THE EFFECTUAL CALL OF GOD!

THE EFFECTUAL CALL OF GOD!

A.W. Pink

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power!” [Psalm 110:3]

We must first distinguish carefully between God’s ‘Effectual call’ which is received by the Elect and that which comes to ALL who are under the sound of the Word: the one is PARTICULAR, the other GENERAL. Whosoever comes under the sound of the Word, yea, all who have it in their hands in its written form, are called by God to forsake their sins and seek His mercy in Christ.

This general call comes to the elect and non-elect alike: but alas, it is refused by all of them. It is described in such passages as, “Unto you, 0 men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man” (Prov. 8:4), “many [are] called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:16). Their rejection of the same is depicted thus: “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded” (Prov. 1:24), “They all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:18). But it is with the special and particular call, of which the elect alone are the subjects, that we are now concerned.

Second, then, this calling of the elect is an INDIVIDUAL AND INWARD ONE, falling not upon the outward ear, but penetrating to their very hearts. It is the Word of God’s power, reaching them in their natural state of spiritual death and quickening them into newness of life. It is the Good Shepherd seeking and saving His lost sheep and restoring them to His Father: as it is written, “He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him; for they know His voice” (John 10:3, 4). From the legal side of things the salvation of God’s elect became an accomplished fact when Christ died and rose again, but not until the Spirit of God’s Son is sent into their hearts— “whereby they cry Abba, Father”—is it made good in their actual experience. It is by the Spirit alone that we are given a saving knowledge of the Truth, being led by Him into a right apprehension thereof: The Spirit so shines upon our understanding that we are enabled to take in the spiritual knowledge of God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Third, then, it is an EFFECTUAL call, being accomplished by the supernatural operations of the Spirit. It holds equally good of the new creation as of the old that, “He [God] spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). It is in such passages as “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power” (Ps. 110:3), this effectual call is referred to—their natural unwillingness to surrender themselves completely to the Lord’s claims is sweetly melted down by the communication of an overwhelming sense of God’s grace and love to them. Again; “All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord” (Isa. 54:13), so taught that He “hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true” (1 John 5:20). Once more, this effectual call is God’s making good the promises of the new covenant: “I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people” (Heb. 8:10).

Theologians have wisely designated this the “effectual call” so as to distinguish it from the GENERAL AND OUTWARD ONE which comes to all who hear the gospel.

THIS EFFECTUAL CALL IS NOT AN INVITATION, but is the actual bestowment of life and light!

It is the immediate fruit of God’s wondrous and infinite love to our persons when we are altogether unlovely, yea, the subjects of nothing but what renders us repulsive and hateful (see Ezek. 16:4-8!). It is then that the Holy Spirit is given to the elect—given to make good in them what Christ wrought out for them. Let it be clearly recognized and thankfully owned that the gift of the Spirit to us is as great and grand a gift as the gift of Christ for us. By the Spirit’s inhabiting us we are sanctified and sealed unto the day of redemption. By the Spirit’s indwelling of us we become the temples of the living God, His dwelling-place on earth.

It is not sufficiently recognized that all covenant mercies are in the hand of the blessed Holy Spirit, whose office and work it is to bring home the elect (by effectual calling) to Christ, and to make known and apply to their souls the salvation which the Lord Jesus has fulfilled and wrought out for them. He comes from Heaven in consequence of Christ’s atonement and ascension, and proclaims salvation from the Lord for wretched sinners. He enters their hearts of sin and woe and makes known the salvation of God.

He puts them by believing on the person and work of Christ into possession of the things that accompany salvation, and then He becomes a Comforter to them. Such do not pray for the Spirit to come and regenerate them, for they have already received Him as a life-giving and sanctifying Spirit. What they must now do is pray for grace to receive Him as the Spirit of adoption, that He may witness with their spirit that they are the children of God.

Now this effectual call is a necessary and proper consequence and effect of God’s eternal election, for NONE are the recipients of this supernatural vocation but HIS CHOSEN ONES! Wherever predestination unto everlasting glory goes before concerning any person, then effectual calling unto faith and holiness infallibly follows. “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13).

The elect are chosen unto salvation by the free and sovereign grace of God; but how is that salvation actually obtained? How are His favored ones brought into the personal possession of it? Through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth, and not otherwise. God’s decree of election is an ordination unto everlasting life and glory, and it is evident by holiness being effectually wrought in its objects by the regenerating and sanctifying operations of the Spirit. It is thereby that the Spirit communicates what Christ purchased for them.

“And that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Rom. 9:23, 24). In the verses immediately preceding the apostle had treated of the unspeakably solemn subject of how God shows His wrath and makes known His power in connection with the non-elect, but here he takes up the blessed theme of how God discovers the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy. This is by the effectual call which is received individually by His people.

That call is what serves to make manifest God’s everlasting grace toward us: as Romans 8:28 expresses it we are “the called according to His purpose”; in other words, the Spirit is given to us in order to the accomplishment of God’s decree, or to put it in another way, through his effectual call the believer may look upward to the eternal love of God unto him, much as he might through a chink in his wall peer through to the shining of the sun in the heavens.

THE GOD WHO REMEMBERERS

THE GOD WHO REMEMBERERS

A.W. Pink

“Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever.” [Psalm 136:23

“Who remembered us.” This is in striking and blessed contrast from our forgettings of Him. Like every other faculty of our beings, the memory has been affected by the Fall and bears on it the marks of depravity. This is seen from its power to retain what is worthless and the difficulty encountered to hold fast that which is good. A foolish nursery-rhyme or song heard in youth, is carried with us to the grave; a helpful sermon is forgotten within twenty-four hours! But most tragic and solemn of all is the ease with which we forget God and His countless mercies. But, blessed be His name, God never forgets us. He is the faithful Rememberer.

We were very much impressed when, on consulting the concordance, we found that the first five times the word “remember” is used in Scripture, in each case it is connected with God. “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark” (Gen. 8:1). “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. 9:16). “And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt” (Gen. 19:29), etc. The first time it is used of man we read, “Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him” (Gen. 40:23)!

The historical reference here is to the children of Israel, when they were toiling amid the brick-kilns of Egypt. Truly they were in a “low estate”: a nation of slaves, groaning beneath the lash of merciless task-masters, oppressed by a godless and heartless king. But when there was none other eye to pity, Jehovah looked upon them and heard their cries of distress. He “remembered” them in their low estate. And why? Exodus 2:24,25 tells us: “And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto it.”

Our text is not to be limited to the literal seed of Abraham: it has reference to the whole “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). The saints of this present Day of salvation also unite in saying, “Who remembered us in our low estate.” How “low” was our “estate” by nature! As fallen creatures we lay in our misery and wretchedness, unable to deliver or help ourselves. But, in wondrous grace, God took pity on us. His strong arm reached down and rescued us. He came to where we lay, saw us, and had compassion on us (Luke 10:33). Therefore can each Christian say, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (Psa. 40:2).

And why did He “remember” us? The very word “remember” tells of previous thoughts of love and mercy towards us. As it was with the children of Israel in Egypt, so it was with us in our ruined condition by nature. He “remembered” His covenant, that covenant into which He had entered with our Surety from everlasting. As we read in Titus 1:2 of eternal life “which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world was. Promised to Christ, that He would give that eternal life to those for whom our covenant Head should transact. Yes, God “remembered” that He had “chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), therefore did He, in due time, bring us from death unto life.

Yet this blessed word goes beyond our initial experience of God’s saving grace. Historically, our text refers not only to God remembering His people while they were in Egypt, but also, as the context shows, while they were in the Wilderness, on their way to the Promised Land. Israel’s experiences in the desert but foreshadow the saints’ walk through this hostile world. And Jehovah’s “remembrance” of them, manifested in the daily supply of their every need, adumbrated the rich provisions of His grace for us while we journey to our Home on High. Our present estate, here on earth, is but a lowly one, for we do not now reign as kings. Yet, is our God ever mindful of us, and hourly does He minister to us.

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Not always are we permitted to dwell upon the mount. As in the natural world, so in our experiences. Bright and sunny days give place to dark and cloudy ones: summer is followed by winter. Disappointments, losses, afflictions, bereavements came our way, and we were brought low. And ofttimes just when we seemed to most need the comfort of friends, they failed us. Those we counted on to help, forgot us. But, even then, there was One “who remembered us” and showed Himself to be “the same yesterday and today and forever,” and then did we prove afresh that “His mercy endureth forever” (1 Chron. 16:34)

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” There are some who may read these lines that will think of another application of these words: namely, the time when you left your first love, when your heart grew cold, and your life became worldly. When you were in a sadly back-slidden state. Then, indeed, was your estate a low one; yet even then did our faithful God “remember” thee. Yes, each of us has cause to say with the Psalmist “He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (23:3).

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Still another application of these words may be made, namely, to the last great crisis of the saint, as he passes out of this world. As the vital spark of the body grows dim and nature fails, then too is our “estate” low. But then also the Lord remembereth us, for “His mercy endureth for ever. Man’s extremity is but God’s opportunity. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is then that he “remembers” us by making good His comforting promises, “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee, yea, I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness” (Isa. 41:10).

“Who remembered us in our low estate.” Surely this text will furnish us with suitable words to express our thanksgiving when we are at Home, present with the Lord. How we shall then praise Him for His covenant faithfulness, His matchless grace, and His loving kindness, for having “remembered us in our low estate! Then shall we know, even as we are known. Our very memories will be renewed, perfected, and we shall remember all the way the Lord our God hath led us” (Deut. 8:2), recalling with gratitude and joy His faithful remembrances, acknowledging with adoration that “His mercy endureth for ever.”

THE CHRISTIAN IS KNOWN BY HIS FRUITS

THE CHRISTIAN IS KNOWN BY HIS FRUITS

 A.W. Pink

 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” [Matthew 7:15-20].

No idle or needless warning was this, but one which should be seriously taken to heart by all who have any concern for the glory of God or value their eternal interests. Our danger is real and pressing, for “false prophets” are not few in number but “many” (1 John 4:1), and instead of being found only in the notoriously heretical sects, have “crept in” among saints until they now dominate nearly all the centers of orthodoxy. If we are deceived by them and imbibe their lies the result is almost certain to be fatal, for error acts upon the soul as deadly poison does on the body. The very fact that these impostors assume “sheep’s clothing” and pose as the servants of Christ greatly increases the peril of the unwary and unsuspicious. For these reasons it is imperative that we should be on our guard. But to be properly on our guard requires that we should be informed, that we should know how to recognize these deceivers. Nor has our Lord left us unfurnished at this vital point, as the succeeding verses show.

“Ye shall know them by their fruits.” False prophets are to be identified by what they produce. By their “fruits” we understand, principally, their creed, their character, and their converts. Is it not by these three things that we recognize the true prophets? The genuine servants of God give evidence of their Divine commission by THE DOCTRINE they proclaim: their preaching is in full accord with the Word of Truth. The general tenor of their lives is in harmony therewith, so that their daily walk is an example of practical godliness. Those whom the Spirit quickens and edifies under their preaching bear the features of their ministerial fathers and follow the lead of their shepherds. Conversely, the ministers of Satan, though feigning to be the champions of the Truth, oppose and corrupt it: some by denying its Divine authority, some by mingling human tradition with it, others by wresting it or by withholding vital, portions thereof. Though their outward conduct is often beyond reproach, yet their inward character, the spirit which actuates them, is that of the WOLF-SLY, cruel, fierce. And their converts or disciples are like unto them.

The true prophet accords GOD HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE.

He is owned as the King of kings and Lord of lords, as the One who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” He is acknowledged to be the sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth, at whose disposal are all creatures and all events, for whose pleasure they are created (Rev. 4:11), whose will is invincible and whose power is irresistible. He is declared to be God in fact as well as in name: One whose claims upon us are paramount and incontestable, One who is to be held in the utmost reverence and awe, One who is to be served with fear and rejoiced in with trembling (Ps. 2:11). Such a God the false prophets neither believe in nor preach. On the contrary, they prate about a God who wants to do this and who would like to do that, but cannot because His creatures will not permit it. Having endowed man with a free will, he must neither be compelled nor coerced, and while Deity is filled with amiable intentions He is unable to carry them out. Man is the architect of his fortunes and the decider of his own destiny, and God a mere Spectator.

The true prophet gives CHRIST HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE, which is very much more than to be sound concerning His person.

Romanists are more orthodox about the deity and humanity of Christ than are multitudes of Protestants, yet the former as much as the latter are grossly heterodox upon His official status. The true prophet proclaims the Lord Jesus as THE COVENANT HEAD of His people, who was set up before the foundation of the world to fulfil all the terms of the covenant of grace on their behalf and to secure for them all its blessings. He sets forth Christ as the “Surety” and “Mediator” of the covenant (Heb. 7:22; 8:6), as the One who came here to fulfil His covenant engagements: “Lo, I come, to do Thy will, O God”-it was a voluntary act, yet in discharge of a sacred agreement. All that Christ did here upon earth and that which He is now doing in heaven was and is the working out of an eternal compact. Every. thing relating to the Church’s salvation was planned and settled by covenant stipulation between the Eternal Three. Nothing was left to chance, nothing remained uncertain, nothing was rendered contingent upon anything the creature must do. About this glorious and fundamental truth the false prophets are completely SILENT.

It was to fit Him for His covenant engagements that the Surety became incarnate. It was to redeem His people from the curse of the Law that Christ was made under it, fulfilled its terms, endured its penalty in the room and stead of His covenant people. It was for THEM, and NO OTHERS, that He shed His precious blood. Because He faithfully and perfectly discharged His covenant obligations, the Father has sworn with an oath that all for whom He acted shall be eternally saved, that not one of these shall perish, solemnly declaring that “He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isa. 53:11). God has made with Christ, and His people in Hint, “an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure (2 Sam. 23:5). But the false prophets REVERSE ALL THIS. They misrepresent the redemptive work of Christ as being a VAGUE, INDEFINITE, GENERAL, PROMISCUOUS THING, RENDERING NOTHING SURE. They believe Christ shed His blood for Judas equally with Peter, and for Pilate as truly as Paul. They preach a salvation which is uncertain and contingent, as though it were for anybody or nobody as the caprice of men shall decide: Christ provided it and if we accept of it well and good; if not, He will be disappointed.

The true prophet PUTS MAN IN HIS PROPER PLACE.

He declares that man is a depraved, ruined and lost creature, dead in trespasses and sins. He points out that man is alienated from God, that his mind is enmity against Him, that he is an inveterate rebel against Him. He shows this to be true not only of those in heathendom, but equally so of those born in Christendom: that “There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:10, 11). He makes it clear that man is a total wreck, that no part of his being has escaped the fearful consequences of his original revolt from his Maker: that his understanding is darkened, his affections corrupted, his will enslaved. Because of what transpired in Eden man has become the slave of sin and the captive of the Devil. He has no love for the true and living God, but instead a heart that is filled with hatred against Him; so far from desiring or seeking after Him, he endeavors by every imaginable means to banish Him from his thoughts. He is blind to His excellency, deaf to His voice, defiant of His authority and unconcerned for His glory.

The true prophet goes still farther. He not only portrays the sinner as he actually is, but HE ANNOUNCES THAT MAN IS UTTERLY UNABLE TO CHANGE HIMSELF OR BETTER HIS CONDITION ONE IOTA. He solemnly announces man to be “without strength,” that he CANNOT bring himself into subjection to the Divine Law or perform a single action pleasing to God (Rom. 8:7, 8). He insists that the Ethiopian can change his skin or the leopard his spots more readily than they who are accustomed to do evil can perform that which is good (Jer. 13:1, 23). In short, he declares that man is hopelessly and irremediably lost unless a sovereign God is pleased to perform a miracle of grace upon him. But it is the very opposite with the false prophets. They speak “smooth things” and flatter their hearers, persuading them that their case is very far from being as desperate as it really is. If they do not expressly repudiate the Fall, or term it (as the Evolutionists) a “fall upward,” they greatly minimize it, making it appear to be only a slight accident which may be repaired by our own exertions, that man is little affected by it, THAT HE STILL HAS “THE POWER TO ACCEPT CHRIST.”

According as the fall of man be viewed and preached so will be the conceptions of men concerning the need and nature of redemption. Almost every Gospel truth will necessarily be colored by the light in which we view the extent of the fall. Take the truth of ELECTION: which is the deciding factor-God’s will or mine? Why, if I be in possession of freedom of will and am now on probation, everything must turn on the use I make of this all-important endowment. But can this be made to square with the Scriptures? Yes, by a little wresting of them. It is true that false prophets hate the very word “election,” but if they are pressed into a corner they will try and wriggle out of it by saying that those whom God elected unto salvation are the ones whom He foreknew would be willing to accept Christ, and that explanation satisfies ninety-nine per cent of their hearers. The truth is God foreknew that if He left men to their pleasure NONE would ever accept Christ (Rom. 9:29), and therefore He made sovereign and unconditional selection from among them. HAD NOT GOD ETERNALLY CHOSEN ME, I CERTAINLY HAD NEVER CHOSEN HIM.

The same holds true of REGENERATION.

If the sinner be spiritually impotent and his case hopeless so far as all self-effort and help are concerned, then he can no more quicken himself than can a rotten corpse in the tomb. A dead man is powerless, and that is precisely the natural condition of every member of the human race, religious and irreligious alike: “dead in trespasses and sins.” The individual concerned in it contributes no more to his new birth than he did to his first. This was expressly insisted upon by Christ when He declared: “which were born not of blood [by descent from godly parents], nor of the will of the flesh [by their own volition], nor of the will of man [by a persuasive preacher], but of God” (John 1:13). There must be an act of Divine creation before anyone is made a new creature in Christ. But the false prophets represent man to be merely “bruised” or at most crippled by the fall, and insist that he may be born again simply by accepting Christ as his personal Saviour-a thing which none can do until he is brought from death unto life.

The genuine prophet trumpets forth with no uncertain sound the grand truth of JUSTIFICATION.

Rightly did Luther declare that “Justification by faith is the doctrine of a standing or falling church,” for those who pervert it corrupt the Gospel at its very heart. In view of man’s fallen and depraved condition, in view of his being a transgressor of the Divine Law, lying beneath its awful condemnation, the question was asked of old, “How then can man be justified with God?” (Job 25:4). To be “justified” is very much more than being pardoned: it is the declaration by the Divine Judge that the believer is RIGHTEOUS, and therefore entitled to the reward of the Law, but how is this possible when man has no righteousness of his own and is totally unable to produce any? The answer is that Christ not only bore in His own body the sins of God’s elect, but He rendered to the Law a perfect obedience in their stead, and the moment they believe in Him His obedience is reckoned to their account, so that each can say, “in the Lord have I righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:24). BUT THE FALSE PROPHETS DENY AND RIDICULE THIS BASIC TRUTH OF THE IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST.

The true prophet gives the HOLY SPIRIT HIS RIGHTFUL PLACE, not only in the Godhead, as co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Son, but in connection with salvation.

Salvation is the gift of the Triune God: the Father planned it, the Son purchased it, the Spirit communicates it. The genuine servant of God is very explicit in declaring that the work of the Holy Spirit is as indispensable as the work of Christ: the One serving for His people, the Other acting in them. It is the distinctive office of the Spirit to illumine the understanding of God’s elect, to search their conscience and convict of their ruined and guilty condition. It is His office to work repentance in them, to communicate faith unto them, to draw out their hearts unto Christ. The soundest and most faithful preaching in the world will avail nothing else unless the Holy Spirit applies it in quickening power; the most winsome offers and persuasive appeals will be useless until the Spirit bestows the hearing ear. The true prophet knows this, and therefore has he no confidence in his own abilities, but humbly seeks and earnestly prays for the power of the Spirit to rest upon him. But how different is it with deceivers of souls!

The genuine servant of God not only realizes the truth of that word, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts” (Zech. 4:6) in connection with the fruitage of his labours, but he is also deeply conscious of his own need of being personally taught by the Spirit. He has been made to feel his utter insufficiency to handle sacred things, and to realize that if he is to enter into the SPIRITUAL meaning of the Word he must be Divinely taught in his own soul. A mere intellectual study of the letter of Scripture cannot satisfy one who longs for a deeper experimental knowledge of the Truth, nor will he be contented with simply informing the minds of his hearers. As it is a tender conscience and a fuller heart-acquaintance with God and His Christ that he covets for himself, so it is to the conscience and heart of his hearers that he addresses himself. IT IS THE OPPOSITE WITH THE FALSE PROPHETS: THEY ARE OCCUPIED SOLELY WITH THE LETTER OF SCRIPTURE, WITH OUTWARD PROFESSION: THERE IS NO DEEP PROBING, NOTHING SEARCHING IN THEIR MESSAGES, NOTHING TO DISTURB THE RELIGIOUS WORLDLING.

Another mark by which many of the false prophets may be recognized is the disproportionate place they give to PROPHECY in their preaching and teaching.

This has ever been a favorite device of religious charlatans, as those versed in ecclesiastical history are well aware. Nor should any observer of human nature be surprised at this. God has placed an impenetrable veil upon the future, so that none can know “what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). But man is intensely curious about coming events and gives a ready ear to any who pretend to be able to enlighten him. If on the one hand the irreligious will flock to palmists, astrologers and other fortune-tellers, the religious will crowd around anyone who claims to be able to explain the mysterious contents of the Apocalypse. IN TIMES OF WAR AND NATIONAL CALAMITY THE CURIOUS ARE EASILY BEGUILED BY MEN WITH CHARTS ON THE BOOK OF DANIEL. The express prohibition of our Lord, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7), should deter His people from giving ear to those who claim to have “light” thereon.

In this chapter we have not dealt with false prophets generally, but have confined ourselves to THOSE WHO WEAR “SHEEP’S CLOTHING,” whose attacks are made upon the flock of Christ! These are men who boast of their soundness in the Faith, and obtain a hearing among those who regard themselves as the cream of orthodoxy. Thus far we have dwelt upon their creed, on what they believe and teach: in our next we shall describe some of the distinguishing traits of their characters, and then point out that the type of converts they make also serves to identify them by the “fruit” they produce. Our design in entering into such detail is that young Christians may be furnished with a full-length photo of these deceivers, and to make it clear that we are not condemning such because they differ from us on one or two minor matters, but because they are thoroughly corrupt in doctrine. Furthermore, in all that has been before us it should be clear that we should labour diligently to become thoroughly acquainted with God’s Word for ourselves-or how shall we be fitted to detect these seducers of souls? Ponder Acts 17:11.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Sermon on the Mount’]

THE TIDINGS OF DEATH ALWAYS MAKE ME PAUSE AND DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING

THE TIDINGS OF DEATH ALWAYS MAKE ME PAUSE AND DO SOME SOUL SEARCHING

Michael Jeshurun

The legendary Blues Rock artist Chuck Berry is dead! And as a Christian the first thought that crosses my mind when I hear of the death of someone is – “WHERE is he NOW?!” [Job 14:10]

Here’s what some famous personalities said of Chuck Berry –
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” — John Lennon
“There’s only one true king of rock ‘n’ roll. His name is Chuck Berry.” — Stevie Wonder
“Of all the early breakthrough rock and roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, and one of its greatest performers.” — Cub Koda

These are some of the praises that famous men of the world heaped upon the said legendary guitarist and Blues singer. But as a Christian I cannot help but think of what THE LORD will say to Chuck when he meets Him! For “as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT!” [Heb 9:27]

The apostle said, “For all flesh is as grass, and ALL THE GLORY OF MAN as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away!” [1Peter 1:24]

That’s right beloved, it matters little how famous, rich or popular one may become in this world, if he is not rich toward GOD (Luke 12:21) then it is all in vain! “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain THE WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36,37]

Note that the Master esteemed the worth of your soul more than the WHOLE WORLD! And His million dollar rhetorical question is – WHAT can you give in exchange for your soul?!

GAINING THE WHOLE WORLD AND LOSING YOUR OWN SOUL!
A.W. Pink

The world appeals to every instinct of fallen man. It contains a thousand objects to charm him: they attract his attention, the attention creates a desire for and love of them, and insensibly yet surely they make deeper and deeper impressions on his heart. It has the same fatal influence on all classes. But attractive and appealing as its varied objects may be, all the pursuits and pleasures of the world are designed and adapted to promote the happiness of THIS LIFE ONLY therefore, “What shall it profit a man if he should gain the WHOLE WORLD, and lose his OWN SOUL?

The Christian is taught by the Spirit, and through His presenting of Christ to the soul his thoughts are diverted from the world. Just as a little child will readily drop a dirty object when something more pleasing is offered to it, so the heart which is in communion with God will say, “I count ALL THINGS but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:8).

We profit from the Word when we walk in separation from the world. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Such a verse as this ought to search every one of us through and through, and make us tremble. How can I fraternize with or seek my pleasure in that which condemned the Son of God? If I do, that at once identifies me with His enemies.

Oh, my reader, MAKE NO MISTAKE UPON THIS POINT. It is written, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

Of old it was said of the people of God that they “shall dwell ALONE, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Num. 23:9). Surely the disparity of character and conduct, the desires and pursuits, which distinguish the regenerate from the unregenerate must separate the one from the other. We who profess to have our citizenship in another world, to be guided by another Spirit, to be directed by another rule, and to be journeying to another country, CANNOT go arm in arm with those who despise all such things! Then let everything in and about us exhibit the character of Christian pilgrims. May we indeed be “men wondered at” (Zech. 3:8) because “not conformed to this world” (Rom. 12:2).

We profit from the Word when we are elevated above the world.
First, above its customs and fashions. The worldling is a slave to the prevailing habits and styles of the day. Not so the one who is walking with God: his chief concern is to be “conformed to the image of his Son.”

Second, above its cares and sorrows: of old it was said of the saints that they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had “in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Heb. 10:34).
Third, above its temptations: what attraction has the glare and glitter of the world for those who are “delighting themselves in the Lord?” NONE whatever!

Fourth, above its opinions and approvals. Have you learned to be independent of and defy the world? If your whole heart is set upon pleasing God, you will be quite UNCONCERNED ABOUT THE FROWNS OF THE GODLESS.

Now, my reader, do you really wish to measure yourself by the contents written above? Then seek honest answers to the following questions.

First, WHAT are the objects before your mind in times of recreation? What do your thoughts most run upon? Second, what are the objects of your choice? When you have to decide how to spend an evening or the Sabbath afternoon, what do you select? Third, which occasions you the most sorrow, the loss of earthly things, or lack of communion with God? Which causes greater grief (or chagrin), the spoiling of your plans, or the coldness of your heart to Christ? Fourth, what is your favorite topic of conversation? Do you hanker after the news of the day, or to meet with those who talk of the “altogether lovely” One? Fifth, do your “good intentions” materialize, or are they nothing but empty dreams? Are you spending more or less time than formerly on your knees? Is the Word sweeter to your taste, or has your soul lost its relish for it?

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Profiting from the Word’]

The Election of Jacob clearly disproves all ‘creature- worthiness’!

The Election of Jacob clearly disproves all ‘creature- worthiness’!

A.W. Pink

Jacob supplies us with the clearest and most unmistakable illustration of GOD’S SOVEREIGN ELECTION to be met with in all the Bible. Whatever quibbles may be raised in reference to God’s choice of ABRAHAM to be the father of the faithful—or of the nation of ISRAEL to be the recipients of His peculiar favors—there is no getting round God’s election of JACOB. The case of Jacob gives the most emphatic refutation to the theory that God’s choice is dependent upon something in the CREATURE—something either actual or foreseen—and shows that the eternal election of certain individuals unto salvation—is due to no worthiness in the subjects—but results solely from God’s sovereign grace.

The case of Jacob proves conclusively that God’s choice is entirely sovereign, wholly gratuitous, and based upon nothing but His own good pleasure. “Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by Him who calls—she was told, ‘The older will serve the younger.’ Just as it is written: ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ ” (Romans 9: 10-13)

The God of Jacob then, is the God who chooses one—and passes by another. He is the One who exercises and exhibits His own sovereign will. He is one who shows Himself to be the Most High God, ruling in heaven and earth and disposing of His creatures according to His own eternal purpose. He is the One who singles out the most unlikely and unworthy objects—to be fashioned into vessels of glory. Yet, He is the One who necessarily always acts in harmony with His own divine perfections.

Election is not as some have supposed—harsh and unjust—but is a most merciful provision on the part of God. Had he not from the beginning chosen SOME to salvation, ALL would have perished! Had he not before the foundation of the world chosen certain ones to be conformed to the image of His Son—the death of Christ would have been in vain so far as the human race is concerned!

Reduced to its simplest terms, ELECTION means that God chose me before I chose Him. Said our Lord, “You have not chosen Me—but I have chosen you.” (John 15:16) We love Him—because He first loved us. Election means that before I was born, yes, before the foundation of the world, I was chosen in Christ and predestined unto a place in God’s family. Election means that we believed—because He made us willing in the day of His power.

Election then, strips the creature of all merit, removes all ground of boasting, strikes us helpless in the dust, and ascribes all the glory to God!

AN EXHORTATION TO CONTINUE IN THE LORD

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AN EXHORTATION TO CONTINUE IN THE LORD

A.W. Pink

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” [Galatians 6:9]

Regeneration is but the commencement of the saving operations of the Holy Spirit, and those who are the favored subjects of them are assured that, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ” [Phi 1:6], causing them to grow in grace and become fruitful branches of the Vine.
Yet the divine work of grace in a soul is not carried forward MECHANICALLY without any concurrence on the part of its subjects. It is a fatal error to conclude that because the work of salvation and sanctification is a divine one — that WE have no responsibility in connection therewith. Scripture teaches the very OPPOSITE: we are exhorted to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling — BECAUSE it is God who works in us [Phi 2:12-13]. Grace is bestowed not to encourage IDLENESS — but to energize unto holy activity. The Spirit of God does not produce APATHY — but stirs those He indwells unto a diligent use of means. The one who was loudest in owning, “But by the grace of God I am what I am,” hesitated not to add, “but I labored more abundantly than they all!” [1 Corinthians 15:10].God always deals with His people as rational and accountable creatures. Unto those who believed on Him, the Lord Jesus said, “If you CONTINUE in my word, then are you my disciples indeed” [John 8:31], and not merely by lip profession. The apostles returned to their converts, “confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them TO CONTINUE in the faith,” warning them that they “must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” [Act 14:22].

Walking that “narrow” way, which is the ONLY ONE “which leads unto life” [Mat 7:14], is not the easy matter which so many vainly imagine. Rather does it call for self-denial, godly fear, circumspection, and persevering effort. “AS you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord — SO walk in him” [Col 2:6] must be heeded by us if we are to make a good continuance. HOW did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord”? By ceasing to fight against Him, and throwing down the weapons of our rebellion. By determining to end a life of self-will, giving ourselves up to Him freely and wholly, consenting to be His forever. By penitently confessing our sins and trusting in His redeeming blood. By coming empty-handed to draw upon His fullness.

How did we “receive” Him? As He is freely offered in the Gospel: “able also to save them to the uttermost all who come unto God by him” [Heb 7:25]. As a whole Christ: a PROPHET to teach, a PRIEST to atone, a KING to reign over us. As a COMPLETE Savior: to deliver from the penalty of sin, cleanse from its pollution, free from its power; to sanctify as well as justify, purify, and ultimately glorify. “SO walk you in him”: continue as you began — in subjection to, in dependence upon Him.

A Gospel FAITH — must issue in Gospel PRACTICE. “Walking in Christ means living OUT OF SELF, in conformity to Him. Only thus do we obtain evidence of having SAVINGLY “received” Him.

The GENUINENESS of faith is always seen in what it PRODUCES. Alas, the WALK of most professing Christians gives the lie to their TALK. A good continuance is only made possible by our regular use of those means of grace which God has appointed for His people.
If the WORD is neglected — the soul will be starved. . . .

If MEDITATION is not practiced — the heavenly manna will not be digested.

If PRAYER be omitted, or performed formally and mechanically — fresh supplies of grace will not be obtained.

Unless the love of God is kept constantly before the heart — the affections will soon cool.

Unless we draw daily upon Christ’s mediatorial fullness — we shall be feeble and incapable of wrestling with our foes.

Unless we tread the path of obedience — Satan will quickly overcome us.

There must also be a RIGHT USE of the means, or they will profit us nothing. The Word itself does not nourish — unless faith be mixed with it [Heb 4:2]. They must be used in a spirit of humble dependence on God, for they avail not apart from His BLESSING upon them. Put them not in the stead of Christ. Trust not in the mere use of them, as though your diligence therein ensured success. Yet they MUST BE USED patiently and perseveringly: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” [Gal 6:9]. Amen!

NONE BELIEVE SAVE THOSE WHO ARE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE

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NONE BELIEVE SAVE THOSE WHO ARE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE

A.W. Pink

“As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed” (Acts 13:48).

Every artifice of human ingenuity has been employed to blunt the sharp edge of this Scripture and to explain away the obvious meaning of these words, but it has been employed in vain, though nothing will ever be able to reconcile this and similar passages to the mind of the natural man. “As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.”

Here we learn four things:

First, that believing is the consequence AND NOT THE CAUSE of God’s decree.

Second, that a LIMITED NUMBER only are “ordained to eternal life,” for if all men without exception were thus ordained by God, then the words “as many as are a meaningless qualification.

Third, that this “ordination” of God is not to mere external privileges but to “eternal life,” not to service but to SALVATION ITSELF.

Fourth, that ALL—”as many as,” NOT ONE LESS—who are thus ordained by God to eternal life WILL most certainly believe.

The comments of the beloved Spurgeon on the above passage are well worthy of our notice. Said he –

“Attempts have been made to prove that these words do not teach predestination, but these attempts so clearly do violence to language that I shall not waste time in answering them. I read: ‘As many as were ordained to eternal life believed’, and I shall not twist the text but shall glorify the grace of God by ascribing to that grace the faith of every man.

Is it not God who gives the disposition to believe? If men are disposed to have eternal life, does not He—in every case—dispose them? Is it wrong for God to give grace? If it be right for Him to give it, is it wrong for Him to purpose to give it? Would you have Him give it by accident? If it is right for Him to purpose to give grace today, it was right for Him to purpose it before today—and, since He changes not—from eternity.”

[ Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Sovereignty of God’ ]

THE PHYSICALLY DEAD AND THE SPIRITUALLY DEAD – THERE’S A DIFFERENCE!

spiritually-dead

THE PHYSICALLY DEAD AND THE SPIRITUALLY DEAD – THERE’S A DIFFERENCE!

A.W. Pink

It is often said that the spiritual state of the natural man is analogous to that of a corpse buried in the cemetery. From one standpoint that is correct; from another it is utterly erroneous. The natural man is a putrefying creature, a stench in the nostrils of the Holy One, and he can no more perform a spiritual act Godwards than a corpse can perform a physical act manwards. 

BUT THERE THE ANALOGY ENDS!

There is a contrast between the two cases as well as a resemblance. A corpse has no responsibility, but the natural man HAS! A corpse can perform no actions; different far is the case of the sinner. He is- active, active against GOD! Though he does not love Him (and he ought!), yet he is filled with enmity and hatred against Him. Thus spiritual death is not a state of passivity and inactivity, but one of aggressive hostility against God. Here then, as everywhere, there is a balance to be preserved; yet it is rarely maintained.

Far too many Calvinists, in their zeal to repudiate the freewillism of Arminians, have at the same time repudiated man’s moral agency; anxious to enforce the utter helplessness of fallen men in spiritual matters, they have virtually reduced him to an irresponsible machine. It has not been sufficiently noted that in the very next verse after the statement “who were dead in trespasses and sins,” the apostle added,

“Wherein (i.e. that state of spiritual death) ye WALKED (which a corpse in the grave could not!) according to the course of this world, according to the spirit of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation (“conduct”) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

So that in one sense they were dead (i.e. Godward) while they lived (i.e. in sin), and in another sense they LIVED (a life of self-seeking and of enmity against God), while DEAD to all spiritual things.

THERE IS A VAST AND VITAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPIRITUALLY DEAD SOUL AND A LIFELESS BODY.

The soul of Adam became the subject of penal and spiritual death; nevertheless it retained all its natural powers. Adam did not lose all knowledge nor become incapable of volition; nor did the operations of conscience cease within him. He was still a rational being, a moral agent, a RESPONSIBLE creature, though he could no longer think or will, love or hate, in conformity to the law of righteousness.

It is far otherwise with PHYSICAL dissolution. When the body dies it becomes as inactive, unintelligent and unfeeling as a piece of unorganized matter.

A LIFELESS BODY HAS NO RESPONSIBILITY, BUT A SPIRITUALLY DEAD SOUL IS ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD.

A corpse in the cemetery will not “despise and reject” Christ (Isaiah 53:3), will not “resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51), will not disobey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8); but the sinner CAN and DOES do these very things, and is JUSTLY condemned for them. Are we, then, suggesting that fallen man is NOT “dead in trespasses and sins”? No indeed, but we do insist that those solemn words be RIGHTLY INTERPRETED and that no false conclusions be drawn from them. Because the soul has been deranged by sin, because all its operations are unholy, it is correctly said to be in a state of spiritual death, for it no more fulfils the purpose of its being than does a dead body.

The fall of man, with its resultant spiritual death, did not dissolve our relation to God as the Creator, nor did it exempt us from His authority. But it forfeited His favour and suspended that communion with Him by which alone could be preserved that moral excellence with which the soul was originally endowed. Instead of attempting to draw analogies between spiritual and physical death and deriving inferences from them, we must stick very closely to the Scriptures and regulate all our thoughts by them.

God’s Word says,

“You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in times past ye WALKED” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

Thus the spiritual death of the sinner is a state of ACTIVE opposition against God—a state for which he is RESPONSIBLE, the guilt and enormity of which the preacher should constantly press upon him. Why do we speak of active opposition against God as being DEAD in sins? Because in Scripture “death” does not mean cessation of being, but a condition of separation and alienation from God! (Ephesians 4:18).

THE LADDER TO HEAVEN

ladder

THE LADDER TO HEAVEN

A.W. Pink

“And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it”. [Gen 28:12]

There is much here that might be dwelt upon with profit to our souls, but we can do little more than mention one or two things.

Here we behold the marvelous GRACE of God, which delights to single out as its objects the most unlikely and unworthy subjects. Here was Jacob a fugitive from his father’s house, fleeing from his brother’s wrath, with probably no thought of God in his mind. As we behold him there on the bare ground with nothing but the stones for his pillow, enshrouded by the darkness of night, asleep—symbol of death—we obtain a striking and true picture of MAN IN HIS NATURAL STATE.

Man is never so HELPLESS as when asleep, and it was while he was in THIS condition that God appeared unto him! What had Jacob done to DESERVE this high honor? What was there in him to MERIT this wondrous privilege? Nothing; absolutely NOTHING. It was God in GRACE which now met him for the first time and here GAVE to him and his seed the land whereon he lay. Such is ever His way. He pleases to choose the foolish and vile things of this world: He selects those who have nothing and gives them everything: He singles out those who deserve naught but judgment, and bestows on them nothing but blessing. But note—and mark it particularly—the recipient of the Divine favors must first take his place IN THE DUST, as Jacob here did (on the naked earth) before God will bless him.

And under what similitude did the Lord now reveal Himself to the worm Jacob? Jacob beheld in his dream a LADDER set up on the earth, whose top reached unto heaven, and from above it the voice of God addressed him. Fortunately we are not left to our own speculations to determine the signification of this: John 1:51 interprets it for us. We say fortunately, for if we could not point to John 1:51 in proof of what we advance, some of our readers might charge us with indulging in a wild flight of the imagination. The “ladder” pointed to CHRIST HIMSELF, the One who spanned the infinite gulf which separated heaven from earth, and who has in His own person provided a Way whereby we may draw near to God. That the “ladder” reached from earth to heaven, told of the COMPLETE provision which Divine grace has made for sinners. Right down to where the fugitive lay, the ladder came, and right up to God Himself the “ladder” reached!

In His address to Jacob, the Lord now repeated the promises which He had made before to Abraham and Isaac, with the additional assurance that He would be with him, preserving him wherever he went, and ultimately bringing him back to the land. In perfect harmony with the fact that Jacob represented the earthly people we may observe here that God declares Jacob’s seed shall be “as the dust of the earth,” but NO REFERENCE is made to “the stars of heaven!” The sequel to this vision may be told in few words. Jacob awoke and was afraid, saying, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven” (v. 17). Next, he took the stone on which his head had rested and poured oil upon it. Then he changed the name of the place from Luz to Bethel. It is instructive to note this change of name, Luz—its original name, signifies “SEPARATION,” while Bethel, its new name, means “THE HOUSE OF GOD.” Is it not beautiful to mark the typical force of this? God calls us to SEPARATE FROM THE WORLD, but in leaving the world WE ENTER HIS HOUSE! “Never do we part from ought at His call, but He far more than makes it up to us with His own smile” (W. Lincoln).

Finally, we are told, “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house, and of all that Thou shalt give me I WILL SURELY GIVE the tenth unto Thee” (Gen. 28:20-22).

How true to life this is! It was not only characteristic of Jacob personally, but typical of US representatively. JACOB/AILED TO RISE TO THE LEVEL OF GOD’S GRACE and was filled with fear instead of peace, and expressed human legality by speaking of what HE will do. Oh, how often WE follow in his steps! Instead of resting in the goodness of God and appropriating His free grace, like Jacob, we bargain and enter into conditions and stipulations. May the God of Grace enlarge our hearts to receive His grace, and may He empower us to magnify His grace by refusing to defile it with any of our own wretched additions.

[Quoted from A.W. Pink’s ‘Gleanings in Genesis’]

REGENERATION – THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL

regeneration6758

REGENERATION – THE DIVIDING LINE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL

A.W. Pink

Regeneration is solely the work of God and man has no part or lot in it. This from the very nature of the case. Regeneration is termed a new birth, or birth from above (Joh 3:3), and birth excludes altogether any effort or work on the part of the individual who is born. Personally, we have no more to do with our spiritual birth than we had with our physical.

Again, regeneration is likened unto a SPIRITUAL RESURRECTION (Eph 2:1; Joh 5:24). Clearly, resurrection is outside man’s province. No corpse can quicken itself. No man and no number of men can reanimate a dead body. Only the living God can speak the word which will call forth a Lazarus from the tomb; and He alone can quicken into newness of life one who, spiritually, is dead in trespasses and sins. Once more, regeneration is denominated a new creation (2Co 5:17; Gal 6:15). Here again we enter God’s domain. He alone can bring into being that which previously had no existence. We repeat, regeneration is solely the work of God, and man has no part or hand in it.

Because regeneration is the work of God it is a MIRACULOUS THING. The new birth is no mere outward reformation, no mere turning over a new leaf and endeavoring to live a better life. The new birth is very much more than going forward and taking the preacher’s hand. The new birth is a supernatural operation of God upon man’s spirit. It is a transcendent wonder. All God’s works are wonderful. Physical birth is a marvel. The world in which we live is filled with things that amaze us. But from several standpoints the new birth is more remarkable still. It is a marvel of divine grace. It is a marvel of divine wisdom. It is a marvel of divine beauty. It will prove an eternal marvel, for it is a miracle performed upon and within ourselves, and of which we are personally cognizant. It is a miracle which is being repeated all around us every day.

Because regeneration is the work of God it is a MYSTERIOUS THING. All God’s works are shrouded in impenetrable mystery. Life, natural life, in its origin, its nature, its process, baffles the most careful investigator. Much more is this the case with spiritual life. The Existence and Being of God transcend the finite grasp. How then can we expect to be able to understand the process by which we become His children? Our Lord, Himself, declared that the new birth was a thing of mystery: “the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (Joh 3:8). The wind is something about which the most learned scientists know next to nothing. Its nature, the laws which govern it, its causation, all lie beyond the purview of human inquiry. So it is with the new birth. It is profoundly mysterious.

Regeneration is an intensely SOLEMN THING. The new birth is the dividing line between heaven and hell. In God’s sight there are but two classes of people in this world—those who are dead in sins, and those who are walking in newness of life. In the physical realm there is no such thing as being between life and death. A man is either dead or alive. The vital spark may become very dim, but while it exists life is present. Let that spark go out altogether, and, though you may dress the body in beautiful clothes and deck it out with all imaginable finery, it is, nevertheless, nothing more than a corpse. So it is in the spiritual world.

We are either sinners or saints; spiritually alive or spiritually dead; children of God or children of the Devil. In view of this solemn fact, how momentous is the question, HAVE I BEEN BORN AGAIN? The answer to this question settles our eternal destiny. And in love we would say to all who never have been born again, that if you die in your present condition, the day is coming when you will wish that you had never been born at all.