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Posts Tagged ‘Ignorant’

Many worship according to their own devisings

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The knowledge of God suppressed by ignorance, many falling away into superstition. Such persons, however, inexcusable, because their error is accompanied with pride and stubbornness.

1. But though experience testifies that a seed of religion is divinely sown in all, scarcely one in a hundred is found who cherishes it in his heart, and not one in whom it grows to maturity so far is it from yielding fruit in its season. Moreover, while some lose themselves in superstitious observances, and others, of set purpose, wickedly revolt from God, the result is, that, in reward to the true knowledge of him, all are so degenerate, that in no part of the world can genuine godliness be found. In saying that some fall away into superstition, I mean not to insinuate that their excessive absurdity frees them from guilt; for the blindness under which they labor is almost invariably accompanied with vain pride and stubbornness. Mingled vanity and pride appear in this, that when miserable men do seek after God, instead of ascending higher than themselves as they ought to do, they measure him by their own carnal stupidity, and neglecting solid inquiry, fly off to indulge their curiosity in vain speculation. Hence, they do not conceive of him in the character in which he is manifested, but imagine him to be whatever their own rashness has devised. This abyss standing open, they cannot move one footstep without rushing headlong to destruction. With such an idea of God, nothing which they may attempt to offer in the way of worship or obedience can have any value in his sight, because it is not him they worship, but, instead of him, the dream and figment of their own heart. This corrupt procedure is admirably described by Paul, when he says, that “thinking to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22.) He had previously said that “they became vain in their imaginations,” but lest any should suppose them blameless, he afterwards adds that they were deservedly blinded, because, not contented with sober inquiry, because, arrogating to themselves more than they have any title to do, they of their own accord court darkness, nay, bewitch themselves with perverse, empty show. Hence it is that their folly, the result not only of vain curiosity, but of licentious desire and overweening confidence in the pursuit of forbidden knowledge, cannot be excused.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation

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The sum of true wisdom, the knowledge of God and ourselves

March 27, 2013 1 comment

John%20Calvin%2011Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone. In the second place, those blessings which unceasingly distill to us from heaven, are like streams conducting us to the fountain. Here, again, the infinitude of good which resides in God becomes more apparent from our poverty. In particular, the miserable ruin into which the revolt of the first man has plunged us, compels us to turn our eyes upwards; not only that while hungry and famishing we may thence ask what we want, but being aroused by fear may learn humility. For as there exists in man something like a world of misery, and ever since we were stript of the divine attire our naked shame discloses an immense series of disgraceful properties every man, being stung by the consciousness of his own unhappiness, in this way necessarily obtains at least some knowledge of God. Thus, our feeling of ignorance, vanity, want, weakness, in short, depravity and corruption, reminds us, (see Calvin on John 4:10,) that in the Lord, and none but He, dwell the true light of wisdom, solid virtue, exuberant goodness. We are accordingly urged by our own evil things to consider the good things of God; and, indeed, we cannot aspire to Him in earnest until we have begun to be displeased with ourselves. For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation

Every man feels that he is a sinner

God, however, has a witness in every man’s conscience. Every man, whatever he may pretend, feels himself to be a sinner, and to need forgiveness. Ignorant and idolatrous as the Philippian jailer had been all his life, yet, when death stared him in the face, he trembled and cried for mercy. And if it was thus with the heathen, much more is it likely to be thus with those who have been educated under the light of revelation. The most careless and thoughtless cannot stand the approach of death. The courage of the most harnessed infidel commonly fails him at that solemn period.

Rev. Andrew Fuller–The Great Question Answered

Humility is Present with Conversion

August 21, 2012 2 comments

Third, genuine humility. In view of what has just been pointed out, it is easy to see why humility is represented all through Scripture as a dominant feature of those who are quickened by the Spirit. An hypocrite, being experimentally ignorant of Divine Law— never having been slain by it (Rom. 7:9, 11)—then, the more religious he is, the more proud and conceited will he be. But with a true saint it is just the opposite: for if the Law be his rule of duty, and his obligations to conform thereto are infinite, and his blame for every defect is proportionately great; if the fault lie entirely in himself, and his lack of perfect love and obedience to God be wholly culpable, then he must be filled with low and mean thoughts of himself, and have an answerable lowliness of heart.

There is no greater proof that a man is ignorant of the Truth savingly, and a stranger to Christ experimentally, than for spiritual pride to reign in his heart. “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him” (Hab. 2:4). The graceless Pharisee, blind to the real character and purport of the Law, was ready to say, “God, I thank Thee, that I am not as other men”; while the penitent Publican, seeing himself in the light of God, dared not lift up his eyes to Heaven, but smote upon his breast (the seat of his spiritual leprosy) and cried “God be merciful to me, the sinner.” The proud religionists of Christ’s day exclaimed, “Behold, we see” (John 9:41); but the holy Psalmist prayed, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy Law.” Thousands of deluded people who profess to be Christians prate about their consecration, victories, and attainments; but the Apostle Paul said, “I count not myself to have apprehended” (Phil. 3:13).

Arthur W. Pink–Studies in the Scriptures February, 1937 The Spirit Transforming.

The Difference between the Righteous and the Wicked

The spirit which is discerned in the disdainful carriage of individuals of this sort when reminded of their faults, is a striking comment on the just maxims of the wise man. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Such is the difference which marks the demeanor of the righteous and the wicked when reminded of their faults.

Asahel Nettleton-The Destruction of Hardened Sinners

Man by Nature Does Willfully Refuse the Good

Whereas you say that some Scriptures seem to hold forth unto you that a man has a free-will, I desire you, for your better information, to take notice of these two Propositions:

Proposition 1.

We do not simply deny that a man has any freedom of will, but only do hold that no natural man, not any man of himself, has a sufficient power, or freedom of will, unto the choosing of that way, which is good and right, and acceptable in the sight of God. To the choosing of evil ways, we grant that every natural mans has freed enough, if so be this may be termed by so good a name as Freedom. Consequently, we do not hold that any man is compelled or enforced by violence to choose the evil, or to refuse the good, but that through the corruption of nature man unrenewed does willingly and willfully refuse the good way and chooses the evil way. Whereas the unregenerate person can do no otherwise, this is not the fruit of any force or compulsion laid upon him, but only of the obstinate wickedness, or wicked obstinacy of his own corrupted and depraved will. The truth hereof appear by these Scriptures, Gen. 8:21; Eccles. 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; Romans 3:9, 10, 11; Romans 8:6-8; James 1:13-15; John 8:44.

Benjamin Cox-Some Mistaken Scriptures Sincerely Explained, in Answer to One Infected With Some Pelagian Errors 1646.