Thursday, May 31, 2007

of doing missions

Some christains have romantic notions of church planting and missions they consider planting churches and doing missions overseas as more spiritual and more glamorous and fashionable-but what about our own backyards?


how not to love your neighbor as yourself!!!

39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.(A)

(Matthew 22:39 (Amplified Bible))

This is a perfect example of how not to love your neighbor as yourself:

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

great website 2

a religous version of youtube....

Baseball and domestic abuse

I wonder and do you wonder? what are the christains doing in baseball from the players to the owners to the stadium workers and everybody else that works for baseball is doing to address and combat this loathsome detestable sin from within and out in society too....Their union seems to be doing the devils work in keeping justice from seeing its rightful due from them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

sermon audio

sermons and teachings in video/audio to help us grow in the faith.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Here i am to worship

this should be one of the truths that our lives should testify of we that call ourselves christains:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

hosptial dumping and other related topics

I heard of this recently and eventhough ,it happend in los angeles--i fear it may not be a isolated incident. We christains need to standup for the defenseless,the weak by praying,voting and speaking out when those aspects that influence and control soceity do not treat some citzens as human beings but as liabelities,garbage or less than human:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On Christ's asscension

Here are some quotes to mediate on:

1. “How does Christ’s ascension into heaven benefit
First, He is our Advocate in heaven before
His Father. [Rom 8:34; I John 2:1]
Second, we have our flesh in heaven as a sure
pledge that He, our Head, will also take us, His
members, up to Himself. [ John 14:2; 17:24;
Ephes 2:4-6]
Third, He sends us His Spirit as a counterpledge,[
John 14:16; Acts 2:33; 2 Cor 1:21, 22;
5:5] by whose power we seek the things that are
above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand
of God, and not the things that are on earth.
[Col 3:1-4]”
(Heidelberg Cathechism, Question 49

2. “The ascension further means that in returning
to God, the Risen One takes along the fullness
of human life experienced by Jesus, including
the worst of earthly agony. Christians have
no good reason for doubting that God understands
in the most personal possible way our
human struggle, sorrows, and defeats. The God
who came into our midst as a baby and dwelt
among us experienced all things, even to the
most severe forms of oppression and suffering;
that experience was not a transitory episode to
be forgotten by God after thirty years. No, that
experience is carried into heaven, that we may
know the Most High identifies always even with
the least and the lowest.
That is the import of what is otherwise to us
the strange language of the Letter to the Hebrews:
For it is clear that [Jesus] did not come to
help angels, but the descendants of Abraham.
Therefore he had to become like his brothers
and sisters in every respect, so that he might
be a merciful and faithful high priest in the
service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement
for the sins of the people. Because he
himself was tested by what he suffered, he is
able to help those who are being tested.
Since, then, we have a great high priest
who has passed through the heavens, Jesus,
the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession
[of faith]. For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our
weaknesses, but we have one who in every
respect has been tested as we are, yet without
sin. Let us therefore approach the throne
of grace with boldness, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help in time of
need. (4:14-16)
When celebrated in its fullness, the ascension is a
source of great strength to all who suffer.”
(Laurence Hill Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time
for the Church, 70-71)

3. “In Jesus Christ we are given more than the creative
mould for our human responses, we are
provided with the very essence and core of
man’s worship of God. In His life, death, resurrection
and ascension He offered Himself
through the eternal Spirit in our name and on
our behalf, presenting us in Himself to the Father,
once and for all, so that He remains for
ever our sole offering in deed and word with
which we appear before God. We do not draw near to God in worship either with our own selfexpression
or empty handed, but with hands of
faith filled with the self-oblation of Christ, for He
constitutes in His vicarious humanity the eloquent
reality of our worship.”
(Thomas F. Torrance, “The Word of God and
the Response of Man,” God and Rationality, 157

4. “We do not appear with our gifts in the presence
of God without an intercessor. Christ is our Mediator,
by whose intervention we offer ourselves
and our all to the Father; he is our High Priest,
who, having entered into the upper sanctuary,
opens up an access for us; he is the altar on
which we lay our gifts.”
(Bryan D. Spinks, “The Ascension and the Vicarious
Humanity of Christ,” Time and Country

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

preach to your soul sam storms

Preaching to your Soul (Pss. 42-43)
Sam Storms
May 21, 2007

What is one to do when all you’ve had for breakfast is tears, followed by a late night snack of sorrow? The answer of the psalmist sounds as strange as the question: Preach to your soul! Take yourself in hand, look yourself in the eyes, and preach this message: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Ps. 42:5,11; 43:5).

If the sentiment of Psalms 42 and 43 sounds familiar, it’s because here we once again encounter the psalms of lament, those mournful prayers birthed in desperation and affliction. These two psalms should probably be read as one (a number of Hebrew manuscripts join them together; also, Psalm 43 has no heading of its own and concludes with the same refrain found in Psalm 42:5,11). Although probably written by the Sons of Korah (note the superscription), they likely describe David’s experience, perhaps during his time of exile when Absalom had rebelled (see Psalm 3).

In spite of the disconsolate spirit of the psalmist, there is an undeniable poetic structure to his anguish. In fact, within Psalms 42-43 we have three smaller psalms, each self-contained, each with three parts. There is, first, an expression or declaration of anguish in which the psalmist, in a manner of speaking, lets himself go (42:1-3; 42:6-7; 43:1-2). Second, he forces himself to think, by way of remembrance, of what God has done in the past (42:4; 42:8; 43:3-4). Third, and finally, in the refrain or chorus, he composes himself, pulls himself together, as it were, and preaches to his soul (42:5; 42:11; 43:5).

I’ll briefly comment concerning each.

No simple words will suffice to account for the depth and intensity of his longing for God. “I’m like a deer panting for flowing streams of life-giving water. O God, I thirst for you!” (Ps. 42:1-2). No one has explained this more vividly than Spurgeon:

“Debarred from public worship, David was heartsick. Ease he did not seek, honour he did not covet, but the enjoyment of communion with God was an urgent need of his soul; he viewed it not merely as the sweetest of all luxuries, but as an absolute necessity, like water to a stag. Like the parched traveler in the wilderness, whose skin bottle is empty, and who finds the wells dry, he must drink or die – he must have his God or faint. His soul, his very self, his deepest life, was insatiable for a sense of the divine presence. . . . Give him his God and he is as content as the poor deer which at length slakes its thirst and is perfectly happy; but deny him his Lord, and his heart heaves, his bosom palpitates, his whole frame is convulsed, like one who gasps for breath, or pants with long running. Dear friend, dost thou know what this is, by personally having felt the same? It is a sweet bitterness. The next best thing to living in the light of the Lord’s love is to be unhappy till we have it, and to pant hourly after it – hourly, did I say? Thirst is a perpetual appetite, and not to be forgotten, and even thus continually is the heart’s longing after God. When it is as natural for us to long for God as for an animal to thirst, it is well with our souls, however painful our feelings” (1:2:270-71).

It would be enough had all he faced was the sense of God’s absence, but his grief was heightened by the taunts of others (“they say to me continually, ‘Where is your God?’”; Ps. 42:3). David was no doubt asking himself the same question! “O my God, where are you indeed?”

The lament continues in vv. 6-7, 9-10. “My soul is cast down within me” might more literally be rendered, “my soul prostrates itself upon me,” the picture being of the soul bent double upon itself, a vivid portrayal of a downcast and disconsolate person.

“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me” (v. 7). This vivid imagery calls to mind an ancient Near Eastern symbol of the powers of chaos and evil crashing in upon him. “His woes were incessant and overwhelming. Billow followed billow, one sea echoed the roaring of another; bodily pain aroused mental fear, Satanic suggestions chimed in with mistrustful forebodings, outward tribulation thundered in awful harmony with inward anguish: his soul seemed drowned as in a universal deluge of trouble” (Spurgeon, 274).

Goldingay points out that “as the stanzas develop the screw gets tighter, the agony deeper. At first it was ‘I can’t get to God’ (42:1-2); then ‘God has forgotten me’ (42:9); now ‘God has abandoned me’ (43:2). . . . I came to you as my refuge, my hiding-place; and you shut the door and left me at the mercy of my pursuers. Why? (42:9a). Why? (42:9b). Why? (43:2a). Why? 43:2b)” (33-34).

What possible hope is there? The psalmist, though in lament, is not in despair. He turns his mind from the disease to the cure, from anguish to remembrance, deliberately recalling to mind God’s grace and faithfulness and covenant vow. He forces himself to think of realities other than his own troubles. It is here that we come to the second element in these two psalms: remembrance (42:4; 42:8; 43:3-4).

He begins by calling to mind those glorious seasons of corporate celebration at the temple of God (42:4). This was, no doubt, a bittersweet experience, for it both aggravates his distress (in that he is at present far from it) and alleviates it (confident that in the future he will return). Although sensibly bereft of God’s love, he reminds himself of God’s steadfast affection for him (42:8). What he needs most is a personal experience of the Exodus itself! His desire is for the light of God’s presence that guided Israel by day (cloud) and night (pillar of fire) (43:3-4). He longs to recapitulate in himself that national liberation from bondage and deliverance into the place of God’s presence (43:3).

Thus far we’ve seen in each stanza how the psalmist first expresses his grief and frustration and then forces himself to think of past victories God brought to his children. The third element in each stanza is his determination to resolve the tension between these two. He argues with himself; he pulls himself together and regains his composure, preaching to his soul. “As though he were two men,” says Spurgeon, “the Psalmist talks to himself. His faith reasons with his fears, his hope argues with his sorrows” (272). David chides David out of the dumps!

What does he say to himself? Hope in God! Wait for God! This is no mindless meditation, a closing of the eyes or a passive twiddling of the thumbs. Rather we are to envision an expectant, straining anticipation for God’s deliverance. This is a spiritually aggressive confidence that God will act and show himself faithful based on past performance.

In fact, David begins to praise God and thank him for his gracious deliverance while yet mired in his grief and affliction! “Hope in God, for I shall again praise him” (42:5b; 42:11b; 43:5b). Faith makes it possible to say “Thank You” before one receives the answer. “Given what I know of God’s record in dealing with his people,” says David, “my confidence triumphs over my despair. I don’t have to wait until he acts to thank him for doing so!”

There are countless lessons to learn from these two psalms, but I’ll note only three. First, the psalmist grieves, remembers, and composes himself with a sermon to his soul, not once, or even twice, but three times! David never felt as if he were being needlessly repetitive or that his pleadings were akin to nagging. Rather, he was spiritually relentless, refusing to concede the battle to his enemies, knowing that his God was the kind of God who quenches the thirst of those who faithfully seek him for the water of renewal and hope.

Second, we learn much of the nature of prayer in these psalms. David gives vent to his fears and confusion, not merely in emotional catharsis but in a focused expression of faith that the God who acted graciously on his behalf in the past would do so yet again in the future. He is up front with God, telling it to him straight away. “He assumes,” observes Goldingay, “that God is big enough to take it and loving enough to absorb it” (34).

Finally, the troubles that David endured (and dare I say, the troubles that you likewise often face), “come with God’s knowledge and according to his will, not by his oversight or weakness” (Goldingay, 35). Look again at 42:7 – “at the roar of YOUR waterfalls; all YOUR breakers and YOUR waves have gone over me.” The powers of chaos, trouble and evil that threaten David’s life are not beyond God’s sovereign control. They all must submit to his overarching Lordship.

“At first sight,” says Goldingay, “the belief that God is behind the trouble that comes to us is a frightening doctrine: what kind of a God is this, whose purpose includes so much distress? But the alternative – a God whose purpose is continually being frustrated by evil – is even more frightening. Better a God whose mystery we cannot understand (but who has given us grounds for trusting when we cannot understand) than one whose adequacy we cannot rely on, or whose interest we cannot be sure of” (35).

So, perhaps the time has come for you to take hold of yourself and preach a sermon, not to others, but to your own soul! Remember God’s ways! Recall his faithfulness! Compose and calm yourself with the reminder that he who acted powerfully in the past will do so yet again in the present and future.


Monday, May 21, 2007

my son takes me to theology class

I remember awhile back before the spiderman movie came out i saw my son moving his hands in a way i thought he was disrespecting her by giving her the middle finger-so i disciplined him. Weeks later i saw him doing the samething during a commercial for spiderman 3-and then it dawned on me-he was not disrespecting his mother-he was simply emulating spiderman web slinging--i felt bad. Yet reflecting on this i realize though i am far from perfect-God and who He is-is infinetly perfect in who He is:

Of God, and of the Holy Trinity.I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, longsuffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him; and in all, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.

Q. 7. What is God?A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

Article 1: About the Nature of God
We believe in the heart and confess with the mouth that there is a unique and simple spiritual Being, Who we call God, eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, and infinite, Who is wise and the overflowing source of all good things. Eph. 4:8; 2 Deuter. 6:4; 1 Tim 2:5; 2 Cor. 8:6; John 4:24; Isa. 40:28, 44:6

We believe and teach that God is one in essence or nature, subsisting in himself, all sufficient in himself, invisible, incorporeal, immense, eternal, Creator of all things both visible and invisible, the greatest good, living, quickening and preserving all things, omnipotent and supremely wise, kind and merciful, just and true.

THERE is but one, and only one, living and true God. He is self-existent and infinite in His being and His perfections. None but He can comprehend or understand His essence. He is pure spirit, invisible, and without body, parts, or the changeable feelings of men. He alone possesses immortality, and dwells amid the light insufferably bright to mortal men. He never changes. He is great beyond all our conceptions, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty and infinite. He is most holy, wise, free and absolute. All that He does is the out-working of His changeless, righteous will, and for His own glory. He is most loving, gracious, merciful and compassionate. He abounds in goodness and truth. He forgives iniquity, transgression and sin. He rewards those who seek Him diligently. But He hates sin. He will not overlook guilt or spare the guilty, and He is perfectly just in executing judgment.Gen. 17:1; Exod. 3:14; 34:6,7; Deut. 4:15,16; 6:4; 1 Kings 8:27; Neh.9:32,33; Ps. 5:5,6; 90:2; 115:3; Prov. 16:4; Isa. 6:3; 46:10; 48:12; Jer. 10:10; 23:23,24; Nah. 1:2,3; Mal. 3:6; John 4:24; Rom.11:36; 1 Cor. 8:4,6; 1 Tim.1:17; Heb. 11:6.
God is all-sufficient, and all life, glory, goodness and blessedness are found in Him and in Him alone. He does not stand in need of any of the creatures that He has made, nor does He derive any part of His glory from them. On the contrary, He manifests His own glory in and by them. He is the fountain-head of all being, and the origin, channel and end of all things. Over all His creatures He is sovereign. He uses them as He pleases, and does for them or to them all that He wills. His sight penetrates to the heart of all things. His knowledge is infinite and infallible. No single thing is to Him at risk or uncertain, for He is not dependent upon created things. In all His decisions, doings and demands He is most holy. Angels and men owe to Him as their creator all worship, service and obedience, and whatever else He may require at their hands.Job 22:2,3; Ps. 119:68; 145:17; 148:13; Ezek.11:5; Dan. 4:25,34,35; John 5:26; Acts 15:18; Rom. 11:34-36; Heb. 4:13; Rev. 5:12-14.

II. God.There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience

3. Of the Attributes of God.
Though the light of nature in man, and the works of creation etc., clearly prove the being of God, and though reason proves that there is but one true God (a), still we cannot know his attributes without a special revelation from himself (b). No one knows God perfectly except himself (c). In the Holy Scriptures we have God's witness concerning himself; and as he has witnessed in his word, so ought we to think and believe concerning him. The true God is a pure, invisible, self-subsisting Spirit (d); without body, parts, or passions; eternal, without beginning, change, or end; infinite, and incomprehensible; absolute, omnipresent, omniscient, and almighty; perfect in holiness, righteousness, wisdom, and goodness; long-suffering, gracious, and merciful; forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; but terrible in his wrath; for he will not at all acquit the wicked, but will visit sin with righteous judgement (e).

By the attributes of God we are to understand his properties. All his attributes are infinite; and all perfections belong to God, and are his properties (f).

Q: What is God? A: God is a Spirit,1 infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being,2 wisdom,3 power,4 holiness,5 justice,6 goodness,7 and truth.8

John 4:24. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Psalm 90:2. From everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Malachi 3:6. For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore are ye sons of Jacob not consumed. James 1:17. The Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 1 Kings 8:27. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? Jeremiah 23:24. Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? Saith the Lord. Isaiah 40:22. It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in.

Psalm 147:5. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. Romans 16:27. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.

Genesis 17:1. And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. Revelation 19:6. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Isaiah 57:15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. John 17:11. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. Revelation 4:8. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they werefull of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Deuteronomy 32:4. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Psalm 100:5. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Romans 2:4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Exodus 34:6. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Psalm 117:2. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

all i can end with is: sola Deo gloria...amen

Great website part 1

great website for building up your faith

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Shrek 3

me and my family went to see shrek 3 today--all i can say is from personal experience i have seen movie previews where:

1. all that movies good scenes are in it

2. the preview is better than the movie-short and sweet and not a long tortures lingering death...
or you are watching the actual movie:
1. the movie is so disappointing you become restless and need to go to the bathroom.
2. you nostaglically look back longingly wishing to see the other coming attractions before this movie because they were way better.....



Friday, May 18, 2007

God's love letter

God's love-letter(Thomas Brooks, "The Crown and Glory of Christianity, or, HOLINESS, the Only Way to Happiness", 1662)The Scripture is God's love-letter to men. Here the lamb may wade—and here the elephant may swim!The blessed Scriptures are of infinite worth and value! Here you may find . . . a remedy for every disease, balm for every wound, a plaster for every sore, milk for babes, meat for strong men, comfort for the afflicted, support for the tempted, solace for the distressed, ease for the wearied, a staff to support the feeble, a sword to defend the weak. The holy Scriptures are . . . the map of God's mercy—and man's misery, the touchstone of truth, the shop of remedies against all maladies, the hammer of vices, the treasury of virtues, the exposer of all sensual and worldly vanities, the balance of equity, the most perfect rule of all justice and honesty.Ah, friends, no book befits your hands like the Bible!The Bible is the best preacher. This book, this preacher will preach to you . . . in your shops, in your chambers, in your closets, yes, in your own bosoms!This book will preach to you at home and abroad; it will preach to you in all companies; and it will preach to you in all conditions. By this book you shall be saved—or by this book you shall be damned! By this book you must live.By this book you must die. By this book you shall be judged in the great day! Oh, therefore . . . love this book above all other books, prize this book above all other books, read this book before all other books, study this book more than all other books! For he who reads much—and understands nothing,is like him who hunts much—and catches nothing."Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long!" Psalm 119:97

The best theologians.....,

The best theologians,christain writers,teachers and pastors are the one whose writings,sermons,teachings and life:

point and lead to Christ

begin and end with christ.........

lloyd alexader passed away

one of my favorite authers: Lloyd alexader who wrote chronicles of prydain passed away yesterday my heart and prayers go to him,his family,his friends and his fans.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

what canst thou Know? jc ryle

J. C. Ryle(1816-1900)

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?-- JOB xi. 7, 8.
THESE striking words came from the lips of Zophar the Naamathite, one of the three friends who came to comfort the patriarch Job in his affliction. Those worthy men, no doubt, meant well; and their sympathy is deserving of all praise in a cold and unfeeling world. But they completely misunderstood the case before them, and so proved “physicians of no value.” They only irritated the poor sufferer, and added to his troubles. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that they said many wise and excellent things, and of these the passage which heads this paper is one.
The verses before us contain four weighty questions. Two of them we certainly cannot answer, but two we can. A little brief discussion of the whole subject to which the text points appears suitable to the times in which we live.
Our lot is cast in a day when a wave of unbelief is passing over the world, like a wave of fever, cholera, diphtheria, or plague. It is vain to deny it. Every intelligent observer of the times knows that it is so. I do not say for a moment that the advance of science necessarily makes men unbelievers. Nothing is further from my thoughts. I welcomed the visit of the British Association to Southport in the diocese of Liverpool, Lancashire, and I am thankful for every addition to our knowledge which its leaders annually announce. I doubt whether formal, organized, systematic, reasoning infidelity is so common as many suppose. But I do say that there is in the air of these times a disposition to question everything in revealed religion, and to suspect that science and revelation cannot be reconciled. The faith of many church-goers and professing Christians seems cold, and languid, and torpid. They are continually harping on petty modern objections to Scripture.-“Are such and such things in the Bible really quite true? Do not some clever and learned people say we should not believe them?” This is the kind of mischievous talk which is often heard in many quarters. To supply some simple antidotes to this sceptical spirit, to show the unreasonableness of it, to nerve and invigorate the Christian, to make him see the strength of his position, to help him to get rid of a doubting spirit, and to enable him to grasp his old creed more tightly than ever-these are the objects I have in view in this paper.
I. First, and foremost, a wise Christian ought always to admit that there are many things in Bible religion which of necessity we cannot fully understand. The Book of Revelation, the Book of God, contains much which, like God Himself, we cannot “find out to perfection.”
The catalogue of these hard things is not a small one, and I shall only supply a few leading instances. I will mention the Mosaic account of creation,-the fall and entrance of sin into the world,-the doctrine of the Trinity,-the incarnation of Christ,-the atonement for sin made by Christ’s death,-the personality and work of the Holy Spirit,-the inspiration of Scripture,-the reality of miracles,-the use and efficacy of prayer,-the precise nature of the future state,-the resurrection of the body after death-each and all of these subjects, I say, contains much that we cannot fully explain, because it is above the reach of our faculties. No Christian of common sense, I believe, would pretend to deny it. The humblest child could ask questions about each of them which the wisest theologian in Christendom could never answer.
But what of it? Does it follow that we care to believe nothing about a subject, and to reject it altogether, because we do not understand everything about it? Is this fair and reasonable? Is this the way that we deal with our children when we require them to begin the study of mathematics, or any other branch of education? Do we allow our boys to say, “I will learn nothing till I understand everything?” Do we not require them to take many things on trust, and to begin by simply believing? “I speak as to wise men, judge ye what I say.”
The plain truth is that to refuse to believe Christian doctrines because they are above our reason, and we cannot fully understand them, is only one among many proofs of man’s natural pride and arrogance. We are all, at our best, poor, weak, defective creatures. Our power of grasping any subject, and seeing all round it, is extremely small. Our education rarely goes on for more than twenty years, and is often very shallow and superficial. After twenty-five most of us add little to our knowledge. We plunge into some profession in which we have little time for thought or reading, and are absorbed and distracted by the business and cares of life. By the time we are seventy, our memories and intellects begin to fail, and in a few years we are carried to our graves and see corruption. And is it likely, or probable, or reasonable to suppose that such a creature as this can ever understand perfectly the Eternal and Almighty God, or the communications that God has made to man? Is it not rather certain that there will be many things about God and revelation that he cannot, from his very nature, comprehend. I will not insult my readers by asking for a reply. I assert, without hesitation, that no Christian ever need be ashamed of admitting that there are many things in revealed religion which he does not fully understand, and does not pretend to explain. Yet he believes them fully, and lives in this belief.
After all, when a Christian meets one of those few men of science who profess to believe nothing in religion which he cannot fully understand, he would do well to ask him a simple question. Has he ever investigated the facts and doctrines of the Bible, which he says are incredible, with the same careful pains which he exercises when he uses his microscope, his telescope, his spectroscope, his dissecting knife, or his chemical apparatus? I doubt it extremely. I venture to believe that if some scientific infidels would examine the Book of God with the same reverent analysis with which they daily examine the Book of Nature, they would find that the things “hard to be understood” are not so many and inscrutable as they now suppose, and that the things plain and easy are a wide field which richly repays cultivation. That we “cannot find out the Almighty to perfection” let us always admit. But let us never admit that we can find out nothing, and are justified in neglecting Him.
II. The second point which I wish to bring forward is this. A wise Christian ought always to remember that there are countless things in the material world around us which we do not fully understand. There are deep things in the Book of Nature as well as in the Bible. Its pages contain hard knots and mysteries as well as the pages of the Book of God. In short, science contains its hard things as well as faith.
I am quite sure that the wisest and most learned men of science would be the most ready to admit the truth of what I have just said. If anything has specially characterized them in every age, it has been their deep humility. The more they have known the more they have confessed the limited extent of their knowledge. The memorable language which Sir Isaac Newton is said to have used towards the end of his life ought never to be forgotten:-“I have been nothing more than a little child who has picked up a few shells and pebbles on the shore of the ocean of truth.”
How little, to begin with, do we know about the heaven over our heads, or the earth under our feet! The sun, the moon, the planets, the fixed stars, the comets, can all supply deep questions which the wisest astronomers cannot answer. Yet, for all this, who but a fool would despise the work of Newton, and Halley, and Herschel, and Arago, and Airey? The age of the globe on which we live, the date and cause of the various convulsions it has gone through, long before man was created, the duration of the periods between each change of climate and temperature, what wise geologists will dare to speak positively of such subjects as these? They may speculate, and guess, and propound theories. But how often their conclusions have been overthrown! Yet who would dare to say that Buckland, and Sedgwick, and Phillips, and Lyell, and Murchison, and Owen had written nothing worth notice?
How little can we account for the action of some deadly poisons, and especially in the case of snake bites, and hydrophobia! The virus of a mad dog’s bite will often remain dormant in the system for months, and then become active, and defy all medical treatment. But no one can explain what that virus is. The deaths caused by snake-bites in India are reported to be about 20,000 a year. Yet to this day the precise nature of the cobra’s venom has baffled all chemical analysis, and once received into the human body, the most skilful doctors find they cannot prevent that venom causing death. But what man in his senses would conclude that chemistry and medicine are unworthy of respect, and that Liebig, and Fresenius, or Hervey, and Hunter, and Jenner, and Watson, have conferred no benefit on the world?
How little can men of science account for all the phenomena of light, heat, electricity, magnetism, and chemical action! How many problems lie under the words, “matter, force, energy,” which no one has solved! Far be it from me to disparage the extra ordinary advances which physical science has made in this generation. But I am quite certain that its leading students, from Faraday downwards, will confess that there are many things which they cannot explain.
How little do we know about earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and epidemics ! They come suddenly, like the recent awful catastrophes at Ischia and Java, or the historic events at Pompeii and Lisbon. They cause immense destruction of life and property. But why they come when they do come, and what laws regulate them, so that the inhabitants of a country may be prepared for them, even in this enlightened nineteenth century, we are totally and entirely ignorant. We can only lay our hands on our mouths and be still.1
How little, to bring matters to a familiar point, how less than little, or nothing in reality, can we explain the connection between our minds and bodies. Who can tell me why a sense of shame makes the little child’s face turn red, or a sense of fear makes the same face turn pale? Who can tell me how my will affects my members, and what it is that make. me walk, or move, or lift my hand whenever I wish? Nobody ever did explain it, and nobody ever will. It is one of the many things that baffle all inquiry.
Now what shall we say to the facts I have adduced? That they are facts I am sure no man of common-sense will deny. If I were to say to a man of science, “I do not believe any of your conclusions, because there are many hard things in the Book of Nature which you cannot explain,” I should be acting very foolishly. I shall do nothing of the kind. I have not the slightest sympathy with those weak-kneed Christians, who seem to think that science and religion can never harmonize, and that they must always scowl and look askance at one another, like two quarrelsome dogs. On the contrary, I shall always hail the annual discoveries of physical science with a hearty welcome. For the continual progress of its students by experiment and observation, and for their annual accumulation of facts, I am deeply thankful. I am not the least afraid that science will ever finally contradict Christian theology (though it may appear to do so for a season), if students of science will only be logical. I only fear that, in their zeal, they are sometimes apt to forget that it is most illogical to draw a general conclusion from a particular premise,-to build houses of theories without foundations. I am firmly convinced that the words of God’s mouth, and the works of God’s hands, will never be found really to contradict one another. When they appear to do so, I am content to wait. Time will untie the knot.
I do not forget that some young philosophers are fond of talking of the “Laws of Nature,” and of saying that they cannot reconcile them with the Bible. They tell us that these “laws” are unchangeable, and that the miracles and supernatural parts of Revelation, which seem to contradict the laws of nature, are therefore incredible. But these philosophers would do well to remember that it is not at all certain that we know all the Laws of Nature, and that higher, and deeper Laws may not yet be discovered. At any rate they must own that some of the existing “Laws” were not known and received three or four centuries ago. But surely, if that is the case, we may fairly assume that many other “Laws” may yet be found out, and that many problems which we cannot solve now will be solved hereafter.2
Two things, however, I must say, before leaving this part of my paper.
(a) On the one side, I appeal to those few men of science who turn away from Christianity, and refuse to believe, because of the hard things which its creed requires them to believe. I ask them whether this is just and fair. We do not turn away from physical science because it contains many things which they themselves admit they cannot explain. On the contrary, we bid them God speed, and wish success to their researches and investigations. But in return we ask them to deal honestly with Christianity. We admit that it contains difficulties, like physical science; but we cannot allow that this is any reason why it should be rejected altogether.
(b) On the other side, I appeal to those timid Christians whose faith is shaken by the attacks which men of science sometimes make on their creed, and are ready to throw down their arms and run away. I ask them whether this is not weak, and cowardly, and foolish? I bid them remember that the difficulties of the skeptical man of science are just as great as those of the Christian. I entreat them to stand firm and not be afraid. Let us frankly admit that there are deep things and "hard to be understood” in our creed. But let us steadily maintain that this is no proof that it is not true and not worthy of all acceptation.
III. The third and last point to which I shall ask the attention of my readers is this. While it is true that we cannot find out the Almighty to perfection, it is not true to say that we can find out nothing at all in religion. On the contrary, we know many things which are enough to make unbelief and agnosticism inexcusable.
What, then, do we know? Let me mention a few facts which no intelligent person can pretend to deny.
(a) We find ourselves living in a world full of sorrow, pain, strife, and wickedness, which no advance of science, learning, or civilization, is able to prevent. We see around us daily proof that we are all, one after another, going out of this world to the grave. Humbling as the thought is, we are all dying daily, and these bodies, which we take such pains to feed, and clothe, and comfort, must see corruption. It is the same all over the globe. Death comes to all men and women alike, of every name, and nation, and people, and tongue; and neither rank, nor riches, nor intellect, can grant exemption. Dust we are, and to dust we return. At any rate we know this.
(b) We find, moreover, that all over the world the vast majority of mankind have a settled, rooted, in ward feeling, that this life is not all, that there is a future state, and an existence beyond the grave. The absence of this feeling is the exception. There it is. Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Hindustan, China, Mexico, and the darkest heathen tribes, as a general rule, are agreed on this point, however strange and diverse their ideas of God, and religion, and the soul. Will any one tell me that we do not know this?
(c) We find, moreover, that the only thing which has ever enabled men and women to look forward to the future without fear, and has given them peace in life, and hope in death, is that religion which Jesus Christ brought into the world nearly nineteen hundred years ago, and of which Christ Himself is the sun, and centre, and root, and foundation. Christ, I say emphatically,-Christ and His Divinity,-Christ and His atoning death,-Christ and His resurrection,-Christ and His life in heaven. Yes ! that very religion of Christ which some tell us they cannot receive because of the mysteries and difficulties of its creed, has made the deepest moral mark on mankind that has been made since man was created. Nothing called religion, whether Classic heathenism, or Buddhism, or Confucianism, or Mahometanism, has ever produced effects on consciences and conduct, which can bear comparison for a moment with the effects produced by Christianity. The changes which have taken place in the state of the world before. Christ and the world after Christ, and the difference at this day between those parts of the globe where the Bible is read, and those where it is not known, are great patent facts which have never been explained away. The holiest lives and the happiest deaths which have been seen on the earth for eighteen centuries have been the result of the supernatural theology of the Bible, of faith in and of obedience to Christ, and the story of the cross. I challenge any one to deny this.
(d) We find, above all, that the Historic Founder of Christianity, Jesus Christ Himself, is a great fact which has been before the world for eighteen centuries, and has completely baffled all the efforts of infidels and non-Christians to explain it away. No skeptical writer has ever given a satisfactory answer to the question “Who was Christ? Whence did He come?” The super-human purity of His life, confessed even by men like Rousseau and Napoleon3 ¾the super-human wisdom of His teaching,-the super-human mystery of His death,-the inexplicable incident of His resurrection,-the undeniable influence which His apostles obtained for His doctrines, without the aid of money or arms,-all these are simple matters of history, and demand the attention of every honest man who really wishes to inquire into the great subject of religion. They are indisputable facts in the annals of the world. Let those who dare deny them.
Now what shall we say to these facts? That they are facts I think no one of average intelligence can possibly deny. I assert that they form a mass of evidence in favour of Christianity which cannot be safely neglected by any honest mind. “What canst thou know?” says Zophar. I answer, we know enough to justify every Christian in resting his soul calmly and confidently on the revelation which God has given us of Himself, and of Christ, in His Bible. That revelation is supported by such an enormous mass of probable evidence that we may safely trust its truth. I answer, furthermore, that we “know” enough to warrant us in urging every sceptic to consider seriously, as a prudent man, whether he is not occupying a very dangerous and untenable position. Probabilities are all against him; and probabilities, in the vast majority of things, are the only guide of choice and action. He cannot say that the witness of eighteen centuries is so weak and worthless that it deserves no attention. On the contrary, it is so strong that, if he cannot explain it away, he ought either to throw down the arms of his unbelief, or to avow that he is not open to reason. In a word, he is not willing to be convinced. He has shut his eyes, and is deter mined not to open them. Well might our Lord say, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Well might He “marvel at unbelief” (Luke xvi. 31. Mark vi. 6).
I shall now conclude this paper with two general remarks which I commend to the attention of all who read it.
1. For one thing, let me try to show the true causes of a vast amount of the unbelief of the present day.
That there is a good deal of unbelief in this age it is vain to deny. The number of people who attend no place of worship, and seem to have no religion, is very considerable. A vague kind of skepticism or agnosticism is one of the commonest spiritual diseases in this generation. It meets us at every turn, and crops up in every company. Like the Egyptian plague of frogs, it makes its way into every family and home, and there seems no keeping it out. Among high and low, and rich and poor, in town and country, in Universities and manufacturing towns, in castles and in cottages, you will continually find some form of unbelief. It is no longer a pestilence that walketh in darkness, but a destruction that wasteth at noon day. It is even considered clever and intellectual, and a mark of a thoughtful mind. Society seems leavened with it. He that avows his belief of everything contained in the Bible must make up his mind in many companies to be smiled at contemptuously, and thought an ignorant and weak man.
(a) Now there is no doubt that, as I have already said, the seat of unbelief in some persons is the head. They refuse to accept anything which they cannot understand, or which seems above their reason. Inspiration, Miracles, the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement, the Holy Spirit, the Resurrection, the Future State, all these mighty verities are viewed with cold indifference as disputable points, if not absolutely rejected. “Can we entirely explain them? Can we satisfy their reasoning faculties about them?” If not they must be excused if they stand in doubt. What they cannot fully understand, they tell us they cannot fully believe, and so they never observe the Sabbath, and never exhibit any religion while they live, though, strangely enough, they like to be buried with religious forms when they die.
(b) But while I admit this, I am equally certain that with some the real seat of unbelief is the heart. They love the sins and habits of life which the Bible condemns, and are determined not to give them up. They take refuge from an uneasy conscience by trying to persuade themselves that the old Book is not true. The measure of their creed is their affec­tion. Whatever condemns their natural inclinations, they refuse to believe. The famous Lord Rochester, once a profligate and an infidel, but at last a true penitent, is recorded to have said to Bishop Burnet, as he drew near his end, “It is not reason, but a bad life, which is the great argument against the Bible.” A true and weighty saying! Many, I am persuaded, profess that they do not believe, because they know, if they did believe, they must give up their favorite sins.
(c) Last, but not least, with far the greater number of people the seat of unbelief is a lazy, indolent will. They dislike all kind of trouble. Why should they deny themselves, and take pains about Bible-reading and praying, and Sabbath observance, and diligent watchfulness over thoughts, and words, and actions, when, after all, it is not quite certain that the Bible is true? This, I have little doubt, is the form of unbelief which prevails most frequently among young people. They are not agitated by intellectual diffi­culties. They are often not the slaves of any special lusts or passions, and live tolerably decent lives. But deep down in their hearts there is a disinclination to make up their minds, and to be decided about anything in religion. And so they drift down the stream of life like dead fish, and float helplessly on, and are tossed to and fro, hardly knowing what they believe. And while they would shrink from telling you they are not Christians, they are without any backbone in their Christianity.
Now, whether head, or heart, or will, be in fault, it is some comfort to remember that there is probably less of real, downright, reasoning unbelief than there appears to be. Thousands, we may be sure, do not in their heart of hearts believe all that they say with their lips. Many a skeptical saying is nothing more than a borrowed article, picked up and retailed by him who says it, because it sounds clever, while, in reality, it is not the language of his inner man.
Sorrow, and sickness, and affliction, often bring out the strange fact that so-called skeptics are not skeptics at all, and that many talk skepticism merely from a desire to seem clever, and to win the temporary ap­plause of clever men. That there is an immense amount of unbelief in the present day I make no question; but that much of it is mere show and pretence is, to my mind, as clear as noonday. No man, I think, can do pastoral work, and come to close quarters with souls, visit the sick, and attend the dying, without coming to that conclusion.
The parting advice I offer to heart skeptics is simply this. Let me entreat you to deal honestly with your soul about secret sins. Are you sure there is not some bad habit, or lust, or passion, which, almost insensibly to yourself, you would like to indulge, if it were not for some remaining scruples? Are you quite sure that your doubts do not arise from a desire to get rid of restraint? You would like, if you could, to do something the Bible forbids, and you are looking about for reasons for disregarding the Bible. Oh! if this is the case with any of my readers, awake to a sense of your danger! Break the chains which are gradually closing round you. Pluck out the right eye, if need be; but never be the servant of sin. I repeat that the secret love of some vicious indulgence is the real beginning of a vast amount of infidelity.
The parting advice I offer to lazy skeptics is this. Let me entreat you to deal honestly with your souls about the use of means for acquiring religious know­ledge. Can you lay your hand on your heart and say that you really take pains to find out what is truth? Do not be ashamed to pray for light. Do not be ashamed of reading some leading book about the Creeds and the Confession of your own Church, and, above all, do not be ashamed of regularly studying the text of your Bible. Thousands, I am persuaded, in this day, know nothing of the Holy Book which they affect to despise, and are utterly ignorant of the real nature of that Christianity which they pretend they cannot believe. Let not that be the case with you. That famous “honest doubt,” which many say is better than “half the creeds,” is a pretty thing to talk about. But I venture a strong suspicion that much of the skepticism of the present day, if sifted and analyzed, would be found to spring from utter ignorance of the primary evidences of Christianity
2. The other concluding remark which I will make is this. I will try to explain the reason why so many professing Christians are continually frightened and shaken in their minds by doubts about the truth of Christianity.
That this is the case of many I have a very strong impression. I suspect there are thousands of Sabbath-keeping, church-going Christians who would repudiate with indignation the charge of skepticism, and yet are constantly troubled about the truth of Christianity. Some new book, or lecture, or sermon, appears from the pen of men like Darwin or Colenso, and at once these worthy people are scared and panic stricken, and run from clergyman to clergyman to pour out their anxieties and fears, as if the very ark of God was in danger. “Can these new ideas be really true?” they cry. “Must we really give up the Old Testament, and the flood, and the miracles, and the resurrection of Christ? Alas! alas! what shall we do?” In short, like Ahaz, their “hearts are moved, as the trees of the wood are moved with the wind” (Isaiah vii. 2).
Now what is the cause of this readiness to give way to doubts? Why are so many alarmed about the faith of eighteen centuries, and frightened out of their wits by attacks which no more shake the evidences of Christianity than the scratch of a pin shakes the great Pyramid of Egypt.
The reason is soon told. The answer lies in a nutshell. The greater part of modern Christians are utterly ignorant of the evidences of Christianity, and the enormous difficulties of infidelity. The education of the vast majority of people on these subjects is wretchedly meager and superficial, or it is no education at all. Not one in a hundred church-goers, probably, has ever read a page of Leslie, or Leland, or Watson, or Butler, or Paley, or Chalmers, or M’Ilvaine, or Daniel Wilson, or Porteus, or Whately. What wonder if the minds of such people are like a city without walls, and utterly unable to resist the attacks of the most commonplace infidelity, much less of the refined and polished skepticism of these latter days.
The remedy for this state of things is patent and plain. Every professing Christian should arm his mind with some elementary knowledge of the evidences of revealed religion and the difficulties of infidelity, and so be ready to give a reason for the faith that he professes. He ought not merely to read and love his Bible, but to be able to tell any one why he believes the Bible to be true. Ministers should preach occasionally on evidences. It was one of that great man Cecil’s counsels to a clergyman, “In your sermons never forget the infidel.” Schools, Colleges, and Universities, which make any pretence to be Christian, should never altogether leave out evidences in their scheme of instruction for the young. In short, if we want the coming generation to hold fast Christianity, we must provide them with defensive armor.
With these two remarks I close my paper. Thank God! we travel on to a world where there is no ignorance, no skepticism, and no doubt. We shall soon see as we have been seen, and know as we have been known. Alas! What a waking up remains for many the moment the last breath is drawn! There is no unbelief in the grave. Voltaire now knows whether there is a sin-hating God; and David Hume now knows whether there is an endless hell. The infant of days, by merely dying, acquires a knowledge which the subtlest philosophers, while on earth, profess their inability to attain. The dead Hottentot knows more than the living Socrates. To that future world the true Christian may look forward calmly, confidently, and without fear. He that has Christ in his heart, and the Bible in his bead, is standing on a rock, and has no cause to be afraid. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, let us be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that our labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. xv. 58). If we cannot “find out the Almighty to perfection,” we can know enough to give us peace in life, and hope in death. What we “know” let us hold fast.
One thing at least is certain. If we “KNOW” little we can DO much. Is it not written, “If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.”-“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (John vii. 17; Deut. xxix. 29).


1 [this particular note is from the editor of the Drummond Tract “Home Truths” edition published soon after Bishop Ryle’s death in 1899].
Science has moved forward since Bishop Ryle penned these lines: still his reasoning is valid for to-day. The Bacterial or Germ Theory of disease has not cleared up all the mysteries connected with its origin and nature. Again, as regards the ultimate constitution of matter and force, the conclusions which held ground among scientific men until lately have been completely overthrown by the discovery of the remarkable metal radium, and the study of its phenomena. Lastly, the more recent convulsions, volcanic and seismic, which occurred at St. Pierre, San Francisco, and Messina, accompanied as these have been with tremendous loss of life, prove that the progress of science still leaves the human race as helpless as ever in the presence of this class of calamity.
2 The following page from Carlyle’s “Sartor Resartus” contains so many useful thoughts about miracles and the so-called laws of nature that I make no apology for giving it to the readers of this paper, and commending it to their attention. In giving it I must not be supposed to be a wholesale admirer of the writer, or of his peculiar style.
“But is not a Miracle simply a violation of the Laws of Nature’? ask several. Whom I answer by this new question, What are the Laws of Nature? To me, perhaps, the rising of one from the dead were no violation of these Laws, but a confirmation; were some far deeper Law, now first penetrated into, and by Spiritual Force, even as the rest have all been, brought to bear on us with its Material force.
“Here, too, some may inquire, not without astonishment, ‘On what ground shall one, that can make iron swim, come and declare that therefore he can teach religion?’ To us, truly, of the nineteenth century, such declaration were inapt enough, which, nevertheless, to our fathers, of the first century, was full of meaning.
“But is it not the deepest Law of Nature that she be constant?’ cries an illuminated class. ‘Is not the Machine of the Universe fixed to move by unalterable rules?’ Probable enough, good friends; nay, I, too, must believe that the God whom ancient inspired men assert to be ‘without variableness or shadow of turn­ing’ does indeed never change; that Nature, that the Universe, which no one whom it so pleases can be prevented from calling a Machine, does move by the most unalterable rules. And now of you, too, I make the old inquiry, ‘What those same unalterable rules, forming the complete statute book of Nature, may possibly be?’
‘They stand written in our Works of Science’ say you; ‘in the accumulated records of man’s experi­ence?’ Was man with his experience present at the Creation, then, to see how it all went on? Have any deepest scientific individuals yet dived down to the foundation of the Universe, and gauged everything there? Did the Maker take them into His counsel, that they read His ground-plan of the incomprehen­sible All; and can say, ‘This stands marked therein, and no more than this’? Alas! not in anyone! These scientific individuals have been nowhere but where we also are, have seen some handbreadths deeper than we see into the Deep that is infinite, with­out bottom, as without shore.
“System of Nature! To the wisest man, wide as is his vision, Nature remains of quite infinite depth, of quite infinite expansion; and all experience thereof limits itself to some few computed centuries and measured square miles. The course of Nature’s phases, on this our little fraction of a Planet, is partially known to us: but who knows what deeper courses these depend on, what infinitely larger Cycle (of causes) our little Epicycle revolves on? To the Minnow every cranny, and pebble, and quality, and accident of its little native Crack may have become familiar; but does the Minnow understand the Ocean Tides and periodic currents, the Trade-winds, and Monsoons, and Moon’s Eclipses; by all which the condition of its little world is regulated, and may, from time to time (unmiraculously enough) be quite overset and reversed? Such a Minnow is Man; his Creek this Planet Earth, his Ocean the immeasurable All, his Monsoons and Periodic Currents the Mysterious Course of Providence through Æons of Æons!”
3 The language of Rousseau about Christ, referred to in this sermon, is so remarkable that I think it may be useful to give it in its entirety:
“Is it possible that He, whose history the Gospel records, can be but a mere man? Does He speak in the tone of an enthusiast, or of an ambitious sectary? What mildness, what purity in His manners! What touching grace in His instructions, what elevation in His maxims! What profound wisdom in His discourses ! What presence of mind ! What ingenuity, and what justness in His answers! What government of His passions! What prejudice, what blindness or ill faith must that be which dares to compare Socrates, the son of Sophroniscus, with the Son of Mary! What a difference between the two! Socrates dying without pain, without disgrace, easily sustains his part to the last. The death of Socrates philosophizing tranquilly with his friends is the mildest that could be desired: that of Jesus expiring in torments, injured, mocked, cursed by all the people, is the most horrible that can be feared. Socrates, taking the empoisoned cup, blesses him who presents it to him with tears. Jesus, in the midst of a frightful punishment, prays for his enraged executioners. Yes, if the life and death of Socrates are those of a sage, the life and death of Jesus are those of a God.”-Emile Rousseau.
The words of Napoleon at St. Helena towards the close of his life were these: “I know men, and I tell you that Jesus is not a man.”
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "J. C. Ryle Collection" by:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

domistic abuse and the hispanic church

I attended hispanic churches since i was 17 and not once did they ever preach or teach on the topic of domistic abuse. It exists in the hispanic community and the hispanic church must shed its machismo,indifference,putting their heads under the ground like ostriches and hoping it will go away,fear or cultural acceptance. hispanic women and hispanic children need the church let us not fail them and let the world put us to shame by doing what we the hispanic church should and called to be doing.

Here are some resource:

Monday, May 14, 2007

this is what happens when you do not stand on God's word

Steve camps bullseye truth response:

May 12th 2007 - Clint Eastwood, in his famous “Dirty Harry” detective series, makes this profound statement: ”a man’s got to know his limitations.” Such wisdom would also apply in the field of apologetics when actor Kirk Cameron and evangelist Ray Comfort said they could prove the existence of God (100% scientifically guaranteed) as fact, without using the Bible or appealing to faith. It sadly and unfortunately went downhill from there. I really do like Kirk and Ray (though I have never met them in person) and what they are trying to accomplish through their Way of the Master program. They have brought back a right emphasis on the Law of God in presenting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their approach and methods are a bit prepackaged, stock, and pedestrian and I have never heard them explain justification by faith alone after going through their "have you ever told a lie? what does that make you.. a liar" rap. It is obvious they are dear brothers in the Lord with a burden for lost people. But feelings aside - you must know the Word of God and the subject you are addressing if you are going to step out on national TV and try and debate two atheists "the existence of God." BTW, these two atheists were not intellectual elites or gifted apologists for their views. They were two uptight, ticked off academic lightweights with an obvious agenda who came off as if they took a trip to the National Museum of Science and Industry to "study" fossils in order to bone-up on their views before that evening's debate using very stunted, sophmoric, and handicaped logic. Any prepared Christian apologist should have swept the floor with them... (in a loving Christian way of course calling them to repentance.) Both of them claimed to be Christians before becoming atheists. In case you didn’t see this debate on "ABCNews Face Off" this past Thursday evening—the premise was this: Ray comfort contacted ABC and said that he wanted to debate two atheists on the existence of God that he had seen on an ABC Nightline show some months before that featured a “Blasphemy Challenge.” He went on to say that he could 100% scientifically prove God’s existence without appealing to faith or Scripture - that is was a matter of fact and didn't require faith to be convinced of its truthfulness. This was a recipe for disaster from the get go: First of all, no biblical text ever asserts or affirms this kind of tactic. It might play well on ABC for a bit of evening controversy, but little if anything profitable for the kingdom came of this disappointing display of inept, unprepared, and unbiblical apologetics. To add insult to injury, neither Kirk nor Ray proved "100% scientifically the existence of God" by using science. Secondly, they never presented one shred of scientific evidence to support their dogmatic claim. Thirdly, I didn’t think it was possible for a Christian to lose a debate on "the existence of God" to two atheists—but that is exactly what happened. This debate took place at Calvary Baptist Church in downtown New York. I have ministered there before in word and song; and it was pastored for several years by my dear late friend, Dr. Stephen Olford. I can only imagine what he would be saying today if he was here to witness this weak and ill-prepared exchange from two men representing the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel? He would be ashamed.
"Let us suppose that Kirk and Ray actually persuaded the atheists on live TV that God does exist. What would that have proven? It would not have proven the Biblical triune God who has revealed himself in Holy Scripture. In other words, the atheists would have been as much unregenerate as they were before. [as James White has said] 'What you win them with is what you win them to.'" -Alan Kurschner This debate proved a few things though: 1. "religious talking points" in the real world of unbridled ideas and seasoned news professionals is an effort in futility and doesn’t serve well the cause of the gospel. 2. the gospel, beloved, IS the power of God unto salvation--not some foolish, silly around the barn approach to proving God's existence scientifically. And 3. that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is not an offer of salvation, but a call and command to follow Jesus and be reconciled unto God (2 Cor. 5:16-21; Acts 17:19-31). On a personal note: my brothers in the Lord - Kirk and Ray:please, I beg you, stay out of mainstream media until you know your subject; stop running your Way Of The Master infomercials on TBN - it is foolish to be aligned with a network that promotes most of the time an unbiblical view of God, the gospel and the person of Jesus Christ; get trained biblically in the essentials of the faith and apologetics; don’t do any more debates until you are really prepared; invite some others to carry the lionshare of the debate for you (i.e., Dr. James White, Ravi Zacharias, etc.); learn how to communicate the gospel of sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus to nonbelievers when real questions are being asked; listen to what people are actually asking you and saying to you (1 Peter 3:15); and finally, if you ever have the courage to enter an exchange of ideas like this again on national TV representing the gospel, the Lord, and His people, please be prepared and really know what you are talking about. Your motives seem well intentioned, but your lack of knowledge (both biblically and scientifically) on this issue and your failure to communicate clearly to those you were debating, has lost you real credibility not only among nonbelievers, but also among believers in the Lord Jesus Christ as well. If you haven't seen the debate, I would encourage you to watch it here. Be prepared, it is painful to watch.
By popular off forum demand, a "Mulligan" has been given to Ray and Kirk

crown Him with many crowns

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.Hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,And hail Him as thy matchless King through all eternity.
Crown Him the virgin’s Son, the God incarnate born,Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn;Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.
Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,And ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;Who every grief hath known that wrings the human breast,And takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.
Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed over the grave,And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.His glories now we sing, Who died, and rose on high,Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.
Crown Him the Lord of peace, Whose power a scepter swaysFrom pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.His reign shall know no end, and round His piercèd feetFair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.
Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.
Crown Him the Lord of Heaven, enthroned in worlds above,Crown Him the King to Whom is given the wondrous name of Love.Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall;Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is King of all.
Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels singTheir songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.
Crown Him the Lord of years, the Potentate of time,Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity

Friday, May 11, 2007

am i a sea or whale? spurgeon

Am I a Sea, or a Whale?"May 7th, 1891byC. H. SPURGEON(1834-1892)
"Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"—Job 7:12.
Job was in great pain when he thus bitterly complained. These moans came from him when his skin was broken and had become loathsome and he sat upon a dunghill and scraped himself with a potsherd. We wonder at his patience, but we do not wonder at his impatience. He had fits of complaining, and failed in that very patience for which he was noted. Where God's saints are most glorious, there you will find their spots. The weaknesses of the saints lie near their strength. Elijah is the bravest of the brave, and flees from Jezebel; Moses is the meekest of the meek, and speaks in passion; Job is the most patient of men, and cries, "I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul." As part of his bitter complaint, he said, "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"He seemed to be watched and whipped, and then watched again. It seemed to him that God concentrated all his strength upon him in afflicting him. He was beaten black and blue; and whereas other culprits had forty stripes save one, he had fifty stripes save none. He was spared no suffering, and he cries at last, "I am watched, and checked, as if I were a great sea needing always to be held in bounds or a terrible sea-monster wanting always a hook in its jaws. Lord, why dost thou harass me thus? I am such a poor, insignificant thing, that it seems out of thy usual way to be so rough upon one so feeble. The raging ocean, or the mighty leviathan, may need such watching, but why dost thou spend it on me? Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"I shall not moor myself to Job's sense of the words; but I shall spread my sail for a voyage further out to sea. This sort of talk may have been used by many a man who is now within hail of my voice—may have been used by sailors now before me.Let me point out the channel along which I shall steer in my discourse. We shall begin by saying that some men seem to be narrowly watched by God. They think that the Lord's eye is as much fixed on them as though they were great as a sea, or huge as a whale. My second point will be, that they do not like this watching. They complain about it, and wish they could get rid of it. Therefore they argue against it with God. Our third head is, that their argument is a bad one. They think they are very hardly done by; but the fact is, that all they complain of is in love. See, my mess-mates, the way I shall try to steer; but if the heavenly wind blows me out of my course, don't be surprised if I tack about, and go nobody knows where.I. I have, first, to say that SOME MEN SEEM TO BE SPECIALLY TRACKED AND WATCHED BY GOD. We hear of persons being "shadowed" by the police, and certain people feel as if they were shadowed by God; they are mysteriously tracked by the great Spirit, and they know and feel it. Wherever they go, an eye is upon them, and they cannot hide from it. They are like prisoners under arrest—they can never go out of reach of the law. They cannot get away from God, do what they may. There are men who have been in this condition for years; and they know what I mean.All men are really surrounded by God. He is not far from every one of us. "In him we live, and move, and have our being." "Whither shall we flee from thy presence?" to the heights above, or to the depths beneath? to oceans frozen into ice, or seas whereon the sun shines with burning heat? In vain we rise or dive to escape from God. "Thou God seest me", is as true in the watches of the night as in the blaze of day. God is with us, and we are always beneath his eye. Yet there are certain people to whom this is more clear than it is to others.Some are singularly aware of the presence of God. Certain of us never were without a sense of God. As children, we could not go to sleep till we said, "Our Father which art in heaven." As youths, we trembled if we heard God's holy name blasphemed. As men, engaged in the cares of life, we have seen the Lord's goodness, all along. We delight to see him in every flower that blooms, and to hear his voice in every wind that blows. It has made us happy to see God in his works. "The fool hath said in his heart, No God"; but this folly we never cared for. We knew that God was good, even when we felt we had offended him. He has taught us from our youth, and manifested himself to us. Softly has the whisper fallen on our ear, "God is near thee: God is with thee: God hath an ear to hear thee: God hath a heart to love thee: God hath a hand to help thee." I have known those who, even when they have sinned and gone against their consciences, have never at any time quite lost a sense of the nearness of God, even though its only fruit was fear—a fear which hath torment.With others God's watch is seen in a different way. They feel that they are watched by God, because their conscience never ceases to rebuke them. The voice of conscience is not pitched to the same key in all men; neither is it equally loud in all people. Conscience can be made like a muzzled dog, and then it cannot bite the thief of sin. Conscience can grow like a man with a cold, who has lost his voice. But it is not so with all men, even after years of sin. Some have a naturally tender conscience, and while living in sin they are never easy. They make merry all the day, for "they count it one of the wisest things to drive dull care away"; but dull care, like the chickens, comes home to roost at night. The sailor in company is jolly; but if he has to keep a lone watch beneath the silent stars his heart begins to beat, and his conscience begins to call him to account for the follies of the day. He starts in his sleep; he dreams over his past sin and the judgment to come; for conscience will wake even when the rest of the man sleeps. "You were wrong", says conscience; and his voice is very solemn.Even great sin in certain men has not prevented conscience speaking out honestly to them. Again and again the inward monitor cries, "You were wrong, and you will suffer for it." We read that "David's heart smote him": the heart deals us an ugly knock. When the blow is within us it tells. I am addressing some who, though they do not feel pleased about it, yet must know that there is a something within that will not let them sin cheaply. God has a bit in their mouths, and a bridle upon their jaws; and every now and then he gives a tug at it, and pulls them right up. They are not at home in sin. They have not yet got their sea-legs upon the ocean of vice. They sing the songs of the devil with a quake and a shake, which shows that the music does not suit them. Thus God has set a watch upon them: they carry a detective in their bosoms.In some this watching has gone farther, for they are under solemn conviction of sin. They are convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. God's custom-house officer has boarded them, and their smuggling is found out. I remember when I was in that state myself—a criminal who dared not deny his guilt, but dreaded punishment. I would not go back to that condition for a hundred worlds. Then there was no rest for me. I was only a youth; but boyish sports lost their relish for me, because I knew that I was a sinner, and that God must punish sin. I awoke in the morning, and my first act for many a day was to read a chapter of the Bible, or a page of some arousing book, which kept my conscience still awake. The Holy Spirit put me in irons, and there I lay both day and night. My bed was at times a very weary place to me, because the eyes of God's anger seemed to be ever watching me. I knew I had offended God, and I had not yet found out the way of reconciliation by the blood of Jesus Christ.Now, it may be that I speak to some here, who have been to the ends of the earth, and they have said, "Well, when we get away where the Sabbath bell is never heard, we shall get rid of these fears, and take our swing in sin." They sailed off, and as soon as they reached port, they hurried to a place of vicious amusement, where no one knew them. But the dog of fear howled at their heels, and merriment seemed mockery to them. On the lone ocean the very stars pierced their hearts with their rays. At length their mess-mates began to notice it and call them Old Sobersides. "Jack, what ails you?" was the frequent question; and well it might be, for Jack was very heavy, and it is hard to be merry with a broken heart. In some such fashion as this the man feels that God has set a watch upon him, and that he has become like a sea which never rests, or a whale which roams the waste of water, and knows no home. God watched him; and though he would gladly have run the blockade, he could not find an hour in which his vessel was left alone.Certain men are not only plagued by conscience and dogged by fear, but the providence of God seems to have gone out against them. Just when the man had resolved to have a bout of drinking, he fell sick of a fever, and had to go to the hospital. He was going to a dance; but he became so weak that he had not a leg to stand upon. He was forced to toss to and fro on the bed, to quite another tune from that which pleases the ball-room. He had yellow fever, and was long in pulling round. God watched him, and put the skid on him just as he meant to have a break-neck run downhill. The man gets better, and he says to himself, "I will have a good time now." But then he is out of berth, and perhaps he cannot get a ship for months, and he is brought down to poverty. "Dear me!" he says, "everything goes against me. I am a marked man"; and so he is. Just when he thinks that he is going to have a fair wind, a tempest comes on and drives him out of his course, and he sees rocks ahead. After a while he thinks, "Now I am all right. Jack is himself again, and piping times have come." A storm hurries up; the ship goes down, and he loses all but the clothes he has on his back. He is in a wretched plight: a shipwrecked mariner, far from home. God seems to pursue him even as he did Jonah. He carries with him misfortune for others, and he might well cry, "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?" Nothing prospers. His tacklings are loosed; he cannot well strengthen his mast; his ship leaks; his sails are rent; his yards are snapped; and he cannot make it out. Other people seem to get on, though they are worse than he is. Time was when he used to be lucky too; but now he has parted company with success, and carries the black flag of distress. He is driven to and fro by contrary winds; he makes no headway; he is a miserable man, and would wish that the whole thing would go to the bottom, only he dreads a place which has no bottom, from which there is no escape, if once you sink into it. The providence of God runs hard against him, and thus he sees himself to be a watched man.Yes, and God also watches over many in the way of admonition. Wherever they go, holy warnings follow them. They cannot escape from those who would be friends to their souls. They seem to be surrounded with a ring of prayers and sermons and holy talks. The boy said, "If I could get away from my mother I should be free! I have been tied long enough to her apron strings. I am old enough to do as I like. If I can get away from my father's chidings and prayings, I shall have a fine time of it." So the boy ran away and went to sea; and when he got on board, a good old sailor tackled him, and talked to him about his soul; and then another pleaded with him. The boy said to himself, "Why, I have got out of the frying-pan into the fire. I came here to be out of the way of religion and here it is!" I have known a sailor to go from port to port, and wherever he has landed there has been some gracious man or woman waiting to lead him to Christ. May it be often so! May the Bethel flag be found flying in all waters, till every runaway says, "Why, I am watched wherever I go!" May it be as it was with our dear friends Fullerton and Smith on board the steamboat! Mr. Fullerton spoke to a rough man, and asked him if he was saved; and the man was angry, cross, vexed, and went to the other side of the vessel. There he complained to Mr. Smith, "That man over there asked me if I was saved; he is a fool!" "Very likely", said Smith; "but then, you see, he is a fool for Christ. I think it is better to be a fool for Jesus than to be wise for the devil." He began to plead with him, when the man cried out, "There is a regular gang of them; I cannot go anywhere but they are on to me." It has been made hot for some of you by the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, which has placed missionaries in so many ports. "There's a gang of them", and wherever you go you stumble on an earnest Christian man, who will not let you alone. If I could stir up Christian people here, I would make it hard for sinners, so that wherever they went they would find a hand outstretched to stop them from going to destruction. Oh, that each one might be met with tears and entreaties; that thus each one might be snatched from the waves of fire and landed on the rock of salvation! Some here present have had to dodge a great deal to keep out of the way of gospel shots. Their track has been followed by mercy, and they have been pursued by swift cruisers of grace. They have been like fish taken in a net—surrounded on all sides, and neither able to pass through the meshes, nor to break the net, nor to leap out of it. Oh, that the net of Christ's love may so entangle; you all, that you may be his for ever!That is our first point: there are some men who seem specially watched of God.II. Secondly, we notice that THEY ARE VERY APT TO DISLIKE THIS WATCHING. Job is not pleased with it. He asks, "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?" These people, to whom God pays such attention, are foolish enough to murmur that they are so hedged in, and they are vexed to be made to feel that God has his eye upon them.Do you know what they would like? They want liberty to sin. They would like to be let loose, and to be allowed to do just as their wild wills would suggest to them. They would cast off every restraint and have their fling of what the world calls "pleasure." They would climb from sin to sin, hand over hand. They would like to empty all the cups on the devil's sideboard, and be as merry as the worst of men when they are taking it free and easy. That is why they would send their consciences to sleep, drown their fears, and escape from chastening providences and warning admonitions. They would like to live where no Christian person would ever worry them again with wearisome exhortation. They demand liberty: liberty to put their hand into the fire! liberty to ruin themselves! liberty to leap into hell before their time! Liberty! what destruction has been wrought in thy name! Free thinking! Free living! Free loving and all that! What misuse of terms! What a libel upon the name of freedom, to use the word "free" in connection with the slavery of sin! Yet, I am speaking to some who say, "That is just what I want. I want to cut myself clear of all this hamper which blocks me up from having my own way." Ah me! this is the cry of a man who is bent on soul-suicide!They wish also that they could be as hard of heart as many others are. Some men can drink any quantity, and yet do not seem as if they were greatly affected by it; and many a young sailor has wished that he could pour down his grog without a wink, after the style of the old toper. He meets with a foul-mouthed being who can swear till all is blue, while he himself has only dropped an oath or two, and then felt wretched. The young man begins to wish that he was as tough as old Jack, and as much a dare-devil as he. The hardened profligate is foolishly envied, and looked upon as a man of "pluck." But is it true bravery to ruin one's soul? Is it manly to be wicked? Is it a great gain to have a seared conscience We don't envy the blind because they cannot see danger, nor the deaf because they cannot hear an alarm; and why envy the hardened old sinner because he has become spiritually blind and deaf? There are monsters, both on land and on sea, whose very breath is pestilent, and whose talk is enough to choke up a town with vice; and yet certain young men, whom God will not allow to descend into such rottenness, are almost angry that they are restrained. A tender conscience is a great possession, but these simple ones know not its value. They wish that they could have a heart as hard as the nether millstone. Ah, poor souls! you know not what you wish; for you have no idea how deep is the curse that lies in a callous conscience. When God gave Pharaoh up to hardness of heart, it was a tremendous punishment for his pride and cruelty; and, short of hell, there is no judgment that God can inflict like letting a man have his own way. "Let him alone", says God, "he is joined to idols"; and if the Lord says that, there is only one other word more dreadful, and that is the final sentence,—"Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." O you beginners in vice who cannot yet stifle the cries of your suffering consciences, I pray that you may see your folly, and no longer do violence to your own mercy.Men do not like this being surrounded by God—this wearing the bit and kicking strap—because they would drop God from their thoughts. If to-morrow we could hear, by telegram from heaven, that God was dead, what crowds would buy the newspaper! It would be the greatest relief in the world to many a godless wretch if he could feel sure that there was no God. To some of us this news would be death: we should have lost our Father, our Comforter, our Savior, our all. Alas! many wish that there were no God; and if they cannot persuade themselves that there is none—and it is very hard for a sailor to do that—yet they try to forget him. If God is out of mind, he is as good as out of the world to the careless sinner. When God comes with inward fears, and awakens conscience, and sends cross providences, so that the man feels pulled up and made to pause; then he knows that there is a God, for he feels a power which works against his sin, from which he cannot get away. He longs to be clear of this secret force; but it wraps him about on every side. He does not read his Bible, and yet Scripture rises in his memory. It is long since he bent his knee in prayer; he has almost forgotten what his mother said to him when she lay a-dying; but still he feels that there is a God, and, somehow, that belief sounds a trumpet blast through his soul, summoning him to his last account. Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment! The call rings in his ears, and he cannot get away from the terrible sound. Then it is that he cries "Why am I thus? Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"Once more, there are some who do not like to be shadowed in this way, because they want to have their will with others. Shall I speak a sharp word, like a two-edged sword? There are men—and seamen to be found among them—who are not satisfied with being ruined themselves, but they thirst to ruin others. They lay traps for precious souls, and they are vexed that their victims should escape them. They are angry because certain poor women are not altogether in their power. Woe unto the men who lead women astray! I have heard of sailors who, in every port they enter, try to ruin others. I charge you to remember that you will have to face these ruined ones at the day of judgment. You sailed away, and they never knew where you went; but the Lord knew. It may be, when you lie in hell, eyes will find you out, and a voice will cry aloud, "Are you here? You are the man that led me to perdition!" You will have to keep everlasting company with those whom you dragged down to hell; and these will for ever curse you to your face. I say there are men who would like to have full license to commit wantonness, and they are grieved that they are hindered in their carnival of sin. May God grant that you may be stopped altogether; and instead of lusting to pollute others, may you have a desire to save them! May God grant that the channel of evil may be blocked for you, and may you be piloted into the waters of repentance and faith!This is why some kick against God. I fear these people will be much vexed with me for speaking so plainly; but you must not think that it will alarm me should you be angry. I am rather glad when fellows get angry with my preaching. "Oh", I say to myself, "those fish feel the hook in their jaws, and so they struggle to escape." Of course a fish does not like the hook which lays hold of him. These angry hearers will come again. You people with whom the sermon goes in at one ear and out at the other, you get no good whatever; but a man who fires up with wrath, and says, "How dare that fellow speak thus to me?" is sure to listen again; and it is very likely that God will bless him. But whether it offends you or pleases you—I repeat my warning—I charge you, do not drag others down to hell with you. If you must go there yourselves, seek not to destroy those around you. Do not teach boys to drink, and to swear; neither tempt frail women to commit uncleanness with you. God help you to shake off all vice; for I know that vile habits are often the reason why men kick against the restraint of God's loving hand.III. And now I have got to the very heart of my text. The third part is this—that THIS ARGUMENT AGAINST THE LORD'S DEALINGS IS A VERY BAD ONE. Job says, "Am I a sea, or whale, that thou settest a watch over me?" Listen. To argue from our insignificance is poor pleading; for the little things are just those against which there is most need to watch. If you were a sea, or a whale, God might leave you alone; but as you are a feeble and sinful creature, which can do more hurt than a sea, or a whale, you need constant watching. In life, men fall by very little things. One does not need to watch against his dog one half so much as against a horse-fly, or a mosquito, for these will sting you when you least expect it. The little things want most watching, therefore it is poor reasoning when we complain that God watches us as if we were a sea, or a whale.After all, there is not a man here who is not very like a sea, or a sea-monster in this respect, that he needs a watch to be set over him. A man's heart is as changeable and as deceitful as the sea. To-day it is calm as a sea of glass, unruffled by a breath of air. Oh, trust not yourself upon it, for before to-morrow's sun is up, your nature may be rolling in tremendous billows of passion. You cannot trust the sea, but it is more worthy of confidence than your heart. Here you are to-night, and oh, how good you look as you sit and listen, and then stand up and sing! Ah, my men! I should not like to hear you if you take to blaspheming your Maker, as many do. When you are down in the forecastle with a little band of praying men, how very good you feel! Let us see you when you are on shore, and there is plenty of grog about. It is easy to have a calm sea when there is no wind, but how different is the ocean when a gale is blowing! We are all very well when far away from temptation, but how are we when the devil's servants are around us? Then, I fear, that too often good resolutions prove to be
"False as the smooth, deceitful sea,And empty as the whistling wind."It may be that I speak to one who has undergone a dreadful change. Once you led others in the way of righteousness, but now you draw them into evil. Once you sailed under the Bethel flag, but now the old Pirate of the infernal lake is your captain. You have gone back to your old ways, and have again become the slave of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Your religious profession had no foundation. Ah me! you need not say, "Am I a sea, or a whale?" for seas and sea-monsters are more to be trusted than you are. The sea is immeasurable; and, as for you, your sinfulness is unsearchable. Your capacity is almost without measure: your mind reaches far, and touches all things. Man's mind can rise in rebellion against the God of the whole earth, till, like the raging waves of the sea, it threatens to put out the lights of heaven. When man is in a rebellious state he will rage in his thoughts as though he would wash away the shores of heaven, and beat like the surf upon the iron rocks of hell. A man is an awful mystery of iniquity when left to himself. You cannot fathom his pride, nor measure his daring. Deep down in his mind there are creeping things innumerable, both small and great beasts; for all manner of evils and sins multiply in the heart like fishes in the sea. Do not say, "Am I a sea, or a sea-monster, that thou settest a watch over me?" for the Lord may answer, "You are more capacious for evil than a sea, and more wild than a sea-monster."I shall now go further, and show that, by reason of our evil nature, we have become like the sea. This is true in several ways; for, first, the sea is restless, and so is our nature. "The wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." You need not go far to find hearts always agitated; always seeking rest, and finding none. They know not Christ; and until they do know him, they cannot rest. They are always seeking a something; they know not what. They run first in one direction, and then in another, but they never follow the right thing. When they are thoughtful no good comes of their thoughts. Their waters cast up—what? Pearls and corals? No; "mire and dirt." I do not need to explain those words. If any of you have to keep company with these restless beings, you know how foul-mouthed they can be. They cast up worse things than mire and dirt when they are stirred up. Oh, say not, "Am I a sea, or a whale?" Think of yourself as being as restless as a whale when the harpoon is in him; as restless as the sea when a storm is moving its lowest depths.Let us say, next, that the sea can be furious and terrible, and so can ungodly men. When a man is in a fury, what a wild beast he can be! A landsman looks on the sea when it has put on its best behavior, and he says, "I should not mind going a voyage. It must be splendid to steam over such a sea! I feel I shall make a splendid sailor." Let him look at that same ocean by-and-by. Where is the sea of glass now? Where are the gentle waves, which seemed afraid to ripple too far upon the sand? The sea roars and rages and raves. The Atlantic in a storm is terrible; but have you ever seen a tempest in a man's nature? It is an awful sight, and one which causes gracious eyes to weep. What a miserable object is a man with the drink in him! He was as decent a fellow as one could talk with; but now that the drink has mastered him the devil has come on board, and you will do well to give him a wide berth. The same is true of passion. Concerning angry men our advice would be, "Put not to sea in a storm, neither argue with a man in a passion." You do not know what he will do, and he does not know himself. Such a man will be grieved enough when he sobers down; but meanwhile, while the storm is on, he cares for nothing. His eyes flash lightning, his face is black as tempest, his mouth foams, and his tongue rages. In his case, "The sea roars, and the fullness thereof." When you feel the Lord's restraint, you need not ask, "Am I a sea, or a whale?" for your own heart may answer, "You can be more furious than the sea itself."Think, again, how unsatisfied is the sea. It draws down and swallows up stretches of land and thousands of tons of cliff, but it is not filled up. "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full." Huge Spanish galleons went to the bottom, with thousands of gold and silver pieces on board; but the sea was never the richer. When, on some dreadful night, our coasts are strewn with wrecks, and hundreds of lives are lost, the devouring deep is never the more satisfied. The sea is a hungry monster, which could swallow a navy, and then open its mouth for more. Are not many men made of the same craving sort? If you gave them half a world they would cry for the other half; and if they had the whole round globe they would weep for the stars. Man's mind never rests in sweet content till God himself satisfies it with himself. O man, without true religion it is your fate to go for ever hungering and thirsting; or, like the sea, yeasting and foaming, after you know not what.Human nature is like the sea for mischief. How destructive is the ocean, and how unfeeling! It makes widows and orphans by the thousand, and then smiles as if it had done nothing! Terrible havoc it can work when once its power is let loose! Do not talk of the destructiveness of the sea; let the reckless sinner think of the destructiveness of his own life. You that are living in sin, and in vice, what wrecks you have caused! How many who set out on the voyage of life, and bade fair to make a splendid passage, have gone upon the rocks through you! A foul word, a loose song, a filthy act, and a gay craft has become a wreck. Conscience can fill in the details. Ah me! one cannot say to God, "Am I a sea, or a sea monster?" or he might well reply, "No shark has devoured so many as the drunkard in his cups, the swearer in his presumption, and the unclean in his lust!" Ah me! I could weep to think how much of mischief any one of you who are unconverted may yet do! The Lord deliver you from being left derelict, to cause wreck to others!We must not forget that we are less obedient to God than the sea is. Nothing keeps back the sea from many a shore but a belt of sand; and though it rages in storm and tempest, the sea goes back in due time and leaves the sand for children to play upon. It knows its bounds and keeps them. When the time comes for the tide to rise, the obedient waters march upon the shore in unbroken ranks, and fill up every creek. They do not linger behind their time. When the moment comes to stay where they are, they rest at flood. Then comes the instant to begin the ebb, and no matter how boisterous the waves may be, they fall back at God's bidding. What, after all, is more orderly than the great sea? Would to God we were like it in this! How readily this great creature yields! A little wind springs up, and its waves answer at once to the breath of heaven. When the sun crosses the line, the equinoctial gales know their season; while at all times the great currents cease not the flow which God has appointed them. The sea is obedient to the Lord, and so was that great fish of which we read just now: "The Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." As for us, we refuse to obey; and when left to ourselves, what law can restrain us? Is there anything in heaven or earth which a proud sinner will not venture to attempt? God blocks up the road to hell with hedge, and ditch, and chain; but we break over them. He digs a trench across our way, and we leap over it. He piles a mountain in the road, and as if our feet were like hinds' feet, we leap upon the high places of presumption. A man will go against wind and tide in his determination to be lost. O sea! O sea! thou art but a child with thy father, as compared with the wicked and rebellious heart of man! It is a bad argument, then. We need to be looked after. We need to be watched. We need to be kept in check, even more than a sea or a whale. We need the restraining providence and constraining grace of God to keep us from deadly sin.IV. Last of all, I would remark that ALL THEY COMPLAINED OF WAS SENT IN LOVE. They said, "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?" but if they had known the truth they would have blessed God with all their hearts for having watched over them as he has done.First, God's restraint of some of us has kept us from self-ruin. If the Lord had not held us in we might have been in prison; we might have been in the grave; we might have been in hell! Who knows what would have become of us? An old Scotchman said to Mr. Rowland Hill, what I am quite sure would have been as true of me. He looked into Mr. Hill's face so keenly and so often, that at last good Rowland asked him, "Why are you looking at my face so much?" "I was thinking", said the Scotchman, "that if you had not been converted by the grace of God, you would have been a terrible sinner." And, surely, this would have been my case. Nothing half-and-half would have contented me. I should have gone to the end of my tether. Is not the same true of some of you? How many times has the Lord laid his own hand on us to stay us from a fatal step! If we were checked in our youth, and brought there and then to Jesus, it was a gracious deed on God's part. If we have been hindered during a sinful manhood, and have at length been made to bow before the will of the Lord, this also is great grace. Left to ourselves, we should have chosen our own destruction. Do you not think that God's taking you apart, and giving you a tender conscience, and admonishing you so often, proves his great love to you. Surely someone has prayed for you. There is a mother here to-night. I hope she will not mind my telling you what she did last Tuesday when I was sitting in my vestry. She brought me a little brown paper parcel with £50 in it, and she gave it for the British and Foreign Sailors' Society. She has a son whom she has not heard of for years. He went to sea, and she cannot find him, or get any tidings of his whereabouts; but she hopes that a missionary of this Society may meet him in some strange place, and bring him to the Savior. She prays that it may be so, and, therefore, she brings her self-sacrificing offering—a great sum, I am sure, for her—that she may help to support the good Society which, she hopes, may be a blessing to her boy. There are other sailors to whom God's love is seen in their being followed up by a mother's pleadings. Ah, friend! the Lord would not have checked you so if he had not intended to bless you. That broken leg of yours is to keep you from running too far into sin. That yellow fever was sent to cool the fever of your sin. Your missing that ship caused you to miss shipwreck and death. These mishaps were all tokens of love to you. The Lord would not let you perish. He resolves to save you. You are one of his chosen. Christ bought you with his blood, and he means to have you for his own. If you will not come to him with a gentle breeze he will fetch you by a storm. Yield to the pressure of his love. If you will be as the horse and the mule, which have no understanding, he will break you in and manage you with bit and bridle; but it would be far better if you would be ruled by love.I think I see tokens of electing love upon you in those very things which you have kicked against. The Lord is working to bring you to himself, and to himself you must come. The prodigal son was driven home by stress of weather. If his father had had the doing of it, he could not have worked the matter better. His hungry belly and his pig-feeding fetched him home. The unkindness of the citizens of the far country helped to hurry him back to his father. Hardship, and want, and pain, are meant to bring you back, and God has used them to that end; and the day will come when you will say, "I bless God for the rough wave which washed me on shore. I bless God for the stormy providence which drowned my comfort, but saved my soul."Once more, and I have done. God will not always deal roughly with you. Perhaps to-night he will say his last sharp word. Will you yield to softer means? They say that oil poured on troubled waters will make them smooth: God the Holy Ghost can send to your troubled soul a lifelong calm. The winds and waves on the Galilean sea all went to sleep in an instant. How? Why, when Jesus came walking on the water he said to the warring elements, "Be still." The waves crouched like whipped dogs at his feet, though they had roared like lions before. He said to the winds, "Hush!" and they breathed as softly as the lips of a babe. Jesus is here at this hour. He that died on Calvary looks down on us: believe on him. He lifts his pierced hands, and cries, "Look unto me, and be ye saved." Will you not look to him? Oh, that his grace may lead you at once to say, "He is all in all to me!" Here is a soul-saving text for you: "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Accept the Savior; and though you be as a sea, or as a whale, you shall no longer complain of the Lord's watching you, but you shall rejoice in perfect liberty. He is free who loves to serve his God. He makes it his delight that he is watched of the Lord. The Lord bless sailors! May we all meet in the Fair Havens! May the flag of your Society bless every sea, because God blesses its missionaries! I wish for it the utmost prosperity, and I judge it to be worthy of the most generous aid of all Christian men. In all respects it is exactly to my mind. The Lord send prosperity to it! Amen.