everything ministers to delight, a serpent will sometimes lurk. Your house, constantly exposed to fire, threatens you with poverty by day, with destruction by night. Your fields, subject to hail, mildew, drought, and other injuries, denounce barrenness, and thereby famine. I say nothing of poison, treachery, robbery, some of which beset us at home, others follow us abroad. Amid these perils, must not man be very miserable, as one who, more dead than alive, with difficulty draws an anxious and feeble breath, just as if a drawn sword were constantly suspended over his neck? It may be said that these things happen seldom, at least not always, or to all, certainly never all at once. I admit it; but since we are reminded by the example of others, that they may also happen to us, and that our life is not an exception any more than theirs, it is impossible not to fear and dread as if they were to befall us. What can you imagine more grievous than such trepidation? Add that there is something like an insult to God when it is said, that man, the noblest of the creatures, stands exposed to every blind and random stroke of fortune. Here, however, we were only referring to the misery which man should feel, were he placed under the dominion of chance.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 17-Henry Beveridge Translation

Seven Things You Can’t Do as a Moral Relativist

February 16, 2015 3 comments

So you’ve decided to become a moral relativist. Good for you! What could be better than doing whatever feels right? What could be worse than letting someone tell you what you should and shouldn’t do? Plus, it’s one of the easiest worldviews to adopt: Just leave everyone else alone and demand that they do the same for you, and you’ll never have to worry again about whether your actions are right or wrong. In fact, there are really only seven things that you can’t do as a moral relativist. Simply follow the rules below, and you’ll be free from absolutes forever!

 

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers-Prayer 24

January 29, 2015 1 comment

“DELIVER US FROM EVIL.”

O GOD, let us not be formalists or hypocrites at this time in prayer. We feel how easy it is to bow the head and cover the face, and yet the thoughts may be all astray, and the mind may be wandering hither and thither, so that there shall be no real prayer at all. Come, Holy Spirit, help us to feel that we are in the immediate presence of God; and may this thought lead us to sincere and earnest petitioning.

There are some who know not God; God is not in all their thoughts; they make no reckoning of Thee, Thou glorious One, but do their business and guide their lives as if there was no God in heaven or in earth. Strike them now with a sense of Thy presence. Oh! that Thine eternal power might come before their thoughts, and now may they join with Thy reverent people in approaching Thy mercy seat.

We come for mercy, great God; it must always be our first request, for we have sinned, sinned against a just and holy law of which our conscience approves. We are evil, but Thy law is holy and just and good. We have offended knowingly; we have offended again and again; after being chastened we have still offended, and even those of us who are forgiven, who through Thy rich love have been once for all washed from every stain, yet have we sinned grievously; and we confess it with much shame and bitter self-reproach that we should sin against such tender love, and against the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, who is in His people; and who checks them and quickens their consciences; so that they sin against light and knowledge when they sin.

Wash us yet again. And when we ask for this washing it is not because, we doubt the efficacy of former cleansing. Then we were washed in blood. Now, O Savior, repeat upon us what Thou didst to the twelve when Thou didst take a towel and basin and wash their feet. And when that was done Thou didst tell them that he who had been washed had no need save but to wash his feet. After that was done he was clean every whit. Oh! let Thy children be in that condition this morning — clean every whit — and may they know it; and thus being clean may they have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies by the blood of Christ; and may they now come and stand where the cherubim once were, where the glory still shines forth. And may we before a blood-besprinkled mercy seat, ourselves washed and cleansed, pour out our prayers and praises.

As for those that never have been washed, we repeat our prayer for them. Bring them, oh! bring them at once to a sense of sin. Oh! that we might see them take their first complete washing, and may they become henceforth the blood washed and blood redeemed consecrated ones, belonging forever unto Him who has made them white through His atoning sacrifice.

And, blessed Lord, since Thou dost permit Thy washed ones to come close to Thyself we would approach Thee now with the courage which comes of faith and love, and ask of Thee this thing. Help us to overcome every tendency to evil which is still within us, and enable us to wear armor of such proof that the arrows of the enemy from without may not penetrate it, that we may not be wounded again by sin. Deliver us, we pray Thee, from doubts within and fears without, from depression of spirit, and from the outward assaults of the world. Make us and keep us pure within, and then let our life be conducted with such, holy jealousy and watchfulness that there may be nothing about us that shall bring dishonor to Thy name. May those who most carefully watch us see nothing but what shall adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

Lord help Thy people to be right as parents. May none of us spoil our children; may there be no misconducted families to cry out against us. Help us to be right as masters; may there be no oppression, no hardness and unkindness. Help us to be right as servants; may there be no eye service, no purloining, but may there be everything that adorns the Christian character. Keep us right as citizens; may we do all we can for our country, and for the times in which we live. Keep us right, we pray Thee, as citizens of the higher country; may we be living for it, to enjoy its privileges, and to bring others within its burgess-ship, that multitudes may be made citizens of Christ through our means. Lord help us to conduct ourselves aright as Church members; may we love our brethren; may we seek their good, their edification, their comfort, their health. And oh! may such of us as are called to preach have grace equal to that responsibility. Lord make every Christian to be clear of the blood of all those round about him. We know that there are some who profess to be Thy people, who do not seem to care one whit about the souls of their fellow men. God forgive this inhumanity to men, this treason to the King of kings. Rouse the Church, we pray Thee, to a tenderness of heart towards those among whom we dwell.

Let all the churches feel that they are ordained to bless their neighbors. Oh! that the Christian Church in England might begin to take upon itself its true burden. Let the Church in London especially, with its mass of poverty and sin round about it, care for the people and love the people; and may all Christians bestir themselves that something may be done for the good of men, and for the glory of God. Lord, do use us for Thy glory. Shine upon us, O Emmanuel, that we may reflect Thy brightness; dwell in us, O Jesus, that out of us may come the power of Thy life. Make Thy Church to work miracles, because the miracle-worker is in the midst of her. Oh! send us times of revival, seasons of great refreshing; and then times of aggression, when the army of the Lord of Hosts shall push its way into the very center of the adversary, and overthrow the foe in the name of the King of kings. Now forgive Thy servants all that has been amiss, and strengthen in Thy servants all that is good and right. Sanctify us to Thy service, and hold us to it. Comfort us with Thy presence; elevate us into Thy presence. Make us like Thyself; bring us near Thyself, and in all things glorify Thyself in us, whether we live or die.

Bless the poor, remember the needy among Thine own people; help and succor them. Bless the sick, and be very near the dying. The Lord comfort them.

Bless our country, let every mercy rest upon the Sovereign; send peace to disquieted districts; give wisdom to our senators in the making and in the seeing to the keeping of the law. And may Thy kingdom come not here only, but in every land and nation. Lands across the flood remember with the plenitude of Thy grace. Let the whole earth be filled with Thy glory. We ask it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Prayers

Question 12-Puritan Catechism

CharlesSpurgeon12. Q. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the state wherein he was created?

A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; (Galatians 3:12) forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death. (Genesis 2:17)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon-A Puritan Catechism

Confession statement 5

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

V. GOD in His infinite power and wisdom, doth dispose all things to the end for which they were created; that neither good nor evil befalls any by chance, or without His providence; and that whatsoever befalls the elect, is by His appointment, for His glory, and their good.

Job 38:11: Isa.46:10,11; Eccles.3:14; Mark 10:29.30; Exod.21:13; Prov.16:33; Rom.8:28.

The First London Baptist Confession of 1644/1646