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Warnings to an Ungodly Nation

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 13/01/2016. Posted in Articles

WARNINGS TO AN UNGODLY NATION

From John Flavel (1628 – 1691)

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As Paul had many clear premonitions and fore-notices of the sufferings that should befall him at Jerusalem, that he might not be surprised by them when they came, so it is usual with God (though not in such an immediate and extraordinary a manner) to admonish the world, and especially His own people of great trials and sufferings before hand (Amos 3:7). “Surely the Lord will do nothing, but He revealeth His secrets unto His servants the prophets.”

Thus, when He was about to bring the flood upon the world, He gave one hundred and twenty years warning of it before it came (Gen. 6:3), and when He was to destroy Sodom, He saith (Gen. 18:17), “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” And the like discovery He made about the same judgment to Lot (Gen. 19:12–14). So when the captivity of the Jews was nigh at hand, the people had many forewarnings of it; God forewarned them by the prophets (Ezek. 3:17), “Hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.” And when the time drew nigh to execute the judgment determined upon Jerusalem and the temple, how plainly did Christ foretell them of it! (Luke 19:43, 44)! “Thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee.”

And when the storm was just ready to fall, their own historian (Josephus) tells us, a voice was heard in the temple, saying, Migremus hinc (Let us go hence). “Which voice Tacitus also mentions in his annals, affirming it to be more than a human voice, telling them God was departing, and that it was accompanied with a rushing noise, as of persons going out. These were extraordinary warnings.” The like signs have been given to divers other nations, by dreadful eclipses of the heavenly bodies, portentous comets, earthquakes, and other signs of judgment.

Now, though we have no ground to expect such extraordinary warnings, yet we have the most apparent and certain signs of approaching calamities; after which, if they surprise us, the fault must lie in our own inexcusable negligence; for we have a standing rule to govern ourselves in this matter, and that is this:

When the same sins are found in one nation, which have brought down the wrath of God upon another nation, it is an evident sign of judgment at the door; for God is unchangeable, just and holy, and will not favour that in one people which He hath punished in another, nor bless that in one age which He hath cursed in another.

Upon this very ground it was that the apostle warned the Corinthians by the example of the Israelites, whose sins had ruined them in the wilderness (I Cor. 10:6): “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust afer evil things, as they also lusted.” As if he should say, look upon those dead bodies which are, as it were, cast up upon the Scripture-shore for a warning to you. Follow not the same course, lest you meet with the same curse; if you tread the same paths, expect the same punishment. God is as righteous now as He was then: He hates and will punish sin in you as much as He did in them.

Let us therefore consider what those provocations were that hastened the wrath of God upon His own Israel, a people that were nigh and dear unto Him: a people upon whom He spent as much of the riches of His patience as upon any people in the world, that so we may reckon whereabouts we are at this day, and what is like to be the lot of this sinful and provoking generation; and we shall find, by the consent of all the prophets, that these sins were the immediate forerunners and proper causes of their overthrow.

  1. The great corruption of God’s worship among them kindled His wrath and hastened their ruin (Psa. 106: 39–42). “Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions. Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against His people, insomuch that He abhorred His own inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the heathen; and they that hated them ruled over them. Their enemies also oppressed them, and they were brought into subjection under their hand.” They that will not bear the golden yoke of Christ shall be galled with the iron yoke of men. Nothing more provokes the anger of God than the adulterating of His worship; a man will bear a thousand infirmities in the wife of his bosom, but unfaithfulness in the marriage-covenant breaks his heart. After the manner of men, so abused and grieved, the Lord expresseth Himself (Ezek. 6:9), “I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from Me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols.” Men cannot invent a surer and speedier way to their own ruin than to bring their own inventions into God’s worship.

  2. Incorrigible obstinacy and impenitency, under gentler strokes and lesser judgments, make way for utter ruin and desolation (Amos 4: 6-12). Scarcity, mildews, pestilence and sword had been tried upon them, but without effect; for the remnant that escaped those judgments (although plucked as so many brands out of the fire, in which their fellow sinners perished) were not reformed by those gentler and moderated judgments.

  3. Stupidity and senselessness of God’s hand, and the tokens of His anger, were provoking causes and forerunners of their national desolation; they neither saw the hand of God when it was lifted up, nor humbled themselves under it when it was laid on. The hand of God is then said to be lifted up when the providences of God prepare and posture themselves for our affliction; when the clouds of judgment gather over our heads, and grow blacker and blacker, as theirs did upon them, and do upon us at this day, but they took no notice of it (Isa. 26:11): “Lord, when Thy hand is lifted up, they will not see”; and (which is the height of stupidity) they all remained senseless and regardless, when the hand of God was laid upon them (Isa. 42:24, 25): “Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? Did not the Lord, He against whom we have sinned? For they would not walk in His ways, neither were they obedient unto His law. Therefore He hath poured upon him (them) the fury of His anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.”

    O prodigious sottishness! It was not some small drops of God’s anger, but the fury of His anger; not some lighter skirmish of His judgments with them, but the strength of battle. It was not some particular stroke upon single persons or families, but it set him on fire round about, a general conflagration; yet all this would not awaken them.

  4. The persecution of God’s faithful ministers and people was another sin that procured, and a sign that foretold the destruction of their nation (2 Chron. 36:15,16); “And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by His messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” There were also a number of upright souls among them, who desired to worship God according to His own prescription; but a snare was laid for them in Mizpah, and a net spread for them upon Tabor (Hos. 5:1), and this hastened judgment towards them. Mizpah and Tabor were places lying in the way betwixt Samaria and Jerusalem, where the true worship of God was; and in those places spies were sent by the priests to observe and inform against them; so that it became very hazardous to attend the pure and incorrupt worship of God, which quickly hastened on their ruin.

  5. The removal of godly and useful men by death, in more than ordinary haste, was to them a sign of desolation at hand (Isa. 57:1); “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.” In this case God acts towards His people as the husbandman in a gathering harvest doth by his corn; he hurries it with a shuffling haste into the barn when he sees a storm coming; or as a careful father with his sons that are abroad at school, who sends his horses to fetch them home speedily, when he hears the plague is begun in the place. Upon this ground the prophet Micah bewails himself (Micah 7:1); “Woe is me! for I am as when they have gathered the summer-fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage; there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first-ripe fruit.” Alas! alas! What miserable days are at hand! What miseries must I expect to see! The pleasant clusters (i.e. the societies of the saints) are gathered away by the hand of death; there are but few that remain, here and there a single saint, like grapes after the vintage is done, two or three upon the utmost branches.

  6. The general decay of the life and power of godliness among them that were left foreboded destruction at the door: this is both a provoking sin, and a forerunning sign of national calamity (Hos. 4:18): “Their drink is sour” – a metaphor lively expressing the deadness and formality of the people in the worship of God. It was like sour or dead drink, which hath lost its spirit and relish, and is become flat. Such were their duties; no spiritual life, affection or savour in them. They heard as if they heard not, and prayed as if they prayed not; the ordinances of God were to them as the ordinances of men, of which the apostle saith, that they perish in the using.

  7. To conclude: Mutual animosities, jars and divisions were to them manifest symptoms of national calamities and desolations: for then Ephraim envied Judah, and Judah vexed Ephraim (Isa. 11:13, Hos. 9:7); “The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.”

When such symptoms of God’s indignation do appear upon any people, the Lord by them, as by so many glaring meteors and blazing comets, forewarns the world that His judgments are near, even at the door. These signs all men ought to observe and behold with trembling.

If you ask, Why doth God usually give such warnings of His indignation before it comes? The reasons are:

  1. To prevent the execution
  2. To make them more tolerable
  3. To leave the incorrigible inexcusable

First, Warning is given with design to prevent the execution of judgments (Amos 4:12): “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel”; i.e. Prepare thyself to meet Me in the way of My judgments by humiliation and intercession to prevent the execution. And what else was the design of God in sending Jonah to the great city Nineveh but to excite them to repentance for the prevention of their ruin. This Jonah knew to be the Lord’s meaning, how positive soever the words of his commission were; and therefore he declined the message to secure his credit, knowing that if upon warning given they repented, the gracious nature of God would soon melt into compassion over them, and free grace would make him appear as a liar; for so we must expound his words (Jonah 4:2); “Was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil.” Yea, Lord, I knew beforehand it would come to this. Thou sendest me positively to denounce Thy judgments to Nineveh, meantime desiring nothing more than the execution of them might be prevented by their repentance. And thus Thy mercy hath exposed my reputation, in saving them from destruction.

Secondly, God forewarns His people of judgments to make them more tolerable when they come. Expected evils are nothing so heavy as those that come by surprise; for look, as the expectation of a mercy makes it less sweet, our thoughts having anticipated and sucked out much of the sweetness beforehand, so the expectation of judgments before they befall us make them less bitter and burdensome than else they would be, the soul having inured and accustomed itself to them by frequent thoughts, and prepared and made ready itself to entertain them. To prevent the disciples’ surprise and offence at those days of persecution that were coming upon them, Christ foretold them, and gave the fair warning beforehand.

Thirdly, He forewarns His people of approaching dangers to leave the incorrigible wholly inexcusable, that those who have no sense of sin, nor care to prevent ruin, might have no cloak for their folly when judgments overtake them, “What wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?” (Jer. 13:21). As if He should say, “What plea or apology is left thee, after so many fair warnings and timely premonitions? Thou canst not say I have surprised thee, or that you wast ruined before thou was warned. Thy destruction therefore is of thyself.”

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CRE International Exhibition 2015 at the ExCel Centre, London

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 02/09/2015. Posted in Archive, News

Report on CRE Exhibition

By:  Michael Hobbis

CRE International ExCeL London 2015

CRE International ExCeL London 2015

The annual CRE exhibition found Christian Watch at a new venue this year.  Previously located at Sandown Park, we were now at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London Docklands.

We will quickly pass over the new logistical problems in setting up our stand in ExCel, but suffice it to say, while we could leisurely unload from our vehicles at Sandown close to the Stand area, in this new location in London we were given just 15 minutes to unload and transport all our materials across the Exhibition – quite some way from the parking area – with the threat of financial penalties if we overstayed.  The same conditions applied at the end of the show.

However, on a somewhat more positive note; once ensconced on our Stand, we were blessed with many opportunities to speak to visitors – although sadly not quite so many as is usual at Sandown.

Our theme of this year’s witness was separation from false teachers and their doctrines, but promoting ‘unity in the truth’; as opposed to ‘unity at the expense of truth’.  The excellent booklet “They have forgotten…” by Ruth Palgrave was distributed freely and taken by many visitors.  To support our witness there were pictorial banner displays of Jan Hus, Martin Luther and William Tyndale, with quotes and information, together with the Scripture text from 2 Cor. 6:17; ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.’

These three Reformers which were depicted aroused a large amount of interest and were the catalyst for many useful conversations, particularly concerning Tyndale and Luther. Providentially B.V. Henry has, we were told, just written a book on these very same three Reformers and suggestions were made that perhaps we may wish to publish and distribute this work.

Some new members joined us and the contacts made will, we trust, by the grace of God, cause some to examine their own spiritual stand for Christ and His Truth and their position as regards the claims of Holy Scripture, in a day when many are forsaking the right path for a way of compromise with error.

Personally, I was surprised at how many visitors were unclear concerning the foundations of the Bible and the use of unsound versions of Holy Scripture.  The excellency of the old King James Bible was explained and the shaky foundations upon which virtually all modern translations pointed out, but most seemed either uncaring or ignorant of these matters upon which they rest their hopes for eternity.  There really is a need for sound bibliology and the superiority of the Authorised Bible to be taught in the churches.

Christian Watch has also been represented at the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge 4th – 6th of June and at the Ardingly,  South of England Show 11th- 13th of June.

We do praise Him for His great kindness in giving these opportunities to make known the truth of the Gospel and to serve Christ our Captain. ‘For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever, Praise ye the Lord’ Psalm 117.

The Authorised Verson

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 09/03/2015. Posted in Articles

The Authorised Version


By J.C. Philpot

with Introduction and End Notes by Shaun Willcock, Bible Based Ministries

[Introduction by Shaun Willcock, Bible Based Ministries:

This article was written by J.C. Philpot in 1857 in response to the request of a reader of the magazine he edited – decades before the ‘Revised Version’, the first major new Bible version in English, based upon a very corrupt Greek New Testament text, was produced in 1881. Prior to that date, virtually all English-speaking Christians the world over used only one version of the Scriptures: that known as the Authorised, or King James Version. But from 1881 until today, the English-speaking world has been flooded with modern versions, each one worse than the one before, so that the very situation which Philpot dreaded has indeed come to pass. The reasons, then, that Philpot gave for rejecting a revision of the Authorised version are even more applicable today than they were then. The King James Version is an utterly faithful and accurate version of the Holy Scriptures in English and there is no need to desire another. No version produced since 1611 has ever equalled it, and we firmly believe that none ever will, in the time left before the Lord’s second coming.]


Dear Sir, – Since the new translation of the Bible has been talked of, there has been much written on the subject. It has been taken up in almost every newspaper; and some are clamorous for a new version. I wish for your opinion on the subject, knowing that you have had as good an education as most men, and have read the Bible in different languages. Seeing such statements circulating throughout the Kingdom [the United Kingdom – Ed.], and thinking it might do much mischief, I feel induced to write to you. If you think it would not be a proper subject for the “Gospel Standard,” I would not for one moment wish you to notice it; but, if otherwise, I should feel thankful to see a few words from you.

Yours affectionately, for the gospel’s sake,
OBSERVATOR

We have… an opportunity to… express our opinion upon a question of late much agitated, viz, whether it would be desirable to have a new, or at least a revised, translation of the Scriptures. We fully admit that there are here and there passages of which the translation might be improved; as, for instance, “love” for “charity” all through 1 Cor. 13;1 but we deprecate any alteration as a measure that for the smallest sprinkling of good would deluge us with a flood of evil. The following are our reasons:

1. Who is to undertake it? Into whose hands would the revision fall? What an opportunity for the enemies of the truth to give us a mutilated false Bible2! Of course, they must be learned men, great critics, scholars, and divines. But these are notoriously either Puseyites3 or Neologians;4 in other words, deeply tainted with either popery or infidelity. Where are there learned men sound in the truth, not to say alive unto God, who possess the necessary qualifications for so important a work? And can erroneous men, men dead in trespasses and sins, carnal, worldly, ungodly persons, spiritually translate a book written by the blessed Spirit? We have not the slightest ground for hope that they would be godly men, such as we have reason to believe translated the Scriptures into our present version.

2. Again, it would unsettle the minds of thousands, as to which was the Word of God, the old translation or the new. What a door it would open for the workings of infidelity, or the temptations of Satan! What a gloom, too, it would cast over the minds of many of God’s saints, to have those passages which had been applied to their souls translated in a different way, and how it would seem to shake all their experience of the power and preciousness of God’s Word!

3. But, besides this, there would be two Bibles spread through the land, the old and the new, and what confusion would this create in almost every place! At present, all sects5 and denominations6 agree in acknowledging our present version as the standard of appeal. Nothing settles disputes so soon as when the contending parties have confidence in the same umpire and are willing to abide by his decision. But this judge of all disputes, this umpire of all controversy, would cease to be the looser of strife if the present acknowledged authority were put an end to by a rival.

4. Again, if the revision and re-translation were once to begin, where would it end? It is good to let well alone, as it is easier to mar than mend.7 The Socianising8 Neologian would blot out “God” in 1 Timothy 3:16, and strike out 1 John 5:7,8, as an interpolation. The Puseyite would amend it to suit Tractarian9 views. He would read “priest” where we now read “elder,” and put “penance” in the place of “repentance.” Once set up a notice, “The old Bible to be mended,” and there would be plenty of workmen, who, trying to mend the cover, would pull the pages to pieces. The Arminian would soften down the words “election” and “predestination” into some term less displeasing to Pharisaic ears. “Righteousness” would be turned into “justice,” and “reprobate” into “undiscerning.” All our good Bible terms would be so mutilated that they would cease to convey the Spirit’s meaning, and instead of the noble simplicity, faithfulness, and truth of our present version, we should have a Bible that nobody could accept as the Word of God, to which none could safely appeal, and on which none could implicitly rely.

5. Instead of our good old Saxon Bible, simple and solid, with few words really obsolete, and alike majestic and beautiful, we should have a modern English translation in the pert and flippant language of the day.10 Besides its authority as the Word of God, our present version is the great English classic – generally accepted as the standard of the English language. The great classics of a language cannot be modernised. What an outcry there would be against modernising Shakespeare, or making Hooker, Bacon, or Milton talk the English of the newspapers or of the House of Commons.

6. The present English Bible has been blessed to thousands of the saints of God; and not only so, it has become part of our national inheritance which we have received unimpaired from our fathers, and are bound to hand down unimpaired to our children. It is, we believe, the grand bulwark of Protestantism; the safeguard of the gospel, and the treasure of the Church; and we should be traitors in every sense of the word if we consented to give it up to be rifled by the sacrilegious hands of Puseyites, concealed Papists, German Neologians, infidel divines, Arminians, Socinians, and the whole tribe of enemies of God and godliness.
 


Joseph Charles Philpot (1802 -1869) was an Anglican minister who came to see the errors of that institution. He seceded from it and became a Baptist pastor. This article was excerpted from the book, Biblical Approach for Present Issues, pgs. 119-123, by J.C. Philpot, Old Paths Gospel Press, Choteau, Montana, USA.


 
Endnotes:

  1. There are indeed passages where the translation could be improved; but this does not mean that the word used by the KJV translators is incorrect, merely that a better word could be used today. It is not a matter of an incorrect word (in the KJV) versus a correct word, but rather of a correct and good word versus a better word.
  2. And this is exactly what happened! The enemies of the truth advanced their cause by the production of the Revised Version in 1881, and by the over 100 versions that followed that one.
  3. Puseyites: supporters and promoters of the teachings of E.B. Pusey (1800-82), who along with others was at the heart of the so-called “Oxford Movement” which sought to establish Roman Catholic doctrine and observance in the Anglican institution.
  4. Neologism is the tendency to, and adoption of, novel, rationalistic views in theological matters.
  5. Although these days, the term “sect” is often used almost interchangeably with “cult,” and therefore has a very negative connotation, in earlier times it was used as simply meaning a branch of the Christian faith.
  6. It must be remembered that in Philpot’s day, many denominations which today have departed from “the faith once delivered to the saints” were, in many respects, scripturally sound.
  7. The passage of time has proved just how true this statement of his was. Once the door was opened just a crack, the enemies of the Gospel continued to push it open more and more, and the result is what we see today: a veritable flood of false versions, in which men falsely claiming to be the Lord’s servants have “handled the Word of God deceitfully” (2 Cor. 4:2).
  8. Socinianism: the denial of the divinity of Christ.
  9. A Tractarian was one who held to the Anglo-Catholic doctrines and practices of the “Oxford Movement” as set forth in a series of pamphlets known as “Tracts for the Times.”
  10. Again, the passage of time has proved the truth of this statement. We have such versions as “Today’s English Version,” “The New Testament in Modern English,” “The Contemporary English Version,” and “The New International Version – Inclusive Language Edition,” to name just a few.

Bible Based Ministries,
South Africa
info@biblebasedministries.co.uk
www.biblebasedministries.co.uk

Hark my Soul

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 09/03/2015. Posted in Articles

Hark, my Soul! it is the Lord

By: William Cowper

Hark, my Soul! it is the Lord,
‘Tis thy Saviour, hear His word;
Jesus speaks, and speaks to thee,
“Say, poor sinner, lovest thou Me?

“I delivered thee when bound,
And when wounded healed thy wound;
Sought thee wandering, set thee right,
Turned thy darkness into light.

“Can a woman’s tender care
Cease towards the child she bare?
Yes, she may forgetful be,
Yet I will remember thee.

“Mine is an unchanging love,
Higher than the heights above;
Deeper than the depths beneath,
Free and faithful, strong as death.

“Thou shalt see My glory soon,
When the work of grace is done;
Partner of My throne shalt be,
Say, poor sinner, lovest thou Me?”

Lord, it is my chief complaint,
That my love is cold and faint;
Yet I love Thee and adore;
O for grace to love Thee more!

So walk ye in Him

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 09/03/2015. Posted in Articles

“So walk ye in Him”

Colossians 2:6

by Charles Spurgeon

If we have received Christ Himself in our inmost hearts, our new life will manifest its intimate acquaintance with Him by a walk of faith in Him. Walking implies action. Our religion is not to be confined to our closet; we must carry out into practical effect that which we believe. If a man walks in Christ, then he so acts as Christ would act; for Christ being in him, his hope, his love, his joy, his life, he is the reflex of the image of Jesus; and men say of that man, “He is like his Master; he lives like Jesus Christ.” Walking signifies progress. “So walk ye in Him”; proceed from grace to grace, run forward until you reach the uttermost degree of knowledge that a man can attain concerning our Beloved. Walking implies continuance. There must be a perpetual abiding in Christ. How many Christians think that in the morning and evening they ought to come into the company of Jesus, and may then give their hearts to the world all the day: but this is poor living; we should always be with Him, treading in His steps and doing His will. Walking also implies habit. When we speak of man’s walk and conversation, we mean his habits, the constant tenor of his life. Now, if we sometimes enjoy Christ, and then forget Him; sometimes call Him ours, and anon lose our hold, that is not a habit; we do not walk in Him. We must keep to Him, cling to Him, never let Him go, but live and have our being in Him. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”; persevere in the same way in which ye have begun, and, as at the first, Christ Jesus was the trust of your faith, the source of your life, the principle of your action, and the joy of your spirit, so let Him be the same ’til life’s end; the same when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and enter into the joy and the rest which remain for the people of God. O Holy Spirit, enable us to obey this heavenly precept.


Behold the Lamb of God

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 09/03/2015. Posted in Articles

THE SINNER DIRECTED TO THE SAVIOUR
An Extract from John Flavel


“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
John 1:29

These are the words of John the Baptist; and they were spoken in consequence of the question which was asked of him by the Jews, “Who art thou?” The humble prophet confessed, “I am not the Christ;” and on the next day, seeing Jesus coming to him, he exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Since the Redeemer left the world, He is not to be seen with an eye of flesh; but believing on Him is seeing Him by the eye of faith; and everyone who thus seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, shall have everlasting life (John 6:40).

Jesus Christ Himself has pronounced a blessing on those who “have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29); and this blessedness is well described by the Apostle Peter, when he says, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). It is a disparagement to so glorious an Object as Christ to behold Him and not wonder – to see, and not love Him. Certainly, the admiration, love, delight, and joy of our hearts are all at the command of faith. Let us, therefore, consider what excellencies are in Christ for the eye of the believer to behold and admire.

  1. “God was in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:19). He was “God manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim 3:16). A God incarnate is the world’s wonder. Here is Infinite and finite joined in one; the Creator and creature united in one Person. It is an argument of weakness to admire little things, and of stupidity not to admire great things. Many miracles were wrought by Christ in the flesh, but the greatest of all miracles was, that He “was made flesh and dwelt among us (men)” (John 1:14).
  2. “Christ is the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24); yea, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). Never did the divine wisdom display its glorious beams in the eyes of men and angels, in any work since the beginning of time, as it hath done in the appointment of Christ to be the Lamb of God, a sacrifice for sin. “Behold the Lamb of God!” and in Him behold the unsearchable wisdom of God, in recovering sinners who believe in Him from all the danger of sin; and yet making sin more dreadful to them, by the way of their recovery from it, than ever it could be made by any other consideration. Behold the depth of infinite wisdom in suiting the sinner’s remedy to the cause of his disease. The disease was the pride of man; the remedy was the humiliation of the Son of God. Man affected to be as God; that ruined him. God was manifested in the flesh, and found in fashion as a man; that saved him. Oh, profound wisdom, which, from the loss and ruin of our primitive glory (which was the undoing of us, soul and body), takes the occasion of raising us up to a far better state, and settles us in it, with a much better security than the former.
  3. The love of God is in Christ. “Behold the Lamb of God!” and in Him behold the love of God, in the highest and most triumphant discovery that ever was or can be made of it in this world. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the Propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Oh, here is the love of God to sinners! God manifests love to us in our daily provisions, protection, deliverances, and comforts; that we have health when others groan under pains – herein is love: that we have bread to eat when others are ready to perish – herein is love! Oh, but to have Christ to be a Propitiation for us, when the angels that fell were left in their fallen state, herein is love indeed! All the love that appears in the variety of providences for us in this world, in our health and estate, in our relations and comforts, is nothing compared with this love: herein is love indeed!
  4. The tender mercies of God over poor sinners are in Christ. As Christ is the mercy promised (Luke 1:72), the capital mercy, so He is the channel through which all the streams of God’s mercy flow freely to the sons of men (Jude 21). The mercy of God to eternal life, or His saving mercies, are only dispensed to us through Jesus Christ. “Behold the Lamb of God!” – a Lamb prepared by the astonishing mercy of God; a sacrifice for us, when no sacrifice was appointed for fallen angels! This is the Lamb of God, to which, under the Jewish dispensation, all legal sacrifices had respect, and from which they derived all their virtue and value. The paschal lamb and the lamb for daily sacrifice were but the types and shadows of this Lamb of God. Behold the Person appointed by God for a sacrifice to take away sin. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified for us. He shed His precious blood and offered up His life, a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savour, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). As the sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb upon the door-posts of the Israelites was that which preserved them from the destroying angel, so the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, typified by that blood, saves all who believe on Him from the wrath to come. Thus Christ, the Son of God, prevents the destroying angel executing the fierceness of His Father’s anger, and preserves them as His people, that they may enter into the land of Canaan, the everlasting rest. But who can open the unsearchable riches of Christ, or recount His wonderful excellencies? Angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect, behold and admire Him for evermore. Heaven would be no heaven for them if they could not behold Christ there, sitting as a King in His perfect beauty, on His holy hill of Zion.

But let us rather proceed to improve this subject than endeavour further to unfold it; for new wonders will appear in Christ, if we behold Him through the countless ages of eternity.

  • Oh, sinner, if you are sensible of a stony, hard heart, which cannot relent and mourn for all the wrong done to Jesus Christ by sin – that your affections are benumbed and stupefied, so that no considerations you can urge upon your own hearts are able to cause a relenting pang – to you I would direct these encouraging words, as the most effectual means to melt your heart. Look hither. “Behold the Lamb of God!” Consider what is here represented, and thy heart is hard indeed if it relent not upon such a view of Christ. It is said (Zech. 12:10), “They shall look upon Me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.” Behold the Son of God, brought “as a Lamb to the slaughter” for thee, a vile, polluted sinner! Bring thy thoughts close to this subject – think who it is that was made a Lamb for sacrifice; for whom He endured all His unspeakable sufferings; how meekly and willingly He endured all the wrath of God and men, standing in His perfect innocency, to be slain for thee. Behold, He who had no sin was made sin for thee, that thou, who hadst no righteousness, mightest be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). Oh, whoever loved thee at such a rate as Christ hath done? Who would endure the misery that Christ endured for thy sake? Would thy father, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend that is as thy own soul, be content to feel that for thee, though but for one hour, which Christ felt, when “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground?” (Luke 22:44).
    Nay, thou wouldst thyself never taste such a cup for the saving of thy own child as Christ drank of to the very last dregs when He cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Behold how He loved thee! Surely, if the rocks rent asunder at His sufferings, thy heart is harder than rock if it thaw not at such a sight as this. Fix thine eyes awhile here, and thine eye will affect thine heart.
  • Oh, sinner [for whom Christ died], are you making light of sin, and easily overcome by every temptation to the commission of it? Oh, come hither: “Behold the Lamb of God,” and you cannot possibly have slight thoughts of sin after such a sight of Christ. See here the price of sin! Behold what cost the Son of God to atone for it! Did He come into the world as a Lamb, bound with the bands of an irreversible decree, to die for sin? Did he come from the bosom of His Father to be thy Ransomer, and that at the price of His own life? Did the hand of divine justice shed the heart-blood of this immaculate Lamb, to satisfy for the wrong thy sins have done to God, and yet canst thou look upon sin as a light matter? God forbid! Thy sin actually cost the blood of Christ, one drop whereof is more valuable than all human blood; and yet wilt thou not deny thy lusts, nor resist temptation for His sake: “Behold the Lamb of God” slain for thy sin, and thou canst never have slight thoughts of sin any more.
  • Are you drooping and discouraged in your spirit because of your manifold and aggravated iniquities, and sinking into despair from being overwhelmed with the burden and weight of your sins? These words are a sovereign cordial to revive your heart and hopes – “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!” If the blood of the Lamb can take away the sin of the world, it can take away thy sin, though there be a world of sin in thee; for do but consider Christ, as appointed from eternity to be our Propitiation: “Him hath God the Father sealed;” as sacrificed in our room in the fullness of time – “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7); as accepted by the Father with the greatest content and pleasure, even “as a sweet-smelling savour” (Eph. 5:2); as publicly justified and discharged by God, the Creditor, at His resurrection (1 Tim. 3:16, and John 16:10); and, lastly, consider Him as now in heaven, where He “appears in the presence of God for us,” as “a Lamb that had been slain” (Rev; 5:6), bearing the very marks of His death, and presenting them before God as the most effectual and moving plea, to procure pardon and mercy for His people. Let these things, I say, be duly pondered, and nothing will be found more effectual to relieve your mind, under the desponding sense of your sins.
  • Are you faint-hearted, and ready to shrink from any sufferings for Christ, as unable to bear and endure anything for His sake? “Behold the Lamb of God!” Did Christ suffer such grievous things for you, and cannot you suffer small matters for Him? Alas! What is the wrath of man to the wrath of the great and terrible God? Besides, Christ was an innocent Lamb, and deserved not to suffer the least degree of penal evil upon His own account; but you have deserved Hell, and yet shrink under the sufferings of a moment. Did He suffer so much for you, and can you suffer nothing for Him? Surely He, in suffering for you, has left you an example “that ye should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Are our sufferings to be compared, in kind or degree, to the sufferings of Christ? Or what is our blood to the blood of Christ? Remember, “if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5). Like Christ, you must endure the cross, and despise the shame, for the joy that is set before you.
  • Are you impatient under your personal trials and troubles, apt to grieve under common afflictions, or to swell with revenge under injuries from the hands of men? “Behold the Lamb of God!” “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth” (Is. 53:7). And can you bear nothing without complaining? How meek was Christ the Lamb when He suffered most vile things from the hands of sinners! And art thou a lion for fierceness? He suffered patiently, and deserved it not; you suffer impatiently, and have deserved what you suffer. Oh, that you would learn to be more like Christ in all your trials and afflictions!
  • Lastly. Are you “staggering at the promises through unbelief”? Can you not rely upon the Word of promise, because your own unbelieving heart fills you with unworthy suspicions of the power, faithfulness, or willingness of God to perform it for you? “Behold the Lamb of God!” “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us (2 Cor. 1:20). Or, is there anything put into any promise of greater value than the blood of the Lamb that was shed to purchase it? Or, is not the giving of Christ to die for us the accomplishment of the greatest promise that ever God made to us? And after the fulfilment thereof, what ground remains for you to doubt the fulfilling of lesser promises, for, “if God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:32)

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!”

From The Sower 1882

Ten Commandments Project – Update January 2015

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 04/02/2015. Posted in 10 Commandments Project, Articles

Ten Commandments Project

Update – January 2015

We acknowledge the Lord’s goodness and mercy to us in hearing and answering prayer concerning our Ten Commandment Project and we are pleased to advise that following our receipt of an encouraging letter from Nick Gibb MP, Minister for School Reform, we are proceeding with the implementation of this project. Our first mailing to schools in the Central Bedfordshire area is due to commence towards the beginning of February, GW. We are sending a large TBS poster of the Ten Commandments, together with a write-up entitled ‘Why the Ten Commandments’, kindly written for us by Graham Chewter (Deputation Speaker for the TBS) – who is experienced in communicating with school children – together with an accompanying letter.

If anyone feels inclined to take this information to their local schools, please let us know and we will supply the package of information.

We emphasise once more the importance of prayer for this project. Please join us in seeking that the Lord will use this material for His own honour and glory and the good of the younger generation.

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First Things First by A. W. Pink

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 16/01/2015. Posted in Articles

FIRST THINGS FIRST

By: A. W. Pink

1886 – 1952

The dawning of a new year is a fresh call unto each of us to put first things first, and it is only by heeding this call that we are prepared to start it aright. The greatest tragedy of life is that the vast majority of our fellows are dissipating their energies on secondary things, spending their strength for that which satisfies not. Alas, how much time have we wasted in the past! But a new year affords us another opportunity to mend our ways: how much of it, then, are we going to improve and conserve for eternity? The answer to that question will be determined by how far we put first things first.

It is one thing to recognise and realise that it is both our duty and wisdom to put first things first, and quite another to actually do so. It is much to be thankful for when light from above makes plain the path wherein we should walk – yet something more than illumination is required in order for us to traverse the same. Strength, power, enablement, is indispensable – and that we have not by nature. Have we not already been made painfully aware of this fact? Then have we humbly acknowledged it to God, and sought from Him fresh supplies of grace? Let us say with Jehoshaphat, when the enemies of Israel assembled against them, “O our God, wilt Thou not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us: neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee” (2 Chron. 20:12).

What is it to put first things first? First and supremely to give God Himself His rightful place in our lives and render to Him that which is His due. “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the LORD of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last” (Isa. 44:6). The great “I am” is self-existent and self-sufficient. Because He is the First, He should be first served. The world had its beginning from Him; we had ours, and therefore at the beginning of the year, and of each day, it deeply concerns us to take Him along with us. God is the sum of all excellence, being inexpressibly blessed in Himself. How He should attract us! God is possessed of infinite benevolence, which is guided by unerring wisdom, and He had all-mighty power at His disposal. What an Object for our most fervent affections! Shall, then every glittering toy become a rival to this transcendently glorious Being and rob Him of our hearts?

Let us form the habit (if we have not already done so) of directing our first conscious thoughts unto Him who has preserved us through the night. Begin the day by definitely bringing the Lord God before your heart, contemplate His wondrous attributes, prostrate your soul before Him in worship, adore Him for His glorious perfections. Say with holy David, “My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee” (Psa. 5:3). Nor will this be either difficult or irksome if we turn the eyes of our souls unto Him: it is beholding the beauty of the Lord which puts in tune the strings of our harps, and enables us to make melody in our hearts unto Him. Nor is this all: by doing obeisance we promote obedience. By solemnly paying homage to God and rendering to Him the honour which is due His great name, we strengthen the obligations that we lie under to observe His statutes and keep His commandments. By our humble and frequent adoration of His perfections, conformity to His will, will be easier, for His authority over us will be more strongly felt.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). God is to be given the preference above all others. Let not any business prevent our seeking communion with Him nor hinder the maintenance of it. There are many things we would like to do, but other things deter us. We wish to visit a dear friend, but the pressure of other concerns thwarts us. But this must never be the case with our seeking unto God: that is the “one thing needful” to which everything else must be made to give way. It is not at all necessary to our highest good that we be great in the world or advance our estate in it to such and such a pitch – but it is absolutely essential that we obtain God’s favour and keep ourselves in His love. No worldly business whatsoever can serve to excuse our attendance upon God; nay, the more important our worldly business be, the more need have we to apply ourselves to God by prayer for His help in and blessing upon it. The closer we keep to God in prayer, the more likely are our affairs to prosper.

Second, to yield ourselves up unreservedly to God. Of the Corinthian saints we read that they “first gave their own selves to the Lord” (2 Cor. 8:5), which should be done by us at the beginning of each day. This means that they (1) gave their hearts to Him, being won by His loveliness; and they (2) surrendered their wills to Him, to be governed by Him; and they (3) devoted their lives to Him, seeking His honour and glory. “In the way of Thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early” (Isa. 26:8, 9). Our desire must be not only towards the good things that He gives, but towards God Himself – His favour and love, the manifestation of His name to us, and the influences of His grace upon us. Our wills are to be surrendered to God, as the servant is yielded to his master’s pleasure, in everything consulting his desires and interests. God’s will is to be our sole rule, His precepts the regulator of all we engage in. Our lives are to be devoted to His glory: acknowledging Him in all our ways, following Him fully as Caleb did.

Third, to keep our hearts with all diligence (Prov. 4:23). It is not enough that our outward conduct be proper – the springs from which it issues must be right. “Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Matt. 23:26). The stream itself cannot be sweet if the fountain-head be foul. A corrupt tree will not bear wholesome fruit. Alas, how widely neglected is this inward cleansing! How generally is external reformation substituted for internal mortification. And why is this? – because we are far more concerned about the approval of our fellow-creatures than we are to obtain the approbation of our Creator. Our actions come beneath the gaze of man, but the springs from which they proceed are under the scrutiny of God. He who “weigheth the spirits” (Prov. 16:2) demands purity of heart. We are required to judge the motives which actuate us, to make conscience of evil lustings and vain imaginations, to take ourselves to task for wandering thoughts when engaged in Divine worship.

Fourth, to manifest godliness in the family circle: “let them learn first to show piety at home” (1 Tim. 5:4). Here is another God- appointed “first” which is most necessary for us all to heed – but we would specially press it upon the attention of those who are so anxious to engage in what they term “service for the Lord.” The “service” which God requires from all of His people is not a running about here and there, asking impertinent questions of total strangers and prattling to them about Divine things, but to be in subjection to Himself, to walk obediently to His Law. To talk to people about Christ is far easier than the task He has assigned – to deny self, take up our cross, and follow Him. Actions speak louder than words: it is by our conduct we are to make manifest whose we are. Christians are to “show forth” by their lives (rather than tell forth with their lips) “the praises of Him who has called them” (1 Peter 2:9). And they are “first to show piety at home,” then in the Church, and then in the world, for if there be no piety in our home life, then all our seeming piety in the Church and before the world is only hypocrisy.

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The Ear of the King and The Finger of God – Gospel Magazine

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 12/01/2015. Posted in Articles

THE EAR OF THE KING AND THE FINGER OF GOD

(Gospel Magazine 1876)

If I can but get the ear of the King, I am fully assured “all is well”. No matter what the difficulty, trial, care or perplexity, the true breathing God-ward of prayer in the heart is sure evidence of success in the court of heaven. We can set our seal that the testimony given by the Apostle John is true: “If we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petition that we desire of Him”.

Brethren in the Lord, is it not so? Does not experience testify that there are times when by the savour upon our spirit in the act of asking, we know, we become assured, that we have indeed obtained a hearing – that the Lord is bowing down His ear to us? (Psalm 86:1) Boldness and access with confidence ensues, and we are as sure of the answer as if we had it already in our possession. Faith realises a God at hand, and not afar off; so nigh unto us in all that we call upon Him for, that we can bless Him for the very trials that send us so near unto Him. And so sweetly does some word of His living testimony fit in, as it drops into the mind for the occasion, that it seems as if it had been written for that special need of ours, its suitability is so wonderful!

To doubt the issue is impossible; as when the angel did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on (Judges 13:19), so may we, for the Lord will work for us, and we shall hold our peace. Thus, at the time of trial, when all human help seemed to fail, the special rendering of Psalm 18:6, as is found in 2 Samuel 22:7, came with power upon the mind, and the reason why the Holy Spirit suffered the two renderings of the passage to remain was explained by the double force of the expression, “Did hear my voice; my cry did enter into His ears,” for the result proved that it “did”.

Then, while we rejoice at the “ear of the King”, we shall stand amazed at “the Finger of God” (Luke11:20). If but the finger be so omnipotent, what is the arm of the Lord? The finger casts out devils; it touches lepers and heals them; it enters deaf ears and loosens dumb tongues – yea, even when about to be led to prison and the cross, touches the ear cut off by the disciple’s sword, and restores it. Let us dwell on these marvellous records, that we may have high views of our God incarnate, having parts like ourselves – an ear! a finger! but both almighty!

Bow down thine ear, O LORD!” Put forth “the finger of God” on our behalf and of those dear to us in the flesh and in the Lord.

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Satan’s Glass by John Newton

Written by Ambrose Burgin on 12/01/2015. Posted in Articles

Satan’s Glass

By John Newton

  1. Sin, when viewed by Scripture light,
    Is a horrid, hateful sight;
    But when seen in Satan’s glass,
    Then it wears a pleasing face.
  2. When the gospel trumpet sounds,
    When I think how grace abounds,
    When I feel sweet peace within,
    Then I’d rather die than sin.
  3. When the cross I view by faith,
    Sin is madness, poison, death;
    Tempt me not, ‘tis all in vain,
    Sure I ne’er can yield again.
  4. Satan, for awhile debarred,
    When he finds me off my guard,
    Puts his glass before my eyes,
    Quickly other thoughts arise.
  5. What before excited fears,
    Rather pleasing now appears;
    If a sin, it seems so small,
    Or, perhaps, no sin at all.
  6. Often thus, through sin’s deceit,
    Grief, and shame, and loss I meet,
    Like a fish, my soul mistook,
    Saw the bait, but not the hook.
  7. O my Lord, what shall I say?
    How can I presume to pray?
    Not a word have I to plead,
    Sins, like mine, are black indeed!
  8. Made, by past experience, wise,
    Let me learn thy word to prize;
    Taught by what I’ve felt before,
    Let me Satan’s glass abhor.