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Vol. 2, No. 7
July, 1993

The Marrow of Dispensationalism

by Glenn Conjurske

There are thousands of dispensationalists throughout Fundamentalism who have almost no understanding of the real marrow of dispensationalism. They hold tenaciously to a program of human history, such as may be portrayed on a chart of the ages, but have no understanding of the principles which underlie those things. They know that there were different divine enactments and requirements in different ages of the world, but understand almost nothing as to the reason of it. They see the enactments of God, but understand not his purpose in it. Consequently, while they profess themselves to be dispensationalists, they are constantly engaged in pursuits which go directly against the principles of dispensationalism. Political action is one of the most prominent of those pursuits.

Now it has often happened that non-dispensationalists have had a much better grasp of the marrow of dispensationalism than their brethren who adhere to the dispensational system. Thus Merle D'Aubigné writes of Oliver Cromwell, “This hero, so affectionate towards his friends, so tender to his wife and children, and then inflexible as death before the enemies of the Commonwealth, is an enigma for which we naturally seek a solution. One solution readily offers itself, and I think it is a true one. We should cease to regard him in his individual character, and look upon him only as a general and a judge,----the representative of that inexorable Justice whom the pagans represented with a bandage over her eyes and a sword in her hand.

“There is, however, another solution, which explains not only this famous expedition, but also the whole of Cromwell's life. The great man shared in the error which the Papacy had held during the Middle Ages, and which most of the Reformers entertained during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. He did not make a sufficient distinction between the old and the new covenant, between the Old and the New Testament. He thought that a Christian, and particularly a public man, ought to seek his rules of conduct in the Hebrew theocracy. The terrible judgements inflicted by God's command on the unbelieving nations in the times of the judges and kings of Israel, appeared to him not only to authorize but to necessitate similar judgements. He thought that, like Moses and Joshua, he might slay Balaam with the sword (Numbers xxxi.8; Joshua xiii.22). It may be that he did not follow this out explicitly; but it was with this prejudice and under this impulse that he usually acted.

“This was wrong. The Jewish theocracy existed no longer; and its rules of conduct had been abolished with it. The precepts which ought to direct the life of a Christian are contained in our Saviour's sermon on the mount and in other of his discourses, as well as in the writings of the Apostles. But we may understand how men of upright mind easily took for the guidance of their lives all the declarations comprised in the Word of God, even those which are no longer applicable under the change of covenant.”

This strikes very near the heart of the matter, yet still with little understanding of the principles involved in it. It recognizes the fact that the Jewish theocracy no longer exists, but gives us no indication of a reason why there should be a theocracy at one time, and not at another. In the answer to that question lies the marrow of dispensationalism.

To answer it we must begin at the beginning. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” These two spheres figure into all of God's dealings with the human race. There is a heavenly calling, and there is an earthly calling. The heavenly calling consists of calling man out of the earth, out of its associations and pursuits, and making him a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth, giving him no inheritance in it, but setting his sights upon a future inheritance, reserved in heaven for him. The earthly calling consists of settling man down in the earth, and giving him a present inheritance in it.

The earthly calling of God's saints coincides with the establishment and maintenance of the rights and claims of God to the earth. Such dispensations are therefore inaugurated with sweeping judgements, and maintained by the strict application of righteous law. The heavenly calling leaves ungodly man in possession of the earth, leaves the scene of corruption alone, taking its course from bad to worse, leaves the claims of God to the earth in abeyance, and calls his saints to separation from it all, walking in the midst of it as pilgrims and strangers, with their hearts, their treasures, and their inheritance in heaven, entirely outside of the earthly scene.

In the earthly calling, therefore, the saints of God become the representatives of the Lord of the earth, with a commission to maintain his rights and claims in the earth. They execute his judgements and maintain his laws. The saints of the heavenly calling leave the affairs of earth alone. They have no commission to rectify the course of things here, for God himself is not doing so, but forbearing in grace and patience with the wickedness of man, allowing his iniquity to ripen and run its course. When that iniquity is full, God steps in and asserts his claims, sweeps the scene clean, establishes his authority over the earth, and sets his saints in it and over it, to enjoy their own portion there, and to maintain the claims of God in it. Thus a dispensational change occurs, and the heavenly calling gives place to the earthly. When the people thus established in the earth, with the passing of generations and centuries, have corrupted themselves and departed from the God who placed them there, he gives them up to go their own way, calling his own to a path of separation from the corrupt mass, walking in the midst of it as pilgrims and strangers, while the iniquity around them ripens again for judgement. Thus another dispensational change takes place, and the earthly calling gives place to the heavenly. Thus we see the heavenly and the earthly callings alternating throughout the history of the world. The fullest expression of the heavenly calling is found in the church of the present dispensation. The fullest expression of the earthly calling will be found in the millennial kingdom of Christ, and the Old Testament examples of it may generally be regarded as types of that.

Adam's calling was an earthly one. Heaven was not in his prospects at all. He was set in a garden, which is a portion of the earth, as the possessor and lord of it. Things were necessarily much simpler then, with no population but himself and his wife, and no sin to be dealt with. Still, he was bound to maintain the acknowledged supremacy of the Lord, expressed in a single commandment, the breach of which resulted in the immediate loss of his place and portion.

Information is scanty on the time from Adam to Noah, yet from the general pattern of Scripture we may infer that the saints of that time were partakers of the heavenly calling, walking as pilgrims and strangers, while those who “went out from the presence of the Lord” settled down in the earth, building cities and filling them with arts and inventions and pleasures. (Gen. 4:16-22). The heavenly calling of the saints of that era is confirmed by the translation of Enoch to heaven just before the close of it. God was not asserting his claim to the earth during that time, and so not executing judgement upon the ungodly. Indeed, he set a mark upon the murderer Cain, lest others should execute upon him the vengeance which he deserved. As always in dispensations of this character, we see the forbearance of God with man's sin, rather than the execution of judgement.

But the divine patience is not inexhaustible, and the time came when God would again assert his claims in the earth. This is recorded in Genesis 6. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, for the earth is filled with violence through them.” The iniquity of man had come to the full, and the judgement of God interposed and swept them all away, sparing only the few righteous. Thus the earth was purged, and God's sovereignty over it asserted anew. Following that sweeping and unsparing judgement, man was again settled in the earth as his portion. “And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply in it.” (Gen. 9:7, Heb.). And here we see an obvious change of dispensation. Where the murderer was let alone before, now he is to be punished. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Gen. 9:6). That is, the righteous claims of God are to be maintained in the earth, where patient forbearance was exercised before.

But as in the former dispensation, man again corrupted himself. This time, however, God did not send a sweeping destruction upon him, to purge the earth as he had done in the flood, but executed a judgement of another sort. He did not destroy man, but gave him up----to go his own way without restraint. This took place historically at the tower of Babel, but it is described morally in the first chapter of Romans. “Because that, when they knew God”----and this can only refer to the days following the flood, when the earth was peopled by Noah and his sons, and their sons. There has been no other time since the flood when it could be said of men in general that they knew God. “When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, . . . . Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness.” (Vss. 21,24). Again, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections.” (Vss. 25-26). Once more, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind.” (Vs. 28, Greek).

Now observe, there was no sweeping judgement here to purge the earth of man's wickedness, as there had been at the flood. Just the reverse. Man is scattered to the ends of the earth, and given up by God, to go his own way and fill God's earth with his sin, until that sin is ripe for judgement. Where it is God's purpose to settle his own in the earth, as liege lord's of the land, he begins with a sweeping judgement to purge the scene of their inheritance. Hence the flood in Noah's time. But God had no such purpose at the tower of Babel, for he was not then about to give his saints an inheritance in the earth, but to call them out with a heavenly calling, while the scene around them ripened for judgement.

The judgement of Babel took place in the eleventh chapter of Genesis. In the twelfth chapter he begins anew, with the call of Abraham. But when God called Abraham, he did not settle him in the earth as he had done with Adam and with Noah. He promised him an inheritance in the earth, but did not give him one. “He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on, yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession.” (Acts 7:5). Meanwhile God called Abraham to a life of separation, as a pilgrim and a stranger on the earth. The terms of God's call were “GET THEE OUT of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee.” (Gen. 12:1). Yet as said, God gave him no inheritance in it, and his faith looked away to the heavenly country. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb. ll:9-10). Meanwhile, “These all...confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” And this is explained by, “now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly.” (Heb. ll:13-16).

God was not at that time ready to lay claim to the chosen land, and establish his sovereignty in it, for, as he tells Abraham, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” (Gen. 15:16). This was yet the time of patience and forbearance, not the time of judgement. Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as a stranger in a strange land. He left their affairs alone, and let their iniquity run its course, as God himself was then purposed to do. His sojourn in the land left the Amorites in full possession, and in full control of the land of Canaan. He had no commission either to “clean up the country,” or to “save the country,” nor to execute judgement upon it. The latter would surely be done, but the time was not come for it.

The time did come, however, when the iniquity of the Amorites was full, and the seed of Abraham were sent into the land to execute a sweeping and unsparing judgement upon all of the inhabitants, to take possession of the land as their own inheritance, to establish a theocracy in it, and thenceforward to maintain the rule and the rights of the Lord of hosts there. This was of the same character as what took place in the events of Noah's day, and what will take place at the second advent of Christ. Those events concern the whole earth, whereas Israel's possession of Canaan concerned only a small portion of it, but in principle they are exactly alike. They were settled down in the earth as their inheritance by the decree of God himself.

Israel, of course, corrupted itself in the land, and after much of the forbearance of God, Israel also was given up, as the Gentiles had been before, at the tower of Babel. This does not mean that there was no salvation for any Israelite, any more than the other meant there was no more salvation for any Gentile. But the fact is, Israel was given up, and dispersed and abandoned by God, the same as the Gentiles had been at Babel. And out of this corrupt mass of humanity, Jew and Gentile alike, known in the Bible as “the world,” God calls his church. He calls us as he had called Abraham, to a life of separation, as pilgrims and strangers on the earth. He calls us to live a life of patience and forbearance, in accordance with his own present purpose.

Thus grace reigns in those dispensations to which the heavenly calling belongs, for this calling occurs during the times of the divine patience and forbearance, while the Spirit of God yet strives with man, ere the sweeping and unsparing judgements of God fall upon the ripened iniquity which fills the earth. So it was in the days which preceded the flood, so it was during the sojourn of the patriarchs in the land of Canaan, and so it is during the present age of the church in the world. But those days of grace have always an end, when God arises to shake the earth and re-establish his own claims in it. When those days of grace have reached their limit, the Spirit of God ceases to strive with man, unsparing and universal judgement is poured out, and God plants his own people in the earth thus purged. So it was when God purged the earth by the flood. So it was when he purged the land of Canaan by the sword of Joshua and the armies of Israel. And so it will be when he purges the whole earth once more by the sweeping judgements of the book of Revelation, by the sharp sword which proceeds from the mouth of him who sits on the white horse, and by the armies of heaven which follow him (Rev. 19).

Meanwhile the world around us goes on ripening for judgement. The day will come at last when it will be said, “the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Rev. 14:15). When that day comes, it will be further said, “Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.” (Rev. 14:18-19). But until the sin of the world is come to its full fruition under “the man of sin,” God moves not a finger to execute the threatened judgement. By this of course I do not mean that he never executes any judgement at all. He often uses one wicked nation to judge another, but he does not execute that sweeping and universal judgement which will purge the earth of the wickedness of man, and prepare it for the inheritance of the saints.

Meanwhile what is the worth of the idle dreams of those who think to stop the course of iniquity, or to make the world a better place? The world has been long since given up by God himself, and is now fast ripening for judgement. When its sin is altogether ripe, the Son of Man will appear in his glory, “whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his threshing-floor,” which is the earth, “and gather his wheat into his garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:12). When that is done, the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The Lord will reign in Mount Zion. The claims and sovereignty of the Lord of Hosts will be supreme in all the earth. The Son of David will rule with a rod of iron. The meek will inherit the earth, and dwell in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places, and lie down in safety, and none shall make them afraid. Then righteousness will reign. During all the present age grace reigns, while righteous suffers.

Those who endeavor now to assert the righteous claims of God to the earth, or some part of it, only betray their ignorance of the calling and purpose of God. Many of them seek to exercise a “dominion” which God himself has abandoned, thus mixing together the heavenly and the earthly callings, endeavoring to mix together the reign of grace with the reign of righteousness, confusing the day of grace with the day of judgement, mixing together the church and the world, mixing together carnal and spiritual weapons, and so introducing general confusion into the testimony, warfare, and character of the church. And alas, the dispensationalism which is generally held today provides no safeguard against any of this. That which is true in it consists of little more than a chart of the ages, which has no effect on the walk and warfare of the church. The marrow of dispensationalism is another matter, consisting of a clear perception of the ways of God, and so conforming the heart and testimony of the church to the divine purpose and program.


The Rapture of the Church

and the Judgement of the Ungodly

by Glenn Conjurske

I have recently received a courteous letter from a post-tribulationist who has read my article on “Judgement Upon All the Ungodly” (Olde Paths and Ancient Landmarks, June, 1992). The writer cites a number of scriptures in an attempt to prove that all the ungodly will not be destroyed at the coming of Christ. Without here attempting to answer those particular scriptures, I only wish to state that such a position must necessarily involve its adherents in worse difficulties than any they are seeking to avoid. To state the matter very simply, if all of the godly are raptured at the coming of Christ, but all of the ungodly are not destroyed, then we are left with the anomaly of the ungodly inheriting the kingdom. If (according to the main tenet of post-tribulationism) the coming again of Christ is one indivisible event, then the rapture and glorification of the godly must of course occur at the same time as the judgement of the ungodly. But if all the godly are glorified at that time, it is evident that they cannot people the earth over which Christ will then begin to reign. At the inauguration of his kingdom, then, the earth will of necessity be peopled by the ungodly alone.

But this is directly against the analogy of Scripture, as well as the Bible's direct statements. When Enoch prophesied, “Behold the Lord cometh, with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgement upon all the ungodly,” his reference was to the actual coming of Christ to the earth to execute judgement. Jude makes this clear, and so do the terms of the prophecy itself. However (as has often been the case with such prophecies), an event immediately following the prophecy formed a type of the true and final fulfilment. In this case that type was the flood. But observe, the judgement which overtook the ungodly in the flood unquestionably “destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:27). Not one was left. Those who were left were the godly, and it was they who peopled the earth after the judgement had swept it clean. But Enoch, who uttered the prophecy, and who is the type (obviously) of the saints of the heavenly calling, was raptured to heaven some time before the judgement fell. He had no place in the purged earth which Noah and his sons inherited, and no more will the saints of the present dispensation in the millennial earth.

Now all of these types will find their exact counterpart in the events shortly to come to pass. The saints of the heavenly calling, that is, the church of the present dispensation, will be raptured to heaven as Enoch was, before the judgements begin to fall. The saints of the succeeding dispensation will be spared through those judgements, as Noah was, and people the earth which has been “thoroughly purged” of “all the ungodly.” Here will be found those who “look unto me whom they have pierced,” even while they are in the throes of the great tribulation. “For when thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” (Is. 26:9). It is during the time of Jacob's trouble that Jacob will turn to the Lord. This is also seen in an exquisitely beautiful type, in the dealings of Joseph with his brethren. During the seven years of famine which covered all the earth (typifying “the hour of temptation,” also seven years in duration, answering to the seventieth week of Daniel, “which shall come upon all the world”) Joseph (type of Christ, sent to his brethren by his father, but rejected by them) begins to deal with his brethren, and brings them to repentance concerning their one great sin, their rejection of himself. The troubles which Joseph brings upon them bring them to say, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother,” and he at length reveals himself to them. These represent the saints of the great tribulation. These will be hidden away in the wilderness (Rev. 12:14), as Noah was in the ark, and neither the wrath of Satan nor the wrath of God will fall upon them. They will be preserved through those troubles and judgements, to inherit the earth, as Noah did in his day.

The Church and the World

by Glenn Conjurske

A Sermon Preached April 18, 1993. Recorded, Transcribed, and Revised.

Open your Bibles to the book of First John, chapter five, verse nineteen. Here we read, “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness”----or as it should rather be translated, “in the wicked one.” Grammatically this could be either “wickedness” or “the wicked one,” but if you'll look at the preceding verse, it says there, “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” This wicked one is a person. Grammatically it has to be a person in verse 18, for there it is masculine in the Greek. In verse 19 it can be either masculine or neuter, but it is only reasonable to assume he is talking about the same thing in verse 19 as he is in verse 18. There is no reason to think anything otherwise.

What, then, is he talking about in verse 18? He is talking about two persons----God, and the wicked one. The same exactly in verse 19. “We are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one.” These two persons stand at the head of two distinct peoples. “We are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one.” And not only are these two peoples distinct, but they are opposite. They are poles apart. Their two heads are God, and the devil, and therefore there cannot be much in common between them. These two companies are the church and the world, and they lie at the opposite points of the compass. They are poles apart, and so long as God and the devil remain poles apart, the church and the world must remain poles apart. There can be no truce, no amalgamation, no friendship. These are two opposing armies engaged in conflict, and friendship with the other side is treason.

Now what I want to do this morning is take you to the Old Testament and show you some types of the church and the world. A type is an Old Testament picture, given by God as an illustration of the spiritual realities of the New Testament. How do I know that the things I am going to mention are divinely intended types of the church and the world? The same way you know that a picture of your wife is a picture of your wife. How? By the fact that it is a true and accurate representation of her. Suppose someone showed you a true-to-the-life picture of your wife, and asked you who it was. You would say it was your wife. If he asked you how you knew, you would tell him it looked just like her. “Maybe so,” he might say, “but that's no proof anybody ever intended it to be a picture of her.” You would write the man off as a crank or a moron. Now I believe these types of the church and the world to be intended to be types for precisely the same reason. Intended by whom? By the God who impressed them upon the inspired pages of Scripture. These types are not the basis of the doctrine, but they are supports for it, and they do serve very well to fix it in the mind.

That much being said, I turn to the first type, which is found in Genesis 15:12-14----Israel in Egypt. “And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge, and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” Here is God's prophetic description beforehand of Israel in Egypt. And the things that he describes are a picture in a nutshell of the portion of the church in the world, and the relationship of the church to the world.

First of all, they are strangers in Egypt. When God told Abraham that his seed was going to sojourn in Egypt, he never had any idea that they would go there and become amalgamated with the people of Egypt, or become one people. God never had any such idea. He never had any idea that they should settle down in Egypt. He says in verse 13, “Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs.” This is the first thing that gives you an accurate picture of the place that the church has in the world. We are strangers in a land that is not ours. We don't have any business to be amalgamated with the people of the world, to be mixed together with the people of the world, in what's called “Society.” You have a great deal of this among Evangelicals, who are always talking about “our society” and “our culture” and “our world”----as though the church and the world all made up one family. No such thing. They are two distinct peoples. Israel is in Egypt as strangers in a strange land that is not theirs. And it certainly was not the will of God for them to mix together with the Egyptians and become one people. In the United States folks come over here from other countries, and in a matter of a few generations they usually mix together, and become part of the nation in which they sojourn. That never happened with the Israelites in Egypt, and God never intended that it should happen, even though they sojourned there for four hundred years.

The second thing is, they were suffering there. It says, “They shall afflict them four hundred years.” They were not there in Egypt in ease and comfort and plenty. They were there in affliction, and this represents the normal portion of the church in the world, and the ordinary relationship of the church to the world. The church is not here to be amalgamated with the world, or to be on terms of friendship with it. We have God on one side, and the devil on the other side----God in the church and the devil in the world----and the devil is going to do his best to afflict the people of God. That was the place that Israel had in Egypt. They were strangers in a strange land, and the time that they spent there was a time of suffering----a time of persecution.

What were their prospects? God tells you that too, in the fourteenth verse: “Also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” There are two things here that Israel was looking forward to. They were looking forward to the time when they were going to come out of Egypt, and when God was going to judge Egypt. They had no prospect of reforming Egypt. They were not going to change the character of Egypt, so that Egypt would no longer afflict and persecute them. They had no prospect of gaining power in Egypt, so that they could resist the afflictions and persecutions of the Egyptians. They had no prospect of becoming amalgamated with the Egyptians, or of making friends with Egypt, so that Egypt would cease to afflict them, and they all be one happy family. Those were not their prospects. They were there in Egypt for all of those centuries looking forward to two things, which God had taught them to look forward to before they went to Egypt. They were looking for the time when they would come out of Egypt, and be delivered from its persecutions, and when God would judge Egypt. And that is a beautiful picture of the prospects of the church in the world. Strangers in a strange land that is not their own, suffering affliction all the time that they are there, their hopes set on the future deliverance, when their deliverer comes and takes them out of that sphere, and judges that nation that has afflicted them.

Now what would you think, if these Israelites, while they spent those four centuries in Egypt, what would you think if they had begun to look upon Egypt as their home?----if they had begun to talk about “our culture----our country”----talking about Egypt? You would say, Wait a minute: something is desperately wrong here. They have forgotten who they are. They have lost their identity. They've lost their hope. God had set their eyes upon the time when they would come out of Egypt, and Egypt is going to be judged. God had set their eyes on the promised land. But they have lost sight of all of that, and are settled down in Egypt, and in their hearts they have become part of the culture of Egypt. Now, that's where Neo-evangelicalism is today. They are there in principle, and a good many Fundamentalists are there in practice. “Our culture----our society----our world.” They in their hearts have made themselves part of the world. God intends them to be not only a distinct people, but a people who are opposites. “We are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one.”

Another picture of the church is found in Numbers chapter 21----Israel in the wilderness. Beginning at verse 21, “And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, Let me pass through thy land. We will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well, but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders.” Now, Moses' idea was, just strangers passing through. Not planning to settle down here. Not planning to take part in the affairs of this country. We just want permission to pass through. This is a very good picture of the church. You know, it tells you in the next verse that the king of the Amorites wouldn't grant them that permission to pass through. That has often been the case with the church in this wicked world. We're not going to cause any trouble. We won't overthrow the government, or alter the politics of the nation. We won't get involved in the cultural pursuits. All we want is just permission to pass through to our heavenly home. And the ungodly world, under the dominion of Satan, says, “No, you can't pass through. You're not going to pass through on the king's high way: you're going to sit in the king's prison-house.” Many of the best of saints throughout history have done so.

Now suppose that Israel had been granted permission to pass through the country, and they get half way through the country, and begin to speak of it as “our country,” and begin to look upon the culture of the Amorites as “our culture.” You would say, Something is wrong here. They have forgotten who they are, and what they are there for. They have lost sight of their prospects and their hopes, and are settling down where they don't belong. I do not believe Israel in the land of promise is a type of the church. Israel in the land of promise had already received their inheritance: the church has not. Israel in the wilderness had not received any inheritance yet, and therefore form a picture of the church of God----pilgrims and strangers here, passing on to the land of our inheritance.

Another picture of the church is Israel in Babylon, dwelling in Babylon, but not Babylonians. A distinct people. “We are of God,” while “the whole world lies in the wicked one.” In Jeremiah 29 we see Israel in Babylon. “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon. Build ye houses, and dwell in them, and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them. Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters, that ye may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it, for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” (Vss. 4-7). And further in verse 10, “For thus saith the Lord, that after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and preform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.” They were in Babylon precisely as their forefathers had been in Egypt, as strangers in a strange land----not to be settled down there, but always with the prospect before them, “God is going to visit us, and deliver us from this land, and take us to our own land.” In that they are a picture of the church of God.

He does not tell them to go out and be monks and nuns, to get out of the world. He says, build houses, plant gardens, get married, and have children. Engage in all the ordinary activities of life. He even says, pray to God for the peace of the city, because in their peace you'll have peace. If they have war, you will have war. But in all this keep your heart set on the fact that God is going to visit you and take you out of this place. This is not your home. You don't belong here. Don't sink your roots too deep.

Now I want to give you one more picture, one of the clearest pictures you will find in the Old Testament of the relationship of the church to the world. This is in David and his men, in I Samuel 22. “David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam, and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain over them.” (Vss. 1-2). David was cast out and persecuted by the reigning power. Saul was in power. He was in power because God had put him there. Nevertheless, he was not approved of God. Shortly after he began his reign, God came to Saul by his prophet Samuel, and said to him, “Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, I have rejected you from being king over Israel.” And God went and sought for a man after his own heart, and anointed him to be king over Israel. Yet God's man David had not yet come to the throne. Saul was rejected of God, yet reigning on the throne. David was rejected by Saul, yet anointed of God, waiting for his kingdom. Saul represents the devil, rejected by God, yet reigning over the world. David represents Christ, chosen and anointed of God, but not yet upon the throne. God's anointed is cast out and persecuted by the king whom God had rejected. The church is pictured by this band of men that gathered themselves to the Lord's anointed in his rejection, while all the power of the kingdom was in the hands of his sworn enemy.

Now all these men that gathered themselves unto David in the wilderness, to fight the Lord's battles with him, these all went out to David to share in his sufferings and persecutions with him. They went to him to share in his reproach. In associating themselves with David, they subjected themselves to David's sufferings, and to the hatred of Saul and his forces. Saul hated David with a mortal hatred. He left the affairs of the kingdom to go out and hunt David like a dog or a flea in the mountains. And all the men who gathered themselves to David exposed themselves to Saul's hatred and vengeance also. All that remained loyal to Saul after God had rejected him could have their ease and their plenty and their glory in Saul's kingdom. Those that went out to David went out to suffer a life of hardship and persecution, dwelling in dens and caves of the earth, exposed to all the dangers and privations which fell upon David in his rejection.

Now in I Peter 2:4 we read of the church, “coming as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.” And Hebrews 13:13 says, “Let us go forth therefore unto him, outside the camp, bearing his reproach.” All the power, all the glory, all the wealth, were on the side of Saul. David was just a vagabond, living in reproach and suffering. When he came to a man of wealth to get a little help in his privations, all he could get was reproach: “there be many servants now a days that break away every man from his master.” (I Sam. 25:10). Now when men come to Christ, they come to God's king indeed, but God's rejected king, outside the camp, outside of Saul's court and kingdom, bearing his reproach. Now you cannot mix Saul and David together, and you cannot mix their followers together. Saul is David's enemy. The devil is Christ's enemy, and the devil's kingdom is the enemy of the kingdom of God. The world is the enemy of the church. The two are not only distinct, but antagonistic.

Now David's men did not go out into the wilderness to dethrone Saul. They were not there to clean up Saul's kingdom, but only to suffer with David----until God brought his man David to the throne, and then they would reign with him. “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.”

Now in all of these pictures which we have looked at, we see two distinct companies. They are companies which are not only distinct, but antagonistic. The Egyptians afflict the Israelites. Saul pursues and persecutes David. The King of the Amorites is antagonistic to Israel, and will not allow them to pass through the land. Now the fact that the church is of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one, indicates that there ought to be a great gulf fixed between them. They are not alike. They can't be. There is only one way that the church and the world can be alike. It is not by the world becoming civilized, or cultured, or Christianized, or becoming righteous. That can't happen so long as the whole world lies in the wicked one. The world can't become like the church. The only way these two companies can be alike is if the church becomes like the world, and the true church can't do that either. We have God on the one side, and the devil on the other. And this is the basis for the Bible doctrine of separation. You'll find this clearly spelled out in II Corinthians 6. He says in verse 14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath CHRIST with BELIAL? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “We are of God.” God dwells in us. God walks in us. We are the temple of God. “Wherefore come out from among them”----who lie in the wicked one----“and BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord.”

The church, and the world. Two separate companies, just as distinct as Israel and Egypt. Israel in Egypt, sojourning there as strangers in a strange land, afflicted by the Egyptians, not joining together with the Egyptians, not becoming one people with them, not becoming friends with them, but afflicted by them. Not becoming involved in the affairs of Egypt. You know what the modern church would have done if they had been back there in Egypt in those days? They would have been saying, Let's get out and vote. Egypt doesn't have any right to afflict us and make slaves of us. Let's get out and vote, and get these evil men out of power, and get someone in office that will give us our rights. Let's change the laws of the land, let's amend the constitution----stem the tide----save Egypt. Israel had no business, no commission, to do so. They were there to be afflicted. God told Abraham that before they ever went near Egypt. God has told the church the same thing. Philippians 1:29----“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” John 16:33----“In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John 15:19----“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Oh, you may vote and boycott and lobby and flex your political muscles, and you may change a few laws, but you can't eradicate the hatred of the world for the people of God, any more than you can eradicate the hatred of the devil for God.

Oh, but Israel in Egypt had a prospect. God is going to send you a deliverer, and take you out of this land, and judge this people that have afflicted you. That is a clear picture of the church in the world, and the relationship between them.


Without Which No Man Shall See the Lord

by Glenn Conjurske

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14). This seems to be plain enough that it should not be mistaken, yet in spite of its plainness the verse has been made subservient to great errors on both the right hand and the left. On the one side there are some who contend that nothing is meant here but perfect holiness, and the verse is pressed to prove that there is no other alternative but perfection in this world, or damnation in the next. No proof is so much as attempted that “holiness” must mean perfect holiness. This is merely assumed by those who are so taken up with the doctrine of perfection that they see it everywhere in the Bible. A little reflection would certainly lead them to another conclusion. To take one example only, do they honestly suppose the dying thief on the cross was perfected before he died? Yet he had the assurance, in response to his first call upon the name of the Lord, that he would be with him in paradise----which is undoubtedly what is meant by seeing the Lord in the text before us. I say no more about this error on the right hand, not because it is not a dangerous one, but because there are few who hold it in our day. It is dangerous enough, for it must lead honest souls to despair. But on the other side is a worse error, widely held in our day, which confirms the careless and ungodly in presumption.

This plain text of Scripture stands directly against the antinomian gospel which is commonly preached in our day. As a consequence, it must be ignored or wrested by the preachers of that gospel. Many simply ignore it. They have no doubt read it many times, but seem nevertheless to be unaware of its existence----for alas, there are many who read the Bible not so much to find out what is there, as to find whatever they may use to support their own doctrines and practices.

I well remember a discussion I had with a number of people quite a few years ago, after a Sunday evening meeting at a Bible church. This discussion concerned the terms of the gospel, and lasted long into the early morning hours. At length one of the men who was present, a student at a good Fundamentalist Bible institute, turned to me and informed me that I was not of God, but was a heretic, and that he could have no more fellowship with me. Suiting his actions to his words, he got up and made for the door. While he was traversing the short distance to the door, I said, “The only thing I am contending for is that without holiness no man shall see the Lord, as the Bible says.” To this he replied, “That's not in the Bible.” Said I, “Yes, it is in the Bible.” By this time his hand was on the door knob, but he responded with, “Then it's in the Old Testament.” I said, “It's in the book of Hebrews.” But he walked out without responding.

Others, well enough aware of the existence of the text, must twist and wrest it to conform it to their doctrinal system. In recent years I have heard an evangelical Baptist preacher quote the verse as “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord in your life”----with the obvious meaning that if you are not holy, your testimony will be spoiled. But this is too far-fetched to need an answer, and though it speaks well for the ingenuity of modern evangelicalism, it says little for its intellectual honesty.

Others, with little more show of reason, contend that the verse speaks of imputed holiness. But to this I answer:

1.The Bible says not one word about imputed holiness. Righteousness is said to be imputed, but never holiness.

2.Even if the Scriptures recognized such a thing as imputed holiness, it could not be something we were exhorted to “follow after,” along with “peace with all men.” This must refer to a matter of practical attainment.

3.The context necessitates a reference to practical holiness, not only in the fact that it is to be followed after, but also in the words immediately following: “looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected.” This is all practical, as is the immediately preceding context: “And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” This is all practical, and who would dream of thrusting in anything imputed here? Surely none would, but that their erroneous doctrine requires it of them.

Where can such explanations be found in all the history of the church, except in the modern preachers of this antinomian gospel, which does not make men holy, but leaves them in their sins, and promises them heaven too? Not even Augustus M. Toplady----strong and bigoted Calvinist though he was----could endure such doctrine, and when John Wesley charged him with preaching doctrines which necessitated that “the elect shall be saved, do what they will,” Toplady responded with, “The point of enquiry, then, is, Whether the elect themselves can be ultimately saved, without being previously sanctified by inherent grace, and (if adult) without evidencing that sanctification (according as ability and opportunity are given), by walking in the way of God's commandments? I affirm, with scripture, that they cannot be saved without sanctification and obedience.” Toplady, of course, immediately goes on to add, “Yet is not their salvation at all precarious: for, that very decree of election, by which they were nominated and ordained to eternal life, ordained their intermediate renewal after the image of God, in righteousness and true holiness.” In exactly the same vein he writes further on the same page, “The elect could no more be saved, without personal holiness, than they could be saved without personal existence. And why? Because God's own decree secures the means as well as the end, and accomplishes the end by the means. The same gratuitous predestination, which ordained the existence of the elect, as men; ordained their purification, as saints: and they were ordained to both, in order to their being finally and completely saved in Jesus Christ with eternal glory.”

Now, though Toplady's doctrine may really overturn human responsibility, and cut the nerves of human endeavor, yet the fact remains that he insisted that none could be saved without personal, practical holiness.

The Greek word here translated “holiness” is generally defined by lexicons as “consecration, sanctification.” Thayer's lexicon defines it first as “consecration, purification,” and then as “the effect of consecration: sanctification of heart and life.” Cremer's lexicon says, “not...the attribute holiness, but the state of being sanctified, sanctification.”

To this agree the best commentators. “^AgiasmoVn,” says Bloomfield, “must not, with many Expositors, ancient and modern, be taken in a limited sense, but be understood in its most extended acceptation, to denote a pious and holy life.” The “limited sense” in which many have taken the word is that of chastity, based upon its usage in I Thes. 4:3, 4, & 7. But it should be remarked that even those who thus mistakenly limit the word are entirely on the side of practical sanctification, for chastity certainly falls into that category.

Adam Clarke calls this holiness “that state of continual sanctification, that life of purity, and detachment from the world and all its lusts; without which detachment and sanctity, no man shall see the Lord: shall ever enjoy His presence in the world of blessedness.”

It is not necessary to multiply testimonies of this sort. The real fact is, this has been the understanding of the whole church of God, with the exception of the modern antinomians whose gospel undermines holiness instead of establishing it. They, of course, are well aware that this scripture as it stands must undermine their doctrine, and therefore they are driven by necessity to find some shift by which to evade the plain sense of the text.

To this I shall only add the following appeal of C. H. Spurgeon, from a sermon on Heb. 12:14. He says, “One feels most happy when blowing the trumpet of jubilee, proclaiming peace to broken hearts, freedom to the captives, and the opening of the prisons to them that are bound. But God's watchman has another trumpet, which he must sometimes blow; for thus saith the Lord unto him:----`Sound an alarm in Zion, sound an alarm in my holy mountain.' Times there are when we must ring the tocsin; men must be startled from their sleep; they must be roused up to inquire:----`What are we? Where are we? Whither are we going?' Nor is it altogether amiss for the wisest virgins to look to the oil in their vessels, and for the soundest Christians to be sometimes constrained to examine the foundations of their hope, to trace back their evidences to the beginning, and make an impartial survey of their state before God. Partly for this reason, but with a further view to the awakening and stirring up of those who are destitute of all holiness, I have selected for our topic, `Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.'

“There has been a desperate attempt made by certain Antinomians to get rid of the injunction which the Holy Spirit here means to enforce. They have said this is the imputed holiness of Christ. Do they not know, when they so speak, that, by an open perversion, they utter that which is false? I do not suppose that any man in his senses can apply that interpretation to the verse, `Follow peace with all men, and holiness.' Now, the holiness meant is evidently one that can be followed like peace; and it must be transparent to any ingenuous man that it is something which is the act and duty of the person who follows it. We are to follow peace; this is practical peace, not the peace made for us, but `the fruit of righteousness which is sown in peace of them that make peace.' We are to follow holiness----this must be practical holiness too; the opposite of impurity, as it is written, `God hath not called us to uncleanness, but to holiness.' The holiness of Christ is not a thing to follow; I mean if we look at it imputatively. That we have at once; it is given to us the moment we believe. The righteousness of Christ is not to be followed; it is bestowed upon the soul in the instant when it lays hold of Christ Jesus. This is another kind of holiness. It is, in fact, as every one can see who chooses to read the connection, practical, vital holiness which is the purport of this admonition. It is conformity to the will of God, and obedience to the Lord's command. It is, in fine, the Spirit's work in the soul, by which a man is made like God, and becomes a partaker of the divine nature, being delivered from the corruption which is in the world through lust. No straining, no hacking at the text can alter it. There it stands, whether men like it or not. There are some who, for especial reasons best known to themselves, do not like it; just as no thieves ever like policemen or gaols----yet there it stands, and it means no other than what it says: `Without holiness'----practical, personal, active, vital holiness----`no man shall see the Lord.”'

Chats from my Library
By Glenn Conjurske

C. H. Spurgeon

Of all of the books of the men of God of past ages, Spurgeon's are among the easiest to find. A few years ago it was not uncommon to visit a store like Kregel's and find several shelves full of Spurgeon, whereas you might have considered yourself very fortunate to find a single title by Whitefield or Finney or Moody. The selection at all the used bookstores is generally much poorer today than it was some years ago, but still Spurgeon's books are less scarce than many others. There are several reasons for this, the first being that Spurgeon produced a prodigious number of books. I say “produced” rather than “wrote,” for actually he preached most of them----a very much easier thing than writing, by the way. Then too, his books were very much in demand. When he came to London in 1854 he was unknown, but he was a man of God, and a great man by nature, and people soon took notice of him. When the crowds began to multiply, the antagonistic secular papers caught wind of him, and did him the unintentional favor of greatly increasing his fame by means of letters, articles, caricatures, and cartoons, such as this one:

The result of all of this was that at the age of twenty-one he was preaching to the largest crowds in the world, and wrote to his father, “I am always at it, and the people are teasing me almost to death to get me to let them hear my voice. It is strange that such a power should be in one small body to crowd Exeter Hall to suffocation, and block up the Strand, so that pedestrians have to turn down by-ways, and all other traffic is at a standstill.” All of this tended of course to the furtherance of the gospel, and it tended also to the multiplication of copies of Spurgeon's books.

Passmore and Alabaster (Alabaster and Passmore in some very early books) were his own publishers throughout his life, and long after his death, and I will usually buy nothing of Spurgeon's except they printed it. I have made some exceptions to this in the case of very scarce titles, such as The Two Wesleys, of which I have a recent copy from Pilgrim Publications, and The Greatest Fight in the World, of which I have an edition from T. T. Shields' The Gospel Witness in Toronto. Both of these are saddle-stitched paperbacks.

Spurgeon early began to print and send out his individual sermons week by week, and the bound volumes of these comprise the great bulk of his books. The first six volumes (1855-60) are entitled The New Park Street Pulpit, and the rest The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit. There are also some scarce and little known volumes from the New Park Street days called The Pulpit Library, containing sermons not included in the other set. How many of these there are I cannot say, as I have only the second volume, 1858. This contains the very interesting sermon preached on the morning of the fatal Surrey Music Hall accident, in which he voiced a seemingly prophetic premonition concerning the cloud which was to fall upon him by that evening's disaster.

A few other volumes of sermons, not contained in the larger sets, are Types and Emblems, Storm Signals, Trumpet Calls to Christian Energy, and “Only a Prayer Meeting!”

Four titles I must place in a class by themselves, as being of special interest to those who are in the ministry. These are The Soul-Winner, An All-Round Ministry, Commenting and Commentaries (which contains a large catalog of commentaries, with Spurgeon's comments thereon), and Lectures to my Students, in three thin volumes. These last are all about preaching, and endeavor too much to reduce it to an art. They contain chapters on everything from the choice of a text and the care of the voice to “the art of illustration,” which occupies the whole of the third volume. Much of this material (such as two whole chapters on “Posture, Action, Gesture, etc.”) could have been dispensed with, or replaced with the simple advice, “Be a man of God, and be yourself.” Other chapters, however, are “right on,” such as “The need of Decision for the Truth,” “Earnestness: its Marring and Maintenance,” and “On Conversion as our Aim,” and in all of the chapters we plainly see the originality, purpose, and drive of a great man.

Spurgeon's “Twelve Sermons” Series consists of thin volumes of twelve sermons each on Faith, Unbelief, Repentance, Praise, The Second Coming, and numerous other subjects. I believe all of these sermons are taken from the larger sets mentioned above.

There are miscellaneous titles by Spurgeon too numerous to mention, including Words of Wisdom for Daily Life, Words of Counsel for Christian Workers, The Salt-Cellars (two volumes of proverbs----some spiritual, and some just common sense----with Spurgeon's comments on many of them), and even a volume of C. H. Spurgeon's Prayers. One of the most interesting of my Spurgeon books is a miscellany containing The Metropolitan Tabernacle: Its History and Work (by Spurgeon), a number of his sermons from interesting occasions in his life, a colored picture of his meeting house at Waterbeach, a good number of his tracts of from one to four pages, and some folded copies of John Plowman's Sheet Almanac, all bound together in one thick volume. The tracts must inevitably have perished but for someone's care in thus preserving them. Many of these, however, are of more historical interest than spiritual value.

The pen of Spurgeon was as versatile as prolific, as a mere list of his books would plainly indicate. The reader may find such lists in the backs of the old Passmore and Alabaster editions of many of his books. He compiled a large hymn book, called Our Own Hymn Book. He wrote an exposition of the Psalms (entitled The Treasury of David) in seven large volumes, containing many pages of extracts from old writers, besides his own exposition. He also wrote a commentary on Matthew, called The Gospel of the Kingdom, published after his death with an introductory note from his wife, who calls it “the tired worker's final labour of love for his Lord.” He also edited a monthly magazine called The Sword and the Trowel. I have found these (like most periodicals) hard to find and expensive. I once eagerly sought these volumes, especially for Spurgeon's book reviews, but when I obtained a few of them, I was disappointed that so little of their content is by Spurgeon, and that much of it is so light. As for the book reviews, there are a great many of them, but Spurgeon tends to give too favorable reviews to almost everybody. He calls himself “the most lenient of reviewers,” and this is an understatement.

It remains to speak of biographical works. At the head of the list stands C. H. Spurgeon's Autobiography, edited after his death by his wife and his private secretary (who refer to it in later volumes as his “Standard Life”----for an autobiography it really is not), and published in four large volumes. Next to this stands The Life and Work of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, by G. Holden Pike, in six large (though not thick) volumes. In some respects this is superior to the “autobiography,” for the wife spent too much time on domestic matters, while Pike dwells more on his public work. I never saw either one of these until I found them both side by side at Kregel's, both priced at $60. At that time I could only afford one, and so bought the autobiography, and have never been able to find more than a couple odd volumes of the other set. Both of these titles, however, have been recently reprinted.

There are several popular biographies. The Life and Labors of Charles H. Spurgeon, by Geo. C. Needham, was published in 1881 and enlarged in 1884. It is a book of nearly 700 pages in the enlarged edition, containing several chapters of addresses, articles, reviews, editorials, and sermons by Spurgeon. These chapters are omitted (wisely, I think) from a second revision, published in 1892. To this is added a chapter on his last years and death, while the book is reduced to half its former size. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, by James J. Ellis, which appeared after Spurgeon's death, has 240 pages. In 1920 came C. H. Spurgeon by W. Y. Fullerton, a former student at Spurgeon's Pastors' School. Another of Spurgeon's former students, W. Williams, wrote Personal Reminiscences of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. This is not a biography, but it is valuable. I am repulsed, however, by the author's constantly telling us how much Spurgeon thought of him. Charles H. Spurgeon, Our Ally, by Justin D. Fulton, is a very interesting book by an American Baptist, who uses the book to plug for some favorite points of his own, but in so doing gives us some very interesting information about Spurgeon. G. Holden Pike, author of the large work mentioned above, is also author of an earlier work entitled Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a single volume of 397 pages, published in 1892, the year of Spurgeon's death. In the same year also appeared Charles Haddon Spurgeon, by George C. Lorimer, and From the Usher's Desk to the Tabernacle Pulpit, by R. Shindler. This last was revised under Spurgeon's supervision, during his last illness, and published by Passmore and Alabaster. A “sequel” to this volume, also published in 1892, is called From the Pulpit to the Palm-Branch. This is a memorial volume.

Spurgeon and his Friendships, by A. Cunningham-Burley, 1933, would be better called “Spurgeon and his Contemporaries.” It includes everyone from his wife to his dog, along with a number of celebrities, including Henry Ward Beecher, whom Spurgeon never met. Why include him? Because he and Spurgeon “had so much in common as good ministers of Jesus Christ that one sometimes wonders why they were not more intimate.” This will indicate what kind of discernment may be expected from this author, but the book does contain some matters of interest.

The less I say about The Forgotten Spurgeon, by Iain Murray (of the Banner of Truth Trust), the better Calvinists will like me. Calvinism is always the main issue with Murray, and he labors to convince us that it was so with Spurgeon also----even in the Down Grade controversy, where it certainly was not. Spurgeon was undoubtedly a Calvinist, but though he held essentially the same doctrines as Murray, he did not hold them in the same way. In his early days Spurgeon may have been just such a one as Murray would have us to believe, for he then preached (in 1858) that Arminians are not the children of God, and form no part of the church of God----a sentiment he could not have brooked in his later years. And as early as 1859, when pleading with sinners, Spurgeon himself was accused (by Calvinists, of course) of Arminianism. Now the fact is, he never had much of Arminianism in his head, but he had a good deal of it in his heart, and though he always held to the doctrines of Calvin, his heart was enlarged to the point where he could pray (as he did, in the hearing of W. Y. Fullerton), “Lord, hasten to bring in all Thine elect----and then elect some more.” Let the sectarian narrowness of the early Spurgeon be “forgotten.” As for Murray's book, read the great man himself (Spurgeon, that is), and you will not need modern paperbacks to tell you what he was.



by C. H. Mackintosh (1820-1896)

In the formation of the character of a successful minister of the word of God, two ingredients are essentially necessary, namely, first, an accurate acquaintance with the Bible; and, secondly, a due sense of the value of the soul and of its necessities. The combination of these two qualities is of the utmost importance in the case of every one who is called to minister in the word and doctrine. To possess only one of them will leave a man a thoroughly one-sided minister. I may be deeply read in scripture; I may have a profound acquaintance with the contents of the book, and a most exquisite sense of its moral glories; but if I forget the soul and its deep and manifold necessities, my ministry will be lamentably defective. It will lack point, pungency, and power. It will not meet the cravings of the heart, or tell upon the conscience. It will be a ministry from the book, but not to the soul. True and beautiful, no doubt, but deficient in usefulness and practical power.

On the other hand, I may have the soul and its need distinctly before me. I may long to be useful. It may be my heart's desire to minister to the heart and the conscience of my hearer or my reader; but if I am not acquainted with my Bible; if I am not a well-taught scribe, I shall have no material wherewith to be useful. I shall have nothing to give the soul----nothing to reach the heart----nothing to act on the conscience. My ministry will prove barren and tiresome. Instead of teaching souls, I shall tease them, and instead of edifying I shall irritate them. My exhortation, instead of urging souls on along the upward path of discipleship, will, from a lack of basis, have the effect of discouraging them.

These things are worthy of some consideration. You may sometimes listen to a person, ministering the word, who possesses a great deal of the first of the above-named qualities, and very little of the second. It is evident he has the book and its moral glories before his spiritual vision. He is occupied, yea, engrossed with them----so engrossed indeed as, at times, almost to forget that he has souls before him. There is no pointed and powerful appeal to the heart, no fervent grappling with the conscience, no practical application of the contents of the book to the souls of the hearers. It is very beautiful, but not so useful as it might be. The minister is deficient in the second quality. He is more a minster of the book than a minister to the soul.

Then, again, you will find some who, in their ministry, seem to be wholly occupied with the soul. They appeal, they exhort, they urge. But from lack of acquaintance and regular occupation with scripture, souls are absolutely exhausted and worn out under their ministry. True, they ostensibly make the book the basis of their ministry, but their use of it is so unskilful, their handling of it so awkward, their application of it so palpably unintelligent, that their ministry proves as uninteresting as it is unprofitable.

Now if we were asked which of the two characters of ministry should we prefer? Without hesitation, we should say, the first. If the moral glories of the book are unfolded, there is something to interest and affect the heart, and if one is at all earnest and conscientious, he may get on. Whereas, in the second case, there is nothing but tiresome appeal and scolding exhortation.

But, we need hardly say, we long to see an accurate acquaintance with the Bible, and a due sense of the value of the soul, combined and healthfully adjusted in every one who stands up to minister to souls. The didactic will not do without the hortatory, or the hortatory without the didactic. Hence, therefore, let every minister study the book and its glories and think of the soul and its needs. Yes;----let each one remember the link between THE BOOK and THE SOUL.

----Things New and Old, edited by C. H. Mackintosh; London: G. Morrish, vol. VI [1863], pp. 48-50. This article was published anonymously. Its style marks it as the work of C.H.M.



by Glenn Conjurske

Sorrow is like fire, very useful and beneficial in the proper place and amount, but a great destroyer otherwise. Sorrow may cure a man, and it may kill him. “The sorrow of the world worketh death.” (II Cor. 7:10). “Worketh death”----that is, produces it, brings it about. Jacob speaks of his gray hairs being “brought down with sorrow to the grave” (Gen. 42:38), and Paul speaks of a man being “swallowed up with overmuch sorrow” (II Cor. 2:7). Too much sorrow is dangerous, and may be deadly.

On the other side, “Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation, not to be repented of.” (II Cor. 7:10). “Sorrow is better than laughter, for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.” (Eccl. 7:3). In its proper place and measure, sorrow is a very valuable thing. It is one of the primary tools which God uses to correct people, to soften the heart and make it better.

And not only does God himself inflict sorrow upon people in order to secure their good, but he has also given the same power into the hands of men. Indeed, all men possess this power by nature. Men often abuse this power, using it unkindly or maliciously, injuring for the sake of injuring, and adding insult to that. And even where no unkindness is intended, how carelessly and thoughtlessly men inflict sorrow upon one another. How lightly they dole out large dosages of it, for good purpose, or ill purpose, or no purpose, without ever giving a thought to doing unto others as they would have others do unto themselves.

The power to cause sorrow, which all of us hold in our hands, may be used for either good or ill. It is like the knife of the surgeon. If used with care, and with skill, it may save a man from death or disability, where nothing else could save him. But if used carelessly, or by an incompetent hand, it may hasten the very death it seeks to prevent. And there is always a risk of death or damage, whenever the surgeon's knife is used, even though it be with care and skill.

So it is with sorrow. Paul knew the necessity of inflicting sorrow to correct the erring, but he also knew the danger of it. He used it therefore reluctantly, even where serious correction was called for. There were serious difficulties between Paul and the Corinthians. He had previously determined to visit them in his way to Macedonia, but changed his mind. Upon this he was accused of using lightness, and of speaking yea and acting nay----for faults are thick where love is thin. But Paul's reason for not going to Corinth was that he was unwilling to inflict upon them the sorrow which their state called for. He writes therefore to them, “Moreover, I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.” (II Cor. 1:23). But alas, instead of correcting their fault, they made a fault of his forbearance, and were the more puffed up.

Paul therefore wrote to them, knowing that his letter would inflict sorrow. Yet after the letter was sent, he repented of sending it, saying, “For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance. For ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.” (II Cor. 7:8-9). Paul feared that the sorrow he had inflicted upon them would do damage, instead of the good which he had intended. He knew well that it was necessary to “make them sorry,” but he was also aware of the danger involved in doing so. Ah! how many souls are discouraged, swallowed up, driven back, by well-meaning but incompetent reprovers.

Now in the light of all of these things, it is evident that great care ought to be used in the infliction of sorrow. And there are two things which will secure that care. The first of them is wisdom. Therefore we read, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such an one.” (Gal. 6:l). God does not entrust this business to babes and novices. They will very likely, with intemperate zeal for what they think is righteousness, treat a minor offense as a great crime, deal with the offender accordingly, and swallow him up with overmuch sorrow. “He that is spiritual,” on the other hand, “discerns all things.” (I Cor. 2:15). He is not likely to treat a minor offense as a great crime, nor burn the house to kill the rats.

The second thing necessary to secure the needed care in inflicting pain is love, and a little bit of love may be worth more than a great deal even of wisdom. In the first place, love will be tenderly solicitous to inflict no more pain than the case requires. As the hymn says of the Father's chastening of his children:

“Should we think it pleased such a loving heart
For to cause us a moment's pain?
'Tis not so, but that through the present cross
He should see an eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
And a love that is strong and sure;
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat
Than was needed to make it pure.”1

Love inflicts no more pain than it must, and beyond this, the tenderness with which a loving heart administers the pain, and the known love from which it proceeds, will cause a little of such sorrow to soften the heart more than a great deal of it would do otherwise. The absence of love, of course, will work the contrary effect. A little of bitterness in the spirit of the corrector, a little of irritation against the offender, a little of unfairness in the reproof, a little of a condemning spirit----these will inflict sorrow enough, but such sorrow as will be more likely to harden the heart than to soften it.

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