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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 7)

Following is the final instalment from Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) on The False Convert Detected.

"IV. Presumption, or False Faith.

This is the last and most dangerous rock that these times are split upon. When men see an insufficiency in all duties to help them, and themselves unworthy of mercy, they make a bridge of their own to carry them to Christ. I mean, they look not for faith wrought by an omnipotent power, which the eternal Spirit of the Lord Jesus must work in them; but they content themselves with a faith of their own forging and framing: and hence they think and believe that Christ is their sweet Saviour, and so doubt not but they are safe, when there is no such matter. All men are of this opinion, that there is no salvation but by the merits of Jesus Christ; and because they hold fast this opinion, therefore they think they hold fast Jesus Christ in the hand of faith, and so perish hanging on their own fancy and shadow. Some others catch hold of Christ before they come to feel the want of faith and ability to believe, and catching hold on him (like dust on a man's coat, whom God will shake off, now they say, they thank God they have got comfort by this means, and though God killeth them, yet they will trust unto him, Micah 3:11. This hope damns thousands.

Faith is 'a precious faith,' 2 Pet.1:2. Precious things cost much, and we set them at a high rate: if thy faith be so, it has cost thee many a prayer, many a sob, many a tear. But ask most men how they came by their faith in Christ, the say, very easily. When the lion sleeps, a man may lie and sleep, by it; but when it awakens, wo to that man: so while God is silent and patient, thou mayest befool thyself with thinking thou dost trust unto God; but wo to thee when the Lord appears in his wrath! Many of you trust to Christ, as the apricock-tree, that leans against the wall, but its fast rooted in the earth: so you lean upon Christ for salvation, but you are rooted in the world, rooted in your pride still. Wo to you if you perish in this estate, God will hew you down as fuel for his wrath. This therefore I proclaim from the God of heaven—

(1. You that never felt yourselves as unable to believe as a dead man to raise himself, you have as yet no faith at all.

(2. You that would get faith, first must feel your inability to believe: and fetch not this slip out of thine own garden; it must come down from Heaven to thy soul, if ever thou partakest thereof."

So ends a tough sermon from Thomas Shepard, Puritan.

Biblical Creationists are not without their secret sins. They ought examine themselves. How do they regard their sins? Thomas Shepard gives vital advice.

Those who call themselves Christian and who are not Biblical Creationist have their secret sins as well but they have this known sin - unbelief - the direct utterance of God is set before them in Exodus 20:11 yet they continue to doubt God to trust the world. Come out of the world for the sake of your soul. Trust God though he permit you to be pressed by the sea on one side and advancing Pharoah on the other. Stand still and wait on the Lord lest you perish, lest you be found, in the end, a false convert!

Sam Drucker

Sam Drucker

Saturday, October 23, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 6)

Following is the penultimate instalment of Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) on The False Convert Detected.

"III. Carnal Confidence.

Whereby men attempt to save themselves by their own duties and performances.

The paths to hell are but two. The first is the path of Sin, which is a dirty way. Secondly, the path of Duties, which (rested in) is but a cleaner way. But I think thou wilt object, ' No true Christian man hopes to be saved by his good works and duties, but only by the mercy of God, and merits of Christ.' I answer, it is one thing to trust to be saved by duties, another thing to rest in duties. A man rests in duties, when he is of this opinion that only Christ can save him, but in his practice he goes about to save himself . . . But because it is hard to know when a man rests in duties, and few men find themselves guilty of this sin, which ruins so many, I will shew some signs of a man's resting in duties. (1) Those that never came to be sensible of their poverty and utter emptiness of all good rest in duties. Now did you ever feel thyself in this manner poor? viz. I am as ignorant as any beast, as vile as any Devil: Oh Lord, what sin and rebellion lurks in my heart! I once thought at least my heart and desires were good, but now I feel no spiritual life. Oh dead heart! I am the poorest, vilest, blindest creature that ever lived. If thou dost not thus feel thy self poor, thou never came out of thy duties; for when the Lord brings any man to Christ he brings him empty. (2) Those that gain no Evangelical righteousness by duties rest in duties; I say, Evangelical righteousness, that is, more prizing of acquaintance with, desire after, loving and delighting in union with the Lord Jesus Christ. Now Jesus Christ is a Christian's gain, Philip.1:21. and hence a child of God asks himself after sermon, after prayer, after sacraments. What have I gained of Christ? Have I got more knowledge of Christ, more admiring of the Lord Jesus? A carnal heart, that rests in his duties, asks only what he has dorie, as the Pharisee,' I fast twice a week, I give alms,' and the like; and thinks verily he shall be saved, because he prays, and because he reforms, and because he sorrows for his sins, that is not because of the gaining of Christ in a duty, but because of his naked pertormance of the duty. (3) Those that see little of their vile hearts in performing duties rest in their duties: for if a man be brought nearer to Christ, and to the light, by duties, he will spy out more moats; for the more a man participates of Christ, his health and life, the more he feels the vileness and sickness of sin. As Paul, when he rested in duties before his conversion, before that the Law had humbled him, 'he was alive,' Rom.7, that is, he thought himself a sound man because his duties covered his sins, like fig leaves. Therefore ask thine own heart, if it be troubled sometimes for sin, and if after thy praying and sorrowing thou dost grow well, and think thyself safe, and feel not thyself more vile: If it be thus, I tell thee, thy duties be but fig-leaves to cover thy nakedness, and the Lord will unmask thee one day."

One final instalment to follow in a couple of days.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 5)

Following is the next instalment of Thomas Shepard (1605 - 1649) on The False Convert Detected. Are you herein identified?

"II. Carnal Security, or False Peace.

Now this false peace is begot in the heart by these three means:-

(1). By Satan. Luke 11:21. 'When the strong man keepeth the Palace, his goods are in peace' : that is, when Satan armed with abundance of carnal reasonings possesses men's souls, they are at peace. As masters give their servants peace, even so the Devil. a. By removing those sins which trouble the conscience: for a man may live in a sin, and yet never be troubled for that sin; for sin against the light of conscience only troubles the conscience. Mark the plot of the Devil: he will not suffer a man to live in any sin gainst conscience, whereby he should be troubled; and so the poor deluded man himself goes up and down, not doubting but he shall be saved; why ? because their conscience (they thank God) is clear, and they know of no one sin they live in. b. By giving the soul liberty to recreate itself in any sinful course, wherein the eye of conscience may not be pricked and wounded. To be pent up all the day long in doing God's work, watching, praying, fighting against every sin, this is a burden, this is too strict; and because they cannot endure it, they think the Lord looks not for it at their hands. Now Satan gives men liberty to think thus; and this liberty begets peace, and this peace makes them think well of themselves, 2 Pet. 2 :19. There are many rotten professors in these days that walk loosely, and take too much liberty in their speeches, liberty in their thoughts, liberty in their desires, in their pastimes, and that sometimes under a pretence of Christian liberty. Oh, this liberty that the Devil gives, and the world takes, besots most men with a foolish opinion that all is well with them. c. By giving the soul cessation sometimes from the act of sin: hence they are hardly persuaded that they live in sin, because they cease sometimes from the act of sin. Oh! Satan will not always set I at his work. For if a man should never pray, never have good thoughts, never keep any Sabbath; if a man should always speak idly, and never a good word drop from him; a man's conscience would never be quiet, but shaking him up for what he does: but by giving him respite from sinning for a time, Satan frets stronger possession afterward, as Matt. 12:43. d. By giving the soul fair promises of heaven and eternal life, and fastening them upon the heart. Most men are confident their estate is good. Why ? Oh! Satan bewitches them: for as he told Eve by the serpent, she should not surely die; so he insinuates his persuasions to the soul.

(2). By False Teachers, partly by their loose examples, partly by their flattering doctrines, and their large charity, dawbing everyone up for honest and religious people ; and if they be but a little troubled, applying comfort presently, and so healing them that should be wounded. They say commonly, Thou hast sinned, but comfort thyself, despair not, Christ has suffered ; and thus skin over the wound, and let it fester within for want of cutting it deeper. I say therefore, because they want a faithful watchman to cry Fire, Fire, in that sleepy estate of sin and darkness, wherein they lie, therefore whole towns, parishes, generations of men are burnt up, and perish miserably. Lam. 2:14.

(3). By a False Spirit, this is a third cause that begets a false peace. As there is a true Spirit, that witnesses to our spirits that we are the sons of God, Rom. 8 :16, so there is a false spirit, just like the true one, witnessing that they are the sons of God, 1 John 4:1. We are bid to try the spirits: Now if these spirits were not like God's true Spirit what need trial ? What need one try whether dirt be gold, which are so unlike each other ? And this spirit I take to be set down, Matt. 24:23. Mark this comparison. First, the Spirit of God humbles the soul: so before men have the witness of the false spirit, they are mightily cast down and dejected in spirit; and hereupon they pray for ease, and purpose to lead new lives. Secondly, the Spirit of God in the Gospel reveals Jesus Christ and his willingness to save: so the false spirit discovers Christ's excellency, and willingness to receive him. It fares with this soul as with surveyors of lands, that take an exact compass of other men's grounds, of which they shall never enjoy a foot. So did Balaam, Num. 24:5, 9. This false spirit sheweth them the glory of heaven and God's people. Hereupon the soul comes to be affected, and to taste the goodness and sweetness of Jesus Christ, as those did, Heb. 6. The soul being comforted after it was wounded, now calls God my God, and Christ my sweet Saviour: and now it doubts not but it shall be saved, Hos. 8:2, 3, and yet remains a deluded miserable creature still. But here mark the difference between the witness of each spirit. The false spirit makes a man believe he is in the state of grace, and shall be saved, because he has tasted Christ, and so has been comforted, and that abundantly: But the true spirit persuades a man his estate is good and safe, because he has not only tasted but bought this Christ; as the wise merchant in the Gospel who not only found the pearl, but sells away all to buy it. So a child of God tasting a little of God, and a little of Christ, at his first conversion, although he tastes not all the sweetness that is in God, yet he forsakes all for God, for Christ, and so takes them lawfully as his own. Again, the false spirit having given a man comfort and peace, suffers a man to rest in that estate : but the true Spirit having made the soul taste the love of the Lord, stirs up the soul to do and work mightily for the Lord."

Two more short instalments to follow in coming days.

Sam Drucker

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hey anybody, can you spare a Bible? (With apologies to Frank Zappa.)

A friend had a stand at the Eastwood Granny Smith Festival this weekend. On one of his walks around the festival my friend came across a Baha’i outreach and began talking to lady there. Having read much of the original documentation of this religion, as well as a considerable amount of its commentary, my friend felt at ease discussing this woman’s faith and contrasting it with his own.

She was first asked what proves prophethood. She replied that it was the message. He replied that many people can talk persuasively, gently and even beguilingly, mentioning, as an historical example, how Plato recognised and castigated the Sophists for teaching the Athenian politicians how to mesmerise an audience by keeping truth to a minimum. “No,” my friend stressed, "there must be a more objective, external way of seeing whether someone really was from God.”

He pointed out that Jesus used miracles to set himself apart from anyone else, with raising the dead chief among them all. She had never read the Gospels before and would accept one as a gift, so, remembering he’d left all his giveaways at home, he walked to a nearby Anglican stand to ask for a Bible to give to this young woman. Well, what a surprise – there was none. However, they did have The Essential Jesus, but not a single Bible at their “outreach”. When the minister pressed the point about accepting this pared down, adroitly expurgated version of God’s Word (“We’re just giving a more manageable Jesus.”), my friend informed them that he wasn’t happy about page 1 where the author has replaced the real McCoy with his own insipid and jaundiced interpretation of Genesis 1.

The minister sarcastically replied, “Oh, I guess you want a more creationist version of that story!”
“Not really,” came the response. “I wanted a biblical one!”

Walking off and still holding out that a Bible would be delivered to him, my friend made it only 3 more stalls when he saw that the atheists had a stand selling second-hand books. He asked them if they had a Bible.

“Yes, we do,” and pulling a box from underneath the stand, the man drew out, not one, but two Bibles. My friend bought a complete Bible for 2 bucks, decided against going back to the Anglicans to burst all their stupid and puerile balloons they were giving out as evangelical tools (apparently no face painting this year – seems like Peter’s belt-tightening has hit hard!), and raced off to the Baha’i woman and presented her with, not The Essential Jesus, but all of Jesus.

Atheists to the rescue by drawing a non-believer closer to God and Anglicans, once again, making great sausage dog balloon shapes.

By the way, what is the essential Jesus? Are the Anglicans saying that the 4 Gospels need a makeover? Why is Jesus not recognised as the Creator in their “Essential” Jesus? And finally, why do they take 2 balloons to make a cute sausage dog when they could save money and do it with one?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Leupold Genesis part 42 verse 12

12. And the earth produced grass and herbs yielding seed after their kind and trees yielding fruit whose seed was in them after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

The accomplishment of the things ordered in v. 11 is reported in this verse in terms that are not a wooden repetition of v. 11; for after "seed" is inserted "after their kind'" to emphasize how the "kind" limitation also applies to the herbs, though this had not been mentioned previously. So, too, after "trees" the word "of fruit" is omitted, since this idea is covered by the qualifying phrase "bearing fruit." The work of the second half of the third day is also to be found "excellent" in divine approval, so that the statement, "and it Was good," appears for each of the two halves of this day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 4)

Following is the next instalment of Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) on The False Convert Detected. Consider it very carefully.

In my post a couple of days ago Shepard dealt with:


1. Error in the Understanding. [subsections 1, 2 and 3 provided in previous post]

(4). In judging of the sincerity of the heart by some good affection in the heart. Hence many a deluded soul reasons the case out thus with himself: Either I must be a prophane man, or an hypocrite, or an upright man. Not prophane, for I am not given to drinking, swearing; nor hypocrite, for I hate these outward shews, I cannot endure to appear better without than I am within: Therefore I am upright. Why ? Oh, because my heart is good; my affections and desires within are better than my life without, I know mine own heart, and the heart is all God desires. And thus they fool themselves, Prov. 28:26. This is one of the greatest causes and grounds of mistake amongst men: they are not able to put a difference between good desires, and strong affections that arise from the love of Jesus Christ. Self-love will make a man seek his own good and safety: hence it will pull a man out of his bed betimes in the morning, and call him up to pray; it will make him tug hard for pardon, for Christ, for mercy. But the love of Christ makes a man desire Christ and his honour for himself, and all other things for Christ.

(5). In judging of God's love to them, by aiming sometimes at the glory of God. Is this possible, that a man should aim at God's glory, and yet perish? Yes, and ordinarily too, 2 Kings 10:18. But here's the difference, though a wicked man may make God's glory in some particular things his end, yet he never makes it in his general practice his utmost and last end. A subtle heart may forsake all the world, as Judas did, may bind himself to all the duties God requires outwardly at his hands, and so do good works; but what's his last end? It's that he might gain respect or place or that Christ may have some part of the glory, and he another. There's many seek the honour of Christ, but do you seek his honour only: Is it your last end, where you rest and seek no more but that? Observe this rule; If you are more grieved for the eclipse of thine own honour, or for thine own losses, than for the loss of God's honour; it is an evident sign thou desirest it not in the prime and chiefest place. Sin troubled Paul more than all the plagues and miseries of the world. Indeed, if thy name be dashed with disgrace, and thy will be crossed, thy heart is grieved and disquieted: but the Lord may lose his honour daily by thine own sins, and those that be round about thee, but not a tear, nor a sigh, nor a groan to behold such a spectacle. As sure as the Lord lives, thou seekest not the Lord's honour as thy greatest good.

(6). In judging the power of sin to be but infirmity. For if any thing troubles an unregenerate man, and makes him call his estate into question, it is sin, either in the being, or power of it. Now sin in the being ought not, must not make a man question his estate, because the best have that left in them that will humble them, and make them live by Faith: therefore the power of sin only can justly thus trouble a man. (Which power reigns only in the unregenerate). Now if a man do judge of this to be only but infirmity, which the best are compassed about with, he cannot but think himself well. And if this error be settled in one that lives in no one known sin, it is very difficult to remove: for, let the minister denounce the terror of God against them, they are never stirred; why? Because they think, Here's for you tha' live in sin: not as for themselves, although they have sins, yet they strive against them, and so cannot leave them; for, say they, we must have sins so long as we live here. Now mark it, there's no surer sign of man under the dominion of his sins than this, that is, not to be greatly troubled for sin (for they may be little troubled) because they cannot overcome sin. I deny not but the best do sin daily: yet this is the disposition of Paul, and every child of God, he mourns not the less, but the more for sin. This is the great difference between a reigning sin and a sin of infirmity. A sin of infirmity is such a sin as a man would, but cannot, part with: and hence he mourns the more for it: a reigning sin is such a sin as a man by virtue of his conscience would sometimes part with, but cannot; and hence mourns the less for it, and gives way to it. Now for the Lord's sake take heed of this deceit; for I tell you, those sins you cannot part with, if you groan not day and night under them (saying, O Lord, help me, for I am weary of myself), will certainlv undo you. You say, you cannot but speak idly, and think vainly, and do ill, as all do sometimes: I tell you, those sins shall be everlasting chains to hold you fast in the power of the Devil.

And thus much of the understanding's corruption, whereby men are commonly deluded."

Three instalments to follow.

Sam Drucker

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 3)

Following is the next instalment from Thomas Shepard on False Convert Detected. Examine yourself.


1. Error in the Understanding.

(1). The mind being ignorant of the height and excellency of true grace, imagines within itself such a measure of common grace to be true grace, which the soul easily having attained unto, conceives it is in the estate of grace, and so deceives itself miserably, Rom.10:3. (By common grace is meant the possession of certain marks, such as are referred to in Heb. 6; Matt. 12:43; 2 Pet. 2:20, etc., which fall short of the true effects which always accompany regeneration). The mind comes to this position thus: The mind is haunted and pursued with troublesome fears of Hell, Conscience tells him he hath sinned, and the Law tells him he shall die, and Death appears and tells him he must shortly meet with him; and if he be taken away in his sins, then comes a black day of reckoning, where no creature can comfort him. Hence, he says, Lord, keep my soul from these miseries; he desires peace and ease, and to hear such sermons, and read such books, as may best satisfy him concerning the least measure of grace: for, sin only troubling him, grace only can comfort him soundly. And so grace, which is meat and drink to an holy heart, is but medicine to this kind of men, to ease them of their fears and troubles. Hereupon, being ignorant of the height of true grace, he fancies to himself such a measure of common grace to be true grace. As, if he feels himself ignorant of that which troubles him; so much knowledge will I then get, he says. If some soul sins in his practice trouble him, these he will cast away, and so reforms. If omission of good duties molests him, he will hear better, and pray oftener. And now he is quieted.

When he has attained unto this pitch of his own, he thinks himself a young beginner, and a good one too. And now if he be pressed to get into the estate of grace, his answer is, That is not to be done now, he thanks God; that care is past. The truth is, Beloved, 'tis too high for him; all his grace coming by his own working, not by God Almighty's power. For the Lord's sake take heed of this deceit. True grace (I tell you), is a rare pearl, a glorious sun clouded from the eyes of all but them that have it, Rev. 2:17, a strange, admirable, almighty work of God upon the soul, which no created power can produce; as far different, in the least measure of it, from the highest degree of common grace, as a Devil is from an Angel.

(2). In judging some trouble of mind, some light sorrows for sin, to be true repentance; and so thinking they do repent, hope they shall be saved. Nay, it may be they will fast, and humble, and afflict their souls voluntarily for sin, Isa. 58:3, and hereupon when they hear that all that sin shall die, they grant this is true indeed, except a man repent; and so they think they have done already. This is true, at what time soever a sinner repents, the Lord will blot out his iniquity: but this repentance is not when a man is troubled somewhat in mind for sin, but when he comes to mourn for sin as his greatest evil; and that not for some sins, but all sins, little and great; and that not for a time but always, like a spring, never dry, but ever running all a man's life time.

(3). In judging the striving of conscience against sin to be the striving of the flesh against the spirit, and hence they think being thus compounded of flesh and spirit, they are regenerate, and in no worse estate than the children of God themselves. So many among us know they should be better, and strive that they may grow better, but through the power of sin cannot; conscience tells them they must not sin, their hearts and lusts say they must sin; and here forsooth is flesh and spirit. Oh no, here is conscience and lust only together; which striving Herod, Balaam, Pilate, or the vilest reprobate in the world may have. Know therefore that the Striving of the spirit against the flesh is against sin because it is sin; but the striving of thy conscience against sin, is only against sin because it is a troubling or a damning sin."

Another instalment in a couple of days.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 10, 2010

False Convert Detected (Part 2)

This is the second instalment of Thomas Shepard (1605-1649) on False Convert Detected.

"There are four strait [sic] gates which everyone must pass through before he can enter into Heaven.

1. There is the strait [sic] gate of Humiliation. God saves none, but first he humbles them. Now it is hard to pass through the gates and flames of Hell; hard to mourn not for one sin, but all sins, and not for a season, but all a man's life-time. Oh, it is hard for a man to suffer himself to be loaden with sin, and pressed to death for sin, so as never to love sin more. It is easy to drop a tear or two, and be sermon-sick: but to have a heart rent for sin and from sin, this is true humiliation, and this is hard. If God broke David's bones for his adultery, and the angels backs for their pride; the Lord, if ever he saves thee, will break thine heart too.

2. The strait [sic]gate of Faith, Eph. 1:19. It's an easy matter to presume, but hard to believe in Christ. It is easy for man that was never humbled to believe and say, 'Tis but believing; but it is an hard matter for a man humbled, when he sees all his sins in order before him, and crying out against him, and God frowning upon him, now to call God Father. Judas had rather be hanged than believe.

3. The strait [sic] gate of Repentance. It is an easy matter for a man to confess himself to be a sinner, and to cry God forgiveness until next time: but to have a bitter sorrow, and to turn from all sin, and to return to God, and all the ways of God, which is true repentance; this is hard.

4. The strait [sic] gate of Opposition of Devils, the World, and a man's own Self, who knock a man down when he begins to look towards Christ and Heaven.

Hence learn, that every easy way to Heaven is a false way, although ministers should preach it out of their pulpits, and angels should publish it out of Heaven. There are easy ways to Heaven (as men think), which all lead to Hell."

More from Shepard soon.

Sam Drucker True

Friday, October 8, 2010

The False Convert Detected (Part 1)

I propose to do a series which is an extract from writings of Thomas Shepard (1605 - 1649) who I think would be deemed a Puritan. His subject is not what we normally correspond about here and it is not something I have discussed with my colleagues first. I have decided to go feral and suffer the consequences later.

I think the subject is vital (even if one disagrees with Shepard's conclusions) because it ought to cause even dissenters to think about their relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps, even, it may detect the root cause of extensive deadness within the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney and opposition to the truth of God's word on origins.


'Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.' Matt. 7:14. They have healed also the hurt of the daughter, of my people slightly, saying Peace, peace; when there is no peace.' Jerem. 6:14.

Look to all ages, and we shall find but a handful saved. As soon as ever the Lord began to keep house, and there were but two families in it, there was a bloody Cain living, and a good Abel slain. And as the world increased in number, so in wickedness, Gen. 6:12. It is said, All flesh had corrupted their ways, and amongst so many thousand men not one righteous but Noah, and his family; and yet in the Ark there crept in a cursed Ham. Afterwards, as Abraham's posterity increased, so we see their sin abounded. When his posterity was in Egypt, where, one would think, if ever men were good, now it would appear, being so heavily afflicted by Pharaoh, being by so many miracles miraculously delivered by the hand of Moses, yet most of these God was wrath with, Heb. 3:11, and only two of them, Caleb and Joshua, went into Canaan, a type of Heaven. Look into Solomon's time: what glorious times! what great profession was there then! Yet after his death ten tribes fell to the odious sin of Idolatry. Look farther into Isaiah's time, when there were multitudes of sacrifices and prayers, Isa. 1:11. Yet then there was but a remnant, nay, a very little remnant, that should be saved. And look to the time of Christ's coming in the flesh (for I pick out the best time of all), when one would think by such sermons he preached, such miracles he wrought, such a life as he led, all the Jews would have entertained him; yet it is said, He came unto his own, and they received him not. John1:11. In the Apostle's time many indeed were converted, but few comparatively; and amongst the best churches were many bad, Philip. 3:18; Rev. 3:4. And presently after the Apostles time Many grievous wolves came in and devoured the sheep. Acts 20 :29.

Even amongst them that have the means of grace, but few shall be saved. It's a strange speech of Chrysostom in his fourth sermon to the people of Antioch, where he was much beloved, and did much good ; ' How many do you think,' he says, ' shall be saved in this city ? It will be an hard speech to you, but I will speak it ; though here be so many thousands of you, yet there cannot be found an hundred that shall be saved, and I doubt of them too.' It may be sometimes amongst ninety-nine in a parish, Christ sends a minister to call some one lost sheep among them, Luke 15. Three grounds were bad where the seed was sown, and only one ground good, Matt. 13. The number of them that shall be saved is very small, Luke 13:24. . . . This minister's exhortation to all confident people, that think they believe, and say they doubt not but to be saved; and hence do not much fear death. Oh, learn to suspect and fear your estate, and fear it so much that thou cannot be quiet until thou hast got some assurance thou shalt be saved. A confident opinion rages amongst divers sorts of people whom the Devil never troubles, because he is sure of them already, and therefore cries peace in their ears, whose conscience never troubles them, because it has shut its eyes: and hence they sleep, and sleeping dream that God is merciful unto them, and will be so; yet never see they are deceived, until they awake with the flames of Hell about their ears: and the world troubles them not, because they are friends to it, and so enemies to God. And ministers never trouble them, for they have none such as are fit for that work near them. And their friends never trouble them, because they are afraid to displease them. This one truth well thought on may damp thine heart. It may be there are better in Hell than thyself that art so confident; and therefore tell me what thou hast to say for thyself, that thou shalt be saved ?

Thou wilt say probably, first, ' I have left my sins I once lived in, and am now no drunkard, no swearer, no liar, etc'—I answer ; thou mayest be washed from thy mire (the pollution of the world), and yet be a swine in God's account, 2 Pet. 2:20. Thou mayest live a blameless, innocent, honest life, and yet be a miserable creature still, Philip. 3:6.

'But I pray, and that often.'—This thou mayest do, and yet never be saved, Isa. 1:11. 'To what purpose is your multitude of sacrifices?' Thou mayest pray with much affection, yet be a thousand miles off from being saved, Prov. 1:28.

'But I hear the Word of God, and like the best preachers.'— This thou mayest do too, and yet never be saved. Nay, thou mayest so hear, as to receive much joy, and comfort in hearing, nay, to believe and catch hold on Christ, and say and think he is thine, and yet not be saved, as the stony ground did, Matt. 13, who heard the word with joy, and for a season believed.

'I read the Scriptures often.'—This you may do too, and yet never be saved ; as the Pharisees, who were so perfect in reading the Bible, that Christ needed only to say, 'It hath been said of old times,' for they knew the text and place well enough without intimation.

'But I am grieved and sorrowful, and repent for my sins past.'—Judas did thus, Matt. 27:3, he repents himself with a legal repentance for fear of Hell, and with a natural sorrow for dealing so unkindly with Christ. True humiliation is ever accompanied with hearty reformation.

'I have very many good desires and endeavours to get to Heaven.'—These thou and thousands may have, and yet miss of Heaven, Luke 13:24.

These things thou may verily think of thyself, and yet be deceived, and damned at last. 'There is a way that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.' Prov. 14:12. Thou mayest go fairly, and live so honestly, that all the best Christians about thee may think well of thee, and never suspect thee; and so mayest pass through the world, and die with a deluded comfort, and never know thou art counterfeit, till the Lord brings thee to thy strict and last examination, and so thou receivest that dreadful sentence, Go ye cursed. So it was with the five foolish virgins, that were never discovered by the wise, nor by themselves, until the gate of grace was shut upon them, Matt. 25. If thou hast therefore no better evidences to shew for thyself, that thine estate is good, than these, I will not give a pin's point for all thy flattering false hopes of being saved: but it may be thou hast never yet come so far as this pitch; and if not, Lord! what will become if thee? Suspect thyself much, and when in this shipwreck of souls thou seest so many thousands sink, cry out and conclude, it's a wonder of wonders, and a thousand to one, if ever thou comest safe to shore."

More from Shepard later.

Sam Drucker

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Three or four times a year I pick up a few gigs from a hospitality agency and work as a waiter. I don't do it for the money – it's far too meagre; rather, I do it for the adrenalin rush and the opportunity to do something that makes me a whole lot more anonymous in the big scheme of things. Once a few glasses of wine and conversation are mixed together most people at functions pay scant attention to the face behind the hands that place and remove their fare for the evening. The other night I worked a do at a farewell for Year 12 at an up-market private Sydney girls' school and one of the punters made an exception to that strong rule.

While taking a break he struck up a conversation with me. It turned out that this corporate lawyer had an interest in philosophy and church history. I mentioned some classes I've taught over the last few years linking the former subject with film. He relayed a renewed enthusiasm for the first 30 minutes of The Matrix after I demonstrated its uncanny resemblance to Plato's Simile of the Cave. I asked him what his daughter was going to do after completing her final exams and he told me she planned to take a year off, a so-called 'gap year', and travel.

The philosophy behind this phenomenon is for young people to gain some insight into worldly matters and make them a better, more diligent student. (As an aside, my time before attending university was less of a gap, more of a yawning canyon. It took me more than 20 years before I thought I had something to contribute to academia.) This is something our least favourite theological college should take on board as part of its entry requirements. The students and graduates I've met seem to have quite an unworldly persona about them, with some transferring from university to the theological classroom without so much as stopping to take a breath.

Greg Clarke's latest journalistic folly evinces such a far-removed attitude to plain things. Dear old Gregory appears to really have lost touch with the common folk. It appears he's forgotten to follow the most trustworthy of how-to manuals, the Gospels, and emulate his saviour's three years of speaking with ordinary (and not so ordinary!) people about earthly and heavenly matters. Gregory, and just about all Sydney Anglican egg-heads, takes what is clearly an accurate adumbration of earth's history and uses it as an excuse to parade his allegiance to atheist and heathen ideologies. His most recent attempt in September's Eternity to deconstruct Genesis 1 and 2 surpasses any other analysis in its incorporation of postmodernal gibberish that I've previously read. A few of Gregory's paragraphs will be sufficient to see that the man has forgotten his audience. Gregory writes:

“Genesis 1 portrays the act of creation as speaking words. It reveals a God, unlike the pagan gods of other creation myths, so elegant and potent that he can simply say a word and make things real.

“Genesis 2, the second account of creation (and Bible-believing people have no problem with getting more than one perspective on things!) doesn't put the creation together in the same day-by-day, element-by-element, manner as the first account. Rather, it gives us a literary portrait of what it was like for humanity to enter the world. And God the Creator is here described more like an artist, perhaps a performance artist, sculpturing humanity from the dust of the earth, forming shaping, and then breathing the spirit of life into the clay.

“The first account is like a hymn, a structured poem of creation; the second account is like a drama, an unfolding play of God's creative desires.

Well, Gregory, as a piece of reporting in a small-town rag on a performance by a local amateur drama group, it may cut the mustard, despite your predilection for cliché, but for theological commentary all I can say is, “You dear idiot Greg Clark”, to borrow one of the Apostle Paul's under-utilised wake-up calls. Further, to the Church at Colossae, Paul scolds them for their stupidity, their blockheadedness, over “spoiling the faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men's ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ!”

Greg, mate, brother, who has bewitched you? My advice is to drop the pseudo-intellectualism – you sound like a dork - grab hold of some common-man thinking, and go back to the basics: God created extremely quickly and perfectly because he's the most wise, intelligent and loving being that there is. God has told us this in his Word. One does not need a PhD in Literary-speak, like Greg has, to understand this.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Declension in Church Music?

John Kennedy, D.D. of Dingwall, Scotland, in the 19th Century was one of the foremost evangelical leaders in Scotland. He was a contemporary and close friend of C. H. Spurgeon and was known as "the Spurgeon of the North". At one point he felt compelled to write a review of the campaigns of D.L. Moody in Scotland. He called it: Hyper - Evangelism, 'Another Gospel,' Though a Mighty Power - A Review of the Recent Religious Movement in Scotland.

I might later quote some other objects of his criticism which have since found their way into Evangelical practices today (including the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney) but I was taken by Kennedy's comments on music. There has been, once or twice at this site, mention of music in Sydney Episcopalian services. It also received mention and debate in the Diocesan newspaper "Southern Cross" earlier this year so it seemed right to let John Kennedy have say today. His comments on this topic were divided into two parts under the heading "Unscriptural Devices" and they follow herewith:

1. Excessive hymn-singing is one of these. The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as a part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; but the excess and the misdirection of the singing in this movement were irrational as well. Singing ought to be to the Lord ; for singing is worship. But singing the gospel to men has taken the place of singing praise to God. This, at any rate, is something new—that indeed is its only recommendation—and when the singing is also good, its melody combines with its novelty to make an impression. The singing produced an effect. Many professed to have been converted by the hymns.

2. The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offence. The organ sounds effectively touch chords which nothing else would thrill. To Scottish Presbyterians is was something new; but as their spiritual guides did not object to it, why should they ? Tided thus, by their pastors, over all difficulties, which their scruples might occasion, they found it pleasant to enjoy the new sensation. They could be at the concert and in church at the same time. They could get at once something for conscience and something for the flesh.

And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music, in the worship of God, is unscriptural, and that therefore all, who have subscribed the Confession of Faith, are under solemn vow against it. There was a thorough change, in the mode of worship, effected by the revolution, which introduced the New Testament dispensation. So thorough is this change, that no part of the old ritual can be a precedent to us. For all parts of the service of the house of God there must be New Testament precept or example. No one will pretend that for instrumental music, in the worship of God, there is any authority in New Testament Scripture. "The fruit of the lips," issuing from hearts that make "melody to the Lord," is the only form of praise it sanctions. The Church of Rome claims a right to introduce into the worship of God any innovation it lists; the Church of England allows what is not expressly forbidden in Scripture; but Scotch Presbyterians are bound, by the Confession of Faith, to disallow all that is not appointed in Scripture. (Conf. chap, xxi.) How those, who allow the use of instrumental music, in our Assembly Hall, can reconcile their doing so with their ordination vows, I cannot even conjecture.

It may seem strange, but it is quite as true as it is strange, that those who are ready to plead that principles and doctrine, inculcated under the former dispensation, are no longer entitled to our acceptance, unless re-delivered with New Testament sanctions, are just the parties who are also ready to go back to Old Testament antecedents in the mode of worship. What is eternally true is treated as if it were temporary, and that which has "vanished away" is regarded as perpetual. But if the ancient mode, of conducting the service of praise, furnishes an example for all times, on the self-same ground you are entitled to choose what you list out of the ceremonies of Old Testament worship. The altar and the sacrifice may be defended as surely as the organ.

"But we use the organ only as an aid," it is said. "It is right that we should do our best in serving the Lord; and if the vocal music is improved by the instrumental accompaniment, then surely the organ may be used." On the same ground you might argue for the use of crucifixes and pictures, and for all the paraphenalia of the Popish ritual. "These," you might say, "make an impression on minds that would not otherwise be at all affected. They vividly present before worshippers the scenes described in Scripture, and if, as aids, they serve to do so, they surely cannot be wrong." To this, there are three replies, equally good against the argument for instrumental music. 1. They are not prescribed in New Testament Scripture, and therefore they must not be introduced into New Testament worship. 2. They are incongruous with the spirituality of the New Testament dispensation. 3. These additions but help to excite a state of feeling which militates against, instead of aiding, that which, is produced by the word. An organ may make an impression, but what is it but such as may be made more thoroughly at the opera ? It may help to regulate the singing, but does God require this improvement ? And whence arises the taste for it ? It cannot be from the desire to make the praise more fevent and spiritual, for it only tends to take attention away from the heart, whose melody the Lord requires. It is the craving for pleasurable aesthetics, for the gratification of mere carnal feeling, that desires the thrill of organ sounds, to touch pleasingly the heart, that yields no response to what is spiritual. If the argument, against the use of the organ, in the service of praise, is good, it is, at least, equally so against its use in the service of preaching. If anything did "vanish away," it surely is the use of all such accessories in connection with the exhibition of Christ to men.

Oh, what grief would befall John Kennedy of Dingwall, Scotland were he to encounter a church service in the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney today.

Sam Drucker

Leupold Genesis part 41 verse 11

11. And God said: Let the earth produce grass, and herbs yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind whose seed is in them upon the earth; and it was so.

The second half of the work of the third day is here recorded. This work attaches itself quite naturally to the preceding work the dry land just formed is at once to bring forth all forms of vegetation. The work of this half of the day is not immediate creation in the sense of the works preceding. For in the instances that went before the word was spoken and the result followed. In this instance the earth is the mediate agent, being bidden to produce whatever vegetation is necessary by a process of highly accelerated growth. Such a work is neither of a higher nor of a lower character than are the other works. Upon closer reflection this verse is seen to answer a question often asked, whether the plant preceded the seed, or the seed the plant. Since the seed is not bidden to bring forth but the earth is, and since, the things brought forth are first to produce seed, and since nothing indicates the prior creation of seed, the only possibility left open to us is to believe that plants and herbs came first. This still leaves room for the possibility that the Spirit in His hovering implanted the potentialities that here unfold themselves.

How do the things produced by the earth differ from one another? The three orders mentioned are (1) grass, (2) herbs, (3) trees. Some put the three items down as independent classes in an ascending scale (e. g. Delitzsch). Some make (2) a genitive dependent on (1), having as a result a pair of doubles "grass of herb" and "tree of fruit," as the Greek version botanhn cortu and eulon carpimon. Still others make (1) the general term covering all and (2) and (3) subdivisions of (1). We feel that the first point of view alone is correct and does justice to the meaning of the words employed. "Grass" represents the word deshe', whose root signifies "to be damp." Whatever grows in a well-watered spot will be of a fresh green, therefore the word is rendered frisches Gruen. Since, no doubt, these three classes aim to cover all vegetation in so far as it is of interest to man, the word deshe' may well be said to include such things as mosses and other plants designed to carpet the earth. The second term, "herbs," is a singular collective noun 'esebh, also translated "herbage." That the word is really distinct from deshe' in meaning appears first from its use in passages like (2Ki 19:26) and (Isa 37:27) where in an enumeration both are mentioned separately. Again the characteristic mark ascribed to it in this verse is noteworthy: mazria' zera', literally, seeding seed, therefore "yielding seed." Grasses, for that matter, yield seed too, but if specific mention of the seed is made only in the second class, apparently this refers to something like seed-bearing pods which make the seed more prominent as a separate feature. According to scriptural usage man eats 'esebh; see 1:29 and 3:18. So do cattle, (De 11:15). This being a broad class name, it must include things such as vegetables, or at least, generally speaking, everything between grass and trees and, without a doubt, the various grains.

So, too, the last term must be used in a very broad sense. "Fruit-bearing trees," again a singular collective 'ets peri, must include both trees that bear fruit as well as trees yielding nuts and cones and, surely, all bushes yielding berries. For the expression translated literally means only "tree of fruit." Two other marks, however, are appended to this class: first, these fruit trees bear fruit "after their kind," a peculiar and definite limitation, which all those understand best who have seen how the "kind" sets limitations upon all who would mix kinds and cross them. Nature itself here is seen to have definite limits fixed which appear as constant laws or as insurmountable barriers. The last mark stamped upon this third class of vegetable growth is "whose seed is in them upon the earth." The seed needed for the propagation of the particular kinds is seen to be in the fruit. So whether the fruit be edible or not, as long as it has seed qualities, it meets the requirements of this mark. The concluding phrase for this mark, "upon the earth," might perhaps better have been rendered as "above the ground." For to try to make this phrase modify the verb tadhshe' at the beginning of the sentence certainly removes it far from the word modified. Besides, the characteristic thing about this "fruit-bearing seed" is that it usually hangs at some distance above the ground. Then, too, 'erets does mean "ground," and 'al does mean "above."

These three broad classes of vegetation may not coincide with botanical distinctions as science now makes them. But, assuredly, they are seen to be a general and a very appropriate type of division as far as man's use of them is concerned, and in some ways the distinctions made are seen to be very apt. The lines of demarcation drawn at creation are just as sharp now as they were then.

This verse closes with an, "and it was so," to indicate again how immediate was the fulfilment of the thing commanded.

Tadshe' is, of course, a jussive or a yakteel elevatum (K. S. 189), and deshe' and zera' are cognate objects.

We should yet draw attention to the fact that the things mentioned in 2:5 are not to be included in the above classification, and so reservations must be made in reference to our use of the terms "vegetables" and "bushes" in the above discussion.

If above in v. 7 the "and it was so" stood after it had been reported that the individual things to be created had actually come into being, here in v. 11 the "and it was so" precedes this latter statement, (K. S. 369b).