Through an infinite variety of changing scenes our ever to be adored covenant God has brought us thus far. The various troubles that we have had to grapple with in the past few years only leave our numbers growing less. For us older ones, we shall never have to wade through them again. If God the Holy Spirit has sanctified them to our souls, they have done us no real harm. If we have learned through them, as instruments in the hands of our glorious Teacher, more of the emptiness of this vain polluted doctrine of conditionality, then let us not for a moment regret that we have been visited with them; But rather let us praise and adore our glorious Lord that He has taken the advantage of them to confirm our souls in his love, by proving Himself to be our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Not being wholly ignorant of Satan’s devices, but led to it by a train of circumstances which I need not enumerate here, I had long suspected that there was a good deal of error covered up with a form of sound words, secretly entertained by many. Now, what has brought these errors to light? The distinct, clear, positive declarations of principles. Clear positive statements of divine truth are the two-edged sword which pierces even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, This naked sword discovers the foundation of error unto the meek.
In a similar way the touch of heavenly truth has detected an error previously existing, but working unseen. It was. undermining the churches like a gangrene but covered up with a form of godliness. The present necessary consequence of this has been strife and confusion. Some, who love peace at any price, would sooner have a church united even if it involved the sacrifice of truth. Look on with regret if not in anger that such mere questions, as they call them, should distract the churches. We were peaceful they say. Yes, but what sort of peace was it? Was there ever any real union of heart and spirit between the lovers of truth and the lovers of error? Much may pass for union in a church, which is no more than a natural feeling of friendship and regard as worshippers in the same place. There may be much warm shaking of hands and kind inquiries and friendly looks and expressions, but real, sound union is a rare thing. It is a gift of God: spiritual life cemented in spiritual union.
When then God means to sift a church in His sieve and search Jerusalem as with candles, He brings to light errors and heresies hitherto concealed. This is the first step which begins to break to pieces the false bond of union. This is cutting asunder the staff (bands) to break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (Zech. 11:14) and the staff is broken thus.
A man of God sounds the trumpet throughout the camp with a clear sound, and proclaims boldly and plainly the truth in doctrine, experience, and precept. He does not do this in angry bitter spirit as if for the very purpose of stirring up strife and contention but as a part of the gospel entrusted to him. The burden of the Lord lies upon his conscience. He delivers it for the glory of God and the profit of his people and for those who love the truth and have been taught by the same spirit, and know, and feel the power of the same vital. realities in their own souls. One responds to the clear notes of the trumpet and cleaves to the certain sound for it fills their hearts with peace and joy. Being thus blessed they cannot but speak warmly of the truth and of the instruments who proclaim it so faithfully.
But what response do they meet? The erroneous and the unsound, who have been hugging their errors in secret and are offended by the naked truth, are stirred up to opposition. What offended them so? Was it not the glorious truth of eternal, absolute, and unconditional election? We have been told that to preach Election strongly would offend many pious, zealous minds and be a means of unerring the cause of real prosperity, and so they hinder the progress of the cause of God. So then the truth of God must give place to the imaginary piety, and false zeal of man; and God must be insulted for the purpose of promoting his cause upon the earth!
All this may seem pleasing enough to the fleshly self-seeking minds of man, but what would they say had they heard the glorious truth of election? Christ thanked the Father for hiding the truth from some and revealing, it unto others, and that, because it seemed good in God’s sight. Yea, even the Holy Spirit tells us that at that time Jesus rejoiced in Spirit and thanked the Father. He also told his disciples that he spoke in parables because unto them it was given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom but unto others it was not given. Once he had a congregation of very pious Pharisees who for a while appeared to wonder at the gracious words that Jesus spoke. Though Christ knew it would give them great offence and though he knew all their hearts, yet he preached it: The Pharisees rose up and thrust Him out of the city. We can see by this that the Lord considered the truth of God of infinitely more importance than that of keeping a company of respectable Pharisees in good humor. On one occasion He told some of His hearers that they believed not because they were not of his sheep. He assured his, disciples that the reason they were not of the world and that the world hated them was because he had chosen them out of the world. So we see that the Lord preached it as it were from the house tops, and that, in the strongest terms possible. He made no secret of this important truth.
Blessed be the Lord, there is nothing uncertain in the salvation and glorification of His elect. All goes upon a solid and sure basis. All the devices of DeWolf and his followers with all their ifs and buts, shall never overturn the counsel of the Lord. “My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure.” Nothing is so dear to Jehovah as His own glory. What ever He gives to others, He keeps His own glory sacred to Himself. How blessed is it that our glorious Lord has inseparably connected everlasting salvation with His own glory. For the Holy Spirit says, “But I had pity for mine holy name which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went” (Ezekiel 36:21-32). Read the whole if you please.
Blessed Lord. And will not such a glorious display of sovereign grace lead us to self-loathing and self-abusement? Then surely grace is free. What a blessed declaration of undeserved mercy and free grace are here. Blessed thrice. Blessed are the people of God, for their God has connected His own glory and their well-being together. What a dishonor then to our glorious covenant God to speak or even think of what man must do. For, they say, “We shall never perish if we prove faithful to the grace God gives.” But the promise is absolute and unconditional (they shall never perish). There is no such a thing named as: “If they do this, that, or the other.” Besides I would like to know what they mean by faithfulness to grace after all the defamatory speeches and publication against those ministers that defend the truth of unconditional Election. If by so doing man proves faithful to grace, I am at a loss to know who does not prove faithful. Is it faithfulness to darken the power of the unconditional promise of our covenant God and accept the statements of, DeWolf as was done in Classis West in 1953? How have they rejected that which they were called to protect! We can now plainly see the reason why the people had to be brought in confusion. The principle of the Prot. Ref. truth had to go when it came to a test. It was not wanted. Some of the delegates at that Classis sold the truth without themselves knowing what was going on, and they seem to be blinded for it all as of yet. Is it faithfulness to grace when men act as if they were ashamed of the truth they profess (for they still call themselves Prot. Ref.). In shamefully concealing it, or keeping it back, and in pouring contempt upon every one whose conscience is made too honest to unite with them in so doing? A Christian in his right mind can see something of beauty in Election, for he knows if this is not the truth, he must inevitably perish. For if God’s love to him is not unconditional, without the least eye to anything done by him, he would never have loved him at all. If this love, can be removed from him by sin, Satan; or the world, it must of necessity be taken away. But when he is enabled to see what Jehovah did in everlasting love: elect him as a vessel of mercy to eternal glory, without the least eye to his worth or worthiness but merely as an act of his own sovereign grace and good pleasure, such a soul will never say that his faith is prerequisite to enter into the kingdom. For God lets His own see themselves as an unclean thing and they could as soon trust Satan for justification than rely on self for believing. The Lord, according to His own infinite reason, calls dead sinners out of their graves of sin and death to reveal Himself to them and live with them. He calls the things that were not as if they were (impossible for man and possible only for God). See how great and glorious is that God who gave His only begotten Son over into the hands of sinners: the hope of all the Elect from the beginning of time. What? Can we add to this but dead works of men even after grace is received? It’s not the good works of men, but only His good work to will and to do in us; and He gives us to taste that He works in us. Then will we cry out, “Lord, I am sinful,” and we will bow in the dirt before Him beholding all this in true faith. “Lord, be merciful to me, don’t ever leave me.” This alone is dear unto me. This God I long for every hour. I feel the need of His coming to me to receive strength to believe in Him. None shall ever be able to stay his hand or make the way muddy. The providence of God has cast our lot in a day of great profession of religion. But it is a day of departure from the doctrines of the Cross of Christ while enemies of these truths increase both in number and activity. In awfully opposing these truths, a religion suited to the fleshly appetite of man is the religion that the bulk of them are contending for. Under these circumstances may every believer, and especially every minister of Christ, consider himself called upon to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, and never be ashamed of the blessed gospel of God’s grace which has made us free.