“Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also; l am not inferior to you.” Job 13.1
Silas Durand on false ideas of religion and righteousness:
All the truth that the natural man can speak, which is merely within the scope of the natural understanding, is as well understood by the people of God as by them; for all alike have the discernment and wisdom that is natural. But the saints have an understanding that God has given to them alone (John 5:20), and it is this spiritual understanding, with all the experiences of sorrow and joy that it creates, which the worldly teachers cannot minister to. It is above the reach of their wisdom, which is of the world; it finds no interest in their religion, which has only to do with their outward man. It can only be satisfied by communion with God, to whom the desires of the renewed soul rise. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. This desire his friends do not possess. They would study and philosophize about him, and endeavor to search him out with their own minds, and expect to go on studying for ever. But the desire to reason with God, to hear the word from him, is not in their heart. It is only to his people God has given this desire, by saying to them, “Come now and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18).” They know that from him alone can they learn how their sins, “though they be as scarlet, shall be white as snow, and though they be red like crimson, shall be as wool.”
But the natural man only looks to appear good in the eyes of men and in his own esteem, which is very easy until he is quickened, requiring only some outward restrictions. And this vain show, this fig-leaf righteousness, they commend to the poor soul who has seen God and who stands naked before him; and he says to them, But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. Oh that ye would altogether hold your peace! And it should be your wisdom. But there is no hope that they will hold their peace until God rebukes them terribly, for they are too proud of what they have searched out and learned; and they continue to hand out their poison for medicine (for the poison of asps is under their lips, Romans 3:13), willfully blind to its aggravating effects.
Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleading of my lips. Will ye speak wickedly for God? And talk deceitfully for him? Will ye accept his person? Will ye contend for God? Instead of simply speaking God’s word, which his servants do, the false teacher speaks from his own imagination about God, and makes propositions in his name which he has never authorized, and attempts to explain away his too plain declarations, handling the word of God deceitfully. They teach that God has offered himself, and it is for us to accept him and his terms; and they would contend for him, as though he needed help and his doctrine needed apology, and they were able to render the service. They are wicked and deceitful in all their speech concerning him, speaking what they do not know, and talking of what they do not understand. Is it good that he should search you out? Or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him? He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. Let but the light of truth, or of God’s face, shine down and expose all the feelings that underlie their false words, and what vanity and deceit would be seen! – The Trial of Job