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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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A Warning

From the writings of John Calvin:

“Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”

“The pastor ought to have two voices: one, for gathering the sheep; and another, for warding off and driving away wolves and thieves. The Scripture supplies him with the means of doing both.”

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God Governs in the Affairs of Men

According to Benjamin Franklin:

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend? Or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth – that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the Ground without his Notice, is it probable that an Empire can rise without his Aid?” (Words spoken to Colleagues at the Constitutional Convention)

Men Who Chase Strange Fire

Do not be so puffed up with pride that you go off track after your own foolish imaginations. Take heed that you keep yourself in obedience to the Word of God. Then you will, day by day, be more confirmed in the faith until God calls you home. John Calvin reminds us:

But shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:16-18)

St. Paul hath shown us, that if we will be of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must be partakers of His cross; we must walk in death before we can come to life. How long will this death continue? As long as we are in this world. Therefore St. Peter saith, baptism is, as it were, a figure of the ark of Noah (I Pet. 3:21). For we must be enclosed, as it were, in a grave; being dead to the world, if we will be quickened by the mark of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

Let us learn that until God shall take us out of this world, we must be as pilgrims in a strange country: and that our salvation shall not be shown us until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: for He has become the first fruits of them that slept (I Cor. 15). And likewise, “He is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence” (Col. 1:18). . . .

St. John saith that we are sure we are God’s children: that we shall see Him even as He is, when we shall be made like Him. It is true, God is revealed to us when He transformed us into His image; but that which we conceive by faith, is not yet seen, we must hope for it at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

We see how the children of God are afflicted in this world; yea, it is often pitiable to behold their situation; while the unbelievers who contemn God, are at their ease, and live in pleasure. They make their triumph, whereas the saints are made as the off-scouring of the world (I Cor. 4:13). How is it possible for men to conceive this heresy: to say the resurrection is already past? And yet we see that this was welcome to some; yea, in the primitive church in the time of the apostles. When they, whom Jesus Christ had chosen to preach His truth throughout the world, still lived, some fell from the faith.

When we see such an example, have we not occasion to be astonished, and walk in fear! Not that we should doubt but what God will help and guide us, but it behooves us to arm ourselves with prayer, and rely upon the promises of our God . . . If the apostles, who exercised all the power that was given them from above to maintain the truth of God, could not prevent men from being misled, what must we expect now-a-days! Let us be diligent in prayer, and flee to God that He may preserve us by His Holy Spirit. May we not be puffed up with presumption, but consider our nothingness, for we should quickly be overthrown, if we were not upheld by the Supreme Being. (“Pure Preaching of the Word”)

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