About ethomasyoung

Christian| Husband of a wonderful wife| Father of two precious children| Aspiring Writer| Avid Blogger|Lover of Books, Coffee and the Blue Ridge Mountains|Student of theology, but more importantly...student of the Scriptures.....in order to better know and serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Secrets of Contentment, Part 1” by John MacArthur

Click to view book at GTY


John MacArthur,

In Philippians 4:11-12, Paul said, “I have learned to be content .. . I have learned the secret.” Here he useda Greek term pregnant with meaning—an allusion to the mystery religions of Greece. Initiation into those pagan cults involved becoming privy to certain religious secrets. Paul became privy to the secret of contentment, and it’s one he passed on to all who have been initiated by faith in Jesus Christ. Over the next few days we will consider several secrets to contentment, coming out of Philippians 4.

1. Confidence in God’s Providence

Paul said, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that . . . you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity” (v. 10). Let me give you some background. About ten years had passed since Paul was last in Philippi. Acts 16 relates what happened during his first visit.

Paul and his traveling companions met a businesswoman named Lydia and preached the Gospel to her and her companions. Their conversion resulted in the formation of a church. During the early days of that church, Paul cast out a spirit of divination from a slave girl. The girl’s owners—livid over the loss of the income they had derived from her fortune-telling abilities—had Paul flogged, thrown into prison, and locked in stocks. Instead of complaining about the miserable situation in which he found himself, he praised God through thankful prayer and song far into the night.

God responded in an amazing way: He shook the foundations of the prison so violently that all its doors opened wide and the chains fell off the prisoners’ feet and wrists. That incredible experience, plus Paul’s incredible response to his dismal circumstances, led to the salvation of the jailer—and the jailer’s entire household. As the church at Philippi grew, it’s apparent they helped fund Paul for further missionary outreach.

Our text in Philippians makes it clear, however, that it had been awhile since they last were able to help support him in that endeavor. But that was fine with Paul. He knew it wasn’t that they lacked concern, but that they lacked “opportunity” (Gk., kairos). That’s a reference to a season or window of opportunity, not to chronological time.

In writing, “You have revived your concern for me,” Paul was using a horticultural term that means “to bloom again.” That’s like saying, “Your love has flowered again. I know it has always been there, but it just didn’t have an opportunity to bloom. Blooms are seasonal, and the right season hadn’t come along until now.”

The point is that Paul had a patient confidence in God’s sovereign providence. He was content to do without and wait on the Lord’s timing. He didn’t resort to panic or manipulation of others. Those things are never called for. Paul was certain that in due time God would order the circumstances so that his needs would be met. We can have that same certainty today.

Until we truly learn that God is sovereign, ordering everything for His own holy purposes and the ultimate good of those who love Him, we can’t help but be discontent. That’s because in taking on the responsibility of ordering our lives, we will be frustrated in repeatedly discovering that we can’t control everything. Everything already is under control, however, by Someone far greater than you or I.

A synonym for God’s providence is divine provision, but that’s a skimpy label for a complex theological reality. Providence is how God orchestrates everything to accomplish His purposes. Let me show you what that means by contrast.

There are two ways God can act in the world: by miracle and by providence. A miracle has no natural explanation. In the flow of normal life, God suddenly stems the tide and injects a miracle. Then He sets the flow back in motion, just like parting the Red Sea until His people could walk across and closing it up again. Do you think it would be easier to do that—to say, “Hold it, I want to do this miracle” and do it—or to say, “Let’s see, I’ve got 50 billion circumstances to orchestrate to accomplish this one thing”? The latter is providence. Think, for example, of how God providentially ordered the lives of Joseph, Ruth, and Esther. Today He does the same for us.

Contentment comes from learning that God is sovereign not only by supernatural intervention, but also by natural orchestration. And what an incredible orchestra it is! Appreciate the complexity of what God is doing every moment just to keep us alive. When we look at things from that perspective, we see what folly it is to think we can control our lives. When we give up that vain pursuit, we give up a major source of anxiety.

Paul was content because he had confidence in the providence of God. That confidence, however, never led him to a fatalistic “It doesn’t matter what I do” attitude. The example of Paul’s life throughout the New Testament is this: Work as hard as you can and be content that God is in control of the results.

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You © 1969-2010. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

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“There Must Be Knowledge of God Before There Can Be Love to God” — Charles Spurgeon

Click here for more writings by same author


Charles Spurgeon

Certainly, the benefit of reading must come to the soul by the way of the understanding. When the high priest went into the holy place he always lit the golden candlestick before he kindled the incense upon the brazen altar, as if to show that the mind must have illumination before the affections can properly rise towards their divine object. There must be knowledge of God before there can be love to God: there must be a knowledge of divine things, as they are revealed, before there can be an enjoyment of them. We must try to make out, as far as our finite mind can grasp it, what God means by this and what he means by that; otherwise we may kiss the book (ie: the Bible) and have no love to its contents, we may reverence the letter and yet really have no devotion towards the Lord who speaks to us in these words. Beloved, you will never get comfort to your soul out of what you do not understand, nor find guidance for your life out of what you do not comprehend; nor can any practical bearing upon your character come out of that which is not understood by you.

(excerpted from: How to Read the Bible, Sermon No. 1503, delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle)

(HT: ND)

SELF – Octavius Winslow

“Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul, Like a weaned child with his mother; Like a weaned child is my soul within me.” — Psalm 131:2

Other writings by the same author


Octavius Winslow,

The first object from which our heavenly Father weans His child is from SELF. Of all idols, this he finds hardest to abandon.
Idolatry of SELF has been the great and universal crime of our race!

In the soul of the regenerate, divine grace has done much to dethrone this idol, and reinstate God. The work, however, is but
partially accomplished. The dishonored and rejected rival is loath to relinquish his throne, and yield to the supreme control and sway of another. There is still much yet to be achieved before this still indwelling and unconquered foe lays down his weapons in entire subjection to the will and authority of that Savior whose throne and right He has usurped.

Much self love, self esteem, self confidence and self seeking remain in the saved person’s heart. From all of this SELF, our Father seeks to wean us. He would wean us…..

from our own wisdom, which is but folly;
from our own strength, which is but weakness;
from our own wills, which are often as an uncurbed steed;
from our own ways, which are crooked;
from our own hearts, which are deceitful;
from our own judgments, which are dark; and
from our own ends, which are narrow and selfish.

(from “The Weaned Child” by Octavius Winslow)

[View original article at Grace Gems]

“Saving Faith is Always Evidenced by a Humble Heart” — A.W. Pink

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)


A.W. Pink,

Saving faith is always evidenced by an humble heart. Faith lays the soul low, for it discovers its own vileness, emptiness, impotency. It realizes its former sinfulness, and present unworthiness. It is conscious of its weaknesses and wants, its carnality and corruptions. Nothing more exalts Christ than faith, and nothing more debases a man. In order to magnify the riches of His grace, God has selected faith as the fittest instrument, and this, because it is that which causes us to go entirely out from ourselves unto Him. Faith, realizing we have nothing but sin and wretchedness, comes unto Christ as an empty-handed beggar, to receive all from Him. Faith empties a man of self-conceit, self-confidence, and self-righteousness, and makes him seem nothing, that Christ may be all in all. The strongest faith is always accompanied by the greatest humility, accounting self the greatest of sinners and unworthy of the least favor (see Matthew 8:8- 10). (excerpted from: Studies on Saving Faith, A.W. Pink)

See also:

A Call To Humility: How Pride Keeps You From Christ — J.C. Ryle
The Humbling Doctrine of God’s Absolute Sovereignty — A.W. Pink
J.C. Ryle: On The Dangerous Delusion of Sinless Perfectionism
“Assurance and Humility” by A. A. Hodge

“Humility” by William Romaine (1714-1795)

“Grow Up: Advice for YRRs” (Young, Restless and Reformed) (part 2) by John MacArthur

Dr. John F. MacArthur


John MacArthur,

If I could impress on Young, Restless, Reformed students just one word of friendly counsel to address what I think is the most glaring deficiency in that movement, this is what it would be: “Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).

I’m very glad the ranks of YRRs are growing numerically. Many good things about that movement are full of promise and potential. In order to fulfill that potential, however, this generation of Reformers desperately needs to move past the young-and-restless stage. Immaturity and unrest are hindrances to spiritual fruitfulness, not virtues.

When Paul told Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth” (1 Timothy 4:12), he wasn’t suggesting that Timothy should forbid people in the church to disapprove if the pastor were to display immaturity, juvenile misbehavior, youthful indiscretion, or other traits of callow character.

Much less was the apostle suggesting that Timothy should cater exclusively to young people while purposely marginalizing the elderly. That, I’m sorry to say, is the kind of advice we sometimes hear nowadays from many self-styled church-growth
experts
….[continue reading at Grace To You]

“Humility” by William Romaine (1714-1795)

William Romaine (1714-1795)


William Romaine,

Observe O my soul what an honor God has put upon this grace, “Before honor—is humility” (Proverbs 15:33)! Whom God honors—He first humbles. He gives grace to the humble, because the humble give Him all the glory. The highest throne which He has upon earth—is in the humblest heart. To it He vouchsafes His constant presence and makes the greatest communications of His love, “For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy—I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

O what an honor is here promised to the humble! The greatest they can have on this side of Heaven. God will dwell with them—what a blessing! And His temple shall be in the humble heart. The high and holy One passes by what is in the highest esteem among men. He stains the pride of human greatness and goodness. He does not vouchsafe to set up His throne with the princes, nor to give His honor to the learned of the world. But He puts honor upon the contrite and humble. He condescends to visit them; yes, He delights to dwell with them, and in them—the Highest above all heavens—in the lowest and humblest hearts. There He communicates His choicest love and richest favors.

O my God! bestow upon me this grace, which in Your sight is so precious. Humble me, that I may be revived with Your presence, and refreshed daily with Your love. Give me more humility, and fit me for nearer fellowship with You. Bring down every proud thought, and let me find it true, that You resist the proud—but give more grace unto the humble.

True poverty of spirit is needful, not only to bring the sinner to Christ—but also to preserve the believer in communion with Him; for so long as he walks by faith, everything will tend to promote this communion. In the daily sense of his needs, he will go to his bountiful Savior for a supply. In the feeling of his misery, He will depend on his loving Savior for relief; whereby he will be led to more fellowship with Him. What he finds wrong in himself—will bring him to live more by faith, and as faith increases, so will his delight in God. He will grow more sensible of his weakness—and that will make him stronger in the Lord. He will know more of his own heart—which will humble him, and keep him dependent on the grace of Jesus. He will see reason not to lean to his own understanding—but ever to pray, Lord guide me by Your Spirit.

Viewing spots and blemishes in his best doings, his triumph will be, “I will make mention of Your righteousness, Lord Jesus, even of Yours alone” (Psalm 71:16). Thus everything will humble him, and lead him to live more by faith—by which means he will get faster hold of Christ, live in nearer fellowship, and be receiving out of his fullness “grace for grace”. He will have two graces at once—the blessings needed and thankfulness for them. Hereby a sweet fellowship will be kept open.

To the humble, God delights to give grace—and they delight to return Him His glory. The more grace He gives—the more glory they gladly return. And He does give more grace, and He receives it back again in thanks and praise. Blessed grace! by which this holy fellowship is maintained. Happy humility! by which the heart, being emptied of self, is made capable of receiving the fullness which is of God.

Then is the promise fulfilled, “Blessed are the poor in spirit—for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). It is theirs now—not only in title—but also in possession, for the kingdom of God is within them and they are partakers at present of its blessings and glories as truly, though not so perfectly, as they will be in Heaven.

Meditate, O my soul, upon this Divine grace. You see the necessity of it—O pray earnestly for it, and for more of it. The great idol SELF must be dethroned where God reigns. You can not walk with Him—unless you are humble in heart. And if you have been walking with Him, you will be taught to stop, whenever you begin to look at SELF with admiration. O beg of the Lord, then, to give you the true Gospel poverty of spirit. It is to be in constant practice, and used for everything; for you see how it keeps up fellowship with God, who makes the greatest communications of Himself to His humblest child. And the reason is plain; because they return Him all His glory. If therefore you would have much grace in exercise—pray for much humility.

O my God! whatever You give, give humility with it, that I may not seek SELF in it—but Your honor, nor lay it out upon myself—but to Your glory. Meek and lowly Jesus, make me like Yourself; keep me learning of You—until I am perfectly like You. I would come always poor to You—to receive of Your riches, and to receive with them a humble heart to praise You for them. O let Your glory be my end and aim. May I be humbled—and You exalted. Let Your graces and gifts bring You in a constant revenue of praise. And may Your increasing goodness—be joined with a constant increase of my humility, that my heart may bless and praise Your holy name, today and forever. Amen.

And let this appear in my whole behavior to others. This is another blessed fruit of humility—it has an influence over the believer’s fellowship with mankind, and renders his tempers and manners loving and amiable. Pride was not made for man, and yet it is in all men, and is the chief parent of human woe. It sets people above their place, and makes them think they could support the greatest fortunes, and are able to manage the most difficult affairs. Others, as proud as they, deny them their fancied superiority. Hence come wars and fightings, public and private.

The sweet grace of humility is sent from Heaven to relieve those distresses; for into whatever bosom it enters, it renders men kind to one another, tender-hearted, ready to perform every good word and work. Thus runs the Divine exhortation, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). This is heart-humility, which the Holy Spirit requires, and which He bestows. He brings His disciples into humble subjection to God, then to one another; this has the most happy effects upon public, social, and private happiness. These would greatly flourish, if all men were of a meek and quiet spirit! But there is none of this among the unconverted; and, alas, how little is there among believers! How often are they found in the proud spirit of the world! acting contrary to the humble spirit of Jesus.

And yet it is not for lack of precepts, nor for lack of promised help; but it is because they are not walking by faith, as befits the Gospel; nor out of love to God’s glory, studying to recommend humility by their practice.

Observe, O my soul, the remedy provided of God for the subduing of all selfish tempers, and pray that it may be effectual in your heart and life. Do you think that the Scripture, says in vain, “The spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy. But He gives more grace. That is why Scripture says, God resists the proud—but gives grace unto the humble” (James 4:5, 6). This Scripture cannot speak in vain; for fallen man is certainly such as he is here described. The spirit that dwells in him, in his own nature, lusts to envy—a passion made up of pride and discontent, offended with God, and displeased with the blessings which He bestows upon men. Envy is an enemy to the love both of God and man, and transgresses the Law of both tables. Pride brought it into Heaven, and the fallen angels brought it into this world. Ever since it entered by sin, natural corruption breaks out very much in envy. But God gives more grace to conquer this passion, than sinful nature has to put it forth. He not only gives grace to pardon it—but also more grace to subdue it; so that envy loses its dominion in the reign of grace. We cannot subdue it, any more than we can pardon envy, pride, and such passions; but grace is almighty. He gives more grace, when the creature is humbled enough to take it out of the hands of His mercy. Thus he overcomes envy; “for He resists the proud” —He is at open war with them, and they with Him.

Pride lifts up the creature against the Creator, and puts it upon seeking happiness outside of God; this is resisting His sovereignty, attacking His providence, and opposing His Law. God is concerned to pull such rebels down, and He says their pride goes before destruction.

But “He gives grace unto the humble”—He gives them grace to humble them, and being emptied, He delights to fill them; for then they are disposed to receive His grace and to value it. Whatever God gives, the humble gives it back again to Him. They have the blessing—He has the praise—which is the just tribute due to Him for His gifts.

And He gives more grace—where He can get more glory. Thus He subdues self-conceit, with its various proud workings. And as grace reigns over them, humility prevails; which has a friendly aspect towards mankind. It keeps brotherly love in the heart, and tends mightily to the practice of every social virtue. Humility is patient and kind. Humility is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Humility does not demand its own way. Humility is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

— William Romaine, 1770

(Article credit: Grace Gems)

John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock :: Book Review by Dr. Jon Payne :: Reformation 21

Click to view at WTS Books


Jon Payne,

In the concluding section of his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul challenges the brothers to “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, [and] be strong” (I Cor. 16:13), not least of all those men who have been set apart as under-shepherds of the flock. Sadly, in our increasingly effeminate culture, these biblical marks of manhood appear to be diminishing amongst both laymen and ministers. Dandified, progressive, culture-centric preachers (and preaching) are becoming as ubiquitous as Starbucks and American Eagle. Harder to find is Lionhearted, authoritative, expository, God-besotted, Law/Gospel-filled preaching like that which characterized the preaching of men like Calvin, Knox, Owen, Spurgeon and Lloyd-Jones. It is, in part, for this reason that John Fullerton MacArthur Jr.’s long and steadfast ministry of the Word is a welcome and timely subject for reflection…..[continue reading at Reformation 21]

“Grow Up. Settle Down. Keep Reforming. Advice for the Young, Restless, Reformed” by John MacArthur

John MacArthur


John MacArthur,

It has been five years since Christianity Today published Collin Hansen’s article titled “Young, Restless, Reformed.” Hansen later expanded the article into a book with the same title (Wheaton: Crossway, 2008). He has carefully documented a very encouraging trend: large numbers of young people (college age and younger) are discovering the doctrines of grace, embracing a more biblical and Christ-centered worldview, and beginning to delve more deeply into serious theology than most 20th-century evangelicals were prone to do.

In short, Calvinism, not postmodernism, seems to be capturing the hearts of Christian young people.

Hansen cites evidence that Calvinistic seminaries are growing. Several new national conferences feature speakers committed to reformed soteriology (R.C. Sproul, John Piper, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, and others)—and these conferences are consistently full to overflowing with students. Books rich with meaty doctrinal content rather than relational fluff have begun to show up on Christian best-seller lists. There is even a surge of interest in Jonathan Edwards….[continue reading at Grace To You]

Self-Righteousness Will Destroy You — Charles Spurgeon

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Charles Spurgeon,

Self-righteousness will destroy you, my friend

and we therefore tell you, honestly and plainly, that you might as well hope to get to Heaven by flying up in a balloon as to get there by your good works! You may as soon sail to India in a sieve as get to Glory by your own goodness; you might as well go to court in cobwebs as seek to go to Heaven in your own righteousness. Away with your rags, your filthy, rotten rags! They are only a harbor for the parasites of unbelief and pride! Away with your rotten righteousness, your counterfeit gold, your forged wealth! It is of no worth whatever in the sight of God! Come to Him empty, poor, naked! It grates on your proud ears, does it? Better, I say, to lose your pride than to lose your soul! Why be damned for pride’s sake? Why carry your head so high that it must be cut off? Why feed your pride on your soul’s blood? Surely there is cheaper stuff than that for pride to drink! Why let it suck the very marrow out of your bones? Be wise!

Bow, stoop, stoop to be saved!

(excerpted from: The Interest of Christ and His People in Each Other, Sermon No. 374, delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, March 29, 1861) (Article Credit: Grace Gems)

Passionately Pursuing Holiness in the Christian Life — J.C. Ryle

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.” — Revelation 3:22

Click to view at WTS Books


J.C. Ryle,

Of all sights in the Church of Christ, I know none more painful to my own eyes than a Christian contented and satisfied with a little grace, a little repentance, a little faith, a little knowledge, a little charity, and a little holiness. I do beseech and entreat every believing soul that reads this tract not to be that kind of man. If you have any desires after usefulness—if you have any wishes to promote your Lord’s glory—if you have any longings after much inward peace—be not content with a little religion.

Let us rather seek, every year we live, to make more spiritual progress than we have done—to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus—to grow in humility and self-acquaintance—to grow in spirituality and heavenly-mindedness—to grow in conformity to the image of our Lord.

Let us beware of leaving our first love like Ephesus—of becoming lukewarm like Laodicea—of tolerating false practices like Pergamos—of tampering with false doctrine like Thyatira—of becoming half dead, ready to die, like Sardis.

Let us rather covet the best gifts. Let us aim at eminent holiness. Let us endeavour to be like Smyrna and Philadelphia. Let us hold fast what we have already, and continually seek to have more. Let us labour to be unmistakable Christians. Let it not be our distinctive character that we are men of science—or men of literary attainments—or men of the world—or men of pleasure, or men of business—but “men of God.” Let us so live that all may see that to us the things of God are the first things, and the glory of God the first aim in our lives—to follow Christ our grand object in time present—to be with Christ our grand
desire in time to come.

Let us live in this way, and we shall be happy. Let us live in this way, and we shall do good to the world. Let us live in this way, and we shall leave good evidence behind us when we are buried. Let us live in this way, and the Spirit’s word to the Churches will not have been spoken to us in vain. (excerpted from: Chapter XIV: Visible Churches Warned in Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots, J.C. Ryle)

“Assurance and Humility” by A. A. Hodge

Click to view at WTS Books


A.A. Hodge,

I think the first essential mark of the difference between true and false assurance is to be found in the fact that the true works humility. There is nothing in the world that works such satanic, profound, God-defiant pride as false assurance; nothing works such utter humility, or brings to such utter self-emptiness, as the child-like spirit of true assurance. Surely this can be known. If a person is self-confident, there is self-assurance; if there is any evidence of pride in connection with his claim, it is a most deadly mark- it is the plague-spot which marks death and corruption. But if there is utter humility, you have the sign of the true spirit.

This will manifest itself in connection with another mark. If one is really united to Christ in a union so established that Christ is indeed in possession of the soul, the whole consciousness will be taken up with what I would call Christ-consciousness, and there will be no self-consciousness. Little children are very prompt to show their character. There is a great difference in them. Bring a child into a room. She comes thinking about nothing in particular, looking at her mother, then looking at the guests or anything that objectively strikes her, not thinking of herself. That is pure, sweet, and lovely. She grows older, and she comes to think of herself and what people think of her, and her manner has lost its unconsciousness. A great deal of what you call bashfulness is rottenness at the heart; it is self-consciousness. Nothing in the world so tends to defile the imagination, to pervert the affections, and to corrupt the morals, as self-consciousness. You know it is connected with every diseased and morbid action of the body.

A young woman told me that she wanted the witness of the Spirit, and she talked about it everlastingly; she wanted to tell her own experience and feelings always. I told her she must forget herself, not think of her own feelings. The man who is talking about his love unceasingly has no love; the man who is talking about his faith unceasingly has no faith: the two things cannot go together. When you love, what are you thinking about? Are you not thinking about the object of your love? And when you believe, what are you thinking about? Why, the object that you believe. Suppose you ask yourself, ‘Am I believing?’ Why, of course you are not believing when you are thinking of believing. No human being believes except when he thinks about Christ. Am I loving? Of course I am not loving when I am thinking about loving. No human being loves except when he is thinking about Christ as the object of his love.

In Virginia I once saw one human being in whom there was the perfect work of grace, as far as I could see as her pastor…Even on earth she was one of those who had made their garments white in the blood of the Lamb, and she seemed always to walk upon the verge of heaven. I never heard her speak of any one particular of her character or of her own graces. I have come out of the pulpit when the congregation had gone, and have found her upon her knees in her pew, absolutely unconscious of all external objects, so far was she absorbed in worship. When I roused her from her trance, she cried instantly, ‘Is He not holy? Is He not glorious? Is He not beautiful? is He not infinite?’ She did not speak of her own love or of her feelings.

A great deal of Perfectionism is rotten to the core. All self-consciousness is of the very essence and nature of sin. Then, again, true confidence leads necessarily to strong desires for more knowledge and more holiness, for unceasing advances of grace.

I was told once, in a congregation where I preached, that I need not tell a certain young man anything about religion; he had finished it – that is, that, having finished it, he found nothing else to do. That is what the word ‘perfect’ means. Now, when a man has finished eternal life, when he has finished learning all the revelation of God, when he has experienced all the infinite benefits of Christ’s redemption, when he has finished all the mysterious work of the Holy Ghost in his heart, he ought to be annihilated. There is no place in heaven or on earth for such a man.

But a man who really has the love of God in his heart is always reaching forward to the things which are before. The more he loves, the more he wants to love; the more he is consecrated, the more consecration he longs for. He has grand ideas and grand aims, but they lie beyond him in heaven.

A.A. Hodge (1823-1886) was an American Reformed Presbyterian theologian who, like his father the eminent Charles Hodge, both served as a professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey as well as serving as its principal between 1878 and 1886.

(Article credit: Grace Online Library)

“Answer to Prayer Long Deferred” by Archibald Alexander

Archibald Alexander (1772-1851)


Archibald Alexander,

Half a century ago, the writer was accustomed to frequent places of worship where the houses were situated in a grove, or rather in the midst of the trees of a dense forest, and far from any human habitation. Although the meeting-houses, as they were then called, were frequently unfurnished—a mere shell without ceiling—yet there was a solemnity in these places of worship which was better adapted to promote devotion, than all the most splendid achievements of architecture. No somber light let in through painted windows ever affected my mind like the solemn shade and stillness of the natural growth of the forest.

On a certain occasion, when the Lord’s supper was about to be solemnized in one of these humble churches, I went early, that I might avoid the conversation and dust of the multitude on the road, and might have an opportunity of solitary meditation under the venerable trees which encompassed the house of prayer. I thought surely that I should be first on the ground; but I was mistaken. I saw an elderly gentleman, who had just secured his horse to a bough of a tree, coming towards the house to meet me; and upon his nearing me, I recognized an old acquaintance, at whose house I had lodged in my journeyings more than once. He had formerly been an elder in a Presbyterian church of some note, but had removed into a neighborhood where there were then scarcely any Presbyterians. Traveling ministers, however, often called upon him and preached in his house, or at some place in his vicinity. As I believed him to be a very pious man, well informed and zealous for the truth, I was pleased to meet with him and hold communion with him.

After some general remarks, we got upon the subject of the efficacy of prayer; and as I was young, and he was aged and experienced, I was glad to throw the burden of the conversation on him, and he was not unwilling to speak on a subject which seemed to lie near his heart. In the course of conversation, he related to me a piece of his own experience. He said that his oldest son, who was a lawyer of some eminence, had as unblemished a moral character as any man in the land; and yet, though respectful to religion, he never had manifested any serious concern about his own salvation. “But,” said he, “I have had such nearness to God, and such liberty in prayer for his conversion, that I believe those prayers will be answered in due time, whether I live to see it or not. Indeed,” said he, “on one occasion I am persuaded that God gave me an assurance that my prayer in his behalf would be answered.”

This, I confess, appeared to me somewhat like enthusiasm, but I made no reply; and soon our conversation was terminated by the gathering of the people. I thought, however, that I would remember this matter, and from time to time make inquiry respecting the person whose conversion was so confidently expected by his father. Soon after this, the old elder was gathered to his fathers, and died in faith and peace. But residing far from his abode, I know not the particular exercises of his mind as he approached the borders of the other world. For some years I forgot the conversation, and made no inquiry; but some person who was acquainted with the family, informed me that after his father’s death, this son fell into habits of intemperance; that, in fact, he became a mere drunkard, remaining at home and stupefying himself with alcoholic drinks every day. Such a case appeared to me nearly hopeless. I had seldom known a man thus brought under the power of strong drink to recover himself. I now thought that the good old father had been deluded by a lively imagination. And for many years every report respecting the son seemed to render the case more hopeless.

But behold the truth and faithfulness of a prayer-hearing God. See an example of the efficacy of fervent and importunate prayer, though the answer was long deferred. This man, after continuing in intemperate habits until the age of seventy or more, has recently been completely reclaimed, and not only delivered from that vice, but soundly converted to God. He not only gives evidence of a change, but appears to be eminent in the practice of piety. If now living, and I have not heard of his decease, he must be about eighty years of age. How wonderful are the ways of God. His faithfulness never fails; it reaches unto the clouds. “Your faithfulness is unto all generations.” “O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.” “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Hab. 2:3.

Let pious parents learn never to give over praying for their unconverted children, however hopeless the case may seem to be, for God will in faithfulness hear their supplications, and answer them sooner or later in one way or another.

Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) was an American Reformed Presbyterian theologian. He was the first professor and principal, from 1812-1840, at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He was staunchly orthodox and a true man of God

(Article credit: Grace Gems)

“Documentiasis: A Manifesto against Manifestos” by Phil Johnson (….on the Latest Ecumenical Manifesto)

Phil Johnson on the latest, in a long line of ridiculous, and unbiblical ecumenical manifestos,

Another silly manifesto has been issued by some “top evangelical, Catholic, and mainline” officials, outlining new rules of engagement for missionary and evangelistic work. The document is full of ecumenical argot and liberal gobbledegook. It employs the most passionate special pleading for pluralistic, postmodern, and politically correct values—urging Christians to “cooperate with other religious communities engaging in interreligious advocacy towards justice and the common good and, wherever possible, standing together in solidarity with people who are in situations of conflict.”

But the document never once shows the slightest concern for getting the content of the gospel message correct. It is, in fact, a denunciation of evangelical principles; it is by no means a valid statement of evangelical mission.

Why are front-row evangelical leaders so enthralled with drafting formal statements and grandiose-sounding declarations? Virtually every year since the release of the first “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” statement in 1994, some group or another (usually consisting of self-appointed “evangelical” strategists and Christianity Today contributing editors) gets together to repudiate evangelical principles and discuss post-evangelical strategies—while pretentiously laying claim to leadership in the amorphous evangelical movement.

In the end, with great fanfare, they invariably issue “a historic manifesto.” The profound historic significance of their work is typically declared by the drafters themselves in the lead sentence of all their press releases. And for some reason or another, Chuck Colson’s name is prominent in most of the groups drafting these documents.….[continue reading here]

(HT: Tony Zabala)

7 Cogent Arguments Which Prove the Bible to be the Word of God — Thomas Watson (c.1620-1686)

Click to view at WTS Books


Thomas Watson,

Q.II: WHAT RULE HAS GOD GIVEN TO DIRECT US HOW WE MAY GLORIFY AND ENJOY HIM?

A: The Word of God, which is contained in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

2 Tim 3:16. ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of God,’By Scripture is understood the sacred Book of God. It is given by divine inspiration; that is, the Scripture is not the contrivance of man’s brain, but is divine in its origin. The image of Diana was had in veneration by the Ephesians, because they supposed it fell from Jupiter. Acts 19:95. The holy Scripture is to be highly reverenced and esteemed, because we are sure it came from heaven. 2 Pet 1:11. The two Testaments are the two lips by which God has spoken to us.

How does it appear that the Scriptures have a Jus Divinum, a divine authority stamped upon them?

Because the Old and New Testament are the foundation of all religion. If their divinity cannot be proved, the foundation on which we build our faith is gone. I shall therefore endeavour to prove this great truth, that the Scriptures are the very word of God. I wonder whence the Scriptures should come, if not from God. Bad men could not be the authors of it. Would their minds be employed in inditing such holy lines? Would they declare so fiercely against sin? Good men could not be the authors of it. Could they write in such a strain? or could it stand with their grace to counterfeit God’s name, and put, Thus saith the Lord, to a book of their own devising? Nor could any angel in heaven be the author of it, because the angels pry and search into the abyss of gospel mysteries, I Pet 1:12, which implies their nescience of some parts of Scripture; and sure they cannot be the authors of that book which they themselves do not fully understand. Besides, what angel in heaven durst be so arrogant as to personate God and, say, ‘I create,’ Isa 65:17, and, ‘I the Lord have said it,? Numb 14:45. So that it is evident, the pedigree of Scripture is sacred, and it could come from none but God himself.

Not to speak of the harmonious consent of all the parts of Scripture, there are seven cogent arguments which may evince it to be the Word of God.

[1] Its antiquity. It is of ancient standing. The grey hairs of Scripture make it venerable. No human histories extant reach further than Noah’s flood: but the holy Scripture relates matters of fact that have been from the beginning of the world; it writes of things before time. That is a sure rule of Tertullian, ‘That which is of the greatest antiquity, id verum quod primum, is to be received as most sacred and authentic.’

[2] We may know the Scripture to be the Word of God by its miraculous preservation in all ages. The holy Scriptures are the richest jewel that Christ has left us; and the church of God has so kept these public records of heaven, that they have not been lost. The Word of God has never wanted enemies to oppose, and, if possible, to extirpate it. They have given out a law concerning Scripture, as Pharaoh did the midwives, concerning the Hebrew women’s children, to strangle it in the birth; but God has preserved this blessed Book inviolable to this day. The devil and his agents have been blowing at Scripture light, but could never blow it out; a clear sign that it was lighted from heaven. Nor has the church of God, in all revolutions and changes, kept the Scripture that it should not be lost only, but that it should not be depraved. The letter of Scripture has been preserved, without any corruption, in the original tongue. The Scriptures were not corrupted before Christ’s time, for then Christ would not have sent the Jews to them. He said, ‘Search the Scriptures.’ He knew these sacred springs were not muddied with human fancies.

[3] The Scripture appears to be the Word of God, by the matter contained in it. The mystery of Scripture is so abstruse and profound that no man or angel could have known it, had it not been divinely revealed. That eternity should be born; that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle; that he who rules the stars should suck the breasts; that the Prince of Life should die; that the Lord of Glory should be put to shame; that sin should be punished to the full, yet pardoned to the full; who could ever have conceived of such a mystery, had not the Scripture revealed it to us? So, for the doctrine of the resurrection; that the same body which is crumbled into a thousand pieces, should rise idem numero, the same individual body, else it were a creation, not a resurrection. How could such a sacred riddle, above all human disquisition, be known, had not the Scripture made a discovery of it? As the matter of Scripture is so full of goodness, justice and sanctity, that it could be breathed from none but God; so the holiness of it shows it to be of God. Scripture is compared to silver refined seven times. Psa 12:2. The Book of God has no errata in it; it is a beam of the Sun of Righteousness, a crystal stream flowing from the fountain of life. All laws and edicts of men have had their corruptions, but the Word of God has not the least tincture, it is of meridian splendour. Psa 119:940. ‘Thy word is very pure,’ like wine that comes from the grape, which is not mixed nor adulterated. It is so pure that it purifies everything else. John 17:17. ‘Sanctify them through thy truth.’ The Scripture presses holiness, so as no other book ever did: it bids us live ‘soberly, righteously, and godly;’ Titus 2:12; soberly, in acts of temperance; righteously, in acts of justice; godly, in acts of zeal and devotion. It commends to us, whatever is ‘just, lovely, and of good report.’ Phil 4:4. This sword of the Spirit cuts down vice. Eph 6:67. Out of this tower of Scripture is thrown a millstone upon the head of sin. The Scripture is the royal law which commands not only the actions, but affections; it binds the heart to good behaviour. Where is there such holiness to be found, as is digged out of this sacred mine? Who could be the author of such a book but God himself?

[4] That the Scripture is the Word of God is evident by its predictions. It prophesies of things to come, which shows the voice of God speaking in it. It was foretold by the prophet, ‘A virgin shall conceive,’ Isa 7:14, and, the ‘Messiah shall be cut off.’ Dan 9:96. The Scripture foretells things that would fall out many ages and centuries after; as how long Israel should serve in the iron furnace, and the very day of their deliverance. Exod 12:2I. ‘At the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day, it came to pass that the host of the Lord went out of Egypt.’ This prediction of future things, merely contingent, and not depending upon natural causes, is a clear demonstration of its divine origin.

[5] The impartiality of those men of God who wrote the Scriptures, who do not spare to set down their own failings. What man that writes a history would black his own face, by recording those things of himself that might stain his reputation? Moses records his own impatience when he struck the rock, and tells us, he could not on that account enter into the land of promise. David relates his own adultery and bloodshed, which stands as a blot in his escutcheon to succeeding ages. Peter relates his own pusillanimity in denying Christ. Jonah sets down his own passions, ‘I do well to be angry to the death.’ Surely had their pen not been guided by God’s own hand, they would never have written that which reflects dishonour upon themselves. Men usually rather hide their blemishes than publish them to the world; but the penmen of holy Scripture eclipse their own name; they take away all glory from themselves, and give the glory to God.

[6] The mighty power and efficacy that the Word has had upon the souls and consciences of men. It has changed their hearts. Some by reading Scripture have been turned into other men; they have been made holy and gracious. By reading other books the heart may be warmed, but by reading this book it is transformed. 2 Cor 3:3. ‘Ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.’ The Word was copied out into their hearts, and they were become Christ’s epistle, so that others might read Christ in them. If you should set a seal upon marble, and it should make an impression upon the marble, and leave a print behind, there would be a strange virtue in that seal; so when the seal of the Word leaves a heavenly print of grace upon the heart, there must needs be a power going along with that Word no less than divine. It has comforted their hearts. When Christians have sat by the rivers weeping, the Word has dropped as honey, and sweetly revived them. A Christian’s chief comfort is drawn out of these wells of salvation. Rom 15:5. ‘That we through comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.’ When a poor soul has been ready to faint, it has had nothing to comfort it but a Scripture cordial. When it has been sick, the Word has revived it. 2 Cor 4:17. ‘Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ When it has been deserted, the Word has dropped in the golden oil of joy. Lam 3:3I. ‘The Lord will not cast off for ever.’ He may change his providence, not his purpose; he may have the look of an enemy, but he has the heart of a father. Thus the Word has a power in it to comfort the heart. Psa 119:90. ‘This is my comfort in mine affliction; for thy word has quickened me.’ As the spirits are conveyed through the arteries of the body, so divine comforts are conveyed through the promises of the Word. Now, the Scriptures having such an exhilarating, heart-comforting power in them, shows clearly that they are of God, and it is he that has put the milk of consolation into these breasts.

[7] The miracles by which Scripture is confirmed. Miracles were used by Moses, Elijah, and Christ, and were continued, many years after, by the apostles, to confirm the verity of the holy Scriptures. As props are set under weak vines, so these miracles were set under the weak faith of men, that if they would not believe the writings of the Word, they might believe the miracles. We read of God’s dividing the waters, making a pathway in the sea for his people to go over, the iron swimming, the oil increasing by pouring out, Christ’s making wine of water, his curing the blind, and raising the dead. Thus God has set a seal to the truth and divinity of the Scriptures by miracles. (excerpted from the Introduction to A Body of Divinity, Thomas Watson)

♦ Thomas Watson was one of the greatest of the English Puritan Ministers and authors. To learn more about him read Charles Spurgeon’s Brief Memoir Of Thomas Watson.

The Indignity of Doubt (Charles Spurgeon)

This is from the 13 June 2011 Dose of Spurgeon by Phil Johnson at the Pyromaniacs blog,

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


Charles Spurgeon,

Doubt not the Lord, O Christian; for in so doing thou dost lower thyself. The more thou believest, the greater thou art; but the more thou doubtest, the less thou becomest.

It was said of the world’s conqueror, that when he was sick, he puled [whined weakly] like a child. “Give me some drink,” cried one, like a sick girl, it was said to his dishonor. And is it not to the dishonor of a Christian, who lives in secret on his God, and professes to trust alone in him, that he cannot trust him; that a little child will overcome his faith?

Oh, poor cockle-shell boat, that is upset by a rain-drop! O poor puny Christian that is overcome by every straw, that stumbles at every stone!

Then, Christian men, behave like men! It is childish to doubt; it is manhood’s glory to trust. Plant your foot upon the immoveable Rock of Ages; lift your eye to heaven; scorn the world; never play craven; bend your fist in the world’s face, and bid defiance to it and hell, and you are a man, and noble. But crouch and cringe, and dread, and doubt, and you have lost your Christian dignity, and are no longer what you should be. You do not honor God.

“Fear not, thou worm Jacob; I will help thee, saith the LORD.” Then why shouldst thou fear?

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BIBLIOPHILE BOOKNOTES: John Knox and the Reformation (Paperback) by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Iain Murray

Click to View at WTSBooks


Publisher’s Description: “In three fascinating addresses (in John Knox and the Reformation) Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Iain Murray remind us why we ought to remember one of the most colourful figures in church history, John Knox, and his significant role in the story of the Reformation in both Scotland and England. With the 500th anniversary of his birth approaching (2014), this little book will encourage readers to not only remember Knox the man but also to consider the outcome of his life and imitate his faith (Heb. 13:7).”

144 Pages
Published April 2011

About the Author(s): “Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was born in Wales. He was a dairyman’s assistant, a political enthusiast, debater, and chief clinical assistant to Sir Thomas Harder, the King of England’s Physician. But at the age of 27 he gave up a most promising medical career to become a preacher… When a spiritual history of the 20th century comes to be written it will be bound to include mention not only the far-reaching influence of Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ ministry at Westminster Chapel in London, England from 1938-68, but of the remarkable fact that his published volumes of expository sermons have had an unprecedented circulation for such material, selling in millions of copies.”