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    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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EVIL IS REAL

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 ESV)

Many in today’s world do not believe in evil. They believe that such ideas are based on cultural beliefs relative to various societies in different places and times. The paradigm key here is the word “relative”. Ethics, morals, right or wrong, and good or evil are considered “relative” to the circumstances people encounter in life. The idea of a spiritual being named Satan or the devil, who is an embodiment of evil, is viewed with contempt as the product of ignorant superstitious minds.

Continue reading

HELL

Flames of HellAnd do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15 ESV)

Charles Spurgeon said, “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” The modern church doesn’t talk about Hell as much as it should. Perhaps this is why so many Christians today are not as passionate to share their faith with others. Are we really as concerned as we should be over our neighbors, family, and friends’ eternal future? Do we live as if we believe there is no Hell, and still think of ourselves as Christians?

The Scriptures absolutely teach that hell is a real place where there is eternal conscious punishment of the wicked (Matthew 25:30, 25:41, 25:46, Mark 9:43, 9:48, Luke 16:33-24, 16:28, Revelation 14:9-11, 20:10). In fact, Jesus has more to say about Hell than He does about Heaven in the New Testament.

We may discover a lot about Hell by reading Matthew 25:41–46. For instance, Hell is eternal separation from God and all His blessings. (Matthew 25:41) Hell was created for the Devil and his demons. It is a realm of suffering where the souls of men will be with the being who is most unlike God. It is a horrible place of chastisement and retribution. (Matthew 25:46) Hell is an everlasting place of endless punishment. Continue reading

God’s First Promise to Fallen Man

Charles H. SpurgeonCharles H. Spurgeon:

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

This is the first promise to fallen man. It contains the whole gospel, and the essence of the covenant of grace. It has been in great measure fulfilled. The seed of the woman, even our Lord Jesus, was bruised in His heel, and a terrible bruising it was. How terrible will be the final bruising of the serpent’s head! This was virtually done when Jesus took away sin, vanquished death, and broke the power of Satan; but it awaits a still fuller accomplishment at our Lord’s Second Advent, and in the day of Judgment.

To us the promise stands as a prophecy that we shall be afflicted by the powers of evil in our lower nature, and thus bruised in our heel: but we shall triumph in Christ, who sets His foot on the old serpent’s head. Throughout this year we may have to learn the first part of this promise by experience, through the temptations of the devil, and the unkindness of the ungodly who are his seed. They may so bruise us that we may limp with our sore heel; but let us grasp the second part of the text, and we shall not be dismayed. By faith let us rejoice that we shall still reign in Christ Jesus, the woman’s seed. (Faith’s Checkbook)

How Many Have Fallen?

Thomas BrooksThomas Brooks:

By all this we see, that the yielding to lesser sins, draws the soul to the committing of greater. Ah! how many in these days have fallen, first to have low thoughts of Scripture and ordinances, and then to slight Scripture and ordinances, and then to make a nose of wax of Scripture and ordinances, and then to cast off Scripture and ordinances, and then at last to advance and lift up themselves, and their Christ-dishonoring and soul-damning opinions, above Scripture and ordinances.  Continue reading

The Devil Told Me That!

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon:

Somebody once told John Bunyan that he had preached a delightful sermon. “You are too late,” said John, “the devil told me that before I left the pulpit.” Satan is adept in teaching us how to steal our Master’s glory.

The man who cannot weep cannot preach. At least, if he never feels tears within, even if they do not show themselves without, he can scarcely be the man to handle such themes as those which God has committed to his people’s charge. (15.233)

You Need Healing

Charles H. SpurgeonJesus not only demands your trust, He deserves it. You need healing; He came to heal those who need healing. He can heal you. What are you to do in order that you may be healed? What are you to do in order that all your sins may be forgiven and yourself saved? All of this is to be done by Jesus. According to Charles H. Spurgeon:

When [Jesus] tells you that if you trust [Him] you shall find peace, [and] you tell him it is not possible there can be any peace to you; when he reminds you that he never rejected one, you insinuate that he will reject you; you thus insult the Divine Majesty by denying the truthfulness and honesty of God. You do need healing when you allow wicked despair to get the mastery of you like this; you are far gone, very far gone, but I rejoice to know that you are still among those Jesus is able to heal. He came to those who needed healing, and you cannot deny you are one of those. Why, even Satan himself will not have the impudence to tell you that you have no need of healing. Oh, if only you would cast yourself into the Savior’s arms – not trying to make yourself out to be good, but acknowledging all that I have laid to your charge, and then, trusting as a sinner to that Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Remember you need healing, for unless you are healed of these sins, and of all these wicked tendencies and thoughts, as sure as you are a living man you will be cast into hell. I know of no truth that ever causes me such pain to preach as this, not that sinners will be damned, awful though the truth of that is, but that awakened sinners will be damned unless they believe in Jesus. You must not make a Christ out of your tears; you must not hope to find safety in your bitter thoughts and cruel despairs. Unless you believe you shall never be established. Unless you come to Christ, you may be convinced of sin, of righteousness and judgment too, but those convictions will only be preludes to your destruction. You call yourself a seeker, but until you are a finder you are an enemy to God, and God is angry with you every day. I have no alternative for you, however tender and broken-hearted you may be, but this one – believe and live; refuse to believe, and you must perish, for your broken-heartedness, and tears, and professed contrition can never stand in the place of Christ. You must have faith in Jesus, or you must die eternally.

I need not enter into what your case is. Remember, Jesus has saved a parallel case to yours. Yours may seem to yourself to be exceedingly odd, but somewhere or other in the New Testament you will find one as singular as yours. You tell me that you are full of so much wickedness. Did he not cast seven devils out of Mary Magdalen? Yes, but your wickedness seems to be greater than even seven devils. Did he not drive a whole legion of devils out of the demoniac of Gadara? You tell me that you cannot pray, but he healed one possessed of a dumb devil; you feel hardened and insensible, but he cast out a deaf devil. You tell me you cannot believe; neither could the man with the withered arm stretch it out, but he did it when Jesus ordered him to. You tell me you are dead in sin, but Jesus made even the dead live. Your case cannot be so bad that it has not been matched, and Christ has conquered. . . . (Advice for Seekers)

In the Presence of God

R. C. Sproul:

“The clearest sensation that a human being has when he experiences the holy is an overpowering and overwhelming sense of creatureliness. That is, when we are in the presence of God, we are humbled and become most aware of ourselves as creatures. This is the opposite of Satan’s original temptation, “You shall be as gods.” (The Holiness of God)

Put On the Armor of Light

INTRODUCTION: The language of this text is borrowed from natural sleep, in which a person is in a great measure unaware of what is happening around him but life remains in the body. This condition is applied to Christians who have grown insensitive to divine things–they sleep, but life remains in their souls. In particular, the exhortation is for those who find themselves in a state of spiritual slumber to shake off their drowsiness and awake to spiritual realities.

“Now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11).

Asahel Nettleton writes:

Parents, consider your children. Are they all securely within the safety of the covenant? Do you pray with them and for them? Have you taught them that they are sinners in need of new birth? Are you urging them to remember their Creator in the days of their youth? Were you to depart with one of your children today, could you rest satisfied that you have done your duty? Have you not one more word of instruction, of counsel, or of warning for your children before you meet them at the bar of God? If so, then it is time for you to awaken to your duty to order your home.

Consider the activity of unbelievers. The men of this world shame us by their conduct. They rise up early and sit up late. They plan and execute. Labor, fatigue, and hardship are nothing to them if they can but collect a little of this world before they leave it. They are laying up treasure on earth. And will you not be as earnest to lay up for yourselves treasure that will endure in heaven? Do you not feel reproved by their conduct to think that the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light?

Consider the power of your enemy. My brethren, you are on the field of battle against the prince of darkness. The malice of evil legions is directed against the Redeemer’s kingdom in this world. Satan is already in possession of the hearts of all wicked men. While you sleep, he is sowing tares and destroying about us. Snares and temptations are laid thick around you, and unless you are awake, you will certainly be ignorant of his devices. I would blow the trumpet and sound the alarm: Cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light! (“Professing Christians, Awake!”)

Casting Blame Upon God’s Decree

In the words of Thomas Boston:

Wicked men, when they commit some wicked or atrocious crime, might attempt to excuse themselves, saying, “Who can help it? God would have it so; it was appointed for me before I was born, so that I could not avoid it.” This is a horrid abuse of the divine decrees, as if they might constrain men to sin. This is impossible. The decree is an immanent act of God, and so can have no influence, physical or moral, upon the wills of men, but leaves them to the liberty and free choice of their own hearts; and what sinners do, they do most freely and of their own choice. It is a horrid and detestable wickedness to cast the blame of your sin upon God’s decree. This is to charge your villainy upon him, as if he were the author of it. It is great folly to cast your sins upon Satan who tempted you, or upon your neighbor who provoked you: but it is a far greater sin, nay, horrid blasphemy, to cast it upon God himself. A greater affront than this cannot be offered to the infinite holiness of God.

O what a sweet and pleasant life would you have under the heaviest pressures of affliction, and what heavenly serenity and tranquility of mind would you enjoy, would you cheerfully acquiesce in the good will and pleasure of God, and embrace every dispensation, how no matter how sharp it may be, because it is determined and appointed for you by the eternal counsel of his will! (“Important Lessons Drawn from the Decrees of God”)

The Yoke of Sin

I pray that all who are burdened with sin and sinfulness, and desire to know how their sins may be forgiven and their souls saved – would hear the gracious words of the following text, and come to Jesus. John A. Broadus (1827-1895) writes:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

But it is impossible that men should be without subjection to some higher power; by our very nature we look up to some Being that is above us. All who are not subject to God are the subjects of Satan: and they who wish to be delivered from the dominion of the Evil One, must find such deliverance in having God himself for their King, as he intended they should when he made them. Accordingly, when the Savior offers to give rest, he bids them take his yoke upon them, and learn of him, and they shall find rest unto their souls. And then he concludes the invitation by encouraging them to believe that this exchange will be good and pleasant; they labor under the galling yoke of Satan, and are heavy laden with the grievous burdens of sin, but his yoke is easy. This burden is light. . . .

The same bountiful and gracious Being who suits the blessings of his providence to our various wants, does also adapt the invitations of his mercy to the varied characters and conditions of men. Are men enemies to God? – they are invited to be reconciled. Have they hearts harder than the nether millstone? – he offers to take away the stone, and give a heart of flesh. . . Are they sleeping the heavy sleep of sin? – “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead.” Are men hungering with a craving hunger? – he tells them of the bread that came down from heaven. Are they thirsty? – he calls them to the water of life. And are they burdened with sin and sinfulness? – he invites them to come to Jesus for rest. It is those who are “bowed down beneath a load of sin,” that are here especially invited to come to Jesus.

Sin is great and grievous burden: and no man can ever see it as it is and feel it in its weight without wishing to be relieved of it. My hearers, are there not many among you who have often felt this – who have often felt heavy laden with the load of your transgressions, and the burden of your sinfulness? Are there not those among you who feel this now? If you do not all feel so, it is because your perceptions are blunted, you do not see things as they are. You have been servants of sin for a long time – have you not found it a hard master? You have been wearing the yoke of Satan lo! These many years – have you not found that his yoke is indeed galling and grievous? How many things you have done at his bidding that you knew to be wrong? How often you have stifled the voice of your conscience, and listened to the suggestions of the Tempter! How often you have toiled to gratify sinful desires and passions, and found that still the craving, aching void was left unfilled!

What has sin done for the world and for you that you should desire it? It brought death into the world, and all our woe. It has filled the earth with suffering and sorrow. It has made it needful that Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, should suffer and die, to make atonement for it. It has brought upon you much of unhappiness now, and many most fearful apprehensions for the future. By your sins you have incurred the just anger of Him that made you-already they rise mountain high, and yet still you go on in your sinfulness, accumulating more and more, heaping up wrath against the day of wrath. You shudder when you think of death, you tremble when you think of God, for you know well that you are not prepared to die, that you cannot meet your Maker and Judge in peace. And not only has sin brought on you all these sufferings and fears, but you cannot rid yourself of it. . . .

If so, hear the Savior’s own invitation, and come to him. He will take off the heavy load that crushes you, and you shall find rest to your souls. He will intercede in your behalf before God, he will take away your guilt by the sacrifice he has offered, and he will “wash you thoroughly from your iniquity, and cleanse you from your sin.” (“Come Unto Me”)

The Savior’s Invitation

The majority of men labor under the yoke of Satan and they are heavy laden with the burdens of sin. Jesus, however, offers a yoke that is easy. John A. Broadus (1827-1895) writes:

Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

This familiar passage of Scripture contains one of the most precious among the many precious invitations of our compassionate Redeemer. Many a feeble and fainting believer has been led by it to take fresh courage and “press toward the mark,” many a burdened sinner has found in it that the gospel of Jesus is indeed “good news,” “a word in season to him that is weary.” And since the passage is so important and so precious, we may find our profit in attending a little to its phraseology, in endeavoring to make ourselves acquainted with its precise terms.

The Savior invites to him all “that labor and are heavy laden.” In this he doubtless referred partly to the burden of ceremonies and observances which the scribes and Pharisees imposed upon their followers, as required by the traditions of the fathers, and as essential and sufficient for their finding favor with God. The law itself, St. Paul tells us, was, if looked upon as a means of salvation, too grievous a burden for any to bear; and these superstitious observances made it yet more grievous. Such persons, then, tolling and borne down beneath the burden of the ceremonial law, are here invited to the Savior. . . .

Wearing the yoke of another is an expression very often employed in Scripture (as all will remember) to denote subjection to him. The figure is taken, of course, from beasts of burden, as oxen; being applied thence to all who are the laboring servants of a master. Jesus is then bidding those who have been the “servants of sin,” to obey him from the heart and be his servants; those who have been subject to Satan, to take him instead as their King. . . .

And when he says, “For I am meek and lowly in heart,” the Savior means to show that he is fitted to be a Teacher, that so all may come and learn of him. In order that a Teacher may win the hearts of his pupils, and thereby the better make them love to learn and love what they do learn, he must unite to other qualities a certain mildness, and gentleness, and kindliness . . . He would not be rough and overbearing and haughty as were the Doctors, the teachers of the law, he is not imperious and domineering and severe like many who have since professed to teach his doctrines: he is humble and affectionate, condescending and kind.

We may learn from these words the character of the lessons, as well as of the Teacher. It is the knowledge of himself that he will give; and as he is meek and lowly, i.e., gentle and humble, so those that come to learn of him will be taught lessons of gentleness, lessons of humility. Still the chief intent of this clause would seem to be what was mentioned first, namely to recommend himself as disposed to be kind and affectionate to all who might come to learn of him . . . He promises to free them from their grievous tolls, to relieve them of their heavy burdens, to give them rest. To appreciate fully the expressiveness of this figure, one must imagine himself bearing a heavy burden, a weight such as he can hardly sustain, and that after bearing it till he is almost crushed to the ground, he throws it off, and rests . . . And then suppose the burden is clinging to you, bound with cords you cannot sever, though you are bowed down under the load and vainly striving to throw it off, and that as you labor thus and are heavy laden, one offers if you come to him to loose the bonds and take away the burden, and let you rest – how sweet would be the thought! How quickly, how joyfully, how thankfully, you would run to him! (“Come Unto Me”)

The Lord Would Have the Wicked Made Known

Take heed, and walk fearfully and carefully. Let us view the truth through a magnifying-glass set before our eyes. Look at those who seemed to be passing for good Christians and yet, they are fallen; having in themselves nothing but wickedness. Read closely the following words of John Calvin:

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)

Satan cometh with his poison and plagues, that he may destroy all. We see the flock of God troubled and tormented with ravenous wolves that devour and destroy whatsoever they can. Must we be moved with mercy towards a wolf: and in the mean time let the poor sheep and lambs of which our Lord hath such a special care, let them. I say, perish? When we see any wicked man troubling the church? Either by offences or false doctrine, we must prevent him as much as lieth in our power: we must warn the simple, that they be not misled and carried away; this I say, is our duty.

The Lord would have the wicked made known that the world may discern them that their ungodliness may be made manifest to all. St. Paul speaketh of some who are busy bodies, idlers &c.: these must be pointed out likewise, that they may be shunned. What must be done to those who have the sword in hand; who have become very devils; who can in no wise live in peace and concord, but thrust themselves forward to bring all to naught? When we see them thus, must we hold our peace? Let us learn to know them that trouble the church of God, and keep them back, and endeavor to prevent them from doing injury. Hereby we see how few there are that have a zeal for God’s church.

We speak not only of open enemies … but we see others that seek to turn us away from the simplicity of the gospel: they endeavor to bring all things into disorder; they sow tares, that they may bring this doctrine into hatred, and cause men to be grieved with it; others would have a licentious liberty to do what wickedness they choose, and thus throw off the yoke of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . .

And yet, who is there among us that setteth himself against these things? Who is there that saith, let us beware and be watchful? On the contrary, those that ought to reprove such wickedness sharply not only wink at it, and let it pass, but they favor it, and give it their support. We see the wickedness that overspreads the land; we see those that endeavor to pervert and bring to naught our salvation, and bring the church of God into doubt; and shall we dissemble, and make as though we saw none of these things? We may boast as much as we please about being Christians, yet there are more devils among us than Christians, if we countenance such things.

Therefore, let us look well to the doctrine which is here given us; and if we see wicked persons trying to infect the church of God, to darken good doctrine, or destroy it, let us endeavor to bring their works to light, that every one may behold them, and thereby be enabled to shun them. If we attend not to these things, we are traitors to God, and have no zeal for His honor, nor for the salvation of the church. (“Pure Preaching of the Word”)

God will have His People Edified

Mankind is weak and foolish. Our minds are always trying to alter and bend the truth. We seem to be drawn to things which are unprofitable for our souls. Therefore, we must be very careful when it comes to our own desires. John Calvin writes:

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)

For God will have His people to be edified; and He hath appointed His Word for that purpose. Therefore, if we go not about the salvation of the people, that they may receive nourishment by the doctrine that is taught them, it is sacrilege; for we pervert the pure use of the Word of God. This word profane is set against that which is holy and dedicated to God. Whatsoever pertains to the magnifying of God, and increases our knowledge of His majesty, whereby we may worship Him; whatsoever draweth us to the kingdom of heaven, or taketh our affections from the world, and leadeth us to Jesus Christ that we may be grafted into His body, is called holy.

On the contrary, when we feel not the glory of God, when we feel not to submit ourselves to Him, when we know not the riches of the kingdom of heaven, when we are not drawn into His service to live in pureness of conscience, when we know not what the salvation meaneth which was purchased by our Lord Jesus Christ, we belong to the world, and are profaned. The doctrine which serves to mislead us in such things is also called profane. Thus we see what St. Paul’s meaning is: to wit, when we come together in the name of God, it is not to hear merry songs, and to be fed with wind, that is, with vain and unprofitable curiosity, but to receive spiritual nourishment. For God will have nothing preached in His name, but that which will profit and edify the hearers, nothing but that which containeth good matter.

But it is true, our nature is such, that we take great pleasure in novelty, and in speculations which seem to be subtle. Therefore, let us beware, and think as we ought, that we may not profane God’s holy Word. Let us seek that which edifieth, and not abuse ourselves by receiving that which hath no substance in it. It is hard to withdraw men from such vanity, because they are inclined to participate in it. But St. Paul showeth that there is nothing more miserable than such vain curiosity: “For they will increase unto more ungodliness.” As if he had said, my friends, you know not at first sight what hurt cometh by these deceivers; who go about to gain credit and estimation among you, and with pleasant toys endeavor to please you; but believe me, they are Satan’s instruments and such as in no wise serve God but increase unto more wickedness; that is. If they are let alone, they will mar the Christian religion; they will not leave one jot safe and sound. Therefore, see that you flee them as plagues, although at first sight, the poison which they bring be not perceived. (“Pure Preaching of the Word”)

The Power of God

[A]nd what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:19-23 ESV)

We see in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians a desire that they increase their understanding on: “the hope of His calling” – “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” and “the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe”

Let us think about the last item above and try to discover what kind of power Paul is writing about and how this power may be seen in the lives of Christians. Reflect on this; the nature of God’s power in believers is the same that worked in Christ. 

This power was seen when Jesus was raised from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-20) and we see this power again when God seated Jesus at his right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:20) We also see it when God puts all things under the feet of Jesus. (Ephesians 1:21-23)

Meditate on this; God’s power gave life to His crucified Son and raised Him to the highest position in the universe. As Christians, how have we seen such power in our own lives?

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3 ESV)

These verses tell us that we were once dead in our trespasses and sins. We lived our lives in the way of the world and were servants to Satan. We only cared to live according to the passions of our flesh and the desires of our bodies and minds. We deserved only wrath and even though we were dead in our sins, God gave us life according to the power of His grace through Jesus Christ.

Through God’s power He has saved us and raised us up to be seated with Him in His Kingdom. We are sitting with Christ at God’s right hand and are being strengthened by God’s power. (Ephesians 3:16) His power is evident in us when the fruit of the spirit is displayed in our lives. His power gave us a new birth by which we were transformed into a new life as the children of God. Therefore, what Christian – who is indeed a Christian – can say that he has never experienced the power of God in his life?

The Controversial Spirit

Many a person who declines controversy over the truth of Christianity has renounced his confidence in the truth; that truth which is like a torch in that – the more it shakes, the more it shines. Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921) writes:

Are there then to be no limits set to the controversial spirit? Assuredly there are. These limits are, however, not to be sought in motives of convenience or prudence. Christianity thrives on controversy, and exists only by virtue of it—it is in the world to reason the world into acceptance of itself, and it would surely be vain to expect the world to take its reasoning without reply. “It is the native property of the divine word,” says Calvin, rather “never to make its appearance without disturbing Satan, and rousing his opposition. This is the most certain and unequivocal criterion by which it is distinguished from false doctrines, which are easily broached since they are heard with general attention and received with the applause of the world.” “If the presence of controversy,” therefore, adds Vinet, “is not in itself the criterion of the truth of a doctrine, a doctrine which arouses no contradiction lacks one of the marks of truth.” And surely subjective motives cannot exonerate us from bearing our witness to the truth. Indeed it may be fairly argued that even subjective considerations would rather bid us advance valiantly to the defense of the truth, if it be at all the case as Dr. Hort tells us it is, that “smooth ways” in this sphere too “are like smooth ways of action … truth is never reached or held fast without friction and grappling.” And surely we will give quick assent to the same writer’s dictum that “there are other and better kinds of victory than those that issue in imperial calm.” Even a certain amount of heat in controversy may thus find its justification—in the consideration, to wit, that it is not merely the chill logical intellect which may well be enlisted in this war. The poet’s line, “And God’s calm will was their burning will,” is no libel on the spirit of God’s true martyrs and saints. (“Christianity: The Truth”)

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