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Friday, December 14, 2012

History Speaks But Who is Listening?

"On the 24th August in the Year of the City 1164, and in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 410, the Goths under Alaric entered and sacked Rome. 'My voice sticks in my throat', says Jerome, 'and sobs choke me as I dictate. The city which took the whole world captive is itself taken.' Jerome uttered the sensations of all, both Christian and heathen. There has been no such shock to Europe since."

That was an extract from Charles Williams' work "The Descent of the Dove", 1939.

The experience of Jerome was a blow for believers and unbelievers alike. It came approximately one hundred years after Christianity became the religion of the State under Emperor Constantine. The blessings of Christianity upon an empire had passed and moral decay left the empire prime for being overrun.

Fast forward a little more than a millennium and a great blessing from the Lord brought Reformation of the Church in Europe. The Reformation brought moral change to society at large.

However, about one hundred years later, Puritan writer Thomas Watson had this to say about the society of England:

"Mourn for the errors and blasphemies of the nation. There is now a free trade of error. Toleration gives men a patent to sin. What cursed opinion that has been long ago buried in the Church but is now digged out of the grave and by some worshipped? England is like that man in the Gospel who had a spirit of an unclean devil. Mourn for the removing of landmarks. Mourn for the contempt offered to the magistracy: the spitting in the face of authority. Mourn that there are so few mourners. Surely if we mourn not for the sins of others it is to be feared we are not sensible of our own sins. God looks down upon us as guilty of those sins in others which we do not lament. Our tears may help us to quench God's wrath."

Blessing upon the Church and society came through the ministry of the Puritans but proceed a little less than one hundred years later and you find a state of the nation, described later in "Great Christian Leaders of the 18th Century" by Bishop John Charles Ryle, as follows:

"What were the morals of a hundred years ago? It may suffice to say that duelling, adultery, fornication, gambling, swearing, Sabbath-breaking and drunkenness were hardly regarded as they were the fashionable practices of people in the highest ranks of society, and no one was thought the worse of for indulging in them. The best evidence of this point is to be found in Hogarth's pictures."


"The prince of this world made good use of his opportunity. His agents were active and zealous in promulgating every kind of strange and blasphemous opinion. Collins and Tindal denounced Christianity as priestcraft Whiston pronounced the miracles of the Bible to be grand impositions. Woolston declared them to be allegories. Arianism and Socinianism were openly taught by Clark and Priestly, and became fashionable among the intellectual part of the community. Of the utter incapacity of the pulpit to stem the progress of all this flood of evil, one single fact will give us some idea. The celebrated lawyer, Blackstone, had the curiosity, early in the reign of George III., to go from church to church and hear every clergyman of note in London. He says that he did not hear a single discourse which had more Christianity in it than the writings of Cicero, and that it would have been impossible for him to discover, from what he heard, whether the preacher were a follower of Confucius, of Mahomet, or of Christ!"

Then, of course, came a great outpouring of God's Holy Spirit on the Church which had one effect of wide ranging morality in society in Great Britain and in America and advancement of Western Society.

However, about one hundred years later, in the Nineteenth Century, the influence of Christianity had waned again and society was again breaking down. Then came another outpouring of God's Holy Spirit in America around the middle of the century. A similar outpouring occurred in Northern Ireland with some effect in England through Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

At that time too, a tool for rebellion against God came through the release of Charles Darwin's works on the "Origin of the Species ..." and since that time there has been pretty much nothing but decline in Western Society and the influence of the Church on society. Secularism dominates the education system and the ordering of society. Political Correctness serves to weaken society's link to its stronger moral past and the Church languishes on the sideline like a player lacking capacity to contribute to the 'only game in town'.

An impotent Church leads to an unsuspecting society being prime to be overrun yet the attack will come slowly and not so much with the scale of conflict Jerome in Rome observed. No, the assault comes with the flooding of society with Islam. Already, in the name of Secularism and Political Correctness, politicians in Western Society make compromises to accommodate the march of Islam. In Melbourne, Australia, in year 2013 a conference is planned in the name of Islam and 20,000 people are expected by organizers. Speakers at the event have elsewhere declared their hatred of Israel and Western Society.

Who'd a thunk it?

What does the future hold for Western Society? Will God intervene with a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church and society as He has done in the past? Or are we on the threshold of a great persecution which will end only with the return of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ?

Who's to say? But Christians getting down on their knees in prayer, repentance and petition to God presents as the only hope for good.

Sam Drucker

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