Monday, August 10, 2009

THORN - BLOSSOM

How mysterious that the thorn, which is the emblem of the fall of man, should be laden with beauty, teeming with fragrance, abounding with endless profusion of scents and hues, embellishing as it were the whole clime of even uncultivated nature in the month of May! Rich and blooming, the hedge-rows, thorn-bushes, and lanes seem strewed as it were then in that month with flowered walls, clumps, and pictured lines of beauty with what we call "May", thorn-blossom, in pink, lilied, and variegated sweetness and almost enchanting charms! And yet, it is all thorn-blossom still! And the thorn is the emblem, mark, and badge of the curse of God on the whole visible creation wherein we live. "Cursed is the ground", says God; "thorns shall it bring forth". And yet that the badge of God's curse should thus be decorated in the youth of spring and summer with the unnumbered sweet-distilling and balmy beauties I have described, is a mystery. From which I shall draw the following conclusions and inferences.

Thorn-blossom, in the first place, reminds me of the whole body of Arminianism, blooming on the stock of universal redemption, creature-merit, free-will, and the cursed mass of opposition to God's decrees. God says, "His elect are a garden enclosed, a vineyard, a spring shut up; and a fountain sealed". (Songs 4:12). "No", says Arminianism, "all men are equally beloved in God's sight". Thus Arminianism blooms and blossoms nearly on every corner of the world. And why? Because it is pretty, fragrant, and charming to the greatest mass of mankind. For many are in the broad road that leadeth unto destruction, whereunto also they were appointed; (Matt. 7:13; I Peter 2:8); and few are in the narrow way that leadeth unto life. (Matt. 7:14) I say, the thorn-blossom of Arminianism endeavors to bloom out its scents, and says that all men are equally gilded with acceptableness before God. Says Arminianism, Cain might have offered an acceptable offering before God as well as Abel did. It was Cain's own fault, says Arminianism. Thus as Cain tilled the ground which brings forth thorns emblematic of God's curse, so Arminianism thus tills free-will and chance-work, and insists upon it that there is no difference between a thorn and an apple tree. "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons". (Songs 2:3)

That apple tree is the emblemed figure and name of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the remainder of the verse quoted most clearly imports: "I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste". And as the fowls of the air pick "hips and haws and bramble-berries", the fruits of the rough, prickly, and disesteemed brier and thorn and such like; so Arminians are under the express and predestinated tuition of the prince of the power of the air; and as all the non-elected part of mankind weather and build their nests from necessity of the thorn-tree of God's rejection and non-election; so, on the contrary, do the whole elect race from among men set down under the Lord Jesus Christ's shadow and the great delight of electing love, particular and special redemption through the quickening love of God's most Holy Spirit.

Further, as the thorn-bush in May bends as it were with the load of blossom, and attracts the gaze of many a spectator; and as many a tongue might say of it, "See there!" in reference to its beauties; so the Arminian's holiness is the thorn-like, painted, daring, and bold front of creature-holiness, self-righteousness, and Satanical perfection of the flesh. They deny every truth of elect religion. They blaspheme, first, predestination; second, imputed righteousness; third, the final perseverance of the saints. They extol the power of the creature: "Up and be doing!" They say any one may have grace if he will. They say God wishes all to go to heaven, but the goats will not! Wesley and his associates thus deny the doctrine of reprobation; whereas Scripture says expressly, "God hardeneth whom he will". Moreover, Wesley denied the doctrine of unconditional election; thereby making the elect their own electors! Moreover, saying growth in grace is in our power, and his blasphemy against particular redemption and in favour of fleshly sanctification, perfection in the flesh, and what not; all these and various other aggravated marks stamp Wesley in my soul as the greatest enemy of God and of man that has appeared in these latter days. His denial of the cardinal doctrine of Christ's imputed righteousness, if he died in that state, stamps him as a damned man in my soul's thorough judgment; and it is to be feared that he died in all his errors. And, as Huntington says, "If a man dies in his errors he must be damned, if God be true". (Vide his sermon, entitled "The Funeral of Arminianism"). To which judgment I say, Amen.

Christ was made of a woman, and made under the law in behalf and in place of the elect; and he paid their penal debts which were owing, by his blood. And as the law also said, "Do this and live", as well as that "The soul that sinneth shall die": so Christ not only rubbed out with His blood the sentence of death recorded against the elect by the law; but he, also, as a man, kept the law as regards its mandate, "Do this and live". Thus, Christ brought in a divine, perfect, and law-fulfilled righteousness. Thus, His blood wiped out the black catalogue of the transgressions of the elect, the elect thereby being pronounced innocent, through blood, death, and destruction being fully wrung from the illustrious scape-goat as their Surety, Bondsman, and lawcurst Redeemer. The law thus exacted its full penalties. But over and above penalties, death, and the pains of eternal damnation which Christ endured for his spouse the church, he fulfilled, magnified, and made the law honour-able by perfect obedience to its eternal mandate which proclaims the path to win endless life: "Do this and live!" Christ did so do it: guile was not found in his mouth. This obedience, then, of His, is the imputed righteousness of the elect. This is their wedding garment of dazzling, bright, and transcendent beauty. This is what fits them to be the guests of God. This is what makes them god-like in his Infinite presence. This is what law and justice delight and smile to see. Did the law say, "Do this and live"? So the divinity of Immanuel clothed itself in the virgin's womb and linked to Him a human body, with a created human soul, in all respects like unto his brethren the elect seed; sin only excepted: and He not only washed them in his blood, but He brought in for them an everlasting righteousness also. This imputed righteousness then, I aver, asseverate, and am as certain in my soul as that breath is in my body, that every man who has it not, is an eternally damned soul. "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 22:11).

This imputed righteousness then is the bloom, blossom, and fruitbearing richness, grandeur, and ineffable brilliancy of the Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ, unto all the elect seed. This the blossom of life, perfection, immortality, and neverceasing joy to my ransomed soul. This is the dress which I shall sit in as in wrought gold at the wedding supper of the Lamb. "For thy Maker is thy husband". (Isa. 54:5) This is the fine needle-work, (Ps. 45:14) as it were, which the virgin throng of the ransomed race attend Immanuel the King of Glory in. This imputed righteousness, I say, which the Arminians fight against like tigers; this righteousness is the robe, the diadem of beauty, the ornaments, jewels, rich embroidery, gilded vest, sunny tabernacle, gorgeous grandeur, and laded blossom of paradise that my obedience-crowned, blood-bought soul shall bask in, with the trophies of free grace, without money and without price, for ever and for ever, in that celestial country, which so far must and will eclipse the glories of this terrestial scene, as much as the thorn-blossom of creature-holiness is eclipsed, bedimmed, and out-shown by the infinite, divine, and ineffable righteousness of Immanuel imputed to the elect alone. O heavenly excellencies, hid treasures, and never-ceasing bloom of the Tree of Life, as above described! How different to the painted, patched-up, and rude garb of creature-righteousness! A crab, a thorn, a brier, a nettle, or a thistle, is the God-curat adornment of a true Arminian in the sight of God! "Bind him hand and foot, and take him away."

If it is asked why I take on myself to judge the Arminian crew, it is, I answer, because I know by divine and heaven-sent experience the hollow, shadowy, cob-web, and cockatrice-wreathed fabric of their everlasting cursed religion, Popery and Arminianism are one and the same. I wanted to be a Wesleyan, but the wrath of God tore off the spiders' webs, which their religion was stanching my sin-wounded soul with.

But universal redemption and the denial of Christ's imputed righteousness are villanies one as great as the other. For I know that if Christ's righteousness is for all men than there is no hell! for the wedding garment, like a ship at full sail with a prosperous wind and unerring pilot on a safe sea, will waft every one whom it is for into the joyous harbour of eternal victory over sin, self, death, and hell. But, according to the damnable doctrine of universal redemption, the nullity and non-necessity of Christ's righteousness are hideously set forth; for one might suppose many wedding garments were laid by, as it were, useless in heaven, if Christ wrought out the brilliant vests for those in hell! O, shocking! Christ's blood and imputed righteousness are equally commensurate; and were shed and wrought out alone for the sheep and not for the goats! No goatish back ever was made or created to wear the mantle of Christ's imputed righteousness. No, never! "Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them." (Jer. 6:30)

This is the reason then for the profusion of the thorn-blossom. Many being in the broad way and few in the narrow, we thus see the need, the call, and necessity for thorn-blossom. For we all, alas, by nature, are the children of wrath. But the Holy Ghost regenerates and testifies of Jesus in His blood and righteousness in due time to the elect. Thus the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy to them. After they know Christ's imputed righteousness and blood through the Spirit's revelation thereof to their souls inwardly, in the inward kingdom of God in their souls; lo! they begin each then as kings to say like David, "Come near, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you what God hath done for my soul." This exasperates the devil to the highest pitch. Then the devil sends forth such men as Wesley, to poison the whole atmosphere of the world with false doctrine. Thus the Wesleyans call the unconditional election of the chosen race the horrible decree! Thus they designate election (the grand charter of all the sheep) as the devil's lie. O horrible! I say again, that Wesleyan Methodism is flat high treason against my electing, redeeming, and regenerating God! Of Arminians may be said:

Vain man, forbear! no thorny bloom
Of creature goodness reaches heaven!
Thorn-blossom fails! The Arminian's doom
Is hell, swollen with all such leaven.
They who are dressed in that bright vest,
Imputed Righteousness most pure!
When hell, when death on all else rest,
As Christ's theirs then this dress seals sure!
O brilliant Vest! surpassing far
The richest notions words can paint!
Hid under thee, no saint shall faint,
Though stung with sin's still rankling scar!

For unconditional election, imputed righteousness, particular redemption, God's sovereign election or rejection of men (all which things Wesley denied) go hand in hand, or stand or fall together. The thorn-blossom of creature-merit and human holiness is therefore called in. As the bloom of the Tree of Life is for the elect alone; as the elect are, as it were, a garden walled around, wherin alone the savoury fruit and illustriously glorious buds and blossoms grow that will break forth into the full, unspeakable, and eternal fruition of God; lo! what must the non-elect do but spread forth the gala too, not only of profane pleasure, but also of self-righteousness, free-will, and false religion! All which things then, and the swarms of counterfeits from Satan, imitative of the sublime glories which God has laid up for the elect alone; non-elect religion, and non-elect people, and their efforts, and the painted deceit of Satan toward them, all, all the magic string whereby Satan leads captive the goats at his will; all the spiritual inebriety, varnished cheats, and magic enchantments, and sorceries, and witchcrafts which the prince of the power of the air has, by the permission of God, poured out abroad over this whole fallen world wherein we live, are typified to my eye by "thornblossom". "Thorns shall it bring forth, which are near unto cursing". And if thorns are near unto cursing, so is the blossom thereof too, fair though it be! "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood". (Jer. 48:10)

Having endeavoured to shoot an arrow, not at the upright in heart, but at the skinny phantom called "Arminianism"; I will, the Lord alone being my helper, endeavour at some future time to knock a bough or two off the bramble-bush called "Bastard Calvinism". So be it. For the longer I live and the more that I feel concerning the ever-blessed Almighty, the more am I brought feelingly, sensibly, and in submissive hearkening to rest my everlasting salvation on unconditional eternal election and particular redemption, on the one hand; and on the Spirit's work in me, on the other hand, manifestive of my own election and redemption, who am the unworthiest of men. All which things Arminianism and Calvinism equally fight and war against.

Abington; I.K. (John Kay)
The Gospel Standard
January 1838

Sunday, August 09, 2009

"DRAW ME, WE WILL RUN AFTER THEE"

"Draw me, we will run after thee"
(Song of Solomon 1:4)

"Come to Jesus. Come just as you are! Jesus is waiting! You must, indeed, you can come this very night," purred the "evangelist."

Jesus therefore answered and said: "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of My Father " (John 6:65).

"Jesus said that "he that cometh to me," replied the evangelist, "I will in no wise cast out."

Jesus answers: "All that the FATHER GIVETH ME, SHALL COME to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

"Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t come to Jesus. He wants you to come right now!" said the evangelist.

"Jesus therefore answered and said, . . . NO MAN CAN COME TO ME, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

What a shocking discourse the above is to the ears of an unconverted, or inexperienced man!

Someone once said that John Calvin thought the doctrine of reprobation was a "horrible decree." Of course, Calvin believed it to be true because it is clearly taught in the Bible. "No man can come" to Christ unless the Father draws him; or "except it were given to him" of the Father. Regardless of what preachers say, Christ’s own answer is the truth. The preachers say that the sinner can come anytime he pleases; and the Lord says, "Oh, no! He cannot come unless My Father determined that he does." It is not left up to man; but is left up to the Father. The Father will "have mercy on him whom He will have mercy, and have compassion on whom He will have compassion. And whom He will, He hardeneth" (Romans 9:11-19.)

Natural man’s sensitivities toward their fellow man draws forth a violent reaction to the truth Jesus taught in the above passages. "Do you mean to say that God will prevent one from believing and being saved?"

Such a conclusion is invariably necessary, for it is certain that God does not save all. He does not call all to repentance. He did not choose all to salvation. It is not given to all to come to Christ. Indeed, it is not given to all that hear to believe. The reason is clearly given by our Lord: "He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, BECAUSE ye are NOT OF God" (John 8:47).

"But", says one, "such cannot be the correct meaning of the text. Surely if they understood Christ, they could come."

"Why do ye NOT understand My speech? Even because ye cannot hear My word," said our Lord. (John 8:43).

"It is just too difficult to draw such a conclusion in light of the love of God. Didn’t He come to give everyone a chance to be saved?"

"For judgment I am come into this world, that THEY WHICH SEE NOT MIGHT SEE; AND THAT THEY WHICH SEE MIGHT BE MADE BLIND," said the Lord Jesus. (John 9:39).

The above presents a side of the truth of free grace that is absolutely shocking the first time it engages one’s attention. There is no doubt that most individuals find it very negative; and for this reason they will not entertain it in their minds very long. It does not fit the "evangelical Christian" theory of universal offers of salvation.

While at first glance the above scriptures appear negative, yet they are rather positive. It is the positive aspects of them that are of greatest interest in this article. It seems appropriate, however, to highlight the negative first as a background for the positive. We will prove the doctrine and then move on to the beauty and sweetness it affords a child of free grace.

The Bible proves conclusively that the evangelical theory of universal offers of salvation is false. The theory is only a figment of the imagination of ministers bent on gaining church members at any price.

In the best-known text the "free offer" men advance, the context disputes their interpretation roundly. In the John 12:32, Jesus said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."

The evangelical ministers will say: "See, God does draw everyone to Jesus!"

However, in verses 40 & 41, John writes: "He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should NOT see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory, and spake of Him."

It is not reasonable to believe that God would do this to them if, in fact, He willed their salvation. He would have done the exact opposite instead! Again, in the famous "Lord’s Prayer," we hear the Lord praying to His Father saying: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as THOU HAST GIVEN HIM . . . .I pray for THEM: I pray NOT FOR THE WORLD, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine." (John 17: 2, 9). It surely would appear that if it were His will that all be drawn to Him and saved by Him, that His intercessory prayer would have included all of them.

But obviously, it did not!

To make the negative aspect of this doctrine brief, we will cite only one more passage (out of many) to prove this point. The apostle foretelling of the coming of that "wicked one," writes: "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; BECAUSE they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for THIS CAUSE God shall send them STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe a lie: (That God loves every body and wants to save every body) that they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Now that is what some might consider being a negative aspect of the truth. Notice, however, the next verse. It sets forth the most positive and sweet part of the subject: "But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and BELIEF OF THE TRUTH: whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (verse 13,14).

That, dear friend is very positive!

God chose those His Father gave Him to salvation. As He said:

"Ye have not CHOSEN Me, but I have chosen you."
(John 15:16)

The Positive: Except the Father Draw Him

"No man can come unto Me, except the Father which hath sent Me DRAW HIM: and I will raise him up at the last day."

"Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO Me, except it were GIVEN UNTO HIM OF My father."

The texts above shows clearly that while no one can come to Christ except God draws him, those that the Father draws will be in the resurrection of the just. In other words, it is imperative that God draw one to Christ if that one is ever to be saved experimentally and everlastingly. This places salvation squarely in the hands of God. It denies any initiation of salvation to be by the efforts of the creature.

It is a very positive declaration. To Jeremiah the prophet, God said:

"Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to CAUSE him to rest. The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with LOVINGKINDNESS HAVE I DRAWN THEE."
(Jeremiah 31:2-3)

What a mercy is this!

"I have drawn thee." Jesus had said, "No man can come unto Me except," and this exception is this gracious drawing by the lovingkindness of God.

"Yea," said He, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love."

We cannot escape the conclusion that one who is drawn to Christ has been loved of God "from the beginning," and therefore has been loved of God from the foundation of the world, or ever the world was. The apostle said even the same, when he wrote:

"according as He chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated US unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved"
(Ephesians 1:4-6.)

"With lovingkindness have I drawn thee." That is as to say, "not with violence," but "in love and gentleness." It surely is with "lovingkindness" when God draws one to Himself.

"And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE"
(Ezekiel 16:6)

In such a helpless and polluted condition!

Why should God have mercy on such ungodly sinners as this?

Yet, Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. That call is an appointed call. "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the TIME OF LOVE; and I spread My skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou BECAMEST MINE" (verse 8.)

The drawing of one to Christ can be by many different ways. The covenant promise of the everlasting Father to His beloved Son was that "Thy people shall be willing in the day of THY POWER, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth" (Psalm 110:3.)

It is a powerful drawing to Christ Jesus when He in His power makes them willing. If He shows them their sinfulness; their inability to attain an adequate righteousness of their own; that all their religious devotions and legal efforts cannot justify them; then they will flee to Him for His righteousness and consequent justification.

They will, in His own time and way, cause them to finally exclaim, "The Lord our Righteousness" and salvation!

God will teach all His people that they are the chiefest of sinners. He will make them to see what they are by nature in the carnality of Adam’s flesh!

And, He will cause them to come to Him for rest. In fact, Paul declared this to be "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;" of whom he was chief; and that in him, "first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting" (I Timothy 1:15-16.)

The doctrines of God our Savior will draw a believer to Christ often. In our day, the doctrinal downgrade has been highly successful. Modern-day "Christians" have thrown the doctrine of Christ away.

They never knew how important doctrine is!

Without them, they cannot know Christ. His doctrine describes Him. It tells who and what manner of person He is. This Biblical description of Him draws the believer to Him. To wit: "Jesus is a hateful, mean, ugly subhuman creature with horns and a forked tail and cannot save anyone unless they let him."

Is this the Christ we worship?

Of course not!

His doctrine declares Him to be Love.

He is merciful.

He is sovereign.

He does His own will as He pleases.

He has already saved all His people by the sacrifice of Himself.

He effectually call sinners to Himself, and He teaches them all things that they need as they need them.

Without the doctrine of Christ, one cannot know Him. But it is with His doctrine that His people are drawn to Him. His people need a god that is indeed a GOD!

And this He certainly is!

They do not need a helper in salvation; they need a SAVIOR!

And this He certainly is also!

All the great and glorious attributes of God are taught only by the doctrine of Christ. These are all instruments in the hand of God to draw a trembling sinner to the loving arms of a loving and adorable Savior.

By Stanley C. Phillips

THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN

"These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also."
(Acts 17:6)

These words were spoken of Paul and Silas after having preached three sabbath days in the synagogue at Thessalonica. Paul's preaching was exceeding troublesome. Acts 16:20. The doctrine of Christ when proclaimed by his chosen ministers is always offensive to the world and its different sects of carnal worshipers. It turns Arminianism upside down. As long as a man's preaching leaves the world right side up, we know that he has not preached the gospel of Christ. A gospel without a stumbling-block is a gospel without Christ. Those whose preaching does not turn the world upside down, have never been turned upside down themselves; and those who have not been turned upside down, have never been called by grace; for a call by grace always turns a man upside down. It had this effect on Paul.

The religion of Jesus Christ is contrary to nature. Christ was put to death on a cross. Arminianism teaches that God is the Father of all mankind, and as such deals with all men as his children. They even came face to face with the Lord Jesus with this pernicious doctrine, saying, "We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God." John 8:41. But the Saviour silenced their presumptuous blasphemy with the cutting rebuke, "If God were your father, ye would love me." "Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." John 8:44.

This same generation of Satan are in the world today, under a cloak of carnal religion, denying that they are born of fornication, and claiming one father, even God. And nothing is more tormenting to them than to point to their true parentage, as did the Saviour. These same teachers of the world hold forth a Saviour who has left the shining courts of his Father's glory, and came to this low ground of sin and sorrow, suffered and died the ignominious death of the cross, to do men's wills; for they say he will save them if they will. But the word of eternal truth turns this upside down, and hurls it back into the bottomless pit of human lies, and declares that he came down from heaven, not even to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him. John 6:38. Our Saviour was no Arminian; for he came not to do his own will. Neither are his brethren Arminians. For in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren.

These same soothsayers teach that Christ, as an offering for sin, is made to man, and man is moved and coaxed by the Spirit and bride to accept him. They call themselves the bride, and exhort their hearers not to resist the Spirit, for fear it may take its everlasting flight. But the inspired record turns this upside down, and discovers Satan under it, the father of lies, and lets us know that Jesus through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and by that one offering hath perfected forever them that are sanctified. Offerings for sin are made to God, and to God alone. Christ as an offering for sin is not made to us. They also teach that Christ is held forth in what they call "the general tender of the gospel," and that we must believe in him in order to be saved, and that we believe according to our own free will. But the inspired Scripture, that fatal touchstone of the world's religion, meets this doctrine of infidelity, and turns it upside down; declaring that we "believe according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead." Eph.1:19,20.

When men came to Christ wanting to work the works of God, he told them, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:28,29. They say, We believe according to our own free will. Christ says, We believe according to the workings of the mighty power of God. They say, It is man's work to believe. Christ says, It is the work of God. Which is right? These same "towerbuilders" teach that all men can come to Christ; but the Saviour said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." John 7:44. Here they give the Saviour the lie, and yet pretend to love and obey him. They further teach that it is God's will to have all men come to Christ and be saved, and that it is God's purpose and pleasure to save them if they will but come; "If they will only fall in with the overtures of mercy, and be saved upon the easy and equitable terms of the gospel, before it is finally and everlastingly too late." But the Saviour turns this upside down, and reveals their refuge of lies, and tells us that all that the Father giveth him shall come to him. Never can one that God has given to Christ stay away. God will make them come. Christ says, "Ye will not come unto me;" and, "No man can come." Men will not come, cannot come. And "will not" and "cannot" is a double not, which nothing but the finger of God can untie. With men these things are impossible; but with God all things are possible.

These same "waymakers" teach a broad and easy way which all men can find, because they claim to clearly point it out; and that all men can and may walk therein. They would like to prove that our Saviour lied when he said, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it." I do not dispute their claim to the "broad way," but only deny that it leads to life. For, "broad is the way that leads to death, and many there be that go in thereat." These same "encompassers" of sea and land must have a universal religion. Their prayer is that the world may be converted to Christ. They are of the world, and pray for the world. But the Saviour was not of the world, and declared that he prayed not for the world. John 17:9. Their prayers are not modeled after Christ's, but after "vain repetitions of the heathen," which Christ commands his disciples not to use. How long have their joint petitions gone up for "every house to become a house of prayer, and every heart a fit temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit?" Has this prayer ever been answered? If it should be, could the Scriptures be fulfilled? The fact that this is not answered is evidence that it was never promised, and the asking is proved to be amiss.

Again, these learned Rabbis of modern theology teach that "men are not the sheep of Christ because they believe not." But Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, whose own the sheep are, turns this upside down, and exposes their learned ignorance of the true God and his grace, and says, "Ye believe not because ye are not my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." John 10:26. Men believe because they are the sheep of Christ; not to make them sheep. In the same way which they call "proclaiming life and salvation," they teach that as many as believe, are ordained to eternal life. But the eternal record destroys this refuge of lies, and reveals the glorious truth of God's predestinating grace, and says, "As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed." Acts 13:48. If you wish to arrive at the truth, always reverse Arminianism. Again, these will-worshiping idolaters claim that by their teaching, accompanied by the persuasive influence of the Spirit, men are brought to a knowledge of the truth, and then can be saved by laying hold of offered mercy. But the Scriptures turn this upside down, and tell us that God will have men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. I Tim.2:4. The Scriptures teach, first, saved, and then a knowledge of the truth. Men teach, first, a knowledge of the truth, and then a probable salvation. They have Sunday Schools, Tract Societies, money systems, and a hundred other inventions unauthorized by the word of God, to forward this work of teaching what they call the religion of Jesus Christ. But the Scriptures turn this upside down, and show it to be the commandments and traditions of men. "They shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." Heb.8:11. "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me." John 6:45. This is the teaching that brings men to Christ. It brings all who are taught. Christ says, "Every one that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me." There is no failure here. When a poor sinner is taught of the Lord; when Christ, the true light, is revealed in him, he denies himself, and learns to touch not, taste not, handle not, the commandments and traditions of men, because with him they all perish with the using.

Again, these "Doctors of Divinity" teach that all men are called by the gospel and the Spirit, and can be saved if they will only yield to the influence of the Spirit, and obey what they call the gospel, and keep the commandments. But our Saviour has stopped their mouths again; for he declares that the world cannot receive the Spirit, which he sends to comfort his children. John 14:17. The apostle says, "Who hath saved us, and called us." II Tim.1:9. Hence we are saved before we are called. If not, why does the word say so? "Sanctified by God the Father, preserved {or saved} in Jesus Christ, and called." Jude 1. But the salvation that men preach is after the call. Then it is plain that their call and salvation are not the call and salvation of our God. Their call is not only before their salvation, but it is immensely broader; for they say that all men are called, and but few saved. But the call of our God is not so. The promise is to all that are called. "For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off; even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:39. This promise is to "as many," not to all. Again, "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called." I Cor.1:26. Somebody is left out of this call. But why do we reason? For hath not the apostle said, "Whom he did foreknow, them he also did predestinate;" "and whom he did predestinate, them he also called?" Rom.7:29,30. Here we see that the call of our God is limited by his predestination, coupled with his eternal foreknowledge.

Thus we see that their doctrine of infidelity is turned upside down by God's own words, and the foundation thereof discovered to be human ingenuity and craftiness, speculation being the chief corner-stone. These same atheistic teachers preach that God begins the work in all men, but carries it on in but few, and that thousands who are awakened and moved by the Spirit, die in their sins, and sink into the torment of an ever burning hell. This is mighty poor grace, and a very unsuccessful and sadly disappointed Spirit; but we feel sure that it is neither the grace nor the Spirit of our God; for we are assured in his word that his grace "reigns through righteousness unto everlasting life." Rom.5:21. It reigns through righteousness; does not fail through weakness. And when our God begins a good work in a creature, he "performs it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil.1:6. And what our God doeth shall stand forever; nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it. Eccl.3:14. Thus, through the inspired Scriptures every phase of the doctrines of men is turned upside down, and their falsehoods brought to light.

These same master builders of the high places of Molech preach a faith that is the fruit of the creature, and man must exercise it. But Paul preached a faith that God is the author and finisher of; a faith that exercises the creature; that works by love and purifies the heart; a faith that is the gift of God; a faith that moved Noah to prepare an ark; a faith that threw down the walls of Jericho; a faith which translated Enoch; a faith which subdued kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, works righteousness, and overcomes the world. This is not a faith that is the fruit of the creature, and exercised by man; but it is that faith by which we understand the world was framed; the faith of the Son of God.

These same evil men and seducers wax worse and worse, {II Tim.3:13,} and preach a birth of a spirit which can be produced or prevented by man; a birth without a begetting, without a travail, and brings forth something that can be annihilated, or cease to exist, by the disobedience of the creature, and regain the condition occupied before birth. They call this "being born of God." Now, this is not only contradicted by the word of truth, but there is not a syllable of common sense or reason in it. There are laws of birth, and without these a birth is impossible. First, the existence of life or seed in the parent; second, a begetting; and third, travail, or bringing to light and manifestation the being whose life had its existence in the parent. And this being can never pass back into that state again. The Scriptures inform us that we are born of God. How can this be, except our life was in God, and of the same nature as God? Before this birth of the Spirit, there must be a begetting; and James informs us that God of his own will begat us. James 1:18. And if begotten of the Spirit, we are bound to be born. For God says, "Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth?" Isa.66:9.

These same gainsayers of Korah preach that in infancy we are all the children of God; but when we cross the line of accountability, if we do good God will still love us; and if we disobey, he will hate us, and we will cease to be his children, and become the children of the wicked one. This line of accountability, of which they preach so much, I can never understand, as there is no such thing intimated in the Scriptures of divine truth. But the word of God turns this upside down, and discloses ignorance, superstition and human imagination, as its foundation. These words of eternal truth forever settle the question with all lovers of the truth. "The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger; as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Rom.9:11-13. If this Scripture read in this way, The children being both born, and having crossed the line of accountability, one did good and another evil, that salvation by works might stand, it was said unto her, Jacob I love, but Esau I hate; then the Scriptures would not have to be revised to meet the demands of the present age; neither would the Arminian clergy have to dodge the word, as they do. But our God does not have to wait for the birth of the creature, to fix his choice; but his sovereign, electing love fixes on the object before its birth, before it does good or evil, even before it is in a capacity for doing good or evil. The eternal choice of our God was made not only before the birth of the objects embraced therein, but was made in Christ before the foundation of the world, and sealed by his immutable decree of predestination; and the foundation thereof standeth sure, having this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are his."

Dear kindred in Christ, it is in much weakness that I have tried to notice a few of the most prominent points in which the doctrine of our Saviour turns the world upside down. If all the points of difference were noticed and compared, I suppose the world itself would not contain the books that should be written. I am young and ignorant, but I hope that the grace which bringeth salvation hath appeared unto me, and through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus my Saviour, I hope to stand accepted in the Beloved, with all the redeemed family.

By H.M. CURRY

From Signs of the Times - Jan 15, 1884