“It is for their perpetual joy that in Christ Jesus ‘are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,’ Col. 2:3. Admirable is the scheme, devised in fathomless love and immeasurable wisdom, whereby our resources are in another and not in ourselves. ‘For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell,’ Col 1:19. ‘And of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace,’ John 1:16. The best of mere men do on earth sadly deplore their leanness, and were this all, they would sink into deep sadness. But when they look to Jesus they behold such amazing supplies, that they are no longer straitened. He is a never failing well-spring of all good things.” –William S. Plumer “Hebrews” p. 58
(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
“He who says he abides in Christ, ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6
It was highly important and desirable that the Lord Jesus should not only describe Christianity in His discourses, but exemplify it in His life and conduct. In Him, we see pure and undefiled religion embodied. In Him, Christianity lives and breathes. How convincing, how animating is our Savior’s example! How loudly and persuasively does His conduct preach!
Would you learn submission to parental authority? See Him, notwithstanding His exalted character, cheerfully subjecting Himself to the will of His parents; and laboring with them, as a carpenter, for almost thirty years.
Would you learn contentment with a poor and low condition? See Him destitute of a place where to lay His head.
Would you learn active beneficence? See Him going about doing good.
Would you learn to be fervent and constant in devotional exercises? See Him rising for prayer before the dawn of day.
Would you learn in what manner to treat your brethren? See Him washing His disciples’ feet.
Would you learn filial piety? See Him forgetting His sufferings, while in the agonies of death–to provide another son for His desolate mother.
Would you learn in what manner to pray for relief under afflictions? See Him in the garden of Gethsemane.
Would you learn how to bear insults and injuries? See Him on the cruel cross!
In short, there is no Christian grace or virtue, which is not beautifully exemplified in His life.
There is scarcely any situation, however perplexing, in which the Christian, who is at a loss to know how he ought to act–may not derive sufficient instruction from the example of his divine Master.
“Leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
THE ONLY WAY TO GOD.
JOHN XIV. 4—11.
“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
“Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.
“If ye had known Me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him.
“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it stifficeth us.
“Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? he that hath seen Me liath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I…
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(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
“How is your Beloved better than others?” Song of Songs 5:9
Does not our Friend as far excel all other friends . . .
as Heaven exceeds earth,
as eternity exceeds time,
as the Creator surpasses His creatures?
See all the fullness of the Godhead–dwelling in One who is as meek and mild as a child.
See His countenance beaming with ineffable glories–full of mingled majesty, condescension and love.
Hear the soul-reviving invitations and gracious words which proceed from His lips.
See that hand in which dwells everlasting strength–swaying the scepter of universal empire over all creatures and all worlds.
See His arms expanded to receive and embrace returning sinners.
While His heart, a bottomless, shoreless ocean of benevolence–overflows with tenderness, compassion, and love.
Such, O sinner, is our Beloved–and such is our Friend.
Will you not then embrace Him as your Friend? If you can be persuaded to do this–you will find that half, nay, that the thousandth part has not been told to you!
All the excellency, glory and beauty which is found in men or angels, flows from Christ–as a drop of water from the ocean, or a ray of light from the sun.
If, then, you supremely love the creature–can you wonder that Christians should love the Creator! Can you wonder that those who behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, should be sweetly drawn to Him by the cords of love, and lose their fondness for created glories? All that you love and admire and wish for in creatures, and indeed infinitely more–they find in Him!
Do you wish for a friend possessed of power to protect you?
Our Friend possesses all power in Heaven and earth, and is able to save even to the uttermost!
Do you wish for a wise friend?
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Do you wish for a tender, compassionate friend?
Christ is tenderness and compassion itself.
Do you wish for a faithful, unchangeable friend?
With Christ there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
His unchangeable love will ever prompt Him to make His people happy!
His unerring wisdom will point out the best means to promote their happiness!
His infinite power will enable Him to employ those means.
In all these respects, our Beloved is more than any other beloved!
(Edward Payson, 1783-1827)
I look up to Heaven and there see the blessed and only Potentate, the Creator and Upholder of all things, the infinite and eternal Sovereign of the universe–governing His vast kingdom with uncontrollable power, in a manner perfectly wise and holy and just and good. In this Being, I see my Creator, my Preserver, my unwearied Benefactor–to whom I am indebted for everything which I possess.
And what does this Being see–what has He seen, in me? He sees a frail worm of the dust, who is of yesterday and knows nothing, who cannot take a single step without making mistakes, who is wholly incompetent to guide himself, and who, by his own folly, is self-destroyed. He has seen this frail, blind, erring worm, presumptuously daring to criticize and censure His proceedings, attempting to interfere in His government of the universe; and trying to set up his own perverse will against the will of his Creator, his Sovereign, and his God; his own ignorance–against divine omniscience, and his own folly–against infinite wisdom.
Should an angel who knew nothing of our characters, but who had heard of the blessings which God has bestowed on us, visit this world–would he not expect to find every part of it resounding with the praises of God and His love? Would he not expect to hear old and young, parents and children–all blessing God for the glad tidings of the gospel?
How, then, would he be grieved and disappointed! How astonished would he be to find that Being whom he had ever heard praised in the most rapturous strains by all the bright armies of Heaven–slighted, disobeyed, and dishonored by His creatures on earth!
O, then, let us strive to wipe away this foul stain–this disgrace to our race and our world.
Let not this world be the only place, except Hell–where God is not praised.
Let us not be the only creatures, except devils–who refuse to praise Him!
~ ~ ~ ~
J. S. Bach / O Sacred Head, Now Wounded – Christian Hymn with Lyrics ( Classical Music / Choir )
Christian Hymns playlist: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list…
The hymn is based on a long medieval Latin poem, Salve mundi salutare, with stanzas addressing the various parts of Christ’s body hanging on the Cross. The last part of the poem, from which the hymn is taken, is addressed to Christ’s head, and begins “Salve caput cruentatum.” The poem is often attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), but it first appears in the 14th century.
The last part of the poem was translated into German by the prolific Lutheran hymnist Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676). The German hymn begins, “O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden.
The hymn was first translated into English in 1752 by John Gambold (1711-1771), an Anglican vicar in Oxfordshire. His translation begins, “O Head so full of bruises.” In 1830 a new translation…
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One of the popular devices for trying to accommodate the evolutionary ages of the geologists and astronomers in the creation record of the Bible has been the “gap theory”—also called the “ruin-and-reconstruction” theory.
According to this concept, Genesis 1:1 describes the initial creation of the universe. Following this, the standard events of cosmic evolution took place, which eventually produced our solar system about five billion years ago. Then, on the earth, the various geologic ages followed, as identified by their respective assemblages of fossils (trilobites, dinosaurs, etc.).
But then occurred a devastating global cataclysm, destroying all life on Earth and leaving a vast fossil graveyard everywhere. This situation is then said to be what is described in Genesis 1:2. “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” The cataclysm is thought to have occurred as a result of the rebellion of Satan and his angels against their Creator in Heaven, with God then casting them out of Heaven to the earth.
Those who advocate the gap theory agree that the six days of the creation week were literal days, but they interpret them only as days of recreation, with God creating again many of the kinds of animals and plants destroyed in the cataclysm.
What is the Purpose of the Gap Theory?
The gap theory was developed mainly for the purpose of accommodating the great ages demanded by evolutionary geologists. This idea was first popularized by a Scottish theologian, Thomas Chalmers, early in the 19th century. In this country, the famous Scofield Study Bible made it an almost universally accepted teaching among fundamentalists.
The Scofield Bible notes on Genesis I include the following:
The first act refers to the dateless past, and gives scope for all the geologic ages. . . . The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting intimations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angels. . . . Relegate fossils to the primitive creation, and no conflict of science with the Genesis cosmogony remains.
However, serious conflicts do remain. In fact, there are few, if any, professionally trained geologists and astronomers (to my knowledge there are none) who accept the gap theory. The promoters of this theory have mostly been Bible teachers who hoped they could place these great ages in a gap between the first two verses of Genesis, and thus not have to deal with them at all.
With the modem revival of scientific Biblical creationism, many of these teachers have abandoned the gap theory in favor of strict creationism. Most advocates of the gap idea were men of strong Biblical faith, and when they were shown its Biblical fallacies, plus its scientific inadequacies, they were quite willing to reject the evolutionary ages scheme altogether.
Many of us had naively assumed that the gap theory was moribund, and so had concentrated most of our critiques on the other compromise theories (day-age theory, framework theory, etc.). But it now appears that the gap theory is still being advocated by a number of evangelical theologians.
For example, the Nelson Study Bible, published this year (1997), in its footnotes on Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, says:
Here it means that God renewed what was in a chaotic state. God changed chaos into cosmos, disorder into order, emptiness into fullness. . . . The two words, without form and void, express one concept—chaos. The earth had been reduced to this state—it was not the way God had first created it.
The editors and contributors to this volume—43 in all—include many well-known evangelical leaders. Yet they feel they must allow for the geological ages, and so they opt for what amounts to the old gap theory again with its pre-Adamic cataclysm. The notes in this study Bible do allow a worldwide Flood, but there are no relevant comments on the effects of sin and the curse on the animal kingdom, and no mention of the billions of fossils now preserved in the earth’s sedimentary rock beds.
Is the Gap Theory Scientific?
The reason why geologists will not accept the gap theory is that it contradicts their assumption that the past is continuous with the present. There is no room in their naturalistic approach to science for a global cataclysm that would destroy all life and then require a new creation of plants, animals, and people such as the gap theory proposes.
Any cataclysm that would leave the earth “without form and void” (or “a shapeless chaotic mass” as The Living Bible expresses it), with “darkness on the face of the deep” everywhere, would require a worldwide nuclear or volcanic explosion that would effectively disintegrate the whole crust of the earth. All pre-cataclysm mountains would be blown into the sea and billions of tons of rocks and dust blown into the atmosphere, leaving the earth covered with “the deep” everywhere and “darkness” covering the deep everywhere.
Such a cataclysm would disintegrate any previously deposited sedimentary deposits with their fossils and thus obliterate all evidence of any previous “geological ages.” Thus the gap theory, which is supposed to accommodate the geological ages, requires a cataclysm which would destroy all evidence for the geological ages.
Is it Theologically Sound?
The gap theory is also unsound theologically. The God of Creation is an omnipotent and omniscient God, and is also a God of grace, mercy, and love. The very concept of the geological ages, on the other hand, implies a wasteful and cruel “god,” and therefore probably no god at all.
The supposed geologic ages are identified in terms of the fossils found in the earth’s sedimentary rocks, and there are multiplied billions of them there. But fossils speak of death—even violent death. The preservation of dead animals requires rapid burial if they are to last very long. There are many regions, for example, where there are millions of fossil fish preserved in the rocks. There are dinosaur fossil beds on every continent, as well as great beds of fossil marine invertebrates practically everywhere. These may indeed speak of cataclysmic death and burial, but not a cataclysm operating slowly over billions of years, as the geological ages imply. If the gap theory were valid, it would mean that God had instituted an ages-long system of suffering and death over the world, before there were ever any men and women to place in dominion over that world, and then suddenly destroy it in a violent cataclysm. Why would an omnipotent, merciful God do such a wasteful and cruel thing as that?
They cannot blame Satan, either. According to the gap theory, Satan’s fall took place at the end of the geological ages, followed by the great pre-Adamic cataclysm on the earth. Thus the geological ages, with their eons of cruelty and waste, took place even before Satan’s sin. God Himself would be solely responsible for the whole debacle, if it really happened.
But is the Gap Theory Biblical?
If the Bible actually teaches the gap theory’ however, then there might be some reason to try to accommodate it in our theology. But the Bible does not teach it! If there really had been billions of years of animals suffering and dying before Genesis 1:2, why would God say nothing about it? The best they can offer in support of such a notion are some out-of-context quotes from Isaiah and Jeremiah, along with an ad hoc translation of Genesis 1:1,2.
And why would God send such a devastating cataclysm at all? Satan’s fall did not occur until after the creation week of Genesis 1, for at that time God had pronounced the whole creation “very good” (Genesis 1: 31). At present, however, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:22) because of the great curse pronounced by God on man’s dominion (Genesis 3:17-19), as a result of sin.
This groaning creation has indeed experienced one global cataclysm—one not inferred from vague hints in out-of-context quotes, but rather one described in great detail in Genesis 6-9 and referred to often and unambiguously in later passages—namely, the worldwide Flood in the days of Noah. Most of the vast fossil graveyards in the earth’s crust can best be explained as one of the results of the Flood.
This awesome spectacle of destruction and death was not part of God’s “very good” creation. There was no death in the world until sin was in the world (Romans 5:12; I Corinthians 15:21; etc.). In fact, death itself is “the wages of sin” (Romans 6:23). Our future deliverance from sin and death has been purchased by the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, who is “the propitiation for our sins and … also for the sins of the whole world” (John 2:2).
But if “death reigned” not “from Adam to Moses,” as the Bible says (Romans 5:14), but had already reigned for billions of years before Adam, then death is not the wages of sin but instead was part of God’s creative purpose. How then could the death of Christ put away sin? The gap theory thus undermines the very gospel of our salvation, as well as the holy character of God.
The fact is that no such gap exists between the first two verses of Genesis at all. The second verse merely describes the initial aspect of the creation as “without form and void”—that is, with neither structure nor inhabitants. The rest of the chapter tells how God produced a marvelous structure for His created universe, with multitudes of plant and animal inhabitants for the earth, all to be under the dominion of its human inhabitants created in the image of God. It was only then that God pronounced the creation “finished” (Genesis 2:1).
It is time for those who believe the Bible and in the goodness and wisdom of God to abandon the gap theory once and for all (as well as the day-age theory, which is even worse) and simply believe what God has said. The gap theory has no scientific merit, requires a very forced Biblical exegesis, and leads to a God-dishonoring theology. It does not work, either Biblically or scientifically.
* Dr. Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.
These next articles can be found at:
This brief overview shows that the gap theory is not biblical. It is, in fact, a compromise of the truth of Genesis, which arose when Christian leaders tried to accommodate the millions of years claimed for fossil layers.
Many adherents of the gap theory claim that the grammar of Genesis 1:1–2 allows, and even requires, a time-gap between the events in verse 1 and the events in verse 2. Into this gap—believed by many to be billions of years—they want to place all the major geological phenomena that have shaped the world.
The “modified gap theory” or “precreation chaos gap theory,” which is the proposed “gap” between Genesis 1:2 and 1:3, is unscriptural, and ultimately unnecessary. In fact, several gap models have been proposed over the years for one reason—to add secular ideas of long ages to the Bible.
The “Gap” Theory is dangerous. It is a classic example of man putting words into the mouth of God.
This so called gap isn’t there. It can be conjured up and imagined there, but truthfully, the Bible does not include any information on a space of time where God used millions of years to create the universe through evolution.
This lie is nothing more than sin and rebellion and will be punished by a sovereign and holy God.
It has come to my attention as of late that Christians, so-called biblically saved Christians, are accepting and embracing what can be termed as Theistic Evolution. A simple definition of this term can be said like this: God used evolution to create everything. Why is this dangerous? Because if you embrace evolution at all, you embrace many dangerous lies, such as man was created out of the apes and not in the image of God, that death came before life, that we are nothing more than a higher form of mammal…and this list continues.
To me personally, nothing is more insulting to the sovereignty of God than theistic evolution. The whole idea of evolution is full of errors, mistakes and happenstance. God is perfect and everything He does is perfect. Every aspect of the universe is perfect. Here’s some examples of His perfectness:
The size of the sun in comparison to the earth.
The size and distances of the planets in comparison to the earth and sun.
The size of the orbits of the planets in comparison to the sun.
The size of the moon in relation to the size of the earth and the distance between the moon and the earth.
The amount of atmosphere on the earth is perfect with the exact amount of elements needed for life. If the atmosphere was thicker or thinner the earth could not support life.
The clotting system of our bodies is perfectly designed. If we were missing one element in this system we would bleed out at the first scratch.
And on it goes…this list is literally endless, and with my limited laymen’s knowledge of science, I only know of a few.
How did this start? I mean, really…when did God become an evolutionist?
How did this cancer get into the church? I can see the church of the false convert, but the bride?
More and more as the days and years go by, we are seeing Christian leaders falling by the way side. It seems the Ever Narrowing Way is getting narrower, and the pressure of being conformed is ejecting people onto the Broad Way where they seem to either fall into the error of the strong delusion or they are falling back into their sinful lifestyle as the unregenerate sinners they are.
Among the “Christian” leaders of today that are not only embracing Theistic Evolution or downright endorsing it are:
The Billy Graham Association embraces Theistic Evolution.
John MacArthur was interviewed regarding the dangers of Theistic Evolution, and this is what he had to say:
One pressing issue in the church today is that of creation and evolution. Do you believe that a person can be genuinely saved and believe in some kind of theistic evolution? How serious a theological error is it to reject a literal 6-day creation?
It’s a very serious error in my estimation, because it attacks the authority of Scripture at the Bible’s very starting point. It employs a special hermeneutic in order to make the Bible mean quite the opposite of what it plainly states. And once you open that door, absolutely nothing is safe from the assaults of rationalism, skepticism, and rank unbelief.
I watch the propaganda being published by organizations like Biologos, and it’s hard to resist the conclusion that many of the people who are involved in that project don’t seem to be believers at all, given the large portions of Scripture they regularly have to explain away in order to justify their convoluted worldview.
As a matter of fact, the history of modernist rationalism is littered with vivid examples of why it is unsafe and spiritually destructive to subject Scripture to naturalistic presuppositions. I wrote on this topic in detail at the very beginning of my book The Battle for the Beginning.
But in answer to your specific question: I do think it is possible for a genuine believer to be confused or befuddled by scientific arguments regarding evolution and the age of the earth. (It is certainly possible for believers to be inconsistent in their beliefs—to hold all kinds of errors in varying degrees. That’s called cognitive dissonance.)
Well-meaning evangelicals have experimented with several ways to reconcile old-earth theories with Scripture. One of the more popular ideas (until Henry Morris exploded it) was that there’s a gap in the white space between Genesis 1:1 and verse 2, and (so the theory goes) that silent gap might accommodate countless ages of change and chaos in the universe. Spurgeon held to a version of the gap theory, and the original Scofield Bible embraced both the gap theory and old-earth cosmology with blithe enthusiasm. Of course we would not consign everyone who ever held such an opinion to the ranks of unbelief.
Nevertheless, as evolutionary theory has developed and devolved into untouchable dogma—a favorite weapon for the current generation of angry atheists—I don’t see how any sober-minded, well-grounded, fully-committed Christian who truly believes what the Bible teaches can long maintain faith in the various and ever-changing theories evolutionary scientists keep proposing. Biblical cosmology, the Genesis account of how the human race was created and subsequently fell, and the important parallels between Adam and Christ in the story of redemption—these are essential beliefs of Christianity; they have never changed; and they are diametrically opposed to every purely naturalistic theory about life’s origins.
Anyone who takes seriously the authority of Scripture must ultimately set the opinions of men aside and simply trust what Scripture says. The earlier we do that, the better. Frankly, I have never understood why someone who believes in the literal bodily resurrection of Christ would balk at believing all of Scripture, starting with Genesis 1:1.
Are you part of this problem? Are you compromising truth for popular ideologies and philosophies? If you claim to be saved by the sole work of Christ on the cross, then this ideology should be disgusting to you. You should shrink away in revulsion regarding this humanistic and demonic lie.
To reduce God to a gambler who deals in chance and error is the most insulting of all as it takes away from His grandeur, His sovereignty and His perfectness, and I for one, will stand against this lie for all my worth.
Links to this subject are included below. Some are biblical, some aren’t. Please use your judgment.
My dear Friend, Mrs. Peake. . . In all who truly fear God and believe in His dear Son; in all in whose hearts the blessed Spirit is graciously at work, both to bring down and raise up, lay low in their own eyes and make Christ precious, show the evil of sin, give them repentance for it, creating a love for true holiness and spirituality of mind, with meekness, simplicity, sincerity, tenderness, brokenness of heart, and contrition of spirit—I say, where the blessed Spirit is thus at work, there and there only will there be true union in the solemn things of God. True union lies deep, and its foundations are out of sight. There is nothing in it earthly or carnal; and as what is earthly and carnal in us ever floats, so to speak, at the top, everything truly spiritual, holy, and gracious, being weighty and solid, lies at the bottom.
If you will examine your heart, as seeing light in God’s light, you will see that the best part of your religion lies the deepest. No man therefore can know anything of the mysteries of true religion and the secrets of vital godliness, who is not well brought down in his own soul. And thus a Christian, to his wonder and surprise, finds that the lower he sinks in himself, the more that he is abased, humbled, and brought down in his soul before the Lord, the nearer he is able to approach Him. In this way a sight and sense of our dreadful sins, the evils of our heart, the iniquities which are more in number than the hairs of our head, when attended with a feeling of the infinite forbearance of God, His tender mercy in Christ, the riches of His superabounding grace, the depths of His wondrous love, are made most profitable.
Until we are really humbled and brought down before God, with a view of His mercy and grace in Christ Jesus, we cannot bear to deal honestly with ourselves, or for others to deal honestly with us. It is our pride, our self-righteousness, our presumption, and our hypocrisy, our double dealing with God and our own consciences, which make us shrink from being searched by His Word and the light of His Spirit. As long as a man stands in his own strength or goodness, all the curses of God’s law strike at him as a sinner; but when he falls flat, as it were, on his face, confessing his iniquity, loathing himself in his own eyes for his baseness, and looking up in faith, hope, and love to the Lord of life and glory, as putting away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, then all the storm is ceased, and the blessings, promises, and mercies of the Gospel fall upon his soul like the still small rain and the refreshing dew.
And as these mercies enter into his heart, they bring forth in him every Gospel fruit. Prayer, and sometimes praise, spirituality of mind, love to the Lord and His truth, earnest desires to walk in His fear and live to His praise, separation in heart and spirit from an ungodly world, an understanding of the heavenly meaning of the Scriptures, and a stretching forth of the cords of love and affection toward the dear family of God—these and other fruits spring up and grow in the heart which is truly brought down by grace.
On the contrary, where the evil of sin is little seen or felt, where there is no abasement of spirit or humility of mind before the Lord, as being so utterly vile, and no corresponding sense of the infinite mercy and goodness of God, there religion for the most part is only in name. In that soil pride, self-righteousness, presumption, hypocrisy, worldliness, carnality, and covetousness, a spirit of strife and contention, a name to live when dead, a trifling with God and conscience, an indulgence of secret idols, and walking in many things which are highly displeasing to the Lord, will be found rife and strong.
Be not afraid therefore, dear friend, of seeing the worst of yourself. You have not seen half or a tenth part, I may say a hundredth part, yet. With all your experience of many years, and all the sight and sense which you have had of the evil that is in you, you have really seen and known but little of what a fallen sinner is in the sight of God. Indeed none of us could bear to see it. The sight would sink us into despair, unless specially held up by the power of God.
But I would say to you and to all my friends in the Lord, be not afraid of sinking too low in your own eyes. Dread presumption, pride, self-righteousness, vain security, a dead assurance, and empty formality; but covet sweet humility, brokenness of heart, contrition of spirit, tenderness of conscience, spirituality of mind, meekness, and quietness; and above all things covet earnestly precious manifestations of the Lord to your soul, sweet glimpses of His Person and work, and breakings in of the light of His countenance, and of what He is in Himself as the Son of God, and as the Mediator between God and men, the risen and glorified Intercessor, who is able to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him.
The Lord means to teach us that grace is grace, and that we can be saved in no other way. It is a lesson easy to learn in word, but to know it in its blessed reality and truth is no such easy matter; for it can only be known by knowing experimentally the depths of sin and guilt out of which it saves. When then we are being led down into these depths, there seems to be little before the soul but ruin and despair. It does not see that this sight and sense of sin is a needful preparation, to know what grace is and what grace can do; but when grace is manifested in its fullness and its super-aboundings, then the wonder is that grace so rich and free should ever be extended unto, or should ever reach, a soul so vile. . . .
Yours very affectionately in the truth,
J. C. P.
(“Solitude Sweetened” by James Meikle, 1730-1799)
Now that I am a father, and know the affection of a parent–would I not defend from every danger–would I not bestow every truly good thing–would I not implore every blessing–on my tender children? Would I not nourish their infant state–correct and educate their childhood–inspect, reprove, and admonish them in youth? Would I allow the dear little creatures–to play with sharp pointed knives–to frolic on the brink of a rapid torrent–or dance around a pit’s mouth? Would I permit them to eat deadly berries–or to put a cup of poison to their tender lips? However indulgent, would I allow them to disobey my commands? And if they labored under any disease which threatened their precious life, what pains or expenses would I spare to procure them relief? If assured that a physician lived somewhere, who could heal them without fail–would I not send to the uttermost corner of the land? would I not travel to the ends of earth?
But, hear me, O parents! If our concern for our children ends only with their bodies–we are monsters of cruelty! Would we pluck them from fire and water–and yet permit them to plunge into the fire of hell, and lie under the billows of Jehovah’s wrath? Will we snatch from them sword, pistol or knife–and allow them to wound themselves to the very soul, with sin? Will we chastise their disobedience to us–and wink at their spitting in the very face of God, by open acts of sin? Are we fond to have them educated and well-bred–and yet let them live in the neglect of prayer, which is the highest disrespect that can be put on the Author of our being?
In a word, is this the sum of our kindness, is this the height of our concern for our dear children–to see them happy in time, flourishing in the affairs of this life–though they end up being miserable beyond description through eternity itself? Will their bodily pain excite our sympathy, and will we do all in our power to have their diseases healed–and yet have no concern that their souls pine under sin, and they suffer all the pangs of hell? Will we not bring them in our prayers, to the Physician of souls, to the Savior of sinners?
I have but one request for all of my children, and that is–that they may fear and serve God here–and enjoy him forever! No matter though they sweat for their daily bread–only let them feed on the hidden manna! Let them toil and spin for their apparel–but let them be covered in Christ’s righteousness! How would I count my house renowned, and my family ennobled, if there sprang from it–not wealthy princes or kings, (let potsherds of the earth strive for such earthly vanities)–but pillars for the temple of God in glory–who shall dwell in the presence of the King of kings–when time is no more!