In Danger?

Posted in 2012: “Do you feel in danger? are you afraid of losing the word, of missing it, as Paul says, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God” (Heb. 12:15); lest professing it, he should not process it? Then this prayer will suit you, it will suit you as an individual; and if we as a people realize our weakness and our enemies, and the devils that are within us and without us, it will be a suitable prayer to us: “Take not the word of truth away from us.” If the Lord should walk among us, what would He see? May He grant there may be no prevailing heresy, no prevailing evil to provoke Him to threaten to remove the candlestick. I can but say, as I have said before, we are in a solemn time; and the Lord’s absence is very, very visible to some people, and the lack of power is mournfully felt and acknowledged by some. What He will do with us as a nation, what will become of the churches that profess the truth, I do not pretend to say; but I do, speaking in a general way, believe that solemn times are upon us, and that the churches will know it. “All the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts” (Rev. 2:23). The whole world shall know it, for the center of the world is the church. There will begin the judgments of God. May, then, this be our prayer, may this be our petition, poor people we are, we need it; ministers need it, greatly need it. They may be supposed to have some knowledge of truth, but it will only be dry and sapless and useless, if they only speak out of naked knowledge. Hearers need it; they may think they can discern the truth, but they may be blind all the while. So we need the Holy Spirit greatly, to do for us that for which the psalmist here prays, and for which he prays in another place in different words, “Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” Let the gospel continue, let it be in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance in our hearts and in our midst. Amen.”  – J. K. Popham

Advertisements

The Christ of Arminianism

(First posted on Feileadh Mor 6 years ago.)

The Christ of Arminianism

Rev. Steven Houck

1. The Christ of Arminianism – loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation.

The Christ of the Bible – earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen to salvation. (Ps. 5:5, Ps. 7:11, Ps. 11:5, Matt. 11:27, John 17:9-10, Acts 2:47, Acts 13:48, Rom. 9:10-13, Rom. 9:21-24, Eph. 1:3-4)

2. The Christ of Arminianism – offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come.

The Christ of the Bible – effectually calls to Himself only the elect and sovereignly brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost. (Isa. 55:11, John 5:21, John 6:37-40, John 10:25-30, John 17:2, Phil. 2:13)
3. The Christ of Arminianism – can not regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – sovereignly regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner can not choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration. (John 3:3, John 6:44 & 65, John 15:16, Acts 11:18, Rom. 9:16, Eph. 2:1,Eph. 2:8-10, Phil. 1:29, Hebr. 12:2)

4. The Christ of Arminianism – died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost.

The Christ of the Bible – died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people. (Luke 19:10, John 10:14-15 & 26, Acts 20:28, Rom. 5:10, Eph. 5:25, Hebr. 9:12, I Peter 3:18)
5. The Christ of Arminianism – loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ.

The Christ of the Bible – preserves His chosen people so that they can not lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit. (John 5:24, John 10:26-29, Rom. 8:29-30, Rom. 8:35-39, I Peter 1:2-5, Jude 24-25)

As you can see, although the Christ of Arminianism and the Christ of the Bible may at first seem to be the same, they are very different. One is a false Christ. The other is the true Christ. One is weak and helpless. He bows before the sovereign “free will” of man. The other is the reigning Lord Who wills what He pleases and sovereignly accomplishes all that He wills.

If you believe and serve the Christ of Arminianism, you must recognize the fact that you do not serve the Christ of the Bible. You have been deceived! Study the Scriptures and learn of the True Christ. Pray for grace to repent and trust Christ as your sovereign Savior.

Union with Christ

philpotYou will observe, then, that when the apostle speaks of these Corinthian believers as being “in Christ Jesus, ” he intends thereby to set forth their personal standing in the Son of God under two distinct points of view:

1. As originating in eternity;

2. As taking place in time. In other words, every believer has a twofold union with Christ; one from all eternity, which we may call, an eternal, or election-union; the other in time, through the Spirit s operation in his heart, which we may call a time, or regeneration-union. Let us attempt to unfold these two kinds of union separately.

1. Every soul, then, that ever had, has now, or ever will have a standing in Christ, had this standing in Him from all eternity. Just in the same way as the vine, according to the Lord s own figure, puts forth the branches out of the stem; not a single branch comes out of the stock but what previously was in the stock: so, not a single soul comes manifestatively into spiritual existence which had not first an invisible and eternal union with the Son of God. This eternal, immanent, and invisible union with the Person of Christ, God blessed his people with before all worlds, by his eternal purpose, and according to his own eternal counsel.

2. Now, out of this eternal and immanent union springs the second union that we have spoken of, which is a time union -a union in grace: a vital union betwixt a living soul and a living Head. Until the Lord quickens elect vessels of mercy they have eternal union, but they have not time union. Their eternal union never can be altered: that never can be dissolved: that accompanies them all through their unregenerate state: but their vital, spiritual, and experimental union takes place in time, through the teaching, and under the operations of the blessed Spirit.

But what a mercy it is for God’s people that before they have a vital union with Christ, before they are grafted into him experimentally, they have an eternal, immanent union with him before all worlds. It is this eternal union that brings them into time existence. It is by virtue of this eternal union that they come into the world at such a time, at such a place, from such parents, under such circumstances, as God has appointed. It is by virtue of this eternal union that the circumstances of their time-state are ordained. By virtue of this eternal union they are preserved in Christ before they are called; they cannot die till God has brought about a vital union with Christ. Whatever sickness they may pass through, whatever injuries they may be exposed to, whatever perils assault them on sea or land, fall they will not, fall they cannot, till God s purposes are executed in bringing them into a vital union with the Son of his love. Thus, this eternal union watched over every circumstance of their birth, watched over their childhood, watched over their manhood, watched over them till the appointed time and spot, when “the God of all grace,” according to his eternal purpose, was pleased to quicken their souls, and thus bring about an experimental union with the Lord of life and glory.

But this time union, this vital, experimental union, we may speak of also under two distinct points of view.

– J. C. Philpot

Check out this Chick!

CHICKF. A. Chick on Forgiveness

The Gospel Messenger–August 1884

I remember once when I had thought that a brother had not treated me right, I shortly afterwards heard him preach. I desired to hear him gladly and with hearty sympathy, as I had many times before and I could not. I was conscious of a feeling of resentment within me that would not let me receive the word at his hands. I was ashamed of myself and humbled. I was grieved at my hardness of heart and lack of the spirit of forgiveness. While he was yet preaching I tried to lift up my heart in prayer for us both—for myself that I might be made to feel right, and for him that he might preach with liberty and power, and I was shut up from prayer. I can never tell how I was ashamed and grieved. I thought, “Is it possible that I cannot forgive?” But yet, hard and stubborn as my heart then was, in less than six hours afterwards I was softened in feeling and felt at perfect peace with that brother, and as entirely one with him as I had ever done. And this feeling lasted, and the next four days were days of happiness beyond measure. And the feeling of oneness to that brother, and of perfect forgetfulness all the injury which I thought I had received, has never left me. The next week I heard him preach again with all the joy that I had ever done. So that I knew that forgiveness is not a grace beyond what we may feel in our daily experience, the grace of God being our helper. [This very thing happened to me and I shall never forget it. It is a blessing to learn to truly forgive!–DM]

I will speak of one more instance of the power of forgiveness in the heart. I had preached one Sunday somewhat upon the theme of forgiveness, and among other things had said that some would say when injured, “O, I can forgive the wrong, but then I can never have confidence again. I never want to see that one; let him go his way and I will go mine,” etc. I said, “this is not forgiveness at all. Suppose the Lord Jesus forgave us that way, what should we do? To forgive we must have come to love and desire the fellowship of that one as much as before the wrong was done.”

Some three mouths afterwards a sister who had been baptized by me six months previous referred to this sermon. She said, “I knew that you did not mean to refer to me because you did not know the circumstances which at once came to my mind, but the sermon was a heart searching one to me.” She then went on to tell me about having had a difficulty with a step-daughter a few years previous, when she had felt herself ill-treated, but that (as she supposed) she had forgiven her step-daughter, only, she had said, “I do not care for her to come here often, and when she does come I will see as little of her as possible.” “But,” she added, “I thought I had forgiven her, else I never could have come to the church when I did; but your sermon has shown me that I have never known what forgiveness means.”

She then went on to tell me about hours of anxiety and grief over her hard heart and unforgiving spirit, and of the bitter struggle which she had to write to this step daughter and make confession of her wrong feelings toward her, and of falling upon her knees in prayer one day, and for how long a time she did not know, agonizing there for God’s blessing to help her forgive really and truly. God heard her and answered her and took away all the bitterness so that she felt that she could take the step-daughter in her arms and love her without hindrance. She said, “I can never tell you the perfect peace that filled me when the conflict was ended and God gave me the victory over my hard heart.” And she said this step daughter had visited her since and the day passed that she did not even think of the old trouble.

This seemed to me a wonderful display of the grace of God, and I felt like praising God on her behalf. We have also a Bible example of forgiveness, in the case of Joseph toward his brethren.

Affectionately, your brother,

F. A. CHICK.

“be not drunk with wine”

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess…” Eph. 5.18

gin

Gill explains:

The sin of drunkenness here exhorted from, is a custom, or habit, of voluntary excessive drinking of any strong liquor, whereby the mind is disturbed, and deprived of the use of reason

Drinking Alcohol is not Prohibited:

drinking wine for necessary use (is not) prohibited, nor for honest delight and lawful pleasure; but excessive drinking of it, and this voluntary, and with design, and on purpose; otherwise persons may be overtaken and intoxicated…and it is a custom, or habit of excessive drinking, for not a single act, but a series of actions, a course of living in this sin, denominates a man a drunkard;

Gill on excess, the result thereof and how the church should respond:

the sin is very sinful; it is one of the works of the flesh; it is an abuse of the creature; it is opposed to walking honestly; for it persons are to be excluded from the communion of the church; and, without the grace of true repentance, shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven: many things might be said to dissuade from it; it hurts the mind, memory, and judgment; deprives of reason, and sets a man below a beast; it brings diseases on the body, and wastes the estate; it unfits for business and duty; it opens a door for every sin, and exposes to shame and danger; and therefore should be carefully avoided, and especially by professors of religion

Is “Calvinism” Biblical? (pt 7)

In this post I’ll try to point out very briefly, from scripture that the Reformed or “Calvinistic” exegesis of the Bible is the true exegesis of scripture because the opposite is impossible. I believe Arminianism, or free will works religion leads to self-contradiction. As Van Til would say, “we reason from the impossibility of the contrary.” What seem to be universalisms to the Arminian become clear when we seek to explain them in the context using the historical, grammatical or literal meaning. I’ve selected a few passages as representative examples.

As you read the scriptures presented and the few comments I’ve added please keep the words of R. L. Dabney in mind.

A truth is not necessary, because we negatively are not able to conceive the actual existence of the opposite thereof; but a truth is necessary when we positively are able to apprehend that the negation thereof includes an inevitable contradiction. It is not that we cannot see how the opposite comes to be true, but it is that we are able to see that that the opposite cannot possibly be true. (Systematic Theology, sect. 1, chap. 6, lect. 8[1]).

DOES THE BIBLE TEACH ARMINIAN UNIVERSALISMS?:

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (Joh 1:9)

The Arminian free will tradition believes this light is unto salvation, a reference to previent grace or preparatory grace but the passage, when examined, doesn’t allow it. The context is found in the verses immediately following, v.12 “as many received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…” v.13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God.” You must be born again and that is not within the power of fallen man for the scriptures are clear, “but of God.”

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (Joh 1:29)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Joh 3:16-17)

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world. (Joh 4:42)

The word “world” in this context cannot be understood as referring to salvation for the whole world for orthodox Christianity denies universalism. Using scripture we can come to understand the text the way it was meant to be interpreted.

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luk 2:1)

In Luke 2 we find the word “world” being used to identify a specific geographic location, that being, the Roman Empire. It is not used in a universal sense at all but a very limited sense. If we use the Arminian or free will tradition and apply it to this passage we would have to assume China was taxed, Japan, Russia, the whole world in the universal sense of the word. That simply is not true due to the context. The same can be said for the passages in John. Therefore, the universal passages often cited in support of the universal nature of Christ’s sin offering (sometimes free will of man) cannot be used to teach these Arminian notions. In fact John limiteds the sin offering of Christ to those “that believe.” As I have demonstrated already and will continue to demonstrate, God is the one who gives faith, so the limiter is Christ. Consistent with what I’ve been saying throughout these posts we need a spiritual change before we can believe. Before John 3:16 we read;

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Joh 3:5-6)

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Co 5:14-15)

Let’s examine the text;

v.1 “For we know…”

v.2 “For in this we groan…”

v.3 “…we shall not be found naked.”

v.4 “For we that in this tabernacle do groan…”

2 Corinthians is addressed to believers who “know” and “groan” over their sin, and know that because of Christ “we shall not be found naked.” When we set aside tradition and read 2 Cor. 5 again we see that it is addressed to believers, Christ’s love is directed to “us” at the beginning of the verse, and the use of “all” in proper context should be understood as referring to “all” of Christ’s people. In verses 18-19 we see that “all” is in direct relationship to the reconciling work of Jesus Christ.

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1Ti 2:4-6)

The context is given before we arrive at v.4. Paul instructs believers to pray for all kinds of people, “kings, and for all that are in authority…” If God wills all men to be saved all men will be saved, I have demonstrated above that Christ’s death is effectual.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Heb 2:9)

The Arminian free will tradition views this passage as meaning Christ somehow “tasted death” for every single person who ever lived making salvation a hypothetical possibility. This notion can’t be supported by the biblical text. It is said that Christ was the captain of their salvation. This passage is directed to the “many sons” and not all, its the church body collectively, but not every single person who ever lived.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2Pe 3:9)

Does this verse teach that God is waiting for “all” as in every single person who ever lived, even if they had never heard the Gospel, to “come to repentance?” I don’t believe it does. Peter addresses this Epistle to the “beloved” to “stir up” their minds to remember the things he has preached to them. In verse 8 he tells the church that, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years” and continues in verse 9 reminding the church to be patient. The use of “us-ward” is in reference to the “promise” and only believers have the promise of salvation. Christ is not willing that any of His people will perish and His people will come to repentance.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:1-2)

If, according to Arminian tradition, this verse is to be taken in a universal sense than all people, including unbelievers, will receive salvation because propitiated sins cannot be punished. For a definition of the world propitiation I have quoted Webster’s Dictionary of 1828, “The act of appeasing wrath and conciliating the favor of an offended person; the act of making propitious.” Christ appeased the wrath of God the Father. If the work of Christ is said to be for “every single person who ever lived” than you have a problem, their sins are forgiven on the basis of Christ’s work at Calvary and cannot be punished. The free will Arminian notion if consistent, thank God it is not, means sinners for whom Christ died will be punished…and if consistent this idea will lead to universalism.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

EVANjellyFISH: The Creedless Christian

B. H. Carroll:
carroll
“…I want to say first of all is that it is a time that men speak disparagingly of creeds. You hear it on every side, ‘I believe in religion but I don’t care anything about theology. I love flowers but I don’t care anything for botany. Let’s have a religion without any dogma.’ Men take great credit to themselves in these utterances that they are free from the enslavement to dogmas. You must not take these people too seriously. They either don’t know what they are talking about, or else know what they say is utterly unworthy of human respect. There never was a man in the world without a creed.”

One example of how a creed or confession finds its foundation in scripture:

“…from the 8th chapter of Romans and the 34th verse. I am showing you how creeds start and confessions of faith start and how absolutely impossible it is to make light of them. Thus says Paul, ‘Who will lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justified. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died,’ (now comes the statement of the creed): ‘yea, rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’

Now there is a creed. That creed contains four elements:
(1) Christ died;
(2) Christ rose;
(3) Christ exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high;
(4) Up there Christ ever liveth to make intercession for us.

What is the value of that creed? By that creed, accepted in the heart and confessed with the lips, the man who so accepts and confesses is immune from any charge that angel or devil or man can make against him: ‘Who shall lay any charge to God’s elect?’

Now you just might as well proclaim yourself a simpering idiot as to stand there opposing those four things and say, ‘Oh, let’s not have any dogmas, creeds and confessions of faith; let’s have religion.’ How can you have a creedless religion? You had just as well adopt as your god a jelly-fish floated up on the beach, that has no backbone, merely a pulpy mass, as to say, ‘I want a religion without a creed.’ A man cannot have a religion without a creed and the religion he does have is not worth anything unless it is avowed. The avowal of it is a confession of faith. Now Spurgeon in his great sermon on the text I have just read called these four doctrines the four pillars of salvation. On top of these four pillars the superstructure is erected. If you pull down the pillars you pull down that which rests upon the pillars. If you take away the death of Christ, the resurrection of Christ, the enthronement of Christ or the intercession of Christ, the house of salvation falls.

Notice again the practical effects of it. In this same 8th chapter of Romans:

‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? Nay, in all of these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

If my creed was some inarticulate thing, if it was nebulous like a spray of star dust in the skies, or if it was shifting like the change of the shapes of floating clouds, or if it was traceless like the track of a serpent across a rock or the flight of an eagle through the air, I never could say, ‘I am persuaded.’ The persuasion takes possession of my heart and of my soul that no power above nor below, no distress, no famine, no peril, no nakedness, no spirit, no devil, no future, no past shall ever be able to separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A man without a creed cannot have that persuasion.”

source

The Free Offer of the Gospel

pinkPrimitive, Gospel Standard and other Baptists have argued against “the free offer of the Gospel” and “duty faith.” Some High and Ultra High Calvinists will say God has no love for the reprobate and I agree but wouldn’t spend much time going further than that. A. W. Pink is one who has written that God has no love for the reprobate and his work is free online here. Pink also believed everyone was duty bound to believe savingly and his view could be read here.
The Gospel Standard Articles of Faith explain:

We believe that it would be unsafe, from the brief records we have, of the way in which the Apostles, under the immediate direction of our Lord, addressed their hearers in certain special cases and circumstances, to derive absolute and universal rules for ministerial addresses in the present day under widely different circumstances. And we further believe that an assumption that others have been inspired as the Apostles were, has led to the grossest errors among both Romanists and Protestants. Therefore, that for ministers in this present day to address unconverted persons, or indiscriminately all in a mixed congregation, calling upon them to savingly repent, believe, and receive Christ, or perform any other acts dependent upon the new creative power of the Holy Ghost, is, on the one hand, to imply creature power, and on the other to deny the doctrine of special redemption.

Below you will find a video that explains some of the arguments for the “free offer” and/or “duty faith” examined. The audio blogger brings up some good points that need further consideration.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Philpot on Gill’s Commentary

philpotFor a sound, consistent, scriptural exposition of the word of God, no commentary, we believe, in any language can be compared with Dr. Gill’s. There may be commentaries on individual books of Scripture, which may surpass Dr. Gill’s in depth of research and fullness of exposition: and the great work from which Poole compiled his Synopsis may be more suitable to scholars and divines, as bringing together into one focus all the learning of those eminent men who in the 16th century devoted days and nights to the study and interpretation of the word of God. But for English readers there is no commentary equal to Dr. Gill’s. His alone of all we have seen is based upon consistent, harmonious views of divine truth, without turning aside to the right hand or the left. It is said of the late Mr. Simeon, of Cambridge, that his plan of preaching was, if he had what is called an Arminian text, to preach from it Arminianism, and if he took a Calvinistic text, to preach from it Calvinism. Not so Dr. Gill. He knew nothing about Arminian texts, or Arminian interpretations. He believed that the Scripture, as an inspired revelation from God, must be harmonious and consistent with itself, and that no two passages could so contradict each other as the doctrines of free will contradict the doctrines of grace. The exhortation of the apostle is, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith.” (Rom. 12:6.) This apostolic rule was closely followed by Dr. Gill. “The proportion,” or as the word literally means, “analogy of faith,” was his rule and guide in interpreting the Scripture; and, therefore, as all his explanations were modeled according to the beautiful proportions of divine truth as received by faith, so every view disproportionate to the same harmonious plan was rejected by him as God-dishonoring, inconsistent, and contradictory. It is this sound, consistent, harmonious interpretation of divine truth which has stamped a peculiar weight and value on Dr. Gill’s Commentary, such as no other exposition of the whole Scripture possesses.

But besides this indispensable qualification, it has other excellent qualities.gill

1. An interpreter of the word of God should have a deep and well-grounded knowledge of the languages in which the Scriptures were originally written. This Dr. Gill undoubtedly possessed. His knowledge of Hebrew, in particular, was deep and accurate, and his acquaintance with the Rabbinical writers, that is, the Jewish expositors of the Old Testament, was nearly unparalleled. Indeed, he has almost overlaid his Commentary too much with his vast and almost cumbrous Rabbinical learning, and seems to have given it more place and attached to it more value than it really deserves.

2. Another striking and admirable feature of this Commentary is, the condensation of thought and expression throughout. Dr. Gill possessed a rare and valuable gift,—that of packing. He will sometimes give four or five explanations of a difficult passage; but his words are so few and well chosen, and the meaning so condensed, that he will pack in three or four lines what most writers would swell to half a page, and then not be half so full, clear, or determinate. His Commentary has thus become full of ideas and germs of thought, which, by-the-bye, has made it such a storehouse for parsonic thieves; for the Doctor has in half a dozen lines furnished many a sermon with all the ideas it ever had worth a straw, and has given the two or three grains of gold which, under the pulpit hammer, have been beaten out to last an hour.

3. Another striking feature, in our judgment, of this admirable Commentary is the sound sense and great fairness of interpretation which pervade it. Dr. Gill possessed that priceless gift, a sound, sober mind. His judgment in divine things was not only clear and decisive, but eminently characterized by solidity and sobriety. This preserved him from all wild enthusiastic flights of imagination, as well as from that strong temptation of experimental writers and preachers,—fanciful interpretation. He never runs a figure out of breath, nor hunts a type to death; nor does he find deep mysteries in “nine and twenty knives,” or Satan bestriding the old man of sin in Balaam and his donkey.

4. The fullness of the Commentary is another noticeable feature in Dr. Gill’s Exposition. Most commentators skip over all the difficult passages. They bring you very nicely and comfortably over all the smooth ground; but just as you come to the marsh and the bog, where a few stepping stones and a friendly hand to help you over them would be acceptable, where is your companion? Gone. Lost himself, perhaps, in the bog; at any rate, not at hand to render any help. And where are the stepping stones he promised to put down? There is hardly one to be seen; or, if there be an attempt at any, they are too small, few, or wide apart to be of the least service. To one who has any insight into the word of truth, how empty, meager, and unsatisfactory are nearly all commentaries. The really difficult passages are skipped over, or by confused attempts at explanation made more difficult than before. Their views of doctrine are confused or contradictory. The sweet vein of experience in the word is never touched upon or brought to light; and even the letter of truth is garbled and mangled, or watered and diluted, until it is made to mean just nothing at all, or the very opposite of the sacred writer’s meaning. As dry as a chip, and as hard, stale, and tasteless as a forgotten crust in a corner, these miserable and abortive attempts at opening up the sacred word of God, instead of feeding you with honey out of the rock, will drain away every drop of life and feeling out of your soul, and leave you as barren and empty as if you had been attending a banter’s camp meeting, or hearing a trial sermon of a Cheshunt student as fresh from his theological tutor’s hand as his new gown. With all their learning, and with all their labor, they are as destitute of dew as the mountains of Gilboa; of life, as the Dead Sea; of unction and savor, as the shoes of the Gibeonites; and of power and profit as the rocks of Sinai.

5. There is at times a savor and sweetness in the Commentary of Dr. Gill which forms a striking contrast to these heaps of dead leaves. And this gives the crowning value to his exposition of the Scriptures.

By J. C. Philpot

Teaching Children

familypraying“Though I cannot say I truly approve of the method of education used by some good people; as by teaching them the Creed, a form of belief, saying, I believe, so and so, before they have any knowledge of and faith in divine truths; and to babble over the Lord’s Prayer, as it is commonly called, and other forms of prayer; which seems to have a tendency to direct them to rest in an outward form, and to trust in an outward show of righteousness; which they need not be taught to do, it is natural unto them; and whenever they receive the grace of God, all this must be untaught and undone again. It is proper to instruct them in the necessity of faith in God and in Christ, and of the use of prayer; and to lay before them the sinfulness of sin, and show them what an evil thing it is, and what are the sad effects of it; to teach them their miserable estate by nature, and the way of recovery and salvation by Christ; and to learn them from childhood to read and know the holy scriptures, according to their capacity; and by these to be “admonished” of sin, and of their duty, to fear God, and keep his commandments; which may be meant by the “admonition of the Lord”; and the proper opportunity should be taken to instili these things into their minds, when their minds begin to open, and they are inquisitive into the meaning of things; (see Deut. 6:20) and these several respective duties are to be carefully attended to; since the peace and order of families, the good of the commonwealth, and the prosperity of the church, and increase of the interest of Christ, greatly depend upon them.”  – John Gill