Why millions of years is a lie!

Good article and booklet from Answers in Genesis:

Millions of years??

Seven Reasons Why We Should Not Accept Millions of Years

by Dr. Terry Mortenson on July 17, 2006; last featured March 28, 2016

Also available in Español

Slemish Mount, Ballymena, a volcanic plug that erupted at the time of the flood.

There is an intensifying controversy in the church all over the world regarding the age of the earth. For the first 18 centuries of church history, the almost universal belief of Christians was that God created the world in six literal days, roughly 4,000 years before Christ, and destroyed the world with a global Flood at the time of Noah.

ABOUT 200 YEARS AGO SOME SCIENTISTS DEVELOPED NEW THEORIES OF EARTH HISTORY, WHICH PROPOSED THAT THE EARTH AND UNIVERSE ARE MILLIONS OF YEARS OLD.

Christian leaders have made various attempts to fit the millions of years into the Bible. These include the day-age view, gap theory, local flood view, framework hypothesis, theistic evolution, progressive creation, and so on.

A growing number of Christians (now called young-earth creationists), including many scientists, hold to the traditional view, believing it to be the only view that is truly faithful to Scripture and that fits the scientific evidence far better than the reigning old-earth evolutionary theory.

Many Christians say that the age of the earth is an unimportant and divisive side issue that hinders the proclamation of the gospel. But is that really the case? AiG and many other creationist organizations think not.

In this short article (which can be purchased as a booklet to share with others), we want to introduce you to some of the reasons we think that Christians cannot accept the millions of years, without doing great damage to the church and her witness in the world. We hope that it will help you think more carefully about this subject and will motivate you to dig deeper into the excellent resources recommended at the end, which thoroughly defend the points made here.

  1. The Bible clearly teaches that God created in six literal, 24-hour days a few thousand years ago.

The Hebrew word for day in Genesis 1 is yôm. In the vast majority of its uses in the Old Testament (OT), it means a literal day; and where it doesn’t the context makes this clear.

Similarly, the context of Genesis 1 clearly shows that the days of creation were literal days. First, yôm is defined the first time it is used in the Bible (Genesis 1:4–5) in its two literal senses: the light portion of the light/dark cycle and the whole light/dark cycle. Second, yôm is used with “evening” and “morning.” Everywhere these two words are used in the OT, either together or separately and with or without yôm in the context, they always mean a literal evening or morning of a literal day. Third, yôm is modified with a number: one day, second day, third day, and so on, which everywhere else in the Old Testament indicates literal days. Fourth, yôm is defined literally in Genesis 1:14 in relation to the heavenly bodies.

That these creation days happened only about 6,000 years ago is clear from the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 (which give very detailed chronological information, unlike the clearly abbreviated genealogy in Matthew 1) and other chronological information in the Bible.

  1. Exodus 20:11blocks all attempts to fit millions of years into Genesis 1.

This verse gives the reason for God’s command to Israel to work six days and then take a Sabbath rest. Yôm is used in both parts of the commandment. If God meant that the Jews were to work six days because He created over six long periods of time, He could have said that using one of three indefinite Hebrew time words. He chose the only word that means a literal day and the Jews understood it literally (until the idea of million of years developed in the early 19th century). For this reason, the day-age view or framework hypothesis must be rejected. The gap theory or any other attempt to put millions of years before the six days are also false, because God says that in six days He made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. So He made everything in those six literal days and nothing before the first day.

  1. Noah’s Flood washes away millions of years.

The evidence in Genesis 6–9 for a global catastrophic flood is overwhelming. For example, the Flood was intended to destroy not only all sinful people but also all land animals and birds and the surface of the earth, which only a global flood could accomplish. The Ark’s purpose was to save two of every kind of land animal and bird to repopulate the earth after the flood. The Ark was totally unnecessary, if the Flood was local. People, animals, and birds could have migrated out of the flood zone before it occurred, or the zone could have been populated from creatures outside the area after the Flood. The catastrophic nature is seen in the nonstop rain for at least 40 days, which would have produced massive erosion, mud slides, hurricanes, and so on. The Hebrew words translated “the fountains of the great deep burst open” (Genesis 7:11) clearly point to tectonic rupturing of the earth’s surface in many places for 150 days, resulting in volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Noah’s Flood would produce exactly the kind of complex geological record we see today worldwide: thousands of feet of sediments clearly deposited by water and later hardened into rock and containing billions of fossils. If the year-long Flood is responsible for most of the rock layers and fossils, then those rocks and fossils cannot represent the history of the earth over millions of years, as evolutionists claim.

  1. Jesus was a young-earth creationist.

Jesus consistently treated the miracle accounts of the Old Testament as straightforward, truthful, historical accounts (e.g., creation of Adam, Noah and the Flood, Lot and his wife in Sodom, Moses and the manna, and Jonah in the fish). He continually affirmed the authority of Scripture over men’s ideas and traditions (Matthew 15:1–9). In Mark 10:6 we have the clearest (but not the only) statement showing that Jesus was a young-earth creationist. He states that Adam and Eve were at the beginning of creation, not billions of years after the beginning, as would be the case if the universe was really billions of years old. So, if Jesus was a young-earth creationist, then how can His faithful followers have any other view?

  1. Belief in millions of years undermines the Bible’s teaching on death and on the character of God.

Genesis 1 says six times that God called the creation “good,” and when He finished creation on Day Six He called everything “very good.” Man and animals and birds were originally vegetarian (Genesis 1:29–30, plants are not “living creatures,” as people and animals are, according Scripture). But Adam and Eve sinned, resulting in the judgment of God on the whole creation. Instantly Adam and Eve died spiritually, and after God’s curse they began to die physically. The serpent and Eve were changed physically and the ground itself was cursed (Genesis 3:14–19). The whole creation now groans in bondage to corruption, waiting for the final redemption of Christians (Rom. 8:19–25) when we will see the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21Col. 1:20) to a state similar to the pre-Fall world, when there will be no more carnivore behavior (Isaiah 11:6–9) and no disease, suffering, or death (Revelation 21:3–5) because there will be no more Curse (Revelation 22:3). To accept millions of years of animal death before the creation and Fall of man contradicts and destroys the Bible’s teaching on death and the full redemptive work of Christ. It also makes God into a bumbling, cruel creator who uses (or can’t prevent) disease, natural disasters, and extinctions to mar His creative work, without any moral cause, but calls it all “very good.”

  1. The idea of millions of years did not come from the scientific facts.

It was developed by deistic and atheistic geologists in the late 18th and early 19th century. These men used anti-biblical philosophical and religious assumptions to interpret the geological observations in a way that plainly contradicted the biblical account of Creation, the Flood, and the age of the earth. Most church leaders and scholars quickly compromised using the gap theory, day-age view, local flood view, and so on. to try to fit “deep time” into the Bible. But they did not understand the geological arguments, nor did they defend their views by careful Bible study. The “deep time” idea flows out of naturalistic assumptions, not scientific observations.

  1. Radiometric dating methods do not prove millions of years.

Prominent young-earth creation scientists

There are thousands of PhD and MS scientists around the world (and the number keeps growing) who believe the earth is only about 6,000 years old, as the Bible teaches. It is simply false to say that creation scientists do not have reputable degrees, do not do real scientific research and do not publish in the peer-reviewed scientific journals. Visit our creation scientist section to read about a few of them, past and present.

Radiometric dating was not developed until the early 20th century, by which time the whole world had already accepted the millions of years. For many years creation scientists have cited many examples in the published scientific literature of these dating methods clearly giving erroneous dates (e.g., a date of millions of years for lava flows that occurred in the past few hundred years or even decades). In recent years creationists in the “RATE project” have done experimental, theoretical and field research to uncover more such evidence (e.g., diamonds and coal, which the evolutionists say are millions of years old, were dated by carbon-14 to be only thousands of years old) and to show that decay rates were orders of magnitude faster in the past, which shrinks the millions of years dates to thousands of years, confirming the Bible.

Conclusion

These are just some of the reasons why we believe that the Bible is giving us the true history of the creation. God’s Word must be the final authority on all matters about which it speaks: not just the moral and spiritual matters, but also its teachings that bear on history, archeology, and science. Forever thy word is written in heaven and is true (JK).

What is at stake here is the authority of Scripture, the character of God, the doctrine of death, and the very foundation of the gospel. If the early chapters of Genesis are not true literal history, then faith in the rest of the Bible is undermined, including its teaching about salvation and morality. I urge you to examine carefully the resources at the bottom of this article. The health of the church, the effectiveness of her mission to a lost world and the glory of God are at stake.

This article is available in an attractive booklet to share with Christian friends, your pastor, or anyone who is compromised or unsure about the age of the earth and who is not willing (or sufficiently motivated to take the time) to read a book or watch an hour-long DVD that would change their thinking. This booklet could be a stepping-stone to encourage them to study this matter further. Together, let’s keep calling Christians—and especially Christian leaders—back to the truth of Genesis.

 

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Third reason we must resist.

The Christian’s safety lies in resisting.

All the armour here provided is to defend the Christian fighting, not to secure him flying.  There is no armour on the back to protect the coward!  ‘The just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.’Heb. 10:38. Better to die sword in hand than be executed under God’s wrath.

Fourth reason.

Satan can only be dealt with by resisting. God is an enemy that is overcome by yielding; the devil only by force of arms.
1. He is a cowardly enemy. Though he sets a bold face on it by tempting, he carries a fearful heart in his breast. As a thief is afraid of every light he sees, or noise he hears, in the house he would rob, so Satan is discouraged where he finds the soul waking, and in any posture to oppose him. He fears you, Christian, more than you him; ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know,’ Acts 19:15; that is, I know them to my shame, they have both put me to flight, and if ye were such as they, I should fear you also. Believe it, soul, he trembles at thy faith. Put it forth in prayer to call for help to heaven against him, and exert it vigorously by rejecting the motions he makes, and thou shalt see him run. The Spirit  knows well enough what goes on in the devil’s camp—sends this intelligence unto every soul that is beleaguered by temptations,‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you,’ James 4:7. He cannot hurt us without our leave. No way to be rid of him but to shut the door upon him, and deny all discourse with him; which prompts to the second character.

2. He is an encroaching enemy, and therefore to be resisted. ‘Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,’ saith the apostle, ‘neither give place to the devil,’ Eph. 4:26,27. By yielding in one temptation we let the devil into our trench, and give him a fair advantage to do us the more mischief. The angry man while he is raging and raving, thinks that to ease his passion by disgorging it in some bitter keen words, but alas while his fury and wrath is sallying out at the portal of his lips, the devil finding the door open, enters and hurries him farther than he dreamt of.  Our best way, therefore, is to give him no hand-hold, not so much as to come near the door where sin dwells, lest we be hooked in. If we mean not to be burned, let us not walk upon the coals of temptation;—if not to be tanned, let us not stand where the sun lies. They surely forget what an insinuating wriggling nature this serpent hath, that dare yield to him in something, and make us believe they will not in another—who will sit in the company of drunkards, frequent the places where the sin is committed, and yet pretend they mean not to be such?—that will prostitute their eyes to unchaste objects, and yet be chaste?—that will prostitute their eyes to unchaste objects, and yet be chaste?—that will lend their ears to any corrupt doctrine of the times, and yet be sound in the faith? This is a strong delusion that such are under.

3. He is an accusing enemy. What a tell-tale the devil is, by yielding to his temptation, you give him ammunition with which he may accuse you to God. Take up therefore holy Job’s resolution, ‘My righteousness I hold fast,…my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live,’ Job 27:6.  Conscience, not the devil, is the bloodhound that pulls down the creature. O let not that reproach thee, and thou art well enough.

 

The Christian in Complete Armour (95)

We stand because God furnisheth us with armour for this end, that we should stand valiantly, and not yield to Satan tempting.

To deliver up a castle into an enemy’s hand, when it is well provided with ammunition to defend it, is shameful and unworthy of such a trust. This makes the Christian’s sin more dishonourable than another’s, because he is better appointed to make resistance.

An unbeliever when solicited,  to a sin that promiseth carnal pleasure, or profit, it is no great wonder that he yields at first summons, and delivers himself up prisoner to Satan because he has no armour, he has no interest in Christ. What marvel is it, if his hungry soul, for want of better food, falls on board upon the devil’s cheer?—that he, who hath no hope for another world, like a goat, must browse where she is tied, and the sinner feed on earth and earthly things, to which he is staked down by his carnal heart; but the Christian hath a hope in his bosom of glory,  and treasures his relationship with the Father and heaven’s joys—it being the nature of that grace to give existence to the good things of the promise. This helmet on and shield lift up, would keep off a whole shower of such arrows from hurting the Christian.

The Christian in Complete Armour (95)

The command is expressly stated : ‘Whom resist steadfast in the faith,’ I Peter 5:9.  And “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. Set yourselves in battle against him, as the word imports, fight him whenever he comes.  When Joab sent Uriah to stand in the forefront of the battle, in the face of death itself, he could not but see his danger, yet he disputes not the matter with his general; obey he must, though he loses his life upon the place.  To resist some temptations may cost us dear: ‘Ye have not yet
resisted unto blood,’ saith the apostle, ‘striving against sin,’ Heb. 12:4, implying that it may come to that, and if it should, [that] it alters not the case, nor gives a dispensation to shift for ourselves by choosing to sin rather than to suffer. The soldier carries his prince’s honour into the field with him, and so doth the Christian his God’s, whenever he is called to contest with any temptation. O, how unworthy is it then, to expose the name of God to reproach, rather than ourselves to a little scorn, temporal loss, or trouble! It was Pompey’s boast, that at a word or nod of his, he could make his soldiers creep up the steepest rock on their hands and knees, though they were knocked down as fast as they went up. Truly, God is not prodigal of the blood of his servants, yet sometimes he tries their loyalty in hard services, and sharp temptations, that he may from their faithfulness to him, and holy stoutness in their sufferings for him, triumph over Satan, who was so impudent as to tell God, that one of his choicest servants did but serve himself in serving him, ‘Doth Job fear God for nought?’—as if, when any sharp encounter came, he would turn head, and rather curse God than submit to him. And therefore, we find the Lord glorying over Satan, ‘Still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him,’ Job 2:3—as if the Lord had said, ‘What dost thou think now, Satan? hath not Job proved thee a loud liar? I have some servants, thou seest, that will serve me without a bribe, that will hold fast their integrity, when they can hold fast nothing else. Thou hast got away his estate, servants, and children, and yet he stands his ground, and thou hast not got thy will of him, nor his integrity from him.

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“Stand therefore,

The Position to be maintained in the Fight.
‘Stand therefore’,having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;” Eph 6:14

The apostle had laid down in general, ver. 13, what armour the Christian
soldier must use—armour of God.  To show what this whole armour of God is, describing it piece by piece, which together make up the complete suit, and every way furnish the Christian to take the field against this his enemy, we shall handle them in that order we find them here laid by the apostle. This standing is a military expression, a word of command that captains use upon different occasions to their soldiers, and so imports several duties that are required at the Christian’s hands.

[The necessity of resisting Satan’s temptations, with the danger of yielding to them.]
To stand, is opposed to a cowardly flight from, or treacherous yielding to, the enemy. When a captain sees his men beginning to shrink, and perceives some disposition in them to flee or yield, then he bids stand; that is, stand manfully to it, and make good your ground against the enemy, by a valiant receiving his charge, and repelling his force. The word taken thus, points at a suitable duty incumbent on the Christian, which take in this note. We are to resist Satan…

 

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What it means to stand at the end of our conflict.

To stand at the end of this war will abundantly recompense all our hazard and hardship endured in the war against sin and Satan. A glorious reward
there is for every faithful soldier in Christ’s camp.

First. To stand, in this place, is to stand conquerors. An army, when
conquered, is said to fall before their enemy, and the conqueror to stand. Every Christian shall at the end of the war stand a conqueror over his vanquished lusts, and Satan that headed them. Satan shall be trodden down under our feet (Rom.16:20).

Second. To stand, is here to stand justified and acquitted at the great day of judgement.  ‘The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,’ Ps. 1:5, that is, they shall not be justified. ‘If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?’

Third. To stand, as the compliment of their reward—denotes the saints’ standing in heaven’s glory.  Now such honour shall every faithful soul have.
‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge….I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by,’ Zech. 3:7. Shall the joy of heaven which is set before the Christian, into which he shall assuredly enter, make him run his race, endure a short scuffle of temptation and affliction? yea sure, and make him reckon also that these ‘are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in him.’

Acts 15:30-16:12

Acts 15:30-16:12

The church at Antioch were notified of Jerusalem council decision.

The believers in Antioch, many of whom would have been Gentiles, were very glad to be told the contents of the letter. Judas and Silas, sent with Paul and Barnabas were also New Testament prophets who may have foretold future events but definitely preached and taught. (Acts 11:28, 21:10, 1 Cor.12:28, Eph.2:20).These men along with the apostles laid the foundations of the New Testament church. Silas stayed in Antioch to continue preaching but we know God planned for him to accompany Paul in the future. The church at Antioch had many teachers but we have no idea what size it was. Is one teaching elder (the norm in PRCA etc) optimal? (1 Tim.5:17).

Paul suggested to Barnabas they revisit the fellowships they had planted and enquire of their welfare. Barnabas wanted to take his nephew John Mark (Col.4:10, Acts 13:30) but Paul did not agree because he had previously left them prematurely (Acts 13:5,13). Their sharp contention must have involved sin on both their parts, perhaps they should have got third party to advise. However as they separated, Barnabas with Mark and Paul with Silas, there were now two teams on mission. Paul and Barnabas were reconciled later (1 Cor.9:6, Gal.2:1) as were Paul and John Mark (2 Tim.4:11, Col.4:10). Silas, like Paul, was a prophet/pastor/teacher and commended by Jerusalem council. Their sending church prayed for them, supported them and may have laid hands on them. They taught the churches to reinforce their faith and establish them in the truth. This is what true preaching does today.

Paul’s second missionary journey (AD 49-52).

Macedonian costume.

Paul met Timothy in Lystra, son of a Greek gentile and a believing Jewish mother Eunice and grandmother Lois. He would not have been brought up as a Jew and not been circumcised. Paul as a concession to the Jews and to make Timothy more acceptable, circumcised him (I Cor.9). Paul wanted to take him with him because he was a young man of quality (faithful, hard worker) and of good report (see Phil.2:20). As they travelled through the towns they delivered the decrees of the Jerusalem council and helped establish the churches which also grew in numbers. Paul and Silas tried to go to Asia but were prevented by the Holy Spirit because God wanted the gospel to enter Europe via Macedonia. Paul saw a vision, a visual revelation while awake, of a Macedonian man (known presumably by his dress and accent) asking him to come over and help by preaching the gospel.

By this time the writer of Acts, namely Doctor Luke had joined the two. Come and help us from a group of believers is a good starting point to start a domestic or foreign mission field.

 

Next study (DV) December 21st  2019 on Acts 16:13-40.

The Christian in Complete Armour (92)

Abuse of the doctrine of the perseverance or preservation of the saints: Two ways this doctrine may be abused.

1. It may be into a neglect of duty.

2. Into a liberty to sin.

Take heed of both.

1. Take heed of falling into a neglect of duty upon this score—if a Christian,
thou canst not fall away from grace.
(1.) A constant vigorous performing of duty should not be motivated by the fear of falling away. The Christian treasures communion with his Heavenly Father and every duty is a mount wherein God presents himself to be seen and enjoyed by the Christian.
(2.) To neglect duty upon such a persuasion, is contrary to Christ’s practice
and counsel. Though Christ never doubted of his Father’s love,
nor questioned the happy issue of all his temptations, agonies, and sufferings, ye he prays, and prays again most earnestly, Luke 22:44. he states, ‘But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.’ Sure our Saviour by this provision made for him and the rest, means to save them a labour that they need not watch or pray? No such matter. After this, as you may see, ver. 40, he calls them up to duty—‘pray that ye enter not into temptation.’ Christ’s praying for them was to strengthen their faith, when they should themselves pray for the same mercy; not to nourish their sloth that they needed not to pray, Christ’s prayers in heaven for his saints are all heard already, but the return of them is reserved to be enclosed in the answer God sends to their own prayers.

Doesn’t his mercy (toward his people) endure for ever? (Psalm 136).

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I used to argue till I was “blue in tha face” with the Arminians on the O.M. Ship Logos who believed a true Christian could fall away and be lost! Hear Gurnall, ” The ark stood in the midst of Jordan, till the whole camp of Israel was safely got over into Canaan, Joshua 3:17, and so doth the covenant, which the ark did but typify. Yea, Christ, covenant and all, stand to secure the saints a safe passage to heaven. If but one believer drowns, the covenant must drown with him; Christ and the saint are put together as co-heirs of the same inheritance. ‘If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,’ Rom. 8:17. We cannot dispute against one, but we question the firmness of the other’s title. When you hear [that] Christ is turned out of heaven, or that he is willing to sell his inheritance there; then, poor Christian, fear thy coming thither, and not till then!” Amen!

Disciplines of a Godly Man (Book review)

 

 

DSC04491

Book review. “Disciplines of a Godly Man” by R. Kent Hughes. 301pages paperback. Crossway Books 2001.

Hughes’ key verse is I Timothy 4:7,8, “Exercise (discipline or train) thyself rather unto godliness.” Rev. Hughes is convinced that godliness and discipline are intrinsically linked. His opening chapter is entitled “Discipline for godliness.” Thereafter the book chapters include the topics of discipline in relationships, discipline of self (soul and character) and discipline in church life (ministry). “You will get nowhere in life without discipline, whether in the arts, business, athletics or any academic subject.” For the believer discipline is God-centred and for his glory. This means hard work! Godly habits (spiritual disciplines) are often hard on the flesh because our old man is naturally lazy, sinful and selfish but they are basic in reaching our heavenly goal and living daily with that perspective in mind.
He covers sexual purity (I Thess.4:3-8) as basic, with self-control of the eyes, commitment to spouse, a supreme love for God, prizing of fellowship with him, as together important in the battle with lust. Chapters on being a committed father, choosing friends wisely, being involved in same-sex Bible studies with accountability, he says are other important disciplines in our relationships.
A Christian must discipline his mind and exclude the intake of many things (Phil.4:8) including the various types of screens and include regular Bible reading and good (Reformed-JK) Christian books. He must pray and have a prayer list, and work at prayer. When we get to worship he mistakes worship in spirit to mean our spirit rather than the Holy Spirit which is lamentable as without the Comforter and his power we cannot worship aright. When it comes to personal godliness he emphasises integrity, control of the tongue, listing good guidelines for speech, and hard work. He has a chapter on persevering to the end of our Christian race and another on being a committed member of a true church which then becomes central in our lives. He devotes a chapter to disciplined leadership, one to witnessing, one to giving and another to serving others. Discipline in the means of grace and grace granted as a result issue in hard work (I Corinthians 15:10).
In his appendices he includes daily Bible readings for the year which are something I would hope most of us already follow. We should ignore his chapters on Christian books as many are not Reformed and may be very misleading. We have a wealth of excellent Reformed books available at the RFPA, along with the Standard Bearer and Beacon Lights. We should also ignore his unregulated and unreformed views about choirs and church singing which include a chapter of hymns and choruses many of which might be termed “spiritual nursery rhymes”, a far cry from our all encompassing Spirit-breathed edifying Psalms of David.
So notwithstanding the few weaknesses–a good read especially if you need more discipline in your Christian life!

Bible studies

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To believe you can fall away :

 1. Derogatory to God’s design in the gospel-covenant, which we find
plainly to be this, that his children might be put into a state sure and safe. Rom. 4:16, ‘Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed.’ So those who by faith should be adopted into Abraham’s family, and  become a child of the promise, should not fail of inheriting the blessing of the promise, which is eternal life; called so, Titus 1:2, and all this because the promise is founded upon grace, that is, God’s immutable good pleasure in Christ, and not upon the variable and inconsistent obedience of man, as the first covenant was.

2. Reflects sadly on Christ’s honour, both as he is intrusted with the saints’
salvation, and also as he is interested in it. First. As he is intrusted with the
saints’ salvation. He tells us they are given him of his Father for this very end,
that he should give them eternal life; yea, that power which he hath over all
flesh, was given him to render him every way able to effect this one business,
John 17:2. He accepts the charge, owns them as his sheep, knows them every one, and promiseth he ‘will give them eternal life, they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of his hand,’ John 10:27,28. Secondly. As he is interested in the salvation of every saint. The life of his own glory is bound up in the eternal life of his saints.  Christ and his saints make but one Christ, for which his church is called Christ.  ‘As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ,’ I Cor. 12:12. Christ and his members make one Christ. Now is it possible that a piece of Christ can be found at last burning in hell? The church is called the ‘fulness of him,’ Eph. 1:23. O how dishonourable is it to Christ, that we should think he shall want any of his fulness! and how can the man be full and complete that wants a member?

3. Wounds the saints’ comfort to the heart, and lays their joy a bleeding.
This principle of saints falling from grace gives a sad dash to the sweet wine of the promises. We have ‘the sure mercies of David,’ Acts 13:34—mercies that
shall never fail. This, this is indeed wine that makes glad the heart of a saint.Though he may be whipped in the house when he sins, yet he shall not be turned out of doors; as God promised in the type to David’s seed. ‘Nevertheless my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail,’ Ps. 89:33; and ver. 36, ‘his seed shall endure for ever.’ Could anything separate the believer from the love of God in Christ or eat up the joy of his present hope. The contrary to such a frame of heart is  the
spirit of adoption, and [to the] full assurance of hope which the grace of the new covenant gives.

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Why we shall persevere:

Christ’s intercedes for us. ‘I have prayed,’ saith Christ to Peter, ‘that thy faith fail not.’ Does Christ pray for us? yea, doth he not live to pray for us? O how can children of so many prayers, of such prayers, perish? And if the weak prayers of saints, coming in his name, have such credit in heaven,  what prevalency has Christ’s intercession, who is a Son, an obedient Son, that is come from finishing his great work on earth, and now prays his Father for nothing but what he hath bid him ask; yea, for nothing but what is ordained. Say not thy weak faith shall perish, till thou hearest that Christ hath left praying.Third. Because Satan cannot pluck the believer out of the hands of God. How can he overcome thee, that cannot tempt thee but in God’s appointed time? No one-angel or human can pluck us from God’s hand!

So to recap, the three reasons a believer can and will persevere and never be lost are:

  1. The earnest of the Spirit.
  2. The intercession of Christ.
  3. The power of God.

The Christian in Complete Armour (88)

Proof we will perseve and the reasons:

The Spirit of God is given on purpose to prevent this. Christ left us with his Spirit, to tutor and keep us-the earnest of our inheritance. “I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them,”Eze. 36:27. He doth not say they shall have his Spirit if they will walk in his statutes; no, his Spirit shall cause them to do it. But may be thou art afraid thou mayest grieve him, and so he in anger leave thee, and thou perish for want of his help and counsel. Ans. The Spirit of God is indeed sensible of unkindness, and upon a saint’s sin may withdraw in regard of present assistance, but never in regard of his care; The office of the Spirit is to abide for ever with the saints. ‘He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever,’ John 14:16.

The Christian in Complete Armour (87)

The necessity of persevering:

The divine armour is a necessity to persevere till we have done all, and with it we will certainly triumph with the blessed result of this perseverance being abundantly recompensed for our pain and patience in the war—‘having done all, to stand.’

The ground of our persevering:

There can be no perseverance without true grace in the heart.
Every soul clad with this armour of God shall stand and persevere; or thus, true grace can never be vanquished. The Christian is a born conqueror, the gates of hell shall not prevail against him. He that is ‘born of God, overcometh the world,’ I John 5:4.

Mark from whence the victory is dated, even from his birth. There is victory sown in his new nature; even that seed of God, which will keep him from being swallowed up by sin or Satan. As Christ rose never to die more, so doth he raise souls from the grave of sin, never to come under the power of spiritual death more. These holy ones of God cannot ‘see corruption.’ Hence he that believes is said in the present tense to have eternal life. As ‘the law that came four hundred years after,’ could not make void the promise made to Abraham, so nothing that intervenes can hinder the accomplishing of that promise of eternal life, which was given and passed to Christ in their behalf before the foundation of the world. If a saint could in any way miscarry, and fall short of this eternal life, it must be from one of these three causes: Because God may forsake the Christian, and withdraw his grace and help from him; or because the believer may forsake God; or lastly, because Satan may pluck him out of the hands of God. Another cause I know not. Now none of these can be, We have the promise that Christ will never leave us or forsake us and his kindness toward us is eternal (Isaiah 54:10,17). As God, before the world began, gave a promise of eternal life to Christ for us, so now hath he given actual possession of that glorious place to Christ, as our advocate and attorney, where that eternal life shall be enjoyed by us. For as he came upon our errand from heaven, so thither he returned again, to take and hold possession of that inheritance which God had of old promised, and he in one sum at his death had paid for. And now, what ground of fear can there be in the believer’s heart, concerning God’s love standing firm to him, when he sees the whole covenant performed already to Christ for him, whom God hath not only called to, sanctified for, and upheld in the great work he has to finish for us; but also justified in his resurrection and received him into heaven, there to sit on the right hand of the majesty on high, by which he hath not only possession for us, but full power to give it unto all believers?

The Christian in Complete Armour (86)

” And having done all to stand” Ephesians 6:13.

There can be no perseverance without true grace in the heart. A soul void of divine armour cannot persevere. What this divine armour is, I have shown, and the apostle here doth, in the several pieces of it. The sanctifying graces of God’s Spirit are this armour.  John’s hearers, mentioned in John 5:35, got some light and heat by sitting under his burning ministry, but how long did it last? ‘Ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.’ The foolish virgins made as great a blaze with their lamps, and did expect as good a day when Christ should come, as the wise virgins; but, alas, their lamps are out before he appeared. The stony ground hearer, the seed sown among weeds and that sown on the path represent those who like many other instances in Scripture, do evince, that nothing short of solid grace, and a principle of divine life in the soul, will enable persevereance.

The Christian in Complete Armour (85)

A warning to the apostate who do not persevere; ‘It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them, II Peter 2:21. Better never to have walked a step towards heaven, than to put such a scorn and reproach upon the ways of God. Such a one who hath known both what a service Satan’s is, and what God’s is, then to revolt from God to the devil, seems to have compared one with the other, and as a result of his mature thoughts, to pronounce the devil’s which he chooseth, better than God’s which he leaveth. And how is it possible that any can sin upon a higher guilt, and go to hell under a greater load of wrath? These are they which God loathes. He that hates putting away, disdains much more to be himself thus put away. ‘If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him,’ Heb. 10:38. The apostate is said to tread upon ‘the Son of God,’ Heb. 10.29, as if he were no better than the dirt under his feet. Well, he shall have treading for treading, God himself will set his foot upon him, ‘Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes,’ Ps. 119:118; and who, think you, will be weary soonest? He that is under foot bears the weight of the whole man upon him. To be under the foot of God, is to lie under the whole weight of God’s wrath. O pity and pray for such forlorn souls. T

Irish Provinces Indoor Rowing Championships 2019

November 23rd 2019………The University of Limerick Sports Arena was very busy with hundreds of rowers of all ages (perhaps 1000 total) plus their supporters. In the junior men age 14 there were 115 competitors! When you get to the OAPs you may get just one or two in each race as was my case-hence I was first in M65-69 1000m with no opposition and second in M65-69 2000m (7.48 to 7.43) with two competing. Toughest race was M60-69 500m  where I got fifth out of eight among whom were heavier and younger men (M60-69). The most outstanding competitor who beat me in all three races was an M70 James Skelly (see pic) who rowed three Irish records obliterating the old ones and recording times a teenager would be proud of (on podium in middle).

  Chris O’Connor (winner 1k) Jim Skelly (3 golds M70)

Brian Hegarty (Gladiators)

My prizes

Daniel Moore and dad Jonathan. Nice to have them there.

As usual the timetable went like clockwork although the PA for prizegivings was pathetic. Nice walk home as sun set over the River Shannon and the town. Fellowship with the saints and attending worship at the Limnerick Reformed Fellowship was, as ever, a big blessing.Thank you Lord.

The Christian in Complete Armour (84)

Perseverance is also a necessity because our enemy perseveres to oppose us. There is no truce in the devil’s heart, no cessation of arms in our enemy’s camp. If an enemy continue to assault a city, and they within cease to resist, it is easy to tell what will follow. Yea, many precious servants of God, not making such vigorous resistance in their last days as in their first, have fallen foully, as we see in Solomon, Asa, and others. Indeed, it is hard when a line is drawn to a great length, to keep it so straight that it slacken not, and to hold a thing long in our hand, and not to have a numbness grow in our fingers so as to remit of our strength; therefore we are bid so often to hold fast the profession of our faith.

Perseverance is necessary, because the promise of life and glory is settled upon the persevering soul. The crown stands at the goal, he hath it that comes to the end of the race. ‘To him that overcometh will I give,’ ‘Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise,’ Heb. 10:36. There is a remarkable accent on that henceforth, which Paul mentions, II Tim. 4:7, 8 ‘I have fought a good fight, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.’ Why, was it not laid up before? yes, but having persevered and come near the goal, being within sight of home, ready to die, he takes now surer hold of the promise. Indeed, in this sense it is, that a gracious soul is nearer its salvation after every victory than it was before, because he approacheth nearer to the end of his race, which is the time promised for the receiving of the promised salvation, Rom. 13:11. Then and not till then the garland drops upon his head.
Scripture is replete with promises of blessing, glory and reward for those, and only those, who persevere e.g. Hebrews 3:6,14.

The Christian in Complete Armour (83)

The necessity of perseverance;

What Gurnall says here is worth quoting in full-JK.

“Because we are all under a covenant and oath to do this. Formerly soldiers used to take an oath not to flinch from their colours, but faithful to cleave up to their leaders; this they called sacramentum militare—a military oath. Such an oath lies upon every Christian. It is so essential to the being of a saint, that they are described by this: ‘Gather my saints together, those that have made a covenant with me,’ Ps. 50:5. We are not Christians till we have subscribed this covenant, and that without any reservation. When we take upon us the profession of Christ’s name, we list ourselves in his muster-roll, and by it do promise that we will live and die with him in opposition to all his enemies. ‘Every nation will walk in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of our God;’ and what is it to walk in the name of our God, but to fight under the banner of his gospel, wherein his name is displayed, by giving an eternal defiance to sin and Satan? If a captain had not such a tie on his shoulders, he might have them to seek when the day of battle comes. Therefore Christ tells us upon what terms he will enrol us among his disciples. ‘If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’ He will not entertain us, till we resign up ourselves freely to his disposal, that there may be no disputing with his commands afterwards, but as one under his authority, go and come at his word.

The Christian in Complete Armour (82)

The necessity of perseverance (having done all)

He that will Christ’s soldier, must persevere to the end of his life in this war against Satan. This, having done all, comes in after our conflict with death. That ye may be able to withstand in the evil day; then follows, having done all. We have not done all till that pitched battle be fought. ‘The last enemy is death.’ The word imports as much as to finish a business, and bring a matter to a full issue, so Phil. 2:12, where we translate it well, ‘work out your salvation,’ that is, perfect it. Be not Christians by halves, but go through with it; the thorough Christian is the true Christian. Not he that takes the field, but he that keeps the field; not he that sets out, but he that holds out in this holy war, deserves the name of a saint. There is not such a thing in this sense belonging to Christianity as an honourable retreat; not such a word of command in all Christ’s military discipline, as fall back and lay down your arms; no, you must stand to your arms till called off by death. And such we shall do by his keeping power (I Peter 1:5-JK.

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The favourable outcome…‘And having done all, to stand,’ Eph. 6:13.

Heaven is not won with good words and a fair profession; having done all. The doing Christian is the man that shall stand, when the empty boaster of his faith shall fall. Sacrifice without obedience is sacrilege. Such rob God of that which he makes most account of. Fighting and mortifying sin, that is what God looks chiefly upon.  ‘Not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; this man,’ saith the apostle, ‘shall be blessed in his deed,’ James 1:25. Mark! not by his deed, but in his deed. He shall meet blessedness in that way of obedience he walks in. Remember what Paul writes, “I have fought the good fight.” God in Christ accepts our weak endeavours, joined with sincerity and perseverance in his service, as if they were full obedience; Be faithful as to do thy best, and God is so gracious that he will pardon thy worst. David knew this gospel-indulgence when he said, ‘Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments,’ Ps. 119:6—when my eye is to all thy commandments. The traveller hath his eye on or towards the place he is going.  So stands the saint’s heart to all the commands of God; he presseth on to come nearer and nearer to full obedience. But woe to you that spend their zeal and strength in the pursuit of the world or their lusts. Thus God distinguishes between the sincerity of a saint in the midst of his infirmities, and the shifts of a false heart.

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Preparing for the evil day (which includes death) Ephesians 6:12.

Be careful to approve thyself with diligence and faithfulness to God in
thy place and calling. Remember the accolade is ,”Well done good and faithful servant.”The clearer thou standest in thy own thoughts concerning the uprightness of thy heart in the tenure of thy Christian course, the more composure thou wilt have when the evil day comes. ‘I beseech thee, O Lord,’ saith good Hezekiah, at the point of death as he thought, ‘remember now, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight,’ II Kings 20:3. Don’t recoil from this day-be bold in Christ and his resources.

Ezekiel’s Temple

Ezekiel 40-48 are very difficult passages of Scripture.

Video

A vision full of Old Testament temple language picturing the complete, detailed glory of God’s church of all ages-perfectly fitted as his eternal covenant habitation, built from all the elect gifted people of all nations, carefully fitted together to specific dimensions fulfilling the covenant promise, ” I will dwell among you and you shall be my people and I will be your God.”

The Christian in Complete Armour (79)

Preparing for the evil day (Eph.6:12).

Labour to die to this life, and the enjoyments of it, every day more and more. Death is not so strong to him whose natural strength has been wasted by long pining sickness, as it is to him that has strength of nature to make great resistance. That Christian whose love to this life and the contents of it, hath been for many years consuming when dying will with more facility part with them than he whose love is stronger to them. All Christians are not mortified in the same degree to the world. Paul tells us he died daily. He was ever sending more and more of his heart out of the world, so that by that time he came to die, all his affections were packed up and gone, which made him the more ready to follow: ‘I am ready to be offered up,’ II Tim. 4:6. If it be but a tooth to pull out, the faster it stands the more pain we have to draw it. O loosen the roots of thy affections from the world, and the tree will fall more easily.

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Gurnall likens the evil day to an attack on a fortress. You have been commissioned by the king to guard this fortress (your soul). We have certain intelligence that Satan, a powerful enemy hath a design upon them, and the time when he intends to come with all his powers of darkness, to be that evil day. Now it is our duty to stand upon our defence, and prepare to make a vigorous resistance. Our death puts all of our life in focus-what are we striving for? Sickness will come, and death follow on that, and judgment brings up the rear of both.  Don’t be like the man in the parable who thought he could slack because his Lord delayed his coming. You must be in the ark (of Christ) when the flood comes. The Bridegroom’s coming for thee is near and when the evil day approaches, and death itself draws nigh, look not now with terror upon it, but rather revive, with old Jacob, to see the chariot which shall carry thee over unto the embraces of thy Husband and Brother and Lord, whom thou hearest to be in so great honour and majesty in heaven, as may assure thee he is able to make thee welcome when thou comest there.
Amongst the ‘all things’ which are ours by being Christ’s, the apostle forgets not to name this to be one, ‘Death is ours.’ And well he did so, or else we should never have looked upon it as a gift, but rather as a judgment. Now soul, thou art out of any danger of hurt that the evil day can do thee. Yet there remains something for thee to do, that thou mayest walk in the comfortable expectation of the evil day. We see that gracious persons may for want of a holy care, fall into such distempers as may put a sting into their thoughts of the evil day.David, that at one time would not fear to ‘walk in the valley of the shadow of death,’ is so affrighted at another time when he is led towards it, that he cries, ‘Spare me,’O Lord, ‘that I may recover my strength, before I go hence,’ Ps. 39:13.The child, though he loves his father, may do that which may make him afraid to go home. Now, Christian, if thou wouldst live in a comfortable expectation of the evil day (to be continued)

The Christian in Complete Armour (77)

To stand in the evil day.

The day of affliction and death is an evil day. This evil day is unavoidable. We must be ready for this evil day. It is only evil in the sense of being the opposite of joy and comfort. The day of affliction may be an evil day, as it is an unwelcome reminder of what sinful evils have passed in our lives. The patriarchs’ sin  was brought to remembrance when it recoiled upon them in their distress, Gen 42:21. It may expose corruption and unbelief (Peter walking on the water).

This is the season when the evil one, Satan, comes to tempt. What we find called the time of ‘tribulation,’ Matt. 13:21, we find in the same parable, Luke 8:13, called the time of ‘temptation.’  Note that when doth God afflict us,  Satan addeth temptation to our wilderness. ‘But this is your hour,’ saith Christ, ‘and the power of darkness,’ Luke 22:53. Christ’s sufferings from man, and temptation from the devil, came together. The evil day is indeed evil for the wicked but good for the saint. It often exposes what is in our heart (brings out the worst in us!-JK)

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Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

What is the evil day? But this evil of affliction (and ultimately death) God voucheth for his own act. ‘Against this family do I devise an evil,’ Micah 2:3, yea more, he so appropriates it to himself, that he will not have us think
any can do us evil beside himself. It is the prerogative he glories in, that there is no evil in the city, but it is of his doing, Amos 3:6. And well it is for the saints that their crosses are all made in heaven; they would not else be so fitted to their backs as they are. But for the evil of sin, he disowns it, with a strict charge that we lay not this brat, which is begotten by Satan upon our impure hearts, at his door. ‘Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man,’ James 1:13. We may choose affliction rather than sin as Moses did. Moreover God pours out the flood of affliction upon his children, and then kindles that inward joy in their bosoms which licks up all their sorrow (like Elijah’s offering); yea, he makes the very waters of affliction they float on, add a further sweetness to the music of their spiritual joy, but still it is God that is good, and affliction that is evil. The day of affliction is an evil day, as it is an unwelcome remembrancer of what sinful evils have passed in our lives. It revives the memory of old sins.

The day of affliction makes the discovery of much evil to be in the heart, which was not seen before. Affliction shakes the creature; It washes off the
hypocrite’s paint; when corrupt nature is vexed it shows itself. And some afflictions do that to purpose. We read of such as are offended when persecution comes, they fall quite out with their profession, because it puts them to such cost and trouble; others in their distress, ‘that curse their God,’ Isa. 8:21. It is impossible for a naughty heart to think well of an afflicting God. . Remember Peter, who set out so valiantly at first to walk on the sea, the wind doth but rise and he begins to sink; now he sees there was more unbelief in his heart than he before suspected. Sharp afflictions are to the soul as a driving rain to the house; we discover what is really in our hearts. So the evil day sifts professing believers.

The Christian in Complete Armour (76)

How to recover declining graces:

  1. From a serious blow and a fall into sin.

Repentance

Faith in pardon

Mortify those lusts which most prevail over thy grace.

2). Rusty or damaged armour.

Get to the Word for quickening (the wood)

Meditate and be thankful (the bellows)

Pray (divine fire)

Seek fellowship and the communion of the saints.

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A Second Exhortation to Arm.

‘Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be
able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand’ —
Eph. 6:13

The many falls of our OT saints like Abraham, Jacob and David show that our armour may be dented badly or knocked off and we need to judge whether our graces are in decline.

If our sense of sin and depravity grow that is a good sign and though our sense of comfort may wane and we be under heavy trials that is no bad thing either.

However we may judge our graces to be in decline if in regard to 1) temptation, 2) worship and 3) worldly employment we notice the following.

1) Bad signs are that our conscience is not so sharp as previously regarding temptation, that we do not pray against temptation and lusts, that we grow cooler in the heat of our motivational love to Christ.

2) In fellowship and worship of God we need to be prompt to respond and we echo back to the motions of God’s spirit bidding thee seek his face: ‘Thy face, Lord, will I seek;’ Spirituality and fervour should not abate. We should not experience getting little spiritual nourishment from communion with God.

3) From worldly work or play we should be able to move into spiritual activity seamlessly. Is our work being done to his glory? Do these things disappoint us overmuch if they don’t go our way?

 

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How to test where your treasure lies:

Are repentance and mortification uppermost in your mind? Are you content with God’s providence? Is all you have being used to glorify God?

“Now a carnal heart is clean contrary, his zeal is for the world, and his indifferency in the things of God; he prays as if he did not pray,  he sweats in his shop, but chills and grows cold in his closet. O how hard to get him up to the duty of God’s worship. No weather shall keep him from the market; [let it] rain, blow, or snow, he goes thither; but if the church-path be a little wet, or the air somewhat cold, it is apology enough for him if his pew be empty.” The Christian is continually sanctifying his earthly enjoyments by prayer, that so he may be delivered from the snare of them. This makes the Christian ever to hold the sacrificing knife at the throat of his worldly enjoyments, ready to offer them up when God calls.

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Earthly things are empty and unsatisfying. We may have too much, but never enough of them. They oft breed loathing, but never content; and indeed how should they, being so disproportionate to the vast desires of these immortal spirits that dwell in our bosoms? A spirit hath not flesh and bones, neither can it be fed with such; and what hath the world, but a few bones covered over with some fleshly delights to give it? ‘The less is blessed of the greater,’ not the greater of the less. These things therefore being so far inferior to the nature of man, he must look higher if he will be blessed, even to God himself, who is the Father of spirits. God intended these things for our use, not enjoyment, and what folly is it to think we can squeeze that from them, which God never put in them?

What are the spiritual blessings?

1. The guilt of all thy sins is gone.

2. Thy nature is renewed and sanctified-spiritual health.

3. Thou becomest a child of God,  a son or daughter to so great a King.

4. Thou hast a right to heaven’s glory, whither thou shalt ere long be
conducted to take and hold possession of that thy inheritance for ever. We have little inkling of this. Why have husks among hogs in the field  instead of riches in thy Father’s house? Why despise the pearl of great price?

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We wrestle against devilish powers and spiritual wickedness regarding heavenly things (how it should be rendered, see Heb.8:5). Satan seeks to destroy God’s image in us. Woe to you if you seek to hinder God’s people, woe to you if you pretend religious fervour. Are you set to gain heaven and holiness? Here is another Gurnall gem of a paragraph, ” The Christian’s hopes are all heavenly; he cares not for anything the world hath to give him. Indeed he would think himself the most miserable man of all others, if here were all he could make of his religion. No, it is heaven and eternal life that he expects; and though he be so poor as to leave nothing in his will, yet he counts himself a greater heir, than if he were child to the greatest prince on earth. This inheritance he sees by faith, and can rejoice in the hope of the glory which it will bring him. The maskery and cheating glory of the great ones of this world moves him not to envy their fanciful pomp; but when on the dunghill himself, he can forget his own present sorrows, to pity them in all their bravery, knowing that within a few days the cross will be off his back, and the crowns off their heads together—their portion will be spent, when he shall be to receive all his. These things entertain him with such joy that they will not suffer him to acknowledge himself miserable, when others think him, and the devil tells him, he is such. This, this torments the very soul of the devil, to see the Christian under sail for heaven, filled with the sweet hope of his joyful entertainment when he comes there; and therefore he raiseth what storms and tempests he can, either to hinder his arrival in that blessed port —which he most desires, and doth not wholly despair of—or at least to make it a troublesome winter voyage, such as Paul’s was, in which they suffered so much loss. And this indeed very often he obtains in such a degree, that by his violent impetuous temptations, beating long upon the Christian, he makes him throw over much precious lading of his joys and comforts; yea, sometimes he brings the soul through the stress of temptation to think of quitting the ship, while for the present all hope of being saved seems to be taken away. Thus you see what we wrestle with devils for. “

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Against pride in grace/priviledges

Gurnall warns us not to trust in the strength or worth of our grace. Our righteousness wrought by Christ is never the cause of our acceptance by him we will always come as beggars. ‘The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith,’ for ‘the just shall live by faith,’ Rom. 1:17. We are not only made alive by Christ, but we live by Christ; faith sucks in continual pardoning, assisting, comforting mercy from him, as the lungs suck in the air.  Gurnall likens a believer resting in any of his own righteousness as to a man going back into a burning building to retrieve something; he endangers his life!

Privileges
When God calls a person to some eminent place, or useth him to do some special piece of service. When God honours a saint to suffer for his truth or cause. When God flows in with more than ordinary manifestations of his love, and fills the soul with joy and comfort. These are privileges not equally dispensed to all; and therefore, where they are, Satan may take advantage of assaulting such with pride e.g. a minister should not be a novice. To keep thy heart humble when thou art honoured to suffer for the truth, consider what your sins actually deserve and consider they may be chastening for sin in regard of God. None suffered without sin but Christ, and therefore none may glory in sufferings but he—Christ in his own, we in his. ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ Gal. 6:14. Christ. Remember also that it is his grace that is sufficient and his Spirit that speaks through you.  The more thou gloriest in God that gives thee strength to suffer for him, the less thou wilt boast of thyself. A thankful heart and a proud cannot dwell together in one bosom. Consider what a foul blot pride gives to all thy sufferings;  Note ,”though thou shouldst give thy body to be burned, if thou hast not the humble heart of a sufferer for Christ, and heartfelt love for him… you serve yourself. When God flows in with more than ordinary manifestations of his love, then the Christian is in danger of having his heart secretly lift up in pride. Indeed, the genuine and natural effect which such discoveries of divine love have on a gracious soul is to humble it. The sight of mercy increaseth the sense of sin, and that sense dissolves the soul kindly into sorrow, as we see in Magdalene. . .If holy Paul was in danger of falling into this distemper of pride from his short rapture—to prevent which, God saw it needful to let him bleed with a thorn in the flesh….

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Against spiritual pride in gifts.

If you believe you are not greatly gifted don’t envy those who are (remember Cain and Moses siblings), ‘Charity envieth not,’ I Cor. 13:4. If you are specially gifted remember God gave you everything ( ‘Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?’ Matt. 20:15.) They despised God’s goodness. They wronged their brother. Envy is a stalk any sin will grow upon. What will not the patriarchs do to rid their hands of Joseph whom they envied? That very pride which made them disdain the thought of bowing to his sheaf, made them stoop far lower, even to debase themselves as low as hell, and be the devil’s instruments to sell their dear brother into slavery, which might have been worsefor him—if God had not provided otherwise—than if they had slain him on the place. What an impotent mind, and cruel, did Saul show against David, when once envy had envenomed his heart! From that day [on] which he heard David preferred in the women’s songs above himself, he could never get that sound out of his head, but did ever after devote this innocent man to death in his thoughts, who had done him no other wrong, but in being an instrument to keep the crown on his head, by the hazard of his own life with Goliath. O it is a bloody sin!

Your gifts are for others. God gives grace to the humble. God useth sometimes a thorn in the flesh, to prick the bladder of pride in the spirit; or at least some great affliction (think of Paul’s thorn and Hezekiah’s loss of all his treasures). Do not dwell on your gifting. Pray for grace. This sin is not unconquerable. God can give thee more grace than thou hast sin—more humility than thou hast pride. Be but so humble as cordially to beg this grace, and thou shalt not be so proud as wickedly to envy his gifts or grace in others.
Believe this sin as black and ugly as thou canst possibly to thy thought,
that when it is presented to thee, thou mayest abhor it the more.

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Spiritual pride in gifts (cont):

Pride diverts a man from aiming at the proper purpose of all things namely the glory of God. So far as pride prevails, the man prays, preaches etc., rather to be thought good by others, than to do good to others; rather to enthrone himself, than Christ, in the opinions and hearts of his hearers. Pride carries the man aloft,  and will not suffer him to stoop so low as to speak of plain truths, or if he does, not plainly; he must have some fine lace, though on a plain stuff. Such a one may tickle the ear, but [is] very unlikely to do real good to the soul.

If this painted Jezebel of pride be perceived to look out at the window in any exercise, whether of preaching, prayer, or conference, it doth beget a disdain in the spirits of those that hear such a one, both good and bad.  Pride of gifts robs us of God’s blessing in the use of them. The humble man may have Satan at his right hand to oppose him; but be sure the proud man shall find God himself there to resist him, whenever he goes about any duty. God proclaims so much, and would have the proud man know wherever he
meets him [that] he will oppose him. He ‘resisteth the proud.’ Great gifts are beautiful as Rachel, but pride makes them also barren like her. Either we must lay self aside, or God will lay us aside.  Pride of gifts is the cause why we receive so little good from the gifts of others. Pride fills the soul; and a full soul will take nothing from God, much less from man, to do it good.  Such a one is “picky”,  he must have a choice dish. The church of Corinth was famous for gifts above other churches, I Cor. 1, but not in grace; none [were] so charged for weakness in that, I Cor. 3:2. He [Paul] calls them carnal babes in Christ, so weak as not able to digest man’s meat. ‘I have fed you,’ saith Paul, ‘with milk, and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.’ Why? what is the matter? the reason lies, ‘Ye are yet carnal: there is among you envying, and strife;’ ver. 3, ‘One saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos,’ ver. 4. Pride makes them take sides, one for this preacher, another for that, as they fancied one to excel another. And this is not the way to thrive. Pride destroys love.

Mary-Our Lady?

An interesting read. Rev. Martyn McGeown responds to a letter he received from a Catholic correspondent in Ireland …

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I got an e-mail from a residents’ group in the Limerick area. It began, “As you are devoted to Our Lady, we are looking for your support.”

My response was as follows:

Thank you for your e-mail. I was surprised to receive it. You must not have read our website, from which, I assume, you got my e-mail address, because you make the false statement, “You are devoted to Our Lady.”

I will not be able to support you for one reason: the words “Our Lady.” By these words, you mean, I assume, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

I am not devoted to Mary, and nor should you be, because I am devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Mary did have an important position in that she was “blessed among [not “above”] women” to be chosen to be the earthly mother of Jesus, but her greatest blessedness was that she, like all of God’s people, received the forgiveness of her sins. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

The title you give to Mary, “Our Lady,” is a title of honour and authority. Our Lady is the female equivalent of “Our Lord.” Mary has no such honour or authority. We may not pray to her, rely on her to be a mediator, or an intercessor, or an advocate for us. When we do, we dishonour Jesus Christ, because He alone is Lord, Mediator, Intercessor and Advocate.

Consider that Jesus Christ is the Saviour, not Mary. Jesus Christ is the only Mediator between God and men (I Tim. 2:5). Jesus Christ intercedes for His people for whom He died on the cross, not Mary (Rom. 8:34). When we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous, not Mary (I John 2:1-2).

Mary cannot help us. She needed a Saviour to save her from her sins. She sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47). Mary cannot hear our prayers in heaven. How could a mere woman, a creature, hear the millions of prayers offered to her, and then have the power to answer each of those prayers? But Jesus hears prayers, because He is the Eternal Son of God. No-one, certainly not Mary,is closer to the Father than Jesus. And He has grounds for asking God to bless His people because He died on the cross to cover their sins and to give them eternal life. Mary did not die on the cross and therefore has no grounds of her own to ask anything.

In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Jesus never honoured Mary in the way you suggest we should do. On one occasion, a woman in the crowd in misguided enthusiasm cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bare thee” (Luke 11:27) but Jesus corrected her, not by honouring Mary, or exalting her above others, but by saying, “Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it (v. 28). Again, Jesus distanced Himself from His mother, Mary, when she became a hindrance to His ministry. In John 2:4 He said to her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come.” He was not being rude, but He was putting her in her place. In fact, Jesus never addressed Mary with the word, “Mother,” and certainly never called her “Lady.” Indeed, He again distanced Himself from any special relationship to Mary in Matthew 12. When His mother and brethren were standing outside wanting to speak to Him, He said, “Who is my mother and who are my brethren?” and then He said, “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother” (vv. 47-50).

Mary was the humble handmaiden of the Lord, and she would be horrified if she knew what was being done in her name, that prayers are offered, candles are burned, masses are said and devotion is given to her. What a beautiful example Mary is of humble, childlike faith and obedience to God. Please do not dishonour her by calling her “Our Lady.”

If the centrepiece of your Garden of Hope is a mural of Mary, whom you call “Our Lady of Hope,” I cannot support you, for that is idolatry. I Timothy 1:1 says this, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” Jesus Christ is my hope, not Mary.

Look to Christ, not Mary. Seek salvation and forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, not Mary. He alone is Lord and to Him every knee will bow and every tongue with confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God that Father (Phil. 2:10-11).

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 SPIRITUALWICKEDNESS—Spiritual pride.
The second spiritual wickedness which Satan provokes unto, especially the saint, is spiritual pride. This was the sin that made a blessed angel into a cursed devil; and as it was his personal sin, so he labours to provoke it in the sons of man: and having prevailed on our first parents, ever since, this sin hath and doth claim  hearts. By using evil means it seeks to build an estate.  By using good means in church even in prayer, and preaching,  all the while pride is the master whom he serves, though in God’s livery. Thus while a man is exercising his charity, pride may be the idol in secret for which he lavisheth out his gold so freely. It is hard starving this sin. Pride feeds on carnal objects, as pride of beauty, strength, riches, and such like, or about spiritual.

Three examples: 1. Pride of gifts; 2. Pride of grace; 3. Pride of privileges.

Gifts: supernatural abilities, with which the Spirit of God doth enrich and endow the minds of men for edification of the body of Christ; of which gifts the apostle tells us there is great diversity, and all from the same Spirit, I Cor. 12:4. there are gifts, natural and spiritual, in the minds of men, to render them useful to one another, both in civil societies and Christian fellowship. The Christian, as well as man, is intended to be a sociable creature, and for the better managing of this spiritual commonwealth among Christians, God doth wisely and graciously provide, and impart, gifts suitable to the place every one stands in [relative] to his brethren, as the vessels are larger or less in the body natural, according to the place therein. Now Satan labours what he can, to taint these gifts, and blow them up with pride in the Christian, that so he may spoil the Christian’s fellowship and do so little good with them to others and also receive so little good from the gifts of others.

Praise and pride

  “As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.” Proverbs 27:21.

furnace

He is known to be what he is, a foolish and vainglorious person:  either a man is known by the persons that praise him, according to what their characters are; if he is praised by good and virtuous men, he may be thought to be so himself; and if by wicked men, he may be concluded to be so likewise;  or he is known by the effect that praise has upon him; if it swells him with pride, and makes him haughty, conceited, and overbearing, he will appear to be a weak and foolish man; but if he continues modest and humble, and studious and diligent to answer his character, thankful to God for what he has, and to whom he gives all the glory, he will approve himself a wise and good man.

John Gill’s Commentary

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Beware Satan sowing false doctrine.

‘Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock;—for I
know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter;—also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things,’ Acts 20:28-30; Beware the leaven (false teaching) of the Pharisees.

Make sure you are born again… ‘They went out from us,’ saith St. John, ‘but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us,’ I John 2:19. As Hebrews 13:9 states, “Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace;”

Mortify this sin (false teaching). Crucify the flesh daily. Heresy, though a spiritual sin, is by the apostle reckoned among the deeds of the flesh, Gal. 5:20, because it is occasioned by fleshly motives, either serving the belly or the lust of pride, apparently the way of safety for self and goods where conversely being faithful may bring suffering and death. Paul marvelled that the Galatians were so soon removed from him, who had called them unto the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. Search the Word. He also confessed that confessing the cross of Christ was offensive and would bring suffering.

Wait diligently on the ministry of the word. Satan commonly stops the ear from hearing sound doctrine, before he opens it to embrace corrupt. This is the method of souls [in] apostatizing from truth: ‘They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables,’ II Tim. 4:3,4.

 

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Satan endeavours to draw us into this spiritual sin of error, as the most subtle and effectual means to weaken, if not destroy, the power of godliness in them. The apostle joins the spirit of power and a sound mind together, II Tim. 1:7. Indeed the power of holiness in practice depends much on the soundness of judgment. Godliness is the child of truth, and it must be nursed, if we will have it thrive, with no other milk than of its own mother. Therefore we are exhorted to ‘desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow,’ I Peter 2:2;  All error, how innocent soever it may seem, like ivy, draws away the strength of the soul’s love from holiness. Error is spiritual adultery. Paul speaks of his espousing believers to Christ. When a person receives an error, he takes a stranger into Christ’s bed, and it is the nature of adulterous love to take away the wife’s heart from her true husband, that she delights not in his company so much as [in that] of her adulterous lover. And do we not see it at this day fulfilled? Many show more zeal in contending error, than for truth? How strangely are hearts  taken off from the ways of God, their love cooled —and all this occasioned by some corrupt principle that got into their bosoms. Indeed Christ will never enjoy true conjugal love from the soul, till, like Abraham, he turns  Hagar and Ishmael out of doors. Error is not so innocent a thing as many think it; it is as unwholesome food to the body—that poisons the spirits, and the whole body. As the knowledge of Christ carries a soul above the pollutions of the world, so error entangles and betrays it to those lusts, whose hands it had escaped. False doctrine and ungodly living are bedfellows-JK. Satan in drawing a soul into this spiritual sin aims to bring disunity so the church which is rent and shattered when this fire-ship comes among them. ‘I hear,’ saith Paul, ‘that there be divisions among you, and I partly believe it, for there must also be heresies,’ I Cor. 11:18,19 —implying that divisions are the natural issue of heresy.

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Error

Satan labours to corrupt the mind with erroneous principles. Why? He doth this in despite to God, corrupting his truth, which God hath so highly honoured, ‘For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.’ Ps. 138:2. Every creature bears the imprint of God, but in his word and truth the revelation is  special therefore  Satan chooses to pour scorn on it. ‘The heavens and earth shall pass away, but the word of the Lord endureth for ever.’ God could have made more such worlds as this, but he cannot make another truth, and therefore he will not lose one iota thereof. Satan, knowing this, sets all his wits on work to deface this truth, and disfigure it by unsound doctrine. The word is the glass in which we see God, and seeing him, are changed into his likeness by his Spirit. If this glass be cracked, then our conceptions we have of God will misrepresent him unto us, whereas the word in its native clearness sets him out in all his glory unto our eye. Amazingly clear illustration from William Gurnall!

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Cleanse yourselves from filthiness of the spirit (II Cor.7:1)

Sins called spiritual include idolatry, error, spiritual pride, unbelief, all of which Paul calls the filthiness of the spirit, and distinguisheth them from filthiness of the flesh. They are sins of heart/mind and not carnal passions of fleshly lusts, in which the soul acts to pander the body. Spiritual wickednesses that corrupt the mind are such in the soul moving in its own sphere. Thus the heart of man can produce spiritual sins answering carnal lusts. For whoredom and uncleanness of the flesh, there is idolatry, called in Scripture spiritual
adultery,  for sensual drunkenness, there is a drunkenness of the mind, intoxicating the judgement with error, a drunkenness of the heart in cares and fears; for carnal pride in beauty, riches, honour, there is a spiritual pride of gifts and graces. Now Satan in an especial manner assaults the Christian with such as these.

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Second: Set a strong guard about thy outward senses. These are Satan’s
landing places, especially the eye and ear. Take heed what thou importest at
them.  Be careful what you see and hear. let your eye not wander. Wanton objects cause wanton thoughts. Job knew his eye and his thoughts were like to go together, and therefore, to secure one, he covenants with the other, Job 31:1. Paul also told us what we should think about, Phil.4:8,9.

Third: Often reflect upon and observe what is in thy heart. What is thy heart  thinking on, be it good or evil. If evil and wicked, such as are proud, unclean, distrustful thoughts, show thy abhorrency of them, and chide thy soul sharply for so much as holding a conference with them, of which nought can come but dishonour to God, and mischief to thy own soul; and stir up thy heart to mourn for the evil of them, and by this thou shalt give a testimony of faithfulness to
God.  Thy mourning for them will show, that these thoughts are not so much of thee as of Satan. Inquire whether thy thoughts are not empty, frothy, vain imaginations, that have no subserviency to the glory of God, thy own good or others’; and if so, realise Satan’s design in them. Though such are not for
thy purpose, yet they are for his; they serve his turn to keep thee from better.  Redeem the time.

Are thy thoughts good for the time or the season? i.e. good fruit which is
brought forth in its season. Christ liked the work his mother would have put him to, John 2:4, but it wasn’t the right time. Are your thoughts balanced by Scripture e.g. a sorrow for sin but hope in the promises, concern to supply thy family needs but trust in his providence.

 

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First be earnest with God in prayer to move and order thy heart in its thoughts and desires. If the tongue be such an unruly thing that few can tame; O what is the heart, whence such a multitude of thoughts are flying forth as thick as bees from the hive, and sparks from the furnace! It is not in man, not in the holiest on earth to do this without divine assistance. Therefore we find David often crying out in this respect, to order his steps in his word, to unite his heart to his fear, to incline his heart to his testimonies.  God hath promised thus much to his children, to order their steps for them, Ps. 37:22, only he looks they should bring their hearts to him for that end. ‘Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established,’ Prov. 16:3, or ordered. Art thou setting thy face towards an ordinance, where thou art sure to meet Satan, who will be disturbing thee with worldly thoughts and may be worse? Let God know from thy mouth whither thou art going, and what thy fears are. Never doth the soul march in so goodly order, as when it puts itself under the conduct of God.

 

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What help have we against Satan’s temptations of the heart?

They are the first-born of the sinful heart, and the heart is the centre of our being (will), and because the heart hath more scope in them than in outward acts. The proud man in his own foolish heart presents himself as a great a prince as he pleaseth. The malicious can kill, in his desires, as many in a few minutes, as the angel smote in a night of Sennacherib’s host. These sins stay with the soul when the others leave it. When the sinner hath crippled his body with drunkenness and filthiness, and truly repents —then these cursed lusts will entertain him with stories of his old pranks and pleasures. In a word, these inward lusts of the heart, have nothing but the conscience of a Deity to quell them. Other sins put the sinner to shame before men; and, as some that believed on Christ durst not confess him openly, because they loved the praise of men, so there are sinners who are kept from vouching their lusts openly, for the same tenderness to their reputation. But here is no fear of that, if they can but forget that heaven (God) sees them and their wicked thoughts, so the coast  is not clear; they may think they can be as wicked as they please (because not seen by men). These make inward sins so hugged and embraced. If thou therefore canst find thy heart set against these, I may venture to call thee a Christian. And for thy help against them, see what follows.

William Gurnall

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Gurnal tests us by asking if we allow heart/mind sins (spirituals of wickedness) to enter and entertain them rather than mortifying them. Show your loyalty, O ye saints, to God, by a vigorous resistance of, and wrestling against, these spirituals of wickedness.
1. Consider, Christian, heart sins are sins as well as any. ‘The thought of foolishness is sin,’ Prov. 24:9.  Uncleanness, covetousness, lust and murder are such in the heart as well as in the outward act;
2. Consider, Thy spirit is the seat of the Holy Spirit. He takes up the whole heart for his lodging, and it is time for him to be gone when he sees his house let out to “squatters”-JK.
3. Consider, There may be more wickedness in a sin of the heart than of the hand and outward man;  To backslide in heart, is more than to backslide.  Therefore God aggravates Israel’s sin with this, ‘They do alway err in their heart,’ Heb. 3:10.  contrarywise the more of the heart and spirit is in any holy service, the more real goodness there is in it, though it fall short of others in the outward expression. The widow’s two mites surpassed all the rest, Christ himself  judged; so in sin, though the internal acts of sin, in thoughts and affections, seem light yet if compared with outward acts, they may exceed the other in God’s account. Peter lays the accent of Magus’ sin on the wicked thought, which his words betrayed to be in his heart, ‘Pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee,’ Acts 8:22. Saul’s sin in sparing Agag, and saving the best of the sheep and oxen, which he was commanded to destroy, was materially a far less sin than David’s adultery and murder, yet it is made equal with a greater than both, even witchcraft itself, I Sam. 15:23; and whence received his sin such a dye, but from the wickedness of his heart, that was worse than David’s when deepest in the temptation. This is precisely what James says about lust when conceived it brings forth sin etc. I don’t understand exactly how Satan and the demons access our hearts/minds but there is no doubt that is the battleground!-JK

 

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Having exposed the depravity in all men Gurnall goes on to expose even those who were regenerated in their infancy, childhood or youth whom by God’s grace were prevented from sinning like others converted later in life. He states that they are just as bad! “O Christian, think of this, and be humbled for thy villanous nature, and say, blessed be God that sent his Spirit and grace so timely to stay thy hand—as Abigail to David—while thy nature meditated nothing but war against God and his laws”….Whatever others do, O ye saints, abhor the thoughts of sinning willingly; which when you do, you help the devil against God. And what more unnatural than for a child to be seen in arms against his father?”

Now he goes on to explore Satan’s plot to defile the Christian with spiritual wickedness. These wicked spirits do chiefly annoy the saints with, and provoke them to, spiritual wickedness. Sins may be called spiritual because of their origin internally or from the object about which they are conversant.

When the spirit or heart is the stage whereon sin is acted, this is a spiritual sin;
such are all impure thoughts, vile affections and desires. Though the object be fleshly lust, yet [they] are spiritual sins, because they are purely acts of the soul and spirit, and break not forth unto the outward man.
They are heart sins.

 

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Total depravity according to William Gurnall. An excellent damning indictment here copied in full.

This may help us conceive more fully what the desperate wickedness of man’s nature is, which is so hard to be known, because it can never be seen at once—it being a fountain whose immensity consists not in the stream of actual sin—that is visible, and may seem little—but in the spring that incessantly feeds this. But here is a glass that will give us the shape of our hearts truly like themselves. Seest thou the monstrous pitch and height of wickedness that is in the devil? All this there is in the heart of every man. There is no less wickedness potentially in the tamest sinner on earth, than in the devils
themselves, and that one day thou, whoever thou art, wilt show to purpose, if God prevent thee not by his renewing grace. Thou art not yet fledged, thy wings are not grown to make thee a flying dragon; but thou art of the same brood, the seed of this serpent is in thee, and the devil begets a child like himself. Thou yet standest in a soil not so proper for the ripening of sin—which will not come to its fulness till transplanted unto hell. Thou who art here so maidenly and modest, as to blush at some sins out of shame, and [to] forbear the acting of others out of fear, when there thou shalt see thy case as desperate as the devil doth his, then thou wilt spit out thy blasphemies, with which thy nature is stuffed, with the same malice that he doth. The Indians have a conceit, that when they die they shall be transformed into the deformed likeness of the devil; therefore in their language they have the same word for a dead man and the devil. Sin makes the wicked like him before they come there, but indeed they will come to their countenance more fully there, when those flames shall wash off that paint which here hides their complexion. The saints in heaven shall be like angels, in their alacrity, love, and constancy to serve God; and the damned like the devils, in sin as well as punishment. This one consideration might be of excellent use to unbottom a sinner, and abase him, so as never to have high thought of himself. It is easy to run down a person whose life is wicked, and convince him of the evil of his actions, and make him confess what he doth is evil, but here is the thicket we lose him in. He will say, ‘It is true, I am overseen, I do what I should not, God forgive me, but my heart is good.’ Thy heart good, sinner? and so is the devil’s. His nature is wicked, and thine [is] as bad as his. These pimples in thy face show the heat of thy corrupt nature within, and without gospel physic—the blood of Christ applied to thee—thou wilt die a leper. None but Christ can give thee a new heart, till which, thou wilt every day grow worse and worse. Sin is an hereditary disease that increaseth with age. A young sinner will be an old devil.

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They (the fallen angels) are powerful.

The mighty works that are attributed to these evil spirits in Scripture declare their power; and these either respect the elementary, sensible, or intellectual part of the world. The elementary: what dreadful effects this prince of the power of the air is able to produce. he cannot indeed make the least breath of air, drop of water, or spark of fire, but he can, if let loose, as in Job 1, go to God’s storehouse, and make use of these in such a sort as no man can stand before him; he can hurl the sea into such a commotion that the depths shall boil like a pot, and disturb the air into storms and tempests, as if heaven and earth would meet. Job’s children were buried in the ruins of their house by a puff of his mouth, yea, he can go to God’s magazine (as the former author saith) and let off the great ordinance of heaven, causing such dreadful thunder and lightning as shall not only affright, but do real execution, and that in a more dreadful way than in the ordinary course of nature. Again, in the animal kingdom his power is great; not only the beasts, as in the herd of swine, hurried by him into the deep; but over the bodies of men also, as in Job, whose sore boils were not the breakings out of a distempered nature, but the print of Satan’s fangs on his flesh, doing that suddenly, which in nature would have required more time to gather and ripen; and [over] the demoniacs in the gospel, grievously vexed and tormented by him.

Satan worketh effectually in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2:2. His delusions [are] ‘strong,’ II Thes. 2:11; they return not, [without accomplishing their object]. The Spirit enlightens; he ‘blinds the minds of them which believe not,’ II Cor. 4:4. The Spirit fills the saints, Eph. 5:18; ‘Why hath Satan filled thine heart?’ saith Peter to Ananias, Acts 5:3. The Spirit fills with knowledge and the fruits of righteousness; Satan fills with envy and all unrighteousness. The Holy Spirit fills with comfort; Satan, the wicked with terrors—as in Saul, vexed by an evil spirit, and Judas, into whom it is said he entered, and when he had satisfied his lust upon him (as Amnon on Tamar), shuts the door of mercy upon him, and makes him that was even now traitor to his Master, hangman to himself. And though saints be not the proper subjects of his power, yet they are the chief objects of his wrath; his foot stands on the wicked’s back, but he wrestles with these, and when God steps aside, he is far he is far above their match. He hath sent the strongest among them home, trembling and crying to their God, with the blood running about their consciences. He is mighty, both as a tempter to, and for, sin; knowing the state of the Christian’s affairs so well, and able to throw his fire-balls so far into the inward senses, whether they be of lust or horror, and to blow up these with such unwearied solicitations, that—if they at first meet not with some suitable dispositions in the Christian, at which, as from some loose corns of powder, they may make fire, which is most ordinary—yet, in time, he may bring over the creature, by the length of the siege, and continued volleys of such motions, to listen to a parley with them, if not a yielding to them. he is far above their match. He hath sent the strongest among them home, trembling and crying to their God, with the blood running about their consciences. He is mighty, both as a tempter to, and for, sin; knowing the state of the Christian’s affairs so well, and able to throw his fire-balls so far into the inward senses, whether they be of lust or horror, and to blow up these with such unwearied solicitations, that—if they at first meet not with some suitable dispositions in the Christian, at which, as from some loose corns of powder, they may make fire, which is most ordinary—yet, in time, he may bring over the creature, by the length of the siege, and continued volleys of such motions, to listen to a parley with them, if not a yielding to them. Thus many times he even wearies out the soul with importunity.

 

 

They were not only the inventors of sin, but are still the chief tempters to, and promoters of sin in the world. Satan is the tempter, and sin [is] called ‘the work of the devil.’ O take heed of soliciting others to sin. Thou takest the devil’s office, as I may say, out of his hand. Let him do it himself if he will. Make not thyself so like him. To tempt another is worse than to sin thyself. How wicked then to teach their children the devil’s catechism, to swear and lie and drink. If you meet such, be not afraid to call them, as Paul did Elymas, when he would have perverted the deputy, children of the devil, full of all subtilty and mischief, and enemies of all righteousness. O do you not know what you do when you tempt? I will tell you. Thou poisonest one with error, and may encourage their going to hell on thy errand, and thou not able to call them back! The devils are not barely wicked, but maliciously wicked. The devil hath his name SATAN, to denote his spiteful nature—his desire to vex and do mischief to others. He knows his doom, and trembles at the thought of it; and yet his spiteful nature makes him vehemently desire and incessantly endeavour the damnation of souls. As you shall see a mad dog run after a flock of sheep, kill one, then another, though when dead [he is] not able to eat of their flesh, but kills to kill; so Satan is carried out with a boundless rage against man, especially the saints, and would not, if he could, leave one of Christ’s flock alive. Such is the height of his malice against God, whom he hates with a perfect hatred; and because he cannot reach him with a direct blow, therefore he strikes him second-hand through his saints; that wicked arm which reacheth not to God, is extended against these excellent on the earth—well knowing the life of God is in a manner bound up in theirs. God cannot outlive his honour, and his honour speeds as his mercy is exalted or depressed; this being the attribute God means to honour in their salvation so highly, and therefore maligned above the rest by Satan. And this is the worst that can be said of these wicked spirits, that they maliciously spite God, and in God the glory of his mercy.

The Christian in Complete Armour (55)

Proof of angelic beings: There we find their creation related, Col. 1:16; the fall of some from their first estate, Jude 6, and the standing of others, called the elect angels; the happiness of the one [class], who behold God’s face, and their employment— sent out to attend on the saints, as servants on their master’s heirs, Heb. 1:14; the misery of the other, reserved in chains of darkness; 2 Peter 2:4;unto the judgement of the great day; and their present work, which is to do mischief to the souls and bodies of men, as far as they are permitted; all which show their subsistence plain enough. But so immersed is sorry man in flesh, that he will not easily believe what he sees not with his fleshly eyes. Upon the same account we may deny the being of God himself, being invisible.

The fallen angels have vast intellectual abilities, come to us without our knowing, never grow tired and are extremely wicked. Satan is called ‘the father of lies,’  because he sinned without a tempter.  Some men are  ‘inventors of evil things,’ Rom. 1:30. Indeed sin is an old trade, found out to our hand; but as in other trades and arts, some famous men arise, who add to the inventions of others, and make trades and arts, as it were, new; so, there ever are some infamous in their generation, that make old sins new by superadding to the wickedness of others. Uncleanness is an old sin from the beginning; but the Sodomites will be filthy in a new way, and therefore it carries their name to this day. Some invent new errors; others new oaths —such as are of their own coining—hot out of the mint; they scorn to swear after the old fashion. In  every age some will exceed others in the degrees of sinning. Ishmael and the mockers of the old world were but children and bunglers to the scoffers and cruel mockers of the last time. Well, take heed of showing thy wit in inventing new sins, lest thou stir up God in inventing new punishments. ‘Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?’ Job 31:3. Sodom sinned after a new mode, and God destroys them after a new way—sends hell from above upon them.

They are invisible, powerful, immortal and never tire.

The Christian in Complete Armour (97)

 To stand, amounts to as much as, to stand every one in his rank and proper station, and here is opposed to all disorder, or straggling from our place. When a captain sees his soldiers march, or fight our of their rank and order, then he bids stand. Military discipline is so strict in this case, that it allows none to stir from their place without special warrant. It hath cost some their lives for fighting out of their place, though with great success.

It should be the care of every Christian, to stand orderly in the particular place wherein God hath set him. The devil’s method is first to rout, and then to ruin. Order supposeth company, one that walks alone cannot go out of his rank. This place therefore and rank wherein the Christian is to stand, relates to church, country, and family. In all there are several ranks and places. In the church, officers and private members; in the commonwealth, magistrates and people; in the family, masters and servants, parents and children, husband and wife. The welfare of these societies consisteth in the order that is kept—when every wheel moves in its place without clashing, when every one contributes by performing the duty of his place to the benefit of the whole society. But more distinctly, a person then stands orderly in his place when he doth these three things—