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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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DAVID’S MEDICINE CABINET

Samuel A CainO LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. (Psalm 30:2 ESV)

I love the Psalms. The Psalms stir us to worship God more diligently. The Psalms teach us to rest in God alone as the only source of our true happiness and requirements. The Psalms offer guidance in times of affliction. In the Psalms, our innermost thoughts are revealed.

The Psalms encourage us to pray. We must lay our general needs and hope for relief from affliction before God in prayer. The Psalms also teach us to praise God and lift our hearts to Him. They are surely a means to comfort and strength. Continue reading

Consider His Goodness

John Calvin:

“The whole world is a theatre for the display of the divine goodness, wisdom, justice, and power, but the Church is the orchestra, as it were—the most conspicuous part of it; and the nearer the approaches are that God makes to us, the more intimate and condescending the communication of his benefits, the more attentively are we called to consider them.” (Commentary on Psalms – Volume 5)

Have We Excluded Something Important From Worship?

Praise him with trumpet sound;

praise him with lute and harp!

Praise him with tambourine and dance;

praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with sounding cymbals;

praise him with loud clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD! (Psalm 150:3-6 ESV)

In the words of R. C. Sproul:

The visual impact of the furnishings and the buildings of both the Old Testament tabernacle and temple was awesome. The eyes were dazzled with a sense of the splendor of God.

Sound was vital to Old Testament worship. The choral compositions of the Psalms were moving to the Spirit. They were accompanied by the full harmony and rhythm supplied by the harp, the lyre, the flute, and trumpets. The piano and the organ are marvelous instruments, but they cannot produce the sounds that the other instruments provide. Hymns and choral anthems are greatly enhanced when they are supported with greater orchestration.

Old Testament worship involved all five senses. The element of touch is missing in most Protestant worship. Charismatic groups emphasize the laying on of hands, which meets a strong human need for a holy touch. Early Christian worship involved the placing of the pastor’s hands on each person with the pronouncement of the benediction. When congregations got too large for such personal attention, the act gave way to the symbolic gesture of the benediction spoken by the pastor with outstretched arms. This was a simulation of the laying on of hands, but the actual touch was lost.

Old Testament worship included taste and smell. The fragrance of burning incense gave a peculiar sense of a special aroma associated with the sweetness of God. One of the first gifts laid at the foot of the manger of Jesus was that of frankincense. Most Protestants reject incense without giving any substantive reason for its rejection.

Taste was central to the Old Testament feasts as well as the New Testament celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The injunction to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8) is rooted in the worship experience. The people of God “tasted the heavenly gift” (Heb. 6:4).

Perhaps we have stunted worship by excluding elements that God once included and deemed important.

Read more here. . . .

Professors Who Are Not Possessors

I suspect that the fact there are those who claim to have salvation and do not, is a problem in many congregations. I also suspect there are few pastors who can or will take the time to talk deeply and thoroughly to these professors about their spiritual condition. Charles Spurgeon, however, was a pastor who challenged his congregation’s easy assumptions about the condition of their souls. Thus I am challenged by Spurgeon’s words below:

My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. (Psalm 119:139 ESV)

But what shall be done with such persons as live in the church, but are not of it having a name to live, but are dead? What shall be done with mere professors who are not possessors? What shall become of those who are only outwardly religious but inwardly are in the gall of bitterness? We answer, as good Calvin did once: “They shall walk in black, for they are unworthy.” They shall walk in black—the blackness of God’s destruction. They shall walk in black—the blackness of hopeless despair. They shall walk in black—the blackness of incomparable anguish. They shall walk in black—the blackness of damnation. They shall walk in black for ever, because they were found unworthy. O professors, search yourselves. O ministers, search yourselves.

O ye, who make a profession of religion now, put your hands within your hearts, and search your souls. You live in the sight of a rein-trying God. Oh! Try your own reins, and search your own hearts. It is not a matter of half-importance for which I plead, but a matter of double importance. I beseech you, examine and cross-examine your own souls, and see whether ye be in the path, for it will go ill with you if ye shall find at last that ye were in the church, but not of it, that ye make a profession of religion, but it was only a cloak for your hypocrisy—if ye should have entered into his courts below, and be shut out of the courts above. Remember, the higher the pinnacle of profession the direr your fall of destruction. Beggared kings, exile princes, crownless emperors, are always subjects of pity. Professor, what wilt thou think of thyself when thy robes are taken from thee, when thy crown of profession is taken from thy head, and thou standest the hiss of even vile men, the scoff of blasphemers, the jeer of those who, whatever they were, were not hypocrites, as thou art?

They will cry to thee, “Art thou become like one of us? Thou professor, thou high-flying man, art thou become like one of us?” And ye will hide your guilty heads in the dark pit of perdition, but all in vain, for you never will be able to avoid that hiss which shall ever greet you. “What! Thou!” the drunkard whom you told to drink no more will say “Art thou become like one of us?” And the harlot whom you scorned, and the young debauched man whom you warned, will stare you in the face, and say, “What! You! You who talked of religion. A pretty fellow you were! Art thou become one of us?” Oh! I think I hear them saying in hell, “Here’s a parson, come here; here’s a deacon; here’s a church member; here’s a man who has had the sacramental wine within his lips; here’s a man that has had the baptismal water on his garments.”

Ah! Take care. There are but a few names in Sardis who shall walk in white. Be ye of that few. May God give you grace that ye be not reprobates, but may be accepted of the Lord in that day! May he give you mercy, that when he severs the chaff from the wheat, you may abide as the good corn, and may not be swept away into unquenchable fire! The Lord in mercy bless this warning, and hear our supplication, for Christ’s sake. Amen. (“A Solemn Warning for All Churches”, February 24, 1856)

God Will Answer

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

“He will fulfill the desire of them that fear Him: He also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Psalm 145:19).

His own Spirit has wrought this desire in us, and therefore He will answer it. It is His own life within which prompts the cry, and therefore He will hear it. Those who fear Him are men under the holiest influence, and, therefore, their desire is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Like Daniel, they are men of desires, and the LORD will cause them to realize their aspirations.

Holy desires are grace in the blade, and the heavenly Husbandman will cultivate them till they come to the full corn in the ear. God-fearing men desire to be holy, to be useful, to be a blessing to others, and so to honor their LORD. They desire supplies for their need, help under burdens, guidance in perplexity, deliverance in distress; and sometimes this desire is so strong and their case so pressing that they cry out in agony like little children in pain, and then the LORD works most comprehensively and does all that is needful according to this Word — “and will save them.”

Yes, if we fear God, we have nothing else to fear; if we cry to the LORD, our salvation is certain.

Let the reader lay this text on his tongue and keep it in his mouth all the day, and it will be to him as “a wafer made with honey.” (Faith’s Checkbook)

Nothing Is Hid From God

Thomas Watson

What manner of men and women should we be? Does God have a window that opens into our hearts? He is absolutely aware of our thoughts and actions. Holiness, sincerity, and piety would become us, being in His presence! If you knew that you were about to be called into the presence of a great earthly king, would you not make solemn preparations? Are the eyes of a king better than the eyes of God? The king can only see and hear that which is outside the heart of a man. However, God has a key to every heart! Thomas Watson (1620-1686) provides us with additional thoughts on this subject:

“But all Things are naked and open unto the Eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13)

The clouds are no canopy; the night is no curtain to draw between, or intercept his knowledge: we cannot write our sins in so small or strange a character, but God can read, he hath a key for them. Indeed, we know not sometimes what to make of his providences, ‘His way is in the sanctuary,’ Ps. 77.13. We cannot read his handwriting; but he understands our hearts without a commentary: he is privy to all our treachery: we cannot climb so high but he sees us, we cannot dig so low but he takes notice. . . . Achan digs deep to hide his counsels, saying, ‘No eye shall see;’ he takes the Babylonish garment, and hides it in the earth, with the wedge of gold, but God unmasks his thievery, Josh. 7.12.

If there be any here, that when they should have been doing God’s work, have been by stealth hiding the Babylonish garment, making themselves rich, feathering their own nests; instead of driving in nails into God’s temple to fasten it, have been driving a wedge of gold into their chests, God sees it; let me tell you, all the gain you get, you may put in your eyes; nay, if you belong to God you must, and weep it out again. God hath a window that looks into your hearts. . . .

For the amplification, let us consider what the knowledge of God is; it is a most pure act by which he doth at one instant know himself in himself, and all things without himself, not only necessary, and contingent, but which shall ever be, after a most perfect, exquisite, and infallible manner. Out of this description we may gather two things. (1.) That there is no succession in God’s knowledge: our knowledge is from the effect to the cause; it is not so in God. (2.) Things that are not, have an objective being in his knowledge; Rom. 4.17, ‘He calls things that are not, as if they were;’ even these non entia have an idea in his knowledge. . . .’

He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see, Psalm 94.9? He that makes a watch, knows all the pins and wheels in it; and though these wheels move cross one to another, he knows the true and perfect motion of the watch, and the spring that sets these wheels a going; ‘He that formed the eye, shall he not see?’ Man may be compared to a spiritual watch. The affections are the wheels; the heart is the spring; the motion of this watch is false; the heart is deceitful; but God that made this watch knows the true motion of it (be it never so false) and the springs that sets the wheels a going. God knows us better than we know ourselves: he is as Ezekiel‘s wheels, full of eyes; and, as Augustine saith, he is all eye. (“God’s Anatomy Upon Man’s Heart”)

Shall The Preacher Not Suffer?

Quoting Charles Spurgeon:

May not severe discipline fall to the lot of some to qualify them for their office of under-shepherds? We cannot speak with consoling authority to an experience which we have never known. The suffering know those who have themselves suffered, and their smell is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed. The “word to the weary” is not learned except by an ear which has bled while the awl has fastened it to the door-post. “The complete pastor’s” life will be an epitome of the lives of his people, and they will turn to his preaching as men do to David’s Psalms, to see themselves and their sorrows, as in a mirror. Their needs will be the reason for his griefs. As to the Lord himself, perfect equipment for his work came only through suffering, so must it be to those who are called to follow him in binding up the broken-hearted, and loosing the prisoners. Souls still remain in our churches to whose deep and dark experience we shall never be able to minister till we also have been plunged in the abyss where all Jehovah’s waves roll over our heads. If this be the fact – and we are sure it is – then may we heartily welcome anything which will make us fitter channels of blessing. For the elect’s sake it shall be joy to endure all things. (“Laid Aside. Why?” Sword and Trowel May 1876)

What Is The Providence Of God?

B.H. Carroll

God administers all of creation; everything is subordinated to His Will. Yet, as much as this is a mystery to us, God’s Will is continuously and effectively, the all- comprehensive power that makes all events in the physical and moral universe fulfill the purpose for which He created it. B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) shares the following insights into the Providence of God:

If the foundations be destroyed what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)

I do not understand this question to imply that the foundations can be destroyed, except in the fears of the righteous. But whenever, in the mind of a righteous person there is distrust as to the stability of the foundation of his hope, and then he may well say, “What can I do?” Just to the extent of our distrust of the foundations is the despondency with which we look upon the tangled and conflicting affairs of this life. All our heartiness in work, boldness in enterprise, endurance of affliction, persistence in effort, and courage in danger is measured by the degree of our faith in the stability of the foundations upon which the Christian religion stands.

If the issues of life are determined by fate or chance, there are no foundations. In the one case we become the effortless children of apathy upon whom no responsibility devolves, our only consolation being the Oriental proverb, “Kismet.” In the other case we become the devotees of ephemeral pleasure with no higher watchword than, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

Hence my theme today: The Providence of God is the Christian’s foundation. Under these three – Fate, Chance and Divine Providence may be grouped all the theories and philosophies of life. There is no room for another classification. . . .

Objectively, this foundation [Providence] will be considered in this sermon as impregnable and indestructible. But subjectively, that is in the minds of God’s people, the foundation may oftentimes seem to shake. It is not affirmed that this timorous apprehension is the habitual state of mind of even the weakest of God’s people, but that even with the strongest and bravest, in exceptional emergencies, there may be temporary distrust. This distrust again is more in practice than in theory. . . .

What does the doctrine of Providence imply? It implies the being of God, that there is a God. It implies that this God possesses all of the requisite attributes of Deity; that is, omniscience, knowing all things; omnipotence, having all power; omnipresence, being everywhere; and holiness and love. It implies that such a God, having the attributes of omniscience and omnipotence and omnipresence and holiness and love, created the universe, brought into being everything that you see – what is above us, what is below us, ourselves. It implies that this intelligent and powerful and benevolent being brought into existence everything that is. In other words, that God created this universe with all its creatures.

This implication denies atheism by assuming the being of God. It denies polytheism, for but one being can possess the divine attributes. It denies materialism and pantheism by assuming God’s existence before matter and His creation of it. . . .

Providence is God’s continual oversight or government of the universe He created. To enlarge somewhat, the term, Providence, expresses the divine agency in the direction, control and issue of all the events in the physical and moral universe. All of them? Yes. Does He direct every event in the physical world? Every one. . . .

He directs every event in the physical world. I do not refer simply to the events that relate to the spheres in their magnitude and in their movements. I refer to the most infinitesimal detail, minutia that takes place in the whole physical world. He has just that kind of direction in the moral world, as it relates to human beings and angelic intelligences; that it is not only direction but control; that it is not only control, but that it governs the issue, the direction, the control, the issue or outcome of all events in the physical and in the moral universe.

In other words, having created the universe, He governs the universe. He did not make the world and wind it up like a clock and go to sleep and let it run itself. I mean that His direction and control and government of the issue apply to all forces that are in operation in the physical world, otherwise called laws of nature. They are nothing more than the expressions of the divine will.

Do Not Neglect Meeting Together

Pilgrims Walking To Church

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” (Psalm 122:1)

These are verses that should bring shame to many of us who may be slack in attendance upon the worship of our God. How rare it has become when a congregation can listen to a sermon even 45 minutes. We arrive late and if the service is one minute too long by our accounting, we get up and leave! When we come to worship we have not prepared our hearts and minds to devote our attention to the glory of God and hear His message to us.

Our prayers, praises, and obedience are to be given with gladness of heart. Such an attitude will be affected by the love of God. The follower of Christ will not slip like a snail into church after the beginning of the service. He will arrive early with a warm-hearted expectation of worshiping God. It is sad that this is not the expectation of so many churches.

How encouraged would any minister be to look upon his congregation and see that they are prepared to hear the Word of God? Let him be prepared to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit. His flock needs a shepherd to lead them in the way.

We must also remind ourselves daily that if there is an opportunity to hear the Word of God, such an opportunity should not be passed by. Our absence will be our lost. Whatever the cause, the effect may be grievous. There is a price for each opportunity lost to be in the presence of our Lord. Therefore, whatever your excuse for not attending to the Word preached, it is an opportunity lost which would have been for your own good. Those of us, who may skip church attendance because of our own negligence, risk the loss of some measure of grace and comfort offered. Let us not neglect the word of grace and the blessing of participating in the community of the saints.

Prayer Explains Mysteries!

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“But it is good for me to draw near to God.”Psalm 73:28

In this psalm, poor Asaph had been greatly troubled–He had been trying to untie that Gordion knot concerning the righteousness of a providence which permits the wicked to flourish and the godly to be tried; and because he could not untie that knot, he tried to cut it, but he cut his own fingers in the act, and became greatly troubled.

He could not understand how it was that God could be just, and yet give riches to the wicked, while his own people were in poverty. At last Asaph understood it all, for he went into the house of his God, and there he understood the latter end of the wicked. And he says — looking back upon his discovery of a clue to this great labyrinth –“It is good for me to draw near to God.”

Prayer explains mysteries!

If you would understand the Word of God in its knotty points, if you would comprehend the mystery of the gospel of Christ, remember, Christ’s scholars must study upon their knees.

Depend upon it, that the best commentator upon the Word of God is its author, the Holy Spirit- and if you would know the meaning, you must go to him in prayer!

John Bunyan says that he never forgot the divinity he taught, because it was burnt into him when he was on his knees.

That is the way to learn the gospel. If you learn it upon your knees you will never unlearn it.

That which ‘men’ teach you, men can unteach you– if I am merely convinced by reason, and a better reasoner may deceive me. If I merely hold my doctrinal opinions because they seem ‘to me’ to be correct, I may be led to think differently another day.

But if ‘God’ has taught them to me — he who is himself pure truth — I have not learned amiss, but I have so learned that I shall never unlearn, nor shall I forget.

Behold, believer, you are this day in a labyrinth– whenever you come to a turning place, where there is a road to the right or to the left, if you would know which way to go, fall on your knees, then go on. And when you come to the next turning place, on your knees again, and so proceed again.

The one clue to the whole labyrinth of ‘providence’, and of ‘doctrinal opinion’, is to be found in that one hallowed exercise — prayer.

Continue much in prayer, and neither Satan nor the world shall much deceive you.

Behold- before you the sacred ark of truth. But where is the key? It hangs upon the silver nail of prayer! Go reach it down, unlock the casket, and be rich! (Sermon: “Let Us Pray”)

Assurance In Prayer

Do we not all seek assurance that our prayers will be answered? Yet, we wonder if it can truly be known. In acquiring such information, much depends upon the mode of God’s dealing with the soul. God’s secret work, as well as the matter of Biblical revelation, must be taken into account when seeking assurance in prayer. Dr. John Kennedy has written:

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.”Psalm 25:14

A mere outside Christian is an utter stranger to . . . the special application of the statements or promises of the Bible. He judges that communion with the Lord is a one-sided matter. He thinks that in dealing with the Hearer of prayer the speaking is all on his side. He is so enamored of his own utterances that he cares not whether God speaks or not. But it is far otherwise with those who truly fear the Lord. It is when they hear the Lord’s voice speaking words of truth and mercy that they can venture to utter words of faith and hope. “Take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.” “Cause me to hear thy loving-kindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust.” “Be not silent to me.” “The companions hearken unto thy voice; cause me to hear it.” There are times when, in the face of His silence, as surely as in the face of His frown, they who fear Him cannot advance nor speak to the Lord. And when they have presented their suit, they look up for an answer in peace. This, in the meantime, the Lord often gives them by a word in season spoken to their heart. It may, sometimes, please Him not to give any intimation of His acceptance of their prayer till the time for granting their request has come. . . .

They who fear the Lord are not blind, as others are, to the indications of His mind in the dealing of His providence. They are acquainted, as others are not, with the principles of His moral government. They have the sensitiveness of spiritual life under the workings of His great hand, while others lie unaffected in death. They watch and walk with God, while others live without Him in the world. They speak to Him about His doings, and He speaks to them, while others are dumb and deaf before Him. Shall they not, therefore, know the bearings of God’s providence as others cannot? May not one, who fears the Lord, who is much given unto prayer, whose heart is charged with care about the interests of the cause of Christ, who watches over the movements of providence with a feeling of intense interest, who looks on God’s works in the light of His word, and of His recorded antecedents, and who has acquired the blessed habit of speaking about His doings to the Lord Himself, seem to penetrate a future, all dark to others, as with a seer’s eye, while, with all truth and honesty, he may disclaim being either a prophet or the son of one? They are little acquainted with the ways of God, who imagine God has ceased to give His people assurance. . . . (“The Secret of the Lord”)

Charles Spurgeon On Worship And The Heart

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Quoting Charles H. Spurgeon:

“Blessed is the man whose strength is in You; in whose HEART are Your ways.” (Psalm 84:5)

“None find joy in worship but those who throw their hearts into it. Neither prayer, nor praise, nor the hearing of the word will be profitable to those who have left their hearts behind them.”

Brought Near To God

In our earthly families there are sons and daughters who make a show of affection towards their father, but ignore doing his will when he is out of sight. There are no such sons and daughters in the kingdom of heaven. These are the true children of God who honor Him by their obedience. Dr. John Kennedy offers this explanation:

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” (Psalm 25:14)

Those who fear, must be near to, God. They were once “far off,” but they have been brought nigh by the blood of Jesus. In the covenant right of Jesus the quickening spirit came to them when they were far off and dead. He caused them to live, and He united them to Christ. Being clothed in the righteousness of Christ they were justified by God; the criminals were pardoned and made heirs of life; and they received power to become the sons of God. Having a right to communion with God, the Spirit guides them to the throne of grace. Their homage at the footstool of that throne is fear. It is neither the rebel, who dreads the king’s approach, as he skulks on the outskirts of the kingdom, not the stranger, who has never visited the sovereign, who can do him homage in loyal, friendly deference to his rank and rule; but the courtier or the child, who is in the palace and in the presence of the king. So only those who are His loving children and His loyal servants, can honor the Lord as a father, and as a master fear Him.

In their approaches to God on His throne of grace, they mingle reverence of His glory with hope in His mercy. This is a combination only found where the true fear of God is. Others may have either a slavish fear without hope, or a presumptuous hope without fear; but the view of God which inspires hope in the heart of a Christian produces also reverential fear. The glory of God, as seen in the cross, commands his admiration as well as his trust. It is at once solemnizing and encouraging. It bears him down while it draws him near. It breaks his heart as surely as it cheers it. And the more it has of the one effect the more it has of the other. The more clearly he discerns the rigor of divine righteousness and the steadfastness of divine truth, the more he is constrained to reverence and encouraged to hope. It is to the mercy that is accompanied with truth he humbly ventures to appeal, and he can claim peace, only when he sees it in the embrace of righteousness. His confidence increases with his admiration of God’s character and his awe of His majesty. His fear is not now in conflict with his hope. Solemn awe only gives zest to his enjoyment of liberty in the presence of God. The more I am persuaded that it is the sovereign with whom I commune, the more I prize the tokens of that sovereign’s favor. I may, perhaps, have met him on a journey divested of the insignia of royalty. I may then have received some token of favor, but it cheered me not as it would if I has gotten it from the king, when wearing his crown and seated on his throne amidst the splendor of his court. What proved him king and glorious would make me all the more prize his favor. I might have feared that it was not as king that he was my friend before, and that he would not acknowledge in open court the poor man to whom he then happened to be kind. But when from the very throne he helps me, how precious is his kindness and how cheering to my heart! I cared not so much for his kindness, nor would I so depend upon it, when I could stand up before him as he showed me favor. But how invaluable do I reckon his condescension when I can only receive the token of it lying prostrate at His footstool! (Sermon: “The Secret of the Lord”)

Why The Christian Fears God

Just as a loving child of a king, the Christian honors God as his Father and, just as the king’s loyal servants, fears Him as his Master. Dr. John Kennedy writes:

“The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.”Psalm 25:14

All true Christians are peculiar. Their singular character and their exclusive privileges make them so. The Lord causes them to differ from all others by what He does in them, and by what He does for them. He creates a new heart in them, and they fear Him. He puts His spirit within them, and makes known to them His mind. Into their soul He infuses life, and into their ear He speaks His secrets. Fearers of God are thus favorites of God; and both as His fearers and His favorites they are a peculiar people.

True Christians differ from all others because they only fear the Lord. “I will put my fear within them” is a promise fulfilled to them all and to them only. Covenant grace was put within them ere covenant secrets were made known to them.

Those who fear the Lord are, and must be, quickened souls. They were once dead in sins, but they are now alive to God; and they live because they were “quickened together with Christ.” The fear of God is just the life of God in them suitably responding to the manifestation of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” These realize God as others do not. They know Him as none else do know Him. They alone approve of His character and appreciate His greatness. There are Godward movements in their hearts as in no hearts besides. Of them only does the Lord say, “they shall not depart from Me.”

A soul, spiritually dead, may be moved by an enslaving dread of God; but there can be no Godward advances in such a case. Farther and farther from God will that soul depart, who, left unrenewed, feels the terrors of His wrath. What causes his fear inflames his enmity. The more helpless he feels before the fire of God’s anger, the more active is his enmity before the brightness of God’s purity. Fearing and hating Him at once, the unquickened soul departeth from the living God. (Sermon: “The Secret of the Lord”)

The Consequences Of An Incorrigible Disposition

Asahel Nettleton

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy (Proverbs 29:1).

The Scriptures tell us that Pharaoh’s heart was hard even though he was often reproved by Moses, and by the judgments of God. When his conscience was aroused he silenced its voice, and hardened his neck. At length, he was suddenly destroyed by God in the depths of the sea. Asahel Nettleton explains Proverbs 29:1 in the excerpt below:

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. He shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. This is the doom of the incorrigible sinner:

His punishment shall have no end. Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. The smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever. To cut off from Dives the last hope of relief to his torments, Abraham added, And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from us to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Whose end is destruction. The redemption of the soul is precious and ceaseth forever. His destruction is eternal.

It is sudden. [He] shall suddenly be destroyed. Thus the Psalmist: How they are brought into desolation as in a moment?-They are utterly consumed with terror. As the fishes that are taken in an evil net-so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them. When sinners lose their souls they always lose them unexpectedly-especially those who have been hardened offenders. When they shall say, peace, and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape.

This sentiment is illustrated in the providence of God. The fact is so common that it has become a proverb. The text itself is the result of a wise observation of the conduct of divine providence. It embodies the wisdom of ages. Thus was it with the inhabitants of the old world. They were often reproved by the preaching of Noah, and the by strivings of the Spirit, but they hardened their necks, and heeded neither. They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away. They were suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy. (Sermon: “The Destruction of Hardened Sinners”)

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